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Experience setting up LS50 Meta with SB2000 and Denon x3600h as preamp

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#1
This forum has been a wealth of great information. I have learned and geeked out a ton!

I thought I should share my own experience and observations setting up the Kef LS50 Meta with a SB2000pro and the Denon x3600h preouts to a Luxman R117 for amplification.

The TLDR of it is that this combination provides excellent sound quality when used with the Audyssey Editor app and good sources such as Tidal or Amazon HD.

My previous system for the last 5 years was a KEF 104/2 powered by the Luxman R117 connected to a chromecast Audio for streaming. I really loved this system and had no reason to upgrade other than to experiment with something new.
KEF 104.2.jpg


The first addition was an SB2000Pro, which helped in the obvious ways, although the 104/2s can go quite low themselves.
I tried to eq the SVS with its app and used a 60hz crossover. The bass felt nicely integrated with the 104/2s

Next came the LS50 Meta. In the beginning, the sound was a little bright but opened up very nicely after about 20 hours. By themselves, I felt that the LS50 are more transparent than the 104/2s but overall 104/2 felt like they had better presence and room filling sound. My room is 16ftx14ft with 10ft to 8ft slanted ceiling.

45544536-4148-44A8-B930-6BA9DC3D9D68.jpeg
View attachment 103796

I tried to integrate the LS50 with the SB2000pro using the SVS app, but this time the results were not as satisfying to the ear. The LS50 by itself had a decent amount of bass in my room, but the additional of the sub made the bass overwhelming at times.
LS50 with SB2000pro.jpg


Reading how well the Denon x3600h measured on this site, I decided to use it for bass management with Audyssey and its preouts to drive the Luxman.

ls50 svs xt32.jpg


The graph above is slightly less flat the what the Odyssey app reports. I did try to use the mmm technique with REW which did produce a curve closer to the app, just forgot to save the results.

Overall, I am very pleased with this setup. I feel that this beats my previous 104/2 with sub in terms of clarity in the highs and the lows feel very well integrated. I am running Audyssey full range right now but plan to experiment with limiting it to 500hz and below in the future. I did try to compare vs Denon's direct, pure direct modes and felt that Audyssey provides a much richer presentation of the music.

Few other notes:
- In the course of my testing, I also tried to use the Denon's onboard amps. As expected, the performance was very disappointing. The LS50s sounded very thin with too much brightness. The Luxman is able to open up the sound nicely and everything just becomes more airy and musical.
- In A/B testing the LS50 vs the 104/2, the Luxman was producing around 3-5db higher SPL on the 104/2s vs the LS50s keeping the volume knob at the same place.
 

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#2
So to be clear, are the pre-outs sending full range to the LS50 Meta in this setup? I was just curious if you compared running the Meta as "small" vs. "full" when you added the sub?
 

whazzup

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#3
Few other notes:
- In the course of my testing, I also tried to use the Denon's onboard amps. As expected, the performance was very disappointing. The LS50s sounded very thin with too much brightness. The Luxman is able to open up the sound nicely and everything just becomes more airy and musical.
- In A/B testing the LS50 vs the 104/2, the Luxman was producing around 3-5db higher SPL on the 104/2s vs the LS50s keeping the volume knob at the same place.
Do you have the measurements when running the LS50s directly from x3600h? Will be interesting to quantify your audio impressions of that versus the Luxman.
 
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Thread Starter #5
So to be clear, are the pre-outs sending full range to the LS50 Meta in this setup? I was just curious if you compared running the Meta as "small" vs. "full" when you added the sub?
I am running them as small. Audyssey selected a crossover of 60hz which I do plan to experiment with in the future.

By themselves, the LS50s have surprising amount of bass when placed 2ft out from the back wall. However, the sweet zone for optimum fidelity seems to be smaller then the 104/2s. This doesn’t bother me as I mostly listen by myself or with a small group of friends.
 
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Thread Starter #6
Do you have the measurements when running the LS50s directly from x3600h? Will be interesting to quantify your audio impressions of that versus the Luxman.
I did not measure the denon after it quickly became apparent SQ was not close to the luxman. Happy to do it down the road when I have some free time.
 
