KEF Reintroduces LS50 Collection with LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II Loudspeakers
KEF has today announced a makeover of its hugely successful LS50 loudspeaker with the introduction of the LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless 2 models.
KEF's LS50 bookshelf speaker range gains a pair of all-new models in the LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II models.
Both speakers are said to be an innovative evolution from previous iterations. KEF says that “after three years of intensive research, the latest LS50 Collection speakers have raised the benchmark even further by delivering an unprecedented purity of sound coupled with intuitive usability.”
If you have been keeping tabs on the Kent, UK-based manufacturer, it will come as no surprise that both models benefit from Metamaterial. KEF has created a synthetic material that has the super capacity to absorb all unwanted sound radiating from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and enabling the prevention of audio distraction. Furthermore, this is also its world-first implementation in a loudspeaker.
You can read more about KEF's joint development initiative with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, as reported by StereoNET here.
KEF LS50 Meta
The LS50 Meta sees KEF's legendary LS50 passive bookshelf speaker not only being treated to the 12th generation of the famed Uni-Q driver, but it also boasts the addition of the new Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), as hinted by its name. MAT is said, “to eliminate 99% of high-frequency distortion from the rear of the driver for pure, natural sound.”
Other enhancements include an off-set flexible bass port, a low diffraction curved baffle, and rigid cross bracing with constrained layer damping. All seamlessly combine to achieve exceptional depth, detail and the lowest sound distortion of any speaker in its class, says KEF, as well as a claimed frequency range of 47 Hz - 45 kHz and 85 dB sensitivity.
Thanks to the recessed port and speaker terminals, finding somewhere suitable to sit the LS50 should be a breeze. That, along with the gently curved front and four matte colourways, means that that the LS50 Meta will easily make itself at home.
Putting the cherry on top (or, rather, underneath), KEF is also now offering the bespoke, colour-matched, S2 Floor Stand, which locks on to the new LS50 Collection speakers via a threaded inset for extra peace of mind.
The KEF LS50 Meta will be available in October 2020 and sell in Australia for $2,495 RRP, with the S2 Floor Stand costing $799 RRP - all prices are, of course, per pair.
KEF LS50 Wireless II
Like the LS50 Meta, the LS50 Wireless II also benefits from the 12th generation Uni-Q driver featuring the new Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), but this time powered by a new 280W Class D amplifier. Additionally, the tweeter is treated to a new 100W class A/B amplifier. That's 150W up on the previous iteration's 30W Class A/B circuit for the tweeter and 200W Class D going to the mid/bass unit, which should allow for much more dynamism.
Alongside the innovative MAT working to absorb 99% of the unwanted sound coming from the rear of the tweeter, the LS50 Wireless II is further aided by KEF's Music Integrity Engine. The company describes this as a “cutting-edge collection of bespoke Digital Signal Processing algorithms optimised for the new Uni-Q with MAT driver array”. We are told that this enables the driver to “deliver a perfectly timed performance, for better imaging and a tighter, unsmeared sound”.
Furthermore, the KEF LS50 Wireless II shakes off its tethered speakers to become truly wireless (save for the power leads). There is also the welcome addition of AirPlay 2 to the LS50 Wireless II's raft of streaming options such as Google Chromecast and Bluetooth. If you don't mind a few cables, you can also connect your TV, games console, and the like via the speaker's HDMI, analogue, optical and coaxial inputs.
Also announced is the brand-new dedicated KEF Connect app. Right from the off, the new app walks you through the set-up as well as controlling the system on a day-to-day basis. KEF Connect enables you to tweak the sound settings your own personal tastes. The app is also your gateway to streaming from Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, Internet Radio stations and podcasts. You can also stream directly from the native app with Spotify Connect.
Naturally, the LS50 Wireless II has audiophiles covered with support for streaming music files up to 24bit/384kHz, as well as MQA Decoding and DSD256 for truly high-resolution audio playback. Although using the supplied cable to join the speakers, playback tops out at 24bit/192kHz, and going wireless, gets you 24bit/96kHz - albeit with the upside of a completely clutter-free set-up.
LS50 Wireless II is also Roon Ready certified. When using AirPlay 2, Chromecast or Roon, you can stream to multiple speakers, meaning you can play music all over your house. Finally, the LS50 Wireless II features two subwoofer outputs, one on each speaker, which should prove handy whether hooked up to your telly or listening to your favourite music streaming service.
The KEF LS50 Wireless II will be available from November 2020 and sell in Australia for $4,295 RRP in three matt finishes, Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, Mineral White as well as a Crimson Red Special Edition. They are also compatible with the new S2 Floor Stand mentioned earlier.
StereoNET currently has review samples on-hand so stay tuned for our exclusive first review.