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Kef Reference 1 vs LS50M w subs

srrxr71

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I think a lot of people are complaining when they should be thankful. They gave you the latest technology drive units in Chinese made inexpensively priced products. Then you want to turn around and say the reference model is too expensive.

If anything the LS50 and R3 are too cheap. Who gives you a point source driver with the latest R&D at that price?


Would you all be happy if the reference line only used the latest driver and the LS50 and R3 used one generation behind? Then you can’t complain the reference is overpriced. It is not overpriced compared to its peers.


As an aside if I went LS50 and had to mess with mini DSP I would whole hog and get 2 rhythmik FM8 mid bass units to relieve the 5.25” mid bass on the LS50. Not only that I would optimize their positions to counter any dips that EQ cannot resolve. Then also integrate one or 2 subs as necessary.

Yes 2 subs is better but first check your room. I found that in my room one sub up against the wall in the position I have it can be eq’d flat from 20-120Hz. So why get a second sub in that case? (I don’t need the extra output). You will need an 8 channel mini dsp but it is the optimal way to do it.
 

Descartes

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I think a lot of people are complaining when they should be thankful. They gave you the latest technology drive units in Chinese made inexpensively priced products. Then you want to turn around and say the reference model is too expensive.

If anything the LS50 and R3 are too cheap. Who gives you a point source driver with the latest R&D at that price?


Would you all be happy if the reference line only used the latest driver and the LS50 and R3 used one generation behind? Then you can’t complain the reference is overpriced. It is not overpriced compared to its peers.


As an aside if I went LS50 and had to mess with mini DSP I would whole hog and get 2 rhythmik FM8 mid bass units to relieve the 5.25” mid bass on the LS50. Not only that I would optimize their positions to counter any dips that EQ cannot resolve. Then also integrate one or 2 subs as necessary.

Yes 2 subs is better but first check your room. I found that in my room one sub up against the wall in the position I have it can be eq’d flat from 20-120Hz. So why get a second sub in that case? (I don’t need the extra output). You will need an 8 channel mini dsp but it is the optimal way to do it.
Whoa! So virulent you are!
Everyone is entitled to their opinions if you think the Reference line is cheap please by all mean buy them.
 

srrxr71

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Whoa! So virulent you are!
Everyone is entitled to their opinions if you think the Reference line is cheap please by all mean buy them.
Nobody is saying they are cheap. But the fact that they exist is what gives value to the lesser models. That’s how the R&D gets paid for.

People are complaining that they exist and they are poor value. They are quite competitive at their price point in the speaker marketplace. If you don’t want to spend on them be happy they made LS50 and R3. Most audio companies of their pedigree hold back on the cheaper products. That they chose not to is now a reason for complaint.

You should be thankful KEF is not a greedy company. They could have easily held back the latest tech on their lower priced models. Then we wouldn’t be hearing about how the reference is a rip-off.
 

Daka

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I think a lot of people are complaining when they should be thankful. They gave you the latest technology drive units in Chinese made inexpensively priced products. Then you want to turn around and say the reference model is too expensive.

If anything the LS50 and R3 are too cheap. Who gives you a point source driver with the latest R&D at that price?

Would you all be happy if the reference line only used the latest driver and the LS50 and R3 used one generation behind? Then you can’t complain the reference is overpriced. It is not overpriced compared to its peers.
Its not about complaining - R line and LS50 meta they priced aggressively and correctly - giving them place in competitive market - reference on the other hand seem to be priced for die hard fans with much bigger margins for sure. If they dropped price by half - they would rock the market. Many people would consider them over the competition.
Btw you cover better your R&D by selling big quantities not by pricing product high.

For that price, if I ever consider spending that kind of money, they look not bold enough, too old fashion, and competition does better job.
 

pablolie

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Nobody is saying they are cheap. But the fact that they exist is what gives value to the lesser models. That’s how the R&D gets paid for.

People are complaining that they exist and they are poor value. They are quite competitive at their price point in the speaker marketplace. If you don’t want to spend on them be happy they made LS50 and R3. Most audio companies of their pedigree hold back on the cheaper products. That they chose not to is now a reason for complaint.

You should be thankful KEF is not a greedy company. They could have easily held back the latest tech on their lower priced models. Then we wouldn’t be hearing about how the reference is a rip-off.

In general, I think *every* prestigious speaker company could offer their tech at much lower price points if they chose to. The margins on those products are... uhm, let's say "high". They just chose not to as a market strategy exercise - they don't want to be bothered with new sales channels when their boutique approach is giving them what they want, and they don't want to "dilute" the brand.

