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PJ1200's picture
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KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

I appreciate the above title thread will role a few eyes on the forum, but I’m (perhaps blindly) hoping this thread will actually serve to provide some half useful insight.

Both the AVIs and the LS50s have received wide scale acclaim almost to the point where they are recommended on almost all ‘what shall I get next’ threads.

I have been considering upgrading my system (below) for some time and given my music is now streamed digitally via the internet, through my airport express, or from my NAS drive, my CD player has been made redundant. This means I now just have my trust Sony amp powering my speakers, which perhaps are my weakest link. The sound is not bad, by any stretch, but I feel there could be a bit more clarity and control over some of the music that I play.

This has obviously led me to these two contenders, and I’ve viewed many threads about both but there does not seem to be any comparison between the two. Obviously the AVIs offer more than just a speaker and could, potentially, solve all my issues (amp/dac/speakers) in one. However, if the LS50s sound more to my taste, with the potential to sound better given a better amp, then over time I will invest in achieving that.

With this in mind, I will be testing both speakers over the weekend at some ‘local’ hifi shops. The first will be the LS50s, which will be pitted against my amp to start with to see how it copes. I will also be comparing the sound against some more ‘accomplished’ and newer equipment in the guise of the Marantz MCR610 and then against the Naim UnitiQute/Lite boxes. I’m hoping it will enable me to hear the range of ability the speakers have and what throwing more money at our wonderful hobby provides!

Next up will be a trip to listen to the AVIs. I will be listening to an older version (9.1s) which I can purchase second hand for £650 and the newer RSs. I’m hoping this will give me further insight against what I could get by upgrading the ‘traditional’ way against going for the convenience of a one box solution.

It should provide some interesting thoughts and I am hoping to be able to qualify the difference between all the various combinations. If I don’t – I’ll either keep what I’ve got – or go for the 2nd hand pair of 9.1s!

I’ve started this thread to purely help provide others with my own viewpoint on what I think may be a pretty common question for people in my position – one that hasn’t been answered due to various reasons. Given where I live, I’m in a position to compare both (albeit with a short drive in between). I don’t want this to descend into the usual active vs passive/AVI vs the world argument. Just some insight that will hopefully help others.

I will say I’m not going to be able to provide the most informative review – I’m not WHF standard! My ears are my own, and I like listening to music. I have no pre-conceptions of what will be better and no agenda to beat here – so it should be unbiased.

I hope it will help others.
PJ

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

Are you aware the choice isn't limited as it was before? There's the new active Quads which have all the inputs plus USB, a big plus, Adam art series speakers inc. a tasty floorstander, and the  highly reviewed (in German magazines) Nubert A-200 pro series of speakers with DSP? Nubert have to come from Germany, but price includes returns with free shipping up to 30 days if you don't like them.

They're all cheaper than the AVI offering.

 

P.S Have only heard the Kef, which I didn't particularly like.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

A very interesting head to head, and I look forward to your findings.

There are a few variables to take into account:

-  The amp you use with the LS50s will be crucial

-  Since the LS50s need a decent amp to hear their potential, it will probably leave them a more expensive option.

-  LS50s need heavy, preferably filled speaker stands, along with a bit of space around them, to sound their best . I don't know if this is the case for the AVIs.

- It is an easy decision if you prefer the AVIs. If you prefer the LS50s, putting a value on that difference may not be so simple (unless you dislike the AVIs).

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

Thanks for the responses. 

As for trying further combos - I'm already confused as it is, so will be sticking to my plan on the above combos!

Agree on the amp and speaker placement for the LS50s.  I'm aware that the amplification is critical with the LS50 but hope to actually test that because I'll be feeding it my old Sony to start with.  I'm hoping to hear a lot more improvement in relation to upgrading to - say - the Naim.

I have decent space for the placement of the speakers, so not too much of an issue, but the AVIs are very forgiving in relation to placement.

We'll see how we get on!

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

They're both ported, so you wouldn't want to place them too close to the walls else they'll boom.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

altruistic.lemon wrote:

They're both ported, so you wouldn't want to place them too close to the walls else they'll boom.

 

This is not correct. As far as low frequencies are concerned, the speaker is a point source and port psitioning is almost irrelevant, assuming you don't actually completely block it.

Any speaker can boom in the wrong place, but I would expect active speakers to be less sensitive in this respect.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

No, that's incorrect. Either that, or speaker manufacturers have got it wrong all these years  Smile

That's why some supply foam bungs. In fact, the LS50s come with bungs, I believe. 

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

PJ1200 wrote:
I . I’m hoping it will enable me to hear the range of ability the speakers have and what throwing more money at our wonderful hobby provides!  PJ

 

You don't specify a budget but I would definately audition the Heed Obelisk with the LS50s. i've heard them at my local audio-t and they were stunning together.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

altruistic.lemon wrote:

No, that's incorrect. Either that, or speaker manufacturers have got it wrong all these years  Smile

That's why some supply foam bungs. In fact, the LS50s come with bungs, I believe. 

I've no idea what reason speaker makers give for supplying port bungs but I note that they often also tell buyers to allow many hours for burn in which is also nonsense.

A simple calculation will tell you that most speaker dimensions are a tiny fraction of typical port frequency wavelengths.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

Difficult decision: do I trust every speaker manufacturer in the world or an anonymous internet person?

Edit: Actually, having read about the money people are throwing at amps for the LS50 I'd not bother with them and go down the active route. 

A £4000 amp for £800 speakers?? The world has gone mad.

 

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Difficult decision: do I trust every speaker manufacturer in the world or an anonymous internet person?

 

You know the answer to that question A.L.

24 hours to acclimatise and approx 30 hours burn in. Has to be said that it really isn't a 'burn in' as such. More the action of making the surrounds and spiders' adhesives a little more pliable and that comes with gentle forward / backward motion or have all us loudspeaker builders got it all wrong??. I don't think so. Blum 3

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

I apologise to PJ for helping to spoil his thread.

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

Smile 

Don't worry - I remain hopeful this could be the thread that finally manages to provide some insight on the topic Wink

The AVIs are front ported are they not?  If so, no need to worry about putting them against the wall so much?  I'm sure a good ft from anything would be benefical, but would just assume a little play around is what is required.

I was looking at the Heed amp not so long ago and have heard previously that it can drive the LS50s. 

All I'm trying to do is see whether the LS50s are as good as everyone raves about, as well as seeing if the notion that they need some heavy-wattage from a high end amp to provide their best.  I also want to see that in comparison to the 'hype' that has been surrouding the AVIs too. 

I may not hear anything (to my ears) and as such save my money.  I may be an AVI convert.  I may think that the KEFs are just too good and too good looking not to own - and who knows, I may decide my trusty Sony amp has still got the moves and there's no point in spending anything more on an amp...

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

altruistic.lemon wrote:

P.S Have only heard the Kef, which I didn't particularly like.

Maybe you heard it with an amp that wasn't good enough.  Blum 3

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

There is no hype, just marketing and the gullible I'm afraid. If you believe, you'll love them, if you don't, you'll realise they're just another cheap (on the component level) small speaker but with an amp and DAC built in.

 

If you want to hear something special, forget boxes entirely and try some panels. Now they really are the best out there  Smile 

 

P.S How do you become a convert to a brand without hearing it? 

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RE: KEF LS50 Vs AVI ADM9s

CnoEvil wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

P.S Have only heard the Kef, which I didn't particularly like.

Maybe you heard it with an amp that wasn't good enough.  Blum 3

A £600 amp should be fine. Anything over £800 is wishful thinking.

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