KEF Q550 Review – Are They Worth It? (2022)


Floorstanding speakers have started to exist in the 1950s, and until now, it has been better than ever. Also known as tower speakers, it has been a cornerstone of home audio systems for decades. Many companies are already producing these types of speakers, hoping to achieve legendary status in the audio industry. 

One of these companies is KEF, founded in 1961 by Raymond Cooke. More than 60 years have passed, and the brand has already established its name in the industry, and now is offering one of the highly regarded Q-series speakers, the KEF Q550. 

Sound Quality

KEF Q550 Floorstanding Speaker (Each, Black)

The KEF Q550 floorstanding speaker is one of the newer iterations of the KEF award-winning series.  The KEF Q550 features a redesigned cabinet, sleek new finishes, and an improved Uni-Q Driver Array.

The KEF’s speakers are usually equipped with their highly touted Uni-Q driver handling the highs and mids. In the Q550 case, KEF placed the aluminium tweeter in the midrange cone to optimize the time alignment between the two drivers and minimize any phase issues you normally experience when using a traditional tweeter and midrange configuration.

The KEF Q550 also has a great omnidirectional response, which means that the sound stage and frequency response stays consistent even if you move away from the speaker’s sweet spot.

Audio specifications of the KEF Q550:

KEF Q550 Specifications
Type Passive
Driver 1 x 5.25-inch Uni-Q Driver Array1 x 5.25-inch Woofer2 x 5.25-inch ABR1-inch vented aluminium dome tweeter
Frequency Range Free Field (-6dB) 45Hz
Frequency Response (±3dB) 58Hz – 28kHz
Crossover Frequency 2.5kHz
Amplifier Requirements 15 – 130Watts
Sensitivity (2.83V / 1m) 87dB
Maximum Output 110dB
Nominal Impedance 8Ω (min.3.5Ω)

The KEF Q550 produces a detailed and well-balanced sound. Its frequency response of 58Hz – 28kHz is more than enough to handle different genres of music and movies.

The KEF Q550’s Uni-Q driver is really impressive as no matter where you position yourself in the room, the width, the depth, and the frequency response stays the same, proof of the small Q’s excellent omnidirectionality.

No matter what type of music are you playing, the KEF Q550, always shows that it is versatile and an all-rounder speaker.

Amazon gave an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars from its reviewers. They also gave a perfect score of 5 stars out of 5 stars for its sound quality, praising its fantastic performance, whether in watching movies or listening to music.

It is really difficult to find fault for its sound quality. The Uni-Q technology is really integral to the quality of this speaker. The KEF Q550 is one of the best floorstanding speakers in the market.

Build Quality

KEF Q550 has a more contemporary and modern look, but it still has a traditional feel like other older KEF speakers. The Q550 is available in three colors; satin black, walnut wood, and white. The materials used in its finish are some type of plastic film and have a brushed texture that really looks good.

Dimensions of the KEF Q550:

KEF Q550 Specifications
Design 2.5-way bass reflex
Dimension (H x W x D) 873 x 180 x 278 mm926 x 299 x 310 mm (with Plinth)
Weight 14.5kg (32 lbs)

The KEF Q550 uses a Q Series Advance Cabinet Design. The Uni-Q driver has been placed in the sealed box within the cabinet in this setup. This design reduces the load on the Uni-Q midrange cone, resulting in increased clarity and detail while delivering cleaner and punchier bass.

KEF Q550 Floorstanding Speaker (Each, Black)

The tweeter used in the KEF Q550 utilizes a Tangerine waveguide to minimize interference between the tweeter and the midrange driver. The unique technology from KEF, the “Tangerine” waveguide system, helps the treble integrate more smoothly with the mid-range frequencies. It has also an additional damped tweeter loading tube which helps improve low treble performance and a new low-distortion inductor on the crossover which provides cleaner bass.

There are three additional woofers for the KEF Q550, and one of these is dedicated entirely to bass frequencies below the mid-range unit. It is also equipped with twin ABRs (Auxilliary Bass Radiators), which utilize the energy within the cabinet to further enhance and sustain the bass response.   

Dimensions for the KEF Q550 speaker grille:

KEF Q550 Specifications
Height 845 mm
Width 174 mm
Depth 13 mm
Weight 0.5kg (1.1 lbs)
Color Black

The KEF Q550 clothe grille is designed for those who wish to conceal the speaker drivers. It complements and creates a sleek appearance for the Q550 speaker. The clothe grille has a magnetic mount design which allows you to attach/detach the grille.

It must be noted that when you buy a pair of KEF Q550 speakers, the speaker grilles are not included, and if you wish to have one, you have to purchase it separately.

