KEF LS50W

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jkull, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    Made a major change. From SET/horns to essentially to opposite being KEF LS50w's.

    I have been with my LM219ia for almost 2 years, running into 1980's cornwalls. Plenty great about it, but overall I knew it wasn't the 'ideal' sort of equipment for my listening, and even my room. It was hard to do, but without too many details I listed the cornwalls first. Let them go to a nice local guy. My 219 went to a guy who traveled about 5-6 hours from Mass to pick it up. Great guy. Builds amps himself as well.

    Lets be honest there are some serious silly 'ways' in the 'audiophile hobby'. People loving a sound soooo much to only make a change only months later and it never ends sort of 'ways'. Always digging and digging. I sort of wanted to try a simple approach. I love the look of the ls50's and honestly didn't think it to be necessary to dump more funds than needed in a new setup.

    My cornwalls were big for a 13x15 room where I keep my stereo. The LM had amazing midrange, there is no question. It did wonderful things there and I do/did love that amp. Their was 'little' impact and punch however overall when I listened to heavier things. This was always the primary issue as well as some fatigue. Tubes were rolled in my amp which made great improvements but did address this issue.

    Overall the sound from the 219 into the cornwalls was at times bright. The 219 is a brighter SET amp in my opinion, as I've heard it through a few speakers. Through a pair of old small Sony bookshelves I have, it is more gentle on the ears than my horns were, as expected.

    I felt like I needed a smaller footprint, something with better impact, and a less fatiguing presentation overall. I love the looks of the LS50W's. I just figured, order a pair, test them, and see..

    I know there are many who have Ls50's both passive and active on here. Mine are not on stands yet and are a hair closer to the back wall than I'd like. I feel like I am going to keep these as my new primary listening arrangement.

    My analysis as of now.... These are very very easy to listen to. I can safely say I'm in the minority of listening content on this forum. I'm a big metal guy. Play in bands myself, and have been on loud music forever. Death metal, thrash metal, some slower sludgy things etc. I listen to plenty outside of that realm, but it is important for the rather aggressive stuff to sound alright to me.... I can crank these up very loud with aggressive music and have no issue with highs biting at my ears. With the previous arrangement, it was fatiguing quicklyz Extremely impressive impact and power from the LS50W's. I am extremely impressed with how prominent and well the bass holds together even at loud levels. You read a lot about how the sweet spot is so broad and wow it truly is. These sound good from almost anywhere in the room. Crazy how well they do this. A far more 'rounded' out sound than I'm used to. The midrange isn't how it was with the LM but I did not expect that bold midrange. The bass as a whole, including kick and other drums are far more palpable and cymbals have a lot more 'wash' to them.. in a good way. The 'low' mids are the same way.. I have used these via USB/computer and with my technics direct drive tape deck so far. You very much get the feel of a cassette playing back regardless of these having the DAC that is fixed in your path. That 'tape' characteristic is still totally there.

    I listen to plenty of vinyl, but have not tried it yet as I need a new phono. However, as I just stated, cassettes sound great, even going through the an->dig-> an process that is unavoidable with these. If it sounds good, overall, is that not all That matters? At the end of The day not to sound cliche, but if I can sit and listen and not feel like I need to 'adjust' things, and can listen to my music, with it having plenty of force and impact how it should be, without any listening fatigue etc.. That's 'really' what should matter. These are doing a mighty fine job at exactly that.

    The other option was to spend a little more on say a chronus magnum through passive ls50's. I'm aware that these speakers need a good bit of power to be driven properly however and would not want to go any lower in power than with around what a chronus magnum would provide. The w's reaching deeper in the low end with a lot of power built right in and mated to specifically fit each driver..... I can only assume CM through a passive pair would be great but would not be worth the jump or better for especially the more demanding music I often listen to.

    Feeling good about these. Posts like this are annoying.. sorry
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  2. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    After posting this thread I went and downloaded the app to adjust my settings on the speakers and utilized the DSP. The speakers went from pretty dang good to exceptionally good. Did not expect such dramatic control. The midrange is so present now and very smooth. The speaker feels so balanced from top to bottom. I do not feel that I am missing anything right now. Clarity has improved immensely. Drums sound excellent. 1:30 am at the moment and I've got pantera going and am enjoying these very very much. My wife hasn't woke from it yet, somehow..
    I read a lot about excellent resolution from these. 'NOW' I hear that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  3. Wasabi

    Wasabi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lutz, FL
    Love my LS50 Wireless speakers too. I have mine setup in my man cave on IsoAcoustics Aperta stands on my desk. I might add a KEF KUBE 10B or 12B sub or even some REL offering if I spot a deal. They sound great without a sub but I just want to try it out and see.
     
