KEF LS50 Wireless Review

What is the KEF LS50 Wireless?

The LS50 Wireless is an active stereo speaker system that offers all the plug-and-play advantages of a Bluetooth speaker along with the high-end audio capabilities of suitable high-fidelity splitters.

Based on KEF's popular LS50 passive speakers, it builds a high-quality amplifier, transmission preamplifier, DAC and a full set of digital and analog inputs in a design that is only a few centimeters larger than its muse . [19659004] The wireless moniker refers to the abilities of speakers rather than their physical attributes. There are still three main cables to deal with: a power cable for each speaker and a cable that connects them to each other.

Even so, that is much less than a system of separators would require to do the same work. In fact, for all these compact configurations, you will really start to question the need for something else.

Related: Best Multiroom Speakers

KEF LS50 Wireless – Design and Construction

The KEF LS50 Wireless is a pair of well-looking and well-built bookshelf shelves. They are available in titanium, gloss black or white, with the KEF Uni-Q controller at your heart.

The Uni-Q controller not only looks attractive in red, blue or bronze, respectively. It also holds the key to much of the talent of the LS50 Wireless, mounting the 25mm aluminum dome tweeter in the center of the 13cm media / bass unit.

This aims to improve the directionality and time between the drivers, for a tighter stereo image in a wider listening area. Goodbye, ideal point.

The two speakers operate in a master-slave configuration, with the right speaker holding the option of physical inputs along its back, plus a handful of touch-sensitive control buttons illuminated on its top panel for power, volume, source and Bluetooth. There are also some positioning controls on the back, although these fit better in the control application of the speakers.

Entries include Auxiliary, Optical and USB (Type B), plus a subwoofer output and an Ethernet port for wiring if & # 39; Rather, do not use Wi-Fi.

The LS50 Wireless comes with a small remote control to control all these functions from its listening position, but, interestingly, it does not offer a way to determine which source is selected from the same place; It is a unique button that goes through all.

This means getting to the source you need, it's often a case of pressing play and scrolling through them until you listen to their music, that for a product that is so polished on almost every other consideration it's kind of like a carelessness.

Still, it's a very small fly in an otherwise very effective ointment, and I learned the order of the entries after a few days of testing.

[19659055] KEF LS50 Wireless – Features

As I have already hinted, the LS50 Wireless is a pair of high capacity active speakers and a look under the hood provides an idea of ​​how much has been compressed in them .

These are true active speakers, rather than power, which means that each drive in each speaker has its own dedicated power amplifier. There is a Class A / B 30W amplifier available for the tweeter and a Class D 200W module in charge of the mid / bass unit.

There is also a dedicated DAC (up to 24 bits / 192kHz for all channels except optical, which has a limit of 96kHz) and DSP for each channel, plus a transmission preamplifier to allow speakers to play music wirelessly .

It is compatible with aptX Bluetooth and transmission of connected units, it also has Tidal incorporated in its application and support for Spotify Connect as well.

Considering that the LS50 Wireless keeps the central speaker design unchanged, it is a real feat that engineers have compressed all the above into a box only 3 cm deeper than the passive design.

[19659055] KEF LS50 Wireless – Configuration

Much of the beauty of the KEF LS50 Wireless lies in the simplicity of the system. Once you have connected both speakers to the power grid, and then to each other, it is about downloading the KEF LS50 Wireless application (iOS / Android) and following the instructions to get everything on your network (or cabling via Ethernet, if you prefer).

Once you can find it in the app, you can play the speakers to adapt your sound to your room and taste, but even this remains accessible to ensure that it is pleasant and easy to use.

That's because there are basic and expert options of controls that offer much the same changes, but they are drafted differently for different audiences.

For example, in the basic section of the menu, the application will ask you the size of your room and how it is (muffled, moderated or animated), which translates into the expert menu on bass and treble extension. Adjust on either side of the menu and change the details on the other.

There are also options for your speakers to be on a desk or stand (the KEF Performance shelves are an excellent match, if you have space in your budget)) and their distance from a wall, which will further adjust the DSP .

However, there are some additional things that can be played on the expert side, such as a phase correction switch and additional controls for connecting an external subwoofer.

The phase correction switch allows the LS50 Wireless to further compensate for the inherent time delay caused by any crossover. It works with the Uni-Q controller, which helps keep this under control elsewhere, theoretically offering a perfect time alignment across the entire audio range.

Experimenting with him is fun. Turn it on and you will hear a subtle but noticeable enlargement of the sound study, plus the sensation that the sound has been "stretched" across the board.

