KEF LS50 Meta + Audiolab 6000A missing the mark

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
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.
That is true, which makes @bezzi 's post all the more interesting. Thanks for signing up just to comment btw. :)
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
@Kris49 before spending a lot of money, have a read of this post by @bezzi who signed up to the forum just to offer his experience on the other thread. As anyone would tell you, demonstrations required!
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
@Kris49 before spending a lot of money, have a read of this post by @bezzi who signed up to the forum just to offer his experience on the other thread. As anyone would tell you, demonstrations required!
Agreed.. and on Post 11 on this thread i specifically mention this also!

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!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
As there are two threads running on exactly the same subject I have merged them as you have the same respondents.
 

FRFT

Active Member
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.
I think if you're happy with your speakers now, the biggest improvement you can get is by adding a sub as other people have mentioned. In my opinion, up to around £2k is the most you need to spend on speakers, and less than that on an amp nowadays.

The only issue with a sub is integrating it well with your speakers, which can be quite difficult depending on your room.

Don't trust half the things reviewers say.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
An amplifier that’s not really suitable for the speakers is still an amplifier that’s not suitable for the speakers, even after adding a subwoofer - unless the amplifier has on board bass management, which can help.
 

mykeldg

Standard Member
Most amplifiers can drive most speakers, but it doesn’t mean they’re a good match, nor does it mean they’ll do it well. Putting a 6000A into Kef Reference 3s is basically a nonsensical thing to do. There are NO sub £1,000 amplifiers that will do anywhere near a decent job with any Reference models.
Well you can hear it from the video and judge for yourself if it as crap as you've assumed it be. IMO it sounds fairly decent albeit probably alot less SPL and control than its full potential.

Its not about cost and Wattage but more on quality of components and size of your room. A 5W class A amp would smoke a 60-watt AB amp in a fairly small room. I've tried it myself and shared the results here.

But we all hear differently and have different priorities.

All i'm saying is if he doesn't like the sound of the speaker, an expensive amp that costs more than the speaker won't likely fix it. I've tried Kef speakers and they really do sound a bit ho-hum to me especially at low volumes since they are mid centric by nature (BBC tuning). But that is just my personal preference and lots of others love it for their warmish neutrality and coherence.
 
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davidf

Well-known Member
@mykeldg

I haven’t used the word “crap”.

Most amplifiers can “drive” most speakers, but of course, whether they can make them sound good is an entirely different matter.

I’ve used many, many amplifiers with the original LS50s and now the Meta version, and I’m speaking from experience. Many who visit dealers end up hearing LS50s on little Class D lifestyle systems and sub £500 amplifiers which are only going to show the LS50 in a very mediocre light - KEF Q350s should be used in these systems. The same will go for the Reference models. I’ve known a dealer to demonstrate a pair of B&W 805 speakers with a Cyrus 8 amplifier. Same thing. Some dealers are reluctant to scare away potential customers with the price tag, so won’t play a pair of LS50s with a suitable amplifier as it’ll essentially double the price, at least. Personally, I feel the Cyrus One amplifiers are the amp of choice under £1,000 for LS50s.

I agree it’s not about wattage. I’ve had 50w amplifiers driving power hungry speakers with 82dB sensitivity (probably less in reality), and the results have been amazing, but that’s because the amplifier has been well designed in the first place and uses quality parts, being able to remain stable at lower impedances, unlike many sub £1k amplifiers.

In order to ascertain whether anyone likes a speaker or not, they need to hear them with an amplifier capable of making them sound the way they’ve been designed to sound. The chosen amplifier can drastically alter the sound of the speaker, depending on whether it is capable enough or not. Using a 6000a isn’t going to tell you anything about whether you like a pair of Reference 3 speakers - if anything, it’ll make the listener think they aren’t keen on the speakers because they’ll be seriously underperforming. They certainly won’t sound like a £10,000 loudspeaker in this instance.

