KEF LS50 Meta Review
The brand-new products of the “LS50 Series” launched by the British premier audio brand KEF are the “LS50 Meta” passive bookshelf speakers and the “LS50 Wireless II” wireless HiFi speakers. Both new products are innovated and evolved from KEF’s classic series LS50, creating a proud new generation of speakers. The brand has always been adhering to the promotion of innovation. After three years of in-depth research, the world’s top engineer team successfully developed the latest two speakers of the “LS50 Series”, setting a new standard for high resolution.
Nearly sixty years since the brand was founded, KEF is based on the forefront of cutting-edge audio technology. It has been committed to presenting the most authentic and natural sound effects, making audiophiles feel like being in a concert. Whether you are watching a wonderful movie on the sofa or listening to your beloved music in the study room, the impeccable sound effects are the hallmark of KEF.
KEF LS50 Meta with Multiple Upgrade Technologies
The KEF LS50 classic speaker has been launched for many years, and several versions have been released. But there are only two, namely the passive version and the digital active integrated version. Among them, LS50 Meta is the latest model of the passive version. Compared with the original LS50, the LS50 Meta has many improvements.
MAT(metamaterial absorption technology)
The main improvement is the addition of a component called the MAT (Metamaterial Absorption Technology). KEF compares this technology to a sound “black hole” to process and absorb sound waves from the driver’s back.
This acoustic metamaterial absorber was developed by KEF in cooperation with Acoustic Metamaterials Group (AMG), using the company’s metamaterial absorption technology (MAT) to design a new acoustic maze. The specially designed structure contains 30 channels of different lengths, each of which is equivalent to a resonator, which efficiently absorbs a certain frequency. When 30 channels work together, 99% of the energy in the frequency above 620 Hz of the tweeter back wave is absorbed. It should be more vivid to compare it to the sound “black hole.”
What is the effect of MAT on sound reproduction? Studies have shown that because the diaphragm of the tweeter is very close to the cabinet’s rear cavity, the sound waves carried behind the diaphragm will produce strong reflections and form noise. Those precious sound details will dissipate in the noise and even cause distortion, making it difficult to achieve a high-quality replay effect. The MAT sound-absorbing device developed by KEF can achieve an absorption effect of more than 99% at frequencies above 620Hz, making high-frequency playback smoother and more detailed.
In terms of the speaker unit, needless to say, LS50 Meta must also use the Uni-Q coaxial unit. Uni-Q coaxial unit has been developed to the twelfth generation. Compared with the previous generation, the new generation of Uni-Q is also improved in detail.
There are three main improvements:
- Increase the mechanical stroke range of the tweeter.
- Improve the magnetic circuit structure of the mid-bass.
- A tweeter gap damper is added to the gap between the tweeter waveguide’s rear and the tweeter of LS50 Meta.
The purpose is to reduce distortion and make the sound more natural.
Since 1988, KEF has adopted a new type of magnet material developed by NASA to manufacture a Uni-Q coaxial drive unit that completely subverts the industry’s technical tradition. Since the magnet’s magnetic field strength is ten times that of an ordinary magnet, this major innovation enables KEF to produce a small tweeter that can be installed in the acoustic center of the woofer, realizing a true single-point sound source for the first time.
The Uni-Q unit can be accurately installed at the same point in the space through the midrange and woofer units. The two units are perfectly combined to create an ideal sound field, allowing listeners to experience a more realistic and low-distortion sound.
LS50 Meta inherited the technology that was tried on the R series and adopted a specially designed twelfth-generation Uni-Q unit. Its brand-new features help reduce sound staining and distortion.
LS50 Meta Appearance
The appearance of LS50 Meta is basically the same as that of LS50. The front baffle still adopts a curved design, which can effectively reduce the generation of standing waves in the cabinet. Adopt Boundary Element Modelling (BME) analog sound diffusion technology to make the sound diffusion wider and reduce the edge sound wave reflection to a minimum. The wide and uniform diffusion characteristics bring great spatial and excellent sound effects.
The curved lines also enhance the rigidity of the panel and reduce vibration. The unique curved front baffle has a modern design, no extra fancy at all, and the simplicity of aesthetics is exhausted.
The cabinet still adopts FEA (Finite Element Analysis) design to simulate the cabinet’s vibration when the speaker is working. Rigid cross-frame and high-performance constrained damping materials are used inside the cabinet, and the thick frame and damping material layer prevent the cabinet from resonating. The mid-low frequency playback effect is cleaner and purer. It draws inspiration from the design of the classic LS3/5a and the technologically advanced Blade series.
On the back is an oval bass port. KEF uses advanced CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software to calculate fluid dynamics and accurately calculate the speaker’s airflow, creating an oval elastic bass inverted hole. Moreover, the bass port has been carefully designed. The opening curve at both ends of the inside and outside is gradual, reducing the turbulence to a minimum. Thereby reducing the noise in the inverter hole and outputting powerful bass.
