They do sound better than you'd think for the size.
They are flexible with setup
They do declutter
The noise around the apps is true. It's ready for a new release...
Add in better integration functionality - eg standby wake from optical (for me at least!) would be welcome
(Warning! Long rambling post)!
I just went through a few shenanigans with reshaping my lounge setup due to changes "for the better" - going through losing my beloved floorstanders to "anywhere but there", trying a soundbar/sub combo, and now having (I promise!) settled on a small win with Kef LSX.
Sharing here some of my observations. Given the amount of real world info is limited still. I bought unseen, unheard...so I hope this is helpful to prospective buyers.
First use/settling in
1. Packaging (because unboxing is a thing?)
Boxing is straight forward. Inside are..speakers, cables for power, interconnect cable and remote. And some booklets. It is very low key. Truly non-audiophile with no back breaking, no grumbling, damage to furniture, myriad of snake cables, just an overhead of two powerpoints. Easy.
2. (The relatively easy?) setup
It's cumbersome, only because it relies on interface of the app. Add in a web browser (it has an ethernet port!!) and problem (for me) solved.
Be aware the MAC is included in the setup wifi name (Eg KEF:::::::). Whitelisting?
I hardwired, both speaker interconnect and ethernet. I have flaky wifi but i just prefer to have them running cabled. I may change my mind.
I have these placed on a heavy, deep TV cabinet. They flank a 65" tv. They look small...But, they fit, they are not overimposing, and of course, they meet the colour criteria...
The setup allows you to register and update (which thankfully can be skipped) so you can get down to using them quickly.
Or, meeting the apps, quickly.
Stream is straighforward. Like a number of other apps i have used, eg Musiccast, BluOS (hmm). You sign into your services, you stream them.
Note, Tidal streams from within your app. Spotify opens your spotify app. And, i have already run into issues of the app losing connectivity and music still playing and getting into a spin on how to stop/alter. There is some lag, somewhere. And caching. I am sure caching is a bit of a mischief maker here. Random music playing after sudden quiet periods even with all apps disconnected/killed on phones.
So more coming there i am sure. You can also hit up your hard drive/server etc fairly intuitively.
Control - well its straightforward. And for me, i can hear the settings so it's doing what it says. I found the ability to compensate for a cheap sub via hi and low crossover useful. But the polarity switch really made a nice impact for integrating the bass.
The speakers play a little tune to tell you they are alive and well. Both on startup and shutdown.
* Note Tidal does not support Master streaming. It's not needed, the website says so.
So let's say we are up ad running at this point. Mostly (but useable).
3. First "real" play/settling in
* I tried hooking my laptop (mac) to the speakers and that was as simple as changing the input to BT on the speaker (within the app on the phone - there is no laptop app that I am aware of) and pairing as you'd expect. And away we go for any streaming app on the laptop via BT. Sounds fully OK. Another "source" option added to the growing list (phones, laptop, ipad etc. next).
* I decided for some reason (checking i hadnt missed the option to setup via a browser?) to connect to the speakers via IP from the laptop in a browser. Yes it works, though the basic front end you get is very limited. Like, firmware update, rename the speaker and not much else. Hopes for the future...
* I'm keeping things hooked up via the interconnect cable, have not tried the kef proprietary wifi and dont intend to. Similarly i hard wired into ethernet and all is OK (albeit my bw issues with ADSL mean Tidal streaming has its usual fits now and then). So as far as i can tell the only variables in the setup are source quality (Spotify or Tidal side), speaker DSP setup, and volume (besides room).
* Note to Kef - Wish the things woke on optical input (i have run tv on these mostly, which is the primary use case) to save on another couple of clicks. "Couple" due to the remote being as mentioned earlier.
* I think part of the listening setup is having to play with the geek knobs. I have played with DSP/setup in the app. It's OK, and i can hear the changes. I suspect this will be habitual until i admit the sound is the sound is the sound and time to listen to the music not the sound. But its available which is better than not! But play and enjoy. I'm leaving alone for the time being until i need it again. Which is probably after the next song.
Overall, the apps are liveable, and i think i will figure the workflow to avoid the glitches. But there remains a few dependencies on the phone/OS that i think are not fully ironed out. Disconnects and synch issues that just require some restart or so. Not a biggie, but not smooth...
Luckily, it seems the Kef upgrade process (i did eventually allow it) is also pretty smooth. And again the speakers chime for on and off. So hopefully they keep feeding their code team and we get even more goodness, it definitely seems on a good path.
I ran music today without the sub ( maybe to say i need that sub somewhere else or for global warming. Not sure) and it's quite ok. Even at low volume good (for me!) bass is there, but turning the volume up, its nicer and more relevant bass and probably enough for 95% of what i'd listen to. And tv too. So yes some of that hype is true. Depends what you like of course.
* For the music sound quality, it's too early to tell, and my ears are too unreliable. But, i've had nice setups and have had awful ones and this is definitely tilting to the former by a large margin. Most of my music is old, poorly recorded and so it sounds as it does, anywhere, and on anything. Pretty ordinary as far as "sound quality" goes. For homage I've tried the usual test tracks - sheffield drum, for instance, made the extent of bass obvious but thats OK. I am realistic. Some of the cymbal work and the finer details are not there in the room either. But that is volume more than anything. And comparing to a larger speaker with more amps isnt fair and in my case, not relevant for my use case.
* The sweet (sweat in this heat?) spot seems to be expanding enough to make everyone on the couch happy, and i continue to be impressed with the bass which seems to get better the further away i am for the size of the setup.
They have initially exceeded my expectations, even in a world where no way no how you cant be listenin if the street lights aint flickerin' that seems to be the norm. Go figure. YMMV.
Oh, and the better half is please with the colour. I had LS50W in the cart until the black/blue combo was shunned. If those are better (as I'd expect they are) then woohoo to those who have them. The LSX are great and if no development/electronic quality issues cripple things they have been a great (physical) downsize/declutter/solution for me.
Now hoping Kef keep in mind the main medium for these speakers is streaming. If i can't get to the music because the stream has issues, be it the app, the OS, the network or whatever, it'll all be bundled under "Kef LSX".