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KEF LS50 Loudspeaker Review Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 November 2013
Article Index
KEF LS50 Loudspeaker Review
Set Up and Listening

Half way through the review period, I came to the realization that the LS50s were difficult to evaluate by breaking down multiple performance parameters. This is because they speak with one voice, unlike some other speakers at this price point with multiple drivers. I ended up really enjoying every album I listened to as a music lover and a reviewer. I can’t imagine the LS50s would be difficult to integrate into any system, within its limitations.

As fantastic as the LS50s are, in my opinion, they perform best when used within certain guidelines. First, they need an amplifier with more than a few watts. None of the amps I used put out less than 70 watts per channel. Secondly, they exhibit virtually no weakness in a smaller room, but their relatively limited low frequency output would preclude use in a very large room. I also think using a subwoofer would very much defeat the purpose of the LS50, which is voiced so seamlessly. Subwoofer integration is possible, but a task for those with endless patience.

I also believe the LS50s perform best in a relatively near field listening set up, with a maximum listening distance of eight feet, give or take. Even though the speakers produce a larger soundstage than their size would indicate, physics come into play. Bear in my mind, with all of my caveats above, your mileage will vary.

I did manage to compare the LS50 to my Spendor S3/5R, which sold for approximately the same price as the LS50. It is a classic two-way BBC style monitor, with similar specifications and dimensions. The Spendor, surprisingly, held its own despite being a decades old design, with a delightfully musical balance. The LS50 offered up more resolution, a bit more recorded detail and more overall impact. But it was not at all a blow out. I found the comparison interesting in that it really highlighted what advanced driver materials and enclosure design can accomplish.



KEF 50th Anniversary LS50 monitors are a smashing success in every category: sound, appearance, design, and value. LS50s can be dropped into a system with far more expensive components without out anyone blinking an eye. KEF feels confident enough about this that they list under their “flagship” products, alongside the twenty times more expensive floorstanding Blades. I can add the LS50s will rise to the task with high quality speaker cables, stands, and optimized placement.

The only conceivable way the LS50s could disappoint would be in an inappropriate set up. This means in a room too large, with an underpowered amplifier, and at unreasonable listening levels. Audiophiles with common sense will not fall into these traps. In the proper context, KEF LS50s earn my very highest recommendation. In the areas of coherence, tonal accuracy, and overall balance, they set new standards.


KEF LS50: $1499.99/pair.


  • Frequency range (–6dB): 47Hz–45kHz.
  • Frequency response: 79Hz–28kHz, ±3dB.
  • Sensitivity: 85dB/2.83V/m. Nominal impedance: 8 ohms.
  • Dimensions:11.9" (302mm) H by 7.9" (200mm) W by 10.9" (278mm) D.
  • Weight: 15.8 lbs (7.2kg).


Review System 1

CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch w/ CIA VDC-SB power supply
via Ethernet to MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate
external drives.
DAC: Bryston BDA-1, John Kenny Ciunas USB DAC
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Audio Research SP16
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Rogue ST 100
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner,Salamander rack

Review System 2

CD Player: Onkyo C7000R
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II, Burson Conductor
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600, Electrocompaniet ECI-3
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, Spendor S3/5R
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS

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