KEF LS50 Wire­less

FOR Clar­ity and in­sight; taut bass; dy­nam­ics; fea­tures; build AGAINST Some small us­abil­ity is­sues

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

When some­one says

the words ‘hi-fi sys­tem’, what do you think of? If you’re any­thing like us, you’ve just pic­tured a sep­a­rates com­bi­na­tion made up of source – maybe a streamer, CD player or record player – an am­pli­fier and speak­ers.

Ac­tive speak­ers are a build­ing block for an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion. They have clear per­for­mance ben­e­fits and re­duce the box count, yet many en­thu­si­asts don’t like the lack of easy upgrad­abil­ity or the fact that you still need to add a preamp and a range of sources too.

But what if you didn’t? Imag­ine ac­tive speak­ers with preamp func­tion­al­ity; some­thing that in­cludes dig­i­tal and analogue in­puts. They would cer­tainly need Blue­tooth, and per­haps even stream­ing ser­vices such as Tidal built-in. You know what would also be nice? A streamer, so that any mu­sic stored on a NAS unit or com­puter con­nected to your home net­work could be re­played. The good news is that such a prod­uct ex­ists. It’s KEF’S LS50 Wire­less.

An evolved de­sign

The two speaker boxes here are ar­ranged in a mas­ter-and-slave con­fig­u­ra­tion. As usual, wire­less doesn’t ac­tu­ally mean wire­less. While these KEFS are bet­ter than most, you still have two mains leads – one for each speaker – and the con­nect­ing lead be­tween them.

The award-win­ning pas­sive LS50S are the ba­sis for this de­sign – the drive units re­main un­changed. These speak­ers use a Uni-q ar­ray where the 25mm alu­minium dome tweeter sits in the cen­tre of a 13cm mag­ne­sium/alu­minium mid/bass cone.

These are true ac­tive speak­ers where each drive unit has a ded­i­cated power am­pli­fier. The dig­i­tal sig­nal path is 24-bit/192khz-ca­pa­ble and there’s a ded­i­cated DAC for each drive unit.

Nor­mally we’d rec­om­mend stick­ing to the wired net­work op­tion for greater sta­bil­ity but we used the twin-band (2.4ghz/5ghz) wire­less op­tion for most of our test with­out is­sue.

A great way to play your Part

We start off with Arvo Pärt’s Tab­ula Rasa and are deeply im­pressed with what we hear. The LS50 Wire­lesses sound clean and pre­cise. They dig up so much de­tail and de­liver it in an or­gan­ised and sta­ble man­ner. We’re struck by the KEFS’ sub­tlety and their abil­ity to gen­er­ate strong dy­namic shifts with­out stress.

These are small speak­ers but at vol­ume they ll our medium-sized lis­ten­ing room with ease. They ren­der a lovely, ex­pan­sive, neatly lay­ered sound­stage too.

A move on to Mas­sive At­tack’s An­gel re­veals the LS50S’ im­pres­sive bass per­for­mance. You won’t get re­ally deep floor-shak­ing bass, but low fre­quen­cies are taut, ar­tic­u­late and punchy. We also hear a trans­par­ent midrange and in­sight­ful highs. Vo­cals are de­liv­ered with pas­sion, while per­cus­sion comes through with bite, rhyth­mic ar­tic­u­la­tion and com­po­sure.

“Low fre­quen­cies are taut, ar­tic­u­late and punchy”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.