How does this make sense, any sense? Any sense at all??


I was just looking at Stereophile's  recommended components, for speakers. 
Within the Class A restricted extreme low frequencies category are:
KEF LS50 at $1500  and
Wilson Sasha at $38,000.
Why would you pay 38 grand when you can get the same category for 1500?  Why I say?

Even worse!!!
In the full range Class B category we have the KEF Ref. 5 at $20,000.
Why would you wanna pay $20,000 for a speaker that is outclassed by the same family (KEF LS50) at a fraction of the price?
How does this make any sense????
Stereophile, seriously.  Let 'er rip homie. 


shtinkydog
Why would you pay 38 grand when you can get the same category for 1500?  
Why would you wanna pay $20,000 for a speaker that is outclassed by the same family (KEF LS50) at a fraction of the price?
Why would you buy an expensive watch costing $50K when you can get one for $10?  
shtinkydog, audio gear in the same class (for Stereophile's ratings purposes) does not imply that these products sound the same or work the same way with your other gear, music, room or ears

In a sense the ratings provide guidance as to how well the manufacturer has achieved their stated goal and objectives for the specific product. I don't think anyone expects that a $1K speaker to compare to a $10K or $50K product. If they do it's more about your emotional connection to the sound of a given speaker than the price tag.

I don't know if I can explain it any better than that.
KEF ls50 + beefy amp to drive them + powered sub can match most anything you would ever put in that same  room. 

But the sub will have to carry more of the bottom end as room size increases. 

So room size is the main determining factor for how big and likely expensive a speaker need be to perform at the highest level full range. 

If Full range not of concern then things are also much easier. 

The stereophile class ratings are only useful to a certain extent. It’s always reasonable to question what you are really getting with products that cost way more than others.
 I don't think anyone expects that a $1K speaker to compare to a $10K or $50K product
If they put a price tag of $50k on the LS50, it would be compared to other speakers in that price range. It would not be compared to $1k speakers. If they put a price tag of $500 on a magico, it would get some good reviews some bad reviews but nobody would dare compare it to a $50k speaker. Its all perception. 
Do you live in a dilapidated trailer and tell your friends that its the same as a $5,000,000 custom home?

Do you not understand the difference between a 1984 Le Baron and a 2020 Porsche?  Or are they the same because the have tires and an engine?

Is Natural Ice as good as Chimay?

Are you able to tell the difference in quality in anything or is it just Speakers that are all the same?


Are you able to tell the difference in quality in anything or is it just Speakers that are all the same?
Does the $50k speaker have a flatter frequency response than a $100 speaker? What does the former do that the latter does not? Why dont you stop beating about the bush and show us the measurements as evidence?
I think class rating also factors in price and value. Part of the reason ls50 is in class a is because it's a great value and probably better than most speakers in its price category. 
Sorry but a pair of KEF LS50s with any amp and any sub will not match most anything. Not even close IMO.


kenjit said: " Why would you buy an expensive watch costing $50K when you can get one for $10? "

Because there is a market for them, they have much higher margins so much fewer need to be sold and people with means don’t want a $10.00 watch. If you had the money, chances are you would buy more expensive stuff too.
kenjit said: " Does the $50k speaker have a flatter frequency response than a $100 speaker? What does the former do that the latter does not? Why dont you stop beating about the bush and show us the measurements as evidence?"

Most people care more about the music, how good their systems sound then the damn measurements. Can't you get that through your infinite baffle, sound proof chamber head? Nobody cares about your silly theories, imaginary designs or attacks on the speaker industry,
I didn’t say any amp and sub with ls50 will be top notch in a small to moderate sized room.

I said a beefy amp ie high current delivery and of course good quality and sub that is also good quality.

Then of course the user must get the sub Adjusted properly to blend with the mains. 
That gets you well up there.....
Most people care more about the music, how good their systems sound then the damn measurements. Can't you get that through your infinite baffle, sound proof chamber head
I do respect that some audophiles just want an expensive toy to play with and boast about how expensive it was, however some of us are super audiophiles. We actually care about knowing how to tell whether one speaker is better than another at reproducing the signal you put ino it. This is not a matter of opinion. It is fact. There are plenty of opinions about what sounds good. It's time for more facts. Audiophiles have been lied to for long enough. 
@ kenjit

"Super Audiofiles" Ok then. Do you get fake muscle tights and a cape?
@kenjit........................
I shouldn’t ask but how do I become a super audiophile?  Dying to know. Is it a secret club or something because I want in?  Asking for all of us.  
Right now listening to a sweet bedroom system comprised of ls50’s, an Ayre VX5se, and a Benchmark 3 DAC. It is quite impressive and enjoyable. The room is 8 x 12, so the best response is perfect without a sub. Almost any other speaker overwhelms the room. The right equipment for the right room and you got it going!
Dun Dun Daaaaaah

Super Audiophile!

