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Thursday
Jan 08 2015

KEF Ambassador Johan Coorg & Geekbeat at CES2015

Check out this excellent chat, brought to us by the good folks at GeekBeat.TV between Rene Ritche from iMore.com , Sean Captain from and our KEF Brand Ambassador Johan Coorg at this year's CES in Las Vegas. There's some great tech info to be found in this wideranging audio conversation.

Also, check out Coorg's interview with BeTerrific 's Michael Artsis:

Tuesday
Oct 14 2014

Show Report: KEF and Fort Collins Audio at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was held last week in Denver, CO. This year, KEF was on display through our distributing partner Fort Collins Audio . After about an hour of set-up on Thursday, Don Walker from Fort Collins Audio had the LS50's sounding great in the regular-sized hotel room the display was set-up in. The LS50's were powered with a Hegel H80 integrated amp and fed digitally from a laptop via USB to the Hegel’s built-in DAC. With Kimber cables the system would retail for around $4,000.

The sound of the H80 and LS50 was as one listener exclaimed “ the best example of diminishing returns that you get with high end audio. I mean, sure there are systems at this show that sound better but they cost $100,000, $200,000 or more! I’m surprised RMAF hasn’t banned you from showing a system so affordable that sounds this good! This is fantastic!” Pointing at the LS50, he finished by saying “ Those things deserve every bit of praise that have been written about them. ” We pay attention to every review we get, but it's the reviews from regular Audio Joe's and Josephine's that mean the most to us.

The results perfectly showcased KEF and Fort Collins Audio's goal: to show a system that was about the music and the appreciation of it. So much of what goes on at these shows is endless tweaking and products priced in the upper atmosphere, but with the system on dusplay at RMAF, the tweaking stopped, the agonizing over cost stopped and the pure bliss of musical enjoyment began!

Thursday
Sep 04 2014

KEF Blades Bring Down the Geek House (Well, the Recessed Light Fixture Anyway)

KEF America's Brand Relations representative Dipin Sehdev traveled to Dallas last month to take part in Geekbeat's Geek House gala Open House. KEF Blade were the featured performer (check out the light fixture at the 8:44 mark):

Tuesday
Aug 19 2014

Masters of Sound Hits Atlanta

KEF's Masters of Sound program hit Atlanta last week for the second in what's becoming a popular and entertaining series.

Masters of Sound Atlanta featured renowned producer and recording engineer Ken Scott with a special Blade at Masters of Sound Atlanta. performance by American folk music legends Gillian Welch and David Rawlings . Although no one mentioned in this paragraph really needs an introduction, here's a bit of background:

Ken Scott began his career at EMI (which became Abbey Road) studios in London as a teenager working in the tape library. He worked his way up to engineer and his recording credits include work with the Beatles, Procol Harum, Elton John, the Jeff Beck Group and Pink Floyd, among many others. Ken sat in the producer's chair on iconic records by David Bowie, Supertramp, Devo, Kansas, and Missing Persons, among others. Scott is also highly regarded for his groundbreaking jazz-fusion work with Billy Cobham, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Stanley Clarke. Known for his attention to detail and the crispness of the sounds he engineered, 1974's Crime of the Century by Supertramp is still considered one of the best sounding pop/rock records ever recorded.

Having already been nominated for a Grammy in 1997 for Revival , Welch rose to wider prominence with her work on the 2000 soundtrack for the film Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings have worked together since 1992, collaborating on albums by Welch and Rawlings' band the David Rawlings Machine. The list of artists Welch and Rawlings have worked with reads like a veritable who's who of relevant American artists, including Emmylou Harris, Robyn Hitchcock, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Ani DiFranco, Alison Krauss, and The Decemberists, among many more.

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch started the evening with a captivating set. As I write this, five full days after hearing Welch and Rawlings play an amazingly intimate set, I still have goose bumps. This humble audio blogger has heard more than my fair share of guitarists over the years, and I can say without any sense of hyperbole at all that David Rawlings is simply the finest and most soul-stirring guitar player I have heard. In fact, all other guitar players can pretty much give it up now because Rawlings has won. Do yourself a favor and give these folks a listen.

True to KEF's mission to bring the very best quality in sound reproduction to music lovers and audio enthusiasts alike, our Masters of Sound program is all about spreading the word, and sharing the belief, that music is important. The more I explore the true meaning behind it all the more convinced I am that our listening experiences may even be vital.

Hosted by Kemela Contemporary Audio , a KEF dealer in Atlanta, and the British Consulate in Atlanta, the event was held on a rare Atlanta summer evening that was crisp, clear and cool (by Atlanta standards). Approximately 80 guests arrived at the residence of British Consul-General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford around 7:00PM for hors d'eouvres and cocktails. Pilmore-Bedford welcomed the assembled guests and Welch and Rawlings took the stage (or a corner of the living room as it were), performing a 30 minute set that was a concise and beautiful retrospective of their careers to date.

