The KEF LS50's have been here a few weeks now and I have ( eventually ) had the opportunity to compare the passive and active ( wireless ) versions.
The LS50's wireless are an absolute delight to use, simply plug the USB cable into your computer/streamer and press play that is it!
Or you can 'bluetooth' a signal to them from your phone or tablet again so straightforward and everything controlled from the KEF remote.
Or you can play any of your stored music from their excellent 'app'.
Sound quality is superb, such a big sound from such a tiny loudspeaker, plus they have boundary filter settings and you can seamlessly integrate a subwoofer again from the 'app'.
The passive LS50's obviously need some ancillary equipment, I am using a benchmark DAC3 which as well as being a dac also is a fully fledged pre-amp, with digital and analogue inputs.
Power is provided by Phison Audio's mighty A.120 stereo power amplifier, Sonny Anderson, Phison's designer also designed Aardviks hugely expensive integrated amplifier.
Well both passive and active versions use the same UNi-Q drivers, so tonally and in terms of timbre they are identical, the 'wireless' version appear to have greater bass extension, but bass and treble output is configurable from their 'app' .
They are both superb loudspeakers,KEF have sold a huge quantity of the passive LS50 and I can foresee sales of the new 'wireless' version being similarly impressive.
The active LS50's are the perfect small speaker for contemporary living, they are stylish, compact
can be adjusted for placement and it is simplicity itself to add a subwoofer should you crave a totally 'full-range' sound.
I will measure both speakers and post the plots here, it will be interesting to see whether the perceived extra bass extension of the wireless version is corroborated by measurement.
voices are rendered without any colouration whatsoever
We are delighted to represent KEF loudspeakers, KEF have a truly wonderful pedigree of loudspeaker innovation . We are initially going to stock their LS50 design, the original passive model and the new 'wireless' active version.
We will be powering the passive with both Benchmark and Phison amps, and of course the actives power themselves!
Rear view, the active version are deeper, both speakers are solidly constructed and surprisingly heavy.
A few more photographs, white LS50 'wireless'
Black LS50 passive,
Yin and yang
The 'wireless' LS50's really are 'plug and play' , attach the power cables and the RJ45 cable that links the speakers, one is the master, it has the controls on the top of the baffle .
Connect the USB cable, select USB from the remote or from the 'master' speaker and the countryside brogue of 'The Archers' floods into the room, or just select 'bluetooth' and its Gareth Malone being interviewed on Radio 1!
The sound quality is astounding!
The LS50's 'wireless app' allows you to configure all the parameters of the loudspeaker
You can select boundary filters, treble trim, phase and even the amount of bass!
The LS50 wireless also has provision for a subwoofer, and that also can be configured from the app,
Choose high pass frequency ,sub gain and the polarity, it really is an elegant system, I will run a comparison between the passive LS50's and the active versions, hang on!