LS50w or LS50 passive with entry level Amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Amgclk65, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    hello.
    New member here. I’ve stumbled on this forums in my quest for a decent ht/musics components.
    I really like the look for KEF ls50. I crunched some numbers on the passive vs wireless setup.
    So I need some feedback on both setups. If I run the passive set. I won’t have much in my budget for a pricey amplifier/dac. Passive setup would be
    Apple TV -optical to Mini-DSP hd- crown xls 1502 amplifier- KEF ls50. Subwoofer would be KEF kube8b $1975 give or take. Wireless would be Apple TV-LS50w-KEF kube 8b for $2500 with a 4yr square trade warranty on the KEF ls50 for peace of mind. Also on the passive setup I wouldn’t upgrade amps/dac at a later time. So basically the boss(wife) says so. So is the $475-500 worth it for the wireless set ? Music and movies would be via Apple TV. Apple Music mainly. Any input would be awesome. Thanks
     
    octaneTom likes this.
  2. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    LS50 Wireless all the way, in my opinion. You're listening to digital music, so you don't need to follow the purist approach of separate preamp/amp/passive speakers w/passive crossovers.

    With the LS50 Wireless, you keep the signal digital through the active crossovers. Tuned amps power each tweeter and woofer. As John Darko has said, the best amp for the LS50 is the amplification built into the LS50 Wireless.

    I'd go with the passive system under two scenarios. 1) You want to keep an analog signal all analog for philosophical reasons (the Wireless version converts the RCA input to digital). 2) You want to upgrade separate system components like preamp or amp over time, whether for budgetary reasons or because you're a tweaker by nature.

    Neither of those scenarios apply. LS50 Wireless all day, imo.
     
    displayname, Helom, Ivand and 2 others like this.
  3. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the input. I’m a tweaker by nature with my cars. But the boss says a budget on a new system and that’s it, no upgrades in a few yes or 5-8 for that matter . So the wireless LS50 seem to fit better. I don’t plan on changing inputs . I’m buried in apples ecosystem. It makes sense in my situation for the wireless. Hopefully my sub of choice will mix well. I love sealed enclosures in my car audio system. So I’ll stick with that.
     
  4. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Another question ,
    Considering I’m using Apple TV 4K. It only has hdmi Audio. I’m considering a Jtech hdmi auto extractor. So jtech to LS50w via optical or rca. It would be a 25ft run. So not to sure if optical would handle that. I’m pretty sure that’s my only option to get audio out of the Apple TV to LS50W. Any input on that ? Is there a hdmi audio extractor I should get ? Or any will work. There’s a ton on amazon.
     
  5. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    I'd try to find an Apple Airport Express if you can, and connect it to the LS50W via mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK cable. It's a shame Apple discontinued their wireless products.
     
    jeffsab likes this.
  6. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Okay. I did see that’s a possibility of that. Granted I would have to buy it second hand. Which is okay. Im okay with that. As long as it’s the best way to get audio to LS50w . I always wonder about hdmi Audio extractors sound quality been subpar.
     
  7. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    KEF is adding Airplay 2 support to their LSX speakers. I'd be surprised if they didn't add it to the LS50W, though as far as I know this hasn't been announced.
     
  8. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    Reading some more on this. Airplay requires a security chip, apparently, so it's not just a firmware update. Maybe KEF will add Airplay to a future edition of the LS50W, but they won't be able to update existing speakers. Bummer.
     
  9. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Where the wind don't blow so strange.

    Location:
    Pacific Beach, CA
    Well I guess it depends on if you think you can pair a better amp than the manufacturer (you probably can't). Future flexibility would be a concern too as your own amp would allow more options in the future. The specs indicate that the LS50W produce significantly more bass than the passive LS50's.
     
  10. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Active all the way. Remember, those amps are paired with the driver and it sounds like KEF have done a great job with them.

    You can always add another preamp down the line and add it to the KEF line in if you need flexibility.

    But ultimately, listen to both of you can?
     
    Ivand likes this.
  11. mdelrossi

    mdelrossi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn nyc
    +1 for the active LS50w,

    I’m pitting them against a Primaluna Dialogue Premium intgrated and Focal 1008be2.
    There’s a difference in presentation, very slight. the Focals are a bit more open and airy and the LS550w are more precise and solid.
    Keep in mind that’s a 7-8k system including all cables that I’ve selected over the years, compared to a 2.5k system that I just opened a box and played around with the DSP settings. Pretty amazing.

    On more that I will say is that the use of a sub though not mandatory is preferred, it takes the responsibility of the lower registers away from the LS50w and greatly improves the mid bass.

    As far as getting audio into it with the Apple TV4k, the hdmi to toslink is your bes bet unless your tv has an optical out, but you may have to have it on to get audio out. My vizio does that.

