KEF Audio 209 Speaker User Manual

KEF Audio 209 Speaker User Manual
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Applicable for Reference Series Models 209 and 208, model numbers SP3557 and SP3556
WARNING
TO REDUCE THE RISK OF FIRE OR ELECTRICAL SHOCK, DO NOT EXPOSE
THIS APPLIANCE TO RAIN OR MOISTURE
Explanation of Graphical Symbols
CAUTION
The lightning flash with arrowhead symbol, within an
equilateral triangle, is intended to alert the user to the
presence of uninsulated “dangerous voltage” within
the product’s enclosure that may be of a sufficient magnitude
to constitute a risk of electrical shock to persons.
RISK OF
ELECTRIC SHOCK
DO NOT OPEN
CAUTION: TO REDUCE THE RISK
OF ELECTRIC SHOCK, DO NOT
REMOVE COVER (OR BACK).
NO USER-SERVICEABLE PARTS
INSIDE. REFER SERVICING TO
QUALIFIED SERVICE PERSONNEL
•
•
The exclamation mark within an equilateral triangle is
intended to alert the user to the presence of important
operating and maintenance (servicing) instructions in the
literature accompanying the appliance.
A combined mains power input lead and country specific mains plug is provided.
Check before connecting to your local mains supply that the local supply voltage is the same as that marked
on the rear panel. If it is not, check with your supplier before proceeding.
WARNING:
Due to the mains switch being located on the rear panel, the apparatus must be located in an open area without
anything obstructing access to the mains switch.
Because this is a Class 1 product it must be connected to the protective earth connection.
The mains plug or power connector must be readily accessible to allow the power to be removed from this product.
CAUTION:
• To prevent electric shock, do not open the rear panel.
• This product is for indoor use only.
• This electrical apparatus should not be exposed to dripping or splashing and care should be taken not
to place objects for holding liquids, such as a vase or drinks container, on top of this apparatus.
• Do not install near any heat source such as radiators, stoves or other appliances that produce heat.
• Ensure that the power plug and cord are correct for your sockets.
Do not use if they show any signs of damage.
This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following conditions:
(1) this device does not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device will accept any interference
received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
The manufacturer is not responsible for any radio or TV interference caused by unauthorised
modifications to this equipment. Such modifications could void the user authority to operate
the equipment.
NOTE:
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to
Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful
interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency
energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause detrimental interference
to radio communications.
However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does
cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment
off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one of the following measures:
• Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
• Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
• Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is needed.
• Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
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Part No.: K290225E
Issue 1: December 2007
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Important Safety Instructions
Please take heed of the following before using the KEF Reference Series Subwoofer.
Note also that the word “appliance” shall refer to the KEF Reference Series Model 209/
Model 208 Subwoofer, or any part of it.
1.
Read Instructions - All the Safety and Operating Instructions should be read before the
appliance is operated.
2.
Retain Instructions - The Safety and Operating Instructions should be retained for
future reference.
3.
Heed Warnings - All warnings on the appliance and in the Operating Instructions should be
adhered to.
4.
Follow Instructions - All Operating and Use Instructions should be followed.
5.
Water and Moisture - The appliance should not be used in or near water - for example, near a
bathtub, washbowl, kitchen sink, laundry tub, in a wet basement, or near a swimming pool, and the like.
This apparatus should only be used in moderate climates.
6.
Ventilation - The appliance should be situated so that its location or position does no interfere
with its proper ventilation. The rear panel should be at least 15cm from any object. The
ventilation should not be impeded by covering the ventilation openings with items such as table
cloths, curtains etc.
7.
Heat - The appliance should be situated away from heat sources such as radiators, heat registers,
stoves or other appliances (including amplifiers) that produce heat. No naked flame sources such as
lighted candles should be placed on the apparatus.
8.
Power Sources - The appliance should be connected to a power supply only of the type
described in the operating instructions or as marked on the appliance.
9.
Grounding or Polarisation - The precautions should be taken so that the grounding or
polarisation means of an appliance are not defeated.
10.
Power-cord Protection - Power supply cords should be routed so that they are not likely to be
walked on or pinched by items placed upon or against them, paying particular attention to cords at
plugs, convenience receptacles and the point where they exit from the appliance.
11.
Cleaning - The appliance should be cleaned only as recommended by the manufacturer.
12.
Non-use Periods - The power cord of the appliance should be unplugged from the outlet during
lightening storms or when left unused for a long period of time.
13.
Damage Requiring Service - The appliance should be serviced by qualified service
personnel when:
a) The power supply cord or the plug has been damaged; or
b) Objects have fallen or liquid has been spilled on the appliance; or
c) The appliance has been exposed to rain; or
d) The appliance does not appear to operate normally or exhibits a marked change in
performance; or
e) The appliance has been dropped or the enclosure damaged.
14.
Servicing - The user shall not attempt to service the appliance beyond that described in the
Operating Instructions. All other servicing should be referred to qualified service personnel.
15.
Only use attachments/accessories specified by the manufacturer.
16.
Use only with a cart, stand. tripod, bracket, or table specified by the manufacturer,
or sold with the apparatus. When the cart is used, use caution when moving the
cart/apparatus combination to avoid injury.
17.
The mains plug is used as the disconnect device. It shall remain readily operable and should not be
obstructed during intended use. To completely disconnect the apparatus from supply mains, the
plug must be removed from the mains socket outlet completely.
2
Important Information
The power supply cord should be routed so
that they are not likely to be walked on or
pinched by items placed upon or against it.
Thank you for purchasing this KEF Reference
Series subwoofer. It has been designed to faithfully
reproduce high quality sound over many years of
use. Please take a little time to read these
instructions prior to use.
5. When stripping cables use only tools designed
specifically for the purpose ie: correct wire
cutters or cable strippers. Do not attempt to
strip cables with a knife as this could result in
serious injury.
Your KEF Reference subwoofer is extremely
heavy. Installed correctly on a smooth, level
surface, it should be entirely safe to listen to and
to live with.
6. The appliance should not be used in or near
water or moisture - for example, near a
bathtub, washbowl, kitchen sink, laundry tub,
in a wet basement, or near a swimming pool,
and the like.
However, if you have small children, large pets, the
infirm, uneven flooring or unusually thick carpeting
in your home, then correct adjustment of the foot
assemblies is imperative for safe, stable operation
is to be achieved.
7. The appliance should be situated so that its
location or position does no interfere with its
proper ventilation. The rear panel should be at
least 15cm from any object. The subwoofer
should be situated away from heat sources
such as radiators, heat registers, stoves or
other appliances (including other amplifiers)
that produce heat.
1. Read this manual carefully, especially the safety
information, before attempting to assemble
and operate the system. Please take heed of
the following safety instructions before using
the appliance. The word “appliance” shall refer
to the KEF Reference Series Model 209/Model
208 subwoofer, or any part of it. The Safety
and Operating Instructions should be retained
for future reference. All warnings on the
appliance and in the Operating Instructions
should be adhered to.
8. The appliance should be cleaned only as
recommended in this manual.
9. The appliance should only be serviced by
qualified service personnel. The subwoofer
should be serviced if :
2. All Operating and Use Instructions should be
followed. Follow the unpacking procedure
shown. Please note that lifting the heavy KEF
Reference Series Model 209/Model 208
subwoofer will require two able-bodied
persons, or consult your dealer for assistance.
a) The power supply cord or the plug has been
damaged; or
b) Objects have fallen or liquid has been spilled
on the appliance; or
c) The appliance has been exposed to rain or
moisture; or
3. Make sure the feet are correctly fitted before
the subwoofer is lifted to the correct position.
