KEF LS50 Meta + Audiolab 6000A missing the mark

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Hello all,

This is my first post, in fact I signed up to seek some wisdom from you all.

At the end of September last year, after a foolishly brief audition, I brought home a pair of KEF LS50 Metas and an Audiolab 6000A. As a pairing it's just not hitting the mark.

A couple of bits of info to begin with:
The source is mainly a Sonos Port, via digital coax into the 6000A's DAC.
I have also tried my DVD player via TOSLINK fibre optic and the results are very similar.
Scope for room treatments is basically zero. If I want to pull the speakers out for a good listening session I can, but they must go back at the end.
I have the foam bungs in the LS50s' ports because bass is just boomy and incoherent when they're open - close wall proximity.

At higher volumes, the sound is just harsh and unpleasant, you immediately just want to turn it down. At low volumes there's just nothing to it - no body, no meat, no kick, no slam.

At mid level volumes, things are actually not too bad. However, I'm not looking for not too bad - my Sonos Play1 pair, and the Sonos Playbar are decent enough. I'm looking for that something extra that makes HiFi worth going to the trouble of.

It sounds great with female vocals - something like Norah Jones. It also sounds good with something like Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise". However, put on some Queen - "Tie Your Mother Down" for example, and the system doesn't rock. You never want to party to it.

My frame of reference is the system my Dad has had since I was about 5 years old. It is an old Luxman amp and some Infinity speakers with 10" woofers and EMIT tweeters. For all around enjoyment across any type of music it's still an incredible setup. With all of the shortcomings of the room and placement, I know that system would sound better if we swapped it in.

I feel like the problem could well lie with the amp, but I'm not sure. The 6000A is 50W into 8 but only 75 into 4. Maybe the 6000A just doesn't have the current for such unsensitive speakers.

As an experiment, I placed the Sonos Play 1's on top of the LS50's to do an A/B comparison in the same room. At late night volume levels, they just sound fuller and more complete. I tested some music that involves a lot of double-bass - if you can believe this - the Sonos speakers are actually going lower!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you guys might recommend I do now! :)

Many thanks
ATB
Gavin
F9CB88F9-A091-47CC-ADA4-372998068038.jpeg
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Hello all,

This is my first post, in fact I signed up to seek some wisdom from you all.

At the end of September last year, after a foolishly brief audition, I brought home a pair of KEF LS50 Metas and an Audiolab 6000A. As a pairing it's just not hitting the mark.

A couple of bits of info to begin with:
The source is mainly a Sonos Port, via digital coax into the 6000A's DAC.
I have also tried my DVD player via TOSLINK fibre optic and the results are very similar.
Scope for room treatments is basically zero. If I want to pull the speakers out for a good listening session I can, but they must go back at the end.
I have the foam bungs in the LS50s' ports because bass is just boomy and incoherent when they're open - close wall proximity.

At higher volumes, the sound is just harsh and unpleasant, you immediately just want to turn it down. At low volumes there's just nothing to it - no body, no meat, no kick, no slam.

At mid level volumes, things are actually not too bad. However, I'm not looking for not too bad - my Sonos Play1 pair, and the Sonos Playbar are decent enough. I'm looking for that something extra that makes HiFi worth going to the trouble of.

It sounds great with female vocals - something like Norah Jones. It also sounds good with something like Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise". However, put on some Queen - "Tie Your Mother Down" for example, and the system doesn't rock. You never want to party to it.

My frame of reference is the system my Dad has had since I was about 5 years old. It is an old Luxman amp and some Infinity speakers with 10" woofers and EMIT tweeters. For all around enjoyment across any type of music it's still an incredible setup. With all of the shortcomings of the room and placement, I know that system would sound better if we swapped it in.

I feel like the problem could well lie with the amp, but I'm not sure. The 6000A is 50W into 8 but only 75 into 4. Maybe the 6000A just doesn't have the current for such unsensitive speakers.

