A little Patience sometimes pays off! (Kef LS50 content)


I've been through an number of speakers as we all have.
We read about a certain speaker being this and that and so we buy it only to be underwhelmed and disappointed.
So it"s time to sell and move on to the next thing. Well what I've learned you cannot just substitute speaker A for speaker B and fully expect it to be everything others are raving about. Case in point is the Kef LS50s widely regarded as a fantastic little speaker (Class A by Stereophile's rating). Why is it that so many people like these yet so many people (including myself at first) are disappointed and think they are over hyped. So long story short with the right amp, new speaker cables and pulling these further out from the wall the Kefs are sounding every bit the great speaker most reviews exclaim them to be. Point is (the lesson I've leaned) is to work with what you have for while before changing to the next thing. I'm basically preaching to the Choir here I know but I wanted to share as I am sitting back and really enjoying the music. 
dougsat
I suspect part of it is the fact that most people have different music tastes than the typical audio reviewer. Modern music tends to be a lot more bass heavy, and 2-way coaxials have problems with doppler shift as the mid/woofer ends up being a moving waveguide with too much excursion.
Dougsat very very true +1
I needed some acoustic treatments to make my LS50 sing. The speakers are sounding great now in my small office. I have some pictures in the virtual systems section with the treatments.

I think I have the ideal sized room for the LS50. Even with this great sound now I plan on changing the setup to some floor standers to get more bass. The LS50s will move to a TV or bedroom.

I currently have a Peachtree Nova 150 integrated driving the LS50's and it is a rather good unit. I have had better quality electronics on the LS50s in the past but not with the acoustic treatments. The sound I get from the Peachtree + acoustic treatments is the best I have ever had with the LS50s.
I have the LS50w (active), placement and treatments most definitely play a big part. KEF touts them as being able to be placed anywhere, and while they will sound good. To get them to sound great you need proper placement, despite the DSP built in. 

In a difficult room, open concept with a large glass window in one of the walls, and a  decent sub Dayton audio 10" hf in a 1.6cu ft enclosure they sound really good about 1ft away from the back wall. But pull them out another foot and the soundstage really expands in depth without loosing the slam and energy.

However in room that I've been using with Primaluna Integrated and Focal 1008be2 ( and really happy with), placed in the same spot they just didn't have much depth to the soundstage. I re-arranged a few pieces of furniture, carefully measured placement according to Cardas calculator and they definitely opened up.

Just my 2¢

mdr
yyzsantabarbara,

     Are you opposed to adding a properly positioned sub in your small office?  Even a relatively small sub, if properly positioned in your room to optimize bass performance at your listening seat, can likely provide the improved bass you'd like.
     There're even wireless subs if you're concerned with intrusive cables and wires.  
     To set one up properly, just place the sub at your listening seat, play some music with good and repetitive bass and slowly walk around the perimeter of your room.  Once you find a specific spot where the bass sounds best to you, position the sub at this exact spot.  To verify, sit at your listening seat, play the music again and make sure the bass sounds good to you.  If it does, you're done.  If not, try re-positioning the sub in small increments until it does (always best done with you listening at your seat and a helper moving the sub.).  If having difficulties, you may need to just to begin the procedure again from the beginning.
    Google "small home audio subs" to check out options.  This option will probably be less expensive, too.

Tim
The ls50’s are very good, very high quality speakers, but are small and have limited bass extension.

I find they are also not as inefficient as some similar but also not the easiest load to drive so a beefy amp with higher current delivery potential is still needed for best results.

So within their limits and in a great overall combo they are great speakers. Push them outside that in a larger room or with lesser gear upstream feeding them and not so much.

No one speaker is always the best in every room nor with every setup. Nor will any particular sound always appeal most to all.

Put the ls50s in the right system in the right room and more people will be happy than say with similar lesser speakers.

Even in a smaller room a subwoofer is pretty much required for the lowest octaves. Without that you can’t compare ls50s to other good setups that go full range. With it, they can compete with most anything out there, at least in a smaller room.

I find they do tend to suck me into the music and I can listen to mine happily for extended periods which means they are doing very well.

