KEF ls50 meta’s are on the way


Got a demo today and ordered a pair. Should arrive next week.  Will shootout with my current ls50s when they arrive.  Stay tuned.  
4b9c724a 509c 4bb1 a384 a61b6782a9d0Ag insider logo xs@2xmapman

Showing 50 responses by mapman

Thanks for the kind words.  I think I am done for now. 
Played “The Knife” off the Genesis album “Trespass” yesterday. An original CD mastering streamed off my music server.

This is a cut I know well and have heard many times over the years with widely varying sonic results.

It was most impressive on the Meta + sub combo in terms of overall weight, soundstage and imaging and a lot of  detail I can say I never took notice of to such an extent ever prior.

Great recordings sound great yet each a little difference. The worst recordings are as listenable as they have ever been.

Very happy with these and looking forward to the latest technology baked into these to make its way into some larger models.
The Metas have been up and running for a few weeks now so a quick update.


Initially I left the sub settings alone. Same as with prior ls50s. I started to notice a bit too much in the bass in the last week or so so apparently that settled in further over time.

I did a total redo of the sub settings using a white noise Internet radio station as a source and a sound meter app on my iPhone. Not the ultimate in accuracy but good enough for a general integration of sub and mains.

Ended up with the Klipsch sw308 sub crossover frequency at its lowest setting of 40 hz and the level set to ~2 o’clock. Also adjusted phase. That is a much lower crossover than what I used on the older ls50s.

The Klipsch sw308 is fairly Big Bang for its size. 8” forward facing active driver and two side facing 8” passive radiators which help address bass modes somewhat and add output compared to a single driver.

Room again is 12x12 with standard height ceiling.
Also should mention that the thing that strikes me most uniquely with the Metas is the sound does seem pretty free from cabinet sonic artifacts. They don’t sound like box speakers. Neither did the ls50s for that matter.  More like open baffle, Electrostats or planars. The Ohms are that way as well with the unique driver configuration that only uses the cabinets for bass.   I guess it’s a result of the rigid cabinet construction bolstered now by the new sound absorbing technology applied internally.   It all adds up. 
Happy New Year Kenjit.

Bass extension could be improved. As I indicated they need a sub for full range.

Maybe in a larger room the little guys would show more limits. I have no plans to try and replace my larger Ohms in the next room with these though I can’t rule out that that might work out fine if done right.   A sub or two would definitely have to be in the equation. 

That’s it. The rest is subjective. You will have to look elsewhere for more or just buy a pair and find out for yourself. If you really care, which I doubt.

You seem very disingenuous! Just out to rile people up.

Nothing is perfect of course as you well know but some make the case better than others. These make the case quite well both on paper and in person, within their limits. Physics dictates small speakers will have limits compared to similar larger and thereby more expensive ones.

Maybe as technology advances the cost for even this level of “perfection” will go down even further.
Happy New Year all. 
I think after spending many hours with the new metas I can summarize and wrap things up by saying yes all the stuff you read about these ring  true.  For me they still need a sub so no shocker there but once you cover that and get things set up well these should provide many hours of musical enjoyment for even the most discerning audiophile for  a relatively modest cost. 
My room is only 12x12 so not large but in there with a powered sub I can’t imagine wanting more.  In that room and with their very good off axis response and overall tonality they are perhaps the first speakers I’ve tried there other than smaller Ohms that I am totally happy with.  The Ohms and the Metas sound are both cut from the same cloth. Not so much the older ls50s which were distinctly different. Perhaps a difference in the nature of soundstage and imaging and metas might offer a tad more detail but it would be hard to choose between the two of I had to choose only one at least for a smaller room. 
Ok ready for the next generation model now in a few years. 😉.   Can technology push the envelope even further?

Cheers!

Ohm Walsh versus KEF ls50 Metas (with Klipsch sw308 powered sub):

Anyone who reads my posts knows I am a big Ohm Walsh speaker fan.
I currently have two pair: 8” series 3 drivers in the family room two channel A/V system on second level and big Ohm F5s with 12” series 3 drivers ( and onboard level adjustment switches to fine tune to the room) downstairs where they are my main setup for “serious” listening.
Now then we also have the Metas in the 12x12 room adjacent to the much bigger L shaped room where the Ohm F5s live.