If the subwoofer is to be used on delicate
wooden flooring please use the supplied
protective cups which fit under the feet.
d) The appliance does not appear to operate
normally or exhibits a marked change in
performance; or
e) The appliance has been dropped or the
enclosure damaged.
4. Trailing cables are dangerous. Ensure that all
cables are secure and tidy. The appliance
should be connected to a power supply only of
the type as marked on the appliance.
Precautions should be taken so that the
grounding and polarisation of the mains
connection are not defeated.
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Contents
General Care of your System
Important Safety Instructions and Information
General Care of Your System
Contents
Reference Model 209
Introduction and Overview
1. Avoid temperature extremes.
2. Avoid damp.
3. Avoid direct sunlight.
4. Clean with the KEF cloth provided.
ACE Technology
Room Correction
5. Do not use spirit based cleaners.
Installation and Operation
If you are at all uncertain about setting up, operating or caring for your system
your dealer will be pleased to assist you.
Unpacking, Handling and Aftercare
Accessories
Adjusting the Feet and/or Spikes
Subwoofer Positioning
Rear Panel Information
Remote Control and Control Functionality
Connections, Setup and Fine tuning
- connection diagrams
- movie only setup through the LFE input
- music only setup through the Left/Right input
- combined movie and music setup
- connecting to the speaker inputs (high level)
Using the Preset Equalization options
Using the Room Correction facility
Grille
Warranty
Positive/RED
Negative/BLACK
Wrong
Adjustment
Switch off appliance
Caution/Warning
Option
Electrical Warning
Read
Specifications
5
7
8
9
10
10
11
12
13
14
16
18
22
23
24
25
Reference Model 208
Introduction and Overview
Installation and Operation
27
Unpacking, Handling
Accessories
Adjusting the Feet
Subwoofer Positioning
Rear Panel Information
Control Functionality
Connections, Setup and Fine tuning
- connection diagrams
- movie only setup through the LFE input
- music only setup through the Left/Right input
- combined movie and music setup
- connecting to the speaker inputs (high level)
Grille
Warranty
28
28
29
30
31
32
34
36
40
40
40
Service Information
Specifications
41
KEF Heritage
4
4
24
24
Service Information
Correct
1
43
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Introduction and Overview
The KEF Reference Series 209 subwoofer is a ‘state
of the art’ subwoofer for use in the very best home
theatre and stereo systems. Every component is
critically designed to give optimum acoustic
performance in a compact, elegant enclosure.
The key components in the 209 subwoofer are the
drive unit, the amplifier and the enclosure – all three
of these contain innovations that make this model a
class leader.
(see page 8) is KEF’s solution to the oldest catch 22
in loudspeaker design – that to get good bass
extension with good efficiency you need a large
enclosure. The Reference Series 209 subwoofer
gives the kind of bass extension normally found in
subwoofers twice the size.
This subwoofer is specifically
designed with bass speed and
articulation in mind, because of
this we chose to make the
subwoofer a closed box design.
A closed box design does not
rely on the resonance of port or
passive radiator for output.
All sound radiation is from the
18” driver the motion of which
is carefully controlled and
damped by the amplifier and
large magnet system, there are
no port resonances to continue
ringing after a sudden bass event.
Additionally it is not possible to
recreate extreme low bass
output with a ported system,
which cannot radiate below the
port tuning frequency.
The 18” (450mm) drive unit is designed to give
60mm (peak to peak) of linear excursion.
The magnetic field, which powers the motion, is
constant over that region.
The magnet system is a
radically different design
from that found in
conventional loudspeaker
drivers, it has been
designed by KEF from the
ground up using advanced
computer modelling techniques to predict the
behaviour and orientation of the internal magnetic
field. Unlike conventional drivers the Reference 209
magnet system uses a series of 24 neodymium
magnets radially arranged around the voice coil of
the driver. This unusual topology allows the unit to
have a remarkably long range of motion while
maintaining a very strong magnetic field around the
voice coil. Together with a double suspension and
massive roll surround this allows high levels of bass
to be reproduced with very low distortion - giving
a sense of power and clarity not normally found in
high end subwoofers.
All this technology is neatly packaged in an
elegant enclosure with straightforward connection
options and an easy to use remote controlled
user interface.
You can run the Reference Series 209 subwoofer
with the default ‘switch on’ settings or experiment
with the DSP based equalisation options to fine
tune it to your particular system setup.
The amplifier section is custom designed to get the
very best out of the new drive unit. A 1000W class
D power amplifier with switched mode power
supply allows top end performance in a neat and
tidy package. In addition, the front end
incorporates Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which
is used to provide comprehensive equalization
options and an innovative room acoustic
correction system (see page 9 for an overview and
page 23 for operation guide).
Line level or high level speaker inputs are available
to allow flexibility in set-ups. In addition, line level
connections are possible as either single ended
(phono) or balanced (XLR).
For ease of use and installation the subwoofer is
equipped with an IR remote control allowing for
easy adjustment of subwoofer level, cut off
frequency and phase from your listening position.
A microphone is also included to allow the
subwoofer to measure the sound produced within
your room and compensate for abnormalities using
integrated room correction algorithms.
The enclosure is beautiful on the outside and highly
technical on the inside. Attached to the inner
surface are 30 ‘ACE’ modules - tubes of activated
carbon which increase the effective internal
acoustic volume by a factor of 2. ACE technology
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Room Correction
ACE technology
The laws of physics dictate that to get good bass
extension out of a loudspeaker you need a large
enclosure volume, and to get high output levels you
need to move a lot of air. This is why the more
expensive loudspeaker systems have large or
multiple bass drivers and big enclosures.
Many potential solutions to the enclosure size
problem have been tried over the years, but KEF’s
ACE technology is the one which genuinely works
and is useable in production systems.
This has the effect of reducing the overall air
pressure inside the enclosure. When the cone
moves out, and acts to expand the air inside the
enclosure and reduce its pressure, the granules
‘give out’ air molecules, again reducing
the pressure change. A smaller
change in the internal
enclosure pressure
is equivalent to
having a larger enclosure
volume. So by placing
modules of activated
carbon granules inside the
enclosure we are getting the
acoustic performance of an
enclosure with a much larger
physical volume.
ACE stands for Acoustic Compliance
Enhancement. Granules of activated carbon are
packed into porous fabric tubes and fitted inside
the loudspeaker enclosure. These carbon
granules are highly porous with many pores,
macropores and micropores giving them an
incredibly high surface area. ACE works by
a process called ‘adsorption’. It’s a physical
process whereby the granules of
activated carbon continually work to
reduce the acoustic pressure within
an enclosure. When the drive unit
cone moves inwards the air
pressure inside the enclosure
increases. This triggers the
carbon granules to pull air
molecules onto the
surface of the material
by the weak, gravity
type, Van de Waals force.
The adsorption process is linear
and reversible, there is no distortion
introduced because of the operation
of the carbon granules. In fact, the
bass quality of ACE loaded enclosures
is consistently admired by audiophiles
for its clarity and detail.
The listening room has a major impact on the
sound of loudspeakers, particularly at low
frequencies. In this region, standing wave
resonances in the room result in large peaks
and dips in the loudspeaker response.
Before room correction.
It is very difficult to compensate for the effect
of the room. This is mainly because the effect is
not uniform but is different at every location in
the room. If one were to perfectly correct the
subwoofer response in one location it would
inevitably
become
worse
elsewhere.
KEF engineers made the discovery that the
acoustic behaviour of the room can be
separated into two distinct parts, one part that
describes all of the spatial variation in the room
and a second part that describes the resonant
behaviour in the room. As this second
resonant part is independent of the
loudspeaker and listener positions it can be
electronically corrected for all locations in the
room simultaneously.
KEF has developed an innovative room
correction system that analyses the acoustical
characteristics of the room and then designs a
digital compensation filter to optimally correct
the subwoofer response. This method of room
correction gives a very significant audible
improvement in the subjective performance
of the bass, it sounds tighter and more defined.
