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Which is better Kef LS50 Wireless 2 or B&W Formation Duo?

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misteronline

Active member
Feb 6, 2021
1
1
25
Hello Solo,
I listened to both KEF LS50 W2 and B&W formation duo, and the 4 family members were uninymous (from kids to mummy) to award B&W with the best sound. Clariry, bass depth, better stereo image.
But... price tag is really high.
I consider using those as home cinema with an Apple TV, that might compensate a little bit for the price.

I have doubt that a pair of B&W could provide a relevant home cinema sound with clear central voices, and not to much "left and right sound". This is often the issue when plugging in just a pair of speakers without a central one.
Does Apple TV provide good configuration options to have a good central audio channel ?

Thanks for your answer.
 
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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
837
176
19,070
Hello Solo,
I listened to both KEF LS50 W2 and B&W formation duo, and the 4 family members were uninymous (from kids to mummy) to award B&W with the best sound. Clariry, bass depth, better stereo image.
But... price tag is really high.
I consider using those as home cinema with an Apple TV, that might compensate a little bit for the price.

I have doubt that a pair of B&W could provide a relevant home cinema sound with clear central voices, and not to much "left and right sound". This is often the issue when plugging in just a pair of speakers without a central one.
Does Apple TV provide good configuration options to have a good central audio channel ?

Thanks for your answer.
The Sonos Amp apparently works well with movies, almost creating a phantom centre image. Worth investigating. And it’s powerful enough to drive many speakers.
 

Solo

Active member
Jan 27, 2021
15
8
25
Hello Solo,
I listened to both KEF LS50 W2 and B&W formation duo, and the 4 family members were uninymous (from kids to mummy) to award B&W with the best sound. Clariry, bass depth, better stereo image.
But... price tag is really high.
I consider using those as home cinema with an Apple TV, that might compensate a little bit for the price.

I have doubt that a pair of B&W could provide a relevant home cinema sound with clear central voices, and not to much "left and right sound". This is often the issue when plugging in just a pair of speakers without a central one.
Does Apple TV provide good configuration options to have a good central audio channel ?

Thanks for your answer.
You are correct that it will not provide an accurate home cinema effect. The centre speaker is missing. The Duos are essentially for music. But having said that it does sound a lot better than through the tv speakers. For home cinema the Formation Bar would be a better option, with the bass and two flexes you can have a 5.1 surround system.

The price of the Duo’s are steep indeed. But you can find some ex demos or showroom models for significantly less than RRP.
 
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jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
For what its worth, Ive owned the formation duos for about a year now and I think they are superb. And in response to the post that questioned whether the kef wireless needed a sub, to compete with the formation duos, the would absolutely need a sub. The formation duo bass is spectacular. They sound like enormous speakers. Yet they have superb imaging and delicate highs. I owned the original version of the kef wirelesss ls50w and quickly sold them. They were completely unimpressive to my ears. And I’m a big KEF fan. I wanted to like them but they were bass light and lacked attack. They sounded to me like they needed higher quality amps. Not the case for the formation duos. And the integrated stands make the formation duos look like a million bucks.
 
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gel

Moderator
For what its worth, Ive owned the formation duos for about a year now and I think they are superb. And in response to the post that questioned whether the kef wireless needed a sub, to compete with the formation duos, the would absolutely need a sub. The formation duo bass is spectacular. They sound like enormous speakers. Yet they have superb imaging and delicate highs. I owned the original version of the kef wirelesss ls50w and quickly sold them. They were completely unimpressive to my ears. And I’m a big KEF fan. I wanted to like them but they were bass light and lacked attack. They sounded to me like they needed higher quality amps. Not the case for the formation duos. And the integrated stands make the formation duos look like a million bucks.
Cheers!
 

gowiththeflow

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2009
51
11
18,545
An update to this thread.

B&W have now released a new Formation “Music“ app which introduces direct connection to a number of streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz., plus the Tune-In radio portal.

This app will be expanded over the next few months, to take over the functions of the original set-up and control “Home” app. More streaming services will also be coming.
Hopefully there’ll be some extended DSP functions coming, such as room placement and possibly some form of room correction, for those that need it.

+
 
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RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
51
17
45
I currently own the Kef LS50W II's. They are used in a room approx 5x6 meters with a small L section.

For me they have enough bass without a sub but they have that 'Class D' bass control meaning, its tight, fast, punchy and has little boom. Some may well think it lacks bass but it's there and goes fairly deep (for such a tiny speaker and driver). Having said that it has warmth and body both in the bass and mid range unlike some Class D amplifiers. To me it certainly sounds 'analogue'.

If you come frome a conventional amplifier/speaker system it may take a (little) acclimatisation but I think its worth it. I came from a Hegel/Quad system but wanted to reduce box count. So far I have not regretted it.
 
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RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
51
17
45
I realise I have not really given a reply to the original post with my last comment.

I highly respect Jaxwires opinion, I have followed his contributions for a long time. -

Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to listen to the B&W's but they do look amazing to these eyes. - B&W long had a history of good bass for their compact speakers and I would fully expect the Foundation to follow this trend. I would guess the speaker has more bass then the Kef. - I really also like the integrated stand.

As to attack I also agree with Jaxwire that in ultimate terms (to which he is used to) there could be more attack and physicality to the sound of the Kef. It is a small speaker and can't defy physical laws.

I think, by not trying too hard to create a lifestyle product (although I really like the looks) B&W may have created a better speaker by making less compromises.

As to value, if indeed they require no sub it seems good value in the high end. Buying Kef's new KC62 'Super sub' in addition to the MetaWII brings them more or less to the same price level.

Which one would I get?

Based on nothing else than seeing reviews and JW's opinion I would choose the B&W.

Still, very happy with the KEF and the B&W was out of my range.
 
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