KEF Blade

KEF operates its own philosophy as radical as ever: the new blade to reach the ideal of the perfect point sound source. The elegant sculpture sounds so organic and graceful as she looks?

Barely a speaker manufacturer provides one design principle as stubbornly as KEF in the Center, and yet constantly is working: since we introduced the first coax chassis called UniQ, it has countless variations and improvements. The idea to produce all relevant for locating noise components from a single acoustic Center and thus perfect figure like sound radiation, proved for the KEF engineers almost life reading task.

Trials and tribulations

This, above all the small 2-models of way appeared as the most consistent that close so came the ideal point sound source as otherwise maximum wide strips (which have acoustic other disadvantages). The high-end models, above all the introduced reference was 207, in 2004 from the perspective of the acoustics of remarkable inconsistency: not only that of the UniQ in the vocal range of a needed basic sound support, man built the round shaped box a even extra bass and a patch Superhochtoner.

Can we describe seriously a 5-way construction as point sound source, even if your heart is a coaxial speakers? This contradiction tried to dissolve the KEF developers from now on, extended the range of the UniQ and again let off the Superhochtoner. But only in 2008 turned to the idea of developing a box concept with an also conceptually perfect point sound source.

Without edges

As in the KEF Super boxes usual – just think of the Maidstone and the genesis of the Austin project, which resulted in the muon – this study was first constructed regardless of a subsequent practical usability. Is on good German: money, time, and conventions played no role. Built what is acoustically necessary and sensible, and if hearing tests or measurements suggest other ways will just further researched and built. The developers in many ways took full advantage of that: for the housing, but also for the Central coaxial chassis, a completely new generation of UniQ.

The ring-shaped membrane the is equipped with reinforcements to prevent partial coloration. At the same time, it is shaped so that it does not adversely affect the sound of the tweeter, but acts like a sound leadership. The outer mounting of ring membrane may cause no edges refractions in the treble. The beading is so folded and continues almost seamlessly to a rubber waveguide. The extremely large coil swings outside its magnetic system. So are the coils of midrange and tweeters as far apart and not influenced magnetically.

Both followed the requirements of an ideal point sound source, and both increased the effort quickly to skyrocket. The housing construction has hardly something more in common with a classic box. Instead of a box with front wall and side parts promotes a single large baffle which opposes any edges, obstacles and refractive surfaces the generated waves, but a harmonic propagation. Quite in the sense of an acoustic infinite baffle.

Man had so needed a coaxial chassis on a baffle for medium – and high-frequency as well as distributed four basses circular therefore – this ensures that the ear hears all frequencies from the same point. Hifitechnisch ideal, but a slice of one or one and a half metres in diameter would be absolutely not practical now even for a project box. Especially the KEF developers had come since the project of Austin/muon also behind it, that a possible narrow, gently rounded baffle better brings out the dispersion characteristics of the chassis of the as a classic wide baffle and more accurately depicts this way.

For the blade you combined both ideas and a sound area with five converters gently turned around to the front and got a very narrow, sculpture-like form, which acoustically but light one expansion of means sound radiation, the beneficial properties of the infinite baffle included the lack of any edge reflections should persist. Of course, the four bass driver migrated on the sides of the case, what the function of the virtual point sound source but remains. Another acoustic advantage arises from this bending action: the left and the right bass work offset by 180 degrees, any impulses, which leave them on the housing – colloquially you could also speak of the recoil – is thus completely wipes out.

To perfect this effect yet, the housing developer linked to both the two sides of the box and the chassis even Struts. So far, so good for the prototype manufacturer. Because conventional methods such as process settled no longer make such a sculpture. While you had used in the muon on deformed aluminium, the blade prototype was manufactured from glass fibre-reinforced plastic with front and side panels of course from one piece must be poured.

Everything from the Middle

The housing development was not all: parallel to the concept of a new generation of UniQ chassis emerged. Smaller than the coax of muon and reference series, he should play yet seamlessly to the delivery to the woofer. A flat bead would have allowed not enough stroke, that’s why they invented a folded version that seamlessly to the rubber waveguide.

Narrow boxes tend acoustically to a rather wide coverage and sound often spatially wide on the sides extended, for it but still tends to be diffuse and vague. I intuitively also from the front completely narrow blade was expecting such a sound picture. Nothing there: the stage with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Gürzenich Orchestra, Oehms) is built perfectly staggered between the two sculptures, it shone with a hardly ever locating naturalness.

Each instrument was in width and depth in its place, the room until in the last corners without that one had the feeling that here one loudspeaker on the works was naturally lit. It held the blade but also no grandstanding and also does not artificially blew the room, but left the figure so as on the recording. Associations with the best coaxial near field monitors were me, but without this feeling of high soundprecision. Because the blade showed the reference 207/2 also compared to her sister, something bauchigeren, a similarly neutral, similar to fine resolution imaging however scored a more transparency and silkiness to the ear. Where the reference is rather presented as a Studio monitor and carefully revealed details of the recording, the blade was this distinctly laid-back looseness in the room.

A second prejudice against slim boxes cleaned them out even faster: the a thin deep bass. Sterling, that the narrow box to move untenrum, is almost incredible, where it was the impressed with Joe Satrianis “Engines of Creation” less the mass of low-frequency, as rather the Control, the rhythmsiche sensitivity coupled with blackest depth and good strength.

The reference 207/2, although loudly played somewhat more dynamic and knalliger, almost a track worked at moderate listening levels to Foundation arm in comparison. Sound-color and resolution from both sisters gave up nothing: but in the character of the performance they differed the reference, rather sober exactly, the blade looser and softer without having them in the flattering or even beautifully colored would be slipped.

It’s also the only thing you ever can criticize: If the level were extreme and a loud metal Board was asked (here: Metallica’s “Sad but true”), she abstained in the midrange of the force dairy and left with all sense of rhythm and dynamics of the last bit of aggressiveness and power Miss. So, as if she were actually cultivated for such music genres. Therefore at the end of an audiophile showpiece and a real walk for the blade: “Walking on the moon” in the saxophone version of the Yuri honing trio.

Plastic and scary realistic she introduced the extremely dynamically blown solo instrument in the room, followed by sometimes strong outings by bass drum and bass in the lower regions. Wonderful their transparency in the vagaries of the saxophone, despite bright timbres and strong entry into never aggressive or unpleasant tinged. The music sounds as it is and as it should be to the point.

Conclusion

The blade is not a design gimmick, but the elaborate overall construction, I know in the speaker area. It shows how a theoretically superior concept with decades of development work on the top is driven, until there’s nothing more to improve. A listening session with her is like a lesson: you can experience how shots really sound; one learns that detailed resolution and acoustic feel are no contradictions; and it shows that a sensational neutral can unlock speaker feeling of rhythm and fun. If I should – take a box from the AUDIO test pool home it would be the blade.

 

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