What reasonable amp with Kef ls50s?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ed the Dog, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Ed the Dog

    Ed the Dog Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greeley Colorado
    First off, I am a bottom feeder; everything I have is used: my bike, my dog, my car, my records, my jokes, my wife, my soul, etc (the only new thing we ever got was my son). With all the talk on these Kef ls50s, I bought some from Amazon Warehouse for 20% off. With tax they were less than $650. They will be replacing a pair of used Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 which I like a lot, too. I have a used Marantz pm6006 (although my info page has something different on it which I can't figure out how to change). The amp is rated at 45 watts. Do you think this will be enough power for the Kefs to live life to their fullest? If not what potential used amp could I be on the lookout for? Also, I don't think it will be necessary because I don't have one for the Pioneers, but if I needed a sub what would be a good fit to look out for?

    Got to go. Just found some gum on the bottom of the chair...Juicy Fruit...joy!

    Garthb, Tim 2, gritty and 4 others like this.
  2. zonto

    zonto Well-Known Member

    Boston, MA
    Depends in large part on your room size and the volume at which you listen. The KEF LS50 is a very inefficient speaker and requires a lot of current as it's a 4-ohm design. You could certainly try it with the Marantz, but at louder volumes or in a louder room it likely won't have enough juice. I've never owned LS50, but I spent an hour demoing them in a shop with my Schiit Ragnarok 1. Stereophile raved about the pairing. The Ragnarok was hotter playing the KEFs at 85 dB at listening position than it was driving my Maggies at home. The LS50 is also a bit metallic sounding, so an amp that will take a bit of that edge off is nice. For a budget option, you could look at a Schiit Vidar. Naim gear was also a good pairing with KEF when I've heard them together.
    dennem and Echoes Myron like this.
  3. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    This should be an interesting thread, there are lots of LS50 owners, and I am sure the responses will run the gamut of experience.

    Conventional wisdom and common thread of responses from my reading says push them with the higher end of the range wattage - in other words, they are rated at 100 W, so feed them that at least. On that vane, I am sure most are using them with SS amps, but again looking forward to what tube amps folks are using with the LS50.

    But if I had a high quality 50-75w amp, I wouldn't be too concerned - in my experience quality of watts is more important than quantity --- although that doesn't mean shoot too low!
    Tim 2 and Echoes Myron like this.
  4. Mr Bassie

    Mr Bassie Back for more

    Richmond VA
    That same sale has a Crown power amp for like $250 or something. I bet it would sound great driving the LS50s
  5. dreamingtree1855

    dreamingtree1855 Forum Resident

    I've had KEF LS50s with 3 different amps:
    Rotel RA-12 - Great sound and detail but lacking a bit of bass slam
    Rotel RA-1570 - Filled out the lower midrange
    Parasound HINT - Added more depth and more headroom... this combo is stellar!

    The biggest sound improvement I got with the LS50s wasn't an amp at all. Before you upgrade the amp I'd highly recommend adding a sub. The amp upgrade made a difference but I'd take the Rotel RA-12 I had + a sub over the Parasound with no sub hands down.
  6. Mr Bassie

    Mr Bassie Back for more

    Richmond VA
  7. Donivey

    Donivey Well-Known Member

    I'm using a Nuforce STA200 ($500 at Amazon) and it drives the KEF's well. 80wpc, and sounds very good at moderate volume levels.
  8. Nephrodoc

    Nephrodoc Forum Resident

    Look at the Schiit Vidar if you can stretch your budget a bit.
    zonto likes this.
  9. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    BTW, @Ed the Dog you many want to give a budget to help folks hone in, will ensure responses don't run the gamut.

    For example, if unlimited budget why not just get an Accuphase A-65 or A-70, which feed 120 high quality Class A Watts at 4 ohms, and be done with IT? :)
  10. Ed the Dog

    Ed the Dog Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greeley Colorado
    Used. Right now my budget is nothing. If I find a good, used price, then I'll add to my credit card debt (which is probably why I have debt). The Kefs seemed like a reasonably good deal.
  11. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos, non-covid style

