When you’re beginning to take your music listening expertise extra critically, it’s pure to look into getting a speaker setup. That’s till you understand that you simply’ll have to select a preamp, amp, and DAC to get your dream speaker setup. That’s rather a lot analysis and setup, which is sort of intimidating to a hi-fi beginner.
However what if there was a speaker system that simply labored out of the field? What if all you needed to do was plug the audio system into the wall and activate some music?
Fortunately, this dream system is actual and it’s made by the parents at KEF.
The LS50 Wi-fi is an all-in-one speaker system that’s dead-simple to arrange and allows you to play from quite a lot of sources out of the field, with room to develop with you through the years.
After spending a number of months with the KEF LS50 Wi-fi, we have been blown away by the bundle that the corporate was in a position to engineer. The audio system supply mind-blowing sound high quality with absolute neutrality, hologram-like imaging, and an expansive soundstage. Plus, it was useless easy to arrange and use from any of its sources. Whereas not low-cost, the LS50 Wi-fi is definitely fairly a discount when taken as a whole bundle.
The KEF LS50 Wi-fi are a stunning pair of bookshelf-sized audio system that may look nice in your desk or in your house theater.
Our unit got here in a shiny piano black however there’s a white and silver model as properly. The entrance of the speaker is dominated by KEF’s Uni-Q drivers which places the tweeter within the heart of the bass and midrange woofer. This, claims KEF, permits the audio system to supply a three-dimensional soundstage regardless of the place you’re sitting and it actually works (extra on this within the Efficiency part).
On prime of the proper speaker you’ll discover contact controls for energy, Bluetooth, supply, and quantity. The controls are illuminated when the audio system are turned on and are simple to press, although they don’t present any tactile feeling since they’re contact management. Nonetheless, there’s an included distant that gives bodily buttons when you miss the tactile really feel.
Talking of the distant, the one which comes within the field is pretty primary that’s only one step above the terrible card-sized remotes with membrane buttons that ships with nearly each soundbar and preamp. The distant is made from plastic however nonetheless feels good within the hand and it replicates the contact controls on the highest of the speaker plus buttons for earlier/skip observe and mute.
One nitpick we had concerning the LS50 Wi-fi is the truth that when you change inputs utilizing the distant management that you don’t have any concept what enter you’ve switched to until you on the panel on prime of the speaker. This implies you both need to memorize the sequence of inputs or need to stand up and have a look at the speaker. We want the included speaker included devoted supply buttons to modify immediately as an alternative of biking by way of them – however it did not stop us from loving the audio system.
The KEF LS50 Wi-fi packs a ton of options however let’s go over what options make it sound so good. For amplification, KEF designed the LS50 Wi-fi with two 230-watt energy provides in a bi-amp twin mono configuration. This implies every channel will get its personal devoted amplifier for interference-free energy supply.
On board is a DAC for every channel that’s able to as much as 192 kHz and 24-bit sources. Whereas not the bleeding edge when it comes to extremely excessive decision audio, it’s a strong DAC setup that ought to final for years to return. We spoke with KEF about why they didn’t embrace help for brand spanking new codecs like DSD or MQA and have been advised that the corporate needed to design the KEF LS50 Wi-fi to final so long as attainable and determined to not embrace unproven codecs.
By way of wi-fi connectivity, the KEF LS50 Wi-fi helps 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band wi-fi N for streaming music over your own home server. We tried this with our house Plex server and it labored properly streaming high-resolution FLAC information over our community that’s powered by the Netgear X6S Nighthawk router. The cellular app used to browse music and management playback is a bit laggy at instances so hopefully KEF and hold bettering the cellular app expertise.
It’s a bit disappointing that neither Google Solid nor Apple AirPlay are supported, as it will have been simple to regulate by voice utilizing a Google Residence speaker. Nonetheless, Spotify and Tidal customers can management the LS50 Wi-fi straight, which is a pleasant contact.
