It’s a big day for KEF. Not only has the British audio brand announced a successor to its beloved LS50 speaker, it has also introduced a sequel to its 2018 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning LS50 Wireless.
The KEF LS50 Wireless II aims to take the all-in-one speaker system concept to the next level, advancing connectivity, removing the need for an inter-speaker cable, introducing an all-new companion app, and – as we can confirm – improving performance. Yes, we have already had our eyes, ears and mitts on them, so you can already read our in-depth thoughts in our KEF LS50 Wireless II review.
The headline news here is a new absorption technology KEF is calling MAT (Metamaterial Absorption Technology). A joint initiative with Acoustic Metamaterials Group, MAT is a maze-like structure that sits behind the tweeter to absorb a claimed 99 per cent of unwanted sound radiations. KEF says this compares to the 60 per cent absorbed by “other traditional approaches”. MAT is also a technological cornerstone in KEF’s new LS50 Meta passive speakers.
KEF has also further enhanced its familiar Uni-Q driver arrangement with a reworked motor system, as well as an all-new 100-watt A/B amplifier powering the tweeter. A 280-watt Class D amplifier still powers the mid/bass driver.
KEF has chosen to replace the USB Type B laptop/computer connection with an HDMI ARC socket, arguing that the LS50’s size makes them more practical either side of a TV than on a desktop. Elsewhere, the new system mirrors its predecessor’s physical connections, with RCA, optical and coaxial inputs all present.
Compatible files go all the way up to 24-bit/384kHz (96kHz is the inter-speaker wireless transmission limit, while 192kHz is passable through the inter-speaker cable) and this time include DSD256 and MQA.
While the original system required two apps – one for set-up and control, and another for streaming music – this 2nd-generation model uses only one, the KEF Connect app. From here you can access music apps such as Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, as well as local and networked files. Spotify Connect is onboard too, as is AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth.
The KEF LS50 Wireless II system costs £2250 (AU$4295) and is available in Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, Mineral White and a Crimson Red Special Edition. Their dedicated S2 floor stands, which feature secure fixing points for LS50 Wireless II and a cable management system, are priced at £400 (AU$800) per pair.