• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Amp advice for potential new speakers

BlackCrowe

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
8
6
25
Hi all,

So i am considering getting a pair of KEF LS50 wired speakers to upgrade my 15 year old budget Wharfedale Diamond. They will sit on generous bookshelves (clear space to the sides and above). My amp is a Cambridge Audio Azure 540A.

Question no1 - if i don't change my amp, should i still notice a signifcant upgrade in sound quality

Question no2 - if opinion is that my current amp will let these speakers down significantly, what amp should i look for below £500 (and preferably around £300)? (happy to purchase 2nd hand)

thanks, BC
 

12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
793
492
11,270
The issues with placing on a bookshelf are more to do with lack of space behind the speaker (I think the KEFs are rear-ported, so they need space behind them more than anywhere else), and resonances because the shelves won't be as solid and supportive as the stands that standmounters are intended to sit upon.

1) I would expect better sound quality (though 'significant' might mean different things to different people!) - it sounds as though the speaker budget has increased over the Wharfedales and a lot of time has passed in terms of loudspeaker materials etc.

2) There's probably quite a bit of scope for getting rather more though - Marantz's UK-tuned amp ranges would seem a sensible range to consider - if looking on eBay you could set your sights higher for £500 though.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I would agree, there is little point on paying out for speakers such as these and then place them on a bookshelf. Can you get them out into clear space on stands?
An amplifier upgrade isn't going to make any stunning improvements with then situated like that.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
404
221
19,270
You have two issues to address. I agree entirely with previous replies that the most crucial is to find a good alternative to placing the KEFs on a bookshelf. You won't get anything like the best out of them with bad positioning. They need to be on stands.

The second issue is the amplifier. The 540A was an average budget amplifier in its day, but current delivery wasn't one of its strongest points and it isn't up to the job of making the most of the KEFs. It's also worth noting that they aren't renowned for longevity or repairability so you may find you need to change soon anyway. I would suggest looking at Rotel, Rega, Naim or Exposure as good contenders.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DevanteWomack

12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
59
11
45
Hey,

Is there a particular reason you're dead set on the LS50's? I think they're notoriously hard to drive which tends to mean you'll have to spend a reasonable whack on an amp that can adequately power them. Basically that speaker choice is going to drive up the whole cost of your system to get the best from them, regardless of placement.

As advised by others, placement is still extremely important.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matthewpiano

BlackCrowe

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
8
6
25
Thanks everyone and points all duly noted. Unfortunately i'm restricted to bookshelves. @12oner - i'm not dead set on LS50. My current speakers in the kitchen (where i do 70% of music listening) lack depth, punch etc and now i'm able to use them fully again (previous request aided by 12th Monkey) i just want to get as good a sound as i can. Looking at speaker reviews, every path seemed to lead to LS50 including being on special offer for £599 at Sevenoaks S&V. But very happy to consider other options.
 

12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
59
11
45
Thanks everyone and points all duly noted. Unfortunately i'm restricted to bookshelves. @12oner - i'm not dead set on LS50. My current speakers in the kitchen (where i do 70% of music listening) lack depth, punch etc and now i'm able to use them fully again (previous request aided by 12th Monkey) i just want to get as good a sound as i can. Looking at speaker reviews, every path seemed to lead to LS50 including being on special offer for £599 at Sevenoaks S&V. But very happy to consider other options.
Ah ok, I'll have a think and will post some stuff when i'm more free, later this evening. I'm sure some of the guys on here can suggest some good options in your budget also.

Just to help your amp budget if you did still want to go for the LS50's, just did a quick search and you can get them here for £524 brand new, by using current promo code

 

BlackCrowe

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
8
6
25
Ah ok, I'll have a think and will post some stuff when i'm more free, later this evening. I'm sure some of the guys on here can suggest some good options in your budget also.

Just to help your amp budget if you did still want to go for the LS50's, just did a quick search and you can get them here for £524 brand new, by using current promo code

Blimey, thanks for that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 12oner

12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
59
11
45
Blimey, thanks for that.
Hey,

I guess sealed speakers and monitors are a good proposal as they have been designed with desktop/limited space in mind, I don't have any experience with them however.

But with your placement issue, I hope I can help. I have the same issue as you, my current environment only allows for my speakers to be set up on a built-in cabinet, that's close to wall boundaries.

