Ever since the invention of the High-Fidelity speaker, the audio industry has stayed booming. And two such products, KEF Q150 and Q350 help keep it that way.
These two sets of passive speakers release the powerful sounds of music and speech. And while they have their similarities and dissimilarities, there’s no denial as they both are quite potent.
But when you’ve got two products that look and work so similarly, where do you draw the line? Well, that’s what we’re here to figure out. We take a deep dunk into the topic head-first and compare the two products side by side.
Take a look at our ultimate comparison of the KEF Q150 vs. Q350.
In terms of build, structure, and arrangement, both the speakers use the same array positioning. However, there are two main differences: size and power. The Q350 is both more powerful and larger than the Q150.
|KEF Q150 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, White)||Check Latest Price|
|KEF Q350 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Black)||Check Latest Price|
The KEF Q150 is a powerful bass speaker that uses a unique driver arrangement, dubbed the Uni-Q Technology. Instead of a traditional vertical arrangement, the drivers are stacked one on top of the other. And the tweeter is placed right in the heart of the mid-range driver unit.
Essentially, this ensures a much dynamic sound range with farther coverage and wider sound dispersion. This effect is followed by the KEF’s proprietary “tangerine” waveguide that provides more gain for lesser power consumption.
A low-distortion inductor has also been added to this speaker, which enhances the bass output and ensures pure sound. The Uni-Q driver is located in the very center of the entire driver box. This strategical positioning helps lower mechanical resonance and generates a more stable output.
The KEF Q150 operates on a 51 to 28,000 Hz frequency range, which is suitable for most applications. In addition to that, a special CFD port ensures lesser disturbance and minimal compression of the lower frequencies. CFD stands for Computational Fluid Dynamics and is a unique port design that reduces midrange leakage and helps bring out the best sound.
This comes together to provide a sound output that appears uniform on both ends of the spectrum. It means the listeners will be able to feel the full force of the speaker’s voice.
However, these speakers don’t come with an amplifier. You need to use an amplifier of about 10 to 100 watts before you can experience the sound in its full capacity. Conversely, the speakers don’t require any electrical power, although the amplifier does.
The KEF Q350, much like the Q150, is a passive bookshelf speaker that uses KEF’s patented Uni-Q technology. Uni-Q is the name of a modified driver array in which the tweeter is the acoustic center of the line instead of the usual mid-range speaker. This helps bring the treble frequencies to the front and provides a more ideal sound source for rendering high notes.
Along with that, the position is ideal for eliminating mechanical vibrations. These vibrations may also affect the drivers and their performance.
The tweeter houses a “Tangerine” waveguide that acts as a radial phase plug for the channel. The main purpose of this waveguide is to create microscopic compression. This leads to higher gain with lower power consumption. It’s a better way to preserve power while retaining the quality and serenity of the sound.
In addition to clearer trebles, the Q350 also focuses on its bass rendition. The driver array houses an inductor for low distortion and provides a smoother more generic bass quality.
However, there is one difference here: the Q350 has a higher wattage. This translates to a more powerful sound output and more coverage.
While many people focus too much on the build, it can change the distribution of the sound. The KEF Q150 is a bookshelf speaker that you may keep on top of tables and shelves. Its angle of dispersion isn’t too strong when placed directly on the floor.
The speakers come in two finishes: white vinyl and matte black. A new walnut-pattern finish is available as well.
As for the inside, there’s the Uni-Q arrangement of drivers, which has already been discussed above. The arrangement is what allows extreme frequencies to pop out and take over the sound stage. To reduce interference from mechanical resonance, the Q150 houses its driver array at the very center of the cabinet. And to further drive out distortions, the tweeter (which is the most sensitive) is placed right at the heart of the Uni-Q array.
You also get a few ports at the rear of the speaker, particularly the bass port and the golden binding posts. The bass port is essentially just a hole cut through the cabinet to allow for a more profound bass experience. As for the binding ports, they’re useful for connecting to an external receiver. But you’ll need banana plugs or exposed wire for that.
The entire cabinet weighs about 12 pounds, which isn’t too heavy, especially for the small size they come in. All in all, they’re great compact devices that show size does not always equal power. The only thing they lack is the option of a speaker grille, which many people would prefer to keep dust out.
KEF’s Q350 is a strong and sturdy bookshelf speaker that can be comfortably accommodated on any shelf or table. It weighs about 16 pounds, and hardly measures a foot in height. Because of this, it’s great for use in a TV cabinet, since you’re working with limited capacity.
The speaker set is available in three styles: matte black, white, and walnut-pattern. The last of the three is a new addition to works well with furniture that has a similar pattern. Those who like to keep a contemporary interior theme will particularly like this one.
Better sound propagation and noise rejection are offered by the strategic placement of the drivers. They are placed in the exact center of the speaker, lifting from the floor of the cabinet. Being completely suspended in the air, the drivers are free from mechanical distortions caused by contact with the walls.
