KEF (short for Kent Engineering & Foundry, the premises on which the company was founded) was established by electrical engineer Raymond Cooke in 1961. Even then the company's goal was to develop pioneering equipment. As KEF states on its website, "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."
In fact, by 1962 KEF had in its early stages "loudspeakers of a three-way design with bass and midrange units using foil-stiffened, vacuum-formed, expanded polystyrene diaphragms with a Melinex or Mylar tweeter," setting the bar for a level of innovation and effective engineering never seen before.
Today, Britain-based KEF continues this tradition. As the company proclaims, "the four cornerstones of KEF's success over 35 years are quality, honesty, dedication, and innovation. The company is professional from top to bottom." Understandably, they continually strive to improve upon their already superior-quality systems — a feat they have accomplished yet again with the introduction of the MUON speakers at the most recent Milan Design Week.
Retailing for around $140,000, these limited-edition aluminum speakers are carved out of an aluminum block and take one week to create. Their curvy shape is the brainchild of well-known Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove, who has also contributed to the design of products such as the Walkman and the iMac. The outcome of this affiliation, as Lovegrove himself has explained, is "organic essentialism — nothing more or nothing less than you need."
The speakers, which stand seven feet tall, contain six 10-inch woofers, a 10-inch midrange driver, and a "Uni-Q" midrange/tweeter array. Weighing in at 253 pounds, they can produce output of up to 118 decibels. However, all audiophiles should take note that the MUON speakers are limited-edition, and only 100 pairs will be sold.
Utilizing novel equipment such as Uni-Q white paper, voice coil impedance, and pod technology, according to Lovegrove, allows the MUON speakers to produce "the best sound in the world, ever" — a statement that's music to anyone's ears.