Steve Halsall has been with KEF for almost 25 years, and he has occupied many roles within the organisation throughout many changes in the market.
The Maidstone-based company is now Chinese-owned, but has maintained the iconic quality it has been renowned for since its birth in the early 1960s. Steve’s been involved in maintaining many of its cutting edge practices such as ‘pure research’, the incorporation of high-end thinking into speakers, and developing strong relationships with universities in the field of audio.
“I was working for a smaller company at the time I was recruited into KEF and it was an opportunity to be involved at the start of something quite exciting in terms of taking a brand that was at a fairly low ebb in those days,” Steve recalls. “It had been in receivership and although it was a famous old brand, sales had shrunk quite dramatically. There was an opportunity to help rebuild it, so I could see the possibility of development in terms of my own career as the brand developed internationally.”
That development has been quite literal. KEF remains an innovator rather than a derivative manufacturer and it’s something it is immensely proud of. “In our marketplace there are lots of brands that don’t develop any technology themselves, let alone do pure research.
At KEF, one thing that makes us unique in the worldwide industry, is that we do actual pure research. It could end up leading to a piece of technology that makes it into a product, but we don’t put that restriction on it. It is expensive to do that — that’s why lot of companies don’t do it anymore, and their engineers are purely focused on product development. We find that it gives us an edge because some of the things that have come out of that pure research, you wouldn’t be able to come up with if you were only developing product from a marketing brief.”