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Had a listen to the LS50s today...

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p_m_brown's picture
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Hey all,

I mentioned on another LS50 related thread that I was going to have a listen to these after some of you chaps suggested speakers could be a better upgrade route than a power amp.

So, the premise behind my trip to my very helpful local Sevenoaks was to take a look at my humming sub. That is now sorted using the RCA connections instead of the speaker inputs. Apparently the hum was due to a different ground loop set up on my Arcam A28 which also appeared exactly the same as a Naim Unite and Arcam A19 which we tested the sub in the store. Anyway, all good now!

So when the Sevenoaks chaps were looking at the sub, I had a listen to Pablo Honey by Radiohead (one of my favourite test discs) on the LS50s with said Arcam A19 and a Rocksan Kandy CDP. Here are MY thoughts - 

-Definitely more consistant bass - no boom in the frequency range (a slight irritation I have with my R100s) but stil rich and punchy sounding so +1 to the LS50s 

-Sharper treble, not in a bad way, possibly ever so slightly crisper but also a little brittle - I prefer the R100s but I'm calling this a draw as it is just a different presentation

-Soundstage didn't sound as wide as my R100s and things like the ride cymbal on the choruses in Creep didn't seem quite as "in the room" as I am used to. +1 to the R100s

I also had a Listen to a couple of Bad Plus tracks and I didn't like the piano in a couple of places as it just sounded noisy rather than producing a pure tone. +1 R100s

The reason I don't have the LS50s on home demo is down to composure.  When listening to a challenging track, especially the end of Stop Listening (lots of layers of distorted guitars, screaming vocals etc etc) they actually sounded a bit muddled ad lacking detail, dare I say, a bit of a mess! +1 R100s.

They do look the part and feel as solid as a rock - they may sound totally different with my amp, in my room but for now, I am happy (ish) to stick with the R100s especially with a score of 3 -1!

beauty, eh

 

 

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BigH's picture
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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

The problem with demos is the room will be different that could account for some of those sounds you heard and also the other gear. I think LS50s need very good amp. maybe the Arcam is not quite upto it. I also found they need plenty of power. I would stick with what you have.

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

p_m_brown wrote:

The reason I don't have the LS50s on home demo is down to composure.  When listening to a challenging track, especially the end of Stop Listening (lots of layers of distorted guitars, screaming vocals etc etc) they actually sounded a bit muddled ad lacking detail, dare I say, a bit of a mess! +1 R100s.

beauty, eh

That part of the track is a bit of a mess, so perhaps the LS50s are just pulling back the carpet that the R100s have thrown over it?

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p_m_brown's picture
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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

Wouldn't say that track sounds a mess, end of. Just sounded a mess on the LS50s in that demo room, on that set up.

For example, Thomas York's scream at the end seemed to just disappear in the mix whereas with my set up at home, you can hear him struggling to hold the scream with a damn sight more clarity.

Perhaps the smaller A19 struggled to unravel the mix?

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

I found the Kefs to be a bit heavy in the lower midrange and bass could be  a bit loose, suppose muddled is a similar thing, they were not for me as I need more sensitive speakers the Kefs did not wake-up until about 11 o'clock, I rather play between 8-9. 

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

p_m_brown wrote:

Wouldn't say that track sounds a mess, end of. Just sounded a mess on the LS50s in that demo room, on that set up.

For example, Thomas York's scream at the end seemed to just disappear in the mix whereas with my set up at home, you can hear him struggling to hold the scream with a damn sight more clarity.

Perhaps the smaller A19 struggled to unravel the mix?

Did you not compare your speakers back to back in the demo room with the LS50s? Surely the only way to truly separate them, would be to hear them in the same environment at the very least, ideally your own room.

 

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

No need to do a back to back in the room as I know what my gear is capable of all too well. Not the most scientific but then who said listening to hifi has to be?!

If I had heard performance to rival what I know then absolutely, I would have taken them on a home demo but unfortunately, I was not nearly impressed enough. That said, I may still give them another try because I did enjoy the bass articulation and consistency. Alas, I didn't hear the top end detail or soundstage separation I really enjoy. This time round. 

I love the sound of my gear at the moment but being an avid tweaker, I had to scratch that itch and listen to the LS50 if you know what I mean.

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

p_m_brown wrote:

I love the sound of my gear at the moment but being an avid tweaker, I had to scratch that itch and listen to the LS50 if you know what I mean.

I think we all know exactly what you mean.  shifty

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

Haha, glad it isn't just me then!

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

Personally, I think the only way to compare speakers is to hear them in the same room with the same amp - too many variables otherwise.  Is the slight boom from your R100s the speakers, or a function of your room?

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

I agree with others here. You really need to hear the LS50's in your system in your room to be able to properly compare to what youre used to hearing from the R100's. if after that you say you still prefer the R100's, that's fine. But to say that the R100's have better detail retrieval than the LS50's is something I would put down to a different room/different system.

I can better compare products when I have heard them at home in my own system. Everything I hear at work sounds better at home.

Granted some tracks may end up being less listenable on the LS50's due to their more truthful nature, but they will always pull out more detail and coherence when compared with the same system in the same room.

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

Craig M. wrote:

  Is the slight boom from your R100s the speakers, or a function of your room?

I think it is the speaker as I also run a sub (albeit quietly) that does not seem to have any such issues with bass boom. I was reading one chap's interesting journey into bass traps and room treatment that I might look - just to be sure!

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:

I agree with others here. You really need to hear the LS50's in your system in your room to be able to properly compare to what youre used to hearing from the R100's. if after that you say you still prefer the R100's, that's fine. But to say that the R100's have better detail retrieval than the LS50's is something I would put down to a different room/different system.

I can better compare products when I have heard them at home in my own system. Everything I hear at work sounds better at home.

Granted some tracks may end up being less listenable on the LS50's due to their more truthful nature, but they will always pull out more detail and coherence when compared with the same system in the same room.

I was set up in the same room as when I bought my R100s back in August which were then powered by an old Nad 302 amp! I didn't like the sound of that room then and still don't but I knew after much listening on that occasion that the R100's were for me compared to all sorts of other alternatives (b&w 685s, some bigger Kefs, monitor audio etc).

Today, the LS50s just didn't do it for ME.

I will agree that everything does sound better at home but I need to hear that sparkle in the store before I will commit to a home demo or purchase.

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

I demoed them side by side the KEF LS50 and the Kef R 100, using my Arcam Movie amp/cd. As I was travelling home I called into a different dealer and did the same comparison of the speakers with my amp. I'd pretty much had my heart set on the LS50s before the demos and was only using the R100 for comparison but while the LS50 were more revealing they were too analytical, I felt like they were too much like recording studio monitors. Whereas the R100 were insightful without being fatiguing and the most important thing - fun ! I even managed to knock them down to £500 :) 

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

This is why I always say it is best to listen. If people ask me, I will tell them that the LS50 is the better speaker - it is. I have mentioned many times though that they may be a little too much for some people, and if that is the case, the R100 will more than likely suit them better. Plus, the R100 is a little more amplifier friendly.

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RE: Had a listen to the LS50s today...

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:

... the R100 will more than likely suit them better. Plus, the R100 is a little more amplifier friendly.

 

I noticed this too when I auditioned these two pairs of speakers side by side. I needed to crank up the volume considerably with the LS50. I can perfectly understand why some will prefer the R100 with its lively presentation, but I chose the LS50 for its refined, effortless and natural sound signature. Both pairs are excellent imo. Beautiful finishing too.