KEF takes their much-lauded, dare I say classic, LS50 loudspeaker to new heights with the introduction of the LS50 Collection.
The LS50 Collection is comprised of two models: the LS50 Meta ($1,499.99/pair), and the LS50 Wireless II ($2,499.99/system). Both speakers come in Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, and Mineral White while the Meta adds a Royal Blue Special Edition and the Wireless model swaps Royal Blue for a Crimson Red Special Edition. The new S2 Floor Stand stands, designed in conjunction with the LS50 Collection, are available in matching colors ($449.99/pair).
From the manufacturer:
With the new LS50 Collection KEF has introduced the world’s first loudspeakers to use the revolutionary Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). Recognised as a modern icon of design, the LS50 has been remastered to incorporate this ground-breaking technology and deliver impressively natural sound.
In a joint development initiative with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, KEF has harnessed MAT by creating a synthetic material in the form of a complex maze-like structure that has the super capacity to absorb 99% of the unwanted sound radiating from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and enabling the prevention of audio distraction. Other traditional approaches have only allowed around 60% absorption. It is the technological developments like MAT that ensure the listener hears only their music never the speaker.
There are of number of additional changes for the LS50 Collection including a new cone neck decoupler and motor system, which further reduce coloration and distortion, an off-set flexible bass port, a low diffraction curved baffle, and rigid cross bracing with constrained layer damping. The LS50 Collection speakers feature KEF’s 12th generation Uni-Q Driver Array consisting of a 25 mm (1 in.) vented aluminum dome with Metamaterial Absorption Technology high frequency driver and the mid/low frequency 130mm (5.25 in.) aluminum cone. The LS50 Meta have a stated frequency response (±3dB) of 79Hz – 45kHz (-6dB), while the Wireless II have a stated DSP-assisted frequency response (measured at 85dB/1m) of 40Hz – 45kHz (depends on EQ settings). The LS50 Wireless II get a new 100W class A/B amplifier for the tweeter and a 280W class D amplifier for the mid/bass driver.
The LS50 Wireless II offers a number of inputs including Ethernet (24bit/384kHz, DSD256, and MQA), Toslink (24bit/96kHz), Coax (24bit/192kHz), HDMI eARC (24bit/192kHz) which replaces the original LS50s Wireless’ USB Audio input (a trend), Analog 3.5mm Auxiliary, and USB Type A (service). On the wireless side, we have AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, ROON Ready (coming soon), UPnP Compatible, and Bluetooth 4.2 for darn-near plug-and-play-ness. Supporting streaming services include Spotify via Spotify Connect, Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, QQ Music via QPlay, and Internet Radio. The left and right speakers connect via WiFi and offer 24bit/96kHz resolution or they can be connected with the supplied interspeaker (Ethernet) cable for 24bit/192kHz resolution.
Expect to see the LS50 Meta and S2 Floor Stands hit the shops on September 22 and the Wireless II on October 11.
I reviewed the KEF LS50 Wireless Nocturne Edition Active Speakers back in April of last year and put them at the tippy top of my recommended active speakers list in and around their price range. I am very much looking forward to getting my ears on pair from the LS50 Collection.
More information from KEF.