KEF Speakers Pedigree
The company was founded in 1961 by Raymond Cooke OBE (1925 – 1995) and was initially headquartered in a Nissen Hut on the premises of Kent Engineering & Foundry (from where the name KEF is derived), near Maidstone in Kent, UK. Cooke, an ex-BBC Electrical Engineer, was keen to experiment with new materials and technologies in order to create products with superior acoustic quality that could reproduce recordings as natural as the original performance. From the very beginning, the pioneering inventiveness of KEF speakers was undeniable and now for several decades, audiophiles around the world have revered KEF for its innovative, high-performance loudspeakers. From the multiple award-winning LS50 bookshelf speakers to the remarkable flagship Blade, KEF speakers today deliver the pinpoint soundstage and tonal clarity thanks to their continued development of their UNI-Q driver family.
When KEF gave their engineers free rein to create a fitting showcase for their technology leadership, they developed a revolutionary prototype that looked and performed like no other: Concept Blade, the world’s first single apparent source loudspeaker.
Its phenomenal sonic capabilities met with such praise that they decided to produce an edition that serious audiophiles could actually own. After two years of painstaking refinement – and in time to mark 50 years of KEF innovation – Blade is the result.
Conceived from the outset to extend the boundaries of high end audio, it’s a unique synthesis of innovative engineering and groundbreaking design based on a new architecture that achieves the ideal point source to which all speakers aspire. This is because the four sophisticated new bass drivers are configured so that their combined acoustic centre occupies exactly the same point in space as that of the Uni-Q HF/MF array, so the sound appears to emanate from a single, flawlessly coherent source.
Sculptural and acoustically inert, the slender parabolic enclosures are engineered never to interfere with the purity of the output. The advanced new hybrid cones are so light and rigid that their natural break-up point is never reached within the required frequency range. Inside, you find ingenious new venting, bracing and wave management technologies. Meticulously specified, super-premium components – every one operating so comfortably within its performance envelope that you experience noticeably more precise imaging than is possible with conventional speakers. What you hear sounds as if it’s live – emotionally engaging, richly musical and effortlessly natural. A revelation, pure and simple.
Given the amazing response to the original Blade, KEF have now added Blade 2 – a slightly smaller model retaining all of the design cues of it’s bigger brother but in a package suited to smaller rooms.
The Reference Series
With six models – two elegant three-way floorstanders, a formidable three-way bookshelf speaker, two three-way centre channels and an awesome 1000-watt sub – The Reference range combines benchmark high fidelity with complete multichannel versatility. And as you’d expect, they all exude the sense of sheer quality that comes from being hand built by KEF’s master technicians in Maidstone, Kent.
At the heart of The Reference is a stunning new iteration of KEF’s landmark innovation: the Uni-Q point source MF/HF driver array. With a state-of-the-art 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome tweeter at the exact acoustic centre of a highly sophisticated 125mm (5in.) midrange driver, both act as a single source that floods the listening space evenly with a flawless natural soundfield, no matter where you sit. Capturing all the nuances of the human voice, whether whispered, spoken or sung, it sounds as if the person were right there with you in the room.
The Reference drivers are set in a smooth, strikingly distinctive front baffle engineered to eliminate response anomalies caused by diffraction. Made from an exceptionally strong laminated aluminum/resin composite and secured via high-loss pads and high tensile bolts, it adds tremendous rigidity to the inert cabinet.
The Reference has innovative adjustable ports for fine-tuning the bass output to your personal taste and the room characteristics. The flexible port technology pioneered for the multi-award winning LS50 is used to reduce midrange port resonance, with the flare and profile of each port calculated by computational fluid dynamics to avoid turbulent air noise that might color the sound.
KEF’s most popular members of the family are the premium R Series. Featuring many of their latest innovations in loudspeaker technology, the R Series makes genuine audiophile standards of entertainment more affordable than ever before. Stunningly fluent new Uni-Q driver arrays combine with potent new bass drivers and many ingenious refinements to create a rich, spacious sound image of such accuracy that it approaches the benchmark standards of KEF’s legendary Reference Series.
The new Uni-Q MF/HF driver array makes midrange response is amazingly fast and clean, thanks to a braced magnesium/aluminium alloy cone. At the acoustic centre of the midrange cone is the sophisticated vented tweeter that endows KEF Blade with such startlingly pure HF response.To capitalize on Uni-Q’s point source characteristics, KEF’s ‘tangerine’ waveguide helps to disperse the higher frequencies evenly across a wider angle to flood the room with an intricate and natural soundfield. Operating together as a single, perfectly integrated voice, the array as a whole delivers a sweet, accurate sound of unprecedented clarity. The new bass driver is equally impressive. The combination of a massive vented magnet assembly and a large, lightweight aluminium voice coil driving a light, stiff and strong hybrid cone assures clean, deep and uncompressed bass output with superb dynamics and power handling.
With nine models including three floorstanders, two bookshelf speakers, two fully-specified center channels, dipole surrounds and a matching subwoofer, the all-new R Series represents a decisive step forward in the enjoyment of music or movies. By incorporating the high end technologies of KEF Blade in a classically elegant format, it gives serious audiophiles phenomenally accurate reproduction that neither adds to nor subtracts from the original recording: refined, spacious and exquisitely detailed.
Rarely the case in such a compact design, the LS50 monitor delivers a rich, multi-dimensional ‘soundstage experience’ that is out of all proportion to its size. Patent-pending acoustic designs, together with state-of-the-art technologies from KEF’s latest flagship Blade loudspeaker, provide the ultimate studio experience – even in the smallest of spaces.Since it’s launch the LS50 has been picking up awards and plaudits from all over the globe;“We’re impressed by the speaker’s seamless integration, as we are by the way it sets up a huge stereo image populated by securely focused sounds…most importantly these speakers are fun to listen to.” What Hi-Fi? Sound & Vision, Product of the Year 2012
“It is rare to find a loudspeaker that offers this combination of clarity and neutrality. For KEF’s LS50 Anniversary Model to do so for a penny under $1500/pair makes it even more remarkable. This thoroughbred both shows a clean pair of heels to the venerable LS3/5a and, within its limits of dynamic range and bass extension, will provide Class A sound for those with small rooms. Recommended. Highly.” Stereophile, December 2012
The multiple award-winning Q Series has always exemplified KEF’s conviction that new materials and technologies can, when applied with intelligence and imagination, reproduce recordings so perfectly that they sound indistinguishable from the live event. This is more true now than ever before. As the latest expression of this design philosophy, the new range immerses you in three-dimensional imagery of a richness and clarity that until now has been the exclusive preserve of speakers costing many times more.
At its heart is a brand new Uni-Q driver array. Derived from the Concept Blade project, with a new, larger, high performance vented tweeter mounted at the acoustic center of a new metal cone LF/MF driver, it combines lavishly extended bandwidth with effortless dynamics, imperceptible distortion and outstanding acoustic clarity.
These are speakers with the power to strike a chord in your heart. Off-axis dispersion is unrivaled, so everyone in the room enjoys the same exceptionally realistic sonic imaging, wherever they sit. And with 30% larger capacity cabinets for even gutsier bass and minimalist crossovers assuring deliciously fluid transitions, new Q is both more eloquent and more emotive than its illustrious predecessor.
Movies or music, Mahler or Massive Attack, what you experience is the captivatingly sweet, accurate and natural live sound of the original performance.