"I'm here to polish your tubes and pull you cable..."
Sterophile list means less than nothing its my list thats important.
Why would you pay 38 grand when you can get the same category for 1500?
Sigh...consider another hobby
OP, people have different needs. Space being one of them

Ideally, you wouldn't put put small speaker in a large room, nor vice versa

I happen to be blessed/cursed with a very large room by most enthusiasts standards. I have tried several dual sub setups, but have yet to find any of them blending seamlessly, and although I do not believe that bass loads in a room in same plane as the mid/highs, I am in the process of trying Emerald Physics 2.8s. Fingers crossed
The thing to realize is A speaker must do exponentially more work as the frequency drops. Way way way more work must be done to deliver extended flat bass in a larger room. It makes sense then that it will cost way more for a speaker to do a top notch job in a larger room.
It’s really that simple. Most good quality speakers can do an adequate job otherwise, personal preferences aside.
The caveats are keep the room small for best sound on a budget and powered subwoofers are your friends.

The other thing to remember is technology continues to improve allowing smaller speakers to do way more than in the past, similar to how computer technology continues to get faster and better and in smaller packages. So expect to pay a premium for truly the best speaker technology and design in a smaller package. Joseph audio comes to mind there.

The kef ls50 offers a lot of that in a small and affordable package but is still best suited to smaller rooms alone and the amp needed to drive them to their max might cost something of a premium. 

Hopefully, this helps.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=34Em8BkZYnI

The title of this thread reminds me of the Chewbacca Defense 
Stereophile has consistently exaggerated wildly the acoustic properties of the LS50.  This is just one manifestation of a particularly regrettable and much larger trend.
+1 @br3098 Your post is *the* answer to the OP.
Stereophile prefaces their Recommended Components with a general explanation. They can only review what has been offered to them for review by a manufacturer. I'm guessing there are products they simply decline to review.

The more often you read reviews you'll gain an understanding of the aspects of a products strengths and weaknesses by the particular reviewers descriptive language. As a business periodicals rarely hard pan a product under review.      
Recommended Components: 2019 Edition Loudspeakers

Loudspeaker Systems

Editor's Note: Class A "Loudspeakers" are sufficiently idiosyncratic and differ enough from one another that prospective customers should read Stereophile's original reviews in their entirety for descriptions of the sounds. I have therefore just listed every system or combination that at least one of Stereophile's reviewers feels, as a result of his or her experience, approaches the current state of the art in loudspeaker design. (Note that, to be eligible for inclusion in Class A, the system must be full-range—ie, feature bass extension to 20Hz. It must also be capable of reaching realistic sound-pressure levels without any feeling of strain.)

For those unconcerned about the last few hertz of low-bass extension, we have created "Classes A, B, and C (Restricted Extreme LF)" for those speakers that are state of the art in every other way. Candidates for inclusion in this class must still reach down to at least 40Hz, below the lowest notes of the four-string double-bass and bass guitar.

In addition, such has been the recent progress in loudspeaker design at a more affordable level that we have an extra class: E, for "Entry Level." Someone once asked us why Stereophile bothers to review inexpensive loudspeakers at all: In effect, aren't we insulting our readership by recommending that they buy inexpensive models? Remember: It's possible to put together a musically satisfying, truly high-end system around any of our Class D and E recommendations. That's why they're listed-and why you should consider buying them.



...however some of us are super audiophiles. We actually care about knowing how to tell whether one speaker is better than another at reproducing the signal you put ino it. This is not a matter of opinion. It is fact.
kenjit, what a revelation! Try as I might, I can't refute your logic. From now on I won't bother listening to or comparing audio components. I will simply ask you and you can tell me what's best. Better yet, why don't you just post a (short) list of the very best gear. I for one would appreciate the tremendous savings in time, effort and money.

Stereophile has consistently exaggerated wildly the acoustic properties of the LS50. This is just one manifestation of a particularly regrettable and much larger trend.


I haven't heard this particular speaker, but as for trends, yes, absolutely.

