KEF LS50 Wireless £1999
Is it any surprise seeing the KEF LS50 Wireless at the top of this category? Where most systems are one-box systems that fall into the “just-addspeakers” variety, KEF has incorporated all the box-bound features into the stereo speakers themselves. It is a genuinely all-in-one streaming system that gives us not a glimpse but a full look at the hi-fi of the future.
Based on the Award-winning LS50, these wireless cousins are beautifully built and finished, with some clever technology packed into a convenient (yet stylish and modern) package.
All in the box
These are true active speakers – each drive unit has a dedicated power amplifier. A 30W Class A/B circuit feeds the tweeter, while a 200W Class D module powers the mid/bass unit. The digital signal path is 24-bit/192khz capable, and there’s a dedicated DAC for each drive unit. You also get pre-amp functionality, a streamer, Bluetooth and Tidal built in. Any music stored on a NAS unit, computer or smartphone on your home network can also be replayed.
At the rear of the right speaker you’ll find stereo analogue and USB Type B connectors alongside the optical socket. You’ll also find a subwoofer connection and an ethernet socket.
But none of this would matter if they didn’t also deliver on pure performance terms, and the speakers are easily on par with more traditional set ups.
The LS50 Wireless sound wonderfully clean and precise, digging up so much detail and delivering it in an organised and stable manner. We’re struck by the KEFS’ subtlety and ability to generate strong dynamic shifts.
They deliver a lovely, expansive soundstage that’s neatly layered and nicely defined, and they’re able to go pretty loud, too.
Playing Massive Attack’s Angel shows the LS50S’ impressive bass performance. These aren’t big speakers so you won’t get really deep floor shaking bass, but they generate low frequencies that are taut, articulate and punchy.
Insightful and transparent
The good news continues higher up the range with a transparent and fluid midrange and insightful highs. Vocals are delivered with passion while percussion comes through with bite and composure. The LS50S are rhythmic too, delivering the song’s unmistakable momentum with determination, allowing the song’s natural flow to come through.
Overall, these speakers have the insight to unravel a recording yet never go so far as to tear the music apart. They’re informative but always musical with it.
KEF has done a terrific job here. It has taken the Award-winning LS50S and made them an even better proposition.
And despite all KEF’S clever thinking and implementation, it’s the performance that keeps the LS50 Wireless our Product of the Year for a second year running.
KEF has taken a whole system and loaded it into a pair of superbly talented speakers