When KEF launched the original LS50 back in 2012 for their 50th anniversary, they were an instant hit. Although you quickly realised that matching them with the right electronics and a good pair of stands was critical to get the best out of them, these speakers delivered way beyond their price point would have indicated. Based on this, KEF left the LS50 largely untouched as a design for its 9 year run.
Until last year, when they launched the new LS50 Meta. 'What is Meta?' you might ask. It is a refinement of KEF's Uni Q drive unit in the form of something called MAT (Metamaterial Absorption Technology): hence the Meta.
It is designed to deal with the reflections that come off the back of the tweeter; in a normal conventional design these are absorbed with a material inside a small chamber. Using MAT, the LS50 Meta loudspeakers have a small disc, about the size of a hockey puck, mounted behind the tweeter with 30 tubes inside it designed to absorb specific frequencies off the back of the tweeter.
Other than a few refinements to the crossover and some small cosmetic changes, the speakers remain largely unchanged (apart from the Meta technology), so what have these differences made to the LS50?
Well first of all, the KEF LS50 Meta loudspeakers still are not the most sensitive of speaker at 86db, so they really do like an amp capable of driving them, but they are so good that you really can over spec on the amplifier and the speakers will still deliver the results.
We like to run them with anything from the Rega Brio or its bigger brother the Elicit Mk5 all the way up to the likes of the Cyrus i9 XR. A good pair of stands like Atacama Moseco or the Solidsteel SS6 will help get the best out of them. Also, if you have the option to fill the stands this will certainly help give the LS50 Meta speakers a solid foundation.
Starting off by listening to Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 1', you can immediately here what the Meta transformation has done for the LS50: it has more presence and detail and is able to pick out subtle tones more than the original.
Moving on to The Shires' new album '10 Year Plan', the voices in the track have an air of transparency and richness that had eluded the LS50 until now. The new LS50 Meta still has good bass weight for what is still a relatively compact bookshelf loudspeaker, and comparing it to other speakers in the price range, such as the Fyne Audio F500 and the Dali Menuet or the ATC SCM11, you still feel that the KEFs are doing something special for the money. Each of the speakers mentioned above I love in their own right and have raved about them all, but there is something about the KEF LS50 Metas that means time and time again you will keep coming back and thinking: these are just really great loudspeakers.
If you would like to listen to a pair of KEF LS50 Meta loudspeakers, then get in touch by phone or email to book a time to pop in to see us at our Lincolnshire showroom. You can also message us on Facebook, or even use our new live chat on any page of our website and we would happily welcome you.