LSX: how KEF shrank the wire­less LS50W...

Sound+Image - - News -

KEF has popped out a colour­ful fam­ily of LSX wire­less stereo speak­ers, which roughly halve both the size and price of the com­pany’s suc­cess­ful LS50W model. It’s even less in vol­u­met­ric terms, in­deed — the LSX is 24cm high rather than the LS50W’s 30cm, and its width is more than halved, mak­ing it slightly slim­mer from the front, and re­duc­ing its fi­nal vol­ume to around a third that of the LS50W.

But it is “not sim­ply a baby LS50W”, in­sists Ben Ha­gens, KEF Prod­uct Spe­cial­ist (pic­tured be­low), who spoke at the launch of the LSX in the trendy Smart Artz Gallery in South Mel­bourne. This is about KEF chang­ing what hi-fi can be — a prod­uct for the 95%, not the 5%, he said, not­ing wisely that “You shouldn’t have to spend more time learn­ing about a prod­uct than us­ing it.”

Ease of use is one thing; per­for­mance is an­other. KEF’s specs in­di­cate lit­tle loss of low-end ex­ten­sion from the shrink­age — the quoted -6dB fig­ure for the LSX goes to 49Hz, com­pared with 43Hz for the LS50W.

In ad­di­tion to shrink­ing the en­clo­sure, the LSX uses a smaller ver­sion of KEF’s coax­ial Uni-Q driver, com­bin­ing a 19mm alu­mini­um­dome tweeter within a 115mm mag­ne­sium/ alu­minium-al­loy mid/bass cone, com­pared with the 25mm/130mm combo in the LS50W. One use­ful change is the ban­ish­ing of the con­nect­ing ca­ble, the LSX speak­ers able to talk wire­lessly and share mu­sic up to 24-bit/48kHz, while adding an Eth­er­net link be­tween them raises this to 24-bit/96kHz. Their in­ter­nal am­pli­fiers de­liver a quoted 30W to the tweeter and 70W to the woofer; this com­pares with 30W and 200W in the LS50W.

Once the mas­ter speaker is net­worked (dual-band Wi-Fi or Eth­er­net), two in­te­grated KEF apps al­low the LSX speak­ers to stream Spo­tify Con­nect and Tidal di­rectly, and files via DLNA from home shares. They are due to gain Ap­ple’s AirPlay 2 in the new year (which will al­low a de­gree of mul­ti­room use and voice con­trol from Siri), in ad­di­tion to their Blue­tooth stream­ing which in­cludes the aptX codec if your An­droid phone sup­ports it (no AAC codec for Ap­ple users, per­haps be­cause AirPlay is on the way). And there are phys­i­cal in­puts — op­ti­cal dig­i­tal (very handy for TV au­dio), and an ana­logue mini­jack. There’s a wired sub­woofer out­put so you can con­nect a pow­ered sub­woofer, and a small re­mote con­trol is also pro­vided.

While the LS50W has been ap­pear­ing in var­i­ous be­spoke fin­ishes, KEF has gone all out from the off with the LSW, re­leas­ing the five colours shown above. The white is a full gloss fin­ish. The Black, Blue, Red and Green (this last a Sig­na­ture edi­tion for de­signer Michael Young, who over­saw de­sign for the LSX) have their con­toured front baf­fle in a matte fin­ish while the sides are wrapped with fab­ric from Dan­ish tex­tile man­u­fac­turer Kvadrat (the same source har­man/kar­don has cho­sen for its up­mar­ket Ci­ta­tion range; see pre­vi­ous is­sue).

We ap­plaud the idea of bring­ing bet­ter sound to the masses through such an easy and neat piece of de­sign. The new KEF LSX Wire­less Mu­sic Sys­tem is priced at $1895 per pair. More info: au.kef.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.