KEF LS50 Meta Standmount Speaker Review & Comments

johnburn

Active Member
He's not based in the UK, in America and Europe - the price is the same. I guess you can thank Brexit for that, although, at the old retail price of £800, we were definitely getting a good deal, even now, we are still cheaper than the US and the EU.

Even as he said - he's not going into the cable debate, I don't think they would or could add that much. The point is, the passives and actives are much closer this time round than the last generation. I have the blue set and they're definitely a step up over the passive LS50 that I have now used as my rears, and I don't have £950 cables... Never heard the active versions of either generation mind you.
 

sansui au719

Standard Member
A great review. The comments about some less expensive amps struggling to bring out the best in these speakers really illustrates a curious problem of selling a speaker at half the price of its peers. Buyers naturally tend to match components based on price when they really should match these based on performance.

I have the original LS50s in piano black (anniversary models) matched with a Sansui au719. The pairing is unforgiving of poor source material but transparent to good recordings and offering more heft than I can reasonably use (I damaged a driver during one particularly window shaking session in the countryside).

The LS50s were an instant design classic coupled with a gorgeous sound. Now here's an even better version keeping all the magic of the originals and adding a secret sauce for just £1,000. What's not to love ? Personally I prefer the piano black with the rose gold drivers over the white, but to each his own. A lesser speaker might struggle to carry off such looks.

The temptation to upgrade to the Meta version was already hard enough to resist without yet another glowing review. Mind you, the original LS50s are now reduced to around £600. If the LS50 Metas aren't at least 66% better then perhaps the original LS50s are now the real bargain.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
A pair of these and a Lyngdorf 1120 may well be all the hifi almost anyone could need.
 

MYMY

Novice Member
Very good condo speakers, not considered audiophile but they don't need to be. Sound quality, look and price are meant this to be a lifestyle statement speaker. Overall very successful marketing.
 

sansui au719

Standard Member
Very good condo speakers, not considered audiophile but they don't need to be. Sound quality, look and price are meant this to be a lifestyle statement speaker. Overall very successful marketing.
I feel you are damning with faint praise.

The LS50s have always been first and foremost an audiophile speaker, developed for the mass market by an innovative high-end audiophile company. KEF's ability to draw on the technology and expertise behind their top end products means the budget price and chic functional good looks are simply a bonus.

There's precious little marketing required when a speaker this good from such a respected company is sold at a price well below that of its peers, especially when KEF can draw on the considerable reputation of the original LS50, which scooped up every award and set a new bar for performance at the price point. That the LS50 Meta is proving to be even better than its predecessor should worry many audiophile speaker manufacturers.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Very good condo speakers, not considered audiophile but they don't need to be. Sound quality, look and price are meant this to be a lifestyle statement speaker. Overall very successful marketing.
You need to qualify such a statement. If you know better than a professional reviewer then give the information for members to digest. You're not going to win any arguments with such a throw away comment.
 

sansui au719

Standard Member
Very good condo speakers, not considered audiophile but they don't need to be. Sound quality, look and price are meant this to be a lifestyle statement speaker. Overall very successful marketing.
Having read your speaker review with the NAD M10 I'm left wondering if you really gave the LS50's a fair hearing. The placement of the speakers in your photos suggests you've ignored the advice to keep the LS50s clear of a wall with at least 50cm of space all round. They should also be mounted on solid stands as they're not bookshelf speakers. They're rather demanding of partnering equipment so not all amplifiers will play well with them, but those that do shine. They're not a sensitive speaker so they will sound quieter at the same power output but believe me, they can shake the walls if driven well. Thought their bass is suprisingly good for their size many folks couple them with a small sub. I run mine with a Rel T5i, which is a nice combo. It depends on the type of music you listen to. Rather than a lifestyle statement the look is purely functional, from the Uni-Q driver to the enclosure material which has increased mass and inertness over more traditional wood enclosures.

Clearly the LS50 Metas didn't shine in your particular setup with your NAD M10, nor were they to your taste, but this is a review of the LS50 Meta's overall capability. There are many amps that work beautifully with these speakers, some a good deal cheaper than the M10. Your sweeping generalisation in this review is based on a single particular instance and clearly at odds to the experience of the vast majority of reviewers, both professional and amateur. Perhaps qualifying your critique would make it more informative in future.
 

MYMY

Novice Member
Yes, thanks - that's correct tests were done out of the box in a room as is. In comparison I see buyers who listen to speakers in the store using their setup, their amps and speaker placement. Often they go around the store listen to many unique amp-speaker sets and make expensive purchase decisions. As I red Meta's industry and user reviews like the most I wanted them to be "it". It happened for me in my room Monitor Audio Silver 200 were the overall better performing set. Meta sounded small, still good extension and all just didn’t work with my amp, room and taste. I'm positive in other setup other buyers would pick something else - LS50 Meta or not.
 

sansui au719

Standard Member
Yes, thanks - that's correct tests were done out of the box in a room as is. In comparison I see buyers who listen to speakers in the store using their setup, their amps and speaker placement. Often they go around the store listen to many unique amp-speaker sets and make expensive purchase decisions. As I red Meta's industry and user reviews like the most I wanted them to be "it". It happened for me in my room Monitor Audio Silver 200 were the overall better performing set. Meta sounded small, still good extension and all just didn’t work with my amp, room and taste. I'm positive in other setup other buyers would pick something else - LS50 Meta or not.
There's always going to be some subjectiveness in any review, but particularly in an amateur setup, which is why it's so important to qualify any opinion with as much information as possible about your setup.

