KEF KC62 Compact Subwoofer Review
By Chris Heinonen on
For many people, full-range tower speakers aren’t an option as they’re too large to properly place in your listening space. Pairing a traditional subwoofer with bookshelf speakers has meant a large box that dominates the room. The KEF KC62 is a dual 6.5” driver subwoofer in a tiny cube around 10” on each side that makes your bookshelf speakers sound like a full range system. But can KEF try to overcome physics and make a box this small that actually produces deep bass?
Even when you have the space for full range towers, I’m a proponent of using a bookshelf and subwoofer setup. Doing this allows you to place the bookshelf speakers in their optimal position for soundstage and imaging, which is likely different than the ideal location for even bass response. The subwoofers can be positioned in different locations around the room, perhaps even out of sight, to provide the best overall sound. We’re also starting to see more integrated amplifiers, like the NAD M10, that include room correction to make the transition between speaker and subwoofer seamless.
KEF KC62 Design and Setup
The KEF KC62 is designed to be paired with their LS50 Meta passive and active speakers. It comes in the same black and white finishes as those speakers so the system will match. It uses a new driver design from KEF called Uni-Core that combines the drivers for both 6.5-inch woofers into a single magnet system driven by a 1,000 watt Class D amplifier. This allows KEF to make the KC62 so compact compared to most dual driver subwoofers. At over 30 pounds, the KC62 is very dense and while easier to move around than most subs, it feels very solid and isn’t going to move anywhere once in position.
There isn’t any room correction on the KC62 but there are five different position options that adjust the output based on what you select. I went with the default setting since I was able to place it a few feet away from all walls. I utilized the line out connection on my receiver for a signal, but the KC62 also supports an LFE input or speaker level inputs. All of my testing was done with the KEF LS50 Meta speakers that I recently reviewed. To get the levels right, I used Room EQ Wizard to adjust the output and crossover of the KC62 so that at my listening position it had a seamless transition to the LS50.
I went back to the same tracks I had listened to on the LS50 where I found the bass output to be a bit lacking. On “Let Down” from Radiohead, the drums descend to lower and lower levels, but it wasn’t overpowering. To be certain of how much impact the KC62 was actually having I got up and turned it off during the song, leaving the LS50 to run full range. Once the KC62 was removed I could hear how much was missing, as the sound got thinner and the lower octaves were not missing, but were lacking the same level and impact as the rest of the music. Having to check to make sure the subwoofer is actually working is one of the things you want to see, since it means it is integrating with your main speakers flawlessly and not drawing attention to itself.
“Wish You Were Here” from Pink Floyd sounds fantastic through the KEF system. The opening guitar is clear and detailed and you can pinpoint the location of it. Once the rest of the song kicks in, the KC62 helps out the LS50 by providing that bottom end and improving the size and scope of the music. There is far more depth to the soundstage, but none of that clarity or detail is missing as the main speakers have not changed at all. This isn’t a subwoofer that is going to bring attention to itself, but it is going to make everything you listen to sound much larger than it did through just your bookshelf speakers.
Going to one of the harder test tracks from Tron: Legacy, the lower bass from “The Game Has Changed” is far more present than before, but not nearly as deep as it is from a 12” or larger sub. These notes go very deep, far below what you’ll find in most music, and pushes past what the KEF KC62 can do. Even with two drivers and 1,000 watts of power, the compact size does have its limitations in output.
During my testing of the KEF KC62 I wished it had some features that other subs have in this price range. There are those preset EQ settings, but no manual EQ to use to fix room issues. I wound up with a room issue at 50Hz and so my choices were to raise everything to be too high, or deal with a bit of a low there. Unless your receiver has room correction, you’ll likely have a dip or peak somewhere in the bass as well. There’s also no remote control app, so you have to get up to make adjustments to the sub instead of being able to do them from your listening position. Once you have it dialed in you’re unlikely to use the app much more, but it makes setup of a subwoofer much easier.
KEF KC62 Alternatives and Conclusion
The big question for the KC62 is in terms of value. You’re paying here for the compact size and high-end build quality more than the low-end output below 40Hz. I reviewed the SVS SB-2000 Pro sealed subwoofer last year which has a 12” driver, 3-band EQ, and a remote app, and you can buy a pair for the same price as the KEF. Now one SVS is 3.4x the volume of the KEF KC62, and a pair is double that, so it’s a completely different beast in terms of size and dominating your room. For performance, the SVS is going to hit those deepest notes in Tron: Legacy and other music more than the KEF can, and provide full range bass down to 20Hz.
What KEF seems to be trying to do is to turn your bookshelf speaker into a tower with 6.5-inch woofers. Maybe you didn’t have the space for the tower, or you want bookshelf speakers to place on an actual bookshelf or TV stand, or just loved the sound of a pair of bookshelves and couldn’t find a tower speaker that moved you in the same way. If what you want is that larger, fuller sound but don’t want multiple subs taking over your room, then the KEF KC62 will do that. It can’t offer the same performance that larger subwoofers can of course, but it provides more bass from a box this small than I thought was possible thanks to its unique design.
Mates very well with the KEF LS50 Meta speakers and makes them sound like a pair of tower speakers, impressive performance for the compact size and superb build quality, easy to hide in a room.
Value isn't great since a pair of dual 12" sealed subs is the same price though much larger in size, no remote app to improve setup and dial it in from your listening position, no multi-band EQ for fixing room issues.
The KEF KC62 delivers on it's promise to turn a pair of bookshelf speakers into a tower speaker system and being a tiny, easy-to-hide box that won't dominate your listening room. Listeners with more space in their rooms will likely still want to look into larger subwoofers.