KEF reveals latest ‘Blade’ and ‘The Reference’ models

KEF just updated their ‘Blade’ flagship floorstanding speakers and ‘The Reference’ models with Metamaterial Absorption Technology, latest 12th generation Uni-Q driver arrays are also on board and there’s a host of other improvements too.

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: Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT™), a bespoke 12th generation Uni-Q® driver array and a host of other improvements.

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.

Thanks to decades of accumulated in-house knowledge and the application of cutting-edge simulation and analysis tools informed KEF’s Uni-Q® that is paired with MAT™ for Blade and The Reference. The bespoke driver delivers a pristine performance from KEF’s flagship loudspeaker. The state-of-the-art Uni-Q® driver array can deliver consistently sweet, lucid and lyrical treble, irrespective of the volume. A new ultra-low distortion midrange motor design lowers the total harmonic distortion (THD) in the midrange and reduces thermal compression, improving efficiency

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. The technology aims to achieve the acoustic ideal of a point source, where low, mid and high frequencies radiate from one point. This makes Blade incredibly coherent across all audible frequencies; what you hear is real and immersive.

The contours of the dome within The Reference’s midrange horn and surround are all computer-optimised to ensure a perfectly smooth transition to the cabinet. KEF’s patented tangerine waveguide technology manages the airflow to recreate the wide, even spread of a natural sound field, dispersing the astonishingly pure high-frequency imaging throughout the room.

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.

Revolutionary Sound

Blade’s four robust, low-frequency drivers are perfectly integrated with the Uni-Q® and MAT™ to deliver clean, massively extended, immaculately controlled bass. In line with the purity of the original Blade concept, decoupling the voice coil from the diaphragm allows low order crossovers to be used, for purer, silkier bass response. These drivers are mounted back-to-back to avoid exciting the cabinet when playing loud to cancel out kinetic forces that might otherwise colour the output. Each pair occupies a separate chamber to reduce the need for damping.

The crossover design has been enhanced in the latest Blade to fine-tune the signal path for maximum clarity. Plus, two pairs of audiophile-quality WBT connectors allow bi-wiring or bi-amping for lossless transmission.

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.

For The Reference high and mid-range frequencies are only part of the story, though, and 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.

The Reference’s bass driver also benefits from a massive, vented magnet assembly, a large aluminium voice coil and an exceptionally light and stiff alloy cone. As a result of all these technologies volume, dynamics and power handling are superb.

If you’re wondering about their prices, here’s a list that will tell you more.

KEF Blade One Meta: £30,000

KEF Blade Two Meta: £22,500

Reference 5 Meta: £17,500

Reference 3 Meta: £11,500

Reference 1 Meta: £7,500

Reference 4 Meta: £6,500

Reference 2 Meta: £4,750

S-RF1 Floor Stand: £1,000

REF 8b Subwoofer: £6,000

Additional information: KEF

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