More power needed for my KEF LS50s?

Hi everyone,

I've been wondering recently whether I need more power to drive my KEF LS50s - they are 85db sensitivity with a 3.7 ohm minimum (although they are listed at 8ohms nominal). I have been using a Hegel H80, which is 75 wpc and no specification for 4ohms. I have been very impressed by the sound from the KEFs, and in combination with the Hegel I have been getting wonderful vocals.

However, on a whim I hooked up the Hegel to a pair of more efficient towers (Triton 7), and the subtle details really came to life - acoustic guitar plucks had more presence, symbol crashes seemed more like part of the performance, etc. While I love the sound of the KEFs for vocals, the rest of the instrumentation seems to be quite recessed, as if I'm sitting right in front of the singer at a performance.

I only have the rather limited comparison, but I'm wondering if I've underpowered the KEFs and a more power amp (like the Krell s300i) would bring the speakers to life. Of course, the other solution is to get more efficient speakers and stick with the (very nice sounding) Hegel.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and my listening room is about 13x15 feet with the speakers on the short wall.

I wouldn't necessarily count on it. I had some LS50's and had pretty much the exact same impressions as you. I was running them with a 75 watt Musical Fidelity integrated and kept thinking that if I was running them with a more powerful amp that I could get them to the next level.

I had a chance then to spend some time with them paired with 500 watt mono blocks and really, they didn't change the overall character. I've since moved on. The Kef's were nice enough speakers, but for me they weren't the giant killers that they seem to be for others.
It's a trade off, high power or high efficiency. I have heard the LS50s and they are very nice. Your Hegel seems like a good fit from what little I know of it. Not sure what more power will do for the KEFs.
I discovered Zu speakers a couple years ago. They are very efficient, and that opens up SET and other options.
You are welcome to come and have a listen. I believe we are neighbors.
Scott in Ashland, too.
It looks like you should have enough power. Is everything broken in? Also, you may want to try some different placement options. If you still can't get the results you are looking for, you may just prefer the Triton 7's over the KEF.
You are likely hearing this speaker's inherent voicing and not an amp-induced coloration. 75 watts is a lot and enough to drive those speakers. I have heard the KEF LS-50s and got a similar impression.
The Tritons are big speakers (more drivers, more volume). They probably produce more 'air.' If you tried a large efficient speaker like those from Zu or Tannoy you'd probably notice the same thing. The KEFs are small monitors that do not have huge bass (low freq.). The Tritons again are bigger speakers that may present the ambiance of the recording venue better by having lower Freq. response. If you want to keep the KEFs, add a subwoofer. Otherwise, these are monitor (reference) speakers, albeit small, that do a lot of things right, but like all small speakers they are missing that low bass and ability to load the room, and may not be as musically satisfying as larger speakers. Try a used REL ST series sub with them, and the sonic benefits the KEFs offer will open up. I do not think it is a power problem with your room. I have mine with a 50 w/ch amp and they are fine. But if you want to get rid of your Hegel let me know ! :-}
I disagree with the other posts. You need more power. I drove those same speakers with a 200 w/ch NAD and the results were stunning. LOTS of air. In fact, world class sound IMO. Search using my username on YouTube to see my video of the ls50s. If your LS50s do not sound impressive then you are definitely not getting full performance from them.
I realize that the KEFs have a limited frequency range, but they still sounded a bit recessed. Nope, not getting rid of the Hegel - love it! I'm coming to appreciate the Tritons with the Hegel quite a bit. I had the KEFs when I had a very small listening room - my current one is not large, but it's apparently big enough to benefit from the additional frequency range of the tower speakers.

Some day I'll upgrade to a more powerful amp (probably a Hegel), but for now I think I'm leaning towards the Tritons as the better match.

I don't think it is about power per se.

Yes, the LS50s improved tremendously going from my AVR's 140W/channel to my Bel Canto REF500Ms 500W/channel. But it was better again with my 100W/channel Class A mode Plinius SA-Reference.

To me, it's all about quality rather than quantity
Easy fix! It appears you don't like the KEF sound. Consider selling them and move on. Check out a different monitor,Harbeth,Spendor,etc. We all make mistakes.
Lots of good responses! Monitors vs floorstanders, high vs low efficiency, lots of watts vs quality watts.
I have settled on relatively low power set and high efficiency speakers.
You are welcome to have a listen. I also live in Ashland,and my name is Scott! What are the odds?
Yep, Yogiboy, that's what I'm doing. I'm very impressed by the KEFs and would recommend them to anyone. Just didn't fit well in my system/room. That's what makes this hobby fun - moving on to get new stuff, lol.

Thanks everyone,
Hegel with the Tritons seem to impress you more and get you engaged. I'd go this route and trust my ears. Higher efficiency speakers have noticeable advantages as you've discovered.