How good was the KEF B200?

The Kef B200 was in loads of speakers around the 1980s, and there still seems to be a few about.

Rubber surround so no foam to rot.

So the question is "how good is it"? Is it worth using for a 2-way speaker project, either sealed or ported?

Is it still competitive or are there better 8" drivers available these days?

The SP1014 is the common one with the smaller magnet. Are the larger magnets any better, like SP1039?

And I gather the crossover needs to be 3K or below, but I haven't seen any frequency responses for the B200.

So - worth using or pass?
 
The SP1014 is the common one with the smaller magnet. Are the larger magnets any better, like SP1039?

The different models of B200 simply catered for different types of enclosure loading.

The small magnet SP1014 was used in the compact infinite baffle KEF Chorale speakers, while the large magnet SP1039 was used in the larger ABR loaded KEF 104 and 104aB models.
 
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I'm sure, depending on application, that there are better 8" drivers available today.

There's what looks like a nice pair of SP1014 drivers available at a "buy it now" price of £70 right now which may not be too much of a financial risk.

My personal preference if designing a speaker system from scratch would be to employ brand new, modern drivers in order to avoid potential problems.
 
So - worth using or pass?

It is a 50 year old standard range driver and old ones will likely have deteriorated needing attention to bring back into spec and refurbished ones could be in any state. All decent modern standard range drivers from the likes of SB Acoustics, SEAS, Scan-Speak will offer better technical performance but the set of driver parameters is likely to be a bit different. Speakers have evolved with higher power, better tweeters,... which has altered what is wanted from a typical 8" these days compared to 50 years ago.

If you are looking for the performance of a modern speaker design then an old B200 is almost certainly not a good choice. If you want a modest priced retro design then there are not many suitable modern drivers around (but there are some) and an old B200 for £10 or so may well be a reasonable contender.
 
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There's a lot of nostalgia for Kef drivers of that era - the T27, B110 and B200. The iconic LS3/5A has probably kept alive a bunch of drivers that should have been part of audio history. I'm just checking whether these old drivers were mythology or whether they are still worth incorporating into a new build. I never had a speaker that had a B200 so no personal experience.
 
Do you already own some? I'm a believer in working whats at hand into my projects. A minority view, I appreciate. If you work the design around the driver, you'll come up with something good. If you are intending to buy, you might get something new for the same price thats better and easier to design around. I love the old Seas 25f-ew. But thats because I picked up 4x for next to nothing on a whim!
 
Technical performance isn't everything and retro/nostalgia can have significant value for some. For example, I have a budget retro 10" + large tweeter near the top of my todo list. It won't offer high technical performance for the money but what is of value to me is the fun trying to get it working well in the manner of a fair few speakers from my youth.

Where the value of retro can go a bit wonky is when retro enthusiasts reject reality and claim the object of their desire has a high technical performance. The LS3/5A is a striking example of this but here in the UK it applies to a fair few old designs. What they all seem to have in common is that they were all originally adopted as high value "subjective" audiophile designs despite their modest technical performance. Whereas engineering value inevitably reduces with time due to technical progress and physical deterioration this marketing value can be preserved or even grow for those that place value on it.
 
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I had the Audiotronic CM-3 with two KEF B200 in a Baily TLS fo about 15 years. Sure they got stiff over time but silicone oil used for rubber boots will soften the drivers. I have used them in closed boxed and vented as well. I think modern polypropylene drivers (Seas and Peerless) sounds better than bextrene drivers like the B200. I replaced the 2xB200 with a a KEF B139 and a Audax midrange and that combo was far better.

The B110 and the LS3/5A is overrated, back in the days I thought that the KEF 101 sounded better than the LS3/5A (both using KEF B110) and that the contemporary B&W DM5 sounded better still. But the LS3/5A is a legend and the DM5 is forgotten so what do I know:rolleyes:
 
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frugal-phile™
Joined 2001
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I have 16 KEF B200.

I am still trying to reconcil the small sealed boxes (the CHorale mentioned and the Tangent TM3 for instance) with what modeling suggests.

Can’t get at muymodeling computer but found this TL from Scott.

B200TL-sim.gif


dave
 
. . .
The B110 and the LS3/5A is overrated, back in the days I thought that the KEF 101 sounded better than the LS3/5A (both using KEF B110) and that the contemporary B&W DM5 sounded better still. But the LS3/5A is a legend and the DM5 is forgotten so what do I know:rolleyes:
The low mid/bass emphasis around 100Hz of the LS3/5a, was a deliberate design choice in order to provide low freq illusion especially when near-field. The KEF 101 was flat (in fact a very gentle roll-off started from ~180Hz), so they are different animals, each one excelling in different conditions.
As for LS3/5a VS DM5, you have a 4,5" VS a 6", so it's not an apples for apples comparison.
 
toulou said:
The KEF 101 was flat (in fact a very gentle roll-off started from ~180Hz), so they are different animals, each one excelling in different conditions.

May I ask what you consider these two speakers excel at in comparison with modern equivalents (e.g. Neumann KH 120 for the LS3/5A and, perhaps, LS50 for the 101 but arguable). Not trying to have a dig but to bring out a point about retro enthusiasm.
 
May I ask what you consider these two speakers excel at in comparison with modern equivalents (e.g. Neumann KH 120 for the LS3/5A and, perhaps, LS50 for the 101 but arguable). Not trying to have a dig but to bring out a point about retro enthusiasm.
My comment followed the comparisons in DrBoar's post #13, and was not reffering to LS3/5As VS "modern equivalents".

Regarding those you mention, I have no opinion as I never auditioned the Neumanns, and the LS5's only under very-very bad conditions .
Just looking at the specs and what is oferred under the retail price, I speculate the KH-120 would be a better (maybe by far) buy as a whole than the LS3/5a. I do have some doubts though concerning it's ability to match the LS3/5a regarding the "flow" of the music and when reproducing human voice.
 
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