Note that KEF lets you buy the LS and R online in their store, but for the top models they don't dare compete with their boutique dealer network.

Pricing in upscale/luxury goods is never ever based on a margin-driven "(material_cost + labor_cost) + my_little_extra_margin" formula, it's based on "perceived value", as per Adam Smith, who said back in the 1700s "“The real price of anything is the toil and trouble of acquiring it”. :)
 

Daka

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Its not about complaining - R line and LS50 meta they priced aggressively and correctly - giving them place in competitive market - reference on the other hand seem to be priced for die hard fans with much bigger margins for sure. If they dropped price by half - they would rock the market. Many people would consider them over the competition.
For that price, if I ever consider spending that kind of money, they look not bold enough, too old fashion, and competition does better job.
In general, I think *every* prestigious speaker company could offer their tech at much lower price points if they chose to. The margins on those products are... uhm, let's say "high". They just chose not to as a market strategy exercise - they don't want to be bothered with new sales channels when their boutique approach is giving them what they want, and they don't want to "dilute" the brand.

Note that KEF lets you buy the LS and R online in their store, but for the top models they don't dare compete with their boutique dealer network.

Pricing in upscale/luxury goods is never ever based on a margin-driven "(material_cost + labor_cost) + my_little_extra_margin" formula, it's based on "perceived value", as per Adam Smith, who said back in the 1700s "“The real price of anything is the toil and trouble of acquiring it”. :)
And perceived value increases if we have a brand with ridiculous prices. Yes that is most likely explanation as to why.
Still VW and Fiat showed how it should be done and quantity in the wins over perceived luxury (Ferrari for instance)
 

Descartes

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And perceived value increases if we have a brand with ridiculous prices. Yes that is most likely explanation as to why.
Still VW and Fiat showed how it should be done and quantity in the wins over perceived luxury (Ferrari for instance)
I would rather drive a Ferrari ;)
Yes value is different for everyone!
 

srrxr71

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Its not about complaining - R line and LS50 meta they priced aggressively and correctly - giving them place in competitive market - reference on the other hand seem to be priced for die hard fans with much bigger margins for sure. If they dropped price by half - they would rock the market. Many people would consider them over the competition.
Btw you cover better your R&D by selling big quantities not by pricing product high.

For that price, if I ever consider spending that kind of money, they look not bold enough, too old fashion, and competition does better job.


When I was growing up KEF was a high end brand that I could not hope to afford. In fact I always looked at it that way.

It seems of the British brands Cambridge and KEF embraced Chinese manufacturing. They wanted to compete on volume more than status. Ask if B&W, Linn or Naim have done that beyond a few lifestyle toys they made.

It was good business plan for KEF and they did it honestly giving you the latest driver tech in the cheapest product. These companies never do that. Maybe they did it because they felt they needed to go a little more mass market to survive. So it’s not all from the kindness of their hearts.

However they still don’t want to lose their prestige by making everything mass market. They do have some heritage to protect. So if you want that reference product you will have to pay those prices. That’s also how you get to pay so little and say you have the same drive unit found in a $8k speaker.
 

srrxr71

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In general, I think *every* prestigious speaker company could offer their tech at much lower price points if they chose to. The margins on those products are... uhm, let's say "high". They just chose not to as a market strategy exercise - they don't want to be bothered with new sales channels when their boutique approach is giving them what they want, and they don't want to "dilute" the brand.
Note that KEF lets you buy the LS and R online in their store, but for the top models they don't dare compete with their boutique dealer network.

Pricing in upscale/luxury goods is never ever based on a margin-driven "(material_cost + labor_cost) + my_little_extra_margin" formula, it's based on "perceived value", as per Adam Smith, who said back in the 1700s "“The real price of anything is the toil and trouble of acquiring it”. :)
We are very lucky to get that proprietary driver for so little. It was my gateway into point source. I never thought I could taste it at the price I paid.
 

pablolie

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...

We are very lucky to get that proprietary driver for so little. It was my gateway into point source. I never thought I could taste it at the price I paid.

Indeed. All I can say is I had very expensive speakers prior to the LS, and they sound better.
 

pablolie

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VW owns Porsche though :)
It was a funny and tragic(for the Porsche CEO) reverse takeover attempt. Porsche could have gone bankrupt over the CEO's ego move. VW bailed them out acquiring their debt and yeah, gaining complete ownership (as it remains). VW also owns Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley and some more.

