KEF first introduced its 12th generation Uni-Q driver array with Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) in the LS50 Meta Bookshelf Loudspeakers in 2020. Since then KEF’s innovative coaxial driver has been making its way through their speaker line-up, which includes Blade and Reference, LS60, Ci250RRM-THX, and R Meta Series.
KEF’s flagship architectural speakers from its Ci-Reference Extreme Series have been updated with 12th generation technology. The new Ci5160REFM-THX and Ci3160REFM-THX in-wall speakers have arrived at a rather steep price; $11K and $8K each, respectively. They replace the Ci5160REF-THX and Ci3160REF-THX, which have almost the same model name, but without the “M”.
Tip: Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) claims to deliver more natural sounding treble.
Just as with its previously announced in-wall Ci250RRM speaker and Ci250RRb in-wall Subwoofer, the new architectural speakers are also THX Certified with the Ci5160REFM carrying the THX Dominus and the Ci3160REFM carrying the THX Ultra designations.
- THX Dominus Certification means that the speaker is optimized for rooms as large as 6,500 cubic feet, and up to a 20-foot viewing distance from the screen.
- THX Ultra Certification means that the speaker is optimized for rooms up to 3,000 cubic feet and a 12-foot viewing distance from the screen.
To provide optimal sound quality, these two speakers also incorporate the following KEF Technologies and Features.
- Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT): This removes 99% of high-frequency distortion for pure, natural sound.
- 12th generation Uni-Q and Shadow Flare Surface: Improves acoustic accuracy.
- Paintable Magnetic Grill: More than just being decorative, the provided grills provide a balance between driver protection, sonic performance, and aesthetics. Optional cloth grill available.
- Impedance: The speakers have a 4-ohm impedance.
- Finish: Aluminum Black/Grey.
Tip: Both speakers can be used vertically as left, right, or surround speakers, or horizontally as a center channel speaker.
In addition to the features listed above, The Ci5160REFM-THX is KEF’s first THX Dominus Certified in-wall speaker. This speaker incorporates four 6.5-inch bass drivers for optimized bass performance for in-wall setups. The speaker also features an 11mm thick machined aluminum baffle to limit unwanted vibration.
As mentioned previously, the Ci3160REFM-THX in-wall speaker is THX Ultra Certified. It is more compact than the Ci5160REFM-THX as it incorporates two 6.5-inch bass drivers rather than four for bass performance. KEF does not mention if this speaker also includes an 11mm thick baffle.
|MSRP||$10,999 each||$7,999 each|
|THX Certification||THX Dominus||THX Ultra|
|Nominal Impedance||4 ohms||4 ohms|
|Frequency Response (+/- 6dB) Open-back||40Hz to 28kHz||40Hz to 28kHz|
|Frequency Range (-10 dB)||32Hz to 45Hz||32Hz to 45Hz|
|Nominal Coverage||150 degrees||150 degrees|
|MAX SPL (dB)||116 dB||110 dB|
|Crossover Frequency||600Hz, 3kHz||600Hz, 3kHz|
|LF Driver||4 x 160mm (6.5 inches)||2 x 160mm (6.5 inches)|
|MF Driver (Uni-Q)||1 x 125 mm (5.25-inches)||1 x 125 mm (5.25-inches)|
|HF Driver (Vented Aluminum Dome Tweeter with MAT)||1 x 25mm (1-inch)||1 x 25mm (1-inch)|
|Recommended Amp Power||50 to 500 watts||50 to 350 watts|
|Recommend Hi-Pass Filter||35 to 80Hz||35 to 80Hz|
|External Dimensions (HWD)||1070 x 230 x 105.7 mm (42.13 x 9.06 x 4.16-inches)||680 x 230 x 105.7 mm(26.77 x 9.06 x 4.16 inches)|
|Cutout Dimensions (HW)||1052 x 209 mm (41.42 x 8.23-inches)||660 x 209 mm (25.98 x 8.23 inches)|
|Net Weight||21.7 kg (47.8 lbs)||13.6 kg (29.92 lbs)|
|Mounting Depth From Surface||99 mm (3.9 inches)||99 mm (3.9 inches)|
|Optional Rough in Frame||RIF5160L||RIF3160L|
|Ideal Rear Volume||90 Liters||60 Liters|
|Maximum Rear Volume||40 Liters||30 Liters|
|Wall Thickness Maximum||40 mm (1.58-inches)||40 mm (1.58-inches)|
|Wall Thickness Minimum||6mm (0.24 inches)||6mm (0.24 inches)|
KEF isn’t the only company with a THX Dominus Certified In-Wall Speaker. Perlisten has 8 architectural speakers that are THX Dominus Certified. Although, Focal doesn’t offer THX certification, their flagship 1000 Series In-Wall Speakers with Beryllium tweeters are sure to please a lot of audiophiles.
Related Reading: Theory Audio Design 5.2.2 Surround Sound System Review
Prices & Availability
- The KEF Ci5160REFM-THX is priced $10,999.99 each
- The KEF Ci3160REFM-THX is priced $7,999.99 each.
For more information: us.kef.com