• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

KEF LS50 meta vs LS50 Wireless II

lofiguy

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
33
Likes
9
These 2 flavors of "uniQ 12" are the same drivers of course. What the spec sheet for the wireless somewhat sadly reveals is that the wireless is bi-amped whereas the meta doesn't offer that option.

I say sadly, because I am not that interested in a wireless, intimately tying up the very fast moving target of streaming with the speakers themselves. I'd rather have a separate streamer or streamer/amp both for agility and to not be married to the single KEF implementation (nor to its DAC).

The wireless claims -3dB FR down to 45Hz "with EQ", whereas the meta is only down to 79Hz, and -6dB 47Hz. Any reason appropriate EQ can't just be applied to the meta so as to extend the -3dB range? I mean the -6dB does go down that low anyway. Getting down that low would be stupendous as for me it would eliminate (well enough) the requirement for a subwoofer. I mean it'd be great to mate up a subwoofer but the problem is the difficulty of getting an equipment setup that has a sub out that comes in at a good price and has the form factor of a small headphone amp stack. This is for my home office where I listen at moderate volume (at best) and that really deep sub bass isn't really necessary. I'm thinking if I can get down to 60Hz I would be super happy no compromise.

Obviously I can EQ it but will it just be a mistake due to the single amp configuration? Is the extended range of the wireless really being achieved via bi amping, and not as importantly via EQ? Given that I would listen at pretty moderate volume, as long as I don't run out of headroom are each driver in the meta speakers basically pulling the proportionally requisite amount of power they need even in a single amp configuration? 100W is recommended for the meta (which is the HF power for the wireless), so I mean if I just doubled that to cover the lower bass, am I overpowering the HF and now I need to also EQ that out?
 

KMO

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
415
Likes
557
At high volumes, a bass-boost EQ would overstress the woofer. So in the Wireless II, there is limiting on it:
In addition, there is a dynamic bass stage that limits
the driver excursion whatever the setting. This
prevents excessive distortion and protects the driver
from possible damage. The application is practically
unnoticeable - however the effect is creating a
loudspeaker that sounds larger than it actually is.
I don't know how easy it is to achieve that with any of the off-board DSP solutions.
 

stren

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
166
Likes
170
60 Hz is achievable depending on your room - here are some measurements:


With eq to bass boost and placement I was able to get mine to 40Hz. A sub was still a welcome addition
 

dfuller

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
1,920
Likes
2,604
At high volumes, a bass-boost EQ would overstress the woofer. So in the Wireless II, there is limiting on it:

I don't know how easy it is to achieve that with any of the off-board DSP solutions.
Pretty difficult. That stuff is often done in analog post-D/A conversion.
 
OP
L

lofiguy

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
33
Likes
9
Is it really that important? I mean don't pretty much all your typical home bi-ampable speakers get on just fine without such compression/limiter? Is KEF making up for some deficiency in the driver design here? Rather I should probably say that the amp design and tight integration allows them some optimization that they might not otherwise get away with.
 
OP
L

lofiguy

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
33
Likes
9
ah. From amir's review:

Was it all perfect? No. As I turned up bass heavy track, the low bass notes change their tonality and quickly become distorted. Notch the volume even higher and you are greeted with scary crackle. You can visually see this in the driver. It separates from the tweeter which is kind of disconcerting but that is how the coaxial driver works. By the time you see any significant separation/movement of the woofer, the bass starts to change. Push it to move more and you are in distortion territory. The driver is simply too small/lacks the excursion for high dynamic range.
So this isn't a feature per se of the Wireless version, rather a protection mechanism for when they deliver a complete integrated product, it simply cannot be allowed to blow itself up. But of course, when marketing it you can never talk about the deficiencies it makes up for, only the benefits it brings.
 

KMO

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
415
Likes
557
So this isn't a feature per se of the Wireless version, rather a protection mechanism for when they deliver a complete integrated product, it simply cannot be allowed to blow itself up. But of course, when marketing it you can never talk about the deficiencies it makes up for, only the benefits it brings.
It's a necessary complement to the "bass extension" feature. Otherwise everyone everywhere would just add a +6dB shelf at the bottom of their EQ to make their speakers go deeper. You can certainly blow the passive LS50 up (I've seen some horrible, horrible photos!), but having the limiters in the Wireless II means you can crank it up without that concern. I'd say that's a feature.

And the next paragraph of the white paper I quoted acknowledges the fundamental constraint:

Should the user prefer to be unbounded by the limitations of a small bass driver, there is always the option of adding one or two subwoofers.