As an experiment, I placed the Sonos Play 1's on top of the LS50's to do an A/B comparison in the same room. At late night volume levels, they just sound fuller and more complete. I tested some music that involves a lot of double-bass - if you can believe this - the Sonos speakers are actually going lower!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you guys might recommend I do now! :)

Many thanks
ATB
GavinView attachment 1492251
Welcome to the forum. Something is clearly amiss. That amp should have more than enough power for that space. Could you have accidentally wired the speakers out of phase (i.e. + & - transposed on one)?
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Welcome to the forum. Something is clearly amiss. That amp should have more than enough power for that space. Could you have accidentally wired the speakers out of phase (i.e. + & - transposed on one)?
Thanks. Just double checked - have certainly done sillier things in my time, but not on this occasion. It can go loud - it's just not enjoyable when it does. The bigger problem is at low volumes - all the body just falls away. About 5 years ago I had a pair of B&W 601 S3 and they didn't suffer from this.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Thanks. Just double checked - have certainly done sillier things in my time, but not on this occasion. It can go loud - it's just not enjoyable when it does. The bigger problem is at low volumes - all the body just falls away. About 5 years ago I had a pair of B&W 601 S3 and they didn't suffer from this.
I think the problem is bunging the ports as the speakers are a ported design. I know they supply the bungs, but I think they are intended for use only in extreme situations and certainly from my own experimentation with such things in the past, speakers have never sounded quite satisfactory with the bungs in place.

Could you try removing the bungs and seeing if you can move the speakers out a little - even a couple of inches might be all it takes to get you where you need to be.

Also if it’s a 2-part bung you could try just the half bung and see if that strikes a reasonable compromise.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
I think the problem is bunging the ports as the speakers are a ported design. I know they supply the bungs, but I think they are intended for use only in extreme situations and certainly from my own experimentation with such things in the past, speakers have never sounded quite satisfactory with the bungs in place.

Could you try removing the bungs and seeing if you can move the speakers out a little - even a couple of inches might be all it takes to get you where you need to be.

Also if it’s a 2-part bung you could try just the half bung and see if that strikes a reasonable compromise.
I'll give it a go. The only snag is at 9 o'clock relative to the camera there is a sofa. If the left speaker comes out any further it starts to block the view of the TV.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I'll give it a go. The only snag is at 9 o'clock relative to the camera there is a sofa. If the left speaker comes out any further it starts to block the view of the TV.
If you inch the speakers out by a few inches, could you also inch the TV stand out by the same amount? I realise WAF might be at play here, but hopefully you’ll get away with a few inches. No double entendre intended.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
I have had Kef LS50's in the past and currently have an Audiolab 6000a in my office.

The bungs will drop the Bass by around 2db and should only be used if the speaker are near a wall. The LS50 are a small speaker and Bass response is therefore limited, you would be better off with the KEF R3, if you like deep Bass or getting a Sub.

The LS50 do provide some the best mid/top end that can be had for a reasonable budget. The issue you have is the Audiolab 6000a might not be the best Amp. to get that out of them thu.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
If you inch the speakers out by a few inches, could you also inch the TV stand out by the same amount? I realise WAF might be at play here, but hopefully you’ll get away with a few inches. No double entendre intended.
WAF definitely comes into it. I have snuck everything forward a bit and removed the bungs as you suggested - a definite improvement. Now it's just a question of how long before, "Have you moved the TV?!"
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
I have had Kef LS50's in the past and currently have an Audiolab 6000a in my office.

The bungs will drop the Bass by around 2db and should only be used if the speaker are near a wall. The LS50 are a small speaker and Bass response is therefore limited, you would be better off with the KEF R3, if you like deep Bass or getting a Sub.