When you don’t have your personal music server, Roon, Tidal, or Spotify, there’s all the time the Bluetooth four.zero enter, which helps the aptX codec for CD-quality sound. Bluetooth sounds good and is handy to seek out and stream music from our telephone. It’s somewhat disappointing that aptX HD isn’t supported, as it will have been the Bluetooth enter sound even higher. However nitpicky audiophiles will not be seemingly utilizing the Bluetooth enter for critical listening within the first place.
The inputs carry on coming with optical TOSLINK help for hooking as much as sources like your TV. This implies you may have the LS50 Wi-fi be your speaker setup for every thing from tv, wi-fi, and analog sources like a turntable. One factor to notice that the optical enter caps out at 96 kHz 24-bit so the USB enter is preferable for connecting a DAC.
Final however not least, the analog audio jacks allow you to join your personal supply units. This is usually a turntable or you may connect your personal DAC, when you please.
Across the again of the audio system you’ll discover the speaker’s DSP controls. You’ll be able to specify if in case you have the LS50 Wi-fi on a desk or on stands and in the event that they’re proper up in opposition to the wall or have free area behind to breathe somewhat. This can be tweaked inside cellular app so that you don’t need to go digging behind the speaker each time you need to change a setting. The app has much more superior controls, which lets you tweak issues just like the part correction and subwoofer crossover.
Not one of the above would matter if the KEF LS50 Wi-fi doesn’t sound good. That stated, we’re blissful to report that the LS50 Wi-fi sound phenomenal.
General, they’re staggeringly detailed and their stand-out sonic characteristic is their holographic imaging and instrumental layering: We might hear precisely the place every instrument was coming from and every instrument sounded distinct and by no means blurry. Soundstage was expansive with good area to the facet and above the listener. Decision is great because the speaker can dig for the micro-details that get misplaced in lesser audio methods.
Tonal steadiness is extraordinarily impartial, which may be tweaked barely within the cellular app. You’ll be able to heat up the sound by setting the audio system to “additional bass” however the steadiness is close to good from default to our ears. Nonetheless, bass-lovers will need to add the non-compulsory subwoofer to get visceral bass affect that’s nice for films of digital music. With out the sub, the LS50 Wi-fi nonetheless produce a shocking quantity of bass and we have been fairly blissful with out the subwoofer for important listening.
The LS50 Wi-fi sounds so good, you’ll be staying up all evening rediscovering your music assortment as a result of that’s precisely what we did. We performed report after report on our Marantz TT-15S turntable to check how numerous music genres sounded on the audio system. The LS50 Wi-fi sounded wonderful with each style we threw at it and each enter sounded spectacular. By way of sonic high quality there’s little or no to nitpick concerning the KEF LS50 Wi-fi.
The KEF LS50 Wi-fi is an incredible pair of bookshelf audio system that has nearly each enter conceivable. The flexibility of the audio system is absolutely their promoting level, as they’ll simply match into anybody’s audio setup. They even work properly as TV audio system as their holographic imaging makes watching films enjoyable. You’ll need to pair them with the non-compulsory subwoofer if you wish to get room-rattling bass, although. That stated, out of the field, we discovered the LS50 Wi-fi’s tonal steadiness nearly good.
So who advantages essentially the most from the LS50? Largely it is audiophiles who need the comfort of wi-fi audio, whether or not that’s straight from web streaming providers like Tidal or Spotify or from a house server. Whereas it’s a bummer Google Solid and Apple AirPlay aren’t supported, we expect most individuals will we pleased with the myriad of different methods to play music.
At $2,200 (£2,000, about AU$2,840) the KEF LS50 Wi-fi is some huge cash, however you’ll be laborious pressed to place collectively a greater sounding and extra versatile system for a similar value. This speaker setup is ideal for the audiophile who doesn’t need to throw down a number of thousand to piece collectively a system with monoblock amps, a preamp, DAC and wi-fi streaming tools.
For seasoned audiophiles with high-end tools already, nonetheless, there’s all the time the wired LS50, which is almost half the value.