I'm still running in a pair of these, hooked up to a Naim Unitiqute 2. Even after just a few hours (only got them yesterday), the LS 50s are proving to be something very special, drawing my wife and I into so many familiar recordings in a way our previous speakers - Neat Petite I and Kef Q300 - never did. It's like looking through a window you didn't know needed a good clean, and then looking again at the same view after cleaning it.
I auditioned these speakers at dealers twice but only really heard what they could do in my listening room by having a home demo. After the first audition, I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about; it would have been very easy to dismiss them in a comment on this page. As things stand, the bass needs to gain more control for sure, but after running in and may be experimenting with the rear port bungs and positioning, I'm sure it will improve.
What we have already is a sense of scale, realism, new levels of mid-range detail and emotional involvement that have made my normally fairly indifferent wife stop and listen in a way she never has before. Our listening room is 14 by 11 by 8 feet and the speakers are a couple of feet from a chimney breast and firing across the width of the room.
I had a set of these when driven at hight to medium levels they were superb. However, at normal to low levels (ie when wanting to hold conversations in the house) they did not respond very well and sounded dull with no low and high frequencies at all. Sad really, as I expected more from them.
Sorry to hear that your are dissapointed by them at lower volume, but this is not the case in my setup with my LS50. I read your comment a few weeks back before I bought new speakers and thought maybe your were right because of the lower sensitivity (thinks its more like 83,5- 84 db in real life) and that I have a Heed pre/PS setup that only gives 60 W 8 ohm/ 100 W 4 ohm. That could very well be a dull combination, also I have a desk setup (PC playback - fanless design) and therefor most of the time I would listen at low -medium levels. So I looked for other speakers, especially the small easy to drive and happy musical Guru Junior speaker, that got good reviews. But somhow I went back to LS50 because I was impressed by their sound in the shop and took a leap of fate.
Luckily they sound great together with Heeds fast and full body approach and my smooth but detailed Calyx 24/192 DAC + good cables. Some would say a bit expensive gear in front of a 800 £ speaker, but LS50 can match it and rewards a good audio signal . Really clear, revealing and open sound with good dynamics also at lower volume. So I think the quality of your system and synergy are keyponits here as well as the room acoustics. I didn´t like my Heed together with my old Dynaudio Focus 140 speakers, it was too slow and polite sounding. Sounded like I had a Rega Brio-R + 10 % (great amp by the way) and not an amp costing a lot more. Focus 140 was almost double the price of KEF LS50 where I live, but is of cause an older speaker design now, so don´t know how much is synergy and how much is evolution, but synergy is crucial. So my point is that LS50 can be driven by a small quality amp / system also at low levels with good results, but it shows the weak points in your signal path and LS50 demands that you think about the systems synergy. Thats just my experience.
I wish Kef releasing new release 2 with:
1. Better sensitivity please.
2. Color option. some people did not like the gold color.
and also consider to release other version for bigger room
Has anyone auditioned these with a Naim UnitiLite? I've just bought the Naim unit and am running it through my old Spendor S8es - the combo sounds great, and the little Naim does a good job with the big Spendors (generally fed with a CD8se and a couple of Cyrus X Powers) but I'm looking for a more compact speaker to use with the UnitiLite. I want to try the PMC Twenty-21 and these Kefs. But I live in Perth, Australia and can't find either speaker to demo here. Has anyone tried these or got any other compact recommendations? Also, do the Kefs have a grille as I HATE the look of those gold speaker cones ...
The sound I'm getting from this set up is "stupendous!" Don't think it can get any / much better - certainly not for less than 10X the price!Using the Sony XA5400ES SACD/CDP (the best there is), into the Anti-Mode 2.0 as a pre and DSP to eliminate the "room boom," into a tube buffer, into the Class D Audio amp into the LS50's and R400b produces real "you are there" sound. Incredible detail, resolution, tone, tenure, texture, stage, image, bass, mids and treble... etc., etc...Hard to believe... really... And just an incredible value!Those who comment to the contrary... either haven't heard these set up properly (which I suspect)... or... they simply are reflecting biased agendas - because these truly are "giant killers."
Hey guys, I just made an unboxing video of these:
How would these compare with my old B&W DM201's? Worth the "upgrade"? And comments re "boxiness'!? Really? I listen to classical music, mainly voice and chamber music.
I was immensely fortunate to have received a pair of LS50s for Christmas, as a replacement to my now deceased KEF Q 15.2 speakers I bought over 10 years ago.
They sound great (of course). Precise sound, giving the music an almost three-dimensional presence in the room. Not at all boxy, or like in-car speakers.
My concern, however, is that they are being driven by my Rotel RA-05 Amplifier and matching Rotel CD player.
Any suggestions for suitable replacement amp with a phono input. The Cyrus 6a is well received by you guys, but appears not to have any phono inputs?
Best to ask this on the forum as not many people will see it here.
The Rega Brio-R has a very fine MM phono in and would make a great amp for the LS50s. Or you could up the budget and go for the Heed Audio Obelisk si, which also has MM phono in.
Impressive response time!
I think I used the wrong phrase when I said "boxiness"
i listened to Lilac Wine by Jeff Buckley, a track which I play at home regularly, and there was an awful prominence of middle frequencies, a strange nasal effect that I did not like at all, that said, I also demmed some Roksan Kandy's which seemed a little better, but not much, which leads me to ask about how dead the WHF test rooms are? Do they emulate a real world situation at all?
Having read Danthemans reply, maybe I should have still used the word boxiness!
I went to my local Hifi dealers for a listen after reading the reviews.
i have never been more disappointed, and haven't heard "boxiness" like this in many years!
I really cannot understand how these speakers are so highly reviewed!
Completely agree, auditioned the LS50's against the KEF R100 and the R300 and the clear winner was the R100 followed by R300 and last by a long way was the LS50's which sounded like a car stereo speaker very boxy and unnatural sounding...
Every thing above and more !
Beg ,steal, a pair of these to listen too.
So are KEF copying Tannoy... placing the tweeter in the centre of the mid/base unit ? (just curious is all)
KEF has been making these Uni-Q drivers since the 1980s.
I totally agree with this review.
I bought the KEF LS50 several weeks ago after listening to many other bookshelves and for me these are the best compact speakers i ever owned (B&W Nautilus 805, Proac Tablette Reference 8 Signature, Dali Mentor Menuet, Dynaudio Focus 110, ATC SCM12, ...). For the price they are incredible.
The LS50 are also easy to place. Mine are about 10 inch from the back wall without a problem. Although the LS50 are very impressive sounding from top to bottom, the bass is something special: deep, powerful and tight.
A must audition for everybody looking for a compact speaker below £2000.
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