My audio journey started with Monitor Audio Bronze 2's, great front ported speakers, that I feel performed well in my some what compromising space. However, I found like you I wanted a speaker with a little more depth and body. I listened to a bunch of speakers, Klipsch RP500, Kef Q350, Dali Oberon 3 and the Elac Reference DBR62.

Out of those speakers I felt the Dali's and the Elac's performed best in this respect, but it was the Elac I went with due to their front port. I felt like they performed great on of my cabinet due to the front ported design and they will definitely give you the depth you are after. Compared to a lot of speakers in their price range I found they had more warmth in upper bass, giving a more full bodied presentation and adding some heft to choruses. Whilst they do this they have a lovely openness in the top end and wonderfully clear, articulate mid range.

Very long winded way of me saying i think you'd really enjoy the Elac's. Sonically they'd be a decent step up overall from your Wharfedale's and the front port will help in your space set up. Also the Elac's are more sensitive that the Kef's and don't require that constant current, therefore you can pair with a cheaper amp.

They can be had on Ebay for new/second hand around £400, here https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=elca+reference+DBR62&_sacat=293&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=293&_odkw=elca+reference+62

Mine were paired with the Audiolab 6000a, if you're interested. I found the amp a decent pairing which helped retrieve extra detail from the speaker.

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
457
198
11,070
Hi all,

So i am considering getting a pair of KEF LS50 wired speakers to upgrade my 15 year old budget Wharfedale Diamond. They will sit on generous bookshelves (clear space to the sides and above). My amp is a Cambridge Audio Azure 540A.

Question no1 - if i don't change my amp, should i still notice a signifcant upgrade in sound quality

Question no2 - if opinion is that my current amp will let these speakers down significantly, what amp should i look for below £500 (and preferably around £300)? (happy to purchase 2nd hand)

thanks, BC

Im not going to beat around the bush, Kef Ls50 require power and current to get the best out of them you'll be disappointed and they will end on ebay along with the rest of them. The kefs would not be out of place with a 2k amp (if not more) on the end of them. ls50s have an affordable price but there performance is certainly very high end.

Buying the best speakers you can afford advice is inherently flawed especially if you have no intention to buy amplifier to drive that said speaker in the future, which you don't seem to have. You need to re-allocate your budget i think

Even "budget" speakers can sound absolutely fantastic when driven properly. And I certainly wouldn't recommend ATC as mention above they're even more difficult to drive then the kefs. And being a sealed design does not guarantee good close wall performance, infact far from it in my experience.

It sounds like you have a budget of around 1k for amp and speakers.

And you need to place them shelves though not optimal will probably sound fine especially if you buy some speakers that are little more bass light and pay attention to how you place them eg a little blue tak will help or up turned squash balls cut in half (a little messy but do the trick)

Best advice i can give is buy the amp and speaker together if you can.

Speakers
If you like kef, look at the Q series, something like the q150, these will still be many leagues ahead of your current speakers. Or have a look at some q acoustics. great places to start!

Amp

You haven't noted weather want streaming capabilities are not so ill give a more modern option and more classic option.

People think Rotel go well with B&W and they do and might be anvenue you look at, but Kef do extremely well with Rotel too. Gives a really clean and dynamic sound. I think the A11 tribute wouldn't be a bad shout and good place to start.

if you went with q acoustics (3020i) this would open the budget up a little for the a Bluesound powernode 2i great little system with all the modern bells and whistles.

But having said that and you want to go with the Kef ls50 you're going to need to save a little longer to avoid disappointment.

Have a lovely week end.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nopiano

Al ears

Moderator
Im not going to beat around the bush, Kef Ls50 require power and current to get the best out of them you'll be disappointed and they will end on ebay along with the rest of them. The kefs would not be out of place with a 2k amp (if not more) on the end of them. ls50s have an affordable price but there performance is certainly very high end.

Buying the best speakers you can afford advice is inherently flawed especially if you have no intention to buy amplifier to drive that said speaker in the future, which you don't seem to have. You need to re-allocate your budget i think

Even "budget" speakers can sound absolutely fantastic when driven properly. And I certainly wouldn't recommend ATC as mention above they're even more difficult to drive then the kefs. And being a sealed design does not guarantee good close wall performance, infact far from it in my experience.

It sounds like you have a budget of around 1k for amp and speakers.

