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.

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