All the jaw-dropping performance and innovative engineering pioneered for the critically acclaimed LS50 studio monitor, and then some. Reference 1 pairs KEF’s latest 125mm (5 inch) MF/HF Uni-Q driver array with the sensational new 165mm (6.5 inch) alloy cone bass driver to create a compellingly realistic sound stage out of all proportion to its size. Mounted on shelves or stands, Uni-Q’s inherently wide, even dispersion also makes it the perfect rear channel speaker in a home theatre system that effortlessly reveals all the subtleties encoded in modern soundtracks.
"A description was needed to convey the idea that every loudspeaker is subject to scrutiny at all stages of assembly, culminating in a final test comparison with a laboratory-maintained reference standard. So the method became the name: Reference.” - Laurie Fincham, Engineering Director 1968-1991
THE REFERENCE: the standard by which others are judged, and to which they aspire. The perfect reproduction of recorded sound is what KEF's legendary Reference Series has always stood for. And after 40 years of continuous development, the Reference has earned its name as the yardstick of high-end acoustic engineering. If you're a perfectionist when it comes to enjoying movies or music, it's the one name that towers above the rest.
Uni-Q Driver Array
At the heart of The Reference is a stunning new iteration of KEF’s landmark innovation: the Uni-Q point source MF/HF driver array. With a state-of-the-art 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome tweeter at the exact acoustic centre of a highly sophisticated 125mm (5in.) midrange driver, both act as a single source that floods the listening space evenly with a flawless natural soundfield, no matter where you sit. Capturing all the nuances of the human voice, whether whispered, spoken or sung, it sounds as if the person were right there with you in the room.
Bass Driver Technology
Clean, rich and articulate bass grounds your enjoyment of stereo or multi-channel sound, and like everything else about The Reference, KEF’s new 165mm (6.5 inch) LF driver is in a class apart. With a massive vented magnet assembly and a large aluminium wire voice coil driving an exceptionally light, stiff and strong alloy cone, the dynamics and power handling are superb. Played loud or soft, in delicate passages or for full-on bass effects, the combination of advanced materials and clever engineering delivers deeply rewarding lows that blend seamlessly with Uni-Q’s immaculate midrange and treble response.
The Reference drivers are set in a smooth, strikingly distinctive front baffle engineered to eliminate response anomalies caused by diffraction. Made from an exceptionally strong laminated aluminium/resin composite and secured via high-loss pads and high tensile bolts, it adds tremendous rigidity to the inert cabinet. Finished by hand in pair-matched wood veneers to complement the composite front baffle, the shape and bracing geometry of the cabinets are computer-optimised to minimise secondary radiation from the cabinet walls and distortion from standing waves. With constrained layer damping to absorb residual vibrations, they’re engineered to eliminate any panel resonance, stray reflections or box colouration effects that would compromise the purity of the sound.
Flexible Port Technology
The Reference has innovative adjustable ports for fine-tuning the bass output to your personal taste and the room characteristics. The flexible port technology pioneered for the multi-award winning LS50 is used to reduce midrange port resonance, with the flare and profile of each port calculated by computational fluid dynamics to avoid turbulent air noise that might colour the sound.
KEF engineers computer-modelled the ideal crossover networks before exhaustively auditioning every high grade component, individually and together, to select those with the lowest distortion and the smoothest response. Perfectionism takes time, but the difference is plain to hear. Nothing is overlooked - Reference crossovers are even mounted on separate boards and decoupled from the cabinet walls to minimise vibration and crosstalk.