Price (RRP): $1,799
Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
KEF’s uniquely-styled 2005 series satellite speakers have been around for a few years, but with their high quality of sound, and the support of the very capable PSW2010 subwoofer, they continue to be amongst the most impressive of the sub-$2,000 speaker systems.
The five HTS2001 satellite speakers, which I will henceforth call by their commonly accepted informal name – Eggs – are identical in all five positions. As delivered, the one that happens to be serving centre channel duties has its integrated desktop stand attached to the rear, rather than the bottom, allowing it to sit sideways. This makes not the slightest bit of difference to the sound because of the Uni-Q speaker layout, but does conform more to visual expectations.
‘Uni-Q’ refers to the technology of the two speakers in each unit: the tweeter is located right at the very centre of the bass/midrange. That ensures that there will no be sound-sapping interference at certain sitting angles.
You can orientate all the Eggs any way you like, or remove the stands (using the supplied Allen key) and put them on the back instead, in which position they can be used as wall mounting brackets.
The Eggs also have proper binding posts for their connections, so you can use high quality cabling for the best sound.
The subwoofer is an extremely compact unit, especially given that it packs a ten incher (250 mm). It also has a 250 watt amplifier to drive it, automatic on/off, and a useful circuit that can allow you to optimise the subwoofer for either maximum bass power, or the bass depths that can be reached.
KEF says that these speakers have a sensitivity of 88dB, which is just a touch below average for all loudspeakers, including floor-standing models. But that is a high figure for compact satellite speakers. The importance of sensitivity is that it determines how much actual volume you will get out of a speaker for a given amount of power.
As it happens, I found it necessary to wind up my 200 per channel amplifier quite a way to get truly loud volume levels. The Eggs seemed perfectly happy with this, taking the pounding without any significant increase in distortion.
But you should be aware that this, combined with their generally refined midrange and high frequency performance, can give the impression that they lack the impact of some other systems, particularly with rock music. That is the price you pay for low distortion and an excellent audio performance.
The subwoofer may have been remarkably small, but it was also remarkably capable, producing very high levels of bass, down to surprisingly deep tones. I suspect that this is due to the sealed enclosure design. That tends to allow a more gentle roll-off of output into the deep bass, but requires a strong amplifier to fight the air suspension. The 250 watter in this subwoofer was up to the task.
The KEF 2005.2 subwoofer/satellite system is exceptional in quality, and is well worth an audition.