KEF's Special Blade

"Go and hear the KEF Concept Blade Loudspeaker," encouraged John Atkinson, "it’s their current statement on the state of loudspeaker art." For reasons unclear, KEF selected a hard-to-find Hilton Hotel suite for their exhibit, far away from the high-end exhibits in the Venetian Hotel. But when I whispered the word "Blade," I was ushered into a dark room where the set of twin loudspeakers, looking like aircraft wings, were standing. The cabinet curvature eliminates cabinet resonances, I was told. The KEF engineer explained that the company had not set a price on the Blade because they regarded it like a concept car, a one-off, handbuilt test model.

At the front of its cabinet, the Blade employs a 10th-generation Uni-Q coaxial driver array, using an injected-molded midrange and a tube-loaded titanium-dome tweeter (positioned at the center of the midrange driver) that has a tangerine-shaped waveguide that functions over 7 octaves without breakup. On the Blade's sides it employs four 10” low-frequency drivers, bonded in pairs symmetrically arranged around the Uni-Q to create both a "single apparent source" that allows for Force Canceling Technology to prevent exciting cabinet walls. The cabinet structure uses resin-impregnated, woven carbon-fiber over a balsa wood core, similar to the cone material Richard Vandersteen developed for his Model Seven loudspeaker. The outboard crossover is hard-wired with air-cored inductors and plastic-film capacitors, all set in a circular container with a glass top..

Driven by an Audio Research DSi200 Integrated MOSFET switching amplifier, the Blade loudspeakers delivered extremely detailed, articulated music, with a dynamic range and clarity that exceeded other the other high-end loudspeaker presentations I had heard at this year's CES. The loudspeaker seemed to be coasting at all volume levels.

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Aanta's picture

Good to see that good old Kef is still keeping up with the innovations.

Wim Hendriks's picture

Have been been very happy with my 207/2's but REALLY would like to hear these. Hope they will tour Holland soon.Wim

stu gatz's picture


DawgByte's picture

As a designer with a BFA and 30 years design experience, the last word I would use to describe this concept is "Fugly". Some people get it and others don't.

f131's picture

Heard the blades a couple of days ago ,and was not left wanting a pair.Much better looking in the flesh sounded good ,BUT the bass was verey box sounding ,it was like having a sub in the room ,the bass just not in time with the rest slow. I would expect a much better balance at this price

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