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I use the Harbeth P3ESR in my computer room, setup is close to what you describe. Speakers are in the corners of the room about a foot from the wall, not quite equidistant. At the volumes I listen to in this room, it is the best sounding system I have. They are driven by an ARC VSi55 tube integrated. I have an SVS SB12-NSD sub in the system also.
I haven't heard the LS50's so can't compare, but I'm not sure how it could get much better without spending way more.
Some of the other speakers I've compared to in this setup were Focal 1008 BE, Canton Vento Reference 9.2 DC, Klipsch Heresy I, and probably some others I've forgotten.
There isn't anything about them that I don't like or wish they did better. They are a "plain box" though as far as looks go, although I think they're really attractive and nicely finished.
Thank you everyone for the suggestions. The more I read the more I think coincident/coaxial is the way to go here. I’m going to look into used KEF Reference 1s as the natural step up from the LS50s. Has anyone compared those and the LS50s in a desktop arrangement? (I do worry that they may be too imposing for a desktop setup but I’ll worry about that after I figure out if the sound is a massive upgrade)
I will also see if I can get a demo of the Harbeths although I’m not crazy about the prominent exposed screws in the design.
I used to have the LS50's on my desk with the same stands. It was OK but the desk is really not the best place for the LS50's. I have them to the right of me now and though not ideal the sound is so much better. The room treatments were an incredible upgrade for $700 from GIK.
For the desktop the smaller KEF LSX maybe better than the LS50's or even the LS50W which has a desktop mode for the built-in DSP. I also tried the Audience 1+1 V3 speakers on my desk. It was an interesting sound. I did not have enough space behind my desk to give those omni speakers proper placement. I kept the LS50's over the 1+1 V3's. They cost 2x more than the LS50's.
I am going to buy some new top end electronics soon and the LS50's are always going to be around in my house.
I have the LS50's and the REL Tzero in my 10 x 12 office with the ls50's 8 feet away and the Tzero set at 180 for full base, 20 clicks on the volume and the crossover. Sounds great. the LS50's are not computer speakers they need space, and they fill the room better than my $2k DCM TIme Windows ever did. Also, I keep the bass ports open and have them about 8-10" from the wall and it's great.
Of course driving both channels (i have the REL synched with the B speakers and the black/yellow/red combo) needs steady clean juice and I bought the ROTEL RA-1572 and it powers 120 watts per channel 8 ohms. The LS50's are 4 ohm rated essentially and the ROTEL cranks out 200w per channel at 4 ohms.
The bass is deep on both the Baby REL and the KEFs. Make sure you have enough juice to run both because when you run the Neutrik Speakon High Output cable from your amp, you are essentially bypassing the D class amp in the Tzero--the Class AB power of the Rotel more than compensates and enhances.
Just my two cents-sometimes it's the amp not the speaker (my former Integra couldn't keep up with the power demands of these speakers conjoined).
merv-o1 posts06-10-2020 6:17pm
"....The bass is deep on both the Baby REL and the KEFs. Make sure you have enough juice to run both because when you run the Neutrik Speakon High Output cable from your amp, you are essentially bypassing the D class amp in the Tzero--the Class AB power of the Rotel more than compensates and enhances.
Just my two cents-sometimes it's the amp not the speaker (my former Integra couldn't keep up with the power demands of these speakers conjoined)...."
Not sure where you got your information but it's not correct. All inputs (High-Level Speakon, Low-Level RCA & .1LFE) go to the input of the internal Class D amp of the Rel T-Zero, The input impedance is high so there is essential no load to the amp providing the high-level signal.
Again I would not upgrade until you get a pair of isolating stands under the ls50s on a desktop. Recommend Isoacoustics. You will want that under any good quality wide range speakers that go on a desk unless you want to hear the desk along with your speakers. Or maybe not if the desk is built like a tank.