KEF LS50 Meta + Audiolab 6000A missing the mark

doshim

Active Member
Has anyone considered or audtioned KEF LS50 META with LEEMA ACOUSTICS TUCANA II ANNIVERSARY EDITION AMPLIFIER?
Would that be a good match....?
 

Kris49

Novice Member
I recently upgraded my speakers to a pair of Kef LS50 Metas to go with my Audiolab 6000a amplifier which I bought a couple of months before, and whilst the Metas did need a serious amount of run in before they sounded their best, now that has happened, I really love the sound. However, I have noticed that many people who have tried this combo have remarked that the 6000a doesn't quite have the power to drive the Metas properly. Admittedly, I am somewhat new to this whole audiophile thing so I'm no expert, but I am a bit bemused by this as I think they sound amazing, but it has left me wondering if I am missing out on something. I suspect part of the issue some are having is that both the amp and speakers do need some serious run-in time before they sound their best, but also as I live in a flat, I don't need a serious amount of power, as I only play music as moderate volumes. As the 6000a is only 5 months old, in mint condition and has a 6 year extended warranty, I'm guessing I could sell it on for a reasonable price, and I would be very tempted to upgrade to a better amp if the expense made a substantial difference to the sound. Does anyone have an opinion on how good a match this pairing is, and how much of an improvement a better amp would make to the sound? Also, if the latter is applicable, some potential amp recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
At the end of the day, what are your ears telling you?

Does the amplifier sound strained, distorted or thin at high volumes? Is it getting hot or going into protect?

If the character of the sound doesn't change when you push the volume a little, then you really shouldn't worry too much.

You may find that as the Audiolab is quite a neutral sounding amp, some people may mistake this for lack of power, but in fact, it's just not adding a bit of low end weight and warmth that some other designs tend to, that's all.
 

Kris49

Novice Member
At the end of the day, what are your ears telling you?

Does the amplifier sound strained, distorted or thin at high volumes? Is it getting hot or going into protect?

If the character of the sound doesn't change when you push the volume a little, then you really shouldn't worry too much.

You may find that as the Audiolab is quite a neutral sounding amp, some people may mistake this for lack of power, but in fact, it's just not adding a bit of low end weight and warmth that some other designs tend to, that's all.
My ears are telling me they sound amazing, but I was upgrading from an amp and speakers that cost less than a quarter of what this current combo cost me, so I was always going to hear a substantial improvement in sound regardless of how good this pairing actually is. As I live in a flat, I can't play music at loud volumes, but the amp sounds fine to me at the loudest I would ever play it. But another thing others were complaining about is that is doesn't sound quite right at low volumes, which again, I don't quite get as it sounds fine to me. This whole audiophile thing had been a bit of a shock to me, as I never realised just how much a decent upgrade can enhance your listening pleasure, and there are times when the sound makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. But some people are saying that this combo doesn't quite cut the mustard, and even though I am loving the sound, when I'm having a good time, I want to be having a better time, so if I could justify the expense, I would happily pay more for a better amp, but on the other hand, if I forked out an extra grand or so for a more expensive amp and couldn't hear much of a difference, I would be a bit miffed.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.

Give yourself time for the grey matter to adjust to the new sound. The LS50s do have a reputation to be difficult to drive, as do most of the KEF range but has been pointed out if there's no distortion or signature change that may not be the problem.

If you don't like the combination after a while then your option to sell is probably best. I think you would need to step up a little to something like the Rega Elex-R which will add a little more excitement to the KEFs.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
As i mentioned on the "other post" but i'll try and break it down a bit better to explain how i made my answer

Audiolab is quite a flat neutral sounding amp. I don't 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 definitely put me to look at a much more powerful amp (or better specced one with actual rms power at 20-20kHz both channels driven)

Does it has the power.. yeap JUST.. Does it has the current.. nope.. it relies heavily on a big capacitor bank to take the strain off of the amplifer circuit for the lower bass notes...

but more importantly i find it just lacks the tonal sound to suit the LS50 range... the 6000A has a very "dry" sound to it...

The other thing to remember here is speaker impedance..The LS50 Meta will drop to 3 Ohms... not 4... 3.. not many amps can handle that low a resistance on a speaker. 4 is a tough load anyway.. but sub 4ohms really takes alot out of an amp

It will drive the Metas for sure.. but not very well at high volume/power. It will distort and run out of steam pretty quick

You would really need something tonally a bit darker or better voicing really to get the best out of the Metas .. as i noted.. rega / musical fidelity

If you like the sound of your current Audiolab but want that higher volume a more powerful Audiolab series or pre/power combo would be in order
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Your remark about listening at low levels does somewhat show the 6000's power is not through the whole volume range. You need to keep turning it up, I get that. KEFs are capable of great detail even at low levels of listening. My missus doesn't like the audio banging and it very unusual for our amp to be playing any higher than 11 o'clock on the dial and many times even lower than that.