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  4. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I have the passive LS50's and they are stunning. Incredible speaker.
     
    jkull likes this.
  5. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I have happily lived with Cornwalls for a long time now. It’s hard to deny the synergy that comes with them matched with a nice low-wattage SET amp, but I couldn’t live with that combo as my ONLY setup. I also listen to a lot of heavy music and I prefer the Cornwalls with an EL34 or KT88-based amp for those times when I want to rock out.
     
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  6. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    I think last nights DSP adjustment sealed the deal for me. I woke up kind of early to listen a bit more and ya.. Very impressed. I will mate a sub or maybe even 2. I really don't even feel like I need a sub and 2 may be unnecessary in my room but I know it will only make things even nicer. Set up 2, use them moderately.. I'll wait for Black Friday deals to move on that. I'm thinking something like 2 svs sb1000's.
     
    Wasabi likes this.
  7. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    Absolutely they have synergy.. 85% of my listening is heavier music. From the traditional Metallica/slayer stuff to the more underground and obscure death metal stuff out of the US and europe. I'm not a 'loud listener' all the time but the ls50's do loud very very well. SET amps are awesome but not the 'ideal' for that sort of thing for sure
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    Synthfreek likes this.
  8. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    In my attic where I have the LS50s (nice sounding room) I never really felt I needed a sub. I get plenty of bass with Massive Attack etc.

    The LS50 strengths are midrange detail and holographic imaging...truly excellent.
     
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  9. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    I really dig the racing red passives. If I tried another speaker it would have probably been a monitor like an ATC but the prices are in that 'unnecessary' sort of range and are not as visually appealing of a speaker while still nice though. I was bouncing between passive and active for this speaker a little.
     
  10. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    Took some time researching stands for these. Seemed many stands had flaws that I had to work with for pairing to these, including KEF's builds. Finally came across these Atacama stands in an LS50W review and loved the look. They are not sold in the US whatsoever, and basically no dealer overseas ship them to the states. Was able to find one single ebay dealer of Atacama who ships international however, with impressively cheap shipping. Ordered these right away and must say that look excellent with the LS50W and the top plate is sized as if it were designed for these speakers, the way the footings on the speaker align just inside the outter corner of the plate. Filled these halfway with playground sand. They are on floor samples until my footing for the spike feet arrive of course. Sound improved immensely, as I had the speakers on the refinished ikea table seen in the photo which muddied the low end quite a bit. The clarity in the speakers ais really showing now. Loving these. Looks and sound.


    [​IMG]KEF LS50W by justin kull, on Flickr

    [​IMG]KEF LS50W on Atacama Nexus I6 by justin kull, on Flickr

    [​IMG]KEF LS50W on Atacama Nexus I6 by justin kull, on Flickr

    [​IMG]KEF LS50W by justin kull, on Flickr

    [​IMG]KEF LS50W on Atacama Nexus I6 by justin kull, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  11. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    I understand what you are saying. A rebuilt & upgraded Fisher tube amp or receiver just kills it on rock & roll. Fisher is not as refined as some other amps, but IMO the Fisher reproduces a live sound like no other amp I heard on rock & roll. It just screams.
     
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  12. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Those are gorgeous. Love the color with the white. Bet they sound awesome.
     
    jkull likes this.
  13. kmurp

    kmurp Active Member

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Any tips on optimizing the DSP settings for these speakers?
     
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  14. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Has anyone tried adding a tube phono preamp to the LS50W’s? In the context that music fed through the RCA input is digitalized first, I wonder if adding a tube phono preamp would make a difference.

    I did notice though that adding an external DAC makes a difference (I tried adding my Rega DAC between my CD player and the LS50W’s with better results).
     
  15. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    So the "w" model is probably better, because doesn't it have a built-in highpass crossover?* Which 2-channel separates stupidly never seem to have capability to accommodate? Because otherwise the subs can add woof, but the mains still strain as before. "The mains in Spain strain to the [LF] refrain"
    *or does it? I see a subwoofer output jack on the back, but how do you change settings on these things?

    As for your listening tastes, "UP THE IRONS!" :D Oh, and those stands actually look decent, even normal people might like them. Maybe you should become a distributor!
     
  16. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    Just to satisfy my curiosity, what were the flaws you found with the KEF stands?
     
  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Regarding room size, I have a 7m x 4m room (23ft x 13ft). Would the Ls50 be too small for my room? Anyone using them to their satisfaction in this kind of room?
     
  18. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    My listening room is about 17x12ft and my LS50W perform great!
     
