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View From The Top: Dipin Sehdev, KEF America

By Silas Lynch. Dipin Sehdev began his tenure with KEF—the nearly-sixty-year-old British speaker manufacturer—in 2010. Neither Sehdev nor KEF had previous experience in the pro-audio marketplace until the launch of KEF’s new LS50W powered mini-monitor, a speaker built for audiophiles and home listeners as well as audio content producers, too.

“[Though] KEF has never been in the pro-audio business, our philosophy is to make the best loudspeaker possible using modern materials and technology,” explains Sehdev. “My background was not in the audio space at all. However, since I was a little kid, I had a love for music and equipment. I used to experiment on my dad’s system. KEF makes products across the spectrum, from home theater systems to two-channel systems to architectural speakers, headphones and Bluetooth speakers; my passion for that space is what brought me to KEF.”

Perhaps a bit of KEF history is worth consideration. Its founder—Raymond Cooke, O.B.E. (or ‘Most Excellent Order of the British Empire,’ an title of chivalry given to those contributing to the progression of Britain’s arts and sciences)—was a BBC engineer. “KEF’s ethos hasn’t changed in the last 56 years,” continues Sehdev. “What has changed is how people get their music. KEF is consistently building some of the best speakers in the world, which feature our hallmark Uni-Q Driver Array technology, found in most KEF Speakers. The Uni-Q Driver Array is a true point-source driver, putting the tweeter in the acoustical center of the mid-range. We have been developing and refining this technology since the ’80s, and we are about eight or nine generations in. A few years ago, we started with active speakers like the X300A, which led to Egg and now LS50W. Add KEF-designed custom amps and a variety of connectivity options to the Uni-Q technology, and the result is something remarkable.”

A tier 1 manufacturer, KEF supplies its proprietary components to its various builders, located in England and the Far East. “We design and engineer all our products in the UK, at the same location the company was founded in 1961,” tells Sehdev. “We have split manufacturing between our two factories; our Kent factory handles all Reference Series, Blade and Muon [models]. We still hand-make our speakers in the UK and each one of those speakers is built to order. All our other products are manufactured in our factory in China, which is owned by us. We have a vast network of business units and distribution throughout the world. From our office here in New Jersey, we support the U.S.A., Canada and Latin America. You can visit and search by country to find information on local KEF offices.”

“KEF is a fantastic company to work for,” Sehdev continues. “We really have a great culture built on music. Yes, we sell speakers, but really that starts from a love of music. I am always talking with my colleagues about new albums and artists. Whenever there is something new, we love going into the KEF sound room and listening to them on the KEF Blade. It’s my favorite part [of the job], actually—discovering new music. I am in charge of Brand Relations; what that means is I get the privilege of bragging to the world [about] all the awesome products KEF has and share our design philosophy and technology. I get to talk with engineers, artists and the press. I love introducing new people to the brand.”

At the moment, growth areas for KEF include loudspeakers for architectural installation as well as its entrée into the pro audio space via its LS50W. “Our line of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are the best,” offers Sehdev, “[with a] no-compromise approach. For people that don’t want to have towers in the room, they can get a KEF Ci speaker and don’t have to compromise on sound quality. We are watching the digital and powered music space very closely as well. We are very confident in our engineers and what KEF brings to the table in the form of acoustical expertise. We love putting our product side-by-side with other products and letting them talk on their own merits.”

As far as KEF’s future is concerned, Sehdev confirms that the company is enjoying the amalgamation of associated technologies, as traditional studio environments merge with other technologies, creating an increasingly mobile and flexible audio content-creation landscape amongst professionals: “It is very exciting to see how KEF’s design, engineering, and acoustic philosophy transcends the Hi-Fi industry and the pro audio industry…we have overlap because of how good our speakers sound.”

KEF America