Saturday, 26 September 2020 16:54

KEF LS50 Meta and Wireless II - renewed editions of successful models Featured

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KEF have launched upgraded versions of their maybe most sought-after models. We are talking about the LS50 and its active brother LS50 Wireless.

Eight years ago, KEF launched a speaker with a slightly original design and concept. This relatively compact standdmount speaker distinguishes it from most speakers by having a curved front baffle. In addition to having an obvious advantage in reducing internal standing waves, this gives the sound a better dispersion on its way to leaving the speaker and cabinet. And then, of course, it contributes to a distinctive design with quite moderate means.

But perhaps an equally interesting feature is that KEF together with Tannoy is one of the few speaker manufacturers that uses Dual Concentric, and in KEF's vocabulary this is called Uni-Q. A bit of the philosophy behind Dual Concentric is that the sound should appear as coming from an exact point. And we have heard many interesting incarnations of this concept. KEF LS50 is one of these, and it seems that many have their ears open for this model.

In the autumn of 2016, KEF launched a wireless version of these successful speakers with the name LS50 Wireless, and it seems to have been at least as great a success. Active wireless speakers have flourished in recent years, and the fact that they can be easily combined with streaming technology makes them no less relevant.

Two years ago, KEF launched an even more compact variant of these speakers, called the KEF LSX. These are also active wireless speakers, but with a price tag that is more reminiscent of the passive variant LS50. WE got a very nice demo of these from one of KEF's nice representatives in Munich in 2019, and it amazed both me and the others who were present at the demo.

KEF LS50 Meta

With seemingly bottomless contempt for the phrase "If it ain`t broken, don`t fix it ", KEF has now unveiled a newly developed version of the two full-scale LS50 models. We start with the basic version which has been given the KEF LS50 Meta as its full name in the population register. And the last part of the name points here to Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which is a labyrinthine structure that will absorb 99% of unwanted sound from the back of the driver. And this in turn will eliminate distortion and provide cleaner and more natural sound. All this according to KEF. And together with improvements to the Uni-Q drivers and an improved reflex port, this is the essence of the upgrades in the LS50 Meta.

It is quite interesting that KEF chooses to introduce this rather groundbreaking news on a speaker model that is quite far down in the middle class, instead of introducing it at a higher level, and then implement it in cheaper models later, which is a far more widespread marketing strategy for technical innovations.

This means that the LS50 Meta still has a curved front baffle, a baffle that is constructed of a Dough Molding Compound.

And the LS50 still plays on an exciting range of color combinations on the cabinet and Uni-Q driver. The range of the upgraded LS50 Mate is Carbon Black, Titanium Gray, Mineral White and Royal Blue Special Edition. The variant in Titanium Gray with red drivers is a particularly appealing version in my eyes.

The price for LS50 Meta in Norway is set at NOK 14,990.

Read more about LS50 Meta at KEF

LS50 Wireless II

It would be completely pointless to develop an improved version of the base speaker without the improvements also flowing to the active version. And of course, KEF has also upgraded the wireless version, but instead of calling it the LS50 Mate Wireless, they have chosen to name it the LS50 Wireless II.

What distinguishes the LS50 Wireless II from the LS50 Meta is that the Wireless II is a pair of speakers with integrated power steps. They also have a DSP and active crossovers, which gives a great advantage compared to an amplifier and speaker concept with passive crossovers.

KEF has equipped the LS50 Wireless II with two power stages in each speaker, and there are amplifiers that are specially adapted to the respective tasks. In treble and midrange, there is a class A/B construction of 100 watts, while the bass range is powered by a class-D amplifier of 280 watts. This is active bi-amping at its best.

You can choose between wired or wireless connection between source / preamplifier. If you choose the latter variant, you get a transmission with a resolution of 24bit / 192kHz.

And an equally interesting part is that you get a complete streamer solution, which can operate both Spotify Connect, but also the streaming services Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, and Deezer via the KEF Connect App, or play internet radio and podcasts.

The speakers also support Roon, and using Chromcast or AirPlay 2, you can incorporate the LS50 Wireless II into a complete multi-room setup.

The price for LS50 Wireless II in Norway is set at NOK 29,990.

Read more about LS50 Wireless II at KEF

KEF is imported to Norway by Neby AS

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2020 08:21
Karl Erik Sylthe

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