The LS50 do provide some the best mid/top end that can be had for a reasonable budget. The issue you have is the Audiolab 6000a might not be the best Amp. to get that out of them thu.
I feel like a sub might be part of the answer but before going down that road I'd like to see what the LS50's can do with a more powerful amp. KEF themselves recommend HEGEL (the higher end the better) with the LS50 Metas, but the question is how pricey to go before asking whether a totally different setup at lower cost might be the real answer.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I feel like a sub might be part of the answer but before going down that road I'd like to see what the LS50's can do with a more powerful amp. KEF themselves recommend HEGEL (the higher end the better) with the LS50 Metas, but the question is how pricey to go before asking whether a totally different setup at lower cost might be the real answer.
If you want to really hear what those (or any other) speakers can do then save up for a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120. The headline power specs may not look particularly attention grabbing but it will double its power output into 4 ohms which is always a sign of an amp with some muscle. But best of all you get RoomPerfect room correction which will really let you hear your speakers unimpeded by the room. And you get a streamer built in too.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Audiolab is quite a flat neutral amp which probably explains a good bit of the problem here.. it has the power.. yeap JUST.. it has the current.. nope.. but more importantly it just lacks the sound curve to suit the LS50...
The other thing to remember here.. is the LS50 Meta will drop to 3 Ohms... not 4... 3.. not many amps can handle that.

You really need something tonally a bit darker or better voicing really.. something like the Rega Elex-R would be a good starting point

I dont like the 6000A's power spec to be honest.. listing as "maximum power" 50w/8ohm and 75w/4ohm .. having a "claimed" rating in your official spec is not particularly convincing in my book and would definately put me to look at a much more powerful amp
 
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GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
If you want to really hear what those (or any other) speakers can do then save up for a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120. The headline power specs may not look particularly attention grabbing but it will double its power output into 4 ohms which is always a sign of an amp with some muscle. But best of all you get RoomPerfect room correction which will really let you hear your speakers unimpeded by the room. And you get a streamer built in too.
An interesting option. Lyngdorf hadn't really crossed my radar until now. I'll try and check them out.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Audiolab is quite a flat neutral amp which probably explains a good bit of the problem here.. it has the power.. yeap JUST.. it has the current.. nope.. but more importantly it just lacks the sound curve to suit the LS50...
The other thing to remember here.. is the LS50 Meta will drop to 3 Ohms... not 4... 3.. not many amps can handle that.

You really need something tonally a bit darker or better voicing really.. something like the Rega Elex-R would be a good starting point

I dont like the 6000A's power spec to be honest.. listing as "maximum power" 50w/8ohm and 75w/4ohm .. having a "claimed" rating in your official spec is not particularly convincing in my book and would definately put me to look at a much more powerful amp
The Rega is quoted as "72 W per channel into 8 Ω, 90 W per channel into 6 Ω". Is this sufficient would you say?
Edited to say that I like that it's built in England.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
The Rega is quoted as "72 W per channel into 8 Ω, 90 W per channel into 6 Ω". Is this sufficient would you say?
Edited to say that I like that it's built in England.
You will not get the volume for sure.. but.. rega have a very good power delivery and tonally.. are generally a bit better suited for a ls50 than an audiolab is...

The elex-r was a nod towards the rega sound.. but you would be more in the region of the Elicit-R realistically speaking to get the best out of the rega on a matched system. Otherwise you are with something like a Musical Fidelity m5si which will fill your needs quite well.

Note the budget though ..... they are not cheap but both the Elicit-R and the MF M5si are at the price point you should be looking to partner the LS50.. With shops starting to open back up as of the 12th April.. I would be getting hold of places like Audio T or Sevenoaks .. to name a few.. to get a demo booked before committing to any money exchanging.. go demo, hear with your own ears and decide what sounds best. Some stores like Audio-T will also arrange a home demo (with a sizeable deposit i might add for security) but that allows you to hear the kit where it matters most.. your home
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You could try half porting the bass. If the supplied bungs are the same as with my R300s then they will be two part bungs. They can also be moved in or out to help fine tune. That works very well for my R300s which are just 30cm from my rear wall.

