As of October 2021, KEF has been creating award-winning speakers for six decades.
KEF is named after its original site — Kent Engineering and Foundry in Maidstone — where it continues to develop its products today. Established in 1961 by Raymond Cooke OBE, the BBC engineer was propelled by a love of music and refusal to compromise. Since its inception, KEF has existed to fill rooms with music as it was made to be heard and to move souls with truly authentic soundscapes. Over the years it has never lost sight of its British roots, uncompromising quality, or boundary-pushing innovations.
KEF pioneered the early use of synthetic materials and was the first company to use computer simulation to measure and develop speaker performance, followed by the creation of its disruptive Uni-Q, Uni-Core, and Metamaterial Absorption technologies. The original collection of high-fidelity speakers, architectural speakers, and subwoofers has evolved to include wireless speakers, portable Bluetooth speakers, and headphones.
With a team of talented engineers and in-house designers who work together to maintain the brand’s audio integrity, KEF has also partnered with the likes of Ross Lovegrove, Michael Young, Sir Terence Conran, Eric Chan, and Marcel Wanders to bring their unique perspectives to KEF’s product design.
KEF Today and Tomorrow
In this anniversary year, KEF says it will launch the most advanced products it has ever created — to be announced in the coming months —which will again push the boundaries of the listening experience, both at home and on the move.
October 2021 begins KEF’s 60th anniversary. For this special year, KEF has curated six playlists, selecting iconic British tracks that best represent each decade, which will be available to download and stream on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music.
This October, there will also be the opportunity for three music fans to hear sound as their favorite artists intended, entering to win one of three set of prizes: Mu3 Earphones with a KEF Gift Bag, Q350 Bookshelf Speaker pair with a Kube 10b Subwoofer, or a LS50 Wireless II system with a KC62 Subwoofer. Entrants simply need to fill out a short form before November 11 for a chance to enter.
Playlists and competition entry can be found at https://us.kef.com/60th.
Selected KEF Milestones
KEF has had many milestones over the past 60 years, here, Residential Systems spotlights a few highlights from each decade.
- The first KEF speaker, the three-way K1, incorporated the use of synthetic materials that are thin but strong and enabled later speakers (such as Celeste) to be very compact in size
- Celeste was created as the first ultra-compact two-way speaker system designed to give true high-fidelity performance
- KEF received the first prestigious Queen’s Award for export achievement as the company becomes known beyond the U.K.
- In 1973 KEF became the first loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to implement the use of computers in loudspeaker design and measurement in order to achieve the highest audio accuracy — its renowned Reference Series was born
- In 1988 KEF designed and patented the world’s first speaker driver that enlarged the optimum listening area, allowing everyone sitting at different spots in the room to experience the same natural, detailed sound – called Uni-Q
- Uni-Q became the building block of KEF signature sound and sits at the heart of almost all its speakers today
- In 1994, KEF was one of the first companies to release a THX approved home theater system — a subwoofer/ satellite concept
- KEF steadily developed the use of advanced acoustical, magnetic, and mechanical modelling techniques in speaker designs, allowing for a huge leap in acoustic accuracy
- The Muon was launched in 2007. A collaboration with leading industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, Muon was a triumph of form marrying function, containing acoustic breakthroughs from the KEF engineering team
- The patented Tangerine Waveguide – which remains an iconic design of Uni-Q driver – was created to deliver an even cleaner, smoother sound
- The BLADE was launched in 2011
- To celebrate KEF’s 50th anniversary, a new classic LS50 was born with numerous technological breakthroughs, bringing the original studio monitor concept to the living room, enabling everyone to experience great sound at home
- In 2017, KEF introduced the first generation of LS50 Wireless – a complete, fully active music system, making high-fidelity sound digital
- A decade of unprecedented innovation, KEF introduced a number of wireless products including the EGG wireless speakers, MUO portable speakers, M Series headphones, and a collaboration with Porsche Design including Gravity One portable speakers, Motion One earphones, and Space One wireless headphones
- KEF introduced the use of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) in speaker design, which is created to eliminate 99 percent of unwanted sound
- MAT has allowed KEF to design a new range of products, including the LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II
- The introduction of Uni-Core technology on the KC62 subwoofer in 2021 has created a new take on subwoofer design by reducing speaker cabinet size by over a third
For more information, visit us.KEF.com.