Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

KEF unveils latest high-end Blade and Reference speakers

British hi-fi brand KEF has announced the launch of the latest speakers in its premium Blade and The Reference series.

According to KEF, these two ranges demonstrate “how innovation and design can create the most accurate and realistic sound with acoustics in mind.”

The Reference series is made up of two three-way floorstanding speakers, a three-way standmount speaker, and two three-way centre speakers that can be used as Left-Centre-Right (LCR) speakers.

Two speakers make up Blade range in the Blade One Meta and Blade Two Meta, and they are certainly one of the more unique-looking efforts, almost looking like a surfboard standing upright.

Blade One Meta and Blade Two Meta speakers in group shot

Acoustics have dictated the look of the Blade, the complex parabolic curves of acoustically inert cabinets have been engineered to eliminate any standing waves that could affect the sound. Inside the cabinet, the Blade benefits from the KEF’s latest speaker advancements, using Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) – a material that absorbs 99% of wanted sound – to reduce distortion and produce a purer sound.

This is alongside a bespoke 12th generation Uni-Q driver array, which is further complimented by the Single Apparent Source technology. The goal of this tech is to achieve the “acoustic ideal of a point source, where low, mid and high frequencies radiate from one point” for a more coherent performance across all “all audible frequencies”.

KEF REFERENCE 1 Meta with grille off

The Reference take on a more traditional appearance with their elegant form factor. All cabinets have been designed using finite element analysis (which simulates physical phenomenon) to decipher the ideal shape and bracing geometry to minimise secondary radiation from the sides. By using Constrained Layer Damping, and remaining vibrations are turned into heat.

They also use the Uni-Q drivers with Metamaterial Absorption Technology, the contours of the dome within the speaker’s midrange horn and surround have been computer-optimised for smoother transition into the cabinet. And KEF’s patented tangerine waveguide manages the airflow to recreate the “wide, even spread of a natural sound field”, dispersing high-frequency imaging throughout a room.

Both speakers are full of technology and that’s certainly had an effect on the asking price, as neither the Blade or The Reference speakers come cheap. The Blade One Meta and Two Meta sell for £30,000 and £22,500 respectively, while The Reference series ranges from £17,500 for the Reference Meta 3 to £4,750 for the Reference Meta 2.

  • Blade One Meta: £30,000
  • Blade Two Meta: £22,500
  • Reference 5 Meta: £17,500
  • Reference 3 Meta: £11,500
  • Reference 1 Meta: £7,500
  • Reference 4 Meta: £6,500
  • Reference 2 Meta: £4,750
  • S-RF1 Floor Stand: £1,000
  • REF 8b Subwoofer: £6,000

The Blade comes in eight finishes (a blend of five cabinet finishes and six driver cone colours), and those colours are: Piano Black/ Copper, Piano Black/Grey, Frosted Blue/Blue, Frosted Blue/Bronze, Charcoal Grey/Red, Charcoal Grey/Bronze, Racing Red/Grey Arctic White/Champagne.

The Reference mixes three cabinet finishes and five driver cone colours: Satin Walnut/Silver, High-Gloss White/Blue, High-Gloss White Champagne, High-Gloss Black/Grey, High-Gloss Black/Copper.

Both go on sale this month with requests for customised finishes for the Blade starting June 2022.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words