I'm running KEF R300s with a Rega Elicit-R amp and at low volumes it a good combination and I don't miss anything because the Rega has a good power delivery right through the range. How good the new LS50s are at lower volume levels I simply don't know. I auditioned the original LS50s some six years ago against the R300s.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
For late night music listening where neighbours are concerned have you thought about headphones, they can solve a lot of problems.
 

Kris49

Novice Member
For late night music listening where neighbours are concerned have you thought about headphones, they can solve a lot of problems.
I do have headphones, but I rarely need them as I prefer listening to music at moderate levels anyway, and certainly can't listen to excessively loud music at any time of the day because of where I live. If the only issue with this pairing is that it is going to sound bad at high volumes, then there really is no point in me upgrading for the sake of something I am not going to need. It is only because I am so blown away by how good the sound is compared to the very cheap amp and speakers I upgraded from, that I am wondering how much better it will sound with a better amp, when others are saying my speakers could sound so much better if I upgraded.
 

Kris49

Novice Member
As i mentioned on the "other post" but i'll try and break it down a bit better to explain how i made my answer

Audiolab is quite a flat neutral sounding amp. I don't 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 definitely put me to look at a much more powerful amp (or better specced one with actual rms power at 20-20kHz both channels driven)

Does it has the power.. yeap JUST.. Does it has the current.. nope.. it relies heavily on a big capacitor bank to take the strain off of the amplifer circuit for the lower bass notes...

but more importantly i find it just lacks the tonal sound to suit the LS50 range... the 6000A has a very "dry" sound to it...

The other thing to remember here is speaker impedance..The LS50 Meta will drop to 3 Ohms... not 4... 3.. not many amps can handle that low a resistance on a speaker. 4 is a tough load anyway.. but sub 4ohms really takes alot out of an amp

It will drive the Metas for sure.. but not very well at high volume/power. It will distort and run out of steam pretty quick

You would really need something tonally a bit darker or better voicing really to get the best out of the Metas .. as i noted.. rega / musical fidelity

If you like the sound of your current Audiolab but want that higher volume a more powerful Audiolab series or pre/power combo would be in order
It was actually the Audiolab 8300a that I had my eye on because I really do like the 6000a sound signature, indeed, it absolutely transformed the sound of My Kef Cresta 2 speakers before I upgraded. But as I've said, I only play music at moderate volumes, so I suspect that is why I have not found the same cause for complaint as others have. So as I am only needing this amp for playing at moderate volumes, is the 6000a's lack of power really likely to be a problem for me?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Control of the speakers can be just as effective and an amp's audio signature. This is why I preferred Rega to the other amps I auditioned, especially with bass. That control goes right through the volume range and if you listen at low to middle levels then control can be just as important. I can only recommend amps that I've listened to with KEF speakers. I did not audition the old LS50s with a stereo amp but with an AV amp. I preferred the all round performance of the R300s in that instance.

I did audition several stereo amp with R300s and have listened to several since. Musical Fidelity partnered well, Naim not so as control was lacking. With lockdown easing it might be worth your while auditioning a few amps by taking your LS50s along with you and play at varying volume settings.

The amps that hits your sweet spot will almost certainly put a smile on your face.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
It was actually the Audiolab 8300a that I had my eye on because I really do like the 6000a sound signature, indeed, it absolutely transformed the sound of My Kef Cresta 2 speakers before I upgraded. But as I've said, I only play music at moderate volumes, so I suspect that is why I have not found the same cause for complaint as others have. So as I am only needing this amp for playing at moderate volumes, is the 6000a's lack of power really likely to be a problem for me?
The 8300A is obviously a better animal then the 6000A ... not too impressed by 15A current delivery though.. still relying heavily on those capacitor banks with that. You are gaining power which is good 75w/8 and 105 into 4...
The best way to run the 8300 is (if you have the facility..) is use the cd player as a preamp.. and use the 8300's power amp section (bypass the audiolabs pre)
8300a-black-back.png


It's still dry sounding.. this is the audiolab family so you wont get away from that.. What you will gain on the 6000a though is just that small additional wattage and control.. It will behave better at power than its smaller brother but at lower volumes.. i'd say the sound probably about the same with a small increase on the bass due to the current increase.

only a demo though will be able to tell you if it is worth it for your ears and i strongly urge anyone looking to buy to get a demo! my ears and surroundings are not yours!

