Wow... KEF really did an amazing job building the LS50's! From sound, build, design and even the insignificant features such as good looks... it does it all! I'd like to thank the amazing service KEF offers and once again thank them for making such a beautiful sounding product!
Long ago, when I was young, my Dad and I auditioned new speakers to go along with his Macintosh gear we settled on up picking the 104.2's which were simply amazing at the time and award winning to boot. Now I needed to upgrade my speakers but I was quite nervous about it as I already had a nice combination of gear and speakers. I was walking by KEF at a trade show looked over to what I was hearing and literally doubled back and did a double take. I couldn't believe the sound I heard from the LS50’s. It was so memorable I remembered the sound in my head and purchased the speakers a year later. After breaking them in I can't be happier, the imaging is amazing and the midrange, which is so hard to get right it fantastic. I was also really surprised by the low frequency extension, simply amazing for a speaker with a 5.25" low/mid driver and no DSP. I have had over thirty people in "The Chair" and all end up with their jaws on the floor in disbelief while I'm grinning from ear to ear, anticipating when the parties over so I can sit and listen. KEF HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK with these speakers. An unbelievable value! Take the time to break them in (100 hours or better) and you will be blown away. Oh and I have been in the audio business for twenty-five years and am a musician so listening to music and creating music is pretty much all I do. One last thing, I am also into Hi-Res audio among other forms or audio and I was super happy that the LS50’s extend to 40KHz which so happens to meet the JAS Hi-Res standard.
The LS50s are simply some of the finest bookshelf/stand-mount speakers I have ever heard. I've heard comparative offerings from most of the major players (and some of the smaller ones) and while many models have their redeeming qualities, these babies just flat out sing like nothing else.
It's remarkable - when dialed in right, and fed/driven by qualified gear, they actually disappear from the room and the only thing left is just you and the music. It seems like such a simple thing, but until you actually experience it, descriptions pale in comparison.
In a nutshell, when these things are at their best they perform on such a high level it's ridiculous.
Two things to note, for potential buyers:
1) 8 ohms seems a bit optimistic. Measured performance, averaged out, is probably more like 6 ohms (and as low as 4 - per Stereophile). Just be sure your amplifier is up to the task. My Parasound A21 has no trouble at all but does run a bit warmer than with some B & W's.
2) They are indeed a little less sensitive than some others, but don't let that dissuade you. Just be mindful of it.
3) The bass these produce is incredible. It's more than enough for my oddly shaped 9x20x10 room (and my neighbors). If you have a large room and/or just like a lot of presence with the lowest octave then you'll want a sub.
The better the gear you can throw at these the better they will perform. I am currently in awe of how awesome they are and how luck I am to own them.
If you're reading these reviews, just do yourself a solid and pick up a pair. Try to buy from your local dealer if at all possible. Often they'll work with you, and supporting your community is more important now than ever!
The LS50s will add joy to your life. And in the end, joy is what this is all about.
Works fine with low-powered tubes!
A local dealer made me an offer I couldn't refuse, so I bought these speakers without having an opportunity to audition them. I was a bit uncertain because the specs indicate that the LS50s require some power, and my (restored) Fisher 400 tube receiver is rated at about 28 wpc.
I had nothing to worry about; the Fisher has plenty of juice to get the LS50s singing in my little 9 x 12 listening room. Compared to my previous speakers (rated at 90dB efficiency vs. the KEF's 86dB efficiency), I only have to notch up the volume knob slightly higher to achieve the same level.
My conclusion is the quality of the power source is more important to the LS50s than the amp's nominal rating; the transformers on the Fisher 400 are pretty beefy.
Excellent workmanship and service
I've had KEF (3005s) as my original HT system for several years in my den and am very happy with them; but I always wanted a set of stereo speakers for my living room for those cozy fireplace moments. I tested number of speakers including dynaudio, B&W, MAs and several others. The LS50 blew them all away in terms of sound stage and clarity. Currently powering them with an emotiva xpa-200 amp and their new dc-1 DAC. I listen to mostly digital music and these sound awesome in this combination! Thanks for making my holiday season even greater.