Best of all, it works wherever you are in
the room.
After room correction.
An additional benefit of this method of room
correction is that it makes positioning of the
subwoofer much simpler. Traditionally it is
advisable to position subwoofers away from
walls and corners as these locations result in
very strong excitation of the room resonances.
With the KEF room correction system,
however, the resonances are electronically
compensated and there is no problem with
locating the subwoofer close to walls or in the
corner of a room.
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Installation and Operation
Unpacking, Handling and Aftercare
sunlight should, if possible, be avoided.
Furthermore the cabinet should not be allowed
to become wet.
be used for transporting and moving the
subwoofer as they do not offer the stability
required when the subwoofer is in operation.
Each Reference Series 209 subwoofer is supplied
with KEF designed substantial spikes and locking
nuts (also in the care pack). This enables fine
adjustment of level, depending on your preferred
location of the loudspeakers whatever the floor
covering: carpet, tile or block wood. In addition
to the spikes and locking nuts each Model 209
also comes with casters. The casters should only
The Reference Series 209 subwoofer is of a
closed box design. As well as producing the best
acoustical performance, the cabinet is sealed to
prevent moisture ingression. It is therefore
important that the rear panel, drive unit and trim
ring are not removed for any period of time
especially in a humid environment.
Accessories
loudspeakers. The care pack also contains the
unique product build certificate. This is a valuable
document and guarantees the quality and
craftsmanship of your subwoofer.
Unpack your subwoofer carefully and inspect for
any sign of damage. Your subwoofer left KEF’s
manufacturing facility in the UK in perfect
condition. If any damage is apparent, you should
notify your retailer or consultant immediately.
Retain the packaging in case a need arises for you
to transport the subwoofer at a later date.
The cabinet is finished in real wood veneer and
should be treated with the same care with which
you would treat fine furniture. A suitable cleaning
cloth is included in the customer care pack to
maintain the original finish and lustre. It is normal
for the appearance of wood veneer to change
with the passing of time, but locations in direct
You will notice that a special KEF care-pack is
included with the subwoofer. This pack contains
a cleaning cloth and all the required accessories
for connecting and positioning your
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Adjusting the Feet and/or Spikes
Subwoofer Positioning
Under normal circumstances your subwoofer will be
commissioned by your retailer or consultant, who
will have been trained in their installation by KEF.
The spike/locking nut combination supplied is
designed to provide small adjustments, not to
compensate for seriously irregular floors.
KEF strongly recommend that you do
not attempt to level your loudspeakers
single-handed. Recruit the assistance of another
adult - or consult an authorised KEF Reference
outlet for assistance which may be chargeable if the
purchase was not made through them originally.
Best results will be obtained if the subwoofer is
level and stable. Check the general stability of the
subwoofer by gently rocking it from side to side,
front-to-back and diagonally. Adjust the height of
each foot to ensure that the subwoofer does not
rock at all.
The listening room is one of the most variable
elements in the hi-fi chain and its effect cannot be
emphasised too strongly, nor can its effects be
reliably predicted. This is where the room
correction feature on the Reference Series 209
subwoofer becomes such an important feature.
Reference Series 209 subwoofer will help
compensate for all these effects.
KEF recommend you to place the Reference
Series 209 subwoofer in a central position in the
room and execute the room correction setup.
This is an initial compensation for your unique
room. Then move the subwoofer into a few
acceptable positions and compare the sound.
Pick the location which gives the most satisfying
sound available from the room.
As the sub-bass (low frequency) sound produced
by the subwoofer is close to omni-directional
positioning of the subwoofer is less critical than
with full range conventional speakers.
However, it is advised that the subwoofer is not
positioned too close to the listener.
When the subwoofer is in its final chosen
position, then repeat the room correction setup
and select the preset equalisation setting to
optimise the sound further.
It is often recommend that subwoofers are not
placed in the corners of the room, near soft
furnishings (which will deaden the sound) or near
reflective surfaces (which may brighten up the
sound). The room correction feature of the
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Rear Panel Information
Mains power socket and fuse holder.
Please check that the voltage indicated is correct
for your country’s mains supply voltage as this
subwoofer comes in 110V or 240V versions that
are not inter-changeable. Please return to your
KEF retailer if the setting is incorrect for the
voltage supply in your country so that it can be
changed internally.
Line input LFE.
This dedicated line level input is specifically for
LFE (Low Frequency Effects) output from a
surround sound processor. Please note that
single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available however they must not
be used simultaneously. The LFE input to the
subwoofer is not be affected by the frequency or
slope settings so there will be no conflict with
the bass management settings applied by the
external surround sound processor.
On/Off switch.
Please turn off your subwoofer during long
periods of non-use.
Microphone input.
Connect the supplied microphone with the XLR
cable to the microphone input and execute
the room correction setup. The microphone may
be removed after this set up has been
fully completed.
Speaker/high level input.
Used when the subwoofer is to be driven from
the output of the main speaker power amplifier.
Line input Left and Right.
These are used to connect the subwoofer to the
line level signal from a pre-amplifier. Please note
that single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available however they must not
be used simultaneously. If only one set of line
outputs is available on your pre-amplifier use Y
connectors to split the L and R signals between
the pre-amplifier and the KEF Reference Series
209 subwoofer or use the Line level LFE input
described below.
External IR input.
The Reference Series 209 subwoofer is only
controllable with the supplied remote control.
However the supplied external IR receiver can
be connected to this input enabling reception
from the remote control even if the subwoofer is
hidden out of site of the remote control and the
main listening position.
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Remote Control and Control Functionality
Power.
Puts the Reference Series 209 subwoofer into or
out of standby.
The Frequency and Slope controls apply only to
the Left and Right line level inputs and are not
applicable to the LFE input where it is assumed
an external surround sound processor is
controlling the bass management externally.
Auto/Manual.
Switches the Reference Series 209 subwoofer
between automatic mode or manual mode.
In automatic mode the subwoofer will go into
standby automatically after approximately 30
minutes of silence. It will automatically come out
of standby instantly when a audio signal is applied
to the inputs.
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Correct
Phase.
Adjusts the phase of the subwoofer output
relative to your main speakers from 0 to 180
degrees in 5 degree steps.
L+R EQ.
Selects the Equalisation (EQ) that is applied to
the LEFT and RIGHT line level inputs. There are
7 different EQs as defined on page 22.
The subwoofer will default to the standard “flat”
EQ unless an alternative is selected.
AUTO/
MANUAL
PHASE
LFE EQ.
Selects the EQ that is applied to the LFE line level
input. There are 7 different EQs as defined on
page 22. The subwoofer will default to the
standard EQ until an alternative is selected. It is
intentional that the LFE EQ can be set differently
from the L+R EQ so that the subwoofer can be
optimised for both a stereo system and a AV
system without having to change any wiring.
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Too Low.
Increase the frequency.
Vol.
This decreases or increases the subwoofers
volume relative to the main speakers.
L+R EQ
Frequency.
Increases or decreases the internal low pass filter
cut off frequency in the subwoofer between
25Hz and 150Hz so that it integrates with the
main speakers.
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Too High.
Reduce the frequency.
16
RCL
SELECT
Room Correction Setup.
Starts the Room Correction Setup process for
which the microphone must be connected
USER PRESETS
Presets.
Allows the user to select one of 6 different general
settings for the KEF Reference Series 209
subwoofer. Pressing and holding the Preset button
will save all of the current settings (Volume, Polarity,
Phase, Frequency, Slope, Room Correction Level
and EQs) to that numbered Preset.
17
FREQ
SLOPE
ROOM CORRECTION
Select.
