In 1961, Raymond Cooke founded the company ´KEF Electronics´ on the factory premises of Kent Engineering and Foundry, with the specific goal of manufacturing speakers. With products such as the B13, successes were achieved very quickly. The next milestone for the company was the manufacturing of monitors, under license, developed by the BBC, as the LS3 and LS5. Especially the LS3/5a from 1975, based on the B110 and T27 drivers, was a phenomenal success. Even nowadays, this product counts as the reference speaker. The 80´s ushered in a totally new direction. An optimal listening position is where the various drivers in a speaker are all positioned at the same distance. Producing a true full range driver is a costly and technically complex matter. KEF came up with a remarkable design where the tweeter and midrange speaker were positioned coaxially. The small tweeter was completely built on the site where a standard midrange driver contains it´s voice coil and dust cover. The sound source became point-shaped and with this, Uni-Q was born. This unique and successful concept is used up to today by KEF.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the brand, some special series are proposed. One of them is the R series, which is wedging the gap between the top series of the brand and the more price-conscious audiophile, especially in a multichannel setting. Of course, here´s opted too for a Uni-Q driver, but in a newly developed version. The midrange cone consists of an aluminum-magnesium alloy in a cast aluminum housing. Moreover, everything is done to rule out resonances. In the middle of the driver, we find the tweeter with a neodymium magnet. Waveguides ensure proper projection in the listening room. The aluminum bass-drivers look impressive. A part of the technology comes straight from the highest series at KEF, the Reference and Blade super speakers. That´s promising. The cabinets in the test setting for some speakers, in superb, but obviously very fingerprint sensitive piano lacquer, and some other in walnut, are flawlessly finished. A grille can be installed magnetically without visible fixings , but actually that’s a diminishing of looks. The large floorstanders from the series are supplied with metal footrests, equipped with spikes, which increases the surface area. This gives you a stable cabinet that still remains slim; a successful optical and technological decision. The cabinets are also quite heavy, which is a good characteristic, to restrict vibration and sound radiation through the cabinet to a minimum. Connecting goes with very good connectors, suitable for bi-amping and burly cable diameters.

The discussable 5.1 multi-channel package consisted of 2 R700 front speakers, the center from the existing three floorstanders in the R series, two bookshelf models R300 as surround speakers, a R600 c center and a R400B active subwoofer. The general design is obviously rather modern than classical, due to the use of the aluminum Uni-Q driver and rings around the bass sound reproducers. Here, however, no roundings or curves of any kind, so ´sleek design´ is the visual description.

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