It's unfortunate that you didn't state here how you came to form your opinion or even that it was just your opinon. In actuall fact, you'd drawn your opinion from reviewing the NAD M10 - LS50 Meta as a system, rather than just the LS50 Meta. You also failed to mention what music you used in your testing. It's impossible for any speaker to be best at all types of music.

Clearly you had very high expectations for the LS50 meta and feel somewhat let down, yet if you'd given the KEFs a little more power to make up for their lack of sensitivity and placed them according to the manufacturer's guidelines you may have had an entirely different experience. Squeezing the speakers into a crowded space is like Pavarotti having to perform in a phone booth.

Sometimes it can be better to audition in store. In many cases you get good advice from experienced audiophiles, the demo components are usually well run in and there's normally plenty of room to place speakers properly, including mounting them on stands if needed. I've got some nice Custom Design stands weighed down with inert filler. These relatively inexpensive stands make a huge difference to sound quality.

At the end of the day, despite not working out for you, the LS50 Metas are still widely recognised as one of the very best audiophile speakers for the price.
 

MYMY

Novice Member
Thanks, good post. I gave those 4 sets of speakers equal chance to shine: Same room, same amp, cables, placement, Tidal songs Jazz, Classical, Metal etc. Thats is considerable time, money and effort I believe beyond average buyers approach of purchasing home speakers. I wish there was another test like this I can look at but it wasn't, so I had to do it to help me form my opinion on the speakers. Similarly, the Hi-Fi forums, posts and pictures of audiophile rooms suggest most audiophiles picked speakers other than Meta. There are also people who posted they bought LS50 Meta and say they are the best... which is great, the more the merrier. Lastly in terms of professionals: I also talked to my hi-fi store. They said it's fine but if Meta was that good they would've carried it already. Here's their link for reference, inquiries and suggestions:

Link removed by admin

Hope that helps. Mustang vs Camaro, really...
 
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tintin jones

Well-known Member
Pardon the possibly stupid questions but

1) would the Denon X3600 amp be sufficient to drive a pair of these?
2) would these be good as front left and right for home theatre set up? And if so what centre would suit with them?
 

Fergal82

Distinguished Member
Pardon the possibly stupid questions but

1) would the Denon X3600 amp be sufficient to drive a pair of these?
2) would these be good as front left and right for home theatre set up? And if so what centre would suit with them?
1) the Darko video linked might give some insight into this question (the metas easier to drive irrc)
2) yes and another meta on its side!

 

sansui au719

Standard Member
I
Thanks, good post. I gave those 4 sets of speakers equal chance to shine: Same room, same amp, cables, placement, Tidal songs Jazz, Classical, Metal etc. Thats is considerable time, money and effort I believe beyond average buyers approach of purchasing home speakers. I wish there was another test like this I can look at but it wasn't, so I had to do it to help me form my opinion on the speakers. Similarly, the Hi-Fi forums, posts and pictures of audiophile rooms suggest most audiophiles picked speakers other than Meta. There are also people who posted they bought LS50 Meta and say they are the best... which is great, the more the merrier. Lastly in terms of professionals: I also talked to my hi-fi store. They said it's fine but if Meta was that good they would've carried it already. Here's their link for reference, inquiries and suggestions:

Link removed by admin

Hope that helps. Mustang vs Camaro, really...
Personal choice does not come into an objective review of the LS50 Meta. You've presented a very subjective opinion, even if you believed you were being objective.

You performed a rather subjective group test of several speakers partnered with your NAD M10 in a somewhat cluttered home environment. The KEFs sound their best with careful placement but not squeezed against a wall on top of another speaker or on a shelf. Any objective test should be at the same listening amplitude rather than the same amplifier setting, to account for a very human bias towards louder speakers, even at subconscious levels, a trick salemen know well. How entirely predictable then that you preferred a speaker that wasn't as fussy about placement and was louder at the same amplifier setting.

In a subjective review It's your home, your setup, your amp and your taste that's important. But then you posted on a KEF LS50 Meta review thread, without any of the above context, that the LS50 Metas are not an audiophile speaker but merely a lifestyle choice and a clever marketing exercise. You back this up in a following post by claiming that your local store, who don't stock KEF, expressed a similar opinion. Here's a tip. Salesmen never recommend that you buy a speaker they don't sell. They only get paid to move their own stock.

People generally prefer reviews of speakers by those who actually own them, having run them in and found their best placement. The original LS50s typically required about 200 hours to really open up. The KEF LS50s are quite fussy about placement, other less so. Components don't exist in a vacuum. The LS50s are very demanding of partnering equipment. I've not read of anyone recommending them with any NAD amps, so perhaps they just don't match well.

At least qualify your reviews in future, with context, so that others can learn something from your experience. All reviews can be worthwhile, but without context they can also be misleading.

As a long time LS50 owner I believe that most people will be more than happy with these incredible speakers or their derivatives, especially at the price. There's an overwhelming consensus shared across reviewers and owners that the LS50, its successor the LS50 Meta and the wireless versions of the LS50, represent fantastic bang for buck and can better many more expensive rivals.

Happy listening.
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
Not the greatest look

 

sansui au719

Standard Member
Not the greatest look

Rel T5i is a better choice* for matching stand-mounters.

EDIT : * For the price and for those who don't need to be quite so minimalist. I might have to eat my words once the real world reviews come in. I should say the REL T5i is a great choice for a stand-mounter like the LS50 at its price point.

EDIT 2 : Just listening to Tracy Chapman and Cigarettes After Sex. LS50s and Rel T5i working nicely together.
 
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