Also the UniQ concentric driver design lends itself to a very coherent presentation in smaller rooms where listening position is fairly close to the speakers, so quite good as near field monitors.

In larger rooms, I would tend to lean towards other models.

Live and learn...
@noble100 I am looking to get floor standers because I think I can make it work with a DSP capable preamp. I have had monitors for the last 10 years and never had the space for floor standers. I now have a room where a small floor stander like the Paradigm Persona 3F would work with a DSP capable preamp such as the Anthem STR (with ARC3).

I think a sub would work too but I like the idea of a floor stander better. While I love the LS50's and will keep them forever,  I like other speakers too and I now have some space.
yyzsantabarbara,

     Understood.  The Persona 3F look very nice.  They're expensive and look it, very stylish in that blue.  They should deliver better bass response than the LS50s  and seem like a good system match with your Peachtree integrated.  You'll have a complete Canadian system, too.

Best wishes,
  Tim   
Your take is kind of strange. The sound of the LS50 is not to my taste, but I consider them neither disappointing nor overhyped. Audio types love their polemics even more than their speakers.
I heard them at Axpona I wasn’t impress they were not set up right, the power amp and the source are midfi, when I heard them at my friends house power by Mark levinson 100 watt, front end theta dac and transport...audio research preamp, cabling aq dragon speaker cables, diamond ic , the Ls 50 blew me away , it sound like a class A speakers....
Class A speakers = class A equipment.
Appreciate the discussion here. Any recommendations on reasonably priced speaker wires to go with nice stereophile quality speakers? 
It surprises me that people don't understand that there is a reason why every other manufacturer uses a separate woofer and tweeter. The tweeter is mounted on the woofer, which changes position with signal. There is really no way an LS 50 can sound very good. Think about it, and then listen.
My original post was not entirely about the merits of the LS50s. What I was getting at was - sometimes it just takes a little longer to get things right, So working with what you have rather than looking for the next piece can be a good approach that pays off in the end. 
“Appreciate the discussion here. Any recommendations on reasonably priced speaker wires to go with nice stereophile quality speakers? 

Try the Canare 4S11 decent low cost speaker wire that sounds good to me. 
@mtdining You must be right and KEF, Thiel, Tannoy, Vienna Acoustics, TAD, and likely others I have not heard of are ALL wrong in their speaker design.

@singhania59
I use the Audience Ohno III with the LS50's. Not too expensive.
https://www.dagogo.com/audience-ohno-iii-speaker-cable-review/

Too add to the Persona 3F posts. The costs this month is $8000.00 on sale from Paradigm. I spoke to a guy in NJ who actually paid only $6300 for a new or demo 3F.

@singhania59 I am currently using Belden 5T00UP 10 AWG Speaker Cable, terminated with locking banana plugs from Blue Jeans cabling. Cost me $70 and I couldn't be happier.

Now it's time to sell the ridiculous $1000 AQ GO-4 cables a dealer sold me. I cannot hear the difference.

Mtdining, You don’t have to think , just audition them with the right components,and listen...
 +++1 great advice on the 5T00UP. 
Electrically, it is almost like no cable at all.  Fantastic cable, in par with the high-end brands' most expensive ones as they tend to have the same gauge, at a fraction of the cost.
Some speakers take a long time to settle in as while as room placement. Some sellers list speakers for sale before really hearing their full potential. Also, pairing equipment can make a world of difference. I can't presume to tell you what spk. cables to use w/your Kef's, but I will say I've been most pleased w/QED Signature Revelation cables on my Dynaudio DM2/6's. Fantastic cables at a really reasonable cost. 
Im loving my LS50 wireless’.  I initially talked a friend into buying them and I bought the passive LS50’s.  I just coudn’t get mine to sound as good as the actives, so I returned the passives and went active.  I took them to another friends house and after he heard them he went and bought a pair the next day.  My brother was there and heard them as well.  He’s selling his peachtree nova pre /220 and kef qx5’s to buy a pair of Wireless LS50’s also.

Interesting that the persona came up here too.  I love the Personas!  I listen to them at my local stereo shop whenever I can.  The new premiere series is a nice inexpensive version.

I think Paradigm, Kef and Monitor Audio all have some great products currently in many different price points!