When KEF was founded in 1961, by Raymond Cooke and a small group of like-minded colleagues, the prime objective was to design loudspeakers using the latest materials technology and with the best engineering methods. The fact that KEF is one of the most well known and respected brands in the audio industry is due, to a large part, to the innovative drive units the company has developed over five decades. KEF drive units have always been around the best on the market; they have used the latest technology, and have been manufactured in a controlled way to be consistent and reliable. They have been utilised not only in the successful KEF systems but also in those of a plethora of other manufacturers and the home constructors who chose to build them into their own enclosures. The units and the technology behind them has gone down in history as a highly significant contribution that KEF has made to the audio industry, a fact acknowledged in 1993 when Raymond Cooke was awarded the Silver Medal by the Audio Engineering Society for outstanding contributions to transducer measurements.
The following article is dedicated to the KEF drive units of the 1960s, 70s and 80s and focuses on what we might call the ‘classic’ units; such as the Melinex domed tweeters, Bextrene coned bass/midrange units and the Polystyrene diaphragm bass drivers. It contains a brief history of the most significant KEF drive units and a reference section for drivers introduced up to the mid 1980s.
Drive unit datasheets available for download: