KEF Blade Meta & The Reference Meta Loudspeakers Announced
KEF's Blade and The Reference loudspeakers have been upgraded with Metamaterial, 12th Gen Uni-Q drivers, and more.
KEF's Blade Meta and The Reference Meta line of high-end loudspeaker designs now integrate the British company's Metamaterial tech along with its latest drivers.
KEF promised some special announcements for its 60th birthday, and we suggested new Blades and Muons - it seems that we were at least half right (so far).
The latest version of Blade and The Reference benefits from KEF's Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), a bespoke 12th generation Uni-Q driver array and more, according to the Maidstone-based speaker maker.
MAT was announced in September 2020 and consequently put to use in the LS50 Meta loudspeakers. This new technology apparently absorbs 99% of unwanted sound and eliminates the resulting distortion to provide a purer, more natural acoustic performance thanks to the intricate channels.
KEF tells us that the Uni-Q driver is the result of decades of accumulated in-house knowledge and the application of cutting-edge simulation and analysis tools and sees the latest design paired with MAT for the latest Blade and The Reference speakers.
The bespoke driver array, says KEF, delivers consistently sweet, lucid and lyrical treble, irrespective of the volume. In addition, this sports a new ultra-low distortion midrange motor design that's said to lower the total harmonic distortion (THD) in the midrange and reduce thermal compression, improving efficiency.
KEF BLADE META
KEF's Blade One Meta and Blade Two Meta are instantly recognisable thanks to their tapered design and complex parabolic curves, all engineered to eliminate standing waves that might blur the sound. Although The Reference series may look less groundbreaking, we're assured that every pair can be matched within half a decibel to the laboratory-maintained reference standard.
At the heart of Blade lies the Single Apparent Source technology that extends the Uni-Q driver array with the company's patented tangerine waveguide technology. This manages the airflow to recreate the wide, even spread of a natural sound field, dispersing the high-frequency imaging throughout the room.
Meanwhile, Blade's four robust, low-frequency drivers are designed to be perfectly integrated with the Uni-Q and MAT and promise “clean, massively extended, immaculately controlled bass”. These drivers are mounted back-to-back and occupies a separate chamber to avoid exciting the cabinet when playing loud to cancel out kinetic forces that might otherwise colour the output.
KEF adds that, 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. In addition, the latest Blade enjoys an “enhanced crossover design” to fine-tune the signal path for maximum clarity.
Around the rear of the Blade Meta, you'll find two pairs of WBT connectors that allow bi-wiring or bi-amping for lossless transmission.
KEF THE REFERENCE META
The Reference series encompasses two three-way floorstanding speakers, a three-way standmount speaker, and two three-way centre speakers that can be used as Left-Centre-Right (LCR) speakers.
The Reference range cabinets are designed using finite element analysis to determine the ideal shape and bracing geometry to minimise secondary radiation from the sides, states KEF. Then, constrained layer damping is applied to turn the remaining vibration into heat.
Furthermore, the expertly engineered cabinets are finished in a sumptuous high-gloss or richly detailed pair-matched wood veneers to complement the unique front baffle designed to eliminate anomalies caused by diffraction.
KEF states that “intelligent engineering and meticulous attention to design detail enables 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 promise to be superb.
Available now, the Blade One Meta (£30,000) and Blade Two Meta (£22,500) have a range of eight finishes (five cabinet finishes and six driver cone colours).
The Reference series is offered now in five finishes (three cabinet finishes and five driver cone colours) and starts at £7,500 for the three-way stand-mounted Reference 1 Meta, going up to £17,500 for Reference 5 Meta three-way floorstanding range flagship. The Reference 2 Meta and Reference 4 Meta centre channel speakers will sell for £4,750 and £6,500, respectively, while The REF 8b Subwoofer costs £6,000.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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