NEWS: KEF announces LS50 Wireless II speakers

meduk1

Active Member
Like everything about these apart from the price!

The smaller / cheaper LSX have been on my radar for a while. The bigger soundstage and the additional HDMI eArc make these a much more attractive offer, however can't justify the price.

Do they offer any form of magnetic grills for these to make them child proof?
 

hunt808

Well-known Member
Like everything about these apart from the price!

The smaller / cheaper LSX have been on my radar for a while. The bigger soundstage and the additional HDMI eArc make these a much more attractive offer, however can't justify the price.

Do they offer any form of magnetic grills for these to make them child proof?

There's now going to be a lot of great deals on the outgoing LS50 wireless, so I'd look at those over the LSX.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
I don’t think they’ve got airplay? That’s a deal breaker for me


With the KEF Connect app, the front end streaming service allows connection to Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, Internet Radio stations and podcasts. And you can stream directly from the native app with Spotify Connect. Streaming music files up to 24bit/384kHz is supported as well as support for MQA Decoding and Hi-Res DSD256 audio playback. The range of compatible wireless platforms includes AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast which seamlessly connects to compatible Apple or Android devices, and Bluetooth is included too.
 

meduk1

Active Member
With the KEF Connect app, the front end streaming service allows connection to Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, Internet Radio stations and podcasts. And you can stream directly from the native app with Spotify Connect. Streaming music files up to 24bit/384kHz is supported as well as support for MQA Decoding and Hi-Res DSD256 audio playback. The range of compatible wireless platforms includes AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast which seamlessly connects to compatible Apple or Android devices, and Bluetooth is included too.

Was referring to the comment on the original LS50's likely having some good deals out. I don't think they have AirPlay so not something I'd consider.
 

Hoku

Active Member
I can’t help feeling for those who stumped up £2k for the original KEF LS50 wireless, with many users reporting a very glitchy app, only to find that the LS50II has a new sorted app...that’s not backward compatible. Really KEF? So you’re saying that even though the mark 1’s have a rear input clearly marked ‘service’, that you’re not going to permit buyers to use this facility to upgrade the firmware to use the new app on the older speakers? I would imagine that’s what buyers thought that input would be for, wouldn’t you?

As much as I like the idea of a simple ‘sleeper’ active speaker system with everything, including the streamer built in, this lack of support over time totally makes me more convinced that separates are the way to go.

Compare the (I would imagine let down and possibly disgruntled) experience of a LS50 wireless mark 1 purchaser, with someone who bought the passives with a separate amp and streamer. OK, for the meta materials improvement, they might feel they want to upgrade the speakers, but at least they’re not ditching a £2k system to do so.

Active systems like this do seem attractive...in the short term. But it’s precisely this lack of app support from manufacturers that’s a real turn-off for me, and would make me very wary indeed before stumping up the £2.2k for the Wireless mark 2’s.

By the accounts of reviewers (check out John Darko’s YouTube review), the new all-in-one app is a much slicker experience. But how long will it be supported for, considering the experience of those who purchased the mark 1’s?


KEF’s approach seems the opposite of NAD’s commendable view of backward compatibility in the form of their MDC slots - so users can add new inputs, firmware or even new streamers, into the back of their older systems.
 

hunt808

Well-known Member
I can’t help feeling for those who stumped up £2k for the original KEF LS50 wireless, with many users reporting a very glitchy app, only to find that the LS50II has a new sorted app...that’s not backward compatible. Really KEF? So you’re saying that even though the mark 1’s have a rear input clearly marked ‘service’, that you’re not going to permit buyers to use this facility to upgrade the firmware to use the new app on the older speakers? I would imagine that’s what buyers thought that input would be for, wouldn’t you?

As much as I like the idea of a simple ‘sleeper’ active speaker system with everything, including the streamer built in, this lack of support over time totally makes me more convinced that separates are the way to go.

Compare the (I would imagine let down and possibly disgruntled) experience of a LS50 wireless mark 1 purchaser, with someone who bought the passives with a separate amp and streamer. OK, for the meta materials improvement, they might feel they want to upgrade the speakers, but at least they’re not ditching a £2k system to do so.

Active systems like this do seem attractive...in the short term. But it’s precisely this lack of app support from manufacturers that’s a real turn-off for me, and would make me very wary indeed before stumping up the £2.2k for the Wireless mark 2’s.

By the accounts of reviewers (check out John Darko’s YouTube review), the new all-in-one app is a much slicker experience. But how long will it be supported for, considering the experience of those who purchased the mark 1’s?


KEF’s approach seems the opposite of NAD’s commendable view of backward compatibility in the form of their MDC slots - so users can add new inputs, firmware or even new streamers, into the back of their older systems.

