Jamo S 803 vs. KEF R3 Meta

Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers KEF R3 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
$330 $2200
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.94” × 6.56” × 9.94”
354mm × 167mm × 252mm
16.70” × 7.90” × 13.50”
424mm × 201mm × 343mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
57-26,000 Hz 58-28,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of audiophile bookshelf speakers, the Jamo S 803 and KEF R3 Meta are two distinct contenders. The Jamo S 803 offers a budget-friendly choice with a stylish design and a commendable soundstage for its class. In contrast, the KEF R3 Meta, with its proprietary Metamaterial Absorption Technology, stands in the higher-end bracket, boasting superior resolution, finer detail retrieval, and a more nuanced bass response. While the Jamo caters to casual listeners and design-conscious buyers, the KEF appeals to the discerning audiophile seeking a high-fidelity experience in a compact form. The choice hinges on budget and sonic expectations.

Speaker Comparison

When venturing into the lush forests of high-fidelity audio, it's impossible to ignore the call of two particularly striking specimens: the Jamo S 803 and the KEF R3 Meta bookshelf speakers. These two contenders, although sharing the same habitat of ‘bookshelf speakers’, each bring their unique evolutionary advantages to the landscape of sound. The Jamo S 803, with its minimalistic Scandinavian design and budget-friendly appeal, offers a warm invitation to both audiophile novices and veterans seeking a harmonious balance of aesthetics and performance. The KEF R3 Meta, on the other hand, is a tour-de-force of audio engineering that boasts the company's proprietary Uni-Q driver array, promising a listening experience that’s as precise as it is captivating.

Aesthetic and Build Quality

The Jamo S 803 impresses with its contemporary, yet timeless look, complemented by wood accents and a compact footprint. Visually, they're a statement piece that doesn't scream for attention but rather, elegantly whispers of taste. The build quality is solid for its price point, though it understandably doesn't hit the luxurious notes of the higher-end market. In contrast, the KEF R3 Meta speakers exude a more premium aura, with their sleek cabinet finished in a choice of luxurious materials. This speaker looks and feels like an objet d'art, which is fitting for its pedigree, and the construction is robust, hinting at the superior technology housed within.

Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers
Jamo S 803 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Signature and Performance

The Jamo S 803 offers a warm and balanced sound signature, with a slight emphasis on the lower frequencies that doesn't overwhelm the mids. It's a forgiving speaker that doesn't punish poorer recordings, making it a versatile choice for a variety of genres. The high frequencies are clear, though they might lack some of the sparkle and air that more discerning ears might seek. On the other hand, the KEF R3 Meta is a revelation in clarity and detail. The Uni-Q driver ensures an incredibly wide sweet spot, meaning that the precise and articulate soundstage this speaker creates can be enjoyed from almost any position in the room. The bass is tight and controlled, the mids are lush and present, and the highs have a crystalline quality that seems to breathe life into each track.

Power Handling and Room Compatibility

With a modest power requirement, the Jamo S 803 doesn't demand an expensive amplifier to shine, making them a more accessible option for those looking to dip their toes into high-quality audio without breaking the bank. They fill small to medium-sized rooms with ease, though in larger spaces, they may struggle to deliver the same impact. In the case of the KEF R3 Meta, it's a different ball game. They are less forgiving when it comes to amplification, warranting a robust and high-quality amp to truly unleash their potential. However, once properly powered, they're capable of filling even larger rooms with a full, immersive soundscape that feels both expansive and intricately detailed.

KEF R3 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF R3 Meta arrow (at Amazon.com)

While the Jamo S 803 speakers are a testament to accessible audio excellence, with a focus on delivering a pleasing sound in a variety of settings, the KEF R3 Meta speakers are unapologetically high-end. They demand a certain level of commitment, not only in terms of the accompanying equipment but also in the listener's attention to the subtleties of their output. The R3 Meta's are less about casual listening and more about an intense auditory engagement, where every nuance is crafted to be savored.

Price, of course, is a decisive factor in any comparison, and here the difference is stark. The Jamo S 803 is a budget-friendly option that punches above its weight, offering an excellent price-to-performance ratio. It's a speaker system that provides a taste of high-fidelity audio without the associated sticker shock. The KEF R3 Meta, while significantly pricier, justifies its cost through the innovative technologies it incorporates and the extraordinary precision of its sound reproduction. For the audiophile who views their listening experience as an investment, the R3 Meta is a purchase that pays rich sonic dividends.

In conclusion, the Jamo S 803 and the KEF R3 Meta bookshelf speakers present two divergent paths in the pursuit of audio nirvana. The former is a gateway to quality sound, offering an enjoyable listening experience in a stylish package that won't deplete the savings account. The latter is a statement of intent in the high-fidelity domain, a beacon for the purest and most detailed listening sessions that cater to the connoisseur’s ear. Each has its rightful place in the homes of music lovers, depending on their priorities, budget, and the level of sonic excellence they aspire to attain.

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Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers
Jamo S 803 Bookshelf Speakers
KEF R3 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF R3 Meta Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.