MARLBORO, NJ – 17 February 2022: KEF is proud to launch the latest update to their high-end loudspeaker offerings – Blade and The Reference. The two high-end KEF speaker ranges have been updated with KEF’s latest acoustic innovations, including a new, high-end 12th Generation Uni-Q with Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT™).
These two ranges demonstrate how KEF’s approach to innovation and design delivers a superior listening experience – accurate, lifelike, and utterly engaging.
Blade is about perfecting a ground-breaking concept to delight people with the ultimate listening experience, with the philosophy of innovating in pursuit of the most accurate and realistic sound.
The Reference, one of the industry’s longest standing and respected ranges, mirrors the KEF story. From the pioneering use of computers in 1973, The Reference has always guided how KEF redefines the benchmark, demanding awe and reverence in the hearts – and ears – of many a distinguished audiophile.
Both Blade and The Reference are hand-assembled in Maidstone, England with each pair painstakingly put together by one of our 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 our engineers have designed.
Blade is an attitude. The Reference is iconic. It’s about exploring the art of the possible, which is why 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.
Thanks to decades of accumulated in-house knowledge and the application of cutting-edge simulation and analysis tools, KEFs latest entry in the 12th Generation of Uni-Q is simply the greatest yet produced. A ground-up design including a novel approach to decoupling, state-of-the-art motor systems and a slew of other new features ensures that this new Uni-Q reproduces sounds with utmost clarity.
Integrated into MAT is a truly revolutionary tool in the KEF acoustic armoury 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.
For both series, the crossover has been fully reworked with new, low distortion components with an eye to ensuring signal integrity. With Blade, further work has been carried out to enhance the benefits of Single Apparent Source, the defining technology of this unique range.
The result of these innovations and developments for both Blade and The Reference is that the Uni-Q with MAT reproduces more transparent and life-like sound than previously possible.
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, cancelling 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 aluminium 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 AND 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 / Grey, Arctic White / Champagne, Charcoal Grey / Bronze, Frosted Blue / Blue) and four special order finishes (Piano Black/ Copper, Frosted Blue/Bronze, Charcoal Grey/Red, Racing Red/Grey). 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 floorstanding 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 theatre. All will be available in three standard finishes (Satin Walnut/Silver, High-Gloss White Champagne, High-Gloss Black/Grey) and two special order finishes (High-Gloss White/Blue, High-Gloss Black/Copper).
Taking things even further, every KEF loudspeaker benefits from consistent voicing by the Maidstone R&D team, allowing for truly customised home theatre or whole house audio setups, blending Blade and The Reference with KEF’s accomplished Architectural offerings.
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.