In 2021 we saw KEF KEF put MAT (Metamaterial Absorption Technology) into its LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II standmount loudspeakers. Why? To better absorb unwanted sound coming from the back wave of the Uni-Q driver’s tweeter. According to KEF, metamaterials can prevent the build-up of standing waves inside the speaker and drive down distortion. This week, KEF has announced Meta(material) updates to its high-end Blade and Reference lines.
A metamaterial is made from naturally occurring materials but possesses properties not present in those naturally occurring materials. KEF’s engineers worked with Hong Kong’s Acoustic Metamaterials Group (AMG) to create a small disc with a maze-like surface that offers absorption coefficients not present in its ingredient materials. Inside each Blade Meta and Reference Meta model, the MAT disc sits behind the tweeter of a 12th Generation Uni-Q driver to absorb 99% of ‘unwanted sound’.
According to the press release, the 12th Generation Uni-Q driver found in Blade Meta and Reference Meta is “a ground-up design including a novel approach to decoupling, state-of-the-art motor systems and a slew of other new features ensures that this new Uni-Q reproduces sounds with utmost clarity.”
And a new Uni-Q driver means new crossovers for all incoming Meta models. However, Blade Meta has reportedly enjoyed additional attention that, according to KEF, has enhanced the benefits of its Single Apparent Source.
Back to the press release: “Single Apparent Source extends the iconic Uni-Q driver array, the building block of the KEF signature sound. This technology expands the benefits of Uni-Q across all frequencies by closely following the acoustic ideal of a point source.”
The Blade One and Two, soon to be available in Meta versions, feature force-cancelling side-firing bass drivers where one driver’s back wave cancels out the other’s to ensure minimal internal cabinet vibrations. And that sculpted cabinet whose front radius tapers from top to bottom and from front to back is what marks the KEF Blade as one of the most visually striking high-end loudspeakers available today.
The Reference series offers a more traditional take on high-end loudspeakers. There are no side-firing bass drivers and the cabinets are of a more traditional box design. However, according to KEF, Reference hides a wealth of technology:
“Surrounding the 12th Generation Uni-Q sits Shadow Flare – a specially profiled trim ring that reduces the negative effects of diffraction, allowing Uni-Q to deliver a beautifully wide and accurate soundstage. Constrained Layer Damping and tuned internal chambering tackle the issues of vibration and standing waves respectively. The adjustable flexible ports reduce port resonances whilst also allowing for fine-tuning based on where the speaker is placed in the listening room.”
Pricing? Blade One Meta will sell for £30,000/pair and the smaller Blade Two Meta will go for £22,500/pair. The Reference Series starts with a three-way standmount in the Reference 1 Meta (£7,500/pair) and ends with a three-way floorstander in the Reference 5 Meta (£17,500/pair). Reference centre channels and subwoofers are also available.
All Blade and Reference loudspeakers are made in the UK.
Further information: KEF