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The TRUTH about the KEF LS 50

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rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
519
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This bloke tells the truth about the KEF LS 50. It's amazing what a non "sponsored" (Cough cough paid reviewer) will say about a product. 2012 What Hifi product of the year my ***!

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkCL2ZLwaLg
You, sir, are wearing some "one-track mind"-coloured glasses.... Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad review, but it's just as subjective as the WHF ones - HE doesn't like them. Actually, the WHF ones are more objective, since they have the price consideration in mind - which that guy obviously doesn't. I mean yes, I like (some) 2-3k pound speakers more than (some) 800 pound speakers as well. And funnily enough, when asked in the comments what speakers he likes, he replied "good question" or something like that, so obviously he's spoiled with with some higher end and properly matched gear.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
450
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Firstly, the 'TRUTH' in subjective matters such as this, is only what you perceive it to be. A subjective personal opinion can only be true to your own beliefs, but isn't a fact in any supportable sense.

I just sat through this video, and it's pretty useless to most people. It really is simply a stream of consciousness. At times he contradicts himself. For example, he states that the bass is tuneless but then later on describes it as detailed. How can tuneless bass be detailed? Pitch definition is one of the most crucial aspects of detailed reproduction.

I've had my LS50 Metas for two days and I've spent around 10 hours listening so far. I've never heard the original LS50s, and I know that the most significant change is the use of the meta material in preventing reflections from the rear of the tweeter. I obviously can't say how much impact this has had.

Yes, these are amplifier sensitive speakers and they need strong current delivery. I've tried mine with my NAD C368 and with my Musical Fidelity M2si. Neither amp could be described as wimpy, but whereas the NAD outputs 80wpc into both 8 and 4 ohms, the MF nearly doubles its output into 4 ohms - 73wpc into 8 ohms, and 137 wpc into 4. The NAD doesn't break into a sweat with the KEFs and delivers good detail levels and dynamics, but its very clear to me that the MF grips the KEFs better, offering a more rhythmic sound, more openness and more stable soundstaging. With the MF driving the KEFs, the hi-fi disappears more, leaving the music centre-stage.

The reviewer in the video complains that 'backing instruments' don't fall back into the background enough. He claims that his LS3/5a place vocals more up-front with the instruments sounding less detailed. Fair enough if he prefers the relaxing Sunday afternoon sound he refers to, but that just isn't how live music sounds. In live performance voices don't sound magically bigger than the instruments being played with them and those instruments generallly aren't reduced to being mere backing. Much live music making is about the contributions of every musician on stage.

I also watched the same reviewer's 'Top 5 Tips' video in which he makes big statements about very slow progress in hi-fi over the past 30-40 years, and about how everything is essentially marketing. He also suggests that users of vintage kit know this, and that's why they use vintage kit. Yes, there is a huge amount of marketing in modern hi-fi as there is in any part of modern life, but you've got to have your eyes closed if you think there isn't a different kind of marketing in the world of vintage hi-fi gear. The amount of kit described as 'legendary' and the eye-watering prices of big old Sansui and Pioneer amps (for example) is clear evidence of how the vintage market may offer some great pieces, but also takes huge advantage of constantly perpetuated myths, legends and rose tinted spectacles.

This guy is entitled to his own thoughts and opinions, but stating them as 'TRUTH' is a step too far.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
561
245
11,270
Firstly, the 'TRUTH' in subjective matters such as this, is only what you perceive it to be. A subjective personal opinion can only be true to your own beliefs, but isn't a fact in any supportable sense.

I just sat through this video, and it's pretty useless to most people. It really is simply a stream of consciousness. At times he contradicts himself. For example, he states that the bass is tuneless but then later on describes it as detailed. How can tuneless bass be detailed? Pitch definition is one of the most crucial aspects of detailed reproduction.

I've had my LS50 Metas for two days and I've spent around 10 hours listening so far. I've never heard the original LS50s, and I know that the most significant change is the use of the meta material in preventing reflections from the rear of the tweeter. I obviously can't say how much impact this has had.

Yes, these are amplifier sensitive speakers and they need strong current delivery. I've tried mine with my NAD C368 and with my Musical Fidelity M2si. Neither amp could be described as wimpy, but whereas the NAD outputs 80wpc into both 8 and 4 ohms, the MF nearly doubles its output into 4 ohms - 73wpc into 8 ohms, and 137 wpc into 4. The NAD doesn't break into a sweat with the KEFs and delivers good detail levels and dynamics, but its very clear to me that the MF grips the KEFs better, offering a more rhythmic sound, more openness and more stable soundstaging. With the MF driving the KEFs, the hi-fi disappears more, leaving the music centre-stage.

The reviewer in the video complains that 'backing instruments' don't fall back into the background enough. He claims that his LS3/5a place vocals more up-front with the instruments sounding less detailed. Fair enough if he prefers the relaxing Sunday afternoon sound he refers to, but that just isn't how live music sounds. In live performance voices don't sound magically bigger than the instruments being played with them and those instruments generallly aren't reduced to being mere backing. Much live music making is about the contributions of every musician on stage.

