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CEDIA Expo: KEF To Speak To Installers With Custom Speakers

KEF will go to the CEDIA Expo with a new line of entry-level in-ceiling speakers with thin bezels, its thinnest-ever square architectural speaker, a shallow-mount in-wall/in-ceiling subwoofer, and its first THX Select 2-certified architectural speaker.

The entry-level series is the E series, which replaces the entry-level Classis series models but adds thin bezels with magnetic grilles in line with the rest of KEF’s architectural speakers. The series also brings KEF’s Uni-Q driver technology to a lower price point. All are round models due in January. They are the $250/pair 5-inch Ci130ER, 6.25-inch $300/pair Ci160ER, and $350/pair 8-inch Ci200ER for in-ceiling use.

Uni-Q driver design mounts a tweeter within a woofer to act as a single point source that widens off-axis response so listeners can sit anywhere in the room without a loss of sound quality, the company said.

The E-series withstands salt-spray and humid environments for use in bathrooms, yachts and other environments that other speakers in its price-range simply cannot be considered for,” the company said.

Thin speaker: The $325-each Ci160TS, due December, is the company’s thinnest ever square architectural speaker, offering the same 1.4-inch mounting depth as the round version introduced in 2013.

The two speakers are also “the most shallow that we know of in the industry,” a spokesperson said. They can be mounted in areas where ductwork, electrical conduits or plumbing would prevent other speakers from being used.

 “The rest of our standard Ci products are also averaging on the low side in terms of depth,” a spokesperson said. The company’s 8-inch Ci200QR in-ceiling round requires 4.07-inch depth, for example, and the Ci160CR requires 3.36 inches.

The Ci160TS’s tweeter features KEF’s “tangerine waveguide” to deliver wide and even dispersion. The rigid, flat, diaphragm of the mid-frequency river delivers upper bass and mid-range frequencies

The Ci160TS also features the Ultra-Thin Bezel design used in KEF’s higher-end architectural speakers, allowing installers to mix and match.

Thin subwoofer: KEF will also show a new shallow-mount Ci200TRb in-wall / in-ceiling subwoofer using a new 8-inch driver requiring less than 1.97 inches of mounting depth. Additional details were unavailable.

THX Select speaker: The company’s $600 Ci4100QL in-wall speaker has received THX Select 2 certification for use in home-theater rooms with up to 2,000 cubic feet with a viewing distance of 10 to 12 feet from the screen.

The speaker features Uni-Q driver design and Ultra-Thin Bezel. The speaker fits in any standard wall cavity and contains a 4-inch Uni-Q driver array and three 4-inch bass drivers. Its slim size and profile make it appropriate for front and rear channel speakers or as a center channel speaker when mounted horizontally, the company said. 

Two years ago, the company launched its first two THX Ultra2 in-wall LCRs and an Ultra2 round in-ceiling speaker for use in larger rooms.

All KEF architectural speakers, including the E-series models, are manufactured to marine-grade construction standards, so grilles are plated and powder-coated, and moisture-resistant terminations and finish materials are used. Plastics are UV-protected.