KEF Reference 3 Floorstanding Speaker
Same DNA, more modest dimensions – and the same uncanny ability to generate an intricate, totally natural-sounding 3D soundstage. The two 165mm (6.5 inch) bass drivers are positioned perfectly above and below KEF’s latest 125mm (5 inch) MF/HF Uni-Q driver array in a D'Appolito configuration. Fidelity across the midrange and treble is outstanding, and the transitions imperceptible. And with Uni-Q’s broad inclusive dispersion, everyone in the room can enjoy the same rich, spatially precise acoustic imagery without being restricted to a narrow sweet spot. As well as putting you right at the heart of the original performance, it gives you the soul.
The standard by which others are judged, and to which they aspire.
The perfect reproduction of recorded sound is what KEF's legendary Reference Series has always stood for. And after 40 years of continuous development, the Reference has earned its name as the yardstick of high-end acoustic engineering.
If you're a perfectionist when it comes to enjoying movies or music, it's the one name that towers above the rest.
The Reference. It speaks for itself.
“A description was needed to convey the idea that every loudspeaker is subject to scrutiny at all stages of assembly, culminating in a final test comparison with a laboratory-maintained reference standard. So the method became the name: Reference.”
- Laurie Fincham, Engineering Director 1968-1991
KEF has never been a 'me too'. Kef create. And KEF never stop learning.
The list of KEF patents and innovations is unequalled. Although the Uni-Q point source driver array is their most famous breakthrough, it's just one of many. There's the unique 'tangerine' segmented waveguide. Cleverly stiffened and optimised aluminium domes. Sophisticated vented tweeters. The ingenious use of new materials to boost motor performance and power handling. Constrained layer damping. Acoustic Compliance Enhancement. The brilliant Z-flex surround - these and many others are what account for the reputation of KEF's multi-award winning drivers.
No other manufacturer has done more to advance the state of the art - and no other range personifies KEF's passion for perfection more than The Reference.
A Class Apart
With six models - two elegant three-way floorstanders, a formidable three-way bookshelf speaker, two three-way centre channels and an awesome 1000-watt sub - The Reference range combines benchmark high fidelity with complete multichannel versatility. And as you’d expect, they all exude the sense of sheer quality that comes from being hand built by KEF’s master technicians in Maidstone, Kent.
Uni-Q Driver Arrays
At the heart of The Reference is a stunning new iteration of KEF’s landmark innovation: the Uni-Q point source MF/HF driver array. With a state-of-the-art 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome tweeter at the exact acoustic centre of a highly sophisticated 125mm (5in.) midrange driver, both act as a single source that floods the listening space evenly with a flawless natural soundfield, no matter where you sit. Capturing all the nuances of the human voice, whether whispered, spoken or sung, it sounds as if the person were right there with you in the room.
Clean, rich and articulate bass grounds your enjoyment of stereo or multi-channel sound, and like everything else about The Reference, KEF’s new 165mm (6.5 inch) LF driver is in a class apart. With a massive vented magnet assembly and a large aluminium wire voice coil driving an exceptionally light, stiff and strong alloy cone, the dynamics and power handling are superb. Played loud or soft, in delicate passages or for full-on bass effects, the combination of advanced materials and clever engineering delivers deeply rewarding lows that blend seamlessly with Uni-Q’s immaculate midrange and treble response.
Composite Front Baffle
The Reference drivers are set in a smooth, strikingly distinctive front baffle engineered to eliminate response anomalies caused by diffraction. Made from an exceptionally strong laminated aluminium/resin composite and secured via high-loss pads and high tensile bolts, it adds tremendous rigidity to the inert cabinet.
Flexible Port Technology
The Reference has innovative adjustable ports for fine-tuning the bass output to your personal taste and the room characteristics. The flexible port technology pioneered for the multi-award winning LS50 is used to reduce midrange port resonance, with the flare and profile of each port calculated by computational fluid dynamics to avoid turbulent air noise that might colour the sound.
KEF engineers computer-modelled the ideal crossover networks before exhaustively auditioning every high grade component, individually and together, to select those with the lowest distortion and the smoothest response. Perfectionism takes time, but the difference is plain to hear. Nothing is overlooked - Reference crossovers are even mounted on separate boards and decoupled from the cabinet walls to minimise vibration and crosstalk.
Finished by hand in pair-matched wood veneers to complement the composite front baffle, the shape and bracing geometry of the cabinets are computer-optimised to minimise secondary radiation from the cabinet walls and distortion from standing waves. With constrained layer damping to absorb residual vibrations, they’re engineered to eliminate any panel resonance, stray reflections or box colouration effects that would compromise the purity of the sound.
Plinths and Stands
The Reference 3 and 5 are solidly grounded on a plinth and spike set developed with characteristic KEF attention to detail, with a spirit level built into the plinth and spike sets easily adjusted by neatly concealed screws. The bespoke stands for the Reference 1 have a discreet cable management channel to keep the cabling neatly out of sight. Provision is also made for bolting the speaker to the stand for maximum rigidity, and the upright has a vertical compartment which you can fill with your choice of inert material for greater stability and acoustic damping. The stands are finished in Satin Black.
|Design||Three-way Bass Reflex|
|Drive units||Uni-Q driver array:
HF: 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome
MF: 125mm (5in.) aluminium
LF: 2 x165mm (6.5in.) aluminium
|Frequency range free field (-6dB)||Short port: 38Hz - 45kHz
Long port: 35Hz - 45kHz
|Frequency range typical in room bass response (-6dB)||28Hz|
|Frequency response (±3dB)||43Hz – 35kHz|
|Crossover frequency||350Hz, 2.8kHz|
|Sensitivity (2.83V/ 1m)||87.5dB|
2nd & 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m)
|<0.5% 40Hz – 100kHz
<0.2% 200Hz – 10kHz
(peak sound pressure level at 1m with pink noise)
|Impedance||8Ω (min. 3.2Ω)|
|Weight||51.3kg (113.1 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)
(with grille and terminal)
|1155 x 205 x 470 mm
(45.5 x 8.1 x 18.5 in.)
|Dimension (H x W x D)
(with grille, terminal & plinth)
|1202 x 349 x 470 mm
(47.3 x 13.7 x 18.5 in.)