KEF launched the latest update to their high-end loudspeaker offerings – Blade and The Reference, both updated with KEF’s latest acoustic innovations, including a new, high-end 12th Generation Uni-Q with Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT™).
Both Blade and The Reference are hand-assembled in Maidstone, England with each pair painstakingly put together by one of KEF’s master craftsmen. Each pair is then tested to match within 0.5dB of each other and the laboratory-maintained line standard, ensuring that what leaves the factory matches what KEF engineers have designed.
The latest version of Blade and The Reference benefits from KEF’s latest acoustic innovations: a brand new, high-end 12th Generation Uni-Q, Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) and completely redesigned crossovers.
Integrated into MAT is a truly revolutionary tool in the KEF acoustic armory because each of the intricate channels efficiently absorbs 99% of unwanted sound. This eliminates the resulting distortion and provides a purer, more natural acoustic performance.
A result of joint development with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, using MAT breaks completely new ground in loudspeaker design, and once again demonstrates KEF’s unrelenting passion for developing new technologies to improve your listening experience. Metamaterials are specially developed structures that use existing materials in such a way that they exhibit new, desirable properties that are simply not found in naturally occurring substances.
At the heart of Blade lies the Single Apparent Source technology. Single Apparent Source extends the iconic Uni-Q driver array, the building block of the KEF signature sound. This technology expands the benefits of Uni-Q across all frequencies by closely following the acoustic ideal of a point source. This makes Blade incredibly coherent across all audible frequencies; what you hear is realistic and immersive. Another key to Blade’s clean sound signature is also thanks to Single Apparent Source. The positioning of the bass drivers allows them to be braced against each other, canceling out damaging vibrations that would excite the cabinet. All that is left is detailed, yet powerful bass performance – yet you could still balance a coin atop Blade’s apex, standing upright throughout the heaviest of basslines. Blade’s sculptural design is informed by both technology and acoustics. The gentle front radius tapers gracefully from top to bottom and from front to rear, and presents no discontinuity to mar sound clarity.
The Reference also boasts clean, rich, highly articulate bass. Intelligent engineering and meticulous attention to design detail enable the bass to blend seamlessly with the pure midrange and treble response. A massive, vented magnet assembly paired with a huge aluminum voice coil and a stiff, yet cleverly damped alloy cone ensures The Reference is fully capable of achieving pipe-organ depths. Even the low-end performance of the standmount Reference 1 stands its ground against many floorstanding speakers. Whilst a more traditional outward form, The Reference is anything but. The rectilinear cabinet design hides several features – many pioneered by KEF.
Surrounding the 12th Generation Uni-Q sits Shadow Flare – a specially profiled trim ring that reduces the negative effects of diffraction, allowing Uni-Q to deliver a beautifully wide and accurate soundstage. Constrained Layer Damping and tuned internal chambering tackles the issues of vibration and standing waves respectively. The adjustable flexible ports reduces port resonances whilst also allowing for fine tuning based on where the speaker is placed in the listening room
Models & Finishes
The Blade range is headlined by the commanding Blade One, with Blade Two suited for smaller listening environments. Both are available in four standard finishes (Piano Black / Gray, Arctic White / Champagne, Charcoal Gray / Bronze, Frosted Blue / Blue) and four special order finishes (Piano Black/ Copper, Frosted Blue/Bronze, Charcoal Gray/Red, Racing Red/Gray). For those who really want to elevate their ownership of Blade, KEF will also be offering custom finishes, with orders starting in June 2022.
The Reference range caters for any requirement, with two floor standing models (Reference 5, Reference 3), a standmount (Reference 1) and two LCR models (Reference 4, Reference 2). The redesign of the Reference 2 and Reference 4 makes them ideal for use as LCR speakers, creating more possibilities for great sound for those with custom cabinetry or designing for a home theater. All will be available in three standard finishes (Satin Walnut/Silver, High-Gloss White Champagne, High-Gloss Black/Gray) and two special order finishes (High-Gloss White/Blue, High-Gloss Black/Copper).
Also available is the brand-new S-RF1 Floor Stand, a dedicated stand for Reference 1 featuring bolting points and cable management. The S-RF1 stand is available in both Carbon Black and Mineral White.
Visit KEF.com for more information and to find an Authorized KEF Retailer.
Founded in 1961 by BBC engineer Raymond Cooke, and celebrating 60 years this year, KEF is named after its original site, Kent Engineering and Foundry, and continues to manufacture and develop its signature pieces in Maidstone, Kent, UK. Committed to bringing a superior listening experience to audiophiles, the brand’s revolutionary collection of speakers and subwoofers has evolved to include wireless speakers, portable speakers, and headphones – allowing KEF to bring high-fidelity sound to more people in their homes and on the move.
See also: PRO Launches Super-Flexible Home Theater Loudspeaker