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Six Decades of Innovation: KEF For Others

Our roots as a cutting edge design and manufacturer run deep. KEF’s position as one of the most respected brands in the audio industry is, to a large part, due to the innovations the company pioeered in the 1960s and 1970s and innovation is still at the heart of everything we do today. 

KEF drivers were always regarded as amongst the best on the market: they used the latest materials, and were manufactured in a controlled way for consistency and reliability.

KEF drive units were utilized not only in the famous KEF systems of the time, but also in loudspeakers made by many other manufacturers around the world. Among the prestigious brands who used KEF drivers, in addition to every LS3/5A licensee, were Linn, IMF, Wilson Audio, ESS, Sonus Faber, Tangent, JR, Meridian, Proac, Mordaunt-Short, Monitor Audio, Ferrograph, Dalesford, Radford, Heathkit, and many, many others.

Malcolm Jones who worked at KEF on some of our earliest products including the K1 in the 1960s recalls, “KEF’s name was well known from the point of trying to get something that was technically as good as we could get and was consistent. [Getting} another manufacturer to use the [drive] unit only, in fact, enhanced the name. Because if you find out that so-and-so was using KEF units, then ‘they must be good.’”

KEF founder Raymond Cooke reconciled the wisdom of making money from selling the drive units for systems that KEF would have to compete with by taking the new income and re-investing it in the first computers and digital measuring devices to be used in the loudspeaker industry. At the time, in the early 1970s, the equipment Cooke purchased from the Hewlett-Packard Corporation were only typically seen in government facilities or the most prestigious universities. KEF was a pioneer in the use of new and different materials for its drivers as well as being the pioneer in the use of computers in the design and manufacture of loudspeakers. Truly, Raymond Cooke and his team were visionaries who are the parents of modern speaker design.  

Our dedication to technical innovation and manufacturing consistency and quality is still at the heart of everything we do today.

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