KEF LS50 Wireless -- wow!!!


Today I bought a new pair of the KEF LS50 Wireless speakers for my study (10 x 13 x 12). Just so you know my main system in the media room (15 x 20) consists of a pair of Bowers and Wilkins CM10s2 ($4000), Parasound A21 ($2500), Cambridge Audio  851D ($1000), Double Shotgun silver wires ($350), power cable from Cerious Technologies (Graphene something -- $350), with a total cost of something around $8k. 
I thought it would be fun to put the KEFs in the same room as my main system and play them side by side using Tidal streaming for both. Now keep in mind that the CM10s have several hundred hours on them, whereas the KEFs have probably less than 2 hours so far. The speaker stands for the KEFs are still on backorder, so right now they're just sitting directly on the media console (glass top) -- in other words, this is a totally unfair comparison. Also, the CM10s are placed about 9 feet apart and 4 feet from the wall, whereas the KEFs are about 6 feet apart and less than two feet from the back wall. 
What I heard was totally unbelievable!!! The KEFs, which mind you, are not broken in at all, not sitting on a proper stand, and not as wide apart from each other as the CM10s, totally blew the CM10s out of the water. The sound coming out of the KEFs is more full-bodied and balanced, beautiful midrange, and a very satisfying base. The imaging is just so much better than the B&Ws. I just can't believe how a speaker which is literally 4 to 5 times smaller than the CM10s can produce such a rich, satisfying base. I think the only aspect where the CM10s have a slight edge is the soundstage. But, I suspect that might improve with proper stands and more play time.
A few weeks ago, I auditioned a pair of Harbeth M30.1 in the same media room (driven by Parasound A21). While I really liked the midrange on them, they sounded a little thin to me. The KEFs, on the other hand, have a pretty good midrange (probably not as good as the Harbeths), but to my ears, they sound better in every other aspect.

Now, I'm not saying that these $2199 speakers are the ultimate bookshelves. But they sure beat my comparatively more expensive setup by a mile.

All hats off to the KEF engineers! 

P.S. The CM10s will be on the market pretty soon :)

arafiq
The LS50's are a gateway drug for further up the KEF range. Great choice.
arafiq,
I have been eyeing these. One reservation I have is how they will do with rock and occasional metal. I have heard that the non powered version is not so great with this but the LS50W sounds like it is very well matched with the internal amps and is much fuller sounding. 
Even the regular Ls50 are fantastic when I heard them with Mark Levinson 100w amp, paired with audio research preamp, thetha dac n transport , cables Audioquest dragon speaker cables and diamond ic, I agree for my taste the Harbeth I heard at Axpona it’s a bit on thin sounding, but they are good , many likes them...
I had a pair of the original LS 50's which were merely ok. I now have the powered wireless versions and they rock. I use them as background music about the house. They're in a living room that's 30'x20" with 20 foot ceilings and they will shake windows and rumble floors when asked to. Major improvement over the originals.
Out of curiosity, how do you folks have them set up? Don't mean physically, I mean how do you play music through them, e.g., Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. My brother in law is looking for a compact set up for their small apartment in NYC. I got them hooked last year by giving a Bluesound Pulse as a present and now they want something better.
I stream it from my mac in the other room via Bluetooth.
This might be when you decide that B&W products tend to not be that great.  I went through something that sounds similar to what you're going through right now back in 2012.  I replaced my N802s with Thiel 3.7s and I was surprised that the Thiels were significantly better in every area.  I had had B&W for around 8 years and I figured since they were well reviewed, popular high end speakers that they were at least competitive in their price ranges.  They were fantastically well-built and looked cool but the performance wasn't very good really.  I probably wouldn't consider buying B&Ws again.  I'm kind of mad that I had them for so long before realizing how much better I could do for the money. 
I've heard the LS50s a number of times. To me, while lesser amps can make them produce sound, only better-quality electronics can make them sing. The best I've heard them is with the mid-priced Parasound gear and they sounded very good. I've not heard the powered wireless version of this speaker.
The LS- 50  is a very good point douse,imaging speaker .this speaker is somewhat nuetral there uses lot of hidden potential.
 In side they cross over is average at best . If you just put quality parts in there such as put top resistors in there like Path Audio,
Capacitors  smaller caps Jupiter Copper foil with a Duelund .1ufSilverfoil oil bypass caps my friend said after 300 hours exceptional  at least 15%
Better then stock ,which is huge. If budget doesnot allow 
Clarity CSA caps and Arizona Cactus Red caps for a minimum of 10%
And cactus Blue for larger driver. You would be shocked my  buddy in the U.K
Took the just ok brass connectors  for nEichman Copper connectors 
And Supra awg13,and 15 wire  ,and a couple sheets off Black hole cabinet isolation . The speaker is now a $5k or better speaker. Please remember the money goes into mainly the drivers ,and cabinet is respectablr. Most companies
As a rule skimp on cross over quality,as well as witung,and connectors. 
There's a lot to be said for a good powered monitor, glad you like them....  over the years I've owned three pairs of KEF,   their latest offerings continue to deliver great sound.  
When you use Bluetooth from your computer, is it digital to the DAC in the speaker? USB is digital, is Bluetooth?

