Kef LS50 wireless 1 Vs 2?

Shillocks

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Sep 9, 2020
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What with the recent generous price reduction in the original LS50 wireless, I was wondering if people who may have heard both setups believe that the new version is worth the extra £1000? They both have rave reviews and after hearing the wireless 2's I can understand why. However £1000 is quite a lot of money and is spending that much extra going to make a huge difference to the overall quality of sound/useablility? Thanks.
 

Gray

Well-known member
What with the recent generous price reduction in the original LS50 wireless, I was wondering if people who may have heard both setups believe that the new version is worth the extra £1000? They both have rave reviews and after hearing the wireless 2's I can understand why. However £1000 is quite a lot of money and is spending that much extra going to make a huge difference to the overall quality of sound/useablility? Thanks.
The answer depends on what £1000 means to the listener.
I can say, with some confidence, that for me there wouldn't be enough difference.
Pretty sure that Surly Sid would find the difference to be worth every penny :LOL: .
 

manicm

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Yes, 1000 pounds is a lot of money, but keep 2 things in mind:

1. The Mk2 has a far, far superior app to the Mk1.
2. The Mk2 app is not compatible with the Mk1 speaker.

You're also paying for future proofing - the Mk2 fully supports Roon and MQA, if those would be your cup of tea. Not to mention immediate/imminent Tidal Connect support.

I would be inclined to think of that extra 1000 as an investment if you plan to keep the speaker for a long time.

If I were to listen mostly to my ripped CDs for serious listening, and subsequently add a NAS, then I think I'll save the 1000 quid and keep the Mk1.

Otherwise I'd order the wife/partner to get a job for 3 months :smilingimp:
 
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Deleted member 2457

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What with the recent generous price reduction in the original LS50 wireless, I was wondering if people who may have heard both setups believe that the new version is worth the extra £1000? They both have rave reviews and after hearing the wireless 2's I can understand why. However £1000 is quite a lot of money and is spending that much extra going to make a huge difference to the overall quality of sound/useablility? Thanks.
What are you planning on using them for?
 
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nopiano

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You're also paying for future proofing
True, by comparison, but the original passives lasted eight years unchanged yet the Wireless have been significantly changed within, what, 3 years? Ultimately you’re locking yourself in, with DACs and everything on board. No doubt in my mind that they sound great though. (I’ve only heard the original)
 
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What with the recent generous price reduction in the original LS50 wireless, I was wondering if people who may have heard both setups believe that the new version is worth the extra £1000? They both have rave reviews and after hearing the wireless 2's I can understand why. However £1000 is quite a lot of money and is spending that much extra going to make a huge difference to the overall quality of sound/useablility? Thanks.
I don't really agree with Sids out look on kef BUT

I'm sorry there's nothing future proof about this product IMO, I don't by they couldn't get the app to work minus a few functions and they could have easily added tidal connect. The v1 of this product was out what 5 years, now you're pretty much left at the mercy of how long the app continues to work on the smart devices,
you will be lucky if you get full functionality out this product for another 3 years.

Yes you can add things to it but you'll never be able to set it up properly past a certain point. Its a shame

This is not a product where the out going model is a good deal IMO

For me, I wouldn't touch either of these, Id get the Metas with a nad 316bee v2 and bluesound node 1799 (or any DAC of your choice and chrome cast audio if you can find one load's cheaper)- cheaper by a good long way then the wireless Metas and should sound just as good if not potentially better and god willing should last you a lifetime certainly an end game setup in regards to amp and speakers. Watch the John Darko video on this its pretty much his system he used to test the passive Metas.

Digital tech is just moving along at such a rate of knots and with all the will in the world, I couldn't tell you to spend over a 1k on a streamer, the blue sound is as much as id spend currently on any streamer.
 
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manicm

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I don't really agree with Sids out look on kef BUT

I'm sorry there's nothing future proof about this product IMO, I don't by they couldn't get the app to work minus a few functions and they could have easily added tidal connect. The v1 of this product was out what 5 years, now you're pretty much left at the mercy of how long the app continues to work on the smart devices,
you will be lucky if you get full functionality out this product for another 3 years.