This enables you to confirm the room correction
settings at each stage
Slope.
Switches the Low Pass Filter slope between 12
(shallow) and 24dB per octave (steep).
This should be set to allow the best integration
with your main speakers.
VOL
POLARITY
RCL.
Increases or decreases the Room Correction
Level applied to the acoustic output.
Polarity.
This switches the acoustic polarity of the output
by 180 degrees. The phase and polarity settings
apply to both the Left and Right line level inputs
and the LFE line level input.
POWER
LFE EQ
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Connections, Setup and Fine Tuning
All connections should be made with the amplifier switched OFF. Ensure the integrity of all
connections prior to switching the amplifier ON.
LFE line level connections
(For use with bass limited (small) main loudspeakers)
Stereo line level connections
L
R
L
R
L
R
C
SUB
LS
RS
LFE line level connections
(For use with full range (large) main loudspeakers)
Stereo speaker level connections
L
R
L
R
L
R
18
C
SUB
LS
RS
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Movie only setup through the LFE input.
the power is switched on it needs to be
acoustically integrated into your existing system.
To do this you will need to use the volume,
frequency and phase controls on the subwoofer’s
remote control. The remote control allows you
to do this whilst seated in your normal
listening position.
This dedicated line level input is specifically for
the LFE (Low Frequency Effects) output from a
surround sound A/V processor. Please note that
single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available, however, they must
not be used simultaneously. The LFE input to the
subwoofer will not be affected by the frequency
or slope settings which apply only to the Left and
Right channel line inputs.
First select the subwoofer low-pass filter slope
to match your main speakers. For a bass reflex
design speaker the slope should be set to
24dB/octave. This applies to all the KEF
Reference Series loudspeakers. For a closed box
loudspeaker, however, the slope should be set to
12dB/octave.
Once your subwoofer is connected and powered
up it needs to be integrated into your home
cinema system. To do this you will need to follow
the set-up procedure for your surround sound
processor. Set the subwoofer volume to 50 and
the phase to 0. In the surround sound
processor’s speaker menu, ensure that the
subwoofer is set to ‘on’. If using smaller satellite
speakers then set the speaker size to ‘small’. KEF
would recommend starting with the ‘small’
setting if you are unsure.
Select a piece of music that you are familiar with
which has a constant, repetitive bass line.
Start with the level and frequency controls at the
middle positions and the phase control set to 0.
Adjust the level control until you are happy with
the low frequency levels when compared with
the main speakers. Now adjust the frequency
control so that there is no obvious change in the
level of the sound from very low frequencies to
higher frequencies. Adjust the polarity and the
phase control to achieve the smoothest
integration between the subwoofer and the main
speakers. KEF recommend you take some time
making fine adjustments to the controls, whilst
listening to a varied selection of music, until you
are satisfied with the sound balance.
If you are using full range speakers set the
speaker size to ‘large’. Use the processor’s
controls to adjust the level of the subwoofer
at the same time as setting each of the
channel levels.
Music only setup through the Left/Right inputs.
To increase the low-frequency extension of your
existing stereo speakers connect the amplifier’s
line level outputs to the subwoofer Left and Right
line level inputs. If line level outputs are not
available then connect the Left and Right amplifier
speaker outputs to the speaker inputs of the
subwoofer. Once the subwoofer is connected and
Once finished it is worth pressing and holding an
available preset so that all the current settings
are saved into that preset. These settings can
then be recalled at any time by pressing the same
preset button.
20
Combined movie and music setup.
The left channel amplifier output terminal marked
‘+’ or coloured RED connects to the left
subwoofer speaker input terminal marked ‘+’.
The left channel amplifier output terminal marked
‘-’ or coloured BLACK connects to the left
subwoofer speaker input terminal marked ‘-’.
Similarly, these instructions should be followed for
making connections between the right channel
amplifier output and the right subwoofer speaker
input terminals. Correct polarity, or phase, is vital
to the proper operation of the system.
The Reference Series 209 subwoofer can be used
for both main speaker low frequency extension
and the LFE channel reproduction for a surround
sound system.
Set the subwoofer up as described in section
‘Music Only Setup’. With the subwoofer
correctly set up for stereo use, connect the LFE
output from your surround processor to the LFE
input of the subwoofer. Without making any
adjustments to the subwoofer’s controls,
including the volume level, follow the set-up
procedure on your surround processor to adjust
the subwoofer volume level (as described in
section ‘Movie Only Setup’).
Bare wire connections are the simplest to
achieve and involve stripping 12.5mm (1.2in.) of
insulation to expose the loudspeaker wire core.
(You should twist together, using clean fingers,
the ends of each multi-stranded core prior to the
next stage to ensure a good signal contact).
Having unscrewed the lower terminal cap, push
the wire through the exposed hole in the
terminal body and screw the cap down tightly.
Make sure that no stray strands come into
contact with the opposite terminal; this could
cause a short circuit between the terminals and
may damage your amplifier.
Finally, separate EQ presets can be applied for
both the stereo and LFE inputs (as detailed in
‘Preset Equalization options’, page 22).
Connecting to the speaker inputs (high level).
Speaker level or line level inputs are available to
allow flexibility in set-ups for the Left and Right
inputs. The specific LFE input is line level only to
interface with an A/V processor.
KEF recommends that high quality loudspeaker
cable be used for connecting to your Reference
Series Model 209 subwoofer high level inputs.
It is good practice to keep the cables as short
as possible.
The speaker input terminals will accept bare
wire, spade or 4mm connectors. Most good
quality loudspeaker cables have some indication,
such as colour coding or ‘ribbing’ on the
insulating material, indicating which conductor is
‘+’ or positive. Connection to the subwoofer can
then be made as follows:
Be aware that a higher quality run of cable will
always give a more rewarding presentation than
multiple runs of an inferior cable.
Poor quality cables can seriously compromise the
overall sound of your hi-fi system.
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Using the Preset Equalization options
Using the Room Correction facility
Left and Right EQs and LFE EQs are pre defined by
KEF’s acoustics engineers to allow easy selection of
the most useful response adjustments.
The Reference 209 subwoofer includes a room correction facility to optimise the performance in different
listening environments.
In order to apply the room correction function to compensate for your specific room you need to connect
the microphone and take four measurements.
These microphone measurements should be well spread out across the room and should not be
concentrated around the listening position. Please note that you can press SETUP at any point to abort the
room correction process and stop the sweep sounding.
They can be independently selected enabling a
different EQ to be applied to the L+R inputs and
the LFE line level input.
EQ0 Standard (Default)
EQ1 Bass Extension
Connect the supplied KEF microphone with the
supplied XLR lead to the rear of the subwoofer.
Press room correction SETUP on the remote control.
EQ2 Low Bass Lift
EQ3 Upper Bass Lift
EQ4 Mid Bass Cut
EQ5 High Pass Filter
Remove the grille and place the microphone
2 inch (50mm) away from the subwoofer driver. *
Press SELECT and wait whilst a sweep is sounded.
EQ6 High Pass Filter with Upper Bass Lift
Place the microphone in a far left position. *
Press SELECT and wait whilst a sweep is sounded.
Place the microphone in a central position within
the room. *
Press SELECT and wait whilst a sweep is sounded.
Place the microphone in a far right position. *
Press SELECT and wait whilst a sweep is sounded.
The new room correction algorithm is then
automatically saved.
Finally, select the Room Correction Level to be
applied to the acoustic output of the subwoofer.
The Room Correction Level can be switched off or altered between level 1, the minimum, to level 5 the
maximum amount applied to the acoustic output. Room Correction Level 3 is the default value.
22
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Specifications
Grille
For cleaning purposes, the grille should
be removed from the cabinets and brushed
lightly with a soft brush. Alternatively, use
a variable suction vacuum cleaner, with soft
brush attachment.
