KEF Reference 1 Meta: a balanced blend of insight, dynamics and authority

We first encountered KEF’s Reference 1 loudspeakers in 2018. They impressed us with a truly compelling mix of insightful yet balanced presentation, superb construction and thorough engineering. But it’s never wise to stand still for long in the hi-fi industry, so five years on from that original review, we’re in our testing room, having just unboxed the new Reference 1 Meta.


Standmount Speakers: KEF Reference 1 Meta

(Image credit: Which Hi-Fi?)

We were introduced to KEF’s Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) a few years ago through the company’s updated LS50 Meta speakers. The MAT element sits on the back of the tweeter and is shaped like something similar to a hockey puck. Inside that housing is a maze-like structure designed to absorb the sound coming from the back of the tweeter dome, providing cleaner, less distorted results. KEF claims the technology absorbs as much as 99 percent of this unwanted sound radiation to the rear and is far more effective than the damped chambers most rival designs use to do the same job.

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