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LS50 vs Q350

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Noel Patterson, Dec 6, 2021.

  1. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Ok so I'm 99% sure I'm going to treat myself to some LS50 Meta for my upcoming birthday, but as usual, I'm buying blind, no way to listen first unfortunately. I have the Q350, have had the Q550 and I'm sold on the Kef sound. My questions are the LS50 worth the $1k difference in price?
    I'll be using a Nuprime IDA-8 to drive them, smaller room.
     
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  2. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    The LS50’s will be more dynamic, more punch, cleaner top end with less metallic sound, much better at low volumes. The LS50’s are very picky with amps and source, never heard of your amp but LS50’s typically don’t play well with class D amps if your amp is class D? If set up properly LS50’s can sound amazing for their price point and beyond, when upgrading from my LS50’s I needed to jump all the way to Wilson Tunetot’s.
     
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  3. Fahzz

    Fahzz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Outside Providence
    My opinion: The LS50's are great speakers, and I read that the Meta's are an improvement on them. Don't mean to complicate your (in)decision, but KEF R3's are only $100 more than the LS50 Metas right now. They are both more than worth worth the price. So treat yourself - Happy Birthday either way.
     
  4. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Location:
    Newport Hills, WA
    I have Q150's, cost me $300 on sale, and are more fun speakers (in my experience) than the LS50's. Haven't heard the Metas, but have a strong feeling they're undercut in the value-for-money area by some of KEF's more budget, Q-series offerings.
     
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  5. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Get the LS50s.
     
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  6. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    That's what I wonder. The 350's cost me $700 on sale, the Metas are $2200. Quite a difference.
     
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  7. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I am confident I will!
     
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  8. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    No problem auditioning something as available as the Meta's from one of the many dealers with 30 or even 60 day return policies. I'm tempted myself if just to hear what all the popularity is about. I never thought I'd leave DHTSE until I saw the circuit for my current push-pulls. Maybe it's time for my ears to move on from horns. Go for it.
     
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  9. wgb113

    wgb113 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chester County, PA
    Not apples to apples but I’ve owned both the original LS50, LS50W and Q300 - the latter at the same time of each LS50 iteration. The Q300 serve as surrounds in our family room but I pulled them in with each of the LS50s to compare and both versions of the LS50 were more refined and detailed, with the LS50W going deeper.

    As @B. Scarpia said, you could always buy from a dealer with a good return policy and find out for yourself if any difference is worth it.
     
  10. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    I'm with @bhazen on this. A friend brought over his pair of Q150s which we compared to a few other speakers. I really enjoyed their sound, very easy to like them. Although I've not herd them in direct comparison to the LS50s, I agree they'd be more fun. If your Q350s are similar to the Q150 with just more of the sound, buy with good a return policy.
     
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  11. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    After reading the below on the KEF website, it seems the LS50W do everything but give milk.

    Is it true that Class D amps produce a lot of distortion and noise? The transistors in Class D amplifiers switch on and off twice per musical cycle (think of one cycle as a single note) which is why they are so efficient. The downside is that when a transistor switches off, it produces noise. Think of it as a “bounce” as the transistor shuts down – a small amount of switching noise is introduced. However, with a properly designed Class D amp, these unwanted signals are far above the audible range of human hearing, and with the proper use of lo-pass filters, all of that switching noise is eradicated. That means by using a 200W Class D amp for each channel’s low frequency, the LS50W produces a massive amount of low frequency energy without noise and without the need for giant heat sinks. Why not use a Class D amp for all frequencies then? Class D amps are great, especially for low frequency output, but a Class AB amp is even better for higher frequency output. While Class AB amps are generally less efficient than Class D amps because high frequencies by their very nature do not require a lot of energy to produce high volumes, a Class AB amp is ideal. The LS50W’s amp configuration is the ultimate configuration - an extremely efficient amp dedicated to low frequencies and a cleaner amp dedicated to the high frequencies. A 30 watt Class AB amp that is only producing output to the tweeter will produce a tremendous amount of volume, and that output is exceptionally clean well beyond the upper limit of human hearing. Is there a subwoofer output? Yes, there is a dedicated subwoofer output via a single RCA-type analogue connector. Is the crossover of the subwoofer output controllable? The default crossover setting of the subwoofer output is 80Hz, but with the LS50W app, that crossover point is customizable. This is achieved through use of an adjustable lo-pass filter controlled by the DSP. In conjunction with the lo-pass sub out, there is also a hi-pass output to the Uni-Q drivers which allows the user to precisely set the relationship between the subwoofer and the LS50W to suit their taste.
     