My main hifi gear is in the room with the Metas. The Ohms in the next room run off that same system connected via in-wall speaker wire run to multiple rooms in the home when the house was built.
Here is photos showing the Ohms and Metas in their adjacent rooms from perspective of my main listening spot in each room.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WeByXVVW3EPCWPJF9

Also as a side note in the room with the Ohms now are my old ls50s seen on the photo used for separate 2 channel a/v setup also in that room.
That’s the background. Stays tuned for listening results.
Next topic I plan to cover when I get a chance is comparing the ls50 Meta/sub setup in one room (12X12)  with the big Ohm 5 setup in the adjacent room (3-4 times as big, L shaped). Both run off same gear concurrently so this will be a fair comparison.
Ok Kenjit sounds good. See you then! Maybe by then you will decide if you really believe all speakers are the same or not. You appear quite torn on the topic  at present.
Just had to add that “Sex God” from Liquid Soul’s exquisite “One-two Punch” album on Telarc label is pure ecstasy.   Highly recommended!
I’m listening to various random tracks on the Metas.
The adjective that comes to mind to describe the sound overall is “composed”. Everything sounds quite dynamic yet refined and controlled. No slop. The music just flows. Making me stay on my seat listening and not want to stop. That means these have passed the test with flying colors. I think most anyone who hears these would have to like them and have trouble finding a fault. Just add that sub and you got it all pretty much.
Some flamenco solo guitar currently by Pepe Romero. Lovely detail. You can hear each string resonate clearly and with lifelike ambience. The improved dispersion on these newer Meta’s no doubt helps contribute to that.  No artificial shimmer. 

Now some 70s funk “walk-in the line” by Brass Construction (digitized from original vinyl). Nice and punchy. Everything is sorted out and presented nicely.

Next live Dream Weaver by Ringo’s All Star Band. Live. The room is filled with sound. You can hear some individuals in the audience as part of the cheers after.
Kenjit I actually have both. I can assure you they are not the same. So hate to say it but you are wrong there. Plain and simple, facts are facts. 

That’s all I have to say about that.


I am always interested in new products or technology that push the edge.  But only if there is some technical meat presented to back up claims. 
Similarly, I have learned over the years to steer clear of products that make bold claims of technical innovation with nothing concrete to back it up other than marketing  hype. 
Yes the metas are voiced much like the R3s which are awesome. Also more like my mainstay Ohms.
A few additional comments:

1) I am running the KEFs as recommended in the manual with no toe in. Manual says to toe in 0-10 degrees. These are not intended to fire straight at you.
2) They are about 4’ from rear wall, 1/3 of way into room. No port plugs. Would want more bass reinforcement from walls if not for the sub.
3) I would strongly recommend the sub. With the sub these are hard to fault.
4) They bring out the best in each recording. Even the worst ones seem more listenable than before.
5) I agree with the article above. The ls50s could be a tad bright sometimes depending. They have a bit of an appealing shimmer to the sound. These do not. The measurements in the article indicated the only noticeable variation from a flat response is right at the frequency range where ears are most sensitive. That accounts for how easy on the ears these are.
6) Yet the detail is spectacular and with no brightness or fatigue. Soundstage and imaging uncanny.  These are very good low volume speakers as well.  I am not a fan of box speakers in general but these are the exception. KEF seems to have effectively conquered those issues in a reasonably cost effective manner. Will be interesting to see if/how the technical advances here trickle up the line over time. The competition better be on the ball!

https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2020/12/17/review-kefs-ls50-meta-upgrades-an-audiophile-fave-to-near-...

Found this very good and thorough review today that really nails it and thought I’d share. 
In today’s episode of my KEF ls50 saga....

I moved the old ls50s out and into my 3rd system in the next room. They were not going back in and thought I’d use them as an upgrade elsewhere in house if possible. They replace a pair of old Boston A40s I refurbed a couple years back there. The A40s are on the bench for now but still nice little speakers. The amp driving the old ls50s is a Fosi Class D integrated amp (with Bluetooth) about the size of a pack of cigarettes.....$80 on Amazon, ~ 40w/ch advertised. It uses a TI Class D chip and sounded very good with the Bostons, a steal for the cost. I wasn’t sure if it would be up to the task of driving ls50s but said hey lets give it a shot.....ls50s look way cooler than old 1980’s Boston Acoustics (no offense).

So that turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The little amp exceeded my expectations by a fair amount. The ls50s look and sound very good in there. It’s a 2 channel A/V setup. Never used it much for music but might be tempted more now..

Meanwhile, no news with the Metas. I’ve had some challenging recordings on them that do not always shake out well when things are not going well and even they sound perhaps the best ever so far, at least on small monitors.

