“Honey, I shrunk the LS50 Wireless” might be the snappiest way to describe KEF’s latest active loudspeaker: into a compact, Danish-fabric-wrapped cabinet, designed by one Michael Young and landing in five colour options, goes a new version of the British loudspeaker company’s Uni-Q driver array, internally juiced by Class D amplification – 70w for the mid/bass, 30w for the tweeter – and crossed over in a DSP engine that takes its binary feed from the (also internal) digital streaming board. An attractive hi-fi system in a box for apartment dwellers and bedroom producers.
Inputs number four: Ethernet/WiFi streaming (DLNA/UPnP, Spotify Connect*), aptX Bluetooth, optical TOSLINK and 3.5mm analogue. Unlike the LS50 Wireless, the master speaker has no touch panel. Instead, power on/off, input switching and volume attenuation come via the supplied IR wand or KEF’s Control app (iOS/Android) whose speaker setup/onboarding routine and EQ configuration have been forked by KEF from the Stream app (iOS/Android) which still handles Tidal and UPnP streaming. Gapless playback support is now in beta.
Say hello to the KEF LSX where lassoing the master speaker to the slave with a run of Ethernet wire is optional.
Pricing comes in at US$1100/pair in the USA, €1200/pair in Europe and 999 Great British Pounds in the UK. You can find this high performing hi-fi system on Amazon, at Magnolia Design Center or selected KEF dealers.
‘High performing’ because I’ve been playing with a (red) pair since early October – in my lounge and my office. I saved a second (black) pair for the unboxing that kicks off a video review which details the LSX’s setup procedure, sound quality (including a surprise finding) and a very tidy way to sidestep an absence of internal Roon support:
Further information: KEF
Camera: Line Kühl | Editor: Jana Dagdagan
Rarely has a DAR-KO Award been so easy to give.
Footnote #1: Spotify Connect support is due to be in place soon after launch. AirPlay 2 support is currently slated for a February 2019 firmware update. On future Roon compatibility, I’ve no clue.
KEF LSX features:
• Acoustic design with 4″ Uni-Q driver; FEA designed cabinet with hidden heatsink
• KEF’s dedicated time correcting Music Integrity Engine
• 2 x 30W + 2 x 70W Class D amplifiers
• Adjustable EQ settings via KEF Control app
• Dedicated apps for iOS and Android
• Proprietary wireless connections supports 48kHz/24bit; optional wired connection supports 96kHz/24bit transmission
• Supports source file up to 192kHz/24bit
• 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity (DLNA/uPNP compliant)
• Apple Airplay 2 (available in early 2019 via firmware update)
• Tidal Music (via KEF Stream app)
• Bluetooth 4.2 with Qualcomm aptX codec
• Optical input (TOSLINK)
• AUX input
• Subwoofer output
• Mounting inserts for supporting wall mount
• Supports 3rd party remote programme
• Supports IP Control
KEF LSX specifications: