May 21, 2009 - Concept or Reality?
by Jeff Fritz

At High End 2009, KEF introduced something new to an audio show, at least as far as I’m aware of: a concept product that, according to KEF, will never be for sale. The Concept Blade loudspeaker was playing music, wonderfully I might add, and showgoers were obviously enthusiastic about its performance. Despite sounding so good and looking like a finished product, the Blade will never be seen in dealers’ showrooms.

KEF's Concept Blade display

Will this type of display generate customers? Well, the concept vehicle has been a mainstay of the auto show for many years. All the big auto manufacturers produce outrageous design experiments to showcase their engineers' talents. The goal of a concept product is to show what the company is capable of if turned loose in terms of styling and creative license. The Concept Blade, according to KEF, will contribute to the company's available loudspeaker lines -- its technology will trickle down to the real-world products.

And lest you think I am mistaken and that the Concept Blade will appear at some outrageous price a year or two from now, I asked the company a second time just to be clear: "If there is real demand, will this speaker be brought to market?" "No!" was the quick answer. Might that change? Of course, anything is possible.

For now, the Concept Blade is a showpiece only, one I’ll remember for a long time. I have a feeling it could challenge the state of the art in loudspeaker design. It’s a shame we’ll never really know.