KEF Introduces LS50 Wireless Active Speakers - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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KEF Introduces LS50 Wireless Active Speakers

New post on the LS50 Wireless including demo impressions from CES 2017: KEF LS50 Wireless Speakers and New Dedicated Stands at CES 2017

Mark Henninger
Editor, AVS Forum

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post #2 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 08:03 AM
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I was a big fan of the LS50 and I have owned several pairs, it would be interesting to see what type of Dac they are using and it would be nice for a higher end Dac in them that does DSD etc..

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post #3 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 08:42 AM
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The perfect high WAF, minimalist system.
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post #4 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 08:48 AM
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I appreciate the news reporting , but the $700 difference with the passives seems a lot to pay for built in amplification, wireless, and DACs. I wonder how much difference people would hear between the built in amplification and DAC over a $300 receiver?

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post #5 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
I appreciate the news reporting , but the $700 difference with the passives seems a lot to pay for built in amplification, wireless, and DACs. I wonder how much difference people would hear between the built in amplification and DAC over a $300 receiver?
I would think that the 230W/speaker (460W total) would trounce many of the receivers/AVRs in the $300 price range...
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post #6 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sigpig View Post
I would think that the 230W/speaker (460W total) would trounce many of the receivers/AVRs in the $300 price range...
Plus an active crossover and time alignment which is the biggest difference IMO. I only wished they included a true AES/EBU input.
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post #7 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
I appreciate the news reporting , but the $700 difference with the passives seems a lot to pay for built in amplification, wireless, and DACs. I wonder how much difference people would hear between the built in amplification and DAC over a $300 receiver?
Depends on what you're after. $700 is about half of what I paid to amplify my LS50's, plus $200 for a DAC module.
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post #8 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 10:08 AM
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Good idea to add the subwoofer output

106dB max output at one meter, it could use the help with a decent sub to keep it clean. I find it odd that they put the port on the back considering the market. I find it odd that manufacturers would put a port on the back of speakers intended for more near field listening. Such is the issue with lifestyle products, ports are ugly so throwing them on the back to hide them makes sense.

Looks like a nice option for WAF though.
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post #9 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 10:26 AM
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Will these be able to be used in a Home Theater for surround I love it!

Why didn't they make them Red!

The LS50 Red has been sold out for months where as the Grey is still available!!!!
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post #10 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 10:56 AM
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I think they nailed it. All the shortcomings of their X300A then the X300WA have been addressed, and then some. Not shipping until December, but should be worth the wait.

For me, this is exactly what I need and want for the "minimalist" 2 channel system for music that I want to put in my office. I just want streaming off a Bluesound Node or similar so I have access to my library of ripped CD's, plus my Tidal Hi-Fi account. I was trying to figure out what amp, DAC and speakers to get, and where to put the stuff. Now I just have to place a pair of speakers and a black box 2/3rds the size of a cigar box.

Cool.
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post #11 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 11:02 AM
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I don't think that they would be practical used as surrounds. I don't know of any AVR's that send surround output wirelessly, and at $2200 they'd be a pricey set of surrounds. Better to use something like the Rocketfish wireless kit for $100 and a set of passive speakers.
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post #12 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
I don't think that they would be practical used as surrounds. I don't know of any AVR's that send surround output wirelessly, and at $2200 they'd be a pricey set of surrounds. Better to use something like the Rocketfish wireless kit for $100 and a set of passive speakers.
Wouldn't the surround output come from the pre-outs on the AVR to the line level in on the LS50A?
Looks to me like the wireless is mostly talking about the fact that they can stream and there are no wires between speakers
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post #13 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by AtlantaAllen View Post
Wouldn't the surround output come from the pre-outs on the AVR to the line level in on the LS50A?
Looks to me like the wireless is mostly talking about the fact that they can stream and there are no wires between speakers
True. I assumed that poster was referring to using them wirelessly
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post #14 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 12:06 PM
 
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No Wisa.
No Atmos.

Don't understand why. This would otherwise be perfect.

Any way to software hack a multichannel setup using these?

Ah, nevermind. Price makes it not worthwhile.
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post #15 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 12:29 PM
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Not worthwhile...for YOUR application.

IMO the LS50 was never really engineered for home theater and certainly not Atmos. These and the passive ones appear to be aimed squarely at 2-channel music appreciation.

