I was 17 and looking for some speakers. A friend said that a friend of a friend had some excellent speakers that he was selling for £100 which in the late 1970s was a fair amount of money (indeed I donít remember where I got such a sum given that my Saturday job paid £5.40 for the day). The seller was Dill Katz (he is still around I believe) and I bought them unseen. Imagine my surprise when these huge speakers arrived. They weigh 84lbs each and stand about four feet high. I wasnít sure they would even fit into my small bedroom at home (my mum certainly didnít want them in the lounge!). Now fast track to today. The 17 year old is now 62 but I still have my speakers! My wife of over 25 years isnít keen on them because they are huge (still) and take up quite a bit of room in our large lounge but the sound today is as good as they were when I first got them. I have looked after them (of course) and driven them using all sorts of kit over the years. Now I am using, rather appropriately, a Cambridge Audio Minx XI which works pretty well. The funny thing is I still sometimes play the albums I had all those years ago as well. And they too sound fantastic still.
4 people liked this review.
By: Chris Allan
13th Dec 2013
"Cambridge Audio R50 and my introduction to KEF units / speaker building"
In the early 80's, me and a friend used to go to the auction houses with thoughts of coming across some bargains that would alleviate our relative poverty. One week, the auction hall was filled with these massive speaker cabinets and we were informed that they were from a company that had been making them. Both being hi-fi fans, we bid on them and found ourselves the owners of about 50 cabinets, newly made but without baffles or drivers. The cost - £1 each! We managed to lend a van to collect the lot and my mate had managed to borrow a spare bedroom in a guy's house to keep them. We eventually figured out that they were Cambridge Audio R50 cabinets and sold a few pairs via a hi-fi magazine to enthusiastic diy-ers. Curiosity got the better of us and we had to get a pair working. Falcon Acoustics were the only company producing R50 crossovers (and still do). I remember chatting to Falcon's owner, Malcolm Jones, on the phone for about an hour as he told me of days working at Wharfedale and the history of the bextrene speakers made by KEF. We bought 2nd hand B110s, B139s and tweeters, borrowed tools to make baffles and got them wired up. More experimentation with wool in the transmission line led to a good sounding setup. However, we never had the amp to power them properly, these were the days when the NAD 3020 was the best anyone we knew had. And the rest of the cabinets? The guy storing them did a moonlight flit to escape mortgage debts, leaving the cabinets to the bailiffs. The bug had bitten me hard and over the next 10 years I must have had dozens of KEF units come and go. I built several KEF kits, and still have a pair based on the LS3/5a, before eventually moving on to Audax and Focal units. I still have a fondness for the bextrene units and the R50s, more the era of the time and the excitement of finding out about the golden age of hi-fi. 4 out of 5 - good speakers, but bettered in most respects by KEFs own 104/2 design.
5 people liked this review.
12th Oct 2010
"R50 Transmission Line"
Audio nirvana after using Tannoy Berkley 15" HPD speakers (of which i had no complaints). I got a pair of these from a freind who wanted rid as they were taking up too much room. I hooked them up to a Naim NAP160 through a Naim NAC92 pre-amp source was an old Mission dAD5 and was quite literally blown away by the pace detail and overall cohesion of these superb beasts. Quiet rare but most definitely worth searching out and something of a bargain as a pair surfaced on eBay recently for £499!!! I heartily recommend them and they surely must get the recognition they deserve sometime. A forgotten masterpiece?????