wanting to learn something.
Even the passive LS50s are leaps ahead of all B&W speakers I've heard. They  easily compete in the $4K standmount realm. Some say they're merely good, but I suspect they heard them with low quality amps. It's the trailing edges of notes, the "decay" that really sets their midrange apart from competitors. The highs are detailed, yet non-fatiguing, and their imaging is hard to beat at any price. 
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Aren't these LS50 wireless speakers EQ'd, the back panel shows several EQ options.  That and 230 watts per speaker (200 for the woofer, 30 for the tweeter) are going to give a certain advantage over a traditional pre amp and amplifier.  But it's an apples to oranges comparison.  The EQ function is giving anything but a flat frequency response.  Some will like certain frequencies pushed to the foreground.  

So today my kid, who has some sensory issues, decided to poke his finger into the front of the speaker. Almost punctured the area between the foam and the tweeter. I was able to straighten a part of it but there’s still a crease on the left side. Now, I have a true dilemma .... knowing my kid, I know that (due to his sensory issues) he won’t be able to resist poking his fingers to push the driver cone. I cannot return it because it now has a pretty visible crease on the front. I don’t know the impact on the sound yet. The speakers are not even 4 days old and they are now non-returnable :(

Lesson learned: these speakers (or any speakers with no front grilles) are not suitable for households with young children. I wish KEF sold front grilles for these.
A few more observations after listening to the speakers for the last 3 - 4 days ....

Pros:
1. Vocals, jazz, light/soft rock sounds amazing. There is a certain fullness in the sound that I was missing before. Last night, I had listened to them for over 3 hours at a stretch with zero fatigue. However, having said that, I don’t think the speakers would cut it for heavy metal or rap music. Maybe adding a subwoofer might help, but for the kind of music I listen to, I don’t feel the need to add anything else. Also, IMO classical music is not their cup of tea. But it very well could have been the recording (Rimsky).

2. The bass on these is just amazing for a speaker of this size. I am not kidding, but the base is almost the same as my much bigger CM10s. In fact, it is more textured and punchy and never gets boomy.

3. Imaging -- really, really good!! Blows my B&W CM10s out of the water. The voices and the instruments are fixed in exactly the same spots. Very accurate! This is probably the standout feature of these speakers!

4. The disappearing act -- these disappear behind the wall of music much better than my CM10s. With the B&Ws, I always had a sense of where the speakers were located, not so much with the KEFs. However, this is one area where I felt that the Harbeths that I demoed for a few hours were better.

Cons:
1. Absolutely pathetic app (iOS). Tidal integration leaves a lot to be desired. Every now and then, the music just stops playing intermittently. The only solution I found is to restart the speakers. KEF really needs to get their act together when it comes to hiring better software developers.

2. Low volume -- this is one area where the CM10s (and the Harbeth M30.1) have an edge. The KEFs sound amazing at moderate to high volumes, but lose quite a bit of their magic at lower volumes.

