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KEF LS60 Wireless Just Announced

zen87192

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For those of you in the UK and would like to have a listen to the LS60's before placing an order... have a look at this..... I believe its the first time these will be available for a listen as they've all sold out for now and Demo's will be pretty sparse in Dealers. Perhaps I will meet up with some of you as well at the function to discuss our thoughts.....

 
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zen87192

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The LS60's have a pair of Phono in sockets that can accommodate external sources. I know that the LS60's are technically an 'all in one' system. But..... can one connect an external DAC and a source connected to that DAC and play it through the Phono in facility? Will the internal 'electronics' take away any if the benefits of the additions? I know its a weird question but I like to know its options and limitations. It is a 6K speaker so I'd like to know if all is possible or not worthwhile
 

harkpabst

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Sure enough you can do that, wether it makes sense or not.

What benefits of adding an external DAC would you be after? Better connectivity, software you like better?

If it was for subjective sound quality you'd had to believe that the addition of the LS60 Wireless ADC in front of the DSP, DAC and amps improves the sound so much, that the supposedly superior external DAC is worth it. :)
 

zen87192

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Thanks for a quick response @harkpabst.
I was really trying to see if adding an external DAC, be it via RCA, Optical or Coax, still uses the LS60's internal decoding techniques, hence making the external DAC 'null and void'. My aim was to see if I can use the LS60's amplification to be supplied by my external DAC and CD Player. I know one can attach a CD Player directly to the LS60 but was also wondering if the sound could be improved if an external DAC was used.
 
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Vacceo

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Thanks for a quick response @harkpabst.
I was really trying to see if adding an external DAC, be it via RCA, Optical or Coax, still uses the LS60's internal decoding techniques, hence making the external DAC 'null and void'. My aim was to see if I can use the LS60's amplification to be supplied by my external DAC and CD Player. I know one can attach a CD Player directly to the LS60 but was also wondering if the sound could be improved if an external DAC was used.
I doubt you will get an improvement. DAC's only make a difference for the worse when poorly executed.
 

KMO

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I doubt you will get an improvement. DAC's only make a difference for the worse when poorly executed.
One DAC can be better than another DAC, so using an outboard DAC instead of, say, the DAC in your CD player might make sense. When you need to go digital->analogue, do it as best you can.

But inserting an extra DAC into the chain can only possibly colour the sound.The LS60 is just going to have to convert it back to digital, and then run it through its own DAC at the end. You can't avoid the LS60's DAC.

If you can deliver data digitally to the LS60, that's preferable.

If you have to deliver it in analogue form for some reason, like from the pre-outs of an AVR, that's also fine.

But taking digital data and converting it to analogue for the sake of it, so it has to convert it back to digital makes no sense. Minimise unneeded conversions.
 

Vacceo

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If the LS60 uses the same DAC as the LS50 wireless II, there is no point adding an external DAC. Use a coax or optical connection from the source and save yourself a box.
 

MarcosCh

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I was under the impression that this sort of speakers digitalize the analog inputs anyways. How do you think they apply volume control, with an analog attenuator?
But i have no idea, others might correct me if i am wrong
 

harkpabst

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I was under the impression that this sort of speakers digitalize the analog inputs anyways. How do you think they apply volume control, with an analog attenuator?
But i have no idea, others might correct me if i am wrong
They certainly do, otherwise DSP couldn't be applied. And that's why inserting an additional DAC into the signal chain cannot objectively improve quality.

As for volume control we cannot know until someone enlightens us, @AOR :D. Everything is thinkable, from fully digital to fully analogue to anything in between.
 

MarcosCh

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Well, since the interspeaker communication is purely digital, i think this alone eliminates any possibility that the volume control or anything else there inside is analog.

From the manual:

Interspeaker connection
Wireless: all sources resampled to 96 kHz/24 bit PCM
Wired: all sources resampled to 192 kHz/ 24 bit PCM
 

harkpabst

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Still each speaker has its own power amplifiers (class AB in the case of the tweeter), so there is an analogue (possibly line level) signal and an analogue attenuator could be used (motor controlled by a digital signal).

At least in theory. In practice I doubt it. I used to be very reluctant to purely digital volume control due to precision loss, but admit in all honesty that my mind has changed. With current DACs, ADCs and DSPs there is so much unused dynamic range that even at low listening levels digital volume control must be considered pretty much transparent.
 
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voodooless

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Still each speaker has its own power amplifiers (class AB in the case of the tweeter), so there is an analogue (possibly line level) signal and an analogue attenuator could be used (motor controlled by a digital signal).
Nothing so complicated is needed. There are just digitally controlled analog volume control IC’s. AVR’s are full of them. No idea if the LS60 uses them. Digital volume control can be good if implemented correctly.
 

harkpabst

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Nothing so complicated is needed. There are just digitally controlled analog volume control IC’s. AVR’s are full of them. No idea if the LS60 uses them. Digital volume control can be good if implemented correctly.
I was making up an extreme example. Fact is we don't know for sure and the question is not really that important. :)
 

AOR

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They certainly do, otherwise DSP couldn't be applied. And that's why inserting an additional DAC into the signal chain cannot objectively improve quality.

