KEF kicked off the Munich High End Show with quite a splash this morning, unveiling not only a new 'baby' Blade speaker (above) but also an entirely new Reference series – the result of a three year, $1m investment programme – and a completely revised Muon speaker.
The 'baby' Blade looks gorgeous in its special frosted blue finish on the stand, although at this stage it's a pre-production mock-up – the real thing will be available this autumn for £15,000 in standard finishes. It uses the same Uni-Q driver as the original KEF Blade, but has new 6.5in (rather than 9in) bass drivers.
Otherwise KEF says the Blade Two is based on the same advanced materials and innovative technologies used in the development of the original Blade Concept. Physically it's smaller in height and depth (although not massively so as you can see from the photo below), and has been designed to make it easier to place and use in a broader range of rooms.
The cabinet is made from ultra-high density polyurethane, and comes in five standard finishes: light metallic silver, racing red, warm metallic grey, piano black and snow white. Two special edition Kent Engineering and Foundry finishes, frosted blue and frosted copper black, are also available at extra cost.
VIDEO: See the KEF Blade speakers in action
The other big news here at Munich was the launch of KEF's new Reference series. New from the ground up, there are five models in the line-up: the Reference 1 standmount speakers (£4500/pair); the Reference 3 three-way bass refelex floorstander (£7500); the bigger Reference 5 floorstander (£10,500); an enormous centre speaker, the £4500 Reference Centre; and a dedicated 1000W, twin-driver subwoofer.
KEF has developed all-new drivers for the range, with a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter placed at the acoustic centre of the 12.5cm midrange driver in its proprietary Uni-Q arrangement. The new 6.5in bass driver has a large aluminium-wire voice coil driving an aluminium cone, chosen for its lightness and stifness.
The distinctive front baffle is made from a laminated aluminium and resin composite, formed in a press under extreme temperatures.
To help fine-tune the bass, Reference models include user-adjustable port tuning.
There are three standard finishes available: deep piano black, luxury gloss rosewood and satin American walnut wood veneers. Again, as with the Blade Two, they're also available in two special finishes, blue ice white and copper black aluminium, at extra cost.
The bookshelf and floorstanding models will be available in the next two to three months, with the centre and sub to follow later this year. Bespoke stands are available as an option for the Model 1.
Finally, KEF has upgraded the Muon speaker (shown below) which gets the new Uni-Q driver from the Blades and completely redesigned crossovers. Existing Muon owners can have the upgrades fitted by a KEF engineer.
By Andy Clough
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