For the technical-minded among us, we ran their vocal and instrument mics into a commercial mixer Jack Sharkey from KEF welcoming the audience. which we outputted to a Parasound J1/J2 pre-amp monoblock set and then into our Blade speakers. To be able to listen directly to Welch and Rawlings' vocals and intruments and then turn attention to the output of the Blades and hear pretty much exactly the same thing was an audio-geek's sheer delight.

Ken Scott then took the audience on an amazing journey of musical evolution from the earliest recordings of Enrico Caruso on up to what we are listening to today. Along the way he made stops with anecdotes and recorded samples at different points of his amazing career. I was in the unique position to be able to see the audience as they listened to Scott, and the smiles and nods of absolute affirmation to what he was saying was an awful lot of fun to witness. We were truly in the midst of a good old Southern-style Audio Revival meeting!

KEF would like to offer their sincere thanks to Consul-General and Mrs. Pilmore-Bedford for graciously hosting us, the staff of the Consulate, and the staff at Kemela, for helping us put together an absolutely amazing event. Ken Scott, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings certainly made this a night worth remembering for a long time, and being in the presence of true Masters of Sound was really an honor. A great event only becomes great with the right audience and the folks who joined us last Wednesday were simply a fantastic group of people to spend an evening with. Stay tuned for more Masters of Sound events, and if you'd like more information or would like to be a part of our next event, drop us a line.

KEF Master of Sound Atlanta hosts Consul-General and Mrs. Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.

Consul-General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford welcomes our guests.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings truly represented what Masters of Sound is all about.

Performing Six White Horses from Welch's stunning 2011 album The Harrow and the Harvest , replete with hambone and stomp.

Ken Scott shares his amazing journey of music and technology.

Ken shares more of his amazing anecdotes for every fan of every type of music.

Signing books during the reception after the program.

KEF Sales Manager Tom Rodgers, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and KEF's Jack Sharkey.

John Driskell-Hopkins from the Zac Brown Band with Jennifer Driskell-Hopkins (l) and Lisa Love, Director of Music Marketing and Development from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (r).

Prescott Hood ( DriveBy Truckers ) and Rebecca Hood.

Indeed.

Jack Sharkey for KEF America

Monday
May 19 2014

Munich High-End: Post-Show Review

After a fairly easy 9 hour flight back from Munich I'm safely back in the friendly environs of New Jersey. With Show posters were all over Munich. It was fun to see them, kind of like we got the band back together and were back out on the road. our announcements of the new Reference line as well as Blade Two, the Munich High-End show was a great success for KEF. Traffic was steady throughout the event, and getting a free table at our Dealer Lounge was a bit of a challenge during show hours - that's not a complaint, that's an observation of a happy problem. In fact, the crowded lounge gave me the opportunity to sneak out of the show for a few hours to hold a scheduled meeting with one of our R&D engineers over some fine desserts in the Old Town.

On the Blog front, look for some very exciting things over the course of the next several months as we improve the style and increase the content of our humble little audio blog. I expect before too long there will definitely be something for everyone who loves music, movies and technology.

The show itself was a real treat for audio-geeks like me, and if you're ever concerned that good-old two channel stereo for music is going away - don't worry, it's not, it's as healthy as ever, and with the resurgence of the popularity of vinyl I would venture to guess it's even a bit healthier. I can truthfully say I didn't hear anything that even came close to the new Model 5 in terms of overall sonic quality and articulation, but it was comforting to see that our industry is thriving.

Streaming devices, some with amplification, some without, were the mainstay of the new technologies, but I'm not yet convinced that streaming is going to take the lion's share of the reproduction pie that many industry watchers are forecasting. Every form of music playback device (excepting 8-Tracks and cassettes) was on display with some very new twists and innovations, so I'd like to think as a music lover that we are in a very cool time of wide-open options no matter how we want to listen.

The High-End show has a pretty interesting set-up, with most manufacturers displaying their product in what could best be described as store-fronts at a real high-end shopping mall. There are also lounges behind each "booth" where manufacturers and dealers can have meetings.

KEF partnered with ARCAM at Munich High-End. This is our meeting lounge.

One of three main halls.

R&D Engineer Olivier Hebert with the Model 1.

Although we were all pretty busy during the show, Olivier Hebert and I did get a chance to sneak out to the Marienplatz for some dessert and a discussion about what it takes to balance a new product like The Reference. Excerpts from that conversation will be featured in an upcoming piece.

So I'm going to spend the day catching up on my emails and hunting down something for lunch other than a wurst or a schnitzel, while I bask in the glow of the launch of a couple of fabulous new products.

Jack Sharkey for KEF America