To Maidstone this morning, visiting the Kent Engineering Foundry – better known as KEF – who invited us down to discuss weatherproof speakers. As a top name amongst the audiophile community, we were looking forward to auditioning their Ventura outdoor range as a candidate for next month’s installation. What we hadn’t anticipated was a comprehensive tour of their facilities, encompassing a museum of KEF’s engineering achievements since the 1960s, plus their Acoustic Laboratory, featuring anechoic chamber and all manner of analysis equipment.
Aside from their plaudits in the engineering world, we’re really pleased to be able to work with local technology: KEF’s home is just 40 miles down the road from Dungeness, in Maidstone, Kent, where they’ve been located since their inception in 1961.
In KEF's showroom, fully furnished with listening sofa (just out of shot) and a vast array of speakers.
Sadly outside the Variable 4 budget, a pair of these ultra top-end Muon units would set the discerning listener back $140k.
Their launch event also featured an interactive installation from toxi.
Ron was kind enough to show us around the KEF collection, an archive of their engineering since the 1960s. Kept in its entirety in their still-hometown of Maidstone, any London visitors to Variable 4 will pass by it on their way to Dungeness.
Perhaps most remarkable about the visit was the palpable air of reverence towards the company's heritage. Pictured here is Raymond Cooke, the founder of KEF.
The Acoustics Laboratory, where all of KEF's sonic R&D takes place. We're told that this is one of only two such speaker research labs in Europe, the other being with Bang & Olufsen in Copenhagen.
The eery innards of the anechoic chamber...
...followed by the neverending reverberations of the echo chamber.