  12. FalseMetal666

    FalseMetal666 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I went from Q300s to original LS50s, powered by an Outlaw RR2150. The 300s had a bit more low end and were a bit more fun. The LS50s were drier, had less bass extension, and were more fussy with placement. But I sold the 300s pretty fast after the LS50s made me tear up when playing a Townes Van Zandt record.
     
  13. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    So why did you change from the tower to the "bookshelf"? I've long admired KEF engineering, even when they had Dick Small in ads saying they were making your amplifier "twice as powerful"* However I'd find them too small without a subwoofer. They are ported to 51 Hz KEF LS50 Meta loudspeaker Measurements which covers most bass but not the lowest, and a 5" can only generate so much sound pressure, that's just physics. Thus I'm curious which school of thought you belong to: "ah the purity of the highs makes up for lacks in the bass" or "solid extended bass just makes the music come alive."

    *In defense, their conjugate networks probably did increase the clipping point on cheaper amps. Which probably aren't paired with those KEF anyway...
     
  14. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I use a small subwoofer, which I will upgrade in time. The 550's were nice but just sounded a bit 'off'. Not sure I can describe it. They sounded small, smaller than the 350 actually. Which is weird as it's a small space. Lots of room to the sides but only an 8 foot triangle with 8 foot ceiling. With furniture and sound absorption panels, it's a very intimate space, and smaller monitors fill it with ease. My thoughts are, that is the perfect situation for the Metas to shine.
     
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  15. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    Your amp is a better match for the 'Q' series. You might want to sit tight.
     
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  16. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The Nuprime no good for the Metas?
     
  17. Funky54

    Funky54 Coat Hangers do not sound good

    No direct comparison with the LS50’s.. I have enjoyed them separately. I own some 150Q’s in my office. They are the BEST value I have found. I did compare my 150’s to a pair of 350’s and really felt the 150’s sound better. Maybe the 350’s needed more break in time before comparing.. but I doubt there would have been much difference.
     
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  18. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    Try to audition some Paradigm Premier 200Bs somewhere. Fun and dynamic, excellent tweeters.
     
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  19. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    I had one in a hobby shop many years ago. Nice amp but not sure it's a match for the LS50. The LS50's are pretty fussy.
     
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  20. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scandinavian
    Yeah I'd say don't buy blind before getting a proper amp.
     
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  21. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Hmm, some good opinions here, thank you. Perhaps I'll investigate my second love more, the Dynaudio Evoke 10.
     
  22. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I think that would be lateral to where you are now. The problem with upgrading components is they reveal limitations with other components which then need to be upgraded.

    I have not heard your amp, but I agree the LS50 is very transparent to upstream sources. For me the LS50 starts to shine with integrated amps in the $3k USD range.

    Instead of paying money to take a sideways step, I recommend thinking about where you want your whole system to be, then start planning & saving. You don't have to do it all at once. If you go with something like the LS50, when you do eventually upgrade your amp it will be all the more enjoyable. Plus the LS50 can easily hang with even more costly gear.
     
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  23. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    Dynaudio Evoke 20, I’ve heard, they sound lovely, little more laid back then the LS50’s. The Dynaudio are very power hungry, claimed 86db at 6 ohms but most reviews stated they never edged even to 4 ohms and needed a minimum of 150 watts RMS per channel with peak of 250 watts, class D was not a problem since their tweeter was less detail oriented and less finicky. I think for you decide the speaker you like better first then you’ll probably want to upgrade your amp later to continue improving sound. Unfortunately you really need to listen to the speakers or find a store with a good exchange policy, KEF offers a bit more dynamics and great timing, Dynaudio is smooth, deep bass, warm pleasant vocals even on less then stellar recordings but less dynamic both macro and micro, little less true to recording, that’s where the LS50’s tend to shine, true to recording for better or worse.
     
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  24. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I like this idea actually. I am looking to buy with an eye to the future as well; I'm tired of playing speaker roulette. I liked some of the Dyns I've heard, but even right now listening to the Q350, the magic of the Kef sound, the soundstage and size of the sound is amazing. I think I'm going to just stick to my LS50 plan and if I need to upgrade amplification down the road, I can.
     
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  25. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    LS50’s are one of those small wonder speakers, that don’t quickly max out on performance, they will grow with your system. Most of the reason I had my anniversary editions for so long, I’ve found the LS50’s shine with class A or AB around 75 to 150 watts depending on room size and how important macro dynamics are.
     
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