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Thread Starter #7
Are you high passing the LS 50's or just letting them roll off and merge into the SB 2000?
I have set the LS50s as small. My understanding is that the denon will not send frequencies below the crossover (60hz in my case) to them.
 

whazzup

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#8
I did not measure the denon after it quickly became apparent SQ was not close to the luxman. Happy to do it down the road when I have some free time.
Great, it will be odd if there's such an audible difference yet cannot be picked up by the measuring mic.
 

Sprint

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#9
I have set the LS50s as small. My understanding is that the denon will not send frequencies below the crossover (60hz in my case) to them.
What is your listening distance? I assume it is less than 2 meters from the speakers.
 

Steve Dallas

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#10
I have set the LS50s as small. My understanding is that the denon will not send frequencies below the crossover (60hz in my case) to them.
I would set the crossover to 80Hz to take some strain off that little woofer.

Also, I am a little surprised you are not seeing meaningful bass down to 30Hz with that SB-2000 Pro. You may need to experiment with adjusting position and/or phase.

I ran a similar setup to yours for several months: Source -> Denon 4700 -> Peachtree Nova 150 -> LS50s with dual SB-2000s. I was able to manage bass down to ~26 Hz.

My results were something like this (blue line):
AVR-4700H Direct vs Audyssey with and without Subs Psy.png

The speakers in this graph are Revel F206 set to large for the red and green traces, and set to small and crossed at 80Hz for the blue trace. My LS50 graph looked essentially the same with subs active.
 
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Thread Starter #12
I would set the crossover to 80Hz to take some strain off that little woofer.

Also, I am a little surprised you are not seeing meaningful bass down to 30Hz with that SB-2000 Pro. You may need to experiment with adjusting phase or something.

I ran a similar setup to yours for several months: Source -> Denon 4700 -> Peachtree Nova 150 -> LS50s with dual SB-2000s. I was able to manage bass down to ~26 Hz.

My results were something like this (blue line):
View attachment 103908
The speakers in this graph are Revel F206 set to large for the red and green traces, and set to small and crossed at 80Hz for the blue trace. My LS50 graph looked essentially the same with subs active.
Thanks for sharing! I will play with subwoofer placement and phase. Right now it’s basically in the same plane as the LS50s sitting between them both and about 1ft from the left speaker.

Will also try the higher 80hz crossover.
 

phoenixdogfan

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#13
Thanks for sharing! I will play with subwoofer placement and phase. Right now it’s basically in the same plane as the LS50s sitting between them both and about 1ft from the left speaker.

Will also try the higher 80hz crossover.
I have a feeling the 60 hz is a low pass for the sub only, while setting your LS 50's to small high passed them at 80 hz. You might also want to play around with the roll off of the Sb2000's. If you're getting a dip in the crossover range, try going with a 12 db per octave roll off on the sub only, and see how that works. I also think 80 hz is too low for the LS 50s. I have a single SB2000 and find I'm happier crossing over at 100 hz. The SB2000 is dead flat to 140 hz.
 

samysound

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#14
This forum has been a wealth of great information. I have learned and geeked out a ton!

I thought I should share my own experience and observations setting up the Kef LS50 Meta with a SB2000pro and the Denon x3600h preouts to a Luxman R117 for amplification.

The TLDR of it is that this combination provides excellent sound quality when used with the Audyssey Editor app and good sources such as Tidal or Amazon HD.

My previous system for the last 5 years was a KEF 104/2 powered by the Luxman R117 connected to a chromecast Audio for streaming. I really loved this system and had no reason to upgrade other than to experiment with something new.
View attachment 103810

The first addition was an SB2000Pro, which helped in the obvious ways, although the 104/2s can go quite low themselves.
I tried to eq the SVS with its app and used a 60hz crossover. The bass felt nicely integrated with the 104/2s

Next came the LS50 Meta. In the beginning, the sound was a little bright but opened up very nicely after about 20 hours. By themselves, I felt that the LS50 are more transparent than the 104/2s but overall 104/2 felt like they had better presence and room filling sound. My room is 16ftx14ft with 10ft to 8ft slanted ceiling.