3. Placement -- despite the DSP advantage, the speakers are still quite sensitive to placement. Although I bought them for my home office (10x13), they sound way better in the game room (25x15) which is a bit bigger than the media room. They definitely need to be placed at least 6 feet apart and 2 feet from the back wall to sound their best. They still sound good in the office, but some of the magic is lost. Unfortunately, I cannot put them back in the game room since my kid would destroy them in a few minutes :(

BTW, I tried bluetooth streaming and did not like it at all. Tidal (via KEFs app) sounds much better. I’m seriously thinking of subscribing to Roon to play music from my NAS drive.

Lastly, please keep in mind that I don’t have a lot of exposure to high-end gear. Prior to the KEF LS50s, I’ve only owned the B&W CM10s, and LSA-1 Signature bookshelf speakers. So, hopefully, you’ll take my exuberance with a grain of salt :)
I'm tempted by the LS50w for a second system.  However, I'm hesitating because of the internal DAC.  It seems like the KEF wouldn't be appropriate for anyone who already has an DAC that they really like, who listens to DSD/SACD, who uses MQA, or who has a turntable.  That rules out an awful lot of people.  Have any of you tried the LS50w with any of these formats run through the KEFs?  What was the result?   
@smrex13  Although, I'm not using an external DAC, there was a discussion on audiogon a few months ago along the same lines ...

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/kef-ls50-wireless-internal-vs-external-dac

I don't have any curious children roaming around, but I've considered designing some grills for the LS50. The only real challenge will be method of attachment, but I might have that figured out. My concern is how they might affect the imaging.
I saw someone fit a car speaker grill of size 5.25” - they fit exact, apparently. Fix with Velcro. 
Hi, I’m from U.K. and just bought KEF’s LS50W. Does anyone have a workaround for playing flac files from iOS?
Also loving these speakers after swapping up from the passive LS50s with a NAD D3020 amp. My impressions differ from the OP in the follwoing areas:

I find the bass to be amazing and quite adequate for hip hop. I'm sure there are some bass heads out there that will still want a subwoofer. 

Also, I find them incredibly satisfying at low volume. It was one of the most striking things I observed.
@bleu My comment about the speakers being satisfying at low volumes was only in the context of comparing with Harbeth or B&W CM10s. I felt that these two had a slight edge on the KEFs in this regard.

As for the base, I challenge you to integrate the LS50s with a fast, musical sub (I recently added REL T9) and see if you still feel the same way. I’m not a bass head by any means, but I can tell you that the difference it makes is substantial. The increase in soundstage and room-filling ability has gone up significantly, at least in my setup. It’s not just about big, thumping bass.
@daveselbow -- I'm using Roon for FLAC files. It also does gapless playback very nicely.
@arafiq Understood and thanks for those clarifications. :-)
Here´s is a little something that kef with rega produces: https://youtu.be/sPxmyfb2Bx0

It´s Kef LS50w with heed quasar and Rega RP6 :)

Next step is the power cords. I run it wireless with Roon when playing without the rega. .
@daystar85 -- nice video. I have the same stands, except they're in white.
Help!! Just purchased a used pair of LS50 Wireless amd cannot get them connected to network. I use a Unifi router and when I follow the apps setup procedure I got my network to recognize the speakers on 2x out 15+ attempts! When they were recognized they were promptly dropped. I held the reset button in and although it blinked green for about 10 seconds it never would go to solid green as the FAQs suggest. I can get the speakers to only work consistently with Bluetooth. Got a PC music server to work once yesterday but not today. The app will recognize the server, begin playing music but no sound comes out. I keep getting the message that no speakers are selected, even though I keep selecting them ( they register than drop out). Could all this stem from them not being on my wifi network? Shouldn't they still work with direct input from my server (they did for a while anyway). Again, HELP and thanks for any input. 
I keep seeing great reviews about these KEF LS50 speakers.  I auditioned them hooped up to a Parasound A21 and a Krell 300i integrated amp and honestly I was not impressed at all.  Sound was thin, bright, not resolving enough for a $1,500 speakers.  They don't sound better that a Paradigm mini monitor $500.00.
^ Maybe it's time for an audiogram.
@scarpino -- sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but did you make sure you have updated to the latest firmware? I had the same issue, albeit not quite as bad as yours, and getting the latest firmware solved it.