As for volume control we cannot know until someone enlightens us, @AOR :D. Everything is thinkable, from fully digital to fully analogue to anything in between.
Hi @harkpabst ,

TL;DR the volume control is digital, in the DSP.

Longer answer:
In order to process the audio in a consistent manner, in the DSP, all input sources are converted from their input format to digital. This means that the analog input goes through an ADC, Bluetooth is decoded etc. This gives a single digital input for the DSP. The DSP section then performs all the processing we want to on the audio. This includes all of the app controls (volume, room EQ, sub settings, phase correction) and all the other stuff that we do, but don't give the user control over (crossover, smart distortion controller, signal routing etc.). After that the processed signals go through the DACs, amps and then the drivers.
This also means that our DACs can't be bypassed, due to the processing and crossover being upstream of the DACs. If you want to use an external DAC into the analog inputs, you certainly can, if you want to add some of the character of a particular DAC. In doing so, however, you will be adding an extra conversion to the signal path.
 

Simply Stereo

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Spending the last 6 days waiting for our demo LS60's (white) to arrive has been torture. We had a Titanium pair here in stock that I had a really hard time not opening while waiting.

Anyway...

LS60-A.jpg


These things are really gorgeous in person. There is something very sleek and futuristic about them. The fact that they're so infinitely skinny is just awesome looking.
 

noname

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Spending the last 6 days waiting for our demo LS60's (white) to arrive has been torture. We had a Titanium pair here in stock that I had a really hard time not opening while waiting.

Anyway...

View attachment 213869

These things are really gorgeous in person. There is something very sleek and futuristic about them. The fact that they're so infinitely skinny is just awesome looking.
How about the sound? I wanna hear your subjective opinion compared to KEF' other models.
 

Simply Stereo

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How about the sound? I wanna hear your subjective opinion compared to KEF' other models.
Oh is that what you want?

I have only heard them in one room so far. It's a big room, so I want to move them to another room to make sure I have a better idea of their true performance. They image extremely well. Nothing about them is fatiguing at all. Very open soundstage like the Reference 3 Meta we have. I'd say in some ways I like these more than the Reference 3 Meta, and in some ways the Reference 3 Meta more. Keep in mind, this is in a big room.

The Reference 3 Meta have pretty impressive bass in this room, where most speakers don't do well (there is huge black hole right around 50hz from the right speaker no matter what we do -- so we like to run two subs in mono down here ideally crossed over around 70-80hz, which helps get rid of that). For whatever reason, the Reference 3 do a great job overcoming / minimizing that issue down here. I'm sure the Blade Meta we ordered months and months ago will do great down here as well, once we finally get our pair in 2027.

The LS60 bass is good. This is the main part I'm reserving judgement on. I want to get these speakers on a long wall in a spot where bookshelf speakers sound hefty, and I think these will sound relatively full sized (I hesitate to use full range, because obviously they will never be). I will say this -- it's 11:26pm now and I've been listening to them for the last two hours or so now that the noise floor is dramatically lower. I've been enjoying them a LOT in this time. I find myself just listening (to be fair, I'm on and off my phone/laptop while listening) and not changing songs much at all. That's huge for me. If I'm constantly changing songs seeking out that feeling of satisfaction, that's a terrible sign. I don't get that with these at all.

Tomorrow, we will move these into a spot where bookshelf speakers even sound like bass monsters, and see what we can get.

Once they come back downstairs, I'm going to add two little subs to them (probably REL T9X) in mono and see how they without having to worry about much bass below 80hz or so. I do notice some issues with the streaming occasionally (using Tidal via KEF app) letting out a small pop sound at the beginning of some songs about a half second in. Something that could be our network, or easily fixed with firmware.

I'll post more impressions soon. As of now, this is an awesome package for $7,000 -- it's a lot of return for the money if you factor in the extremely slim unobtrusive design, the very very good imaging/soundstage, in app sound tuning ability, and more than anything, the ability to completely change (upgrade) the sound eventually or right away with subs.

How's that?
 
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Simply Stereo

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The image you provided (copied below) looks like standard Appleware-look-and-feel.
Never heard the term Appleware before, but I’m assuming you’re trying to suggest that it’s Apple like, and there is nothing interesting or bold about the design?

I wonder if you’d say that if it didn’t happen to be a white pair.

Are there many more ultra thin speakers I don’t know about that make this design as tired and overdone as you seem to suggest? If so, I’d love to see.
 

Vacceo

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The image you provided (copied below) looks like standard Appleware-look-and-feel.

index.php
Too bad they haven't released the copper on black version.

Black makes everything better.
 
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