Good times!

I might do a custom paint job on my current Dynaudio stands to go better with the Titanium Grey Metas rather than spend money on new stands. The ones I have work well and no real need for another pair at the moment.
I like them both. Different look and aesthetic. meta black finish is not glossy piano black like before as I recall...more matte?. Titanium grey is more industrial looking and the driver seems more reddish and pops differently. Which will look best in one’s room is purely a personal preference call. I had the old black glossy piano black finish prior and just wanted something a little different second time around.

I might spring for matching stands eventually. We’ll see. The meta’s have holes with female metal screw fittings inside on the bottom that look like make them ready to attach to matching stands. The originals do not have that. For now I just put the included round adhesive feet on teh bottom over those to set on my old Dynaudio stands.

THis setup is on foundation level with thin dense carpet and padding.  It's rock solid.   So I never have issues with having to worry about isolating speakers from the floor down there.
I’m at my desk again in between the speakers as seen in the pic link above.

Sounds like a very good pair of headphones but more spacious from there :-). Dispersion!

Hope to get some more listening time in from the sweet spot on couch near rear wall (not in the pic) very soon and will report on that.

So far, I might question some of the more extended bass claims I have read on the new metas elsewhere but otherwise no surprises given what I read prior to buying. They live up to the published claims extremely well to-date. These are very good small monitors within their limits. Somewhat better than the originals perhaps in ways only a real hardcore audiophile would care about. Adding a powered sub (Klipsch sw308 located near rear wall in my case) removes those limits at least for my smaller 12X12 room just like before. I think even most audiophiles would have trouble pointing out faults. Lots of detail, nothing harsh, very smooth, big soundstage, and excellent imaging and dispersion.

System summary:

Logitech Squeezebox Touch -> Audioquest optical TOSLINK ->mhdt Constantine DAC-> DNM Reson IC->Audio Research sp16 pre-amp -> DNM Reson IC -> Bel Canto ref1000m Class D monoblocks -> Niles speaker switch -> Audioquest cv-6 speaker cables -> KEF ls 50 meta speakers (titanium grey). 

Supplemented by same Audio Research sp16 pre-amp -> Audioquest ICs -> Klipsch sw308 subwoofer.
Regarding off-axis response the KEF blurb says they disperse evenly throughout the room and indeed that is what they seem to do.    The tonality holds up well even where I sit at my desk in between and somewhat to the their rear.  That is no easy trick and very impressive.  I'm a bit surprised it has not been talked about more.    Audiokinesis would be very impressed with that I suspect!  They say it's a combo result  of the new waveguide and curved baffle. Seems like they nailed it pretty well this time around.
So I’ve been working from home since March due to the pandemic. In the room with my hifi and the KEFs.

I spent the day with them running random tracks off the music server. Background listening mostly at a decent volume but will sit down for some more serious listening when I get a chance. Will say I only heard good things all day.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/w53knYtyyCv6Acr29
Yes, thanks. Definitely more refined overall than the originals and the originals are no slouch for their size either. Still have a lot of listening to do to soak it all in. The litmus test for me in the end is how long a setup holds my attention and makes me want to keep listening. Good omen so far for that. We’ll see. My much bigger Ohms (no subs) have been the litmus test for that for me in my house to-date. I never want to stop with those once I settle in. Both run off the same gear just in a different (adjacent) room of appropriate size so its always a pretty good apples/apples test for speakers.

Quote from KEF website:

"Using advanced simulation and analysis tools, our engineers have developed the 12th generation Uni-Q with MAT. This new driver array delivers reduced coloration, less distortion and a sound that is more transparent and life-like than previously possible, all dispersed evenly throughout the room. "

These claims seem justified and sum up the differences (so far) nicely (as advertised).


Less coloration and distortion I do think than before. THe aluminum tweeter is no longer explicitly noticeable by the slight shimmer it seemed to give the sound prior.

Also I wanted to particular note that the dispersion does seem to be much improved. I hear very little difference moving away from the sweet spot compared to prior. That alone makes these both more unique and competitive, adding an additional sense of realism. I may eventually have to try these with sub in my larger family room where my smaller Ohms currently reside. Would not have considered that with the old more directional KEFs.