I also watched the same reviewer's 'Top 5 Tips' video in which he makes big statements about very slow progress in hi-fi over the past 30-40 years, and about how everything is essentially marketing. He also suggests that users of vintage kit know this, and that's why they use vintage kit. Yes, there is a huge amount of marketing in modern hi-fi as there is in any part of modern life, but you've got to have your eyes closed if you think there isn't a different kind of marketing in the world of vintage hi-fi gear. The amount of kit described as 'legendary' and the eye-watering prices of big old Sansui and Pioneer amps (for example) is clear evidence of how the vintage market may offer some great pieces, but also takes huge advantage of constantly perpetuated myths, legends and rose tinted spectacles.

This guy is entitled to his own thoughts and opinions, but stating them as 'TRUTH' is a step too far.

Completely agree with this.
 
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CheshirePete

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Oct 12, 2020
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I've had my LS50 Metas for two days and I've spent around 10 hours listening so far. I've never heard the original LS50s, and I know that the most significant change is the use of the meta material in preventing reflections from the rear of the tweeter. I obviously can't say how much impact this has had.
Hi Matthew

I was on this forum years ago (under another name, I didn't post that much), always fascinated reading about your hifi journey, I see you are still buying a lot of gear (not a criticism, it's your money).

You must spend a small fortune ... do you have a goal or do you just like experimenting with different kit?

Thanks
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
450
278
19,270
Hi Matthew

I was on this forum years ago (under another name, I didn't post that much), always fascinated reading about your hifi journey, I see you are still buying a lot of gear (not a criticism, it's your money).

You must spend a small fortune ... do you have a goal or do you just like experimenting with different kit?

Thanks
I've been relatively quiet and calmed down a bit with buying over recent years, but I have been more active this past year. Certain circumstances (which I won't go into here) have made this possible, but it has involved a lot of selling as well as buying. My goal, as ever, has been to find something that satisfies me enough that I want to stick with it long-term. As much as I enjoy hearing different kit, it does ultimately get in the way of the music and there are very definite financial limits to what I can do. Thankfully I'm starting to feel as though I may have reached an end game.
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
561
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The KEF LS50 is supposed to be a giant killer! It should easily be able to beat an LS35a.
Never seen a review refer to it as a giant killer. Just a product that delivers a large amount for the money. And they all say the same thing. They need great amplification to get the best of them and that’s the same for any speaker at any price. And some products just got it right, there will be no beating them. there’s only a handful of those tannoy, klipsch and few other brands hence they’ve been in production for so long.

I’ve heard both products you refer to and neither are my bag at all. I personally don’t see what a the fuss is about with either.

The video you shared only gives one absolute truth. That everyone is looking for different things in speakers and products. 22 years in this Hobby and it’s the only truth
 
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Romulus

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2014
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10,620
Its all subjective however I do read that KEF LS 50 seems to appear quite frequently on the second hand market unlike for Eg ATC speakers....?
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
519
218
19,270
Its all subjective however I do read that KEF LS 50 seems to appear quite frequently on the second hand market unlike for Eg ATC speakers....?
Probably because people follow that stupid "spend as much as you can on speakers" rule I've seen some people toss around, and partner them with Nad D3020 :p
(and yes, I'm not big on Kef myself, but not because they're bad)
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
561
245
11,270
Its all subjective however I do read that KEF LS 50 seems to appear quite frequently on the second hand market unlike for Eg ATC speakers....?
atc are all over the place ( some eBay right now) along with pmc. Think it has more to do with popularity of these brands more than anything

But pmc and kef are quite prolific. People blind buying expecting one thing and getting another and then ending up eBay

Brands like snell and klipsch/tannoy heritage speakers are almost impossible to get hold of. People tend to keep those. If they do pop up they command high prices or are pretty damaged.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
519
218
19,270
The best speaker in the world can't come close to the low distortion of even budget amplifiers these days, so paying the most for speakers makes perfect sense.
Here's a copy pasta from a recent thread on Sonos Connect Amp + B&W CM1.

"You're right. At lower volumes it was indistinguishable when casually listening - I had to concentrate to notice a difference. At a loss of the right terminology, I'd say the sound became a bit more unclear/compressed. At very high volumes the sound was distorted and I had to turn it down. It was especially apparent in the bass region."

But, as always, believe whatever you wanna believe.
 
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TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
357
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Here's a copy pasta from a recent thread on Sonos Connect Amp + B&W CM1.

"You're right. At lower volumes it was indistinguishable when casually listening - I had to concentrate to notice a difference. At a loss of the right terminology, I'd say the sound became a bit more unclear/compressed. At very high volumes the sound was distorted and I had to turn it down. It was especially apparent in the bass region."

But, as always, believe whatever you wanna believe.
What does that story have to do with anything?
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
450
278
19,270
The best speaker in the world can't come close to the low distortion of even budget amplifiers these days, so paying the most for speakers makes perfect sense.
I agree with regard to amplifier and speakers, as long as the amplifier delivers enough current to the chosen speakers, but I still believe to some extent in Linn's rubbish in rubbish out philosophy. If the source isn't good enough to provide all the information in the first place, nothing down the chain can change that, although it is more of an issue with vinyl than CD or high resolution digital sources.
 
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