Keep in mind that although the new app is not compatible with the LS50W today, it may be tomorrow, or the original app could benefit from the programming in the new app and receive an update.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
Keep in mind that although the new app is not compatible with the LS50W today, it may be tomorrow, or the original app could benefit from the programming in the new app and receive an update.
or not if the legacy hardware cannot support the new software as has happened to other manufacturers products - do you have inside information or are you just guessing?
 

hunt808

Well-known Member
or not if the legacy hardware cannot support the new software as has happened to other manufacturers products - do you have inside information or are you just guessing?

I don't have inside information about Kef, but I've been involved with software development for 20+ years and know how these things work. You may well find that once this product cycle is complete, the programming team switch their resources over to making updates. It's not guaranteed, just something I've seen happen many times before in different contexts.

My point is: the new software has only just been released, so it's too early to write-off any updates happening to the earlier model. Having said that, if I'm wrong, then I agree with the original comment that it's a worrying sign for buyers of all-in-one systems.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
....and I have been involved with IT and software development for 47 years and also know well how it works and all to often early versions of hardware quickly become outdated as the software overtakes the hardware's ability to support it. Sonos's recent software upgrade was a good example, then there is MS Windows..................................

If Kef do not publish their upgrade development roadmap stating that early hardware will continue to be supported then it is unlikely.
 

Paul7777x

Member
I can’t help feeling for those who stumped up £2k for the original KEF LS50 wireless, with many users reporting a very glitchy app, only to find that the LS50II has a new sorted app...that’s not backward compatible. Really KEF? So you’re saying that even though the mark 1’s have a rear input clearly marked ‘service’, that you’re not going to permit buyers to use this facility to upgrade the firmware to use the new app on the older speakers? I would imagine that’s what buyers thought that input would be for, wouldn’t you?

As much as I like the idea of a simple ‘sleeper’ active speaker system with everything, including the streamer built in, this lack of support over time totally makes me more convinced that separates are the way to go.

Compare the (I would imagine let down and possibly disgruntled) experience of a LS50 wireless mark 1 purchaser, with someone who bought the passives with a separate amp and streamer. OK, for the meta materials improvement, they might feel they want to upgrade the speakers, but at least they’re not ditching a £2k system to do so.

Active systems like this do seem attractive...in the short term. But it’s precisely this lack of app support from manufacturers that’s a real turn-off for me, and would make me very wary indeed before stumping up the £2.2k for the Wireless mark 2’s.

By the accounts of reviewers (check out John Darko’s YouTube review), the new all-in-one app is a much slicker experience. But how long will it be supported for, considering the experience of those who purchased the mark 1’s?


KEF’s approach seems the opposite of NAD’s commendable view of backward compatibility in the form of their MDC slots - so users can add new inputs, firmware or even new streamers, into the back of their older systems.

I have to agree. I’d be bloody peeved if I’d bought the originals.

I would expect the new app to be compatible. If that was absolutely impossible, I’d want to know why, and I’d still expect them to fix the original app up to realistic spec.

However, much as I like the idea of all in one actives, this is the reason I’ll forever stick with actives that are just that, simply speakers.

An external pre/dac/streamer is still the way to go.
 

Hoku

Active Member
I have to agree. I’d be bloody peeved if I’d bought the originals.

I would expect the new app to be compatible. If that was absolutely impossible, I’d want to know why, and I’d still expect them to fix the original app up to realistic spec.

However, much as I like the idea of all in one actives, this is the reason I’ll forever stick with actives that are just that, simply speakers.

An external pre/dac/streamer is still the way to go.

Fair point. Something like a Bluesound/NAD / Cambridge or Yamaha streamer / pre-amp with Acoustic Energy's AE1 actives seems a much longer-term proposition. (Or insert your favoured actives there). Really the speakers and amp should last until it physically breaks, which should provide many years of service.

But if the streamer/pre-amp becomes outdated (which is less likely to if from Bluesound/NAD or Yamaha), then at least that's all you need to upgrade. Not quite so painful than a £2k system that's out of date in a few years.

Good speakers and good amps should last decades (whether active or not), but I can't see streamers having that kind of longevity.

Having said all the gripes about the KEF LS50 Wireless (mainly the lack of support of the mark 1's than the 2's as such), I do like the inclusion of HDMI on the new model: that makes a lot of sense.

So it would be nice if the above mentioned streamer/pre-amp manufacturers thought of including an HDMI input. Maybe they already have and I just haven't picked up on it.
 