LS50= Unparalled excellence
Speakers: LS50 (2.1 with Velodyne 8" SW)
AV receiver: Marantz SR6008
Let me run down how this search began by saying few words: I was looking for an under 3000 dollar system for my room of 12'X10' room. I initially was thinking of 5.1 HT system but found out soon that it was a great compromise on quality ( systems tested: BW CM1/CM5 + 683; Def tech (bipolars). I heard kef for the first time when my brother happened to get R100s (in UK) and he was very very happy with them (stereo set up). That prompted me to research on this and initially thought of Q900 and Q700 (not Q500- bad review or no good reviews). I soon realized that large speakers might be too large for my room size. And then began looking for R100 series; with excellent reviews I almost wanted to buy them but luckily were not available in texas or in KefDirect store. That prompted be to look for LS50; and the more I knew about them, I got more excited about these. When I called one of the kef dealers in Dallas, he said " LS50 are the reason for us to start selling KEF and we are very pleased with performance" . I took a gamble and got them finally after few hiccups with ordering process (minor).
I am not an audiophile by any standard but I can certainly appreciate fine music and this is a very brief summary of what i think
Built: Clean; classy; and Beautiful (All the people who walked in the room- first word- they look nice), heavy
Performance: This must be one of the purchases that I made ( a costly one relatively) where I feel that this is indeeed WORTH every penny. The sound is amazing in all standard. The treble is a world apart ( i personally feel BMW 600 or CM series cannot match the quality of the it and I am myself surprised to see the quality of sound that comes out from these speakers. The depth of sound produced is mind boggling in literal sense. More i listen these are getting more better. they do have Great Mids and a fantastic woofer ( although I must say, for my room a woofer makes music Complete). I placed these beauties 2.5 mtrs apart secondary to room restrictions at 10 inches about my ear level)
Connection time/ process: EASY
I am very happy customer currently and I do not regret my purchase and Infact I would highly recommend this product to anyone who really wants to enjoy a clean and in depth and most importantly non fatiguing music and even more importantly very beautiful looking speakers.
Great Job Kef and Now you have a new fan
I listened to some KEF floorstanding reference speakers about 10 years at a speaker boutique and got hooked on high end audio. Unfortunately, I've always been buying speakers on the affordable end of the audiophile spectrum and constantly bitten by the upgrade bug as a result. These speakers are about twice as expensive as any that I have previously owned but they deliver far above their price range.Perhaps my favorite feature is their ability to play perfectly (to my ears) when off axis. I don't have a dedicated listening room, so it has been common for the best listening position to be some spot standing in the middle of the room. Now, I can fully enjoy my music from anywhere in the room. Upgrade bug officially squashed.
FYI - I mostly listen to classic and indie rock. Power with an Exposure amp and a Centrance DAC with all-digital sources.
Giant Killers - Can't Be Beaten for Less than 5-10x The Price
I was stunned that all the reviews were right about these fantastic speakers - they truly are Giant Killers, especially for their price.
They're beautiful and their sound qualities are just as amazing - when set up correctly. They do require special care in set up to sound up to their potential. Any critical comments you may have seen, likely result from improper set up.
To sound their best, they must be placed out in the room, away from the walls, and with their ports fully open. In that configuration they really do disappear in a wall of lifelike sound, with a great soundstage and imaging.
Of course their other sound qualities are superior as well - great bass, mids, highs, tone, tenure, texture, timbre - very real, lifelike sound, without any boxy constraints.
They really do have bass, despite their specs - though, if you're a HT, or car audio buff, who loves inaccurate, boomy sound, you may be disappointed. I'm using the R400b with them, but they really don't need it, except for the very lowest notes.
They also require a powerful amp with high current output - 200+ w per channel into 8ohms. They're fairly inefficient.
And... I'm using them with the DSP Anti-mode 2.0 to eliminate the "room boom" - especially with a sub. Makes integrating a sub a "piece of cake." And... provides a very good pre-amp, as well. Add a tube buffer, as I have, and the sound doesn't get much better.
A great source, such as a great SACD player with XLR cables makes everything even better!
Do yourself a favor... and get a pair of these... unless "you have money to burn," and can spend $50K on your system, which is what it will take to better them.
It's all true~!
Even with very little break-in, I can tell you that John Atkinson in Stereophile was absolutely correct: Class A for smaller rooms. Also, read the What HiFi review.
These are solid as a rock, gorgeous finish, and provide the most amazing clarity I've ever heard. Wow! What a soundstage! Don't hesitate. If you love classics, Jazz, and vocal music, you will be in heaven.
These speakers are little gems!
I have owned a number of loudspeakers over the years starting with Polk, Martin Logan, Magnepan and Gallo. While they all had their strengths, none have impressed me as much as the LS50's. From the excellent build quality to the balanced sound and deceptive small physical size, these speakers are impressive. The LS 50's disappear and present the music with accuracy-,clear highs, articulate, realistic vocals and punchy bass-the LS50's are so enjoyable to listen to. For the size and price, they are hard to beat.