Yes you can add things to it but you'll never be able to set it up properly past a certain point. Its a shame

This is not a product where the out going model is a good deal IMO

For me, I wouldn't touch either of these, Id get the Metas with a nad 316bee v2 and bluesound node 1799 (or any dac of your choice and chrome cast audio if you can find one load's cheaper)- cheaper by a good long way then the wireless metas and should sound just as good if not potentially better and god will should last you a lifetime certainly an end game setup in regards to amp and speakers. Watch the John darko video on this its pretty much his system he used to test the passive metas.

Digital tech is just moving along at such a rate of knots and with all the will in the world, I couldn't tell you to spend over a 1k on a streamer, the blue sound is as much as id spend currently on any streamer.
Maybe, but I’d bet a million pounds you’d get more mileage from the LSW50mk2‘s DAC and streamer over any 500 quid one - it’s just better than a Bluesound Node 2i. And I say that because as great as it is, the latter does not have the greatest DAC within. The mk2 is just a better DAC and streamer than the Bluesound.

As a value proposition at a discounted 2k or less, I’d say the LSW50mk2 is hard to beat.
 

EricLeRouge

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Jan 15, 2020
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What with the recent generous price reduction in the original LS50 wireless, I was wondering if people who may have heard both setups believe that the new version is worth the extra £1000? They both have rave reviews and after hearing the wireless 2's I can understand why. However £1000 is quite a lot of money and is spending that much extra going to make a huge difference to the overall quality of sound/useablility? Thanks.
Hi - before any decision, I would double check whether the LS50w II has a digital input on par with the USB input of the first version, which is (was) by far the best connection for that speaker. If it doesn’t, I would take advantage of the price reduction on the first generation and invest in a high quality USB cable.
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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I considered both wireless versions when I bought my Metas but, for the reasons @millennia_one has given, I decided they weren't the best way to go overall.

It's not quite as straight-forward as that though. The amplification in the active wireless versions is designed to match the requirements of the speaker as closely as possible, and this is a very significant variable that is taken care of. The LS50 Meta passives are very demanding of amplification, and it takes a bit more than simply following Darko's advice (helpful though his reviews can be) to get it right. I would not consider a C316BEE as an appropriate option. I have a considerably better NAD amp than that in the NAD C368. It can sound very nice with the Metas with some material, but it can also frequently betray the fact that it doesn't have complete control of them. My Musical Fidelity M2si shows this up further. It controls the LS50 Metas with more considerable ease and shows no sign of struggling with the challenging load the speakers present. At the low to medium volume levels I listen at its ability to nearly double its power rating to 137wpc into 4 ohms is very ample. If I listened more at higher volume levels I suspect the Metas would require something with even more guts, and even at my normal levels I suspect the Metas could give even more.

Personally I prefer to keep the streaming front end separate from amp and speakers, as I expect to be able to rely on those components for as many years as I wish to. Streaming does move at a pace, and hi-fi companies don't hold anything like all or most of the cards. The whole thing is at the mercy of the major streaming platforms and licensing arrangements, and technology can become obsolete more quickly than is ideal once the investment in equipment has been made.

So, pros and cons for both approaches. You pay your money and take the choice.
 
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@matthewpiano

weather or not the NAD is up to job following darkos advice its a place to start and nice to think that if you don't need the power that it could be an option, but I bow to your advice as I only have experience with Ls50's but what Darko did say is the Metas seem to be easier to drive which I have no reason not to believe and it wouldn't be the first time NAD has released a product that belies its prices point. If so that's a good thing and worth a listen

as you say " pros and cons for both approaches. You pay your money and take the choice"
 
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Maybe, but I’d bet a million pounds you’d get more mileage from the LSW50mk2‘s DAC and streamer over any 500 quid one - it’s just better than a Bluesound Node 2i. And I say that because as great as it is, the latter does not have the greatest DAC within. The mk2 is just a better DAC and streamer than the Bluesound.