Ultimatt

Member
Just got myself a pair of these after I realized I've been listening to music out loud on small laptop speakers or smartphones for a large chunk of my adult life. I listen to a *lot* of music Ultimatt’s Music Profile | Last.fm. I can say without reservation these are life changing if like me you didn't know what you were missing, and couldn't be bothered to work out what amp you need to get and you do want streaming.... and the only brand of speakers you knew about were your Dad's old Kef's, that sounded great.

Had a tear in my eye when I realized how much time I had wasted with really poor quality audio. There is an entire snare drum in Take Five I'd not noticed before. I doubt you need to spend this much, probably a £300 complete setup second hand would have been just as big a jump. But these are super nice as objects in your house, trivial to setup and place, and support absolutely all the streaming companies/formats, including Tidal connect which isn't too well supported other than in other expensive kit. I dont regret spending the money at all, and am super shocked at how much this was a value purchase for me personally. There is about an entire man-year of my life that could have been an incredible experience if I had these sooner.

Lots of people online claim these speakers have a large sound stage, I've not experienced this especially, even with wide separation, could just be my quite small room. What is really good is the imaging though you can hear each sound and place it to a source nowhere near the speakers. Outside of music just stuff like binaural recordings of a rainforest or something is enough to take you outside of lockdown Britain for five seconds. Bit like VR of audio compared to a smartphone.

P.S. They are insanely heavy, like 26kg for the pair. I now live in constant fear of them falling to the floor.
 
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Southern soul

Active Member
Fair point. Something like a Bluesound/NAD / Cambridge or Yamaha streamer / pre-amp with Acoustic Energy's AE1 actives seems a much longer-term proposition. (Or insert your favoured actives there). Really the speakers and amp should last until it physically breaks, which should provide many years of service.

But if the streamer/pre-amp becomes outdated (which is less likely to if from Bluesound/NAD or Yamaha), then at least that's all you need to upgrade. Not quite so painful than a £2k system that's out of date in a few years.

Good speakers and good amps should last decades (whether active or not), but I can't see streamers having that kind of longevity.

Having said all the gripes about the KEF LS50 Wireless (mainly the lack of support of the mark 1's than the 2's as such), I do like the inclusion of HDMI on the new model: that makes a lot of sense.

The HDMI is a nice touch, unfortunately it doesn’t work with my LG OLED55B7 🤔
 

Hovitose

Active Member
These are wonderful. Only two issues. HDMI arc doesn’t work with my LG OLED. Hopefully a firmware update ASAP will remedy this. Also, I’m a Qobuz user. The KEF Connect App only indicates stream as FLAC, this of course must be CD quality at 16/44.1 kHz. However, what about high res up to 24/192 kHz? The App needs to detail the stream or at least show high res. Hopefully this’ll be sorted too.
 

mourip

Novice Member
Like everything about these apart from the price!

The smaller / cheaper LSX have been on my radar for a while. The bigger soundstage and the additional HDMI eArc make these a much more attractive offer, however can't justify the price.

Do they offer any form of magnetic grills for these to make them child proof?

I have a pair of LSX's and also just bought the new LS50W Mk2's for my main system. The Mk2's replaced about $15K of DAC/Pre/Amp/speakers. In my experience you would need to spend a lot more than their asking price to equal them and this is not even considering cables.

For their price the LSX's are a steal. I bought a refurbished pair for well under $1k and in a smaller room they are wonderful. Do not rule them out if you are trying to hold to a budget.

Nope. No grills, but then nothing in creation is "child proof" :)
 

Southern soul

Active Member
I have the W2 and did have some issues with the app not displaying all the info i required, i also have a ROON account which i couldn't use properly due to the speakers not being ROON Certified, as a result i thought i would try the innuos zenmini mk3 and use the digital coaxial for my hi res streaming, i was absolutely amazed at the result, I'm not saying the streamer in the KEFs is poor i just think it reiterates how good the innuos is, the best analogy i can think of is going from skimmed milk to full fat milk. everything is smoother and less edgy, bass is fuller, soundstage just encapsulates the listener.
 

mourip

Novice Member
I have the W2 and did have some issues with the app not displaying all the info i required, i also have a ROON account which i couldn't use properly due to the speakers not being ROON Certified, as a result i thought i would try the innuos zenmini mk3 and use the digital coaxial for my hi res streaming, i was absolutely amazed at the result, I'm not saying the streamer in the KEFs is poor i just think it reiterates how good the innuos is, the best analogy i can think of is going from skimmed milk to full fat milk. everything is smoother and less edgy, bass is fuller, soundstage just encapsulates the listener.

I am using the coax input also. I have an Intel NUC running AudioLinux with USB out to a Mutec +3 USB which is clocked by a Mutec REF10. Coax out to the KEFs. This allows me to get the benefits of Roon RAAT but it does go through the KEF's internal DAC(s). It sounds excellent and is a lot better sounding than any of the other available KEF streaming options.

