KEF C15 Bookshelf speakers

The pint-sized C15 is a straightforward two-way system with tweeter, main driver and polyester damping material crammed into a closed box of only 3.5 litres internal volume. None the less the components and construction are of good quality and the claimed performance is a real improvement over run-of-the-mill rack system loudspeakers.

The 19mm tweeter is metal domed (aluminium foil) with the kind of tangentially pleated integral surround that I first remember seeing used very successfully about 30 years ago, and ferrofluid damping. The 110mm main driver has a diecast chassis, polypropylene cone and 32mm diameter voice-coil designed for up to 60 Watts power hand ling and sound pressure levels (SPL) up to 100dBA.

Electrical connection is via substantial recessed gold-plated terminals on the rebated back panel. The nominal impedance is given as 4 Ohms. Sensitivity is below average at 85dB for 2.83V at one metre. The cabinet is solidly constructed and finished in simulated black ash or walnut vinyl, with a matching grille cloth stretched over a rounded-edge moulded plastics frame. The user instructions recommend placing the loudspeakers against a wall to avoid time-delayed reflections. Of course this will also introduce a (deliberate) degree of bass boost, which can't be bad for any mini system-but may need a rethink when the C15 is used together with the subwoofer.

I began my listening tests with the C15s mounted on stands at my usual one metre or so out from the rear and side walls. The lack of bass was obvious but there were compensations in terms of the bright tone without undue emphasis, overall smoothness, good presence and excellent stereo imaging. Some bass reinforcement could be obtained by simple shelf-mounting against a wall, and indeed inserting the loudspeakers about two-three metres apart in bookshelves produced an 'invisible' and musically satisfying sound source. Volume was adequate and could be increased to any reasonable domestic listening level without serious overload side-effects.

KEF C15 Bookshelf speakers photo