At the back of the cabinet is the CFD port which provides more fluidity, resulting in a much more enhanced bass output. The key component here is the geometric structure of the port, which allows for maximum laminar airflow. And it reduces the effects of turbulence. As a result, the sound comes out clear and precise.
In addition to that, the port also helps minimize midrange frequency leakage. We’re not sure exactly how this works, but it has something to with the port facing the wall of your room. As such, the effect might get lowered if your speaker is not flush against a back surface.
Like many other speakers in its price range and product line, the KEF Q150 is scarce in terms of control features. As this is a passive speaker; most of the tuning is done by the amplifier. The fact that it lets you choose your type of amplifier may be considered as a customization feature.
Aside from that, the only other things to talk about are the gold posts for the receiver. Even here, there isn’t much versatility. Either use exposed wire directly, or use banana plugs. Not many receivers come with those, so you may have to purchase the plugs separately.
The only other control you get is the ability to lay down the speaker on its side. All the drivers are arranged back-to-back and are in the center of the cabinet, orientation doesn’t matter. It might make a slight difference in how air is circulated through the bass reflex. But for any other application, you can save space by laying them on their side.
Similar to the Q150, the Q350 also lacks control features. Considering it’s a passive speaker we wouldn’t be looking for too much customization anyway. However, you get the option of adding a grille to these speakers and you need to purchase it separately as it doesn’t come with the unit.
Aside from that, the rear features two golden prongs to connect a receiver too. The speaker’s output can be fed into an amplifier for varying levels of sound volume.
Putting all that aside, the Q350 doesn’t have a lot of customization. You get it in three different colors. And can lay them down on their side too, much like the Q150. They’re perfectly symmetrical in all directions, so sound quality won’t be affected. The bass port at the back might affect though.
Other Things To Consider
So the KEF Q150 has a lot to offer. But is it really worth its price?
Let’s do a complete breakdown of its price and similar products of this type and quality.
Considering $1,000 to be our highest price, the Q150 is low to the mid-range product. And is this price range justified?
The Q150 features a driver array arrangement that’s different from any other bookshelf speaker. It features its property order in which the tweeter is situated at the very center of the lineup. Along with that, the driver array itself is situated in the center of the speaker. We already stated what benefits this has over other arrangements. Given that, the KEF Q150 seems underpriced.
It also looks better than the more expensive passive speakers. The colors are soberer, and the front panel is minimal, with a single diaphragm in the middle and a logo at the top.
The only thing it lacks is a grille, which many people might not need to keep out dust or for aesthetics.
The KEF Q350 costs almost twice the KEF Q150. So what’s doubling the price for a product that’s almost identical?
The answer to that question lies in the driver’s size. While both of them use the same Uni-Q driver arrangement, the Q350 uses a larger driver diameter. The sounds output and soundstage are a lot more pronounced than Q150. And this results in a more powerful sound. Another side effect is, the bass gets amplified significantly. This leads to higher dynamicity and better bass propagation.
Size is an important factor when deciding on the right setup and configuration. Luckily, the KEF Q150 falls under the bookshelf category, which is generally small and compact. Each speaker unit doesn’t even measure a foot in height, at only 10.9 inches tall. The speakers measure 11.92 inches front to back, and 7.08 inches side to side.
They’re thicker from the sides, so you should have at least a foot of rear clearance. And that’s when the bass reflex is flush against the wall. You would actually want some space between the bass post and the wall. So, you will require up to 14 inches of rear space.
The unit weighs around 12.5 pounds, with both speakers clocking in at 25 pounds during shipping. It’s not quite a lot, so installation and setup are a breeze.
The KEF Q350 is a small company bookshelf speaker and you can set it up on any TV cabinet or audio shelf. You need at least 11 inches of clearance from the back. But for the safe side, throw in a few extra inches. Each speaker has a height of about 10.9 inches and weighs about 16 pounds. Even if you have wrist problems; you can carry them around.
One more thing that is worth mentioning is; the speaker can be laid on its side. It’s perfectly symmetrical about all axis and the orientation can be changed. This is quite a useful feature if you don’t have a lot of top clearance and want to save space.
Pros and Cons
- Minimizes mechanical resonance.
- High gain with low power consumption.
- Low midrange leakage audibility.
- The unique arrangement of driver array.
- CFD designed bass reflex port.
- Low in weight (12.5 pounds).
- No grille featured.
- Smaller driver size.
- Larger driver size.
- The grille can be bought separately.
- More profound bass.
- Brings treble to the front.
- Lower LF compression.
- Minimum port turbulence.
- Taller and heavier.
KEF certainly has a lot of potent products in its lineup, backed only by its unique technologies. Audiophiles and musicians alike will find solace in their products, especially the KEF Q150 and the Q350.
However, while both of them are similar, they still have some dissimilarities.
The Q350 has a higher power output, and as such can deliver more powerful sounds. This doesn’t mean its sound quality is any better. It might even reduce quality if you don’t want that much coverage.
All in all, both of them stay committed to the brand name and continue to impress future users.