Originally Posted by SouthernCA
Thanks. I want to understand what are some tell tale signs that you hear that tells you that the amplifier power is not sufficient at that volume level and the ls50s are straining.
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There are folks here that are much more knowledgeable than I am about this, there are many comments on this topic.
For myself, I wouldn't say it's the speakers straining, they don't strain. You can hear the amps let the side down. For me, the speakers when run full range (or without the subs), sounded less full 'thin' in the lower mid-range and bass on music I new really well. These speakers are recognized as full range capable in the specs. I was lucky to hear the same music on a properly driven set at a dealer, and when mine didn't sound quite as full, I ditched my old 70-80 watt Yamaha AVR (real old +10 yrs) and upgraded. Immediately heard significantly better sound, (also the DACs are much better), with tight control throughout, and solid bass.
The new AVRs are underrated for stereo. I do prefer separates, but budget limited my choices ($1600 for pre-amps, doc, pwr. amps, etc.). I really think that I am about 65% of the way to the best the speakers can sound. But my budget is 100% there and I am very happy with the compromise. I know that if resources become available I can add power amps to the mains, and the speakers will only sound better.
I also have to compared my system with the amazing LS50Ws. So, even though the old rule of thumb for speakers is to base the power on the specs, would say 80-100 rms watts should be about right, my Yamaha running stereo is 150 rms, and sounds amazing. The LS50Ws use dedicated 200 watt amps on the mid-woofer and 30 watts on the tweeter. This gives a clue to what Kef thinks drives these speaker well. The of course take every advantage of the integration so perhaps active crossovers are also involved. But in the end, I think Kef is providing needed head room. Much as been written by other smarter/more experienced folks here on this and is worth the read.
Bottom line: Calibrated room, High Quality sources, clean power, good amplification, and the speakers reward you with all you can handle. I have heard better speakers, but I couldn't afford them, putting 7 of these babies to work will provide timbre matched, completely seamless surround sound. In stereo mode the AVR gets me a sound stage that is very wide broad and clean. It sounds engaging, and entertaining, delivering music the way much larger systems do for significantly less money.
If money were not limited, I'd get the Reference 1s (7K pr
.) and run them around the room, with mono blocks for power on each one, wouldn't that be fun.