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Kef Uni-Q generations and speakers

sweetchaos

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I'm trying to figure out which Kef Uni-Q generations were used in which speaker series based on their announcement dates and further info.

Kef Uni-Q website shows a current timeline...but with missing speakers to get the full picture.

Sorted by Announcements Dates:

Generations 1-7, from 1988-2006:
- I'm not interested since those speakers are too old.

Generation 8, in 2007:
- Muon (now discontinued) (announced April 2007) (later replaced by "Muon Updated" with Gen 10)

Generation 9, in 2009:
- Concept Blade (now discontinued) (announced May 2009) (was later renamed Blade)

Generation 10, in 2010:
- Qx00 series (now discontinued) (announced Sep 2010) (replaced by Qx50 series)
- Blade (now discontinued)(announced May 2011) (replaced by Blade Meta series)
- LS50 (now discontinued) (announced May 2012) (replaced by LS50 Meta)
- Rx00 series (now discontinued) (announced Aug 2012) (replaced by Rx series)
- Blade Two (now discontinued) (announced May 2014) (replaced by Blade Meta series)
- Muon Updated (announced Aug 2014) (retrofit of Uni-q driver was available to existing Gen 8 owners)
- Egg Wireless (now discontinued) (announced Sep 2015) (replaced by Egg Duo, but exclusive to Hong Kong)
- LS50 Wireless (now discontinued) (announced Oct 2016) (im guessing this is Gen 10, to match LS50) (replaced by LS50 Wireless 2)

Generation 11, in 2014:
- Reference series (now discontinued) (Reference 1, Reference 3, Reference 5, Reference 2C, Reference 4C) (announced May 2014) (replaced by Reference Meta series)
- Qx50 series (Q150, Q350, Q550, Q750, Q950, Q250C, Q650C, Q50A) (announced May 2017) (im guessing this is Gen 11)
- LSX (announced Nov 2018) (I'm guessing this is Gen 11) (now discontinued) (replaced by LSX II)
- Egg Duo (announced April 2020) (sold exclusively in Hong Kong)
- LSX II (announced June 2022) (Darko talked about the changes from the previous generation here) (firmware changelog)

Generation 12, in 2018:
- Rx series (R3, R5, R7, R11, R2C, R8A) (announced Sep 2018)

Generation 12 with MAT (aka Meta), in 2020:
- LS50 Meta (announced Sep 2020)
- LS50 Wireless II (announced Sep 2020) (firmware changelog)
- Reference Meta (Reference 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Meta) (announced on Feb 2022)
- Blade Meta (Blade One Meta, Blade Two Meta) (announced on Feb 2022)
- LS60 Wireless (announced May 12, 2022) (manual)(firmware changelog) (youtube playlist by Kef)


CHANGELOG:
2022-06-15:
- Added LSX II and LS60 Wireless
2022-08-29:
- Crossed out discontinued speakers.
- Fixed LS60's manual.
- Added LS60's firmware changelog.
- Added LS50W2's firmware changelog.
- Added LSX2's firmware changelog.
 
Last edited:

Zvu

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One thing to note is that Blade Uni-Q is quite more advanced than latter gens. Flagship loudspeakers usually use something that can easilly skip 2-3 gens and still remain better. So much so that you can pay 10.000 euros to get Uni-Q's used in Blade to upgrade Muon's. They don't use R series, Reference series or Meta UniQ for that.
 

tifune

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Generation 12, in 2018:
R3 series (US$1,700/pair) (announced Sep 2018)

At first I thought this was a typo and it should have simply been "R series", but you specified price. I'm pretty sure same Uni-Q is present in all Rx series (as opposed to Rx00)? R5 is a bit of an outlier, but for sure 3/7/11. Or have I been led astray?
 

thewas

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Yes, the naming is a bit unfortunate, another option to differenciate between the series would be for example Qx00, Qx50, Rx00, Rx series.

Also I think the first LS50 Wireless used the same Uni-Q like the original LS50?
 

KMO

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I don't know why you think the Blade Two has different Uni-Q to the Blade. I've seen no evidence of this (and given production volumes, how would it make sense?). They're both different from the Concept Blade though - I would say they're Generation 10, as they have a redesigned waveguide, and the generation 11 neck control changes aren't relevant to the top-end Uni-Qs (afaict).

