KEF updates R Series speakers with innovative Metamaterial technology

KEF R Series
(Image credit: KEF)

Five years after its last refresh, the KEF R Series speaker range has been updated to include the company’s performance-enhancing MAT (Metamaterial Absorption Technology), among other improvements.

The seven-model, hi-fi- and home cinema-friendly range sits in the middle of KEF’s enviable lineup, between its Q Series and The Reference series. The latter was given the MAT treatment just over a year ago alongside the Blade, following the debut of the technology in the LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II in 2020, so it was inevitable that a refreshed R Series would also feature it. Essentially, MAT is a circular, plastic, maze-like structure that sits behind the tweeter and absorbs “99%” of the unwanted distorting sound that radiates from the cone's rear into the cabinet. It’s proven very effective in the KEF speakers we’ve tested that have it, which is why it won our Innovation of the Year Award the year it was introduced.

KEF R Series

(Image credit: KEF)

As far as we know, this latest R Series doesn't feature as many component changes as its predecessors brought over their previous version – 1043! – but that doesn't mean it's a soft update this time round – far from it. Another very welcome albeit unsurprising inclusion across the range is the 12th-generation of KEF’s Uni-Q driver, which can also be found in the multi-Award-winning LS50 Meta model that sits below the new R Series. And KEF says the design has further benefited from a specific ‘selection of tweaks and modifications’, including a refined tweeter gap damper (for better resonance control), more flexible decoupling chassis (for improved vibration dampening), an enhanced crossover design and a fine-tuned signal path. The promise? A more transparent sound than the previous generation is capable of.

So, to the seven models. The R3 Meta are the series’ only standmounters and are joined by the R11 Meta, R7 Meta and R5 Meta floorstanders. Those wishing to use the R Series in a surround sound set-up have a choice of two centre speakers – the R6 Meta and R2 Meta, which can also be used in LCR configuration – and a Dolby Atmos-compatible R8 Meta surround module that can be wall-mounted or placed atop another speaker. The range doesn’t have its own subwoofer, though KEF would only be too keen to point you to its current models, such as the Kube 12b and KF92

Aesthetically very much in line with the old R Series models being replaced, these new speakers are available in a choice of black gloss, white gloss and walnut finishes, with the R3 Meta and R7 Meta also available in ‘Indigo Gloss’ and ‘Titanium Gloss’ special edition finishes respectively.

KEF R Series

(Image credit: KEF)

Pricing for the new R Series speakers per pair is as follows:

R11 Meta floorstanders: £5500 / $6500

R7 Meta floorstanders: £4000 / $5000

R5 Meta floorstanders: £3000 / $4000

R3 Meta standmounts: £1900 / $2200 (companion S3 speaker stands: £649)

R6 Meta centre channel: £1600 / $2000 (per piece)

R2 Meta centre channel: £1200 / $1400 (per piece)

R8 Meta Dolby Atmos speakers: £1400  / $1600

The new KEF R Meta Series are available now, with the special edition finishes coming in the (European) summer. We'll be testing the R3 Meta standmounters very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for our full review.


Read our full KEF LS50 Meta review

Innovation of the Year Award 2020: KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology

Read our five-star KEF R3 review

12 of the best KEF products of all time

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.

  • Hifiman
    KEF R3 in 2019 £1300. KEF R3 in 2023 £1900. Sigh.
  • nopiano
    Hifiman said:
    KEF R3 in 2019 £1300. KEF R3 in 2023 £1900. Sigh.
    Yes, it’s a big hike isn’t it? The LS50 Meta was 25% more but these are 35-40% more. However, look at PMC or Harbeth if you want to see similarly large rises in the last four years. :(