The KFE Q550 comes with complete bolt-on plinths that offer excellent stability. The spikes on the plinths stretch out to provide the level of stability possible from such a slender speaker. It helps in reducing the effects of vibration from loud music as the speaker is likely to stay in its position.

Amazon gave a perfect score of 5 stars out of 5 stars for the quality of materials used in creating the KEF Q550. Many of its reviewers really loved its design and its sturdiness. Many were also are happy with the materials and technology that were used in the woofers.

Overall, the KEF Q550 is built excellently. Its enclosure is also built with medium density fiberboard which is pretty standard in the audio industry. Its high-quality construction and components make an impressive floorstanding speaker that can last for a very long time. 

Purchasing this speaker is a no-brainer as it does not have any faults in build quality.  

Controls

The KEF Q550 floorstanding speaker has limited connectivity options because of its passive design. This means that there is no built-in amplifier, and it is impossible for you to have a Bluetooth or wi-fi connectivity setup with this speaker.

The KEF Q550 is only equipped with premium-grade gold plated bi-wire terminals as its only input. You can use any bare wires or any kinds of banana plugs to connect with it. All passive speakers are really limited with their controls and connectivity.

Thankfully, this thing comes with a passive crossover. Although it is only a passive crossover, it still helps to prolong the lifespan of your passive speaker as it splits up different frequencies from an audio signal after it is amplified by a single power amplifier, so that the amplified signal with its specific frequencies can be sent to two or more driver types, each of which covers different frequency ranges. This setup results in more clarity to the sound.

Lastly, it would be best if you had an amplifier that fits its recommended settings to power up the speaker. Hopefully, you already have your own, or you will really be forced to purchase one if you buy this product. It would be a waste for this speaker to rot because there is no available amplifier to power it up.

There is really not much to expect regarding controls or connectivity for passive speakers. Although many are clamouring for an active version for the KEF Q550 to have more connectivity options, for me, as long as speakers sound great and for their price, then I am all for it. In my opinion, the KEF Q550 is one of the best floorstanding speakers I have ever heard.

Price

It would be best to remember that the KEF Q550 speakers are sold separately. So, if you want to have a stereo connection, you need to buy two pieces to have a pair of speakers that fit your dream setup.

Items included when purchasing a KEF Q550 speaker:

  • Floorstanding loudspeaker
  • 2 Outrigger feet
  • 4 spikes
  • 6 screws
  • 6 washers
  • 4 rubber inserts
  • Hex-key
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty Information

Purchasing one speaker alone will cost much due to its bulky size, but buying two KEF Q550 speakers will really hurt your pocket. Remember that you are purchasing a tower-design speaker with the dimensions of 873 x 180 x 278 mm (H x W x D). This would be really costly for you, especially if you cannot avail of any special delivery offers.

The KEF Q550 does not also come with a protective cloth grille. It is sold separately, which is pretty disappointing. If you really wish to have additional protection for your woofers, purchasing the Q550 magnetic clothe grille is really a must.

The last to consider is that you need to have an amplifier to be able to use the KEF Q550 because it is a passive speaker. You need to have an amplifier with a power of 15 to 130 Watts RMS (Root Mean Square) and a nominal impedance of 8 ohms or a minimum of 3.5 ohms to be able to use the speakers.

For all these things to consider before buying the KEF Q550 floorstanding speaker, it would really be worth it. The product is exceptional for its price. It can withstand a beating as it is constructed using high-quality materials. They are one of the best-built floorstanding speakers for under $1000.

Even on the Amazon website, it was given an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for value for money. It received very high ratings for how this thing is worth. The KEF Q550 is really a bang for a buck for all its value.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Powerful sound and high-quality audio
  • Easy to set up
  • Works well in tight spaces
  • Elegant, sleek and slim tower design
  • Lighter than other competitions
  • Available in different colors
  • Aluminum dome tweeter with Tangerine Waveguide Technology
  • Improved lower treble performance from the new damped tweeter loading tube
  • Centrally located driver increases performance and sound clarity
  • The closed box midrange cabinet reduces load and distortion
  • 5-year warranty

Cons: 

  • Bass response does not extend super far
  • No grilles included 
  • Some may prefer an active speaker design
  • You still need to buy a separate power amplifier to be able to use the speaker
  • Bulky
  • The bass reflex port located in its back can cause bass distortion if positioned against a wall

Conclusion

There are really lots of things to ponder before buying the KEF Q550. Whether you are going to purchase a cloth grille for additional protection to your woofers or whether you need to buy an amplifier to power up the Q550. These things must be taken into consideration in making a decision.

But even with these possible deal-breakers, the Uni-Q technology, the Tangerine Waveguide technology and other unique technologies employed to create the KEF Q550 floorstanding speaker make it worth the trouble.

The KEF Q550 will amaze you when it comes to its performance. This thing is worth every penny.

Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!

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