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KEF Launches Include Soundbars, Wireless, Custom

9/24/2013 08:00:00 PM Eastern

DENVER – KEF is showing at CEDIA Expo with a wide range of in-room and architectural speakers for multiple applications.

New in-room speakers include KEF’s first two active soundbars, a pair of left-right active TV speakers, and a wireless desktop speaker pair.

In architectural speakers, the company is unveiling its first models dedicated to home-theater use, its first in-wall subwoofers, and its thinnest in-ceiling speaker to date.

In home theater architectural speakers the Ci Extreme Home Theater speakers consist of three rectangular speakers for LCR and surround use, an in-ceiling speaker, two in-wall subwoofers, and a subwoofer amp. The ultra-thin-bezel speakers are also promoted for music playback. Estimated ship dates are in February.

The three in-wall speakers are the two-way Ci- 4100QL at an estimated retail of about $500 each, the three-way Ci3160RL at an estimated retail of about $1,700 each, and the three-way Ci5160RL at an estimated $3,000 each.

The $500 model features a 4-inch woofer with concentrically mounted 1-inch vented aluminum-dome tweeter with tangerine waveguide plus three more 4-inch woofers. The $1,700 model steps up to one 6.5-inch woofer with concentrically mounted 1-inch vented aluminum-dome tweeter and two more 6.5-inch woofers in a solid-aluminum baffle. And the top model features one 6.5-inch woofer with concentrically mounted 1-inch vented aluminum-dome tweeter plus four more 6.5-inch woofers in an aluminum baffle.

The in-ceiling model is the round Ci200RR with 8-inch woofer, concentrically-mounted 1.5- inch tweeter, and estimated retail of $700 each.

The two in-wall subs are the Ci3160RLb subwoofer at an estimated $1,000-$1,200 each and the Ci4100QLb at an estimated $400 each. Both are vertically oriented narrow-width rectangular models with multiple drivers. Their companion DSP-controlled 2x250-watt Class D amp will retail at about $900-$1.000 each.

The Ci3160RLb features three 6.5-inch aluminum drivers, solid-aluminum baffle, and supplied metal- perforated grille with cloth options. The narrower Ci4100QLb features four 4-inch drivers. The amp can be used with either subwoofer and drives two subs simultaneously.

The Ci160TR is KEF’s shallowest inceiling speaker to date, requiring a cavity of only 1.42 inches for use in MDUs, motor homes, yachts, and some new single-family homes. It’s available at $324 each. The ultra-thin bezel speaker features 4.5-inch flat midbass driver mounted next to a 1-inch tweeter that’s in a tangerine wave guide for wide, even high-frequency dispersion.

KEF has begun shipping the $899 V300 TV-speaker system, which consists of two 1.4-inch-deep left-right vertical speakers powered by a hideaway 2x50-watt DSP-equipped Class-D amplifier/ activation module, which can be attached to the VESA point in the back of a TV. The module measures 1.1 by 10.7 by 6.4 inches.

The system is designed for applications in which a soundbar might block the TV screen or TV’s IR input.

An existing TV remote can control the speaker module’s on/off, volume and mute functions when the module is connected to a TV’s HDMI 1.4 port with audio return channel. If the TV uses HDMI 1.2a or HDMI 1.3 without audio return channel, then users must connect both an HDMI cable and an optical digital cable to transfer sound and enable TV-remote control.

The activation module also features a subwoofer output with digital crossover that’s automatically turned on when a powered sub is connected.

The speakers themselves measure 23.6 by 5.5 by 1.4 inches and can be mounted on the wall or on included desk stands. Optional floor stands are also available. Each speaker enclosure features two 4.5-inch flat woofers and a 1-inh vented aluminum-dome tweeter in a tangerine wave guide to deliver a wide sound stage. Frequency response is 100Hz to 27kHz +/-3dB without subwoofer. A switchable EQ mode compensates for on-wall mounting to optimize bass response.

The company has developed a wireless version of its powered $799 X300A bookshelf speaker pair, which plays back music from PCs via USB connection. The wireless X300AW at a targeted $999 features built-in Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Apple AirPlay, and DLNA 1.5 to stream music wirelessly from Apple and Android mobile devices and from PCs.

The two-way biamplified system, targeted to ship in November, also features 96kHz/24-bit DACs and Clas AB amps in each speaker enclosure. Each speaker is biamplified, with a 50-watt amp driving the woofer and 20-watt amp driving the tweeter.

The drivers consist of a 5.25-inch magnesium-alloy woofer with concentrically mounted 1-inch vented aluminum- dome tweeter with tangerine waveguide to widen the stereo sweet spot. The 11 by 7.1 by 9.6-inch speakers deliver 58Hz to 28kHz frequency response +/-3dB and 104dB peak SPL.

In active soundbars KEF has set for November shipments of its first two active soundbars, the $799 V700 without subwoofer and the $999 V720W, which packages the V700 with a wireless subwoofer. The V700 can also be partnered with any KEF sub.