A dedicated grille assembly is supplied with your
subwoofer. However, if you wish you may
remove the grille by gently pulling it forward
toward you. The grille is held on via ‘pegs’ that
locate into the front baffle grille-peg sockets.
MODEL 209
Design :
Closed Box, magnetically shielded
Drive Unit Array :
If required, the grille may be removed during use.
KEF suggest the removal of the grille for serious
listening, however we strongly recommend
replacing the grill after use.
450mm (18in.) long-throw bass driver with radial
magnet system allowing +/-30mm of linear excursion.
Frequency Response :
(± 3dB)
15Hz - 250Hz
Amplifier :
1000W Class D with switched mode power supply
and DSP based control section.
Sensitivity :
(2.83V / 1m)
Warranty
Active system
Maximum Output :
120dB
Your Reference Series Model 209 subwoofer is
guaranteed against manufacturing defects in both
materials and workmanship. For further details of
how this guarantee affects you, please read the
enclosed Warranty leaflet.
Faults in a loudspeaker will be audible on all
programme sources. A fault which is evident only
when playing CDs but not, for example, when
using a radio tuner is unlikely to originate with
the loudspeakers.
It should be noted, however, that failure of the
loudspeaker due to abuse, improper or
inappropriate use and/or operation or damage
caused by other faults in your system are NOT
covered within the terms of the guarantee.
Service problems should be discussed in the first
instance with the dealer from whom the
loudspeakers were originally purchased.
Generally, warranty claims are best handled by
your dealer.
Service Information.
However, in case of difficulty, please contact:
Low Pass Filter Range :
30 to 150Hz (-3dB)
Phase Adjustment Range :
0 to 180 degrees in 5 degree steps
Impedance :
Active system
Bass Extension :
12Hz (-6dB) with EQ1
Weight :
Customer Services Department.
KEF Audio (UK), Eccleston Road, Tovil,
MAIDSTONE, Kent, ME15 6QP UK.
Telephone No.: +44 (0)1622 672261
Fax No.:
+44 (0)1622 750653
Loudspeakers are inherently reliable and rarely
give trouble. It is important to remember that
faults arising in any part of the reproducing
system will be heard via the loudspeakers and
therefore when faults occur, careful and analytical
diagnosis will be required to locate the actual
source of trouble.
www.kef.com
24
51.9kg (114.4lbs)
Dimensions (H x W x D) :
530 x 629 x 629 mm
20.9 x 24.8 x 24.8 in.
Finishes :
Piano Black
High Gloss Cherry
High Gloss American Walnut
Satin Sycamore
Satin Black
Satin Cherry
Satin American Walnut
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Introduction and Overview
The subwoofer is the heart of any home theatre
system, providing an exhilaration that brings the
sound stage physically to life. That is why the same
level of attention and care has been taken to develop
the Reference Series Model 208 subwoofer as the
rest of the Reference Series range.
in a highly efficient unit without compromising
cabinet design.
The acoustically inert cabinet is beautifully hand
finished with a level of craftsmanship and attention
to detail that complements the precision of
the components it contains. The Bass
reflex design incorporates a finely
tuned port, delivering both
performance and refinement.
Key components of any subwoofer are
the drive unit, amplifier and enclosure,
which in the Model 208 have been
perfectly
harmonised
to
deliver gloriously extended,
immaculately controlled bass
that floods the listening area.
Connectivity and flexibility are
paramount which is why the
Model
208
has
been
comprehensively
specified.
A range of connection options
including phono, balanced XLR
and high level speaker inputs ease
installation. A cinema and music
EQ option enables quick setup and
the subwoofer level, crossover
frequency, phase and slope can all be
tuned to meet individual needs.
A 300mm (12in.) drive unit
designed with the highest
quality components utilises an
optimised Strontium Ferrite
magnet system that gives 24mm
(0.94in.) peak-to-peak of totally linear
excursion. Delivering low distortion,
accurately controlled bass whether for music
or fast action cinema soundtracks.
Overall, every element of the Model 208 has been
designed to reproduce low frequency effects with
delicacy and precision together with the excitement
of sheer power and performance.
To get the very best out of the drive unit a 500W
Class D amplifier has been custom designed to form
a seamless partnership. Utilising a switched mode
power supply, top end performance can be delivered
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Installation and Operation
Unpacking, Handling and Aftercare
Each Reference Series 208 subwoofer is supplied
with KEF designed substantial spikes and locking
nuts (also in the care pack). This enables fine
adjustment of level, depending on your preferred
location of the loudspeakers whatever the floor
covering: carpet, tile or block wood. In addition
to the spikes and locking nuts each Model 208
also comes with casters. The casters should only
be used for transporting and moving the
subwoofer as they do not offer the stability
required when the subwoofer is in operation.
Accessories
also contains the unique product build certificate.
This is a valuable document and guarantees the
quality and craftsmanship of your subwoofer.
Unpack your subwoofer carefully and inspect for
any sign of damage. Your subwoofer left KEF’s
manufacturing facility in the UK in perfect
condition. If any damage is apparent, you should
notify your retailer or consultant immediately.
Retain the packaging in case a need arises for you
to transport the subwoofer at a later date.
The cabinet is finished in real wood veneer and
should be treated with the same care with which
you would treat fine furniture. It is normal for
the appearance of wood veneer to change with
the passing of time, but locations in direct
sunlight should, if possible, be avoided.
Furthermore the cabinet should not be allowed
to become wet.
You will notice that a special KEF care-pack is
included with the subwoofer. This pack contains
all the required accessories for connecting and
positioning your loudspeakers. The care pack
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Subwoofer Positioning
Adjusting the Feet
Under normal circumstances your subwoofer will be
commissioned by your retailer or consultant, who
will have been trained in their installation by KEF.
The feet and locking nut combination supplied is
designed to provide small adjustments, not to
compensate for seriously irregular floors.
KEF strongly recommend that you do
not attempt to level your loudspeakers
single-handed. Recruit the assistance of another
adult - or consult an authorised KEF Reference
outlet for assistance which may be chargeable if the
purchase was not made through them originally.
Best results will be obtained if the subwoofer is
level and stable. Check the general stability of the
subwoofer by gently rocking it from side to side,
front-to-back and diagonally. Adjust the height of
each foot to ensure that the subwoofer does not
rock at all.
The listening room is one of the most variable
elements in the hi-fi chain and its effect cannot be
emphasised too strongly, nor can its effects be
reliably predicted.
furnishings (which will deaden the sound) or near
reflective surfaces (which may brighten up the
sound).
As all rooms are different it is best to experiment
with the location of the subwoofer until you are
happy with the sound.
As the sub-bass (low frequency) sound produced
by the subwoofer is close to omni-directional,
positioning of the subwoofer is less critical than
with full range conventional speakers.
However, it is advised that the subwoofer is not
positioned too close to the listener.
KEF recommend you move the Reference Series
208 subwoofer into a few acceptable positions
and compare the sound. Pick the location which
gives the most satisfying sound available from
the room.
It is often recommend that subwoofers are not
placed in the corners of the room, near soft
30
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Rear Panel Information
110V or 240V Voltage Selection Switch.
Please check that the voltage indicated is set
correctly for your country’s mains supply voltage
as this subwoofer comes with a 110V to 115V or
220V to 240V voltage switch.
surround sound processor. Please note that
single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available however they must not
be used simultaneously. The LFE input to the
subwoofer is not affected by the frequency or
slope controls and it will not, therefore, conflict
with the bass management settings applied by the
external surround sound processor.
On/Off switch.
Please turn off your subwoofer during long
periods of non-use.
Ground Switch.
The default setting is with the Ground Switch IN.
