KEF & Linn collaborate on Seriously Superior Speaker

Two of Britain's best team up to improve Reference 5

by Mark Hodgkinson May 12, 2016 at 9:58 AM


  • Hi-Fi News

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    KEF & Linn collaborate on Seriously Superior Speaker
    KEF and Linn, two of Britain’s best loved Hi-Fi brands, have announced that they have completed a ‘major sonic improvement project' – which sounds pretty exciting even before you learn what it is!
    By working closely together, and utilising each other’s technologies, the two companies have jointly produced, and we quote, “seriously superior loudspeaker sound quality for the true hi-fi purist.”

    All passive speakers, including the very finest and most expensive in the world, suffer from some level of phase non-linearity, which means that the different frequencies of an instrument arrive at the listener’s ear at different times. Unlike other passive speakers, they claim, KEF’s signature Uni-Q technology, where the HF unit is placed at the very acoustic centre of the MF unit, allows for phase linearity through the MF/HF region. However, until now, it hasn’t been possible to create the loudspeaker designer’s ‘holy grail’ - the full bandwidth phase linear point source, dealing with the bass as well as the MF/HF region.

    This is where Linn comes in with their ‘Exakt’ technology, KEF’s R&D engineers have developed an Exakt crossover for their Reference 5 model. This crossover uses the processing engine in the Linn Exaktbox to eliminate the phase non-linearity of the passive crossover and the aggregate output of the drive units, ensuring all frequencies are time-aligned.

    A pair of KEF’s Reference 5s (pictured above) was recently modified for active operation by bypassing the internal passive crossover, allowing the individual LF, MF and HF sections to be driven directly by separate power amplifiers fed with signals from the digital crossover in the Linn Exaktbox. This was demonstrated at the recent Music High End Show in Munich to apparently ‘rapturous audiences.’

    And that’s your lot, for now. No whiff of when they might be released or how much they will cost. We guess the answers would be, ‘when they’re ready’ and ‘quite a lot.’

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