    San Diego
    If you are really set on used, there are great deals on used Adcom power amps and pre-amps out there. Lots of power (even on a GFA-535, 6002) and the ability to run 4 ohm speakers without breaking a sweat. I have a 535 and it does very well with my 82db (very inefficient) 4 ohm speakers. The 535 is rated at 100wpc into 4 ohms and is their smallest amp.
  12. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    So you don't have a minimum or maximum amount you'd spend (aka budget) for the new amp??!!! :cheers:
  13. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Lexington, NC
    I would suggest trying the Marantz you have now. It will be a be a pretty nice combo and could very well work great for you.
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  14. Ed the Dog

    Ed the Dog Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Greeley Colorado
    This is my intention, but I don't know what I don't know with the possibility of more power.
  15. Prism

    Prism Forum Resident

    The Marantz will drive your LS50’s fine until you get a proper upgrade. I had my LS50 with a Marantz pm6005 amp for a time and it drove them well
  16. llama

    llama Forum Resident

    I have been able to find 2 parasound HCA 1000A for 150$ each, 2 different sellers. Great amplifiers.
  17. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Basic Member

    You will be very happy as is and even more so when you get an amp that drive those speakers properly. They need power to do what they do well, 100wpc is the minimum I would go with and more would be better.
    Tim 2, Nephrodoc and james like this.
  18. Lebowski

    Lebowski Hey, careful man, there's a beverage here!

    If you do decide to try something else, the Yamaha A-Sx01 series would be a great place to start. Nice build, nice looking, nice sounding, phono stage, reasonable price. The A-S301 retails for $349, less for used/demo, although that will only give you 60wpc. The A-S501 can be had for $450 open box and will almost double the power of your Marantz (if you need it, which you may not)

    Another good option would be the Parasound New Classic 200 Integrated. It's class D (not ot everyone's liking) but I think it sounds quite nice. You can get them new for probably around $1k.

    Approximately the same money will get you a used Rogue Sphinx v2, which is a hybrid. Tube preamp, class D power amp. Very highly regarded. 100wpc.

    He's right (and may be referring to my system, LOL). If you can stretch to a Naim Nait 5si or similar it would be a great combo. But I'm not sure what you consider a reasonable price.

    I've tried all of these amps with KEF speakers--most of them with the LS50--and liked it all.
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  19. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Depends on room size. But I agree with above the do best with a high *quality amp.

    In a big room I drove them with a 105 WPC (8 ohm) Rega Elicit-R. Sounded amazing.

    In my small office I drive them with a 22WPC SET tube amp. Sound is to die for.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  20. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    I paired my LS50s with the Rotel 1570, added the KEF 8’’ Cube, and am thrilled with the combination.
  21. wgb113

    wgb113 Forum Resident

    Chester County, PA
    KEF chose to throw 230 watts at them in the active version. They used to use Parasound gear to demo them at shows.
    Rick58 and Fish17 like this.
  22. dreamingtree1855

    dreamingtree1855 Forum Resident

    It's a stellar combo. Only reason I sold the Rotel is I was able to upgrade to a used Parasound for $300 out of pocket.
  23. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    An amp with bass management including highpass filtering, which many stereo units stupidly do not have (even many with a "subwoofer" output). That plus a sub would really fill in the low end; my opinion hearing the LS50s was nice but no truly low bass. I think that's why some folks recommend a lot of power-to turn them up so the bass is more audible versus our hearing curve. There was another recent thread where some LS50 owners were singing the praises of how much a sub opened up their LS50s.

    Subs run a big gamut-this $85 Christmas present for my brother Monoprice 12in 150-Watt Powered Subwoofer, Black - Monoprice.com is nicely filling in his bottom end though it's not gonna break his windows. You can step up to more power (300 watts RMS at least, 500W better). At least a 12" cone. Room correction (like SVS 2000 series, ELAC...) if your amp doesn't have that, as rooms are inherently messy in the bass.

    All that said, no reason not to just hook them up to the Marantz you have and see how you like it, that's so easy.
  24. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    My advise is to wait a bit and try them with your PM6006 because I'm using a TEAC AI-501DA integrated amp rated at 2x45W at 8Ohm to power my LS50 and personally I find this combination to be extremely satisfying.
  25. ampguy

    ampguy Forum Resident

    bay area
    I'd recommend a Marantz PM7005 if you can still find one. This is the amp several reviews have paired with LS50s including a Crutchfield listening session between the LS50s (unpowered) vs the LS50 wireless Class D amplified set. The PM7005 is made in Japan on the Reference assembly line and has a lot of power.

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