 
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Head_Unit

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Porsche reverse takeover attempt
I thought it was hilarious Porsche was going to acquire VW and was disappointed when the reverse happened. But I'm going to read your linked article because it seems there was a lot not reported about this in USA automotive periodicals, even industry ones.
[after reading]...seems their sin was to not announce they were going for a large stake? And then it seems their purchases actually drove up VW shares, making it possible for VW to turn around and buy Porsche?
- On a different note why did they give 55% of Bugatti to Rimac? Nothing against Rimac but it seems odd to give a majority of a top brand.
 
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Head_Unit

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Kef Reference 1 vs LS50M w subs
So back to the original discussion, some points I didn't see brought out (aside from did you ever buy anything?):
1) These are different concepts, fullrange versus 3-piece. Fullrange speakers are kismetically unlikely to be in a place for good bass response; subwoofers take more work to integrate but can gain smoother response.
2) Hmmm...can room correction correct fullrange speakers well if they are not in a good location? I've never seen anything about this. It works well in our one setup with Focal all around and an SVS SB-2000 Pro
3) If there is no room correction in the system, some subwoofers can provide this. https://www.stereophile.com/content/jl-audio-fathom-f110v2-powered-subwoofer-measurements
4) Someone mentioned that something like KC62 while cute is too small to be a real subwoofer. Even with "1000 watts" a pair of 6.5" cones can only move so much air, and would generate a lot of modulation from cone motion. The physics of low frequencies says you just need to move a LOT of air to generate useful sound pressure (and if you can't generate enough it is useless as you can't even hear/feel it: Fielder and Benjamin "Subwoofer Performance for Accurate Reproduction of Music." https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5147) At a not-cheap $1500 I'd only be buying this for a desktop system...heck you could almost get TWO SVS SB-3000 Micro for the money...and even then only for smaller rooms or lower maximum volume levels.
5) Uni-Q has its good points but the motion of the woofer cone in front of the tweeter must modulate the high frequency response. Even with a subwoofer, I'd prefer a design where that is used in more of a midrange from higher frequencies. That's a theoretical viewpoint; not sure how much effect there actually is.
 

Descartes

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…..If anything the LS50 and R3 are too cheap….
Interesting you think that because they are made in China they are not good quality or too cheap!

Well who cares if it made in Europe for the prices that the reference series are do you know that the margins are like 50 to 60 % less than what the manufacturers suggested retail price!
 

srrxr71

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Interesting you think that because they are made in China they are not good quality or too cheap!

Well who cares if it made in Europe for the prices that the reference series are do you know that the margins are like 50 to 60 % less than what the manufacturers suggested retail price!
That wasn’t meant to be a snobby take on the product. I have a $139 Topping as my source in my system.

It’s just that people don’t appreciate what they are getting. They see the value of the china made product and expect that the UK made product should work on the same economics. This is impossible.

Even if the whole thing were made in China and shipped to the UK to put a badge on it they still need to maintain their brand heritage. Rather they choose to. Since they are one of few designers and manufacturers of coaxial drivers they have every ability to do so.

They don’t want to price the entire to move out the door. You want that last bit of performance it will cost. Law of diminishing returns. But really it’s just more about owning a reference product.

You could do better with LS50 meta + 2-4 subs + DSP and spend less. Not everyone wants to do that and if you are one of those people I hope you have the cash to pay KEF so they can put it all in one box for you.
 

Morpheus

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Conceptually, an LS 50 with a single coaxial covering everything up to crossover runs into IMD issues, and is a sort of a jack of all trades, not optimimum for bass neither midrange, and can't match output down low too..But its a question of how the money is spent: building a bigger box and sturdy box, increased shipping, a three way crossover, adding an extra drive and keeping everything else the same or better wrecks the cost equation pretty soon and makes the return/value worth pondering. If you listen at lower volumes with less bass intensive music, it may be good enough or even better than an R3/ Ref1..
Reference series has been overpriced at new prices in my own experience, and even more now (own an old 205) but as a second hand purchase are really head and shoulders above, and the price differential is clearly worth it for me..Everything is just that little bit better, more satisfying, more acccurate, more easy and effortless to listen and you stop worrying about it..Only when you spend sometime with something else that might even sound more impressive at first do you really appreciate how "mature" they sound..Listen to a 2nd hand 201.2 and still today you will be very impressed, and the price/value/ sound is up there.
 
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