KEF LS50 Wireless II Loudspeakers Review

Can the good get even better? Of course. KEF demonstrates this perfectly. The legendary coaxial chassis now appears in its twelfth version, KEF LS50 Wireless II, paired with a powerful converter and mighty amplifiers. Do we need more? Tested at 2,500 euros/pair.

KEF LS50 Wireless II

We all know what an icon is. Those are the holy images usually carried through the streets by Greeks or Russians on special days, a mix of picture and relief. Typically, we see the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus.

Now, the term has made its way into modern secular use, more as an adjective. We talk about iconic design. Very few speakers can even come close to this term. Here is the prime candidate. The LS50 Wireless II is the latest generation of many predecessors. Even absolute beginners recognize it. A compact unit that seems to have just one shiny metal diaphragm. But that’s not entirely true. What we see as a sound transducer is the next masterstroke after the design. It’s a coaxial construction. Surrounding the tweeter is a bass/midrange driver. So, two diaphragms, centered in one point. For sound enthusiasts, this means we have a point source. Everything reaches us from a central axis. That’s how kings and emperors build. Still, KEF has brought this concept to the world at a surprisingly reasonable price. The lifestyle photos on the websites look beautiful, but we don’t need a loft or a castle for these speakers. A well-kept student apartment or a small home studio will do.

This speaker has been available in passive, active, and now in an unprecedented version. Yet, we still stick with the image of the student apartment. This pair costs 2,500 euros. But we save on converters, cables, preamps, power amps – and get an utmost seductive high-end experience. Even for Molière’s miser, there’s no reason to be stingy.

We can control the stereo set of KEF LS50 Wireless II via the buttons on the surface. There’s also a newly programmed app.
We can control the stereo set via the buttons on the surface. There’s also a newly programmed app.

I still have the predecessors well in my ear. Coincidentally, we just had the passive version – called LS50 Meta – in the listening room. The Meta had already hooked us significantly. It offered a dreamy soundstage, rich, wide, pinpoint accurate. It lacked some bass, though. But looking at the back shows the dramatic differences. Here, there’s a screw/plug contact for plus and minus. All this for 1,200 euros per pair. There’s no need to ponder deeply, whether as a mathematician or a philosopher. If the active version costs 2,500 euros. Okay, that’s about double, no calculator needed. But as mentioned, the back reveals a new world. We can convert, amplify, connect via Bluetooth, and we’re even Roon ready.

We should also pay more attention to the word “Meta.” This is the latest construction technique at KEF. The cabinet is made from a material by the Acoustic Metamaterials Group. Different strands form a highly rigid block that absorbs over 90% of the reflected energy. Like a black hole, it offers more precise forward definition.

Instead of many words, let’s take a concrete example: myself. I subscribed to Qobuz. The French particularly convince me with their jazz and classical selection. With a tap, I could select the LS50 Wireless II as the source. Another tap – and my favorite music plays. I didn’t need to sweat or think complicatedly. Just two power cables were needed. That’s the wonder of modern media. We should never lose the joyful naivety at its sight.

And if I want to stream my collection from an external NAS? No problem at all. Just choose the source on the app and tap the track. 24-bit is supported, KEF even adds the super level of 384 kHz, when connected via network cable. Naturally, Direct Stream Digital is also allowed, even up to DSD256. For those who prefer formats away from the mainstream: MQA can also be converted. Super.

All this is new. And the possibilities have increased, as has the power. The new coaxial chassis is driven by new amps. The larger bass/midrange ring is powered by a Class-D stage, providing 280 watts. My goodness, these are cannons aimed at pheasants.

However, KEF intentionally reins in the tweeter. Here, 100 watts flow, but not digitally, rather in the classic Class A/B manner. This indicates that someone didn’t just think about it, but listened for the perfect sound in long sessions. This is a marvel in all categories, an all-rounder – crowned with the status of a design icon.

In terms of sound, this compact coaxial box also showed its exceptional rank. Those who are smart will experiment in their own listening space. The LS50 can be heard from a distance on a stylish sideboard but could also serve as a true studio monitor in the near field. The panorama and tangible presence are excellent. Again, you feel the superiority of the coaxial chassis. In this generation, even more present, richer, more elegant, simply better. The spatiality is as wonderful as it is powerful. The details come at you precisely and rapidly. Plus, there’s this honesty. Look at the frequency response below – only the greatest masters build like this.

MEASUREMENT LAB

The KEF shows excellent dispersion behavior, as evidenced by the almost identical and ruler-flat frequency responses. A total of nine sound controls allow flexible adjustment to the listening room. With medium bass boost, the KEF achieves a -6 dB corner frequency of 43 Hz and a maximum level of 93 dB SPL. With only 6 ms signal delay, it is also suitable for real-time sensitive applications.

KEF LS50 Wireless II frequency response
KEF LS50 Wireless II perf

LS50 WIRELESS II Specs

Website: www.kef.com
Warranty: 2 years
Dimensions (W x H x D): 20 x 30.5 x 31.1 cm
Weight: 10 kg
Veneer/Foil/Lacquer: – / – / •
Colors: Black, Titanium, Red, White
Design: Two-way, Bass reflex
Room Adjustment: via DSP
Features: AirPlay 2, Chromecast

STREAMER QUICK CHECK
LAN ✔ WLAN ✔
iOS ✔ ANDROID ✔
AIRPLAY ✔ GOOGLE CAST ✔
BLUETOOTH ✔ aptX ✔
SUPPORTED STREAMING SERVICES

KEF LS50 Wireless II SUPPORTED STREAMING SERVICES

Verdict

KEF will have sold millions of these speakers. Rightly so. They sound spot on. The star is the coaxial chassis. KEF now shows this in the twelfth generation. On the back, there’s a second wonder: smart signal processing and finely tuned power. Look at our measurements again: It couldn’t be more beautiful. Honest, grand sound.

Neutrality (2x) 93
Detail accuracy (2x) 92
Localization 91
Spatiality 93
Microdynamics 92
Maximal level 87
Bass quality 85
Bass depth 82
Craftsmanship outstanding

9 Total Score
Editor choice KEF LS50 Wireless II Review

PROS
  • Incredible in output. Honest, rich, engaging.
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KEF LS50 Wireless II Loudspeakers: Price Comparison

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2 Comments
  1. […] cleverly attachable KW1 adapter, particularly with the appropriate KEF active speaker sets, such as LS50 Wireless II or LSX II – latency-free and via app control – very powerful combinations can be achieved. In […]

  2. […] comes in Anthracite, Grey, White, and exclusively in Red. The top control panel is a feature of the LS50 Wireless II. This allows you to compare the same speaker in both passive and active forms according to your […]

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