The Muons received an update - as far as I can see they now use the same (generation 10?) Uni-Q as the Blades. (And this was made available to existing owners).
 

KMO

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Just for further clarity - aside from the technological "generations", they're still producing Uni-Q drivers at at least 4 price points, and they're not all updated for every "generation".

Q series, R series, Reference and Blade are 4 clearly distinct classes of Uni-Q in terms of cost engineering. (The LS50's driver is probably just above the R series - it's got a few extra tweaks in the magnet system, and they must be saving money on no bass driver).

I did see a promotional video that showed all 4 side-by-side - they look very similar from the front, but very different from the rear. The Blade and Reference drivers have huge magnets and coils for mid-cone coupling, while the Q series is a relatively flimsy-looking beast.
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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@tifune and @thewas I've changed the naming structure to make more sense.
@thewas I've moved LS50 Wireless to from Gen 11 to Gen 10 to match LS50
@KMO I've moved Blade from Gen 9 to Gen 10 to match Blade Two
@KMO Thanks for the info about Muon receiving the update. I've added it.

Thanks for the feedback guys. :)
 

BrokenEnglishGuy

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Kef has reduced a lot the distortion through the generations of UNIQ
UNIQ GEN 10, KEF BLADE
8767-4e8434e5e959875b2f4e106e08e39b0c.jpg

UNIQ 12 GEN, KEF R7.
index.php
 

sychan

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I'm somewhat curious about this, from looking at the part numbers on various LS50//Qxx0 Uniq-Q drivers. This is my guess at the part #'s to generation mapping:
  • SP15xx - Early 10th Generation, Qx00 series
  • SP16xx - Late 10th, early 11th Qx50, LS50
  • SP17xx - 12th, LS50 Meta
 

Descartes

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I'm trying to figure out which Kef Uni-Q generations were used in which speaker series based on their announcement dates and further info.

Kef Uni-Q website shows a current timeline...but with missing speakers to get the full picture.

Sorted by Announcements Dates:

Generations 1-7, from 1988-2006:
- I'm not interested since those speakers are too old.

Generation 8, in 2007:
- Muon (now discontinued) (announced April 2007) (later replaced by "Muon Updated" with Gen 10)

Generation 9, in 2009:
- Concept Blade (now discontinued) (announced May 2009) (was later renamed Blade)

Generation 10, in 2010:
- Qx00 series (now discontinued) (announced Sep 2010) (replaced by Qx50 series)
- Blade (announced May 2011)
- LS50 (now discontinued) (announced May 2012) (replaced by LS50 Meta)
- Rx00 series (now discontinued) (announced Aug 2012) (replaced by Rx series)
- Blade Two (announced May 2014)
- Muon Updated (announced Aug 2014) (retrofit of Uni-q driver was available to existing Gen 8 owners)
- Egg Wireless (now discontinued) (announced Sep 2015) (replaced by Egg Duo, but exclusive to Hong Kong)
- LS50 Wireless (now discontinued) (announced Oct 2016) (replaced by LS50 Wireless 2) (im guessing this is Gen 10, to match LS50)

Generation 11, in 2014:
- Reference series (Reference 1, Reference 3, Reference 5, Reference 2C, Reference 4C) (announced May 2014)
- Qx50 series (Q150, Q350, Q550, Q750, Q950, Q250C, Q650C, Q50A) (announced May 2017) (im guessing this is Gen 11)
- LSX (announced Nov 2018) (I'm guessing this is Gen 11) (about to be replaced by LSX II soon)
- Egg Duo (announced April 2020) (sold exclusively in Hong Kong)

Generation 12, in 2018:
- Rx series (R3, R5, R7, R11, R2C, R8A) (announced Sep 2018)

Generation 12 with MAT (aka Meta), in 2020:
- LS50 Meta (announced Sep 2020) (not likely to be replaced anytime soon)
- LS50 Wireless II (announced Sep 2020) (not likely to be replaced anytime soon)

Upcoming:
- LSX II was leaked.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. :)
Generation 13 the new Reference and R series, maybe at CES 2022?
 

phoenixdogfan

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So what specifically distinguishes the Uni-Q on a Blade from that on a Reference One, or, for that matter, an R Series within the same generation?
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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So what specifically distinguishes the Uni-Q on a Blade from that on a Reference One, or, for that matter, an R Series within the same generation?
That's the difficult part trying to figure out.
You'll have to look the information that Kef provides to see how they improved on the Uni-Q driver.
Here's a video talking about Reference 5 and Blade 2:
Look at 23min time, for the difference between the 2.