It will be interesting to see how the Roon Ready function works ...if they ever get that together.
 

Southern soul

Active Member
I
I am using the coax input also. I have an Intel NUC running AudioLinux with USB out to a Mutec +3 USB which is clocked by a Mutec REF10. Coax out to the KEFs. This allows me to get the benefits of Roon RAAT but it does go through the KEF's internal DAC(s). It sounds excellent and is a lot better sounding than any of the other available KEF streaming options.

It will be interesting to see how the Roon Ready function works ...if they ever get that together.

I have heard rumours of up to a year for the ROON certification, which is why i have opted for this option. i find the "coming soon" part of the ROON certification a bit misleading.
 

Sebb

Novice Member
I can’t help feeling for those who stumped up £2k for the original KEF LS50 wireless, with many users reporting a very glitchy app, only to find that the LS50II has a new sorted app...that’s not backward compatible. Really KEF? So you’re saying that even though the mark 1’s have a rear input clearly marked ‘service’, that you’re not going to permit buyers to use this facility to upgrade the firmware to use the new app on the older speakers? I would imagine that’s what buyers thought that input would be for, wouldn’t you?

As much as I like the idea of a simple ‘sleeper’ active speaker system with everything, including the streamer built in, this lack of support over time totally makes me more convinced that separates are the way to go.

Compare the (I would imagine let down and possibly disgruntled) experience of a LS50 wireless mark 1 purchaser, with someone who bought the passives with a separate amp and streamer. OK, for the meta materials improvement, they might feel they want to upgrade the speakers, but at least they’re not ditching a £2k system to do so.

Active systems like this do seem attractive...in the short term. But it’s precisely this lack of app support from manufacturers that’s a real turn-off for me, and would make me very wary indeed before stumping up the £2.2k for the Wireless mark 2’s.

By the accounts of reviewers (check out John Darko’s YouTube review), the new all-in-one app is a much slicker experience. But how long will it be supported for, considering the experience of those who purchased the mark 1’s?


KEF’s approach seems the opposite of NAD’s commendable view of backward compatibility in the form of their MDC slots - so users can add new inputs, firmware or even new streamers, into the back of their older systems.
Gutting, is hardly the word - I had heard that there was Airplay 2 in the works when I bought my KEF LS50 W speakers last Christmas, only to find that that I cannot upgrade them and the wireless iOS App is pretty rickety too. When they do work though the sound is superb...
 

Hovitose

Active Member
I’ve got the W2s, I never had the Ist ones. All great except hdmi connection won’t work with my LG OLED TV. Have no idea when this will be rectified? Not anytime soon!
 

mourip

Novice Member
I’ve got the W2s, I never had the Ist ones. All great except hdmi connection won’t work with my LG OLED TV. Have no idea when this will be rectified? Not anytime soon!

HDMI works with my Sony Bravia but if I turn off the TV(probably actually sleep mode) the Kef W2's will power down and then back up in an endless loop. I have been going back and forth with KEF. They said that it will be fixed in a firmware update.

Be sure to put in a service ticket with them. They seem to only respond to that and persistence. I doubt that they ever cruise the forums like Superman looking for someone to save :cool:

The W2's do sound really great however...
 

Southern soul

Active Member
HDMI works with my Sony Bravia but if I turn off the TV(probably actually sleep mode) the Kef W2's will power down and then back up in an endless loop. I have been going back and forth with KEF. They said that it will be fixed in a firmware update.

Be sure to put in a service ticket with them. They seem to only respond to that and persistence. I doubt that they ever cruise the forums like Superman looking for someone to save :cool:

The W2's do sound really great however...
KEF told me my HDMI eARC issue would be fixed in an update, that was in September, perhaps I should of asked which decade! 🤬
 

mourip

Novice Member
KEF told me my HDMI eARC issue would be fixed in an update, that was in September, perhaps I should of asked which decade! 🤬

Wow! The tech I worked with made it sound as if I was the first person who ever had that issue. Actually here is what he said on December 7th. Of course 5 days later he said that the "blameless" speakers would be "fixed" with a firmware update...

"(KEF America)

Dec 7, 2020, 12:53 EST

If they are turning back on that means the ARC connection is being terminated. The TV seems to be continuously sending a signal. As the speakers are down stream, I would hesitate to blame the speakers. Can you try a different HDMI cable? Is HDMI Control Powered on? If you were to put the speakers in a different mode (WiFi), do they still power on?

This is the first I'm hearing of this issue. If you wanted to go with a different pair, I'm not sure anything would change."
 

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