You will hear more clicks in the middle and a bit more bite in the treble, plus a more reliable and reliable general sound. For an audiophile, it will make all the difference in experience, but even a less critical ear will hear the benefits of turning it on.

Once you have set up your speakers and have connected your physical sources, you can also use the application to log in to Tidal or click to control Spotify directly with Spotify Connect. You can search for connected units in your network or play music stored locally on your device as well.

While these transmitted sources can be navigated and controlled through the application, physical sources will require you to use the remote control or touch controls to switch between them. Again, this feels like an oversight, and it's something that I hope can be resolved in a future update of the application for a more harmonious experience.

The application could also work with a little work when it comes to performance. Although it is well designed and easy to use, it is not always the most sensitive, especially the sliding volume control, which I found could be quite temperamental.

Wireless KEF LS50 – Performance

And then, how does this system really sound, which is where beauty lies. Take some time to adjust the sound to your room and taste, and this system will shine.

In a few words, for the 2000 pounds that you will pay for this configuration, all in one, it will only improve when you spend the same on high fidelity separators. The electronics and the circuitry are designed to work perfectly with each other, so that the sound is punctual; even pairing the passive LS50 speakers with a talented amplifier at the same price can not overcome it.

I played with the positioning, and the good news is that you can largely do what works for your taste or room, thanks to the ability of the application to modify the DSP. However, I discovered that giving them a little more space from the back wall than my initial location added a lighter touch than was possible through the DSP settings.

I loaded a playlist in Tidal to see how the LS50 Wireless would go with the most convenient form of music. The result was an absolute triumph. Even through my wireless network, the sound produced was safe, full of detail and focused on the laser in its stereo images.

Feed it with some optimism and you will not miss a single step, jumping to a lively and dynamic presentation without thinking twice. . Opt for something more considerate and you can also change course at any time, and slow down things without the sound being contained or getting bored.

The precision is excellent. The instruments sound like they would right in front of you, and they unite perfectly with each other, overlapping in a way that allows you to enjoy the harmony of the interpretation, as well as selecting fine details of individual elements if you wish.

It's a bit of a cliché, but if you're new to a setup of this caliber, you'll really discover parts of your favorite songs that you've never heard before.

The expression heard in the voices of a live performance is enough to give you goose bumps. This is facilitated by the fantastic synchronization of the LS50 Wireless, combined with an excellent sense of the rhythmic unit that keeps listening and listening.

Stream a high-resolution audio track from a NAS disk, or switch to a physical source, and that sense of space, time and detail only becomes more evident. But the pure sense of musicality that these speakers are able to maintain does not change, regardless of the input. It is only Bluetooth that shows even a brittleness of fragility, but does not waste in the least (and is the entry that I discovered that less used).

The sound study is impressive for what are relatively compact shelf speakers, and they manage to fill my medium sized test room without problems. You will not be lacking in the department of scale and volume, if you want to press any – I raised the volume higher than I imagine most people would listen, and I did not find an ounce of distortion. [19659003] When it comes to balance, these speakers are pretty neutral, with a fantastic clarity and focus through the middle range, a rich but controlled bass, and clear and open highs with enough bite to keep things exciting without being bright. It's a very well-considered balance, and it works well with all genres of music.

Bass lovers can get some extra thrust in the low range by connecting a different sub, but I like the balance as it is: there is still a lot of noise here to make my boards vibrate with a game by James Blake Limit to Your Love .

Why buy the KEF LS50 Wireless?

If you have a budget of £ 2000 for a suitable high-fidelity configuration, you can be sure that it will not improve in terms of package or performance than the KEF LS50 Wireless.

When it comes to tickets, the flexibility offered is unmatched. In addition, the harmonious sound of its components, all working together, produces such a good performance that it must be heard to be appreciated.

The system is also convenient, and easy to use and configure, being accessible enough for high fidelity novices to deal with, without alienating more experienced listeners in the process.

Can improvements be made? Very small, perhaps, that mainly have to do with the functionality of the application. But not only can these problems be corrected, they are also likely to fade into insignificance when you start listening.

It's fair to say that spending £ 2000 on a hi-fi system is a pretty considerable investment, but this is one that will stand the test of time. If you are looking for something similar in terms of form and convenience, but for much less money and not the same performance class, you might see something like the Wharfedale Diamond A1 or the small Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2.

Considering the list of superlatives However, you can easily apply to the LS50 Wireless, to say that it comes highly recommended, it seems that it seems to be working very well.

Verdict

An outstanding active speaker system that delivers high fidelity sound and plug-and-play convenience together for performance that can not be beat.