I’ll post a picture soon but in the meantime note the metas are in same location as prior ls50s about 1/3rd of the way into the room from rear wall and several feet to side walls so bass gets little or no reinforcement with this setup however it benefits soundstage and imaging and the sub picks up the slack. No port plugs in play. Still breaking in but no doubt a noticeable step forward in most every way already perhaps say noticeable bass extension but we’ll see about that still once things settle in more.
Ok well I picked them up at the dealer earlier today. Got a bonus of three cans of Christmas Cookies for being a patient customer.
Had a final quick listen to the old ls50s then in with the new. Only had time for some quick initial impressions so far. Keep in mind old ls50s are well broken in and the new ones are new.
1) I left the sub on set up the same for new as old. I had it dialed in pretty exactly and did not hear a need to change the settings at all so far. So no difference in terms of how to integrate the sub. I also listened with sub on and off. The sub will be staying for now in that it clearly still added bass extension and made every recording tried sound bigger and fuller just like the old. I doubt I will be losing the sub with the metas. So far at least they are not plumbing the depths similar to old and the difference with and without sub is big still like small monitors versus larger full range. No miracles here so far!
2) The general character of the sound is similar to before but it sounds more full and clear top to bottom More like larger speakers. It just sounds bigger and more open. Also things are a tad less bright than before but detail does seem really good top to bottom.
3) The good recordings seem even better. More of them in most ways. I also got to sample some of the worst and loudest recordings I have and those were the most listenable I have heard on any small monitors I have owned. Very listenable actually.
That’s it so far. All very fast initial impressions. Off to a good start. Will likely only get better. Definitely some very capable new kids on the block. The kefs compete with the large Ohms I have in the larger next room. Guttenburg raved about those as well.
Drum roll.................

They finally arrived  at the dealer's shop over the weekend.  Will go fetch them and hook them up in the next day or two.  Stay tuned...
@goldprintaudio did you just  recently get those in?
Well true I didn’t know it would take this long when I ordered them and I could have gone with the standard color like my current ls50s but hey everyone needs a little spice in their life like a different color every once in a while, and I do have 6 other speaker pairs set up around the house (crazy eh?) to listen to anyhow so I will survive. 🥸. Not to mention headphones. So they will hopefully be a special holiday treat.

Also there is the pandemic which I know has impacted a lot of companies who make speakers in recent months so a little extra patience is in order for these things these days it seems to me. 
Quick update:  I’m hearing early  December now.   Dealer finally getting some more concrete delivery dates it seems plus I have seen similar available dates published elsewhere so the wait may soon be over. 
Thanks.  I'm sure everyone has bigger things to stress out about than waiting for some new toys.
Well,  dealer now says end of this month.  
Good things come to those who wait eh?
Hi @lancelock


I would probably not have stuck with Ls 50s in my smaller room downstairs without a sub. 
They do what they do very well and bear some resemblance sound wise to much pricier small monitors I have heard like Joseph and TAD but are no doubt somewhat limited compared to those.

With a sub, in a small room as well, The gap closes.

I’m anticipating the metas will up the ante further.

Enough that I would go exclusively with them in favor of other larger beasts like my OHMs?

We will see. On my small 12x12 room, I do find the Ls50s do a good job holding together when not quite in the sweet spot, so that helps.

@b_limo,

I plan to hold out for the Titanium Grey. I have lots of good listening options in house to keep me going until then. Will call again tomorrow to see if any new info on the availability since October is now clearly in the books.

Still no word on when mine on order (Titanium Grey) will arrive but will have both old and new to compare when they do.

I keep thinking the old ones are pretty good....new guys not any bigger so how much better can they be? I think there is room for improvement, in particular with soundstage and imaging, maybe detail, but how much? The consensus so far seems to be it is significant, but what percent is that? Who knows? These things can be very subjective.

It’s the new absorption technology used internally that is supposedly the game changer.

We will see what happens. Stay tuned.
I'm sitting here listening to the ls50s and thinking "the metas are even better"?    Can't wait to hear them in my setup.
I’ve had Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII in the same 12x12 room as the ls50s. 
Different sound.  Dynaudio was a tad warm and could lean towards a tad bright in some cases.  Bass was more extended.  I didn’t use a sub with them.  I do use sub with ls50s.     Ls50s are a different sound in most every regard.  Definitely more detailed and different imaging.  Probably also more coherent.   I liked the Dyns a lot but do not miss them with ls50 + sub combo.  Without a sub,  it’s more of a tossup depending. 



