KEF launches thinnest ever in-wall speakers

posted on Monday, 4th February 2013 by Steve May

Architectural  Loudspeakers  Marine 

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KEF has designed the thinnest in-wall loudspeaker yet. The new Ci160TR is a mere 30mm deep and has been developed for use by Princess Yachts. It will be deployed initially in luxury Princess motor yachts 60ft in length and above, vessels that feature premium fittings and finishings for a demanding upmarket clientele. The relationship between KEF and Princess represents a meeting of similar minds, says KEF's head of marketing Michael Johnson: "We both share a Best-of-British heritage and a rigorous engineering pedigree."

The space-saving speaker sports a 4.5-in mid/bass aluminium driver and 1-inch tweeter featuring the brand's patented Tangerine Wave guide, resulting in extremely wide sonic dispersion. It also utilizes an ultra-thin bezel, with magnetic, moisture-resistant grille.

Johnson says the very specific nature of the tight design brief has "really helped us to look ahead. What we have learnt here is going to help us develop the next wave of CI products." He told Inside CI one key breakthrough was using the PCB itself as part of the internal structure of the speaker. "We've utilised the platform of the PCB as a base, to give extra strength and rigidity. Meeting Princess' criteria has been an interesting problem to resolve. One of the things you can't do in such a narrow space is the whole Uni-Q thing, but this is a nice trade-off as we're maximising performance by having a separate mid/bass driver and HF tweeter. The cone is pretty much flat, but it's stiffened by ribs so that it can work pistonically. We use our Z-flex surround to help dispersion of sound waves from the cone. The level of performance is very high."

While the Ci160TR was developed specifically to fit the limited space available in a yacht bulkhead, it has wider overall significance for KEF's architectural custom install range. "This is definitely going to influence our next wave of CI products," says Johnson. "We launched 18 products in 2012, and we have the same number again coming this year. Custom install is the one area of our business that we've seen go up and up, whereas other areas, such as home cinema, have flattened."

He adds: "I think it's a real string to our bow that we have a proper audio heritage, whereas some other CI brands do not. Our acoustic engineers don't only design high-end Blade speakers, they design our custom install products. We have a continuity of sound performance."

KEF is distributed by AWE Europe. For more on AWE's portfollio and services, visit our partner page.
Also read:
KEF and AWE strike exclusive CI distribution deal
KEF bolsters custom install speaker line

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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Posted by Darren Shear on 5th February 2013, 8:29 PM
Amazing profile on these speakers could not believe the depth to be this shallow. A winner Kef

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