And you need to place them shelves though not optimal will probably sound fine especially if you buy some speakers that are little more bass light and pay attention to how you place them eg a little blue tak will help or up turned squash balls cut in half (a little messy but do the trick)

Best advice i can give is buy the amp and speaker together if you can.

Speakers
If you like kef, look at the Q series, something like the q150, these will still be many leagues ahead of your current speakers. Or have a look at some q acoustics. great places to start!

Amp

You haven't noted weather want streaming capabilities are not so ill give a more modern option and more classic option.

People think Rotel go well with B&W and they do and might be anvenue you look at, but Kef do extremely well with Rotel too. Gives a really clean and dynamic sound. I think the A11 tribute wouldn't be a bad shout and good place to start.

if you went with q acoustics (3020i) this would open the budget up a little for the a Bluesound powernode 2i great little system with all the modern bells and whistles.

But having said that and you want to go with the Kef ls50 you're going to need to save a little longer to avoid disappointment.

Have a lovely week end.
Agree in some respects. He might have difficulty placing any Q Acoustics speakers because of their depth.
The fact that sealed box speakers have no ports pretty much ensures they will work, in general, in areas where ported speakers cannot perform at their best.
Whilst you may have encountered differently I have found my EB Acoustics EB2's to be a godsend in small room placement close to a rear wall. This simply highlights the fact that everyone and their hearing are different.
And yes, I would not suggest trying to drive ATCs with the OPs current amplifier however it would be perfectly adequate for the Arcaydis speakers I mentioned.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
457
198
11,070
Agree in some respects. He might have difficulty placing any Q Acoustics speakers because of their depth.
The fact that sealed box speakers have no ports pretty much ensures they will work, in general, in areas where ported speakers cannot perform at their best.
Whilst you may have encountered differently I have found my EB Acoustics EB2's to be a godsend in small room placement close to a rear wall. This simply highlights the fact that everyone and their hearing are different.
And yes, I would not suggest trying to drive ATCs with the OPs current amplifier however it would be perfectly adequate for the Arcaydis speakers I mentioned.
I agree that not all sealed design need space my Klipsch heresy 3's don't literally 5 cm from the wall but are in another class altogether.

"He might have difficulty placing any Q Acoustics speakers because of their depth". True they are very deep but hasn't given shelf dimensions as far as I could tell and most speaker would be over the weight limit for most shelves unless very robustly secured.

"Whilst you may have encountered differently I have found my EB Acoustics EB2's to be a godsend in small room placement close to a rear wall. This simply highlights the fact that everyone and their hearing are different." not neassarly hearing but different rooms and brands are tuned with different use cases.

"And yes, I would not suggest trying to drive ATCs with the OPs current amplifier however it would be perfectly adequate for the Arcaydis speakers I mentioned."
maybe!?

My major point is the budget.

In all honesty, I think the OP would be better off buying some play 5s/play 1s or some such if legacy devices arent needed in turn these can be tuned and quite well to the room with software. Ive always been impressed by the sound of Sonos even though they're a dirty word to some. but that wasn't question so didn't give the option.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
42
10,820
I agree that not all sealed design need space my Klipsch heresy 3's don't literally 5 cm from the wall but are in another class altogether.

"He might have difficulty placing any Q Acoustics speakers because of their depth". True they are very deep but hasn't given shelf dimensions as far as I could tell and most speaker would be over the weight limit for most shelves unless very robustly secured.

"Whilst you may have encountered differently I have found my EB Acoustics EB2's to be a godsend in small room placement close to a rear wall. This simply highlights the fact that everyone and their hearing are different." not neassarly hearing but different rooms and brands are tuned with different use cases.

"And yes, I would not suggest trying to drive ATCs with the OPs current amplifier however it would be perfectly adequate for the Arcaydis speakers I mentioned."
maybe!?

My major point is the budget.

In all honesty, I think the OP would be better off buying some play 5s/play 1s or some such if legacy devices arent needed in turn these can be tuned and quite well to the room with software. Ive always been impressed by the sound of Sonos even though they're a dirty word to some. but that wasn't question so didn't give the option.
+1 to the qacoustics. I was running the 1st gen bluesound power Node with the qacoustics concept 40's when i started. And they sounded really great.

For a all in budget of 1k, even i would suggest the qacoustics concept 20's + bluesound power Node 2i. Plus the streaming convenience will be bonus, not to mention the great sound quality.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS