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KEF: IT STARTED IN A NISSIN HUT


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Mar 31, 2016

How one man in his hut helped drive the British Audio industry.

Martins started to retail Kef products during the 70’s models such as the Cadenza, Concord and Reference 104 were extremely popular at the time. Some of our customers are still using these products today! Fast forward 50 years and Kef still produce some of the world’s best speakers.

Kef founded in 1961 has always used creative and ground breaking techniques, design lead concepts and innovation of technologies, to enhance the pleasure of recorded music. Founded by Raymond Cooke OBE, a former radio engineer in the royal navy, and also a key member of staff in the  BBC Engineering Designs Department. He pioneered quality engineering with a keen preference to developing new technologies and experimenting with new materials, all in the pursuit of pure sound reproduction.

Technologies’ and Kef have always had a indivisible relationship, sonic performance improved by computer analysis became a ground breaking moment in KEF history. This led to “total system design” and production techniques, including aerospace derived modelling plus techniques such as acoustic compliance and driver coupling, all combine to deliver the high end sound Cooke strived for.

Kef’s name was inspired by its original 1961 research lab on the banks of the river Midway. Housed in a war-time Nissin hut, the name is derived by the previous occupant’s, Kent Engineering & Foundry.

 Raymond Cooke enjoyed many moments of success, his passion driving the development alongside the BBC in the mid 1960’s of the plastic diaphragm, used in the three way Bextrene coned LS5/5. Soon after in1966 Kef introduced the first commercially available Bextrene coned drive unit the B110.

 Unfortunately Raymond Cooke MBE passed away in 1995. He did see the world wide acclaim for his Reference Series Model 100 and the key to the success was the Uni-Q array which Kef pioneered 6 years earlier.

 

Development by Kef continued to inspire his fellow British Audiophile Engineers. Becoming an early adopter at the inception of computing, using them to test and analyse speaker behaviour. Kefs premium reference series grew out of this success, success that saw them able to match pairs of speakers with half a decibel of each other.

At the end of the 70’s saw the breakthrough of driver decoupling, a technique of reducing cabinet coloration by mounting drivers via lossy coupling.

 The space race was the next inspiration for Kef, using the powerful magnets developed by Nasa, they introduced the Uni-Q point source driver array. Between the magnets and Uni-Q, new smaller magnets could be placed in the once unreachable “sweet spot” allowing for wider dispersion.

 

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