I will say one big negative though with the 8300a.. you lose the DAC and the headphone amp... that the 6300a has... but you gain those balanced inputs and the power increase.. also the bluetooth module goes on the 8300a by the looks... so bear that in mind
 
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GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Has anyone considered or audtioned KEF LS50 META with LEEMA ACOUSTICS TUCANA II ANNIVERSARY EDITION AMPLIFIER?
Would that be a good match....?
Well the specs of the Tucana II certainly point to an amp that will grab any speakers by the scruff of the neck. Obviously haven't heard it for myself though.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
Hi there @Kris49 I was the OP on the "other thread".

I certainly don't think it's a "bad" combo and if you're enjoying it then that's all that matters.

Don't forget, your room is probably very different to mine - mine is a very long way from ideal. Also, you may have better hearing at the low bass frequencies that I find a little lacking (at low volumes). Out of interest, what source are you using? I'm using a Sonos Port into the DAC on the 6000A.

Also, frame of reference is hugely important. I grew up with what would now be considered a "vintage" HiFi in the house. This included a powerful amp and big speakers. It had (in fact it still does!!!) a huge, weighty, meat-on-the-bones type of sound. Sadly I don't have the space for a similar set of speakers in my house.

I hope my own quest for "more" hasn't spoiled your enjoyment. I'm told by dealers that the LS50 will continue to show improvements even with £30,000 amps, it's that transparent. Be careful of peering into the rabbit hole though. In £100 increments you can justify a vast range of options.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Has anyone considered or audtioned KEF LS50 META with LEEMA ACOUSTICS TUCANA II ANNIVERSARY EDITION AMPLIFIER?
Would that be a good match....?

A preposterously disproportionate amp for the Kefs.

If you’re really serious about spending six grand or so then this is the most you’ll need in an amp.


And these as speakers.

 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
...if you really want the Kefs or have already bought them, then this high current, RoomPerfect masterpiece is exactly what you should buy.


Or the 2170 in the previous post if you don’t want or need a streamer.

Add a perfectly RoomPerfect balanced sub, or preferably two, and have something rather special indeed.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
While Hegel used a pair of KEF LS50s in their demo room last year - and to good effect - £5k isn’t really the sort of figure most will spend on a £1k pair of speakers. And I say this despite the fact that I’m all for giving standmounts a bit more than they need to do the job properly.

From a Hegel point of view, the H95 will quite adequately do the job, the H120 will probably be the sweet spot, and the H190 will do as good a job as most people will need.

But as I mentioned earlier in the thread, you need to get yourself to a dealer and try some amplifiers out for yourself. As much as anyone can tell you what amplifier you should be buying, only you can choose which suits you by auditioning.
 

Kris49

Novice Member
Hi there @Kris49 I was the OP on the "other thread".

I certainly don't think it's a "bad" combo and if you're enjoying it then that's all that matters.

Don't forget, your room is probably very different to mine - mine is a very long way from ideal. Also, you may have better hearing at the low bass frequencies that I find a little lacking (at low volumes). Out of interest, what source are you using? I'm using a Sonos Port into the DAC on the 6000A.

Also, frame of reference is hugely important. I grew up with what would now be considered a "vintage" HiFi in the house. This included a powerful amp and big speakers. It had (in fact it still does!!!) a huge, weighty, meat-on-the-bones type of sound. Sadly I don't have the space for a similar set of speakers in my house.

I hope my own quest for "more" hasn't spoiled your enjoyment. I'm told by dealers that the LS50 will continue to show improvements even with £30,000 amps, it's that transparent. Be careful of peering into the rabbit hole though. In £100 increments you can justify a vast range of options.
I'm currently using the coaxial digital input running from an old M-audio sound card on my pc. Yes, I do have pretty good acoustics in my lounge. It is fully carpeted which I think makes a huge difference. You are however, not the only person who has remarked that they found this combo unsatisfactory. There were a few comments on some YouTube reviews of the Metas that were saying something similar. One did ask whether the speakers needed breaking in, which they most certainly do, indeed I think if anything, the 200 hours of recommended break in is an underestimate. When I started this journey, I never anticipated that I would be willing to spend as much as I did, but now I have a taste for this and am hearing others saying that the Metas could sound much better with a more expensive amp, I really am considering spending what I would previously have considered crazy money on an amp that could get much more out of them. I'm having an absolute love affair with the Metas as they not only sound beautiful, they look beautiful, and I want to give them the very best. One amp I have got my eye on is the Exposure 2510 amp, which was recently reviewed on the British Audiophile YouTube channel who said it was hands down the finest sounding amp he had ever heard at this price range with the price being nearly £1600. I have a pretty decent separate DAC, so I'm OK there, but the thing that worries me is that I might spend the money and not hear much of a difference. I'm left with that ago old question, at what point does the improvement in sound diminish to the point where the price can no longer justify it, and I have yet to come across any audiophile who has a totally satisfactory answer to that question.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Thanks everyone for all the replies. Your comments have been most helpful.
With today's electronics.. they are alot more sterile and clinical than hifi of old.. some hifi is still genre suited (ie b&o is still suited better for classical/jazz than pop... denon is more suited for pop than any other genre) so getting the right combo can be a bit trickier.