You can't break the laws of physics, only bend them.
 
OP
L

lofiguy

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
33
Likes
9
That's fair. Also I shouldn't have said deficiency but rather design tradeoffs.
 

Descartes

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
796
Likes
376
With the LS50W II you get a minimalist integrated system and can just concentrate on the music!

With the LS50 Meta you get to experiment with amplifiers, pre/pro and sources! Much more complicated but also could be more satisfying if you like to teak your system!

Personally I am finding that I just want to enjoy the music without having to mess with a bunch of boxes. Having said that I love Home Theater and can use that system when wanting to listen to multichannel audio!
 

sweetmusic

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
36
Likes
13
A slight variation on the questions in this thread: I already have an integrated amp with room correction and an *analog* output (the Lyngdorf TDA 1120). The LS50 Wireless ii has an analog input. If I use the integrated as a preamp, for room correction only, there will be an extra digital -> analog -> digital step. The benefits vs the LS50 Meta are 1) room correction, 2) active crossovers and 3) bass extension.

Question 1 for the community: are those 3 benefits worth it for the extra D->A->D, purely considering the sound?

If I have a subwoofer and high-pass the LS50 at 80 Hz, benefit 3) goes away, because I wouldn't be using the Wireless ii's extra bass extension. Then the only benefits are active crossovers and room correction.

Question 2: are room correction and active crossovers worth it for the extra D->A->D, if there's no difference in the bass?

Wdyt?

I'm guessing that the benefit in sound quality is audible and worth the extra D->A->D step ... ignoring cost. But it's an extra $1,200 to get the active Wireless ii vs the Meta. I'm also guessing that most people would not consider the benefit worth the price difference.
 

KMO

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
415
Likes
557
Doesn't the TDA 1120 already have bass management, along with the room correction? It seems to be a proper fully-featured amp with all that stuff that's only routine in AVRs. So I'm not sure why you'd need any of those extra features of the Wireless II you mention.

There might be some other slight gains - the Wireless II has phase correction, and possibly a better digital crossover implementation than the analogue LS50 Meta ones. But not $1000 worth of gains. Makes more sense for someone who doesn't already have the kit you have.
 

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
304
Likes
198
Doesn't the TDA 1120 already have bass management, along with the room correction? It seems to be a proper fully-featured amp with all that stuff that's only routine in AVRs. So I'm not sure why you'd need any of those extra features of the Wireless II you mention.

There might be some other slight gains - the Wireless II has phase correction, and possibly a better digital crossover implementation than the analogue LS50 Meta ones. But not $1000 worth of gains. Makes more sense for someone who doesn't already have the kit you have.
If you get the LS50 Wireless, you accept the quality of the KEF built in amp and DAC. With the Meta, you can control the components.

I have the metas and originally went with a DAC-->AVR---> speakers and had the D to A to D to A with room correction.

Now I got rid of the AVR and go DAC--> amp and will someday have upstream digital room correction, but it sounds great without it. I measured frequency response with REW and Roon and it was pretty flat at 60-65 dB so I don't have any big room issues until I get louder volumes.
 

sweetmusic

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
36
Likes
13
Doesn't the TDA 1120 already have bass management, along with the room correction? It seems to be a proper fully-featured amp with all that stuff that's only routine in AVRs. So I'm not sure why you'd need any of those extra features of the Wireless II you mention.

There might be some other slight gains - the Wireless II has phase correction, and possibly a better digital crossover implementation than the analogue LS50 Meta ones. But not $1000 worth of gains. Makes more sense for someone who doesn't already have the kit you have.
Oh, I definitely don't need it :). I always wonder what I might be missing though. And I could always sell the TDAi 1120 if it turns out i don't need the separate box.
 

sweetmusic

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
36
Likes
13
If you get the LS50 Wireless, you accept the quality of the KEF built in amp and DAC. With the Meta, you can control the components.

I have the metas and originally went with a DAC-->AVR---> speakers and had the D to A to D to A with room correction.

Now I got rid of the AVR and go DAC--> amp and will someday have upstream digital room correction, but it sounds great without it. I measured frequency response with REW and Roon and it was pretty flat at 60-65 dB so I don't have any big room issues until I get louder volumes.
Interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience. I should measure my room. I mean, I already did, but the Lyngdorf doesn't let you view the measured response, afaik. I can install REW on my laptop.
 
Top Bottom