Of the many landmark innovations KEF has pioneered, arguably the greatest of all is the Uni-Q® point source driver array, with its outstanding acoustic clarity and off-axis dispersion. With over 20 years of continuous innovation and development the Uni-Q® driver array achieves a level of sound quality over a broad area simply not achieved from conventional speakers.
With Uni-Q®, sounds come at you so naturally that it seems as if the musicians or actors are actually there in front of you. Whether you are in the centre of the room or off to one side, recordings sound uncannily real and utterly convincing. Uni-Q® achieves this because, unlike conventional speakers, the sound that is critical to the experience comes from the same point in space, and is produced in a controlled and continuous way over the whole audio range.
It has been well known for many years in the audio industry that one of the ideal forms for a loudspeaker is the ‘point source’ – where all the sound is radiated from the same point in space. To do this, the drive units (for example, the bass and treble units in a two-way system) need to be mounted so that their acoustic centres are at the same place. The problem in achieving this was the sheer physical size of the treble unit, which prevented it from fitting in the centre of the bass unit. Various forms of co-axial units emerged where the tweeter was mounted either in front of or behind the acoustic centre of the bass unit but these have significant drawbacks. The key to the invention of Uni-Q was the arrival on the market of a new magnetic material called Neodymium-Iron-Boron, which has ten times the magnetic strength of a conventional ferrite magnet. This material allowed a high sensitivity treble unit to be made small enough to fit within the voice coil diameter of a typical bass unit and so be placed at the precise point where the acoustic sources are ‘coincident’.
From a listener’s perspective, the combination of the matched directivity and precise time alignment in all directions gives significantly improved stereo imaging over a wide listening area, the realism of which is enhanced by the even balance of the reverberant energy within the listening room.