Price: $2199.99 Pair. (As Of February, 2019)
Overall Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️¾
I was late to the party of LS50w, could be the last to get on bandwagon since LS50w was released a few years back and I may be the last one who made official review of LS50w Speakers. At first I wasn’t interested in LS50w because I did not have great experience with active speakers in the past.
And comes 2019, I want to have a pair of speakers for our bedroom but in one condition it must plays via smart devices, so here it comes LS50w., At first I break them in our TV room (14x20x9ft) for about a week playing music non stop and watching movies with LS50w DSP on without subwoofer. It was enjoyable experience, my serious listening section only begin after two weeks of breaking-in.
LS50w, which come included with 200w Class-D for 5.25” bass driver and 30w Class AB for tweeter in KEF famous UniQ drivers array and it gives plenty of power drive them to their full potential, plus A/D and D/A converter for analog input(1 AUX) and digital inputs(USB, Optical, Wifi & Bluetooth).
I tried them against my long loved LS50 passive and JBL Studio 590 speakers in my TV room with my old trusty Denon AVR3803 receiver for my music listening in two channel mode with source from 13” MacBook Pro + Behringer UCA202 DAC and it clearly shows what big floor standers can do for music with full authority, naturality and realism of the music even with the old and outdate AV receiver, in the other hand LS50s are no slouch in the very same room it does have room filling sound as well but not in the level of Studio 590 speakers in authority and naturalism.
What surprised me the most is passive LS50 with 110w at 8Ω rated AV receiver was able went toe to toe with active LS50w in terms of sound quality and naturality across the frequency range except in some low bass region at average 80db loud level. I know It’s not fair comparison with Studio 590 speakers but I’m just curious..but what surprises me the most is KEF LS50w build-in DAC can’t out perform $30 DAC in terms of sound quality in general by playing ALAC files.
So, after a few days of serious auditioning them in my TV room I moved them to my Music Den(13x11x9ft) along with passive LS50, I set them up next to each other playing with my Denon PMA2000IVR MOSFET Integrated amp and Denon DP-47F turnable and Marantz UD7007 for SACD playback, I spend another week of serious listening section with many vinyl and SACD music listening.
For vinyl playback I use Denon phono stage connecting to AUX input of LS50w speakers, even with Analog/Digital/Analog conversion it sounded very similar to vinyl music playing with passive LS50s, which tells me KEF built in A/D & D/A converter is neutral sounding without coloration when converting analog signal but feeding digital signal with USB cable is not much better sounding than UCA202 in terms of sound quality, which is very surprising to me because high price tag doesn’t come with top quality DAC, I wished I could see the Class D chips to determine what kind chip they’re using and caps from Class AB stage in power amp section. May be one day I will take them apart…,
Most importantly overall sound quality is very satisfyingly musical and thats all that matter for most people but for me I have to make sure I got what I paid for so I have to compare them with Passive LS50s for sound quality in detail, so here it is, overall LS50 passive is more transparent, spacious, detail and correct timbre, Active LS50s have only two advantages over passive LS50 speakers were DSP and Powerful amps. That’s about it, I can match passive LS50 with different components to get the sound I like which is more open unlimited options for audiophiles like me and in the other hand KEF LS50 Wireless is a great pair of speakers for the people who like to stream their music and to get rid of many components from typical Hifi system but it will not or can not replace the system of pure analog set up of hardcore audiophiles and music lovers but it is the future of music listening for most people except for the guys like me with pure love of analog playback.
Overall great sounding speakers with hefty price, there are better option out there including passive LS50 speakers, my thought is why do I want to limit my self, except for 2nd system in my bedroom.
Please see my YouTube review video here,
Pros: Dynamic Sound, Bass Performance.
Cons: High Price, Uninspiring DAC, Short Warranty(On Electronics).
Build Quality: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Highs:⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️½
Bass: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️½
Sound Stage: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️