Thanks. Those Vandys are a pair that I had not heard mention of yet. I'll investigate further. Any though from others? Anyone else using them in a wall unit or bookshelf?
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@autre~ I have used the Naim Nait 5i italic, Unison Research Unico and currently a SimAudio i3.3 DPX integrated with the LS50’s.
regarding speaker isolation I can highly recommend https://www.amazon.com/IsoAcoustics-ISO-L8R155-Medium-Acoustic-Isolation/dp/B008GOP79G/ref=pd_sim_26... Isoacoustics makes several models that work very well with monitor/bookshelf speakers.
To be honest all three have worked very well. Musical, dynamic and well balanced. I guess that I would prefer the SimAudio because it is so versatile. My unit has the DAC, PHONO and Digital input options installed. The first 5 watts are class A and it has discrete circuity, excellent parts quality, a great remote and a powerful toroidal power supply. The Naim 5i-2 was my second favorite followed by the Unison Research Unico hybrid integrated.
I run a Marantz PM8500 with my Kef R300 which are very similar to the ls50. Infect, the ls50s were the other speakers I auditioned side by side itch the R300 and the Marantz.The amp delivered nicely with both speakers. I went with the R300 due to the superior bass. It otherwise uses the the same combined mid tweeter unit. The sound is neutral, resolving and pretty transparent. You can run the signal direct without preamp or With the tone controls which include a midrange control. You can get them online for around$1000 and I have seen them as low as $800-900 from Accessoriesforless.com which is a legitimate Marantz site. Before the Marantz I used a McIntosh MA5100 which worked well too.
No contest, buy the ls50 wireless, it is active = better bass, uses DSP (maximized use of the drivers, room / Speaker placement correction, wireless streaming. It is the best kitchen system and will have a better resale value.
i would not invest in $$$ high End electronics for the passive ls50. After all it is not that good. It is a low efficiency speaker with little bass and poor dynamics.
if looks are not that important I would buy a pair of JBL LSR305 or lsr 308, 1.5m Audioquest 3,5mm to cinch cable, chord mojo + poly. This is the best bang for buck system of this decade. Lacking ultimate resolution and neutrality of higher end systems but with dynamics many higher End speakers only can dream of.
I have ls50's too. At first I used them them with a Rega Elicit but had to sell for financial reasons. I now use them with a Wyred for sound Dac-2 and MK II amp. I know it's not an integrated amp but wanted to throw in my experience with this company. I couldn't be happier with Wyred for Sound. You will find a TON of reviews on the Wyred for Sound MINT that has enough watts for you. You can find one used in the price range your seeking. Look into that and let us know what you think.
What @zuio said - get the active LS50s. The reviews are fantastic and no amp to buy. The main drawback is there is only one digital input. So no CD and Tidal. You have to pick. TV would be on RCA. If that’s not an issue then active is the way to go.
If you are set on an integrated you might look at the Parasound Halo integrated. It has a built-in DAC with all the connections you will ever need, including phono pre and high/low sub crossovers. I just ordered one for my KEF R300s. Don’t have it yet so I can’t attest to the SQ but reviews are stellar.
I've heard the LS50s a number of times. And always with Parasound gear. The gear was always separates and in the introduction year with around $5-6k of pre/amp, they really sung. Everyone at the Newport Show that was walking into that room really liked them and I thought very seriously about buying a pair even though I had no use for them. I've also heard the LS50s with less power, still Parasound, and felt they were not as good. They seem to require a lot of clean power to sound their best. It is possible the Parasound Integrated would work well but have not heard that combo. Also have not heard the active version.
Thanks for all the input! I've been offline for a while and it was nice to see more responses. Yeah the wireless versions are tempting but they are a bit too high for now. I've gone a ton of reading and opinions are all over the place. The constants I do see is that it needs a good deal of power and that placement and room size plays a large role. I've seen a fair number of good results with Musical Fidelity 3, Rega Brio-R, Rogue Sphinx and NAD D3020, and some of the BEE models. Others include Marantz PM6005 and 8005 and a Yamaha model, Creek EVO and Arcam A19,A29. Lots of options but no clear winner. Phew I'm exhausted.
I recently did a balanced Ayre 5-series setup from disc player to preamp to amp that drive a pair of LS50s. You'd be amazed by how good the LS50s can sound, with detailed imaging in a large and deep soundstage. The LS50s wouldn't be my first choice for large orchestrations, although they can do that well, but they are superb for jazz and chamber music, my favorites.
I buy used, but the MSRP of the components in the setup was over $20K. My wife dictated that the racing red LS50s remain.