KEF Reference Meta Speakers Announced

KEF has announced an update to their successful Reference line of speakers. Boasting the latest iteration of their Uni-Q driver, Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), an updated cross-over, and updated finishes, the KEF Reference Meta line continues to be a pioneer in the audio space.

The KEF Reference Meta line of speakers is handmade in the KEF factory in England, painstakingly tested, and matched to within 0.5dB of one another by a KEF master craftsman. This attention to detail and fidelity set the benchmark for the KEF Reference Meta series and makes them highly sought after by AV enthusiasts.

Starting at $8999, they are certainly not cheap!

What’s New?

At the heart of every KEF speaker is their Uni-Q driver. KEF mated the Reference line with the 12th version of the Uni-Q array. While similar in design to older versions, the new Uni-Q boasts a new state-of-the-art motor system, with a unique and novel way of decoupling the speaker for what KEF claims will be “utmost clarity.”

Mated to the updated driver is a new crossover. It’s designed with new, low distortion parts and ensures signal integrity throughout.

KEF has also updated the Shadow Flare to the Reference Line. The Shadow Flare surrounds the Uni-Q driver and helps to reduce the impact of refraction on the driver. Featured on most KEF models, the new Shadow Ring promises to provide a wide and accurate soundstage.

Borrowing from their LS50 line of speakers, KEF has also included a flexible rear port. KEF claims that the flexible port will reduce port resonance while allowing for better fine-tuning of the speaker based on placement in your room.

Lastly, KEF has added Metamaterial Absorption Technology to the Reference Meta line. Introduced with the LS50 Meta’s, KEF claims that MAT will absorb up to 99% of unwanted sound. This addition should translate into deeper and richer sound.

The Line-Up

Variety is the spice of life and speakers. KEF offers the Reference Meta Line in various sizes and finishes, ensuring that you can match it to any size room and decor.

There are two floor-standing models, Reference 5 ($21,999/pr) and Reference 3 ($14,999/pr). For smaller rooms, they have one stand-mount model, the Reference 1 ($8999/pr). Also included in the KEF Reference Meta line are two center-channel models, the Reference 2 ($5999/ea) and Reference 4 ($7999/ea).

All share the same 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter (MAT) nestled in a 5-inch mid-bass cone driver (the Uni-Q driver). They are paired with a number (depending on the model) of 6.5-inch aluminum woofers.

All models come in four standard finishes (Satin Walnut/Silver, High-Gloss White Champagne, High-Gloss Black/Grey). There are two special order finishes (High-Gloss White/Blue, High-Gloss Black/Copper). This allows the user to choose a color combination that matches their personality and decor. It adds some flair to what are, traditionally, boring black boxes.

As with all KEF speakers, the grill is optional (and extra). KEF has designed the KEF S-RF1 floor stand specifically for this series.

The Specs

The KEF Reference Meta line is relatively similar in terms of sensitivity; all sit between 85-88dB sensitive, 4 ohms nominal, and can get to 111-116dB in-room. With average sensitivity and a 4-ohm load, I would think that most amplifiers could drive these. Still, to get the most from the KEF Reference, this would be one of the rare times I feel an amplifier makes sense. This is especially true for larger home theaters trying to reach reference volume.

KEF also claims impressive bass extension on these speakers. The smaller bookshelf-syle speakers will dip down to 30 Hz and the largest floor-standers hit 25 Hz. This type of performance means that a subwoofer might actually be optional!

Our Take

The new KEF Reference Meta series is a beautiful addition to the KEF lineup. They boast premium materials and finishes and a variety of sizes to fit any room. KEF looks like they are poised to continue with the performance of their Reference line with the new Meta versions. But be warned, these premium speakers come with an equally premium price tag. Starting at $8999 for the bookshelf, and topping out at $21, 999, they certainly will not be for the average consumer.

For more information, check out KEF.com.

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