I've seen them praise horrible speakers and belittle otherwise very good speakers, and fail to be critical of some when (in my mind) they should have been.

Kal is about the only author there whose opinion I bother with anymore, at all.  The rest is good for measurements, which as we know, only tell a partial picture, but at least it's not subjective.

Being an iconoclast, and frugal can keep you out of any traps.  Develop your own sense of listening. Find out who you are and what you want as an audiophile so you can feel comfortable ignoring taste-makers and trend setters.


Best,

E
Stereophile recommended components, sigh. What would audiophiles do with their money without it? Oh yea buy whatever TAS is spooging all over.
Why would you pay 38 grand when you can get the same category for 1500? Why I say?



Independent of Stereophile's rankings, I ask myself this all the time.  We are too easily swayed by  price as being a determinant of quality. It is, but only sometimes.
What I meant is that you could use the best amp and sub on the market and the LS50 is still not going to get you very far when compared with any number of more expensive speakers. This would include a great number of monitors. Not saying the LS50 is a bad speaker but certainly not a truly high end product.
Not saying the LS50 is a bad speaker but certainly not a truly high end product.
What makes other speakers better objectively?
What acoustic property of the Ls 50 did stereophile exaggerate?

One may always have their preferences but Ls50 is definitely high end when used properly.

First time I heard them I was very underwhelmed. The amp had insufficient current delivery and the room was too big.

Moved them into a smaller room with a beefy high current amp and then they came alive.

Two years later I bought a pair and tossed in the sub. Listening to them as I type.
I’ve heard a lot of high end systems and this setup is in the same league.
I thought I saw somewhere stat that the LS50 uses the same tweeter as the Blade.  Not sure though.  It would be nice to know!

I think LS50’s are pretty awesome.  The clarity and imaging are pretty great.  They do some things better than most speakers and then there are a few things they don’t do so well.  I have never heard them on really high End stuff but I’ve heard the scale with equipment also.
*L*   As for the 'Chewbacca Defense', I'd rather relate to 'letting the Wookie Win Option"...as in 'they might tear your arms off if they lose.'

Not applicable to the Stereophile bi-polar review rankings, but certainly funnier....
Additional (perhaps, 'addict-tional') musings about audio, and how things 'sound'....

Do or have any of you seen the movie "Phantom of the Paradise"?
An entertaining remake of the Phantom/Opera, in the R'nR 'daze'...*G*

There is a segment where The Devil (played by Paul Williams!) has our anti-hero in a studio, singing his 'hit' song.  The man can barely croak in key musically....
Although it pushes the concept a large amount (considering the era the film was made in), the Devil 'restores' the original voice of our poor abused artist with the application of 'modern tech'....Eq, Dolby, etc.

Ever since....I've regarded 'reviews' of various 'devices' as.... 

"Suspect".....Subject to my Own ears, taste...and Desires.

...but I'm just 'fringe' in this 'observation'.....'IMHO', 'n all that... ;)


I think the little KEF is class A within the context of very small monitors.  If you compare it to the field of comparably sized monitors it was judged as good as any of them.  
Click bait thread titles don't make sense either, yet here we are.
FWIW the kef ls50s sound is similar to me to the other Stereophile Class A small monitors they replaced, Triangle Titus, so at least they are consistent in this case with what they consider to sound good.
I do think however that though similar the KEFs are noticeably better at least with my gear.  The Triangles however are much better suited for use with tube amps. 


I feel this way about the JBL L100 Classic. They cost 5 grand less than my Harbeth's but they make me twice as happy. They do well with ALL music, unlike their predecessors.  
The ls50 is bettered by the inexpensive $449 Wharfedale 225’s....especially in the bass department. I now have Tamnoy legacy Eaton’s, but I will never ever part with my wharfedales....they are special speakers that are mind bogglingly good at what they are able to achieve at the price. Three Stereophile reviewers agree, and they won budget component of the year for a reason. 
I try to post questions that will not only incite a few very different points of views ( we are a wild bund, after all ), but also some playful banter.  Having fun while learning is what it's all about, right?
The "Big Room" thing always mystifies me...where are the Big Room people listening? 50 feet away from the speakers? My listening space is relatively large but I sit 8 or 9 feet from the speakers because that's where they sound best for me...not 30 feet away (which I could do I suppose)...my 2 little subs can rock the walls I guess but they aren't required to, and unless a room is full of inebriated dancers who cares? I can wheel out the pro stuff for that (and have for house concerts). If I want "big room" sound I get it from the concerts I mix for hundreds of people using thousands of PA watts for clarity with actual musicians (pre corona of course). In Goodwins "large room" listening area you aren't standing 100 feet away from the Magicos, nor should you.
The ls50 is bettered by the inexpensive $449 Wharfedale 225’s