Has anyone heard anything about when the colors other than black are expected again?   My dealer says Titanium Grey by EOM but nothing definite yet. 
Checked with dealer yesterday.  Expecting the Titanium Grey Metas to be in before EOM.  Stay tuned. 
Most likely I will sell my current ls50s here on audiogon unless I decide to keep them and maybe shed something else in a different room. I will be more likely to keep them if the sub is not needed with the metas. Going used prices appear to be as much as $850 a pair currently which is almost as much as they cost when I bought them new.  TMR has a pair up on their website for $850 currently. 
@deetch sounds similar to the sample I heard at the dealer.

MEtas will not be first time I went with upgraded/refined versions of an older design. I started with original V1 Ohm Walsh in 1982, and upgraded to V3 ~ 2008, around the time I started here on Agon, after dallying in other affairs for a number of years before coming back.

Missed V2 and have not taken plunge to current V4 yet. Been very happy with what I have there but may still happen at some point in the future TBD.

Acquired my current ls50s Q4 2018.
Oh my........


Pretty good omen merely off youtube via bluetooth to my Sangean desktop radio.

The live demo I had certainly convinced me to pull the trigger.

My old ls50s are playing as I type.    No slouches, but....
@deetch nice,  keep us posted!

Dealer says my Titanium Grey Metas should be here in mid-October.
My main setup is Linn Axis/Denon DL 103R -> Electrocompaniet Step up Xformer->

and

Squeezebox Touch -> mhdt Constantine DAC >

to

Audio Research sp16 pre-amp -> Bel Canto Ref 1000m monoblocks ->

to

KEF ls50s in 12 X 12 room

or

Ohm F5 series 3 in much larger adjacent L shaped room via in-wall wire.

The aluminum tweeter in the KEFs seem to have an inherent different signature than various other speakers with soft dome tweeters I have had like Dynaudio Contour with Esotar soft dome tweet and the Ohms still in the next room (which are totally different beasts from most anything else). Detail is very good and fatigue is not an issue. The Dynaudios could sound a bit hot on occasion with some recordings.


In the brief demo of metas I got at the dealer I got the sense the new metas may be another step in the direction of less distortion and associated fatigue much like what I have read. We will see. I will check again this week to see if any news on delivery of the Titanium Grey metas I have on order.

I also have a pair of Vanatoo Transparent 1 Encore Active speakers in a room upstairs. Those use a 1" aluminum dome  tweeter and the sound is more like the KEFs than others I know with soft domes.

@COACHPOCONNOR, nice to hear.

Are yours black?

I have my current black ls50s on black Dynaudio stands that look similar to the KEF stands in pictures. I ordered Titanium grey ls50 metas. Maybe I will spring for the matching stands later and free up the Dyn stands for use elsewhere. We’ll see..
Yeah reviews suggest it but we will see about the bass extension if better. 

I will say that at my in store demo in a very sizable showroom open area I think I heard more bass extension than I expected but we will see when I can compare apples/apples at home.
&longbowbbs

Yes I enjoy mine a lot also. Very involving dynamically for such little guys especially with the sub (Klipsch sw308 in my case) added.

I’m curious how the sub integration will change with the new metas. Maybe no longer needed? Seems possible from what I read. Room is only 12x12 and the sub is already not being asked to do too much. No sub needed would be a nice bonus. I used to have Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII in there and those needed no sub. Nor do my Ohm 100s. Triangle Titus could have used one.

Have had various small monitors over the years in addition to larger full range speakers.
Hey Kenjit thanks for helping to keep the thread alive while I wait for my Titanium Grey ls50 metas.

I work from home these days and the ls50s are in my office so I spend a lot of time with them lately. 
I was notified today metas I ordered in Titanium Grey are backordered via KEF at present so I may have to wait a bit longer than thought. That’s ok, no rush.

Looks like all the colors save black are on backorder currently.

@cd318 I am hopeful technology like this could be applied to closed back headphones. Has game changer potential there as well I would think.
@mrdecibel only the couch and wood blinds over the window back there but lots of things on the walls in general as you can see. The sound is very good top to bottom with large soundstage with some depth  and excellent detail and imaging to my ears.
@hleeid Those are still the originals. Have not received the metas yet. Should be here later this week or so.
Actually My wife moved the speakers slightly the other night while cleaning and I had to reposition. It happens.
I use just slight toe in typically. They are sensitive to placement for best imaging and soundstage when listening from the couch near rear wall. I work at home mostly at present from the desk and use them for background music there. There is also a Klipsch sw308 sub located just behind the far side of the couch out of view in these pics.