They do like power and they do drop to 3.2 ohms so need an amp with good reserves of power. The Rega Elex-R has been mentioned and I have the Elicit-R which makes my R300s sing. Lovely balanced sound with a great control on bass, fast and precise.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
I feel like a sub might be part of the answer but before going down that road I'd like to see what the LS50's can do with a more powerful amp. KEF themselves recommend HEGEL (the higher end the better) with the LS50 Metas, but the question is how pricey to go before asking whether a totally different setup at lower cost might be the real answer.
I think that is a very good question. The only good answer is go to a dealer or get demo’s. A Hegel would resolve the harshness I’m sure, but not add Low down bass.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If you want to really hear what those (or any other) speakers can do then save up for a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120. The headline power specs may not look particularly attention grabbing but it will double its power output into 4 ohms which is always a sign of an amp with some muscle. But best of all you get RoomPerfect room correction which will really let you hear your speakers unimpeded by the room. And you get a streamer built in too.

Have to agree here. The Lyngdorf is a transformative device.

More than enough current supply for the Kefs and RoomPerfect will indeed deal splendidly with your problem.

If it’s too much for your budget, then you should consider this instead.


Again, more than enough current for your speakers and Dirac Live will also deal with room and positioning problems.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Hello all,

This is my first post, in fact I signed up to seek some wisdom from you all.

At the end of September last year, after a foolishly brief audition, I brought home a pair of KEF LS50 Metas and an Audiolab 6000A. As a pairing it's just not hitting the mark.

A couple of bits of info to begin with:
The source is mainly a Sonos Port, via digital coax into the 6000A's DAC.
I have also tried my DVD player via TOSLINK fibre optic and the results are very similar.
Scope for room treatments is basically zero. If I want to pull the speakers out for a good listening session I can, but they must go back at the end.
I have the foam bungs in the LS50s' ports because bass is just boomy and incoherent when they're open - close wall proximity.

At higher volumes, the sound is just harsh and unpleasant, you immediately just want to turn it down. At low volumes there's just nothing to it - no body, no meat, no kick, no slam.

At mid level volumes, things are actually not too bad. However, I'm not looking for not too bad - my Sonos Play1 pair, and the Sonos Playbar are decent enough. I'm looking for that something extra that makes HiFi worth going to the trouble of.

It sounds great with female vocals - something like Norah Jones. It also sounds good with something like Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise". However, put on some Queen - "Tie Your Mother Down" for example, and the system doesn't rock. You never want to party to it.

My frame of reference is the system my Dad has had since I was about 5 years old. It is an old Luxman amp and some Infinity speakers with 10" woofers and EMIT tweeters. For all around enjoyment across any type of music it's still an incredible setup. With all of the shortcomings of the room and placement, I know that system would sound better if we swapped it in.

I feel like the problem could well lie with the amp, but I'm not sure. The 6000A is 50W into 8 but only 75 into 4. Maybe the 6000A just doesn't have the current for such unsensitive speakers.

As an experiment, I placed the Sonos Play 1's on top of the LS50's to do an A/B comparison in the same room. At late night volume levels, they just sound fuller and more complete. I tested some music that involves a lot of double-bass - if you can believe this - the Sonos speakers are actually going lower!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you guys might recommend I do now! :)

Many thanks
ATB
GavinView attachment 1492251

A couple of positioning points if I may.

That close to a hard as hard gets radiator is going to give you seriously harsh reflections, I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re hearing as the volume rises.

Also, when speakers are that close to a tv, you have to consider the screen as the rear wall, so in effect your Kefs are very close to it, one more bullet hard reflective surface.

There are two means of reducing both effects. One is to put the tv on the wall. This will allow the speakers to be effectively further out in the room, without actually being so. (It might also allow you to move the right speaker a little further from the radiator toward the left, even a few inches would help with a reflective surface that hard).

Next up would be to get rid of the cabinet and to use something much smaller for the amp, tv box and whatnot.

Again this would give more breathing space between the speakers and fewer reflections.

But... the only real way to fix the issues, is room correction.

