KEF Rolls Out the R-Series

Been lusting after a pair of KEF's cutting-edge (sorry!) Blade speakers, but don't happen to have $30,000 lying around idle? Well, those of you without Apple Computer–style cash reserves can now enjoy some of the Blade's design innovations at a much lower price point.

Making their debut at the CEDIA Expo next week and hitting retail shelves in October, the new R-Series speakers are based around KEF's Uni-Q midrange driver/tweeter array; combining the two in a single unit (in which they share acoustic centers) gets closer to the theoretical acoustic ideal of a full-range point source, and in practice should make for better imaging and high-frequency response. Drawing again on the Blade, the Uni-Q array is mounted in a cast-aluminum chassis using KEF's Z-flex surrounds; the signature "tangerine" waveguide aids high-frequency dispersion.

A full range of speakers will be available, from two-way bookshelves employing a single Uni-Q array to three-way towers employing a Uni-Q alongside 2 8" low-frequency drivers. If you're looking to build a surround or home theater setup, two center channels, a subwoofer, and a dipole (employing a slightly larger Uni-Q array, based around a 5.25" midrange driver rather than the 5" model used in the rest of the line.)

Cabinetry employs constrained-layer damping to eliminate vibration, and (typically from the computer-modeling/finite-element-analysis enthusiasts at KEF), the ports were designed using computational fluid dynamics modeling. And again typical for KEF, that technology looks nice too. Everything's available in piano black, rosewood, or walnut finishes to suit your space. The company claims performance that "comes close to...[their] Reference Series," so at these prices you should definitely be taking a listen if you're in the market for any of the configurations in the series.