LS50 + Sub Or Floorstander?

I’ve been happy with my LS50s from the day I got them. But there’s no getting around the fact that they are small bookshelf speakers. While bookshelves undoubtedly have their advantages (ease of placement, imaging, coherence), I find myself thirsting for the bass and sense of a floorstander. Particularly the bass.

I’ve been preparing myself for the thoroughly enjoyable task of making my rounds of NYC’s stereo stores, listening to some of the many well-received floorstanders in the $3,000 range. Maybe even blow the doors out on a pair of Proac DT8s.

But is that the best way to go? What if I add a subwoofer(s)? That will solve my bass problems, right? Probably better than most floorstanders. But will it give me the sense of big, orchestral scale that I associate with floorstanders? (I don’t listen to a lot of orchestras but I still want a sense of scale.)

I listen to indie rock and jazz, 66/33. (One percent for Sinatra.) My room is a thoroughly medium sized 15x20. I think it would be perfectly happy with a small floorstander and none that I’ve read about top 40 inches.

After all is said and done, new cables are bought, the LS50s are sold, etc., the bookshelf plus sub configuration will be significantly cheaper than the floorstander. No small consideration.

I’d much rather make this decision based on first-hand listening but I don’t think that will be possible. I’ve never heard of anyone auditioning a subwoofer, probably because of the difficulty of setting it up properly. So I need all the help I can get. 

Thanking you in advance.


I'd probably side with small floorstanders for the sense of scale, especially in a room of your size (and I've heard LS50s several times). You may not get as deep bass as a  separate sub, but many great 2.5 or 3 way designs have in-room performance rather low and a good sense of body, or of a larger sized speaker-I get it.

My 2.5 way speakers manage solid in-room to 31Hz with two 4.5" mid/woofers and ports, in a 17x21x10 room with openings. Small floorstanders, well-designed can accomplish a lot of most musical requirements, IMO.

A lot depends on your room’s acoustics. Your room is 15x20 with what ceiling height?

I have read, repeatedly, that even floorstanders benefit from subs, not least because they can be positioned in places other than where the floorstanders are.

To put the point otherwise, if you’re seeking good bass in your room, the first step is to know what your room is like, from the perspective of bass. AMROC can help, and so can a microphone and some positioning experiments.

If you don’t wish to investigate your room’s characteristics, you are effectively deciding to experiment without guardrails. If that’s fun for you, go for it! But know that’s what you’re doing.

The monitor needs to be able to play with authority from 70-80hz on up to have that full visceral sound even with a sub. If it can do that at the volumes you are looking for then I think you are good to go. Probably need some kind of crossover to keep the deep bass out of the KEF unless it’s always low volumes. 

We are a kef dealer thela 50 metas do sound amazing for their size however a small monitor will alwayways sound small adding a subwoofer won't help


a good subwoofer simply adds pressure to the leading and trailing edges of what the monitor is doing

we often played the ls 50 and then demoed the r series floorstanders and the floor standers always sounded better

if you can swing it a pair of reference three kefs is really the way to go

and many dealers are selling the older non metas at a great price


Dave and Troy

audio intellect NJ

Kef dealer

If you like the sonic signature, why not demo the LS60 and see if they are to your liking? They are stunning to look at, and are getting some pretty great reviews