KEF Products | Technology | History

The Shadow Flare - Increasing Clarity By Reducing Diffraction

Cabinet diffraction is an anonymous joy killer. Sound travels along the front baffle of a loudspeaker cabinet and upon reaching the edge is forced out into the open air of your listening room. The problem is, that sound energy is delayed from the original. This means musical notes that happened a few milliseconds ago are just leaving the loudspeaker and heading toward your ears.

The result? Smudged musical output and time smearing that makes your music or movie soundtrack sound inarticulate and different from the artists’ original intent.

We solved this problem in 2011 with LS50 by introducing the curved baffle. The curve adds an exponential number of edges so that by the time the sound energy traveling along the baffle leaves the surface it is weakened to the point that you won’t hear it.

In the current Reference line, we solved the problem in a standard large enclosure by introducing the shadow flare trim ring. But first a little background:

You’ll notice the new R Series is significantly slimmer than its predecessor (and most other in-class cabinets from other manufacturers). That slim design looks pretty but there’s science behind it too: The closer a driver is to the edge of the baffle the less diffraction there is. By making the cabinet only a little wider than the larger drivers in the R Series array, the problem of diffraction is solved.

That’s all well and good for the bass drivers but for the mid- and high-frequencies produced by the Uni-Q there was still quite a bit of surface between the driver and the edge of the baffle because the Uni-Q is that much smaller than the bass drivers – especially the tweeter in the Uni-Q.

From the tweeter’s perspective, the shadow flare reduces the virtual size of the cabinet due to its shape and design. The shadow flare acts as a waveguide for the mid- and high-frequency Uni-Q drivers reducing overall diffraction.

The result? No interference from diffraction so your music and movie soundtracks sound crystal clear.

It’s the little things that make a huge difference.

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