The Reference 3 is part of KEF's prestigious and famous Reference range of speakers. It is a slim three-way Floorstanding Tower speaker design that continues from where the Award Winning Reference 1 bookshelf speakers start things off. By becoming a floorstanding speaker, the ability to add more power handling and an even more visceral and deeper, dynamic and tuneful bass is achieved by the KEF engineers.
The KEF Reference 3's feature the latest Uni-Q ‘point source’ driver array, combining a 1" vented aluminium dome with a Tangerine wave-guide mechanism which is used coincidentally within the acoustic centre of a 5" aluminium-coned midrange driver. This latest Uni-Q driver is a common trait throughout the Reference range (and was originally developed for the Mighty KEF Blades).
Bass duties are provided via custom designed and manufactured twin 6.5" aluminium-coned woofers. These newly developed drivers feature massive vented magnet systems and high-temperature aluminium wire voice-coils for very high power-handling (recommended up to 300W rms amplifier power). As per tradition, all the custom drivers are built in-house by KEF. By utilising 6.5" Bass Drivers, KEF has managed to keep the dimensions of the Reference 3 to a relatively slim 205mm width and 1155mm height. KEF specifies a frequency response from 32Hz to 45kHz ±6dB, but also state the speaker will typically deliver frequencies down to 28Hz in an ‘ in-room’ situation. The most astonishing specification is the Reference 3's ultra low distortion across an ultra wide bandwidth.
The KEF Reference 3's will re-define your thoughts about what a slim tower speaker can sound like. They present an astonishingly large and accurate soundstage that KEF is famous for, as well as adding stupendous bass extension and dynamics from low to very high volumes - oh, and they happen to look drop dead gorgeous whilst doing so. From Beethoven to the Beatles, from Zappa to ZZ Top - the KEF Reference 3's continually astound by revealing details you never realised were in the music. They achieve this by being very wide bandwidth, very dynamic, very low distortion and tonally neutral. If you are lucky enough to have experienced a KEF Reference Home Cinema Package it is a jaw dropping experience for all the same reasons.
The KEF Reference series is a stalwart and a fixture in the audio business. There has been a 'Reference' model in the KEF range since the Model 104 back in 1973. KEF became the first loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to implement computer-assisted 'total system design'. New and revolutionary digital testing equipment gave the KEF engineers access to relevant crossover and drive unit data at a glance, assisting them enormously in the development of a highly advanced generation of audio equipment.
This pioneering use of computer-generated data enabled KEF’s engineers to match pairs of speakers to within one half of a decibel, making them the audio-technology equivalent of identical twins. Exact pair matching results in perfect stereo and these revolutionary speaker systems became renowned for their superior acoustic accuracy. Models in the range included the widely celebrated Model 104 – the first domestic unit to match the standards of a broadcast monitor loudspeaker.
The KEF Reference series delivers an even more dynamic, accurate sound than the R series. Reference series speakers use a composite damped aluminium front baffle with tensioning bolts to absorb energy and minimize resonance transfer into the cabinet. (vs MDF box in the R series). The drivers are more advanced in ways that you don't see, for instance the tweeter is comprised of two layers of aluminium with different shapes to change the radiation pattern and break up resonances in the dome, The Reference tweeter combines the extended high frequencies of a diamond driver without the weight extension and goes up to 35K with very low distortion characteristics (it is only a single piece dome in the R series). The woofer has a more extended throw with a new type of suspension and damping system delivering lower distortion along with greater dynamics and power handling. The Reference series also have both better cabinet bracing as well as superior crossover parts and designs.
The current KEF Reference series speakers continue to implement advanced technologies to ensure that they stay true to the Reference moniker.
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