This connects the mains earth to the audio input
circuitry. If, however, there is a buzzing noise,
caused by ground loops between the audio
source equipment and the ground of the
Reference Series 208 subwoofer, then switch the
Ground Switch to OUT.
Speaker/high level input.
Used when the subwoofer is to be driven from
the output of the main speaker power amplifier.
Line input left and right.
These are used to connect the subwoofer to the
line level signal from a pre-amplifier. Please note
that single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available however they must not
be used simultaneously. If only one set of line
outputs is available on your pre-amplifier use Y
connectors to split the L and R signals between
the pre-amplifier and the KEF Reference 208
subwoofer or use the Line level LFE input
described below.
Auto/Manual Switch.
The default setting is with the Reference Series
208 subwoofer switched into AUTO. This will
automatically put the subwoofer into standby
after approximately 30 minutes of silence. The
subwoofer will return from standby as soon as a
source signal is detected. This function can be
disabled by setting the subwoofer to MANUAL
and using the power switch to turn it on and off.
Line input LFE.
This dedicated line level input is specifically for an
LFE (Low Frequency Effects) output from a
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Control Functionality
Phase.
Adjusts the phase of the subwoofer output
relative to your main speakers from 0 to 180
degrees in 5 degree steps.
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Correct
Level.
This decreases or increases the subwoofers
volume relative to the main speakers.
Music and Cinema Setting
The Music and Cinema Switch changes the
internal EQ settings on the Reference Series
208 subwoofer. Music is a flat response as
shown below. Cinema adds a mid-bass boost
of 6dB.
This EQ is applied for both the Left and Right
and the LFE inputs.
MUSIC
Slope.
Switches the Low Pass Filter slope between 12
(shallow) and 24dB per octave (steep). This can
be set to allow the best integration with your
other speakers. Frequency and slope only apply
to the Left and Right line level inputs. The LFE
inputs are fixed at a cut off frequency of 200Hz
and a slope of 24dB/Octave so that the settings
do not interfere with the bass management
setting on an external A/V receiver.
Standard Flat Response
CINEMA Mid Bass Lift
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Too Low.
Increase the frequency.
Frequency.
Increases or decreases the internal low pass
filter cut off frequency in the subwoofer
between 40Hz and 140Hz so that it integrates
smoothly with the main speakers. It is only
applied to the Left and Right inputs and is not
applicable to the LFE input where it is assumed
an external surround sound processor is
controlling the bass management externally
Subwoofer/Satellite Integration : Too High.
Reduce the frequency.
34
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Connections, Setup and Fine Tuning
All connections should be made with the amplifier switched OFF. Ensure the integrity of all
connections prior to switching the amplifier ON.
LFE line level connections
(For use with bass limited (small) main loudspeakers)
Stereo line level connections
L
R
L
R
L
R
C
SUB
LS
RS
LFE line level connections
(For use with full range (large) main loudspeakers)
Stereo speaker level connections
L
R
L
R
L
R
36
C
SUB
LS
RS
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Movie only setup through the LFE input.
available then connect the Left and Right amplifier
high level speaker outputs to the speaker inputs of
the subwoofer. Once the subwoofer is connected
and the power is switched on it needs to be
acoustically integrated into your existing system.
To do this you will need to use the Level,
Frequency and Phase controls.
This dedicated line level input is specifically for
the LFE (Low Frequency Effects) output from a
surround sound A/V processor. Please note that
single ended (phono) or balanced (XLR)
connections are available, however, they must
not be used simultaneously. The LFE input to the
subwoofer will not be affected by the Frequency
or Slope controls which apply only to the Left
and Right channel line inputs.
First select the subwoofer low-pass filter slope
to match your main speakers. For a bass reflex
speaker the slope should be set to 24dB/octave.
This applies to all the KEF Reference Series
loudspeakers. For a closed box loudspeaker,
however, the slope should be set to 12dB/octave.
Once your subwoofer is connected and powered
up it needs to be integrated into your home
cinema system. To do this you will need to follow
the set-up procedure for your surround sound
processor. Set the subwoofer level to near
maximum and the phase to 0. In the surround
sound processor’s speaker menu, ensure that the
subwoofer is set to ‘on’. If using smaller satellite
speakers then set the speaker size to ‘small’. KEF
would recommend starting with the ‘small’
setting if you are unsure.
Select a piece of music that you are familiar with
which has a constant, repetitive bass line.
Start with the Level and Frequency controls at
the middle positions and the phase control set to
0. Adjust the level control until you are happy
with the low frequency levels when compared
with the main speakers. Now adjust the
Frequency control so that there is no obvious
change in the level of the sound from very low
frequencies to higher frequencies. Adjust the
polarity and the phase control to achieve the
smoothest integration between the subwoofer
and the main speakers. KEF recommend you take
some time making fine adjustments to the
controls, whilst listening to a varied selection of
music, until you are satisfied with the sound
balance.
If you are using full range speakers set the
speaker size to ‘large’. Use the processor’s
controls to adjust the level of the subwoofer
at the same time as setting each of the
channel levels.
Music only setup through the Left/Right inputs.
To increase the low-frequency extension of your
existing stereo speakers connect the amplifier’s
line level outputs to the subwoofer Left and Right
line level inputs. If line level outputs are not
Combined movie and music setup.
‘-’ or coloured BLACK connects to the left
subwoofer speaker input terminal marked ‘-’.
Similarly, these instructions should be followed for
making connections between the right channel
amplifier output and the right subwoofer speaker
input terminals. Correct polarity, or phase, is vital
to the proper operation of the system.
The Reference Series 208 subwoofer can be used
for both main speaker low frequency extension
and the LFE channel reproduction for a surround
sound system.
Set the subwoofer up as described in section
‘Music Only Setup’. With the subwoofer
correctly set up for stereo use, connect the LFE
output from your surround processor to the LFE
line level input of the subwoofer. Without making
any adjustments to the subwoofers controls,
including the volume level, follow the set-up
procedure on your surround processor to adjust
the subwoofer volume level (as described in
section ‘Movie Only Setup’).
Bare wire connections are the simplest to
achieve and involve stripping 12.5mm (1.2in.) of
insulation to expose the loudspeaker wire core.
(You should twist together, using clean fingers,
the ends of each multi-stranded core prior to the
next stage to ensure a good signal contact).
Having unscrewed the lower terminal cap, push
the wire through the exposed hole in the
terminal body and screw the cap down tightly.
Make sure that no stray strands come into
contact with the opposite terminal; this could
cause a short circuit between the terminals and
may damage your amplifier.
Connecting to the speaker inputs (high level).
Speaker level or line level inputs are available to
allow flexibility in set-ups for the Left and Right
inputs. The specific LFE input is line level only to
interface with an A/V processor.
Be aware that a higher quality run of cable will
always give a more rewarding presentation than
multiple runs of an inferior cable.
The speaker input terminals will accept bare
wire, spade or 4mm connectors. Most good
quality loudspeaker cables have some indication,
such as colour coding or ‘ribbing’ on the
insulating material, indicating which conductor is
‘+’ or positive. Connection to the subwoofer can
then be made as follows:
Poor quality cables can seriously compromise the
overall sound of your hi-fi system.
KEF recommends that high quality loudspeaker
cable be used for connecting to your Reference
Series Model 208 subwoofer high level inputs.
It is good practice to keep the cables as short
as possible.
The left channel amplifier output terminal marked
‘+’ or coloured RED connects to the left
subwoofer speaker input terminal marked ‘+’.
The left channel amplifier output terminal marked
38
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Specifications
Grille
For cleaning purposes, the grille should
be removed from the cabinets and brushed
lightly with a soft brush. Alternatively, use
a variable suction vacuum cleaner, with soft
brush attachment.
