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KEF’s Reference, Blade speakers updated with metamaterials

KEF has released the newest iteration of its flagship Reference and Blade product lines. These high-end speakers are getting a performance upgrade featuring KEF’s latest acoustic innovations, including a new high-end 12th Generation Uni-Q with Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). Uni-Q is KEF’s proprietary driver technology that features the prominent star shape in the center and is found on all of the high-end speakers in their lineup.

According to KEF, 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.” The company claims that adding the new MAT technology removes 99% of distortion and unwanted sounds from the rear of the speakers.

Blade Series

The KEF Blade is known for its unique visual design and Single Apparent Source technology. When developed in 2009, engineers sought to design a speaker that is extremely transparent and creates the illusion that sound is radiating from a single area, rather than from separate speaker towers. This can help music or movies feel more immersive and lifelike.

KEF offers both the Blade One and Blade Two, with the latter designed for smaller listening environments. You can buy them right now in their four standard finishes (piano black/gray, arctic white/champagne, charcoal gray/bronze, frosted blue/blue), but if you desire something more bespoke, four special order finishes will be available in June 2022: Piano black/copper, frosted blue/bronze, charcoal gray/red, racing red/gray.

  • Blade One Meta: $35,000 per pair
  • Blade Two Meta: $28,000 per pair

Reference Series

The KEF Reference has been a staple in the speaker industry for decades. KEF boasts that this new iteration has “pipe organ” depth in the bass response and a pure midrange and treble response. The Reference line has a more traditional speaker appearance and is available in bookshelf size with the Reference 1 Meta, plus 2-woofer and 5-woofer tower options in the Reference 3 Meta and Reference 5 Meta. The Reference line also features two left-center-right (LCR) speaker options, the Reference 2 Meta and Reference 4 Meta, which the Blade series does not offer.

LCR speakers are designed for home theater use and can be used as a center channel when placed horizontally, or as left and right front channel speakers when oriented vertically. If opting for the Reference 1 Meta bookshelf design, KEF also offers the S-RF1 Floor Stand to accompany them. Similar to the Blade series, the Reference is available in a myriad of finishes (satin walnut/silver, high-gloss white/champagne, high-gloss black/gray) and two special order finishes: High-gloss white/blue, and high-gloss black/copper.

  • Reference 5 Meta: $22,000 per pair
  • Reference 3 Meta: $15,000 per pair
  • Reference 1 Meta: $9,000 per pair
  • Reference 4 Meta: $8,000 each
  • Reference 2 Meta: $6,000 each
  • S-RF1 Floor Stand: $1,200 per pair

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