Another example: When Kef introduce the Egg, i didn't see any information about it's generation of Uni-Q. Then I looked at Kef Egg Duo product page, which listed it as Gen 11, and original Egg as Gen 10.

Even gathering the information that I did in my post #1 took sometime, since Kef doesnt exactly have a clear timeline of each generation.
 

tecnogadget

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I did see a promotional video that showed all 4 side-by-side - they look very similar from the front, but very different from the rear.
Can you share a link to that video ? Sounds interesting.

Generation 13 the new Reference and R series, maybe at CES 2022?
Nope. Just count the years between the two generations…2012 to 2018…2022 won’t be the year, no that hard to figure it out.
The discounts on R Series point to that?
Nope. Pretty much all KEF lineup get discounts on sales dates, black friday, christmas, etc. Like almost most similar competitors do.
I’ve seen both R series generations been consistently discounted on special dates every single year…
 

KMO

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Can you share a link to that video ? Sounds interesting.
Found it:


Comparison shown and briefly discussed from 4:30.

If you take a look at the R Series, the Reference and the Blade Uni-Qs, if you look at them from the front they have the same cone size, and that's intentional because we've optimised the size of that cone to work with the tweeter to give the best possible directivity match. But it means from the outside of the product you can't really see the differences in the design. It's only when you look at the back and you look at the motor system that you see now what makes a Blade driver better. So with the R series we have a relatively simple ferrite magnet system, but then stepping up to the Reference we use a neodymium, more powerful, low distortion motor. And then on to Blade we have again a more powerful neodymium magnet but this time with a much bigger 3-inch voice coil.
I think what you see in the video would be LS50 (original), R series (2012), Reference and Blade in that order.

Q series is not shown, but would be quite visually different again with what I think is a pressed-steel basket rather than cast aluminium(?).
 

Crosstalk

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Found it:


Comparison shown and briefly discussed from 4:30.


I think what you see in the video would be LS50 (original), R series (2012), Reference and Blade in that order.

Q series is not shown, but would be quite visually different again with what I think is a pressed-steel basket rather than cast aluminium(?).
What happens when the midrange vibrates. The waves from the tweeter won’t be travelling through a waveguide which is a stable surface compared to a regular waveguide. How is it not a problem ?
 

tecnogadget

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What happens when the midrange vibrates. The waves from the tweeter won’t be travelling through a waveguide which is a stable surface compared to a regular waveguide. How is it not a problem ?
Because the midrange doesn’t move as much as you think, it doesn’t have that much displacement, specially when used in 3-way design and thus not handling bass frequencies.

Erin tested this for sheer curiosity several year ago, but in a way that should not resemble real life (playing musical at refular levels):

While crossed over to a bass driver in a 3-way you should pretty much forget about it. And even in 2-way configuration shouldn’t be an issue at regular levels. Even with the midrange cranked up still a minor price to pay for the improved dispersion and lack of lobbying vs non coaxials. KEF has spent over 30 years improving it’s Uni-Q design, they know what’s they are doing.
 

jhaider

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Q series is not shown, but would be quite visually different again with what I think is a pressed-steel basket rather than cast aluminium(?).

Current Q-series ('50) has steel baskets. The previous generation ('00) used the same cast alloy basket as R-Series for the 5" and alloy baskets of similar design for the 6.5" and 8" drivers. (I really like the 8" driver from the Q900 - used it for many years in a closed box as a nearfield speaker.) I assume the change was cost-cutting. Or maybe KEF simply was afraid of wearing out the molds for the alloy baskets and wanted to preserve them for the higher line speakers - they used the same basket for the 5" Uni-Q in the ancient Q Compact, and perhaps even earlier speakers.
 
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