kef r3 loudspeakers
The introduction of the R Series in 2012 not only brought KEF's new UniQ technology designed for the Blade model to an affordable price point, but also introduced exceptional build and finish quality too. The new, completely redesigned R Series from KEF not only takes things a step further, but sets the new range closer to the Reference range than the previous R Series with regards to outright performance.
What HiFi? product of the year 2018
From a tonal point of view, it was obvious that the previous R Series came from the same family as the Blade and Reference models. Bass quantity and depth that belied their dimensions, smooth midrange reproduction, and detailed but inoffensive high frequencies - all designed around the 'apparent point source' approach of the KEF Blade loudspeakers.
Now, the new R Series for 2018 has been completely redesigned and updated to incorporate many technology features from the Reference Series including Shadow Flare UniQ surround and offset rear reflex ports, as well as a few new ones too.
UniQ two-way array
Originally introduced in 1988 with the C Series, KEF's dual concentric UniQ technology has now had 30 years of improvement and refinement, resulting in the new UniQ now used in the new R Series. This 12th generation UniQ now plays lower and louder than previous versions, as well as sounding cleaner too.
The R3 is a three driver, three-way design, based around the above UniQ driver array comprising of a 1" aluminium HF unit and 5" midrange driver, giving a "point source" sound reproduction for all frequencies from 400Hz right up to 50kHz and beyond.
The UniQ array improves imaging and focus, and removes issues associated with the usual vertical driver array of most conventional speakers. It's basically taking the d'Appolito arrangement, improving it, and producing its benefits throughout 360 degrees rather than just vertically.
The midrange cone also acts as a waveguide for the HF unit, and along with the Shadow Flare - a feature first developed for the Reference range - controls high frequency dispersion and reduces reflections from side walls, ceilings, and floors. Together, they help you to hear more of your speaker's natural output and less of the room's interference.
The new midrange driver for the 2018 R Series has a longer throw (by 50%), allowing it to play lower and louder.
A lightweight 6.5" aluminium bass driver provides frequencies below 400Hz, and because it only has to reproduce a limited frequency range, it can do so in a more accurate, controlled manner.
Add to this a KEF Reference based high quality crossover, and you end up with a 2018 R Series that has more in common with the existing Reference range than it does the previous R Series.
The R model is a three-way, rear ported design. This is to fully utilise the rear wall's influence in producing the strong, deep bass response throughout the range, and also removes any possibility of midrange frequencies leaking from a front port - this would undo all the work gone into making the R3 a predominantly "point source" loudspeaker, and spoiling the uncluttered front fascia.
The luxurious gloss finish of the black or white finish will suit modern rooms and furniture, whereas the smooth, walnut wood veneer finish will help blend in to more with classic looking surroundings.
The walnut finish incorporates copper colour drivers and trims.
The R3 model is available in gloss white and gloss black, as well as satin walnut real wood veneer.
Suitable stands are available from Custom Design as well as KEF's own.
1" aluminium HF unit
5" midrange driver
6.5" aluminium LF unit
rear ported cabinet
8ohms impedance (3.2)
H422mm x W197mm x D312mm
5 year warranty
£1300 / pair