A dedicated grille assembly is supplied with your
subwoofer. The grille is held on via ‘pegs’ that
locate into the front baffle grille-peg sockets.
However, if you wish, you may remove the grille
by gently pulling it forward toward you.
MODEL 208
Design :
Bass Reflex, magnetically shielded
Drive Unit Array :
If required, the grille may be removed during use.
KEF suggest the removal of the grille for serious
listening. However, we strongly recommend
replacing the grill after use.
300mm (12in.) long-throw LF
Frequency Response :
(± 3dB)
25Hz - 200Hz
Amplifier :
500W built in
Sensitivity :
(2.83V / 1m)
Active system
Warranty
Maximum Output :
117dB
Low Pass Filter Range :
when playing CDs but not, for example, when
using a radio tuner is unlikely to originate with
the loudspeakers.
Your Reference Series Model 208 subwoofer is
guaranteed against manufacturing defects in both
materials and workmanship. For further details of
how this guarantee affects you, please read the
enclosed Warranty leaflet.
Service problems should be discussed in the first
instance with the dealer from whom the
loudspeakers were originally purchased.
Generally, warranty claims are best handled by
your dealer.
It should be noted, however, that failure of the
loudspeaker due to abuse, improper or
inappropriate use and/or operation or damage
caused by other faults in your system are NOT
covered within the terms of the guarantee.
However, in case of difficulty, please contact:
Customer Services Department.
Service Information.
40Hz to 140Hz (-3dB)
Phase Adjustment Range :
0 to 180 degrees
Impedance :
Active system
Bass Extension :
22Hz (-6dB)
Weight :
40.2kg (88.4lbs)
Dimensions (H x W x D) :
KEF Audio (UK), Eccleston Road, Tovil,
MAIDSTONE, Kent, ME15 6QP UK.
It is important to remember that faults arising in
any part of the reproducing system will be heard
via the loudspeakers and therefore when faults
occur, careful and analytical diagnosis will be
required to locate the actual source of trouble.
Telephone No.: +44 (0)1622 672261
Fax No.:
www.kef.com
Faults in a loudspeaker will be audible on all
programme sources. A fault which is evident only
40
+44 (0)1622 750653
465 x 576 x 579 mm
18.3 x 22.7 x 22.8 in.
Finishes :
Piano Black
High Gloss Cherry
High Gloss American Walnut
Satin Sycamore
Satin Black
Satin Cherry
Satin American Walnut
41
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KEF Heritage
KEF was founded in 1961 by an electrical
engineer named Raymond Cooke in a Nissen
Hut on the premises of a metalworking
operation called Kent Engineering & Foundry
(hence KEF), on the banks of the River Medway,
near Maidstone in Kent.
diaphragm, while using new materials for the
diaphragm itself. Cooke was always looking for
new materials and settled on Bextrene as a
solution, as its lightweight plastic sheet-like
properties were flexible enough for shaping and
the material remained stable under varying
temperature and moisture conditions and was
smooth and consistent over a wide bandwidth.
As a result, in 1967, two new drive units, the 5in.
B110 and 8in. B200 appeared which, with their
countless applications, found use in some 3
million systems from KEF and many other
loudspeaker brands throughout the world.
A new, smaller tweeter also arrived, the T27,
which led to the most famous BBC/KEF
collaboration, the LS3/5A, of which some
100,000 units were sold world-wide.
From the beginning KEF was destined to become
a company with a flair for the unusual and
controversial in terms of loudspeaker
engineering, design, and use of materials.
Within a year, KEF, under Cooke’s outstanding
vision, was planning loudspeakers with bass units
using foil-stiffened, vacuum-formed, expanded
polystyrene diaphragms and a Melinex or Mylar
tweeter. This idea was manifested in the K1,
an immediate success, followed by the bookshelf
model, Celeste, a loudspeaker with an even
more significant commercial success and one
that helped secure the early financial stability of
the new company.
During
the
1960’s
KEF
flourished.
Loudspeakers such as the Concord,
Concerto and Cresta and then, in 1969,
the Chorale began to shape the company’s
growing reputation as ‘The Loudspeaker
Engineers’, a fact justly recognized in 1970 when
KEF received the first of two Queen’s Awards
for Export Achievement.
Re-establishing a previous relationship with the
BBC in 1966, Cooke was interested in adopting
another material, Neoprene (an artificial rubber)
to help maintain sound quality in the mid-band by
using it as the surround to the loudspeaker
Photograph : Martyn Goddard. Courtesy Sunday Telegraph Colour Supplement.
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The 1970’s
The 1980’s
By 1973 the company was developing the
concept of computer assisted ‘Total System’
design, at a time when the world’s very first 4-bit
microprocessor was still in its infancy.
KEF engineers, using a given set of parameters,
could for the first time actually “see” what the
response characteristics of a loudspeaker system
would be. KEF was the first loudspeaker
company in the world to take the new
technology seriously in order to achieve this.
Now it was the use of computers and digital
test methods which provided the KEF engineers
with the relevant crossover and drive unit
data at a glance, thus dramatically improving
their ability to produce loudspeakers of
outstanding accuracy. Amongst other benefits,
KEF loudspeakers could now be computer
matched as an almost identical pair - to within
one-half of a dB.
1973 then saw the introduction of the first KEF
Reference Series Model, the 104 which swept
reviewers, distributors, retailers and customers
off their feet. The archetypal ‘domestic monitor’
104 provided the standards of a broadcast
monitor loudspeaker in a domestic package,
probably for the first time.
With the installation of a Hewlett Packard
computer at the Maidstone Head Office in 1975,
the Corelli, Calinda, and Cantata were all
designed under the total system concept and
with them came a second Queen’s Award for
Export in the same year.
Ten years of growth world-wide followed,
peaking with a massive onslaught on the lucrative
and influential US market in 1985 with the
setting up of KEF Electronics of America, seen as
the appropriate recognition of this important
market-place.
1977 saw the most radical KEF design yet in the
Model 105 which apart from setting new
standards for flat frequency response introduced
a design by which the mid and treble were split
from the bass box and placed within a contoured
moulded enclosure above the bass enclosure.
The added ability to angle the separate unique
head unit provided the opportunity for the user
to tailor the 105 to his or her own environment.
The loudspeaker was of such general importance
and consumer interest that a leading quality UK
Newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, featured the
Model 105 on the front cover of its magazine
supplement. More Reference Models were to
follow. 1978 saw the launch of the 101 and
103 and, in 1979 a further refined 105/2
Model appeared.
1986 saw more activity amongst the now world
famous KEF Reference Series; the 104/2, always
regarded as one of the world’s truly outstanding
loudspeakers since its 1984 launch spawned the
107, in reality an evolution of the 105/2 but with
KEF’s coupled-cavity bass loading, a system
which positions the drivers internal to the
enclosure, each separately loaded and firing into
a third common chamber which delivers very
tight and accurate bass to the listening area via a
substantial front-mounted port. This combines
the taut sonic character of a sealed box with the
higher sensitivity of a reflex design and succeeds
in providing a huge boost to bass performance.
Also came the 102 and the 103/3, both accepted
by recording and broadcast engineers as
ideal
monitors.
KEF’s
reputation
as
loudspeaker engineers was set in stone.
As well as the coupled-cavity bass loading
system, KEF Reference loudspeakers boasted
such highly sophisticated features as a conjugate
load network technique, which makes even a
complicated loudspeaker design simplicity itself
from the amplifier’s perspective and a heavily
damped midrange module which preserves low
coloration and fine stereo. A force cancelling
rod, fitted between the vertically opposed bass
units was an added introduction, eliminating the
possibility for coloration caused by woofer
vibrations exciting the enclosure panels.