I did once try a Hegel Rost on a pair of Blades (not Blade 2s) purely because I could at the time, expecting it to sound pretty dull. It was surprisingly punchy (something that usually lacks in mismatches), but still showed signs to an experienced ear that it’s not the sort of pairing you’d actually pay for. Hegel do have excellent amplification though - they’re stable at lower impedances, and double their power when the impedance halves - so I think that’s the reason it sounded acceptable.
 

andycc72

Active Member
@mykeldg

I feel the Cyrus One amplifiers are the amp of choice under £1,000 for LS50s.
I run my LS50's with the Cyrus One and it does a great job. Prior to that (for a very short period) I had the Marantz PM6005 and it was woefully inadequate with these speakers
 
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davidf

Well-known Member
I run my LS50's with the Cyrus One and it does a great job. Prior to that (for a very short period) I had the Marantz PM6005 and it was woefully inadequate with these speakers
That sounds spot on to me. The 6005s are popular amps (and previous iterations), mostly because they’re always discounted, but they’re only good when used within their capabilities, like most amps. They’re suited to Q Series, but R Series and LS50s are outside of their performance window. A 6005 is already a bit warm sounding, but with a speaker it can’t control, it’ll just end up soft and dull, with no get up and go to the sound. Sadly, there far too many systems like this in people’s houses - no wonder many people are leaving separates behind and going the Sonos route - it’s mostly the fault of the dealers for selling systems like this (and you’ll see numerous mismatched “packages” being sold online), but sometimes the end user due to not auditioning the system before buying. Of course, if someone is happy with the sound, that’s fine, but more often than not, it’ll just lead to more “upgrading” further down the line.
 

mykeldg

Standard Member
@mykeldg

I haven’t used the word “crap”.

Most amplifiers can “drive” most speakers, but of course, whether they can make them sound good is an entirely different matter.

I’ve used many, many amplifiers with the original LS50s and now the Meta version, and I’m speaking from experience. Many who visit dealers end up hearing LS50s on little Class D lifestyle systems and sub £500 amplifiers which are only going to show the LS50 in a very mediocre light - KEF Q350s should be used in these systems. The same will go for the Reference models. I’ve known a dealer to demonstrate a pair of B&W 805 speakers with a Cyrus 8 amplifier. Same thing. Some dealers are reluctant to scare away potential customers with the price tag, so won’t play a pair of LS50s with a suitable amplifier as it’ll essentially double the price, at least. Personally, I feel the Cyrus One amplifiers are the amp of choice under £1,000 for LS50s.

I agree it’s not about wattage. I’ve had 50w amplifiers driving power hungry speakers with 82dB sensitivity (probably less in reality), and the results have been amazing, but that’s because the amplifier has been well designed in the first place and uses quality parts, being able to remain stable at lower impedances, unlike many sub £1k amplifiers.

In order to ascertain whether anyone likes a speaker or not, they need to hear them with an amplifier capable of making them sound the way they’ve been designed to sound. The chosen amplifier can drastically alter the sound of the speaker, depending on whether it is capable enough or not. Using a 6000a isn’t going to tell you anything about whether you like a pair of Reference 3 speakers - if anything, it’ll make the listener think they aren’t keen on the speakers because they’ll be seriously underperforming. They certainly won’t sound like a £10,000 loudspeaker in this instance.

I did once try a Hegel Rost on a pair of Blades (not Blade 2s) purely because I could at the time, expecting it to sound pretty dull. It was surprisingly punchy (something that usually lacks in mismatches), but still showed signs to an experienced ear that it’s not the sort of pairing you’d actually pay for. Hegel do have excellent amplification though - they’re stable at lower impedances, and double their power when the impedance halves - so I think that’s the reason it sounded acceptable.
all true. Though I really did like the sound of the ref 3 on that demo probably among the most pleasant KEF demos I've heard atleast on YT and had always thought the 6000a might be pretty good enough to consider trying/buying it. But haven't heard them in person nor the Ref 3 so by principle, my guess is the ref 3 is much more capable than the already impressive sound from the 6000a demo.

But yeah this is a subjective hobby with lots of different factors, experience & moving parts.

what amp did you end up liking for your ls50s?
 
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hamzamian

Active Member
all true. Though I really did like the sound of the ref 3 on that demo probably among the most pleasant KEF demos I've heard atleast on YT and had always thought the 6000a might be pretty good enough to consider trying/buying it. But haven't heard them in person nor the Ref 3 so by principle, my guess is the ref 3 is much more capable than the already impressive sound from the 6000a demo.

But yeah this is a subjective hobby with lots of different factors, experience & moving parts.

what amp did you end up liking for your ls50s?
Can you really tell what it would sound like from watching YT video? Isn't all your hearing the capability of the mic recording it, the limitations of the compression of YT and then your own audio system?
 

FRFT

Active Member
You can't really hear anything on a youtube demo. At best, you can hear the difference in sound signatures between speakers if they are compared under exactly the same conditions. For example if one is brighter than the other.

Also, nobody can really suggest an amp doesn't pair well with a certain speaker if they haven't heard it.