KEF designed a new S2 floor stand for LS50 Meta, which maintains the same height and structure as the original KEF acoustic stand and has bolt holes for tightly connecting the cabinets of LS50 Meta and LS50Wireless II. It also provides different color appearances to match different cabinet finishes. Even the large chamber of the stand can be filled with acoustic materials for sound adjustment. The cable arrangement design is retained so that the fashionable vision is not compromised.
Small size and big energy
In a room of about 30 square meters, the small LS50 Meta can emit plenty of energy. Even if the symphony is replayed, it gives an incredible feeling. The music space has a strong sense of three-dimensionality, and the high and low distances seem to extend out, making people unable to believe that the sound is emitted from this pair of LS50 Meta. And, because the mid-frequency is thicker, the sense of depth is particularly strong, which is great for expressing the layering of such large scenes.
In terms of the new speakers’ energy, the new LS50 Meta outperforms the previous generation LS50. In addition to midrange frequencies, clear high frequencies also have an important impact on spatial performance. It can make the space more ethereal and expansive and more transparent. LS50 Meta can reproduce the most subtle information. Especially for the appreciation of pastoral symphony, this kind of light, which seems to be transmitted from the top of the church, can better integrate the human spirit and music.
Clear and accurate sound positioning
The tone of the LS50 Meta is generally neutral. The beating on the piano keyboard and the reverberation on the violin strings are so fresh, real, vivid, and embossed. Moreover, the audio-visual form and orientation presented by LS50 Meta are as clear as if they are right in front of you. To make an analogy, if the previous generation LS50 was a 1080P HD projector, then the new generation LS50 Meta has been upgraded to 4K Ultra HD, and the picture details are more vivid.
The sound quality of the LS50 Meta does not contain any sharpness and corners, and the background is calm and peaceful. When I close my eyes, it is clear that the singer is singing in front of me, and the sound of instrumental accompaniment is flying beside the singer. Even if you listen to her concert live, it feels like that. Without good resolution and high-fidelity design concepts, this kind of listening experience can never be created.
LS50 Meta and compared with the previous generation, LS50 Meta’s dynamics has also been greatly improved. Perhaps thanks to the newly designed Uni-Q unit. When such a small bookshelf speaker replays drum music, it can do so well. The mid-bass is full and solid, and it is doubtful whether there is still a subwoofer hidden in the cabinet.
In replaying every trumpet and cymbal in jazz music, the rich and vivid overtones will immediately penetrate your brain and stir up all your auditory nerves, regardless of whether the saxophone or the cello. The sound’s fullness is unprecedented on the speaker of the same level, which surrounds the person’s whole body and mind.
The dynamic expressiveness of the LS50 Meta is powerful. Its low-frequency strength and diving are relaxed, not cramped, and there is no standing wave accumulation. It is so clean that I feel very surprised by many speakers. The neutral tone of the LS50 Meta makes it enjoyable with various styles of equipment. I even think that as long as it is paired with a professional amplifier, it can be used as a monitor in a recording studio with its powerful performance and neutral sound quality. The speakers are also fully competent.
KEF’s positioning of the LS50 series has always been very clear and distinct, a product designed for the younger generation of consumers. Starting from the first generation of LS50, LS50Wireless and LS50 Wireless SE were later introduced. LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II are the latest launches.
On the one hand, KEF is constantly improving this product’s design to enhance the sound reproduction effect. On the other hand, KEF also hopes to give the younger generation of consumers more choices. If you want to use it conveniently and don’t want to consider the power amplifier with an issue, you can choose the KEF LS50 Wireless II digital active integrated version.
For those who have requirements for appearance and style, KEF can also provide various cabinet finishes. Currently, LS50 Meta offers Mineral White, Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, and a Royal Blue Special Edition, a total of 4 finishes. These decorative designs are also obviously oriented towards fashionable and simple home environments. This type of home environment is the home environment generally liked by modern young consumers. Therefore, when KEF designed this product, KEF put a lot of thought into creating it, whether in terms of sound reproduction or appearance.
KEF LS50 Meta Specs
- MODEL: LS50 Meta
- DESIGN: Two-way bass reflex
- DRIVE UNITS: Uni-Q Driver Array: HF: 25 mm (1 in.) vented aluminium dome with Metamaterial Absorption Technology, MF/LF: 130 mm (5.25 in.) aluminium cone
- CROSSOVER FREQUENCY: 2,1 kHz
- FREQUENCY RANGE (-6DB): 47 Hz – 45 kHz
- TYPICAL IN-ROOM BASS RESPONSE (-6DB): 26 Hz
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE (±3DB): 79 Hz – 28 kHz
- HARMONIC DISTORTION (90DB, 1M): <0,4% 175 Hz – 20 kHz, <0,1% 300 Hz – 10 kHz
- MAXIMUM OUTPUT: 106 dB
- AMPLIFIER POWER (RECOMMENDED): 40-100 W
- NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 8 Ω (min. 3,5 Ω)
- SENSITIVITY (2.83V/1M): 85 dB
- WEIGHT: 7.8 kg (17.2 lbs)
- DIMENSION (H X W X D) WITH TERMINAL: 302 x 200 x 280.5 mm (11.9 x 7.9 x 11.0 in)DOWNLOADS