KEF Celebrates 60th Anniversary
Marlboro, NJ – 12 October 2021 – For six decades, KEF has been a proud pioneer of extraordinary sound quality, creating remarkable, award-winning speakers. Over its time its continuous innovation and pursuit of excellence has earned the brand a justifiably devoted following of audiophiles, artists, and creatives.
THE KEF STORY
KEF is named after its original site – Kent Engineering and Foundry in Maidstone – where it continues to develop its bar-setting products today. Established in 1961 by Raymond Cooke OBE, the BBC engineer was propelled by a love of music and refusal to compromise. Since its inception, KEF has existed to fill rooms with music as it was made to be heard and to move souls with truly authentic soundscapes. Over the years it has never lost sight of its British roots, uncompromising quality, or boundary-pushing innovations.
Always at the cutting edge of audio tech, KEF pioneered the early use of synthetic materials and was the first company to use computer simulation to measure and develop speaker performance, followed by the creation of its disruptive Uni-Q, Uni-Core and revolutionary Metamaterial Absorption technologies. The original collection of high-fidelity speakers, architectural speakers and subwoofers has evolved to include breakthrough wireless speakers, portable Bluetooth speakers, and headphones.
With a team of talented engineers and in-house designers who work together to maintain the brand’s audio integrity, KEF has also partnered with the likes of Ross Lovegrove, Michael Young, Sir Terence Conran, Eric Chan and Marcel Wanders to bring their unique perspectives to KEF’s product design. See Notes to Editors for a timeline of KEF key milestones over its 6 decades.
KEF TODAY & LOOKING AHEAD
Entering this next era, KEF wants to ensure that the future of high-fidelity is personal, giving more people access to an exceptional listening experience. In this anniversary year, KEF will launch the most advanced products it has ever created – to be announced in the coming months – which will again push the boundaries of the listening experience, both at home and on the move.
KEF’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY
October 2021 begins KEF’s 60th anniversary. For this special year, KEF has curated six playlists, selecting iconic British tracks that best represent each decade, which will be available to download and stream on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music. This October, there will also be the opportunity for three music fans to hear sound as their favorite artists intended, entering to win one of three set of prizes: Mu3 Earphones with a KEF Gift Bag, Q350 Bookshelf Speaker pair with a Kube 10b Subwoofer, or a LS50 Wireless II system with a KC62 Subwoofer. Entrants simply need to fill out a short form for a chance to enter. Playlists and competition entry can be found HERE.
LISTEN AND BELIEVE
KEF’s ongoing mission is to deliver sound with as little intervention as possible; from treble to bass, and everything in between. They believe that listeners should be able to close their eyes and immerse themselves in the sound so deeply that they are transported to the source in their minds. The KEF team combines their obsession with acoustic authenticity and innovative engineering to bring an unrivalled sound experience to generations.
• The first KEF speaker, the three-way K1, incorporated the innovative use of synthetic materials which are thin but strong and enabled later speakers (such as Celeste) to be very compact in size
• Celeste was created as the first ultra-compact two-way speaker system designed to give true high-fidelity performance
• KEF took on the exclusive manufacture of monitor loudspeakers for the BBC
• By the end of the decade, KEF had established itself as a leading company in the audio industry with commercial and critical success for their loudspeaker systems and their drive units, which were adopted by numerous companies around the world into their own systems
• KEF received the first prestigious Queen’s Award for export achievement as the company becomes known beyond the UK
• In 1973 KEF became the first loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to implement the use of computers in loudspeaker design and measurement in order to achieve the highest audio accuracy – its renowned Reference Series was born
• As this new approach to loudspeaker development was refined, it led to the launch of one of the most radical and sophisticated loudspeakers ever made; the Reference Model 105 was created in 1977
• KEF maintained its reputation for excellence with the highly-respected Reference Series through a series of unprecedented technical enhancements
• In 1988 KEF designed and patented the world’s first speaker driver that enlarged the optimum listening area, allowing everyone sitting at different spots in the room to experience the same natural, detailed sound – called Uni-Q
• Uni-Q became the building block of KEF signature sound and sits at the heart of almost all its speakers today
• In 1994, KEF was one of the first companies to release a THX approved home theatre system – a revolutionary subwoofer/ satellite concept
• Founder Raymond Cooke OBE sadly passed away in 1995. However, he left the company with firm guiding principles encapsulated in his core values of ‘Quality, Honesty, Dedication and Innovation’
• KEF steadily developed the use of advanced acoustical, magnetic and mechanical modelling techniques in speaker designs, allowing a huge leap in acoustic accuracy not previously achieved by other methods
• The most remarkable loudspeaker to date, Muon, was launched in 2007. A collaboration with leading industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, Muon was a triumph of form marrying function, containing acoustic breakthroughs from the
KEF engineering team
• The patented Tangerine Waveguide – which remains an iconic design of Uni-Q driver – was created to deliver an even cleaner, smoother sound
• Given free reign to create the ultimate loudspeaker without design or cost limitations, the BLADE was launched in 2011 – its precision is unprecedented
• To celebrate KEF’s 50th anniversary, a new classic LS50 was born with numerous technological breakthroughs, bringing the original studio monitor concept to the living room, enabling everyone to experience great sound at home
• In 2017, KEF introduced the first generation of LS50 Wireless – a complete, fully active music system, making high-fidelity sound digital
• A decade of unprecedented innovation, KEF introduced a number of wireless products including the EGG wireless speakers, MUO portable speakers, M Series headphones, and a collaboration with Porsche Design including Gravity One portable speakers, Motion One earphones and Space One wireless headphones
• Committed to ‘sound before all else’, KEF introduced the ground-breaking use of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) in speaker design which is created to eliminate 99% of unwanted sound
• MAT has allowed KEF to design a new range of revolutionary products, including the LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II, which delivers an unrivalled purity of sound
• The introduction of Uni-Core technology on the KC62 subwoofer in 2021 has created a new take on subwoofer design by reducing speaker cabinet size by over a third
Celebrating 60 years this year, KEF has firmly established itself at the forefront of audio excellence. From the early adoption of synthetic materials to the pioneering Reference Series that now determines industry standard, a foundation of
technological innovation, design, and craftsmanship has led the brand to produce bar-setting products in speaker design.
Founded in 1961 by BBC engineer Raymond Cooke, KEF is named after its original site, Kent Engineering and Foundry, and continues to manufacture and develop its signature pieces in Maidstone, Kent, UK. Committed to bringing a superior listening experience to audiophiles, the brand’s revolutionary collection of speakers and subwoofers has evolved to include wireless speakers, portable speakers, and headphones – allowing KEF to bring high-fidelity sound to more people in their homes and on the move.