There is a lot of bashing of class D amps when in reality that's where everyone is heading. The LS50 wireless 2 use class D for the woofers themselves. A good amp is a good amp, and there is good and bad from all types.
 

mykeldg

Standard Member
Can you really tell what it would sound like from watching YT video? Isn't all your hearing the capability of the mic recording it, the limitations of the compression of YT and then your own audio system?
sure, that is the generic argument I always hear and it is correct in most cases.

But if it already sounds great on YT, logically it will sound even better in real life and likely won't be the opposite.
 

mykeldg

Standard Member
You can't really hear anything on a youtube demo. At best, you can hear the difference in sound signatures between speakers if they are compared under exactly the same conditions. For example if one is brighter than the other.

Also, nobody can really suggest an amp doesn't pair well with a certain speaker if they haven't heard it.

There is a lot of bashing of class D amps when in reality that's where everyone is heading. The LS50 wireless 2 use class D for the woofers themselves. A good amp is a good amp, and there is good and bad from all types.
yeah, usually its only meaningful when comparing 2 identical setup & rooms since the surrounding equipment, recorder, etc stays constant. still, its all very subjective.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
Also, nobody can really suggest an amp doesn't pair well with a certain speaker if they haven't heard it.
Doesnt stop people! :)

There is a lot of bashing of class D amps when in reality that's where everyone is heading. The LS50 wireless 2 use class D for the woofers themselves. A good amp is a good amp, and there is good and bad from all types.
If it was practical, I think KEF would use Class AB like they do for the HF units, but obviously in a compact cabinet, Class D is almost essential, much like small subwoofers nowadays. Some speakers just don’t seem to pair too well with Class D amplification, sounding a little dull. One example - Bel Canto C5i, put them on Larsen 4.2 speakers and the combo sings, but put the amp with the Amphion Argon 3S and it just falls flat - replace the BC with a Hegel H120 and the speakers just come alive.
 

FRFT

Active Member
Sorry but I have to disagree. KEF used class D for the woofer because it's a better option no doubt. More efficient, less heat, smaller, sounds the same or better. I wouldn't be surprised if they used AB for the tweeter just for marketing reasons, however it may just be that the amp they had on hand was already suited to this tweeter.

You're also comparing two different integrated amps (so different DACs too) and coming to the conclusion that the whole of class D is at fault here. The reality is, not all class AB amps synergise well with all speakers either. You don't automatically write off class AB amps for that reason, do you?

I have heard a cheap SMSL class D amp and nothing about it suggested it was a class D amp from all the stereotypes online. It sounded like a normal amp. I have also heard the hypex nc252mp power amp in the same setup and this sounded totally different, my point being class D amps all sound different.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
So a quick update. I decided to try out the least risk (to funds) route and picked up a REL T5i. Ordered from RS over the phone and it turned out to have been discounted - now £399.

I'm still working on the integration - people weren't lying when they said it was tricky, not helped by the fact that crawling on the floor to tweak knobs whilst I sit in the listening position is anathema to the Mrs!

However, I think I've reached a good "starter for 10" setup now and am very much enjoying the added body it brings to proceedings. I've got the crossover set at about 40 Hz and the level quite low - it's very easy to overdo it.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
So a quick update. I decided to try out the least risk (to funds) route and picked up a REL T5i. Ordered from RS over the phone and it turned out to have been discounted - now £399.

I'm still working on the integration - people weren't lying when they said it was tricky, not helped by the fact that crawling on the floor to tweak knobs whilst I sit in the listening position is anathema to the Mrs!

However, I think I've reached a good "starter for 10" setup now and am very much enjoying the added body it brings to proceedings. I've got the crossover set at about 40 Hz and the level quite low - it's very easy to overdo it.

I’d just sell the Audiolab and buy this.

Save all the hassle of bass management and any lack of power for the Kefs.

Best hifi bargain around.


Or


Either way, fit the amp in its place. Do Dirac. Adjust.

Then enjoy calibrated, first class, full range sound for a decade or more without touching a thing ever again.

 
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rc789

Active Member
So a quick update. I decided to try out the least risk (to funds) route and picked up a REL T5i. Ordered from RS over the phone and it turned out to have been discounted - now £399.

I'm still working on the integration - people weren't lying when they said it was tricky, not helped by the fact that crawling on the floor to tweak knobs whilst I sit in the listening position is anathema to the Mrs!

