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KEF speakers turn up in all sorts of places, from recording studios to high-end home cinema systems, but what makes them so special, and where do they come from? 


Weird name, German maybe?

Actually they hail from Ecclestone Road, Maidstone, in Kent


So what’s a KEF?

It stands for Kent Engineering & Foundry, the name of the former occupants of a Nissen Hut, on the banks of the Medway River, where electrical engineer Raymond Cooke set up his loudspeaker factory, in 1961.


What was the first product?

The K1 speaker, using revolutionary materials like polystyrene and Mylar; remember this was the early 1960s. Then came the famous Celeste bookshelf speaker, it was an instant hit.


Off to a good start then?

A succession of top sellers followed, including the Concord, Concerto, Cresta and the Chorale in 1969. The first of two Queens Awards for Export came Kef’s way in 1970.


And then?

KEF pioneered computer design in the early 1970s, the first of the Reference Series models appeared in 1973. The  innovative three-storey Model 105 was launched in 1977 and the US market opened up in 1985. In 1988 the revolutionary Uni-Q, single point source speakers made their first appearance.


Are now?

KEF was acquired by new owners in 1992; new models and accolades flowed thick and fast. Sadly Raymond Cooke died in 1996 but his spirit of innovation continues with new Q Series and Monitor Series speaker, launched recently.



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