I will note your 2nd choice of amp there .. the Exposure is double the cost of the 6000a and 600 quid more than the 8300a! it will certainly have lot more meat to its sound and control than the audiolab can offer.. but at that £1600 mark.. you have a serious market where you can shape those Metas to the exact sound you want... cue the Rega Elicit-R for example.. perfect and good bass at lower volume and alot more lower volume control than the exposure ;)
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
but the thing that worries me is that I might spend the money and not hear much of a difference.
Most dealers are entirely sympathetic to that. Any good one would be more than happy demonstrate a bunch of amps plugged into your speakers. Home trials for a healthy deposit are also possible.

I'm left with that ago old question, at what point does the improvement in sound diminish to the point where the price can no longer justify it, and I have yet to come across any audiophile who has a totally satisfactory answer to that question.
A colleague at work has spent tens and tens of thousands over the years. However he's well paid, isn't into cars or boats, has grown up children, and has never been divorced.

At the end of the day, we're definitely talking luxury goods here. Whether it's business class flights, pedigree dogs, expensive clothes, or fine wine, it just comes down to what you personally value.

If £1000 is all you have in the world, it will feel like an unjustifiable fortune. Conversely you might be able to part with £5000 like it's pocket change. IMHO if you have to borrow money to pay for it then you're going too far, but then we're into a conversation about debt and your views might be 180 degrees away from mine.
 

bezzi

Standard Member
Just made an account to post this thread...I have the kef ls50 meta with an audio lab 6000a and had the same thought that getting a more powerful and more expensive amp would make the sound much better. I got a Musical Fidelity M6i(200 watts in 8 ohms) and noticed very little difference in the overall sound quality, tbh I prefer the audiolab a bit more as in my opinion it sounds more neutral, while the musical fidelity seem to have more of a v-shaped sound. The M6i does get louder but I feel that when I go towards 90db+ the LS50 starts to distort sound quite a bit. I understand that the M6i isn’t the most high end amp in the world but with a £3000 msrp and great reviews it should destroy the audiolab. I guess the 6000a is pretty much the point of diminishing returns for a system in a small room playing at moderate volumes. No disrespect but I see a lot of people here talking about other amps without ever hearing the ls50 + Audiolab combo and comparing to more expensive options and I think that this helps create a very unhealthy culture of audiophiles fooling themselves into thinking that they always need to throw more money into more gear because their sound isn’t “good enough”. Also here in the UK a couple of dealers are selling the meta’s with the 6000a so there must be some sort of good synergy going on.
TLDR: Don’t make the same mistake as me, don’t spend your hard earned money in a fancy amp. It WON’T make a significant difference at this point. Buy a subwoofer, better speakers, loads of records or a nice holiday for you and your family instead ✌️
 
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wine man

Active Member
On the other hand why are so many people buying the LS50 Kef speaker variants and then blaming other parts of the system for below par sound? There are lots of great speakers out there, not just Kef.
 

bezzi

Standard Member
On the other hand why are so many people buying the LS50 Kef speaker variants and then blaming other parts of the system for below par sound? There are lots of great speakers out there, not just Kef.
I think people read all the positive reviews and forget that they’re still small bookshelf speakers and as such will suffer from the same issues small speakers have(can’t play very loud, lacks bass, etc...)
 

gava

Well-known Member
On the other hand why are so many people buying the LS50 Kef speaker variants and then blaming other parts of the system for below par sound? There are lots of great speakers out there, not just Kef.

Before I got my LS50 I was 99% sure that without a sub I would not be happy. So it turned out to be. With a sub I like them very much.

That's not blaming other parts of the system though, and certainly they can require a powerful amplifier at some volumes and for transient power. I am currently using them near-field and probably only using a couple of watts in general.

A few of us in this thread have been saying all along: if you don't have a sub - get one first, then see if you still think you need a more powerful amp.
 

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