KEF Goes from Concept to Reality with Blade Two Speakers
KEF’s Blade Two loudspeaker highlights KEF’s audio and industrial engineering capabilities to provide homeowners with a speaker that looks as good as it sounds.
Robert Archer · March 14, 2017
There are few audio companies that can match British manufacturer KEF’s design prowess. Bringing to market a combination of products that feature attractive industrial designs, and proprietary audio technologies, KEF is not a company that jumps on trends after the fact.
A perfect example of how the company charts its own path is its Blade Two loudspeaker.
A few years ago, KEF developed the Concept Blade prototype. After receiving a lot of positive feedback about the product, the company stepped up to meet the demand by launching the Blade loudspeaker, and then a short time later, the Blade Two loudspeaker, which offers the same level of performance as the Blade on a smaller scale.
Blade Two Features
Like other KEF products, the Blade Two employs the company’s proprietary Uni-Q driver array that’s augmented by a force-cancelling woofer array. KEF explains that it mounts these driver arrays symmetrically equidistant from one another so their acoustic focal points occupy the same space.
“This single apparent source configuration is what makes the Blade and Blade Two so gratifyingly coherent across the frequency range, with noticeably more precise imaging than is possible from any conventional speaker,” according to KEF.
More specifically, the three-way, bass-reflex loudspeaker incorporates a 5-inch hybrid cone midrange driver, along with a 1-inch vented aluminum dome tweeter in its Uni-Q array.
Reproducing low frequencies, the Blade Two features four 6.5-inch woofers setup in a force-cancelling array.
Residing in discrete chambers separated by a partition that minimizes standing waves, the force-cancelling woofer array doesn’t require internal dampening materials U.K-based company adds.
KEF also says the Blade Two employs low-order crossovers that include, “the best components available,” as well as its screw-in linking plugs that eliminate wiring links.
KEF says the crossover components are hand wired to ensure increased reliability and the highest possible performance.
John Rein, co-owner of AV Therapy, says his business recently added the KEF Blade Two speakers to his showroom, and that customers have been impressed.
“The reaction to them has been quite positive from everyone who has heard them. The number one comment we get from everyone is they ‘disappear,’” remarks Rein. “KEF worked hard over the years to make sure that would be the end result of this design.”
Rein explains that KEF’s engineering team prioritized the speaker’s ability to deliver an enveloping listening experience that his clients have immediately noticed.
“What [the engineering] has led to is a three-dimensional image that is just about second to none. Depth, width, height, all correct,” emphasizes Rein. “It is one of those speakers that is so efficient that today we are driving it with a 50-watt tube amp without any difficulty at all. So you don’t need a mega amp to drive them. If you do have a mega amp the bass will get a little more prodigious. That’s about the only benefit you’ll get.”
Beyond the sheer performance of the speakers, Rein adds that the one polarizing element of the speakers is the industrial design. Rein says the design is striking, but at first glance the traditional values of New England consumers use to Victorian and other similar styles that are often chosen in the Northeast cause some hesitancy.
Ultimately, he says, once his clients hear the Blade Two speakers, the listening experience mitigates the conservative design tastes consumers have.
“I think this is a speaker that anyone with a modern home will like,” comments Rein. “We are in New England and some of the people say [the speaker is] very modern looking, but once they sit down and listen, they don’t care anymore.”
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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