Posted on Thu, 22 Feb, 2018
Posted by Bob

KEF Wireless LS50 Bookshelf Speakers reviewed and rated. KEF’s superb, powered wireless monitors impress with power and control beyond their size.

KEF: One of the Hi-Fi world’s “Power-Brands”. Possessing a remarkable history spanning back over five decades, KEF has a “back catalogue” of classic designs, which is virtually unrivalled amongst loudspeaker manufacturers. One of the true Hi-Fi greats, the KEF badge ensures quality and design excellence.

KEF’s LS50 monitor loudspeakers were originally launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company, yet have gone on to enjoy acclaim in their own right. We decided they were long overdue a critical review…

KEF Wireless LS50

KEF Wireless LS50

KEF’s compact yet bijou LS50 monitor speakers are available in both powered and active wireless variants. On test today we tried the KEF Wireless LS50 variants, which incorporate onboard amplification, DSP processing, a USB DAC and wireless connectivity; all in one stylish and compact package.

Your reviewer tested the KEF Wireless LS50 loudspeakers with their official LS50 loudspeaker stands; authorised by KEF and crafted by custom design. It’s a great combination which is both stylish and practical, giving a solid foundation for those who may wish to stand-mount their LS50s

Music was played from Tidal, wirelessly, over a network connection from an Apple iPad running KEF’s own LS app. A chirpy guitar chord played out of the speakers announces they are paired successfully with the KEF LS app, allowing for a world of music to be explored with ease. It’s all delightfully simple and free from any of the fuss associated with conventional Hi-Fi

KEF Wireless LS50

Pump Up The Volume

With everything connected, and Tidal ready to serve, it’s time to pull up the first track for today’s listening tests. Loading up Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself to Dance, first impressions are unexpected and hugely welcome. It’s nice to be surprised by equipment from time to time, and the KEF Wireless LS50s are certainly surprising!

There is an immediate sense of depth and size in the presentation, which is far bigger than the compact size of the speakers themselves. The top end is smooth and defined, with a polite and reserved mid-range. The bass isn’t as deep, forceful, or fully formed as a big-box loudspeaker but crucially, it’s accurate and fully formed.

Loading up Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do, we see how the KEF Wireless LS50s perform on highly produced modern pop. The opening pizzicato strings are clean and defined, with percussion beautifully crisp. Taylors’ voice is near perfectly reproduced, and completely in keeping with the LS50’s claim to be a monitor speaker.

Lang Lang’s beautiful piano rendition of Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp minor really highlights the detail these speakers retrieve. Transient response is nothing short of excellent, with the performance having an endearing quality of accuracy and detail. Playback is so detailed in fact, that it’s possible to hear Lang Lang shifting on his piano stool and taking breaths – superb!

Accuracy, Neutrality, Precision

An enduring quality one took away from listening to the KEF Wireless LS50 loudspeakers, was that of accuracy, neutrality and precision. Whilst it’s true that there’s a sub-sonic depth which is missing from these small-box speakers, the bass extension is far in excess of what could be expected from boxes of this size.

Crucially, and unusually for small-box speakers, the bass extension isn’t in anyway “fake” or artificially enhanced. One can be absolutely certain that everything they’re hearing is accurate and faithful; highly refreshing in an arena of powered speakers with somewhat “colourful” and unnatural presentation.

Mention simply must be given though, to the incredible stereo imaging presented by the KEF Wireless LS50 loudspeakers. Stereo imaging is very wide and very detailed; a hugely impressive feat from relatively narrow spaced loudspeakers, putting many more expensive speakers to shame! This remarkable character is no doubt thanks to the superb KEF Uni-Q drivers utilised.

As an overall impression then, the KEF Wireless LS50 loudspeakers are both surprising, elegant, compact and highly competent in their delivery. If your author was in the market for a pair of compact loudspeakers which offered ease of use with truly reference quality audio, it would be difficult to pick anything else other than the KEF Wireless LS50. Highly recommended!

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