And, Coorg continued, while most start out on "$12 earbuds and $100 desktop speakers" - the audio equivalent of rotgut whiskey - KEF's introducing music lovers to the finer stuff, starting with the brand's first over-the-ear M500 headphones ($300) and aspirational X300A computer speakers ($800 in wired form, $200 more for a wireless "AW" variant that does Airplay and DLNA streaming).
"Everything we put our name on is true to our DNA," shared Coorg. "We still design and methodically fine-tune the products in the UK and build them in our own factories."
Though a label on the back of X300As declares, "exported by KEF of Japan," and the M500s were crafted in a Chinese plant owned by KEF's parent company.
WHAT YOU DON'T HEAR IS IMPORTANT, TOO: M500 on-ear headphones are comparably priced to other premium models that fold and pack nicely, and have swappable cables for audio products and smartphone connections. But KEFs have a distinctly modern, minimalist look and feel, with lightweight aluminum frames and black memory-foam-padded earpieces.
Somewhat noise-isolating, the pads don't push tightly on the ears - good for long listening sessions but too loose for active-wear use.
If you're accustomed to bass-heavy boomers like Beats, you might be taken aback by the M500s "neutral" nature. But here, too, the goal (achieved) is a personal listening system that's honest, accurate and even-tempered.
GIZMO GUY'S RATING: On a scale of 0 to 100, I'd rate them a 94.
THE REALLY HOT SAUCE: There's no way to accidentally knock an X300A off your desk.
Shoebox-sized and weighing 16 pounds each, these are serious sound replicators in the great tradition of the KEF mini-monitors that company founder/engineer Raymond Cook crafted, starting in the 1960s, to please the audiophiles running the BBC, his former employer.
The X300As feature KEF's signature "Uni-Q" speaker design, fitting the tweeter in the center of the bass/mid-range driver to achieve a highly unified, coherent, "single point" sound source.
An extremely serious engine drives the show - high output "Class AB" amplifiers (bi-amped, actually) with massive heat sinks and dedicated digital-to-analog converters for each channel, with high-res audio/control connectivity to your computer (and between speakers) via USB cable.
All are future-proofed for the "better than CD-quality" digital download services that HDTracks and major music labels (Sony, Warner Bros., Universal) will be seriously promoting next year.
An X300A set plays loudly and well enough to serve as a primary home sound system, and it also features an analog input. But KEF's powered speakers are best appreciated at close range, replicating the super-detailed playback experience that a recording-studio engineer demands at his mixing desk.
High-frequency tones are delectably precise. Bass response is tight and palpable - no need for a separate subwoofer here. And vocals (mid-range frequencies) hover magically in 3-D audio space, exactly where the engineer "placed" them.