Perfect for me!
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post #16 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 12:59 PM
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As Ken stated,

Not a good match for HT surround use. The 106 dB rating is at one meter so you are limited in SPL if you get near reference levels. For $2,200 a pair, you can get far better performance, SPL and clean output by using a concentric designed for such things. You still have to have a power outlet so take your pick, power wires and outlets or speaker cable.

Think of them as a self-powered studio monitor although it won't do studio SPL requirements. They fit in the niche of nearfield desktop systems, bedrooms etc. which they were designed for. They would be great to use on a desk at work with a small sub though.
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post #17 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 07:47 PM
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Interesting. Does plugging something into the sub-out trigger a highpass on the mains? Otherwise not much point, IMO.

I believe KEF's old "Picoforte" mini-amp worked that way.

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post #18 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post

Think of them as a self-powered studio monitor although it won't do studio SPL requirements. They fit in the niche of nearfield desktop systems, bedrooms etc. which they were designed for. They would be great to use on a desk at work with a small sub though.

That is exactly what I think of them as, but it's worthwhile to point out that at $2200, there are some VERY nice active studio monitors from Adam, Neumann, Genelec, Dynaudio, JBL etc. Heck, you could even find some older Barefoot monitors or S2A's for less than that.


Aside from the wireless features, I don't see a whole lot of value in these KEF's unless they sound life changingly good.

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post #19 of 341 Old 10-14-2016, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
Not worthwhile...for YOUR application.

IMO the LS50 was never really engineered for home theater and certainly not Atmos. These and the passive ones appear to be aimed squarely at 2-channel music appreciation.

Perfect for me!
Disagree Ken sorry. They may be a match in heaven for those with LS50 fronts, those with Reference or with Blade. I have read your opinions of Reference compared to R series or others and what makes this hobby great is opinions. I appreciate the R series but.. The LS50 may be a perfect surround speaker...

I think I may have the perfect room for them-medium sized-sort of near field. If they suck, I will be the first to share my thoughts. No one said the 50 was engineered for Atmos. That is what the Atmos modules are for that I will be trying at the same time on my fronts. I am using mono amps for front and will use the Arcam AVR to drive these 50s. I would be surprised if I cannot accomplish this..

The modules would sit nicely on the the 50s I believe. Not sure what the 50'S have to do with anything as the modules are lifting the sound for rear Atmos and the 50s handling rear sound if that is how they are dedicated.

Again if it all sucks I will share-

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post #20 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
I appreciate the news reporting , but the $700 difference with the passives seems a lot to pay for built in amplification, wireless, and DACs. I wonder how much difference people would hear between the built in amplification and DAC over a $300 receiver?
I sincerely doubt that many with the passive LS50s are powering them with a $300 AVR.
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post #21 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 01:19 AM
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Fantastic idea! They will sell tons!

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post #22 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 06:18 AM
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Rick,

I not saying its a bad speaker for surround duty, and I know a good number of people use the LS50 for that successfully. I'm only suggesting that wasn't an "intended target." Given that true surround, if even attempting to emulate the capabilities of a THX level system, would need speakers that can achieve reference level 85dB with 20dB of headroom. The LS50 tops out right there. In practical terms I doubt anyone would routinely push that kind of volume out of surround speakers so they do work. It's just that the size and shape makes them less than ideal as compared to many other speaker systems with all positions engineered into the offering.

If I had the room and the money, I might consider using them as surrounds myself. It may be overkill on sound quality, but is that even possible?

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post #23 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
Not worthwhile...for YOUR application.

IMO the LS50 was never really engineered for home theater and certainly not Atmos. These and the passive ones appear to be aimed squarely at 2-channel music appreciation.

Perfect for me!
Just because a speaker is designed for 1 application, doesn't mean it cannot be used in others. And if a speaker fits more than one application, thats a big plus to the design(ers) and KEF.
Some users have the budget, and want the beautiful and stylish finish that these speakers offer. Anyone thinking about these for surrounds probably isn't extremely throw off by their active or passive price.

That's like those with tower or bookshelf center channels instead of the titled "center channel" offered by any given company.

KEF isn't going to say "designed for 2-channel enthusiasts" because they are then limiting their marketing/sales to only those people.

