KEF Blade One Meta, this is the new flagship of the English loudspeaker manufacturer KEF, immediately followed by its sister, the also new KEF Blade Two Meta. The company from Maidstone thus heralds a generational change in the high-end segment, thus presenting first and foremost the unique speaker systems KEF Blade and KEF Blade Two in a new, significantly revised version. How could it be otherwise, of course, the revolutionary KEF Meta Technology is the focus, which is now also an integral part of the reference speaker systems.
This is also the reason for the new names that now adorn the flagships of the English, namely KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta.
KEF Blade – Exploring the art of the possible
It was quite a statement when KEF first introduced the KEF Blade, offering hi-fi enthusiasts not only a new loudspeaker system with an exceptional technical concept, but also a solution with outstanding design.
This unique design was conceived in collaboration with Eric Chan of the New York company ECCO Design Inc., resulting in a true sound sculpture, which despite its impressive dimensions is perceived as an extremely graceful appearance.
An audiophile work of art
This special design was made possible by the choice of material, here laminar-processed, glass-fiber-reinforced plastic – specifically polyurethane – was used to realize the parabolic curves of the housing.
KEF went on record to say that the sculptural design of the KEF Blade, and subsequently its “little sister” KEF Blade Two, was driven primarily by acoustics; the fact that this also made it an outstanding example of industrial design at its best was an added bonus.
When it comes to the technical implementation, the two solutions KEF Blade as well as KEF Blade Two also proved to be particularly innovative concepts, because here the principle of the point source was followed. Thus, a KEF Uni-Q driver, which is seamlessly integrated into the curved shape, is enthroned centrally at the front, combining midrange driver and tweeter, while the bass drivers, of which there were four, were integrated at the sides. They are arranged symmetrically back to back, so that they can work particularly efficiently, but any disturbing influence on accurate imaging is eliminated.
So when KEF spoke of true works of art for the KEF Blade and KEF Blade Two solutions, it was by no means an exaggeration.
KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta – continuation of a unique concept
All of what has been described so far still applies, of course, to the new generation of speaker systems now presented by KEF, the KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta. According to the company, these represent the perfection of a groundbreaking concept that is intended to inspire with nothing less than the ultimate sound experience.
Once again, they point to the two new models as audiophile works of art, solutions that symbolize luxury, that can be seamlessly integrated into modern or classic interiors, and that are aimed at hi-fi enthusiasts who want to enjoy every nuance of music.
Of course, nothing has been changed in the basic concept of the speaker systems, so the KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta solutions once again present themselves with the already mentioned unique sculptural design.
The housing has gentle radii, nowhere are there corners and sharp edges here. Rather, the housing tapers from top to bottom as well as from front to back, so that no negative influences of the geometry, such as standing waves, can affect the sound quality. The construction is also extremely solidly made, even if you don’t see it, and additionally damped inside at strategically crucial points, so that KEF speaks of an acoustically insensitive housing.
To back this up a bit with numbers: the KEF Blade One Meta measures a whopping 1,590 mm in height, has a width of just 363 mm, and a depth of 540 mm after all. It is therefore ultimately a very powerful speaker system, which also weighs a proud 57.2 kg.
The KEF Blade Two Meta is a notch smaller with a height of 1,461 mm, has a width of 338 mm and a depth of 475 mm. This speaker system is also quite impressive and weighs 35.3 kg.
In this context, it should be mentioned that both sound sculptures owe their particularly slim, graceful impression not least to their elegant stand, which is designed in such a way that the flowing design is seamlessly adopted and still provides a solid, secure stand. Of course, the two speakers sit on spikes that can be flexibly adjusted in height.
Single Apparent Source Technology
The focus of the new KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta models is also the principle of the point source, the company calls this Single Apparent Source Technology, which can be translated roughly with an apparently single sound source. This is true here, although the two models KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta are each three-way bass reflex systems and thereby both solutions use a few drivers.
The intention here is that everything is done to unfold the sound seemingly from a single point, from which low, mid and high frequencies are emitted.