And those are made better by inexpensive cap upgrades. :)
where are the Big Room people listening?
In the large listening rooms I have set up or listened in, the listening distances may be the same or a little greater then tooms you are used to. But listening to a small speaker, even at 9' away in a large space, is very different then listening to the same speaker in a large space. All speakers play with the room. Small rooms can be overloaded with sound (energy). Larger rooms can be underloaded(?), whereas there the room itself is damping the sound by the lack of reflection.

That’s not possible the ls 50 is very good for a under $2k speaker granted, but the drivers are night and day better on their reference models ,as well as much more robust for added SPZl levels ,
whoever put Thst together was smoking someth8ng good ,please remember too , these writers are making a general assessment
not in absolute terms ,the speakers may be on the same team ,
but are not the All Stars.  I have read many references through the year in class A-C categories that I totally disagreed with ,thy will sell 50 LS50 monitors for every 1 shasha,or Ref5 sold ,plenty of a Volume sales in that marketing pitch.Please also remember magazines make NO money selling their magazines ,it is by a long margin the Adverts and recommendations that pay the saleries .   A full page ad maybe $3-5k.
when I owned a Audiostore 12 years ago I was paying a grand for a half page ad. Magazines or reviews are just a guide if you see several good reviews from different sourses Thst holds much more weight and your ears are by far your best guide to the synergy in your system,too many variables I have seen reviews and comparisons with different cables being used to review equipment that is just Plain Stupid  so compare and view equipment being used  Synergy is most important in Your system.
audioman58...I can hear your third grade English teacher crying....
The trouble with stereo equipment reviews is that they are not blind reviews. The reviewer knows the brand and price before they sit down to listen. I would like to see a blind review from one of the Stereophile reviewers of several amps, speakers and DACs. I would think you would see a real jump in the quality ratings of some of the lower priced audio gear, especially speakers.
Yeah, right, like he’s really going to be impressed by the brand or the price. 
Dear oh dear,
@kenjit , you have proven that you have no knowledge about to compare real audiophile or higher or lower speakers.
You state that $250k speakers or $50k or $5k speakers are relatively equivalent in terms of quality, sound and the ability for you to bag everything in between.
I am fortunately one who owns the stated high end speakers and I find nothing wrong with these compared to my past owned High-mid, speakers, mid range, and lower range.
I find your claims regarding your speaker claims tiresome and intellectually miserable.
I have read your pitiful posts regarding speakers, a small selection, apparently all badly tuned for the user. I really would suggest that once the CONV19 pandemic has died, you go for a sabbatical for 12 months, and treat yourself to a trip listening to the best, medium, and small speakers, selected by a small knit knowledgeable audiophiles that can explain the nuances of speaker engineering, philosophies, audio engineers, cabinet engineers, audio technicians (different to engineers), production engineers, musicians, signal engineers being able to reliably convert music signals (analog - dig - analog) where required and accurately.

There are a core team of 12 developing the Kyron speaker systems I own (the Gaia). From professional classical musicians to the best musicians putting 1000’s of
hours ensuring that the best music is
played and reproduced via the engineered system. As an engineer myself (admittedly off field) I appreciated the work and design that goes into each pair (Gaia’s (6pr/yr)

@Kenjit, you really need to see the world that engineers see as speakers. Understand the process, the science, the engineering and the audio science/engineering, before you return to this forum criticising all before you add nothing to constructively to the conversation.
Go and learn something solid and then teach us what you have learnt.

One person taught me the principles of
speakers, John Dunlavy (Texas, USA) when he was “trading out of Fyshwick, ACT, Australia. A brilliant designer that you will have hated 😡.

Get our of your hole and learn something outside of you small head.
.



 
Anybody that buys a Sasha for $38,000 without falling in love with it first deservers to be parted from their money!   I doubt that the KEF sounds anything like the Sasha.  Each has it's own list of pluses and minuses... but each one represents the best that can be had AT THAT PRICE RANGE.   For me..... I'd never spend $38k on something that wasn't absolutely full range.  But if 38k is no big deal to you, and you have a small room, then it might be the perfect choice.   It's all very simple....  Why are people confused?