Secondly, the KEFs are definitely finicky about the wifi quality. How close is your router to the speakers? Do you have multiple devices connected to the same network? I've noticed that it definitely increases dropouts in my case.

Lastly, have you considered Roon? At least in my case, I find Roon to be a better application -- including user interface and overall sound quality. I get a lot fewer dropouts when listening to music via Roon.
Very impressed with the KEF LS50. Very solidly built, and clearly a lot of attention has gone into the new Uni-Q drivers, as they sound incredibly accurate.

Also listened to the R100 when trying the LS50 which, although no slouch, is eclipsed by the accuracy and soundstage of the LS50. The bass performance in particular is incredible for a speaker of its size.

Personally, think the LS50 would still be a five star product at double the price. A great product from TechnoVolume. 10/10!

Has anyone ever used a Killawatt or something similar to see how many watts the LS50 wireless draw? 
I have a specific use in mind and need to know how many watts the pair will draw at average listening volumes.  Can someone please help me with this?
thanks!
ps, the specific use is on a cruising catamaran and the speakers would be powered off of an inverter, and since this draws power from the house batteries, power consumption is a concern.

Doesn't your boat have an ammeter? You could turn on the inverter and see what it reads. Remember, the specs from the company would just tell you what the draw is at 120 volts. You need to account for the losses from the inverter.

I also recently bought a new pair of these in white with matching stands.  I have the stands filled with sand.

Ultimately I purchased these for bedroom speakers but had them in my main listening room for some break in time.  Even out of the box I was hugely impressed with the authority and resolution that these speakers play. 

The bass response blew me away for the size of the speakers. The bass is not just a one note wonder either.  It's layered and textured with a nice hit.  Imaging is top notch and these are very musical.  An absolute steal for the technology, adjustability and sound you get at this price.  It will be a shame to have them in the bedroom as I could see these being someone's main rig if they were on a budget.

I also tried them out with my JL E110 sub and it integrated very nicely but not a necessity depending on your room size. 

I almost didn't want them to sound as good as they do for the price.  It really makes a person start thinking of all the money and time he/she has invested in the past to get the sound we're at now with our main rigs.  But that's also half the fun! 

Hfaddict, 
Did you try these with any rock or metal? 

@mofojo No, most of my listening was folk, blues, electronic etc.

I will say the biggest downfall of these speakers to me was at low volume listening. They do require some volume to come alive.  But I am also used to my Audionotes that start hopping at quite low levels. 

I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask but leaving it here, just in case:
I'm simply unable to download the KEF Firmware from their site.It keeps redirecting me to their homepage. I've checked from three different laptops so it's not a pop-up blocker or anti-virus setting. Did anyone else face this issue?
Not sure if this thread is still active. Any take on Dynaudio Xeo 20  wireless vs KEF LS50 wireless. 
Xeo 20 retail for $3250 CAD. LS50 retail for $2780CAD
Looks like LS50 has umbilical  cord connection and Xeo 20 is truly  wireless with just power cord . 
I love the speakers but have a few questions:  (1) trying to update firmware, the app has a link for new firmware but when I go there "file not found."  How do I find the new firmware????

(2) Right now I am not able to go wireless as the app says the speakers are not connected.  Maybe something to do with my wireless router?  Everything else on my wireless network runs fine.  I think I 'll just go to USB when I get the proper connecting cord.
I was able to download the update via my imac AFTER I connected wirelessly through Spotify using the back door route.  So I can stream if I want, but I still find the USB connection and using Audinirvana the best way to listen.  Audinirvana allows me to listen to MQA albums on TIdal.  I prefer these to all other sources so far.
I run ls50s off BEl Canto ref1000m amps (500w/ch). Top notch for their size and within their associated limitations! When the music starts it sounds very real, not like a hifi! They need a well integrated sub or two in addition to an amp up to the task to do it all though, even in a small room. Larger rooms can be very tough...they are not very big.
My understanding is that MQA from Tidal site will just achieve the "first unfold."  In order to get the full MQA experience you need hardware to do it.  This could be achieved by using an MQA DAC out of the USB port on my computer and then this signal would go through the internal DACs on the KEF.  Would this work?  Or would there be something weird with one DAC feeding another?