However, I think I've reached a good "starter for 10" setup now and am very much enjoying the added body it brings to proceedings. I've got the crossover set at about 40 Hz and the level quite low - it's very easy to overdo it.
I had a T9i which was great with some Dali Opticon 5 but a bit tricky with Klipsh floorstanders. Possibly due to the klipsch going lower. Whilst experimenting with the crossover on the Rel I pushed it up quite high whilst connected using the high level feature and it sounded wildly different tonally as a whole. I didn’t leave it like that for long as I felt it took something away from the higher frequencies or a slight over empowerment in the bass section. The adjustment knob for crossover is not linear so that makes it a bit more complicated to know where you are at. I suppose you could test it with some of the software that’s out there but that takes some patience, time, knowledge and understanding.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
I had a T9i which was great with some Dali Opticon 5 but a bit tricky with Klipsh floorstanders. Possibly due to the klipsch going lower. Whilst experimenting with the crossover on the Rel I pushed it up quite high whilst connected using the high level feature and it sounded wildly different tonally as a whole. I didn’t leave it like that for long as I felt it took something away from the higher frequencies or a slight over empowerment in the bass section. The adjustment knob for crossover is not linear so that makes it a bit more complicated to know where you are at. I suppose you could test it with some of the software that’s out there but that takes some patience, time, knowledge and understanding.
Using a sine wave tone generator, I found that the LS50 goes down to somewhere in the mid 40 Hz range. I now need to disconnect them and try the REL on its own to find a suitable crossover setting. Aiming for minimal overlap so the speakers just sound bigger rather than having obvious sub boom.
 

GavinHallPhoto

Standard Member
I’d just sell the Audiolab and buy this.

Save all the hassle of bass management and any lack of power for the Kefs.

Best hifi bargain around.


Or


Either way, fit the amp in its place. Do Dirac. Adjust.

Then enjoy calibrated, first class, full range sound for a decade or more without touching a thing ever again.

That's a lot of meat for the money. I had been thinking about checking out that Lyngdorf you've advocated. It'll be 2022 before I could get that though...I've used my WAF points for now!
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
That's a lot of meat for the money. I had been thinking about checking out that Lyngdorf you've advocated. It'll be 2022 before I could get that though...I've used my WAF points for now!

The 1120 is something else. I’m still rather astonished what it does. It’s control is epic. As the kids say.

When you get one I doubt you’ll be less amazed than I am.

The Arcam is very good too and half it’s price so it was worth a mention.
 

FRFT

Active Member
I've been following this thread, and it's good to hear you are happy with your sub, Gav. Despite only adding 20-50hz extra over speakers, a sub makes a huge difference as the bass is what really carries the music in most genres.

Aiming for minimal overlap so the speakers just sound bigger rather than having obvious sub boom.
That is a good idea, and how a good sub should be. You shouldn't actually hear that a sub is on, it should just sound like music is playing through a larger pair of speakers. If you can hear that there is a sub on, the volume on the sub usually needs to go down or the crossover could do with some adjusting.

You want the sub and the speakers to overlap where the speakers start naturally rolling off on their own. You don't want the speakers to cut off and then the sub kick in. The speakers should be down by about -6db at the crossover, if that means anything to you. The crossover setting you set on the sub (e.g. 50hz) would usually also mean the sub is down -6db at 50hz, then they sum together to make the sound the correct volume.

You should also try the phase switch, I think it's just 0 or 180 on your sub. It's important to try both to see if it helps it integrate better.

Let us know how it goes :)
 

davidf

Well-known Member
Sorry but I have to disagree. KEF used class D for the woofer because it's a better option no doubt. More efficient, less heat, smaller, sounds the same or better. I wouldn't be surprised if they used AB for the tweeter just for marketing reasons, however it may just be that the amp they had on hand was already suited to this tweeter.
Like I said, a smaller cabinet requires hard working amplification that doesn’t run hot - the HF unit using Class AB doesn’t produce as much heat as the LF driver would, and they chose Class AB for quality reasons.

You're also comparing two different integrated amps (so different DACs too) and coming to the conclusion that the whole of class D is at fault here. The reality is, not all class AB amps synergise well with all speakers either. You don't automatically write off class AB amps for that reason, do you?
The DACs aren’t affecting the synergy in my comparison anywhere near as much as the amplification is. Some seem to elevate Class D and class it as some sort of holy grail that solves all issues. It doesn’t, it’s just as fussy with accompanying speakers as Class AB can be. It can sound excellent when done properly, but it still needs careful speaker matching.
 

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