50 Years of innovation in sound
Innovation is what sets KEF apart. It's why we were founded, and why we've always attracted some of the world's most gifted acoustic engineers.
The results are plain to see, in long lists of breakthroughs that no other manufacturer can match - and we have the patents and academic papers to prove it. Right from the start, we pioneered the use of synthetic materials for diaphragms and driver surrounds to maintain consistent sound quality across the frequency range. In the mid-sixties, we were the first to commercially exploit the stability of Bextrene as a cone material, with a range of drivers that found their way into many leading audiophile speakers.
A hugely important breakthrough came a few years later, when KEF became the first company to use computers in loudspeaker testing and design. Having led the industry in the digital analysis of speaker behaviour ever since, this unrivalled capability is what still underpins KEF's technological supremacy. Such pioneering work allowed us to match pairs of speakers to within half of a decibel, for near-perfect stereo reproduction. Ever since models like the 104A/B and 105 achieved worldwide acclaim in the seventies, KEF’s premium Reference Series has been synonymous with acoustic excellence.
The next decade saw the appearance of KEF's signature technology, the Uni-Q point source driver array. Using NASA-developed magnets ten times more powerful than conventional materials allowed us to engineer a tweeter small enough to mount at the acoustic centre of the bass unit voice coil so that both acted as one. The resulting wide dispersion characteristics meant that the previously elusive 'sweet spot' was no more.
With the advent of 5:1 home theatre recordings in the nineties, KEF was once again ahead of the game by applying the performance advantages of Uni-Q to the UK's first dedicated centre speaker, the Model 100. This was followed by a succession of radically inventive and visually distinctive sub-sat systems such as the KHT2005 ‘egg’, which is still regarded as iconic.
Other KEF firsts include the first motorised ceiling speaker and acoustic compliance enhancement technology, which achieves truly full-bodied bass performance from small enclosures. Today, our remarkable T series speakers deliver exemplary sound reproduction from wall-mountable enclosures less than an inch and a half thick.
It's a remarkable legacy that informs everything we do to this day. Innovation is a continuing process, not a destination – and KEF still leads the way.