KEF LS50 Wireless II Review: Made for the Streaming Era

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Audiophiles are a prickly bunch, particularly on the subject of wi-fi audio system. So as to save time, area, or cash, audio corporations will usually take the design of a bigger, dearer gadget and dumb it down barely to make a product that is extra accessible, and possibly higher for many of us. In fact, audio fanatics flip up their noses at such compromises.Till I attempted the KEF LS50 Wi-fi II, I tended to agree with them. Even on the excessive finish, cord-cutting audio system simply by no means matched their cabled counterparts. However after a month listening to those new KEFs play every thing from Sheryl Crow to Stephen Colbert, I’ve heard actual proof that amps and cables will ultimately go the best way of the dodo. KEF’s wi-fi audio system are an almost excellent window into the way forward for high-fidelity audio.Two to TangoThe British firm has been making audio system for the reason that early Sixties, however the overwhelming majority of audiophiles know KEF for its more moderen designs. The corporate’s proprietary Uni-Q drivers, which mount the tweeters concentrically inside the midrange speaker, are its fashionable calling card. These flower-like drivers have propelled the unique LS50 mannequin to near-mythical ranges of nerd attraction since they launched in 2012 to rejoice KEF’s fiftieth anniversary.The LS50 Wi-fi II has the identical concentric driver design as the unique.
{Photograph}: Kef By no means worry, nerds: The brand new model of the LS50 seems to be the identical because the previous one. They’re rounded rectangles with a curved entrance that showcases the beautiful drivers. You may get them in lots of colours, however my evaluation models got here in a cultured matte black with copper accents.In contrast to the passive LS50 Meta audio system, which require a stereo amp to offer the juice, the LS50 Wi-fi II audio system are self-powered. Plug them into the wall, and to one another, and there aren’t any exterior amps required.Even with out devoted outboard {hardware}, the again of the correct speaker has a smorgasbord of inputs. You’ll discover an optical enter, a coaxial cable jack, a 3.5-mm mini-jack, and even an HDMI ARC port for TV—a uncommon characteristic that makes them glorious for placement in a lounge on both aspect of a display. For absolutely wi-fi operation, you’ll be able to pair a PC or telephone with them utilizing Bluetooth, or add them to your Wi-Fi community for AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify Join, or Roon streaming. Controls for the entire above will be adjusted with the included small black distant, or by dealing with the backlit contact controls on the highest of the correct speaker.New KEF SoundUnder the hood, the corporate’s engineers have spent a major period of time guaranteeing that the LS50 Wi-fi II heartily outperform the unique KEF wi-fi mannequin that got here out a number of years in the past.The brand new audio system characteristic what the corporate calls Metamaterial Absorption Know-how, which in line with KEF, permits the audio system to soak up as much as 60 p.c of the distortion-causing power that’s normally mirrored again into the speaker cupboard. The maze-like buildings of this materials inside every speaker aren’t straightforward to design; it took a two-year analysis undertaking with an organization known as Acoustic Metamaterials Group (AMG) for the corporate to develop.The outcomes are easier to know than the know-how itself. Activate the KEF LS50 Wi-fi II and you’re greeted by essentially the most immersive, distortion-free sound you’ve got in all probability ever heard from audio system this dimension. They may look the identical as their predecessors, however they completely sound higher.The depth and width of the sound stage is considerably improved, due to that decrease distortion down low. Every factor of the music you are listening to occupies an virtually three-dimensional place within the sound, permitting you do simply dart focus between them or to listen to extra clearly how they mix into the entire.I’ve change into obsessive about Lucy Dacus’ new observe “Sizzling & Heavy,” which builds from synthy pads to full-fledged dance rock over the primary minute. On the KEFs, the sluggish addition of layers and devices pulls me via the track, as if I can see every side of the music via a pointy, clear lens. I can hear precisely the place every of Dacus’ vocal harmonies is sitting within the sound, the right edge the engineer acquired from the sign ever so barely distorting when she sings her loudest.

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One thought on “KEF LS50 Wireless II Review: Made for the Streaming Era

  1. Standing too close to a speaker or using a speaker stand that is not the right height can make a speaker’s ability to maintain balance and harmony extremely difficult. If a speaker’s balance and harmony are not maintained, there will be an echo in his or her voice.

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