Are these going to be the most dynamic for a surround application? No. But for someone who loves multi-channel music, and/or doesn't watch movies at demanding levels, (and lets be honest, as you said, surround channels don't require demanding levels), and wants an all around KEF system, these are the answer. And back to being dynamic, if the user isn't listening at demanding levels, the speaker isn't going to struggle and be plenty dynamic,

We should encourage the idea for these as surrounds, and just simply state the pros and cons as you did, just leaving out the part about how these aren't designed for that purpose, so it shouldn't be done.

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post #24 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
We should encourage the idea for these as surrounds, and just simply state the pros and cons as you did, just leaving out the part about how these aren't designed for that purpose, so it shouldn't be done.
IMO optimal side and rear speakers for mosts room have wider dispersion than KEF's 5" Uni-Q provides, because they are often fairly close to the listeners. If the room is wide enough that sides and rears can be more than ~10' from any seated listener, they may work fine. I've never had a room that was wide enough for that.

I've noticed over a decade in trying to deploy 5" Uni-Qs as surrounds (starting with the Q-Compact ca. 2004, ending with the Q100 a couple years ago) that I could localize sounds to the surrounds quite easily when they fired straight out or toed into the listening position.

The workaround pre-Atmos for sides and rears was flipping the surrounds on their back so that they was fire up. Then you had the consistent sound power a good concentric provides, and removed the direct path for localization cues. Very satisfying sound, if somewhat odd looks. In a system with a dedicated height layer that's not a great idea, but in a x.1.0 system KEFs-on-their-back still work very well IMO.

*Dispersion in the MF/HF is determined by waveguide diameter, depth, and contour. The Q, R, and LS are basically the same in these regards.

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post #25 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 01:44 PM
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Definitely interesting but at $1500 you have the Dynaudio Xeo2 which is also getting rave reviews and $700 less.

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post #26 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 01:59 PM
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Definitely interesting but at $1500 you have the Dynaudio Xeo2 which is also getting rave reviews and $700 less.
And do the Xeo-2's have the same features as far as amps, inputs and sub output?
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post #27 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
And do the Xeo-2's have the same features as far as amps, inputs and sub output?
130w per speaker
No sub out that I know of... You'd have to check. Maybe with the hub?? Idk.
But it does have toslink, Bluetooth, and rca input, mini audio jack. You can use their Hub also for added inputs and wireless connections which is $299 I think.

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post #28 of 341 Old 10-15-2016, 03:19 PM
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I'll be curious to see the results of a comparo. The LS50 Wireless is a larger cabinet with a smaller woofer, uses 200w on the woofer & 30 on the tweeter vs. the Xeo 2 with 65w each. With the added hub for another $300, that makes the Dynaudio Xeo 2 still $400 cheaper and it is well reviewed. Does the time alignment DSP on the KEF make a big difference? We'll soon see...and hear.

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post #29 of 341 Old 10-16-2016, 09:49 PM
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I use 7 LS50 in Home Theater setting in a 12 x 13 x9 feet room!

I cross them over at 80HZ and sit about 7 feet away from the front and two feet away from surround and back and the sound is amazing

So for those who say the LS50 doesn't work for HT makes me laugh

Now going back to my question could the new wireless ones be used as surround? I love the fact that they have great amplification integrated in them less boxes.

In fact I could see a system where one could use seven of them with a nice prepro like the Marantz 8802. Too bad they dont' have XLR
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post #30 of 341 Old 10-17-2016, 05:25 AM
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I don't believe anyone is contending that the LS50 won't work in HT. My suggestion is that it's hard to place them in some applications, especially if you don't have room behind them. Being a rear-ported speaker which really does benefit to a great degree from placement in relation to walls and corners, there may be better choices.

If a couple yours are placed close to walls (and probably are given the smaller room), you're likely not getting the full value of what they are capable of doing. I'm sure they sound great, just betting there's more in them than you're getting from some of them.

KEF R500, R200C, R100, R50, SVS SB2000 sub, NAD T758v3 AVR, LG UP875 4K BlueRay, Samsung UN55JU6500F 4K LED TV, KEF M500 headphones, Sony CDP-CE500 CD changer. Office: NAD M10, KEF LS50, KEF Kube 10b, Pro-Ject RPM1 TT w/ Ortofon 2M Red. Guest room: Hafler 300 L-R, KEF Reference Model 100 center, KEF iQ10 surrounds, modded M&K V-90 sub, Bluesound Vault 2.
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