KEF is coming up with seven models in the new R Series Meta. Can you give us an overview?
Clark Jungmann: The R-Series Meta is very broadly positioned and offers a variety of solutions for audiophile demands. The basic idea of the R-series remains; the R3, 5, 7, and 11 are extended with the Meta technology and thus get a refreshed sound. In home theater, there are now two different center speakers instead of just one successor to the R2C: R2 Meta and the LCR-ready, large R6 Meta, as well as a Dolby Atmos surround speaker, the R8 Meta.
What are the special features of the new series?
Clark Jungmann: KEF has not only used the 12th generation Uni-Q chassis in the latest generation, but has also made numerous detail improvements to achieve even better sound quality. Metatechnology, or Absorption Technology (MAT for short), is the big innovation here, ensuring particularly effective absorption of unwanted sound at the rear of the tweeter. Furthermore, the gap between the tweeter and midrange driver has been optimized, which results in less turbulence, and the entire chassis is decoupled from the cabinet.
Can you tell us more about the MAT that is being used?
Clark Jungmann: The MAT is an element made of a special material – a flat disc with a labyrinthine structure placed behind the driver. This results in 99 percent absorption of the high frequency radiating to the rear and a performance that is always controlled and free of distortion. The speakers were significantly more resolving than those of the “old” R series. The new generation thus inherits the good qualities of the current Reference series. I tried through various volumes, from upscale room volume to near concert level, at no level did I feel overstressed. Impressive.
What makes the 12th-generation Uni-Q chassis so special?
Clark Jungmann: The 12th generation Uni-Q chassis features several notable characteristics. One of them is the use of an innovative, newly developed aluminum alloy that has greater rigidity and strength than conventional materials. This allows the shape of the chassis to be made even more precise, which in turn leads to better acoustic performance.
Another feature is the specially developed Tangerine Waveguide technology. This optimizes the radiation of the tweeter and improves the spatiality and detail of the sound. In addition, the 12th generation Uni-Q chassis features an improved voice coil and optimized suspension, which allow for higher linearity and more precise movement of the diaphragm. Uni-Q technology uses a special arrangement that places the tweeter exactly in the center of the woofer or midrange cone. This point source distributes sound evenly throughout the room, so every listener experiences natural, pristine sound regardless of where they sit. A sweet spot, i.e., a specific point from which the sound sounds particularly good, is thus avoided.
What can you tell us about the center speakers for home theater use?
Clark Jungmann: The R6 Meta is a great center speaker, which also works in an LCR configuration in home theaters and plays sound quality on par with the other R speakers. This allows for homogeneous multi-channel high-end solutions. The R2 is a more compact center speaker. The implementation of two different-sized center speakers (R2 or R6) allows extremely good coordination with the complete series. Another interesting application possibility is the use of three R6 as front speakers – e.g., lying on a sideboard – or in the classic setup: right-left-standing. The choice depends on individual space conditions and preferences.
And the design? Has anything changed between the series?
Clark Jungmann: There’s no difference – except for the “meta” on each driver. It remains simple and timeless. The new R Series is available in gloss black, gloss white and walnut veneer and is in previews with us now. Additionally, a Titanium Gloss Special Edition is coming exclusively for the R7 and an Indigo Edition for the R3 with matching stand.
Thanks for your first impressions, Clark.
If you’re a fan of high-quality sound or just curious about the latest developments in speaker technology, then it’s certainly a great opportunity to experience this new series during a listening session.