This can only be achieved by using perfectly calibrated drivers in the speaker systems in addition to the very special design concept already described. Once again, four bass drivers are used, which are arranged in symmetrically opposed pairs around the two-way KEF Uni-Q chassis. This special driver in turn ensures that the midrange and tweeter are arranged around the same acoustic center.
The bass reflex ports are located at the rear of the speaker systems, and here again for a homogeneous radiation not only flow-optimized designed, but evenly distributed over the height of the speakers mounted.
KEF Uni-Q with MAT – The now 12th generation
A very important aspect is, as already mentioned, the so-called KEF Uni-Q chassis, which combines the tweeter and midrange driver as a coaxial speaker system and is used here now already in the 12th generation. What’s more, it’s even a driver tailor-made for use in the KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta, and is said to offer nothing less than flawless performance.
KEF has always been a technology-driven company and a leader in state-of-the-art simulation and analysis tools in loudspeaker development. It’s an expertise that the company, which celebrated its 60th birthday last year, has built up over decades, and one that has naturally played a significant role in the development of the new KEF Uni-Q generation.
In addition, of course, as the name suggests, the KEF Blade Series models also feature KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology for the first time.
KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology
The so-called KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology, also known as KEF MAT, is a particularly innovative solution that is an essential component of the KEF Uni-Q chassis of the 12th generation and was first used in the latest generation of KEF LS50, the KEF LS50 Meta.
What is ultimately meant by this is a disc made of a synthetic material with a highly complex labyrinth-like structure that is used at the rear of the driver. In this structure, each of the complicated channels serves to absorb a specific frequency particularly efficiently. If you combine differently shaped channels, the construction based on this ultimately acts like an acoustic black hole, according to the manufacturer’s figurative description, because 99 percent of the unwanted sound waves coming from the back of the driver are absorbed. This therefore rules out the possibility of these even somehow influencing the reproduction of the entire KEF Uni-Q chassis, thus guaranteeing a particularly pure, natural sound.
But the new generation KEF Uni-Q chassis offers even more in terms of innovations, for example, a new, stiffened aluminum dome tweeter is used, which can deliver consistently smooth, transparent and radiant highs regardless of the volume, according to the Maidstone-based company. In order to implement KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology, KEF engineers also had to rework the tweeter gap damper to create space accordingly.
By optimizing the cavity shape and strategically placing two rings of porous material, the manufacturer says resonances and imperfections are effectively damped, greatly improving detail and clarity.
Also new is the midrange motor design, which features a copper ring embedded in the motor gap to minimize inductance and variation of inductance with coil position. This is said to lower midrange distortion and reduce thermal compression, resulting in improved efficiency.
A new driver surround is said to provide greater excursion free of diffraction, extending the midrange, and likewise the contours of the dome, midrange and surround have been extensively optimized to ensure a perfectly smooth transition to the cabinet.
In a proven manner, the so-called Tangerine Waveguide Technology in the tweeter ensures a controlled airflow and a wide, even radiation and a natural sound field.
The KEF Uni-Q driver is fully decoupled via a newly developed, flexible chassis, so that even the slightest vibrations cannot affect the sound in any way.
Rich, clearly accentuated bass
As already mentioned, there are no less than four bass drivers that the KEF developers have always used in all models of the KEF Blade Series, including the new models KEF Blade One Meta as well as KEF Blade Two Meta.
The bass drivers now used have of course been optimized for interaction with the KEF Uni-Q drivers of the 12th generation with KEF MAT, to provide an enormously powerful, yet always controlled and therefore accurate imaging, and in total to guarantee the natural sound image.
The four vented woofers with voice coils decoupled from the diaphragm are each integrated in pairs back-to-back in the speaker cabinet, so that kinetic forces inside are completely balanced and thus cannot distort the sound. In addition, each pair is installed in a separate chamber to reduce the need for damping, as KEF puts it on record.
Of course, the developers also devoted themselves to the crossover for the new generation, after all, it was also necessary to make adjustments for the new drivers and fine-tune them for maximum clarity.
It should also be mentioned that in the proven manner, the connection panel of the two solutions KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta is equipped with particularly high-quality components, namely two pairs of screw terminals each from the specialist WBT. Bi-wiring is thus just as possible as bi-amping.
KEF Blade One Meta in detail
The KEF Blade One Meta is designed as a three-way bass reflex system, which has a special construction to achieve the ideal of a single sound source. This initially relies on a KEF Uni-Q chassis with 25 mm aluminum dome with KEF MAT, as well as a midrange driver with 125 mm aluminum cone.
The four woofers installed in force cancelling arrangement also have aluminum cones, each with a diameter of 225 mm.
This allows for a frequency range between 27 Hz and 45 kHz (free field, -6 dB), with the crossover starting at 350 Hz and 2 kHz. With an impedance of 4 ohms as well as a sensitivity of 88 dB, this loudspeaker system is designed for amplifiers with a power between 50 and 400 watts and can develop a maximum sound pressure of 117 dB.
As already described in the introduction, the KEF Blade One Meta with dimensions of 1,590 x 363 x 540 mm brings it to a remarkable 57.2 kg.
KEF Blade Two Meta in detail
The KEF Blade Two Meta is also a three-way bass reflex system designed to appear to be a single sound source. The KEF Uni-Q driver used here is exactly the same as that used in the KEF Blade One, so it’s also designed as a 12th generation model with KEF MAT and features a 25mm aluminum dome tweeter, as well as a 125mm midrange driver with aluminum cone.
Four drivers with 165 mm aluminum cone and force cancelling arrangement are used here as bass drivers.
According to the data sheet, a frequency range between 30 Hz and 45 kHz (free field, -6 dB) can be reproduced, whereby the crossover starts at 450 Hz and 2.2 kHz, respectively. The impedance is listed at 4 ohms and the sensitivity at 86 dB, whereby amplifiers with a power between 50 and 400 watts are recommended. The maximum sound pressure is found with 116 dB in the data sheet.
The KEF Blade Two Meta weighs in at a hefty 35.5 kg with dimensions of 1,461 x 338 x 475 mm.
Different design versions
Such a single design concept naturally demands different color variants. KEF has already shone here with a very good sense for noble finishes, whereby they have skillfully understood to include the special properties of the KEF Uni-Q chassis in the look. Indeed, the aluminum diaphragm allows it to be anodized in different colors, and thus always form an attractive contrast to the housing.
Thus, the KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta models are available in as many as eight different finishes, with five cabinet colors can be combined with six driver cone colors. Customers can thus choose between Piano Black/Copper, Piano Black/Grey, Frosted Blue/Blue, Frosted Blue/Bronze, Charcoal Grey/Red, Charcoal Grey/Bronze, Racing Red/Grey and Arctic White/Champagne. As if that wasn’t enough, KEF is also offering the option to manufacture custom finishes starting in June 2022, with any RAL color for the cabinet said to be possible.
It should also be mentioned that the KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta models are, of course, handmade in Maidstone, Kent.
Pricing and availability
KEF states that the new KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta models are available now. The KEF Blade One Meta model is offered at a suggested retail price of € 35.000,-, while the KEF Blade Two Meta requires an estimate of € 26.000,-.
If you want to purchase a unique KEF Blade, i.e. a KEF Blade entirely according to your own ideas in an individually selected color, this will cost € 39.000,- for the KEF Blade One Meta and € 29.000,- for the KEF Blade Two Meta.
Getting to the point
For us, the KEF Blade has always been an excellent example of how to combine high-end hi-fi solutions with outstanding technical features with excellent industrial design. The concept around the KEF Blade Series is, it can be clearly stated, unique, and this has not changed with the new generation, now available in the form of the new KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta models. That KEF relies here, of course, first and foremost on new drivers, here brings the revolutionary KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology into play, was foreseeable and should not be a surprise to anyone. Nor that the new models KEF Blade One Meta and KEF Blade Two Meta are once again outstanding speaker systems of the reference class.
|PRODUCT||KEF BLADE ONE META UND KEF BLADE TWO MET|
|Price||KEF Blade One Meta € 35.000,-|
KEF Blade Two Meta € 26.000,-
KEF Blade One Meta Custom Colour € 39.000,-
KEF Blade Two Meta Custom Colour € 29.000,-