Have you ever wished audio system makers would break away from run-of-the-mill speaker designs and do something more innovative and creative – but without sacrificing sound quality? And have you always wanted speakers you can pass off as works of art?
If the answer to these questions is “yes” and you don’t mind shelling out Dh514,150 for a pair then the two-metre-high Muon speakers – each milled out of a solid block of aluminium – are the ones for you.
The speakers are the creation of British audio company KEF, which was founded in 1961 by Raymond Cooke. Cooke was determined to make KEF a company with a flair for the unusual and controversial in terms of loudspeaker engineering, design and materials.
His efforts seem to have paid off because in 1970 KEF received the first of two Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement. By 1973 the company was evolving the concept of computer-assisted “total system design” at a time when the world’s very first four-bit microprocessor was still in its infancy.
KEF’s reputation as the leader in loudspeaker engineering was now set in stone. Never one to rest on its laurels, KEF teamed up with innovative industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, whose work features in permanent collections in design museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Design Museum in London.
The Muon speakers – the most remarkable achievement of sound engineering and cutting-edge design – were the impressive result.
“The Muon speakers are fabricated from super-formed aluminium,” Amir Anwar, owner of Dubai Audio, the sole distributor of KEF products in the region, told Emirates Business.
“The eventual form of the loudspeaker was the result of a careful convergence between Lovegrove’s design aesthetics and the physics of sound. The process by which they were conceived meant that, in effect, Lovegrove was sculpting the sound. The final shape was created through an evolutionary process that ensured it could only be the form that it is.
“A UK-based company that has strong links with the aeronautics and automotive industries milled a prototype from an enormous billet of solid aluminium.
Using state-of-the-art computer-aided manufacturing software the machine precisely cut away the excess material from the two-metre-long block of metal to reveal the final form. The milling of each solid metal block from which these limited-edition speakers are made takes about one week and then the technology behind the form is hand-crafted.”
Enough about the design – what do they sound like? “The four-way speaker system mounted into the front of the structure with its powerful bass drivers is one of the elements that makes Muon speakers so superior,” says Anwar.
“Ever since loudspeaker designers realised the acoustic benefits of partially or fully enclosing a loudspeaker in a cabinet they have sought to extract the maximum bass performance from a minimum cabinet size.
It has become the ultimate aim, the Holy Grail of loudspeaker design to achieve big bass from small boxes. It is not possible to break the laws of physics. But they can be bent!
“So maintaining a 40-year tradition of genuine innovation in loudspeakers, KEF now has that enviable ability to bend the laws of physics and produce the Virtual Loudspeaker Cabinet.
KEF has used its Acoustic Compliance Enhancement technology, which enables it to effectively double the available volume through adsorption of air molecules by activated carbon – dubbed ‘magic dust’ by the audio industry.
“The two additional bass drivers mounted in the back of the Muon help to produce a remarkably clean and open sound by dealing with room effects. Also the six-millimetre thick heavily damped aluminium shell provides a totally rigid structure that minimises any sound-distorting vibrations.”
But it is also the upper mid-range and treble where some of the Muon’s key technology lies in the form of the Uni-Q drive unit array, remarkable in its construction and delivering a seamless sonic picture throughout the listening environment.
Explaining the Uni-Q technology Amir Anwar said: “The Uni-Q is KEF’s unique audiophile technology. It is not a driver, but two drivers – an array. The MF and HF units have been symbiotically designed, leading to much improved ‘single-source’ performance.”
So if you want to own them then now is the time to get them as only 100 pairs will ever be made.
Sounds like music to our ears