As a value proposition at a discounted 2k or less, I’d say the LSW50mk2 is hard to beat.

I don't know you're very much at the mercy of an app, in 5 years we will all be having the same conversation I guess.

BUT in the short term yes very hard to beat indeed I just don't think its best way to spend in the long term. DAC wise depends on what you want to do guess i guess
I can think of many a great sounding DAC's that would match and beat out the kefs internal dac, Topping, Schitt audio, RME and so on heck the audio quest colbalt if all you're doing it listening to music, mix them with a Chromecast audio (if still available) or tablet/smart device of your choice (which I'm guessing the OP has since they are looking at this product) for streaming and you're well away. But I'm guessing more boxes then the OP would be wanting. But certainly cheaper and more "further proof"

All I'm saying is the Kef's are far from future proof they're very much a now product.
 
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manicm

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Everything gets obsolete, but the Wireless 2’s are better prepared this time. It has very good support for DSD as well. And the HDMI port is a nice extra for basic stereo tv duty.

And I agree with Matthew on the NAD. I don’t disbelieve Dario, but the KEF’s amplification is at least a few levels above - power wise for one.
 
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manicm

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I don't know you're very much at the mercy of an app, in 5 years we will all be having the same conversation I guess.

BUT in the short term yes very hard to beat indeed I just don't think its best way to spend in the long term. DAC wise depends on what you want to do guess i guess
I can think of many a great sounding DAC's that would match and beat out the kefs internal dac, Topping, Schitt audio, RME and so on heck the audio quest colbalt if all you're doing it listening to music, mix them with a Chromecast audio (if still available) or tablet/smart device of your choice (which I'm guessing the OP has since they are looking at this product) for streaming and you're well away. But I'm guessing more boxes then the OP would be wanting. But certainly cheaper and more "further proof"

All I'm saying is the Kef's are far from future proof they're very much a now product.
But what about the KEF’s streaming services? You’re discounting that slightly too. Chromecast is fine, but won’t give you native MQA. The KEF also does DSD. Admittedly like BluOS devices, it also does Tidal Connect - which is undoubtably the best way to listen.

You underestimate all those things. While Darko emphasised that each option was equally valid, he was also of the opinion that for many the wireless option would simply be the best.

Its horses for courses, and choice is a good thing, but I would not underestimate the wireless 50 DAC and streaming.
 
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nopiano

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This page compares the hugely increased number of services on the mark 2, with the original. I’d have more confidence if they’d continued to support and upgrade the earlier version, rather as Linn do with their streamers.

 

manicm

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This page compares the hugely increased number of services on the mark 2, with the original. I’d have more confidence if they’d continued to support and upgrade the earlier version, rather as Linn do with their streamers.

I agree - that's Linn's strength - you send in, they replace board, and you have essentially a new system. That upgrade will be about the price of a new KEF though! Cyrus offer the same too on some components.

Actually it's NAD that have got it right on their modular amps.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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I agree - that's Linn's strength - you send in, they replace board, and you have essentially a new system. That upgrade will be about the price of a new KEF though! Cyrus offer the same too on some components.

Actually it's NAD that have got it right on their modular amps.
The NAD MDC concept is excellent in principle, but it isn't quite as straight-forward as it first looks. Fitting an MDC module requires removing the top cover of the amp to ensure that the module plugs firmly into a socket at the front as you slide it in. Removing the top lid of a C368 is more of a challenge than you might think, and doing so is likely to invalidate the warranty, so it requires a trip to the dealer which in the UK means either Sevenoaks or Audiologica. That's not a deal breaker at all, but it's not the 'simply slot it in' idea that most people will imagine it to be.
 
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My first gen Kef LS50 Wireless went back because for me the sound wasn’t clear enough, they did a lot of things very well though but I am now saving up for the second generation.
 

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