Following on from the hugely successful LS50 Wireless active speakers, we now have the more compact KEF LSX wireless speakers. More compact, half the size of their bigger brother and available in 5 striking colour options.
KEF LSX is inspired by the company’s much-lauded and premium-range LS50 Wireless speakers, this smaller, more compact pair of wireless speakers takes all the massively impressive attributes of the flagship LS50 Wireless and makes them sing in a smaller setting. The release of the KEF LSX should be seen as a hugely effective exercise in downsizing and a super-smart scaling-down project meant both to target the more budget-conscious and play into the growing vogue of miniaturised, but no less mighty, Hi-Fi tech.
In this way, KEF’s latest entry into the audio market really mirrors the methodology that led close rivals Devialet to construct the recently-released Phantom Reactor, a shrunken-down version of its all-conquering Phantom classic range. Further still, the brand’s occupation of the mid-to-top-end wireless speaker market also puts it in contention with Naim’s highly-regarded Mu-So, the fellow audiophile brand’s aesthetically-astounding one-box wireless speaker.
So, with such sticky competition to match and such worthy shoes to fill, what really separates KEF LSX from the rest?
Size Matters Not…
Firstly, let’s take a look at the size. The LS50 Wireless speakers were hugely imposing, a room-filling product intended to turn the home into a soundstage. KEF LSX speakers come in considerably smaller, measuring up at 240mm x 155mm x 180mm. These lesser dimensions mean that they really can be placed anywhere around the house and are practically made to occupy the ends of a prominent bookshelf or desk. Additionally, the speakers tip the scales at 3.6kg, factoring in the increasingly importance of portability when it comes to hi-fi products. Frequent movement of the speakers is something that KEF has smartly accounted for in its inclusion of many sophisticated room-centric configuration programmes, ensuring that these miniature wonders can meet the mood requirements of any home space, or indeed, occasion. Whatever the location, such delicately- tailored configuration is a dream.
A smaller size might mean more convenience, but the real question remains.
Does its size affect its sound quality?
In a nutshell: no.
To reduce this possibility, the latest addition to the KEF family maintains most of the awesome technical features that placed the original LS50 on such a vast pedestal in the first place, not least the now-legendary Uni-Q driver array. Only measuring a seemingly measly 4.5” this time around, this bespoke feature conspires to pack all the mighty punch of its larger iterations. It’s certainly still able to project the familiarly spinetingling 3-D soundstage effect that can only be obtained from two separately-positioned speakers. As a gleeful means of unlocking the true potential of the fabled musical “sweet spot”, KEF’s sophisticated technology works by placing its tweeter at the centre of the midrange and bass cone. The result is a highly immersive experience that makes high art of stereo imagining, and is a hair-raising effect sorely missed by those opting for one-box speakers such as the aforementioned Naim Mu-So.
KEF LSX Wireless Functionality and Connectivity Options
When paired wirelessly and without the inter-connecting cable that was an essential element of LS50 Wireless, the speakers can play files at 24-bit/48kHz. An Ethernet connection remains between the two, resulting in files of up to 24-bit/96kHz if this is utilised. When the music’s over, use can made of the featured TOSLINK connector for a handy TV connection. Music to the ears of every self-respecting film buff, we’re sure.
Bass can also be boosted via an optional subwoofer output and a 3.55mm auxiliary input rounds off the plug-in options.
In modern times, of course, connectivity is key. And KEF LSX, like the models that have come before it, has it in spades. Bluetooth 4.2-enabled, the miniature system can connect to a whole host of external devices whilst featuring built-in provisions for almost every major streaming service. TIDAL, Spotify Connect and, coming early next year, Apple AirPlay 2 can all be effortlessly streamed the system through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with Siri voice control also due to arrive sometime in January 2019. KEF’s Stream app can be used to remotely manage such streaming activity. But this is not to be confused with KEF’s separate Control app, which can be used to manage system firmware updates, connect to wireless networks and enable different configurations. A remote control is further supplied to perform basic tasks such as changing volume and moving between sources.
The Song Remains The Same
Technical muscle is also flexed in the twin appearance of KEF’s patented Finite Element Analysis and Music Integrity Engine innovations. As two modes of sound-bending technology that have really defined KEF’s previous products, their glorious effect remains true in LSX. The former makes clever use of a contoured baffle to aid outward sound dispersion and minimise its loss, the latter a brand of original Digital Signal Processing that works to produce lucid, awe-inspiring bass without all of the mucky distortion. And, with a startling SPL potential of 102db, who says such power and precision should only be the province of ultra-premium products?
What’s Great Sound Without Great Vision?
Where there’s great sound, there’s often great vision. And KEF have really outdone themselves in terms of visual design. With noted product designer Michael Young brought on board to input his own distinctive style into the speakers, KEF LSX is nothing if not aesthetically pleasing. The range also comes in five possible colours (white, red, green, blue and black), with each colourful option clad in delightful fabric courtesy of Danish textile giant Kvadrat.
With the LSX, KEF have waltzed into the more accessible home-audio market, gone toe-to-toe with their rivals and succeeded. As a miniaturised version of its LS50 speakers, it proves that good things really do come in small packages.
As a standalone set of two awe-inspiring speakers, it really does deserve all the kudos it commands.
Two compact and technically-outstanding wireless speakers made for accessibility. Wherever you choose to use them, they’ve got a very long shelf-life indeed.