The KEF Uni-Q driver and a new 'tangerine waveguide' are the core drivers in the iQ30 speaker. Uni-Q is a proprietary KEF driver design, developed over the company's fifty-year history. In the Uni-Q design the acoustic centers, or voice coils of the 6.5" mid-bass driver and 0.75" tweeter are time aligned in order to achieve a 'point source' design where all sounds emanate from the same point in space. As a result, interference between the sound waves from separate drivers is minimized and the results provide a coherent sound quality with wide dispersion characteristics. A coherent speaker presents a sound wave as if listening to a single driver for all frequencies, not separate drivers interconnected by a crossover and is one of the most important and often overlooked characteristics of accurate music reproduction.
A waveguide helps control and direct the sound coming from the tweeter and increases horizontal dispersion of high frequencies. I have no idea where the term 'tangerine' originated and it's not important, but I assume it's because of the shape, which resemble the mottled skin of a tangerine.
The KEF iQ30s have dual speaker terminals for bi-wiring and bi-amplification.
Stephane Grappelli's jazz violin sounded sweet with good transparency and openness in the mids and highs in 'The Collection' (CD, Castle Music), a great live recording from the 1970s.
Likewise, the delicate details in the fiddle and mandolin had excellent resolution in 'The Lighthouse's Tale' from Nickel Creek (SACD/CD, Sugar Hill Records). This trio's talented musicians really showed off the midrange and treble qualities of the iQ30s.
The KEFs also reproduced vocals with outstanding openness and transparency in Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes' 'Dine Oine' (Your Eyes). Her voice imaged well and had great soundstage presence.
The KEF iQ30s nicely revealed the sonic refinements and imperfections in the newly re-mastered Beatles CD collection. As I mentioned in my review, the vocal clarity and instrumental details were markedly improved from the original LPs and CDs. Understandably they're not perfect, and the KEFs exposed some edginess and harshness, but that's a strength not a weakness.
While it may seem that a subwoofer would be required for a bookshelf speaker, I thought the bass from the iQ30s was adequate.
The iQ30s sound best on speaker stands placed at ear level while listening to get the best bass and imaging.
The iQ30s have a low sensitivity spec of 89 dB, but my Yamaha stereo power amp with 70-watts x 2 easily reproduced dynamic musical peaks.
- Design: Two-way bass reflex
- Drivers: 6.5" Uni-Q mid-bass and 0.75" aluminum dome tweeter with waveguide
- Crossover Frequency: 2.5kHz
- Sensitivity: 89dB
- Impedance: 8 Ohms
- Recommended Power: 15-120 watts
- Magnetic Shielding: Yes
- Frequency Range: 45Hz - 40KHz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) 14.4" x 8.7" x 12.9"
- Weight: 14.2 lbs.
- Finishes: Black Ash, Dark Apple, American Walnut
- Price: $599.95 per pair
- Contact: www.kef.com