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  19. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Thanks. I would have thought so because last month I heard them briefly at an audio show, they were in a very big, kind of conference room. When we entered they were sitting next to some big KEF towers, which I thought were playing. I was actually a bit shocked when I found out that it were 'the little ones' that were playing.
     
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  20. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    I have not, and to be honest, I have no interest or curiosity in doing so, as I am very satisfied with these speakers and their components right out of the box. No exaggeration, these surpass my previous, far more expensive setup, in many departments.

    They shipped quickly from the distributor.
    They came in great shape and assembled easily. Were easy to fill with sand. The look great. I really have no complaints. If you like the look of these stands and need stands, don’t be weary. They come with steel spike feet but no wafers or footings for them.. I think maybe they should come with them, but I just grabbed them separate from the same distributor and they go perfectly.

    I am going to say you’ll be just fine. These speakers ‘fill’ the room unlike any speaker I’ve owned. It is a very impressive characteristic that I really appreciate with these.







    As a follow up to this post, on my current take on these speakers...


    I am as beyong thrilled with the LS50W. I haven’t looked at any audio gear since purchasing these, which is abnormal for me as the desire to seek further audio improvement has been so greatly minimized. I’m just listening and enjoying. I’m in here listening to music more than ever. After setting up the DSP I’ve felt at no point that I needed to alter anything. These speakers sound as 3 ‘dimensional’ as my giant set amp and horns did. In fact, many things, especially percussion, are simply better and more textured than before.

    Anyone curious regarding the hype behind these things... I vouche for their performance unquestionably. Like people say, get them up on stands, and set the room DSP settings. If you sample these speakers without these aspects, you aren’t hearing the speakers at all, simply put. Just leave, and forget what you heard as the experience is void.

    These speakers have such an excellent balance of all frequencies in MY opinion. They handle about as intense music as you can throw at them wonderfully. Obituary’s slowly we rot via Bluetooth, at this very moment.. prior to that was morbid angel’s formulas fatal to the flesh polish reissue on cassette. Analog still sounds analog, and retains its characteristics. Originally I anticipated a subwoofer to match these. That is out the window as well, as these speakers, in my room, produce more than adequate, audible, and defined bass.

    The KEF LS50W is a remarkable speaker.
     
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  21. jkull

    jkull destroyer of cookie cutters Thread Starter

    Location:
    NJ
    Sorry about my absence. Have it sorted out yet? What are you curious about with optimizing the DSP? It is as self explanatory as it looks, don’t overthink it. And don’t over or under-estimate the liveliness of your room. Try the bass on a lighter setting and then higher, and do the same with the treble. I actually added some treble end to things. The sound I have right now is ‘doing it’ for me so very well.
     
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  22. kmurp

    kmurp Active Member

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Thanks. I think I got it figured out after trial and error. I’m now leaving them alone.
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I can understand that. I feel the same way about my Altec's, but the 519iA is a 24-Watt SET amp and should give him enough energy to really rock his room. Most medium powered EL34 and KT88's amps fall into the 30-36 Watt range. Not that much different at all than the EL34 and KT88 based amps.

    A few years back, I bought a little vintage Scott 222C integrated, from the early 60's. It had tubes in the EK84 family and could deliver 22-Watts that could drive the A7's as loud as you wanted to be in the room with them.

    The last couple of years, I had been running these medium power KT88's, KT77's and EL34 amps, which were all terrific and I decided I could live with really any of them forever SQ wise, if I needed to. Also volume wise, I would really never need any more power than these amps would be able to provide.

    Last year, I did buy the little brother to the 519iA, the 518iA, which is 22-WPC and a SET. With the 518iA and the A7's, it could blow you out of the house. The 519iA is not a low power SET. With the sensitivity of the Cornwalls, I doubt that power from the 519iA was any kind of an issue.

    I do think that the OP would benefit from some modifications to his Cornwall's though.

    I haven't heard any LS50W's yeat, and everyone seems suitability impressed with them, but I could not see exchanging Cornwall's and a LN 519iA integrated for them.
     
  24. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    I know of a number of people a few years ago who said the same about their own gear, but later changed that view when they bought some then, new, AVI ADM 9RSS active speakers. It can be done, but the mindset to move away from traditional legacy hifi (as they saw it) was not an insignificant challenge. A decade on though and things are changing.
     
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  25. NYMets41

    NYMets41 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I love them.

    They’re not a let down after listening to hi res music via headphones/DAC

    We stream Qobuz classical music at 5am coffee.

    Even at low sift volume, the definition is succinct.

    At night?

    Stevie Wonder’s bass made our chests vibtrate. (KEF subwoofer).

    It handles all.
     

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