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Our wireless entertainers integrate pleasantly unfussy into your home network. KEF’s idiot-proof setup assistance downloads from their home page to guide one through the necessary steps. After that the 'X300A Wireless' shows up in any software player which outputs to external devices (iTunes, Windows Media Player) and can process wireless inputs. This includes portable smart phones and tablets interfacing with the same WLAN. Think of the KEF speakers as a client, i.e. pure playback device. There’s no NAS streamlining like so-called media renderers or network players include.

For juice the English developers reached for two traditional class A/B amps per speaker. A 50-watt module drives the mid/bass, a 20-watt equivalent the tweeter. The power supply gets a toroidal transformer which contributes to the stout weight of these compacts. Heat sinks indicate thermal shedding, something to consider when installing these. Whilst petite dimensions support bookshelf or console placement, that’s not really where they belong. And despite the wireless concept, each box still needs its own AC feed plus that USB cable between them. But that’s all she said for wiring. Which is typical for all active speakers.


Front row center—literally—of KEF’s transducer tech sits their patented UniQ coax array. Its acoustic middle is occupied by a 25mm aluminium tweeter in lieu of a dust cap for the 130mm aluminium-magnesium alloy mid/woofer to create point-source dispersion. This is said to make for unusually accomplished soundstaging and improved off-axis performance to broaden the effective sweet spot. Particularly in the nearfield where the X300A will be used most often, such a solution makes for extra benefits. Just think how close to impossible the ideal stereo triangle is to achieve on the crammed desk top, never mind that vertically arranged drivers often need more distance to ‘cohere as one’. Whilst on desktop, KEF did anticipate such usage with a clever DSP filter called ‘desk/stand’ which slightly diminishes output between 100 and 600Hz to avoid the fulsome reinforcement of the desk’s boundary on this band. The ‘stand’ option indicates how free-space setup is anticipated as well. And that’s what I did.

The ‘System Gain’ rotary control works hand in hand with the source computer’s volume control to optimize overall gain. Attentive readers now wonder how the X300A handles analog signal coming in via the ‘Aux-In’ RCA. Via A/D conversion for digital transportation until such data are re-analog’d just before hitting each speaker’s power amps. When KEF’s PR department talks of ‘complete digital’ data processing, they aren’t putting it on. I won’t downplay that I’ve not cottoned to KEF’s earlier UniQ’s hyper present ultra-outlined sound at all. Particularly in the treble those had been too much of a good thing. I thus successfully avoided any KEF assignments until around 2007 when our domestic Stereo print magazine sent me their XQ40 floorstander on review. Its mix of perky agility, generous precision in the upper mids and bone-dry deep-relief bass foundation played me like a sucker and instant friends we were. Are still too. Needless to say, I just had to know if and how the far smaller X300A Wireless would handle its stable’s sonic legacy besides sporting impressive digital and network facilities.