KEF Reference series 105/3

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I have a pair of 105/3 on loan with a view to a swap which would make them mine;) . A few questions for the KEF experts out there....firstly, should the lower mid drivers seem virtually rigid (due, I suppose to being in v.small sealed enclosures)?, 3 of them are but one can be pushed in as if it was in a ported box and there is a sound of air escaping. All four of them sound the same (as far as I can tell) and there is no sign of rubbing voice coils, so, I either have 3 partially siezed units and one that's ok or 3 are ok and there's an air leak in one mid range enclosure!, I suspect the latter as they sound good. I should point out that they are not totally siezed, just need a lot of pressure to push them in by a couple of millimetres from which they return with no problem or noise.
Next, the uni "q" midrange/treble drivers offer little resistance to being pushed in....should they be like that or are they too suffering from leaks?, again they sound great....
A previous owner has rewired them with silver cable so I suspect that gaskets could have been damaged in the process!, if that's all that's wrong then an hour with some sealent should have them sorted.....
Next! (and thanks for your patience if anybody is still reading this!), the vendor is asking £700 or a swap to the value of, are they worth this?, obviously assuming that the above problem is nothing worth bothering with/easy to fix. Are there any other points specific to this model that I should check over before proceeding any further with a deal?
It's been very difficult to find out anything much more than original price/dimensions/power handling etc for this model, all attempts to find an old review have met with a blank. They certainly sound very good with effortless dynamics etc but I reckon my old Spendors still have a slight edge in certain areas...horses for courses eh?....
diyAudio Member
Joined 2004
I agree that it certainly sounds like the seal in one cabinet section is suspect.

With regards to £700 for some 20 year old speaker - that's rather steep to say the least. A friend bought some 104/2 from ebay for £300. I've seen the 107 go for £500 on AVForums.

Personally, for a mint pair with no problems, I'd pay £500 at the very most.
Joined 2002
Yeh, nice speakers, but I wouldn't pay more than about £300 if they were in perfect condition, and by the sound of them , they may have issues...

If your happy with the Spendors, then stick with them, £700 is a lot to pay for something you're obviously not sure about.
I think ther are a problem with the mounting of the untis as you described. It most likely happend when the previous own "re-wired" them". The hole midrange/tweeter "module" is mounted in a rather "advanced" way and the change that he did something wrong is big. However it sounds like the untis itsslef are OK, but you should still have it fixed.

I don't live in UK, but £700 seems to me on the "high" side.

KEF REF 105/3 is a VERY nice speaker that can play very loud with almost no input (10 W will make the hair go off).
However the woofer range (the 2 x 8" inside in coupled cavity" )really needs the KUBE to be really low/good, so I would not buy them without also getting/budgeting for the KUBE.

Have fun

Hi i have a pair of Kef 105.3s.The upper and lower units are meant to be rigid and the uni Q unit is quite free.I bought mine about 2 years ago now and have been very happy with them.They are very sensitive 93db I also have the kube 200 this extendes the bass to 20 hz worth looking out for.They sound amazing given the right amplification I drive them with meridian 605 mono blocks.A quad 606 works very well with these speakers.

One thing you must check ! when buying a set of these speakers is the foam surrounds on the inner bass units.This tends to rot with time i had to replace all the surrounds (4 bass units) in my kefs.Kef charge £45 per unit which works out expensive.I had them done by falcon acoustics at £25 per unit.Worst case is putting your finger through the surrounds there is a central foam dust cap which also tends to rot away.

Kef dont make the tweeter used in these speakers any more i got in touch with them about this and they said a later reference series tweeter can be used. But again you will have to send the whole uni q unit to them.

Hope this helps


Thanks to all of you for that advice!, I shall check out the internal bass units and see if I can negotiate a lower price. It would be nice if I can work something out to be able to keep them, they are, as some of you have said, a very nice speaker and yes they certainly are very efficient, I tried them with my Leak Stereo 20 "for a laugh" as it were and was surprised to find that it's 10 WPC could pin me to the wall! (and it sounds great). I have also tried them with a "gain clone"= sounds very good, and should be trying them with a Spectral power amp latter today (after I've repaired it...) .
As has been mentioned the bass, although powerful and with decent "slam," is unimpressive in terms of extension for something so large, however I have read (mainly in reference to the 107 and 104) that the Kube is a bad move 'cos it muddys up the rest of the frequency range; any thoughts?.

I had the107s once and the Kube was absolutely neccesary
with those speakers. With the 105s I don't know,
I thought they were standard with that speaker too?

I don't live in England but to me £700 seems rather steep,
specially since the Kube isn't part of the deal and the speakers may be suspect.

Good luck!

cheers ;)
Hi all -

Here's what I know - having fixed up a pair of 105.3s recently (which I bought, with surrounds that were incorrectly reworked):

- midrange units should indeed be "stiff". If you can hear air moving, the seal is leaking. The midranges are mounted using three screws at the back of the mid/hf enclosure. Each driver has an aluminum "bowl", and the three screws (long) thread to the back of the driver's basket. Do NOT try to remove the front plastic ring, this is mounted using screws from the BACK of the mounting flange of the midrange driver.

- KEF indeed doesn't have exact replacement tweeters. They were happy enough to sell me a 'compatible' replacement pair, which I installed myself. The new tweeters do not have exactly the same mounting "style". The original units had a removable brass stem screwed onto the tweeter; this stem reach all the way to the back of the UniQ enclosure where a plastic washer with a small hole (to let the wires pass through) was placed and another short screw put in to hold everything together. What you will find is that the new tweeters and the old do not match in terms of "reach" so the stem length of the original is wrong. You can have a machine shop fab one to fit, or (as in my case) I removed the stem altogether, used a long screw and replaced the plastic washer with a metal one so that it could take the compression force.

The 105's work well enough without the Kube, you can tailor the bass response slightly by removing some stuffing in the sealed chambers of the LF drivers if you feel up to it. Do *not* remove any of the stuffing in the middle (ported) chamber - doing so will cut down on the slam and depth of the bass. If you do want to get more bass, the Kube is recommended, however, many have complained that it also affects the midrange and HF frequency - a drop in resolution and 'graying' of the sound - I've heard it and I agree. The solution that seems to work is to use two amplifiers. One for the mid/hf, and another (higher powered one) for the LF, with the Kube on that one alone. The 105.3 takes well to bi-amping, and the speaker binding posts for the LF and MF/HF drivers are separated already anyway.

Hope this may be of help!


ps: I redid the surrounds on the LF myself with material supplied by KEF. Now the concern is what happens in the future when the foam rots again. Does anyone have a treatment to prevent rotting? Or at least how to minimize / slow down the decay?
After now finding out some more details about this particular pair of 105/3's I have decided to go ahead with the deal. Apparently they have had £400 worth of Hovland caps fitted to the crossover and the rewiring I mentioned was carried out with £200 of solid silver cable. Also I am told they are one of ten sets made by KEF with piano laqoured rosewood finish. I checked the woofer surrounds and they are fine. The previous owner is losing £300 on the deal and won't budge on the price so bearing in mind the above details and that I really like the sound I will proceed with the deal.
Thanks again to all of you for the advice:)
P.S hearing them with a vinyl source and using my interpretation of the Lindsley Hood class A power amp finally swung it;)
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