Kef Ls 50 wireless 2 vs ls 50 meta + Naim uniti atom

simcam

Standard Member
Hi All. Just wanted to share a few observations whilst trying to find suitable 2.1.setup for studio space which will play with tv and enable direct hi res streams etc.
so for lack of clutter and ease I went for kef ls50 wireless 2.
Great. They sounded absolutely fantastic. Sly & Robbie latest album sounded like it was playing in surround sound. So much detail.
However. I do have 3 Naim musos placed round the house, and after realising that to ge all the Fam and guests to get another app just for studio sound, radio Chanel switching etc, I decided to go back and swap for Kef ls 50 meta plus Naim uniti atom.
so now everything should be perfect. It’s great for ease of use, input selection, plays nicely with multi room…..
BUT, and it’s a big one….
THE MAGIC HAS ALL BUT COMPLETELY GONE..!
From the sound quality, that is.
yes it sounds pretty reasonable but that full scale, width and surround like sound quality has seriously diminished.
I only just set this up today and was hoping for same SQ as LS50 w 2 with all the front end usability plus brand matched multi room would be a winner combo.
As a note , at this time , no subs have been used in either set up.
To be honest I’m kinda hoping the issue might be the £11 / meter speaker cable . That would be an easy fix.
tbh. I am seriously considering going back to the ls50w2 and buying a dedicated tablet for user ease.
also the wireless kef did a terrible job of auto input switching which the Naim deals with fine.
thoughts and recommendations would be really helpful as I still have 2 weeks for total “u” turn
many thanks , kind regards
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Speaker cable is very unlikely to fix the problem and at £11 per meter you are paying £9.50 too much.

You have found the benefits of active speakers that have amps directly attached to the speaker drivers and are specified to work with each driver I.e. it has 4 amps one for each of the woofers and tweeters in the coaxial units. The amps connected directly to the speaker drivers allows them to more precisely control their movement giving a more dynamic sound imo.

The LS50W2 has a 100w amp per tweeter and a 280w amp per woofer and no components between the two as the crossover and eq correction is done at line level before the amps, the Naim atom has 40w per channel shared between the tweeter and woofer (typically 25/75 split) and has resistors, capacitors and inductors in the speaker crossover. That is a big difference in the available power.

If you can’t live with the convenience compromise then go back to the LS50w2’s.
 

simcam

Standard Member
Thank you for your thoughts Ugg10.
Makes complete sense.
The aim here is the best SQ I can get.
Really thought the atom KEF combo would trump the ls50w2. But alas. Not so.
Now I’m considering that the £1200 save by going back to the latter would allow for a sub in the mix, a bit of inconvenience with multiroom and radio but still enough change for a pint and bag of chips.!
 

simcam

Standard Member
So this morning I have a first gen muso plus a second gen one, plus the Atom / KEF meta combo, all playing beautifully together in multi roomwith radio paradise via Naim app.
Great.
Sadly , I can’t get over the lack of detail and spacious soundstage with atom/meta combo vs LS50W2.
So now I’m thinking of going back to latter , with cash savings used for poss a BK sub and an external dac which I’m thinking to hook up to a dedicated iPad as a controller and now playing display etc, plugged into the rca input of the ls50w.
Still would save on overall budget and possibly bring Apple Music hi res offering into the mix in some kind of user friendly front end.
I do hope that by sharing my experience , I can help others cut thru all the noise.
Best regards all.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Just a thought, and I am not a Naim guru, but could you buy a cheap second hand Naim Uniqute (c. £500) to plug into the LS50w2 for the times when you want whole house music? I think this would work using the Unitiqute pre-outs into the LS50w2 aux input (RCA to 3.5mm cable), the Unitiqute may need a software update though.

I would plug the iPad directly into the USB port if you can, going Ipad to DAC to LS50w2 sounds fine but there is a high possibility that the LS50w2 will then just digitise the analogue input, process it (crossover, eq and any other filters it adds) and then turn it back into analogue before amplifying it for the speaker drivers. Therefore you are doubling up on the DAC/ADC/DAC conversions and the last one in the chain will determine any sound signature.
 
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simcam

Standard Member
Thank you for that. I think I’m getting over the convenience v SQ thing.
Re the uniti qute is a great idea. However. Tbh it seems that with Spotify connect, Qobuz similar etc all giving access to mutiroom via chrome cast or even Apple airplay, I think I can live without naim only although I’m sure it won’t be as smooth.
Interesting about the dac between iPad and KEF. Sounds like that would not be necessary if I go direct to usb input.
Thanks for your help
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you for your thoughts Ugg10.
Makes complete sense.
The aim here is the best SQ I can get.
Really thought the atom KEF combo would trump the ls50w2. But alas. Not so.
Now I’m considering that the £1200 save by going back to the latter would allow for a sub in the mix, a bit of inconvenience with multiroom and radio but still enough change for a pint and bag of chips.!

Proper actives really can’t be beaten for sound quality at even close to the price of separates. As you’ve found.

The direct coupling of one dedicated power amplifier for each driver (four per pair of stereo speakers) gives the speaker designer enormous advantages over even the same designer who is compelled to guess at what might end up in front of his power hungry passive speakers.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
possibly bring ... some kind of user friendly front end.

It's not going to save you money ;-) and doesn't support Apple Music or Spotify, only Qobuz, Tidal, Online Radio and/or a local FLAC library. But if the aim is to use one app/interface/library across all your devices in a multi-room setup, then it might be worth looking at using Roon as your frontend, library management, live radio and multi-room controller. Both the Naim's and KEF's are fully supported in Roon.

As well as the licence costs you'll likely also want to get a 'small-form-factor' PC like an Intel NUC or a Mac Mini to run the Core on 24/7. So not a no/low-cost option — although no need to by a brand new device as it doesn't need to be super powerful, you may also be able to run it on an existing device like a NAS if you already own a suitable model. But if a seamless interface across all your audio devices along with live radio streaming is key, then it may tick your boxes.

The trial is free, so easy enough to give it a whirl on a regular desktop PC/Mac or laptop to start. But if you stick with it, you ideally want to have the Core running in a closet or cupboard somewhere 24/7.
 
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simcam

Standard Member
Hi all. Update.
Got my ls50w2 back after returning atom.
also bought a kc62 sub with the saving.
all I can say is the Kef guys seem to have matched this solution perfectly.
To me anyhow.
But from atom plus metas to w2 plus kc62, (and it’s not just about the sub) is just IMO a far better investment with similar budget.
the multi room and family ease of use, pail into insignificance with the shear massive upgrade in soundstage etc, with or without sub.
so there it is. I’m very very happy with this set up.
hope that helps anyone deciding
best regards
 

davidf

Well-known Member
The Naim Atom was never a decent match for the LS50, as it doesn’t have the nuts to drive and control them properly. For a loudspeaker to sound as good as it was intended to, you need to drive them properly. While there’s a few amps around the £2k mark, you’d have to be looking at something like a Hegel H190 to be getting the best out of them. The Atom is best used with less demanding speakers, more along the lines of the Q Series.
Some will say that Naim components naturally lack soundstage width.
 

JediMaster

Active Member
I was in the same boat before pulling the trigger for LS50 Wii. The tweaking they have done with the electronics can easily rival the LS50 Meta connected to the 10$K setup. In my experience, you can squeeze the max out of LS 50 when hooked into a Hegel amplifier.
 

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