    Best of luck,
    mdr
     
    Helom likes this.
  12. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks guys for the input. I went ahead with the LS50W with 4yr SquareTrade warranty. I also picked up a airport express to use AirPlay via toslink. I also got a hdmi audio extractor to test the quality vs AirPlay. It may not even make a difference. Considering I’m only using Apple Music and Netflix. Also using AirPlay I can control the volume of the LS50W from anywhere in the house. Vs ir from the factory remote.
     
  13. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    No don't do that. The Apple TV transcodes everything to 48 kHz. I don't know why they don't have 44k processing, since it's probably in the chip inside, but they don't. So I also champion the idea of the Airport Express, which I *think* they re-continued if I remember correctly what my Apple Store friend said.
    Wireless (Bluetooth etc), watch out, it may not be what you think. The LS50W are not AirPlay that I can see, so via any wireless connection the 256k AAC from Apple is being re-transcoded.
    and if you are streaming, then yeah I'd do the LS50Ws, it's just simpler and cleaner. The big question is, what COLOR? The red have a warmer sound, the blue have a cooler sound :laugh:
    P.S. LS50W support Tidal directly, if you feel like changing your streaming to lossless...I *presume* it is still lossless inside. In my case, CarPlay keeps me on Apple Music
     
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  14. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    I went with the black/blue combo. Matches my projector screen . I figured the Jtech Hdmi audio extractor to toslink would be the same quality as AirPlay via airport express to toslink . Ill stick with the airport express. I picked up a used one. They are discounted. I won't be using Bluetooth or WiFi streaming. To reconfirm the best chain of audio for LS50w in my situation is . Apple TV’s AirPlay to Airport express receiving AirPlay out to LS50w toslink input.
     
  15. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Has anyone used a iFi SPDIF iPurifier with a airport express ?
     
  16. mdelrossi

    mdelrossi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn nyc
    Did you get them set up yet?
     
  17. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    I did get them hooked up. I got my Apple TV 4K sending audio via AirPlay to airport express. Then optical to ls50. I also got a kube 8 in the mix. Sounds excellent with Apple Music to me. I’ve got the sub crossover at 60hz. I’ve got the itch to improve the sound quality now. I was looking into iFi reclocker to use with airport express. Or possibly building a raspberry pi with DigiOne board or hifi berry board & installing AirPlay . Looks like the DigiOne is better according to darko review. The only issue with DigiOne is it doesn’t have optical out. Only bnc@digital coaxial. So I would need to convert Digital to optical. Not to sure if that conversion affects the signal/quality. The raspberry may not even improve the sound over airport express.
     
  18. ARCCJ

    ARCCJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Combining amp and electronics is a poor decision, I am surprised Kef even went that way. What happens if amp dies, or you want more power or better electronics down the road? (Let's face it, the electronics are not that good compared to what you can buy separately.) What if wireless technology changes? What if digital technology changes with a new file format it won't play? Then you are left with a doorstop. LS50 all the way, buy used, let someone else take the loss on the new item, then get something like a Sprout100 to power them.
     
  19. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders

    You haven't a clue about active speakers or the technology and you're bringing audiophile logic to the party? Did you want to pull the lever of the trapdoor you're standing on as well?
     
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  20. Amgclk65

    Amgclk65 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    @ARCCJ
    I’m super happy with my active LS50. I use dsp’s in my vehicle system and active is the way to go. All the research I’ve gathered picks active ls50 over a passive set. The one issue is the weak 1yr warranty. I purchased a SquareTrade warranty for extra insurance. I did noticed Dynaudio active bookshelf’s get a 5yr warranty. Wish KEF would do that.
     
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  21. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    Seems a bit harsh. He makes some good points. It's not just an 'active speaker,' it's the whole kit and caboodle. While usually it's the electronics (vs. the speaker) that most of us may have trouble with some day, we usually have something else to stick in it's place and still have tunes. With the LS50W, you wouldn't. Not saying it isn't a nice piece of equipment, but @ARCCJ wasn't out of line.
     
  22. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Apart from the significantly reduced distortion advantages of actives, he's bringing this legacy logic to the game.

    KEF (and AVI, Quad, and others) are looking to a different consumer than the box swapper.

    My Quads are the same; amp, preamp and DAC. As it happens, and I believe, like the KEFs, they have a line-in, so as a legacy hifi bloke myself, I use my sources, and a separate DAC and passive preamp too.

    But for anyone looking for high quality audio, with less clutter and all the functionality they need, the KEFs, and their ilk, are a clear choice.

    So yes, he was rather uninformed in his post. I've heard it time and again and it doesn't stack up ultimately.
     
    Wasabi likes this.
  23. heathen

    heathen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Surely Kef offers some kind of repair service? I've got to think that they have a plan for when this happens.
     
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  24. Stebroc

    Stebroc Member

    Yes, active all the way, in particular if passive are with an entry level amplifier.

    I have sent a specific question to reviewer Darko Audio, that have made a good review of combo Kef Ls50-Rotel Ra10, the answer has been:

    KEF LS50W is far more impressive sounding than the LS50 w/ Rotel.

    Passive can have a sense only if you think to change in future with a very good amplifier.
     
    Gabe Walters likes this.

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