By Lam Seng Fatt
In today’s world where convenience is of utmost importance, would a pair of wireless speakers from a well-known speaker manufacturer do well?
Given that the KEF LS50 Wireless speakers have built-in amplifiers and offer a sound quality that audiophiles would be happy with, I am sure that they would attract a new segment of the music market.
Indeed, Johan Coorg, Brand Development head of GP Acoustics (UK) Ltd, said the speakers are audiophile products for the non-audiophile segment of the market. They are active speakers based on the respected KEF LS50 which are meant for the new generation digital lifestyle.
Johan was in town last Thursday to launch the speakers at the KEF showroom in the Encorp Strand Mall, Kota Damansara, Selangor.
The speakers are very versatile and there are lots of connections, including wired ones like USB, Toslink and RCA (for an analogue source like a turntable). Wireless connections include Bluetooth aptX and wi-fi using the 802.11n specs at either 2.4 or 5 GHz. If the wi-fi router is too far away, you can connect it to the speakers with an ethernet cable.
All connections go to the right speaker which is connected to the left via the supplied ethernet cable. Both the left and right speakers have built-in amplifiers and DACs. All signals that enter the right speaker are converted/upsampled into 24/192 files before being sent to the left speaker.
You can connect a plethora of sources to the speakers such as the TV, a turntable, a CD player, the laptop, a smartphone, a tablet or a hi-res handheld player.
Johan said the amplifier for the woofer is a Class D while that for the tweeter is a Class AB. “Using a Class D amplifier for the tweeter will not result in the sweetness of the sound. The Uni-Q drivers used in the LS50 Wireless are the latest generation ones,” he added.
Johan also demonstrated the music app which comes with the speakers and can be used on smartphones both Android and Apple. Other than the usual volume and track selection commands, the music app comes with a comprehensive set of programmable settings for the frequency response which takes into account the distance the speakers are from the wall. At the rear of the right speaker are settings for ‘desk’, ‘stand, ‘wall’ and ‘free space’. The music app then takes the adjustments to a higher degree and also can enable the crossover timing correction.
As you can see, there is a lot of digital sound processing involved. That and the fact that they are active means the KEF LS50 Wireless speakers have a dynamic sound with a punchy bass, smooth midrange and sweet high notes. Enabling the crossover timing correction results in a more focused soundstage.
KEF has taken the LS50 to a higher level with the Wireless option, but the price is also higher. While the passive LS50 retails at around RM4-5k, the Wireless model is priced at RMM10,999.
KEF products are available at Perfect Hi-Fi or the KEF showroom in Encorp Strand Mall.