New KEF LS50 Meta

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by rlow, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    So KEF announced the LS50 Meta yesterday (along with the Wireless II): https://us.kef.com/blog/introducing-the-ls50-collection-every-note-every-word-every-detail

    Using their new Metamaterial Absorption Technology, aka MAT, which is supposed to absorb energy/resonance caused from the back wave (they claim over 90% of energy is absorbed from 600Hz upward). Also includes the latest generation of their “tangerine” waveguide for the tweeter.

    Overall it looks almost the same as the existing LS50, but only comes in matte finishes (which I’m personally cool with because piano black is a PITA to keep clean and clear of scratches). The interior however has improved bracing as well, and becuase of the Metamaterial stuff, apparently the cabinet doesn’t have any stuffing inside it.

    It’s also priced the same as the OG LS50 at $1500 USD (although OG LS50s have been discounted for a while now).

    Anyhow since this is generally a fairly popular speaker for home listening and some nearfield setups, thought it would be good to have a thread about it and get some impressions from folks who may end up trying it.

    Personally I had an issue with the original LS50 in that I found it piercing/metallicy in the treble. However I’ve also heard the R3 (I still have them, as of right now actually) and they’re not like that at all, so I’m curious about these.

    Steve Guttenburg seems to be first out of the gate with a review on them, and he says they’re a major step up, better in every way. Take that with a grain of salt of course. He says, with respect to transparency, detail, imaging, depth and spatial cues etc, he rates the OG LS50 at about a 6.5 or 7 out of 10 compared to the new ones. He also compares the sound of them to an OB speaker like the PAP Trio, which is quite a leap...



    Anyhow, will be interested if any folks end up getting or listening to a pair of these.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  2. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I always wonder how people run these in nearfield when they're backported boxes that want to be 1m from a wall (afair).

    I guess many people have desks in the middle of the room for that ceo feel?
     
  3. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Well you generally have 3 options:

    1. Plug the port (may not fully do the job)
    2. EQ the bass down (maybe combined with #1)
    3. Live in blissful bass-bloated ignorance and tell everyone on the internets how amazeballs the bass is.

    Getting them high off your desk, ideally with something absorbent underneath, is a good idea too of course (in addition to above) to remove resonances and decrease desk reflections.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  4. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    Well Steve is certainly hyping the crap out of these, will be interesting to see what people think. I dig the new matte finish/colors. I had highly considered the LS50 when I was figuring out what I wanted for my nearfield setup, but was not convinced it would have the performance I am looking for with the backport plugged so they can be closer to the wall, and was worried about the comments about it sounding metallic.

    If these still maintain that open-baffle sort of sound when plugged they are very enticing nearfield/office prospect.
     
  5. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I was thinking the same thing - plugging the port may negate a lot of the potential benefits, but we’ll see.
     
  6. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    I'm more excited about the LS50 Wireless II. Unlike the original one (but like the LSX), they don't need a cable connecting them, so can be put in awkward places like on the opposite sides of a fireplace; and they upped their streaming game to support Qobuz /Tidal/Roon/Spotify directly along with Chromecast and Airplay 2 support right out of the box, in addition to all the Meta sound upgrades.
     
  7. MyPetSasquatch

    MyPetSasquatch Friend

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    Removing the USB input on the Wireless II seems like an odd decision IMO, especially when they're keeping the AUX input and adding HDMI. Seems like they're aiming this at multimedia/TV usage.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    1m is fine. It's actually plenty.
     
  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

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    Middle of room or bust.
     
  10. Metro

    Metro Friend

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  11. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    KEF LS50 wireless sounded so bad... Lets hope this is worth more than 200eur in sound.

    JBL LSR3 and any pair of Genelecs flush the W version down the drain...

    Makes me wonder if this comes up in measurements.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  12. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Yup. The rule of thumb is having space equivalent to the length of the port tube. Generally you want to avoid tight spaces because that would alter the port tube loading.

    In any case, my interest is piqued because of metamaterial use. I had read on the topic previously and it seemed that the chief issue is getting a workable bandwidth out of them, so I expected them to be used in ventilation system noise reducers. With that said, KEF has huge CAD chops, so if anyone can pull it off it might as well be them.

    P.S. The OG LS50 was my first serious speaker. I do think it's overrated sonically, but I have a lot of respect for it as an audio product. And it seems like I'm not too sensitive to metal membrane coloration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  13. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    Pff maybe but a lot of these modern setups are overhyped crap that does not deserve the spotlight. I have been listening to random vintage 3-way setups with some medicore Hi-Fi amplifiers and these are usually 2x better than most of the 2010s and 2020 Head-Fi "Brave New World" setups.

    I think this kind of distortions are not acceptable in general when you talk about mid tier high-end products. Maybe a flavour for a special crowd but this kind of sound does not exist in RL... these LS50 W were just to colored/distorted/compressed to enjoy anything out of these. I am not "buying it," the name, the price tag. I rest my case.
     
  14. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Made a typo. I don't seem to be too sensitive to metal membrane coloration. Most of the speakers I've owned had metal tweeters. KEF LS50, Equator Q12, Genelec 8050A... Interestingly enough the KH310 had a woven titanium diaphragm. It was noticeably less coloured. As for now... Ketone polymer anyone?
     
  15. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    Keep in mind grandpa Steve likes bright speakers and they are brighter than the OG according to him, so this "significantly better" / "jump" between the two models can be attributed mainly because they're just brighter.

    Also this new Meta tech advantages will be enhanced by this newer brighter tuning, people will likely play them less loud so the speakers "boxiness" will be alleviated just by the newer tuning.

    Metal tweeters are awesome if they're controlled. They don't screw the timbre that much imo, because half of the tweeting sounds are metal based anyways (cymbals, trumpets...etc.).
    Even metal bass woofers have an amazing punch to them. Metal midrangers are where the heresy at!.
     
  16. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    P.S
    When you have some RL experience you can dismantle the sound and capability of a stereo system like you would review a car.

    I cannot sell you a Toyota Corolla for 100k USD/EUR and say "yeah" this is real high-end, this as good on a track as this 911 Carrera S there. IMO it is the same with speakers. Some systems just suck in comparison when you have some reference/exp. You cannot sell me a system and claim it is real high-end when it does not have dynamics, has coloration, too much of "flavor of the month driver technology" distortion, s* imaging and no sound stage. It isn't high-end when it does not have any of the high-end capabilities.
     
  17. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    IME paper/tsellulos woofers and mids are the best, but yeah I guess stiffer material woofers could work and at least one Danish speaker company makes some kind of ceramic woofers.
     
  18. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    While I don’t particularly like the ‘grandpa’ reference since it seems derogatory (and I’m sure there are a number of grandpas on this forum), he does seem to indicate they are less forgiving than the previous LS50s. However this can come in different forms, not just “brightness” (I don’t think he says they’re brighter specifically).

    For instance, it may mean they are a bit leaner and less warm through the bass or mids, and this may accentuate the metallic timbre in the upper ranges, which can make them a bit less forgiving sounding. So perhaps they are more incisive or etched overall than “bright”, which would indicate a tipped up upper midrange or treble. Or perhaps simply more transparent to the source, which, lets face it, some recordings are shit, so a highly transparent system can pass this on to the listener.

    At any rate, as I mentioned in my OP, I have the R3 right now, and I was very surprised to find they are not bright to my ears, and not etched or metallicy sounding like the LS50. However they are also more bumped up in the bass and particular mid bass, which may hide some potential warts on the top end. But the latest gen Uni-Q driver, which the R3 has, is supposedly better at damping the tweeter than the previous version, so that may have something to do with it as well, and this is also in the new LS50 Meta and Wireless II.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  19. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    My desk instead of being again the wall took a 180 turn and the chair is against the wall so I can also see the TV (when I push aside the monitor). Is the same occupied area, just less conventional.
     
  20. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Or it may just be Guttenberg using the usual cautionary tale often assiociated with "detailed" or "improved" audio gear.

    Personally, I don't even bother reading any of his reviews, as they all seem like not-so-well-hidden advertisement and rarely ever match my own experience.
     

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