Amidst all this excitement, 1988 also brought in
the birth of the KEF Custom Installation
loudspeakers, a move made in response to new
world market demands. The same exacting
engineering standards were naturally applied to
the range and the CR200F and its sub-bass
partner, the CR250SW set new standards from
in-wall/ceiling units.
Then, again in 1988, came Uni-Q. A design
process, painstakingly evolved by KEF over
several years, by which a single point source at
last became a reality. The HF units made use of
a rare-earth magnet material, Neodymium/
Iron/Boron which was developed for the NASA
Space Programme.10 times more powerful than
a conventional loudspeaker magnet, this material
allowed KEF engineers to make a tweeter small
enough to fit within the bass unit coil former at
the precise acoustic centre of the cone.
KEF’s Uni-Q technology delivered well-defined
stereo imaging over a much wider listening area
without the need for the time honoured sacred
“hot-spot” in the listening room. The 105/3 was
a massive success, bringing together, not just
Uni-Q (now in its second generation form),
but all of KEF’s magnificent technology coupled-cavity bass loading, conjugate load
matching, force cancelling rod, computer
matched crossovers and drive units, even hand
pair-matched veneer finishes - in fact almost
everything by which KEF had made its name as
the world’s foremost loudspeaker company in to one product. It was voted Best Imported
Speaker by the Japanese Press in 1992.
‘Total System’ design testing equipment
The Model 105/3
Uni-Q Technology
44
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The 1990’s
Under new ownership in 1992 KEF Audio found
itself equipped with new ideas, new personalities
and new products. But the same philosophies of
solid engineering and innovation to provide the
finest quality product available at its particular
price-point remained firmly at the bed-rock.
Recognition that year for the Reference Series
Model Four had reached a peak with world-wide
acclaim. Reviews by internationally famed and
respected writers were quick to praise the
merits of the company’s new flagship model with
its fourth generation Uni-Q driver and to point
out the sheer engineering excellence of the
company - an unswerving KEF attribute for over
30 years. Comments such as “the best I’ve had in
my listening room.” from the US magazine
Stereophile and “KEF’s best yet” from UK
magazine Hi-fi News were just two of the many
plaudits showered on the Model Four.
In 1994 and 1995 the company brought out the
versatile and appealing Q Series, offering all the
benefits of a third generation Uni-Q driver but
in a shielded format for AV use, together with
the multi-award winning Model 100 Centre
Loudspeaker, the Model 90, the new Model
200C and the Reference Series Models One,
Two, Three and Four. KEF also introduced the
new entry level Home Theatre System for true
audiophile home theatre sound at a price to fit
most pockets. At the end of 1994 the company
had quietly launched three loudspeakers that
were to become one of the most spectacular
success stories in recent KEF history.
These were simply called Coda; affordable
loudspeakers that took the world’s Press by
storm, the baby Coda 7 clinching the coveted
UK Magazine What Hi-fi?’s “Best Buy”
Loudspeaker of the of the Year Award for 1995.
The home theatre series boomed and the
company introduced the Model 20B, a baby
brother for the Model 30B active subwoofer.
The Coda Series, particularly the Coda 7,
continually
outsold
competing
brands
throughout the world. 1996 also saw the launch
of the new Q Series and the new Monitor
Series, superbly crafted loudspeakers to meet
the challenges of the next century. Both ranges
epitomise KEF’s total commitment to
engineering qualities beyond all. As the 90’s drew
to a close, KEF introduced the Reference Series
Model 109 - The Maidstone. Over thirty five
years of technical excellence, innovation in
design and award winning engineering
combined in one stunning loudspeaker.
(Pictured Opposite).
KEF’s founding father, Raymond Cooke O.B.E.,
sadly died during 1996, but with the knowledge
that all of his original and noble principles
remained intact, and would always do so.
KEF’s acclaimed Reference Series
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The 2000’s
The millennium ushered in a new era of
groundbreaking audio innovation.
Yet more KEF innovations soon followed.
The KIT (KEF Instant Theatre) concept, for
example, proved an immediate hit - an integrated
multimedia home entertainment system for
consumers who want a complete, user-friendly
package that offers quality sound without being
complicated to set up.
Among the most important was the launch of a
new Reference Series - the forerunner of today’s
design - in 2002. This redefined the benchmark
for high-end loudspeakers by incorporating
signature KEF technologies such as Uni-Q and
the ‘pod’ concept.
One of the most revolutionary aspects of the
design is that it delivers the apparently
impossible: a three-dimensional surround sound
image from only two loudspeakers. This was
achieved by adding two flat panel drivers behind
each front loudspeaker driver to act as rear
loudspeakers by radiating the sound behind
the listening area. This radical concept has
since been applied to other KEF home
entertainment products.
The decade had begun with the introduction of a
product destined to become a design icon in its
own right: the KHT (KEF Home Theatre) 2005
system. With satellite loudspeakers nicknamed
‘KEF eggs’ because of their distinctive
elliptical shape, KHT2005 represented a real
breakthrough not only in terms of the build
quality and sonic performance that it offered
but at a price that many found “very reasonable
indeed”.
The launch of the new Q Series in 2005
further strengthened KEF’s position as an
acknowledged market leader in mid-priced
audiophile quality loudspeakers. With its high
performance Uni-Q driver array, distinctive
curved cabinets and outstanding build quality and
finish, the new range was soon being referred
to as “the baby Reference”.
With the rising demand for home entertainment
systems, the KHT series steadily grew to
encompass both smaller and larger variants.
The concept proved a worldwide success,
with all models earning enthusiastic reviews and
a plethora of awards, and the expanded range
remains popular today.
Since then though, the Reference has evolved
further still. True to our vision and roots as
high-end audio designers, KEF engineers have
been concentrating on raising the bar in terms of
ultimate sonic performance. And the result,
it has to be said, is outstanding. When the latest
KEF Reference technologies were showcased at
the prestigious High End 2006 audio show in
Munich, prototypes for our new ‘Austin’
(pictured opposite) concept loudspeakers were
voted by some the best sound of the show in
independent comparative tests.
Another patented KEF innovation of the 21st
century was Acoustic Compliance Enhancement,
or ACE. This technology was developed in the
constant quest to resolve a fundamental dilemma
of loudspeaker design: how to optimise the
trade-off between the large cabinet size required
for maximum bass extension and popular
demand for smaller, less obtrusive loudspeakers
in modern living rooms.
ACE largely succeeded in overcoming these
conflicting constraints by adding granules of
activated carbon inside the driver enclosures.
By a molecular process known as adsorption,
the presence of the granules makes each
enclosure sound twice as big as it actually is.
Now as in ‘61, it’s all about greatness by design.
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www.kef.com
GP Acoustics (UK) Ltd., Eccleston Road, Tovil, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6QP U.K. Tel: + 44 (0)1622 672261 Fax: + 44 (0)1622 750653
GP Acoustics (US) Inc., 10 Timber Lane, Marlboro, New Jersey 07746 U.S.A. Tel: +(1) 732 683 2356 Fax: +(1) 732 683 2358
GP Acoustics GmbH, Heinrichstraße 51, D-44536 Lünen, Deutschland. Tel: +49 (0) 231 9860-320. Fax: +49 (0) 231 9860-330
GP Acoustics (France) SAS, 39 Rue des Granges Galand - BP414, 37554 Saint Avertin CEDEX, France. Tel : +33(0)2 47 80 49 01 Fax : +33(0)2 47 27 89 64
GP Acoustics (HK) Limited, 6F, Gold Peak Building, 30 Kwai Wing road, Kwai Chung, N.T., Hong Kong.Tel: +852 2410 8188 Fax: +852 2401 0754
KEF JAPAN 1-11-17, Honcho, Koganei-City, Tokyo, JAPAN 184-0004 Tel: +81 (0)42-388-2030 E-mail: [email protected]
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