View attachment 103808 View attachment 103796

I tried to integrate the LS50 with the SB2000pro using the SVS app, but this time the results were not as satisfying to the ear. The LS50 by itself had a decent amount of bass in my room, but the additional of the sub made the bass overwhelming at times.
View attachment 103812

Reading how well the Denon x3600h measured on this site, I decided to use it for bass management with Audyssey and its preouts to drive the Luxman.

View attachment 103813

The graph above is slightly less flat the what the Odyssey app reports. I did try to use the mmm technique with REW which did produce a curve closer to the app, just forgot to save the results.

Overall, I am very pleased with this setup. I feel that this beats my previous 104/2 with sub in terms of clarity in the highs and the lows feel very well integrated. I am running Audyssey full range right now but plan to experiment with limiting it to 500hz and below in the future. I did try to compare vs Denon's direct, pure direct modes and felt that Audyssey provides a much richer presentation of the music.

Few other notes:
- In the course of my testing, I also tried to use the Denon's onboard amps. As expected, the performance was very disappointing. The LS50s sounded very thin with too much brightness. The Luxman is able to open up the sound nicely and everything just becomes more airy and musical.
- In A/B testing the LS50 vs the 104/2, the Luxman was producing around 3-5db higher SPL on the 104/2s vs the LS50s keeping the volume knob at the same place.
Was your testing between the Luxman and Denon's on board amps level matched? Reading through the many amp and DAC reviews on this forum its hard such audible differences are possible (unless something is broken) between two relatively modern solid sate devices.
 

Steve Dallas

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#15
Thanks for sharing! I will play with subwoofer placement and phase. Right now it’s basically in the same plane as the LS50s sitting between them both and about 1ft from the left speaker.

Will also try the higher 80hz crossover.
I dug up a more recent measurement. The former measurement was using a +3dB at 20Hz custom target curve in Audyssey. This measurement is the default flat curve, which is much better:

Revel F206 Stereo Audyssey Correction MMM.png


That midrange rise is something I am still working on. As you can see, my response at 20Hz is very close to my target. You should be able to achieve something similar.
 
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Thread Starter #16
I dug up a more recent measurement. The former measurement was using a +3dB at 20Hz custom target curve in Audyssey. This measurement is the default flat curve, which is much better:

View attachment 104166

That midrange rise is something I am still working on. As you can see, my response at 20Hz is very close to my target. You should be able to achieve something similar.
Thanks for your suggestions! I changed the crossover to 80hz and moved the sub to a corner placement which immediately increased the bass response but it sounded muddy on some tracks.

I then played around with phase and with inward (into the wall) vs outward facing woofer. Started an RTA analysis in REW with pink noise and noticed 2 nulls when sub was playing with the left channel. These nulls were not present with sub playing with the right channel. Also, the sub was now playing about 10db+ higher then the KEFs so I reduced the gain on the sb2000 to -20db which brought the overall response in line. I then ran both L+R+sub at the same time and landed on a forward facing position that seemed to minimize the nulls. In this placement, there was still a single 15db drop at the new crossover frequency of 80Hz for the left channel, but still seemed to be the best compromise.

After running Audyssey again and adding +3db on the subwoofer curve in the MultiEQ app, I am very happy with the new results shown below.

ls50 svs corner audyssey.jpg


With the improved bass response, the soundstage sounds more 3D to my ears. Even watching TV is more interesting :)

Next, I will play with a 100Hz crossover and if I get the motivation, do a level matched comparison between the Luxman and the Denon amplifiers.
 
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#17
In A/B testing the LS50 vs the 104/2, the Luxman was producing around 3-5db higher SPL on the 104/2s vs the LS50s keeping the volume knob at the same place.
Kef 104.2 sensitivity: 91dB
Kef LS50 Meta sensitivity: 85dB

Thanks for your posts.

I'm keen to read your level matched comparison between the Luxman and Denon amps.
 
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