Both Lyngdorf and Dirac are first class for doing exactly that.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps. As a free experiment I’d suggest you totally cover the radiator in your thickest towels. Half a dozen double folded if possible. To make a difference.

It’ll cost little in time and nothing in cash, and might help point the way forward.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
A couple of positioning points if I may.

That close to a hard as hard gets radiator is going to give you seriously harsh reflections, I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re hearing as the volume rises.

Also, when speakers are that close to a tv, you have to consider the screen as the rear wall, so in effect your Kefs are very close to it, one more bullet hard reflective surface.

There are two means of reducing both effects. One is to put the tv on the wall. This will allow the speakers to be effectively further out in the room, without actually being so. (It might also allow you to move the right speaker a little further from the radiator toward the left, even a few inches would help with a reflective surface that hard).

Next up would be to get rid of the cabinet and to use something much smaller for the amp, tv box and whatnot.

Again this would give more breathing space between the speakers and fewer reflections.

But... the only real way to fix the issues, is room correction.

Both Lyngdorf and Dirac are first class for doing exactly that.
I'm going to have to have a good hard think...that whole corner has been the subject of some discussion for a while now becuase the old cabinet doesn't gel with anything else we have in the room these days.

Putting the TV on the wall is trickier because just left of shot is a chimney breast which would get in the way.

As you say, room correction might be the answer.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
I think that is a very good question. The only good answer is go to a dealer or get demo’s. A Hegel would resolve the harshness I’m sure, but not add Low down bass.
Is driving difficult speakers not one of Hegel's "things"?
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Just to say thanks to everyone who has replied so far. All gratefully received :thumbsup:
 

hamzamian

Active Member
Is driving difficult speakers not one of Hegel's "things"?
I think the point here is that even when driven well, the LS50 isn't considered to be a particularly bass heavy speaker. Hence the earlier suggestions of perhaps looking at the KEF R3 as an option or adding a sub woofer if you're looking for more bass.

Personally I'm running a pair of LS50 sat on my desk (near field use) and they are virtually touching the wall behind them so I'm running them with the bungs inserted. I do however also have a sub woofer and I am very happy with this setup.

I did try them without the bungs and the bass response did improve (in terms of quantity) but they sounded worse, I guess due to the placement. Bungs in place and with a sub woofer though they sound fantastic.

I'm using a Cambridge Audio Azur 851A to drive them.

ETA, What you're describing does sounds like the amp is not capable of driving the speakers well and sounds similar to what a lot of reviewers of the LS50 reported when testing them with amplifiers that could not provide sufficient current to drive them as intended.
 
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FRFT

Active Member
If it sounds like everything falls to pieces when you turn it up, I think it would be an amp issue. I don't know anything about that amp, but if it's claiming 50w per channel then I wouldn't be surprised if it's the amp distorting. When I used to use a Marantz PM6005, any speakers would fall apart when cranked up, this had a claimed 35 or 45w per channel. Once I upgraded to a Yamaha as-801, the issue completely disappeared so I can only assume the amp was distorting the sound a lot when being asked for more power. At low volumes it was fine.

I do also have a pair of KEF LS50 (not meta) and they can get plenty loud and provide a lot of bass in an approx 4m x 3m room when paired with the Yamaha.

Even if your amp is 50w per channel, it doesn't mean it wont be distorting like crazy when being asked to provide that sort of power, or even half that.

I would advise demoing a new amp with more power, and also leaving the ports unplugged unless you're getting actual issues with too much bass. As the speaker is designed to run ported, you are taking away a lot from it by plugging the ports. Most speakers don't behave like true sealed acoustic suspension speakers when plugged, and instead just like a half way between ported and "sealed", with none of the benefits from either.
 

Southern soul

Active Member
I wouldn’t bother with any of the amps mentioned, if you want to stick with the passives then you need to be setting your sights higher... Leema Tucana 2, Naim supernait, musical fidelity m5si or 6si, hegel h190 etc. Or just go with the wireless 2’s which will give you the same level of sound quality at a fraction of the price.
 

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