KEF LS50 Wireless Pro Audio Speakers Review – An Audiophile’s Dream!

Today I’ll be reviewing the KEF LS50 wireless speakers, which are high end pro audio speakers that are best appreciated by audiophiles such as myself. 

Hence, I’ve been saving up for these speakers for months and they finally shipped last week. So, I’m excited to talk about them, as you can imagine. 

These speakers are by no means cheap – I bought mine for around $3000.  But when you know what these speakers do, you’ll understand why someone would spend that kind of money on some audio speakers. 

Here is what they look like, if you’ve never seen a pair.

KEF LS50 wireless pro speakers review

Mini KEF Comparison with Dynaudio and KRK

First let me say that I’m used to high quality audio.  It’s gotten to the point where if I hear lower grade audio, I run for the hills.  Which means I basically can’t go anywhere, as most audio and specifically the devices that play audio are build for non-audiophiles. 

The speakers I was using before I got my new KEFs, and which I still have, are high end Dynaudio studio monitors with an extrenal dac.  To your average music buff, these would be quite enough.  But not for me! 

Before the Dynaudios, I had some sweet KRK speakers, that had great sound, but I sold them in an effort to upgrade, which is when I got my Dynaudio speakers by a stroke of luck when a friend of mine sold them to me for a song. 

Now, with my KEFs, I feel like I’ve levelled up once again.

Why Did I Buy These?

My reason for the upgrade from KRK to Dynaudio is that those KRK monitors I had just didn’t cut it audio-wise, especially compared to my Dynaudios, not to mention these KEF’s I have now.

To touch on Dynaudio briefly, if you’re not too familiar with the brand, yes, they do build high end speakers for audiophiles, but they also make studio monitors for regular folks who don’t want to spend a whole lot.

The studio monitors I had were nearfield, with a small sweetspot, and overall they were not as musical as Dynaudio audiophile speakers, but that’s when I started looking at the KEF LS50’s. 

Dynaudio built to lower price points, for non home environments, and that’s what I had.  They were good, but not great.  They weren’t quite audiophile grade enough to stave me off from wanting something with real hi resolution. 

What I mean by high resolution, is that they will decode and play hi rez digital files, and I can plug analog turntable direct into it. And when I say “audiophile”, its the whole signal path you are trying to protect, and because so much it is controlled at the speakers by one design team, is awesome for me. 

And we are only talking speakers and amps. What I have here with these 2 KEF LS50’s is an integrated system, designed for a full hi end sound reproduction. I was talking to a guy at a fine audio store in Ottawa, and he said that the whole staff was blown away.  If I was a record producer, I’d use these for sure.  Great sound. 

The speaker they have built this system into, is already considered on of the very best standmount speakers ever developed. It’s trickle down technology from that 299,000 speaker system.

KEF have been one of the biggest most legitimate high end speaker manufacturers since the sixties. I’ve had other models from them, and they sang beautifully.  

My Audio Space and Why It Is Perfect For KEF LS50’s

My main living room, being acoustically very good on its own, sounds really really great with the right speakers.  Why?  Basically geometry and materials, ie. thick carpeting, and the room has cubic dimensions.

Here’s sort of how dimensions work as it pertains to pro audio gear and how audio travels in the space.  Generally reflective square rooms are disasters. Sound will reflect and create standing waves, particularly in high frequencies.  Or cancel out. 

Basically depending on where you sit, and where your speakers are set up, you will get various degrees of too much these frequencies, and not enough of those…usually the ones you want because the reflections. 

Say a bass wave is 10 feet long, and you are in a 10 foot cube room. That frequency is going to double and cancel every time it reflects.  So both of the rooms I use to play audio are pretty great that way.

Also there’s and isleway, I have a virtual bass trap in my closet and crawlspace, and a port (if you think of a room like a speaker box) from on level to the other.  Basically they both sound great.

My house would make an awesome fine audio store location.  As such when people drop by to visit, they are quite literally amazed at the audio quality I get with my speakers. 

I’m talking about the Dynaudio’s I had before.  Wait until they hear the Kefs!  I have a lot of gatherings, and music is usually a big highlight of those gatherings, and so next time anyone is at my place, they’re in for a real treat audio wise.

Features of the KEF LS50’s

The KEF LS50’s are not just biamped studio nearfield monitors, but biamped coaxial reference grade audiophle speakers, with build in dacs, dsp and various preamp inputs. 

If you don’t know these terms, like dac, and dsp, a dac is a digital to analogue converter. Its the part of your average pre amp, that takes whats been digitized on your computer, and turns it back to analog.

These KEF speakers do just that, right at the amplification stage with no latency.

You can plug a turntable directly into them, but also stream via bluetooth from whatever tablet or phone is in the room with you (communal sound access, perfect for parties) plug a computer in via usb, inputs for line level..ie cd plare, or mixer I guess, but these are maybe a bit too audiiphile to take a chance on possible hot signals, etc. 

All the room mode dsp, and integration with subs, if I ever buy one, which I won’t because I dont listen to pipe organs or hip hop, is controlled by an android app, which doubles as remote control.  Pretty good, right?

Vinyl VS Digital – They Both Win!

Let’s say you’re like me and you love listening to vinyl.  What will make you a bigger fan of these LS50’s, I suspect, is hearing vinyl properly done. If the phono preamp stage of these speakers are at the same level they say the system performs at. We are talking amazing.

However, hi rez digital, can be just as good. What the mainstream echo of the industry insiders repeat, are opinions of non optimized vinyl vs non optimized digital.

Digital now has changed a lot since it was demonized in the late 80s and 90s by audiophiles. Now the software and hardware is so much better, it will out perform vinyl, if it’s not a good table, arm, cartridge, phono preamp combo.

So if I can just plug this in without a decent phono preamp and it sounds like I remember my old system I had in the early nineties i’ll be astonished. I’ll even buy the same turntable!

Music Therapy

I need audiophile grade gear to maximize therapeutic effect listening to music. Time coherency at low level details reconstructs recordings in much more natural ways. 

The trouble for me was, how can I ever afford the gear?  On the second hand market, which holds its value, it would still cost me a couple grand per component, at least 10 grand to get to this systems performance, and then not have the versatility this has. 

That said, these KEF LS50’s integrate everyone into the speaker, and so my music therapy sessions are going to be a lot more rewarding from now on.  (I’m both the therapist and the subject, so this was a prescription from me to me – I needed these LS50’s!)

Design Aesthetics

From a design point of view its almost flawless. They are using analog amps for high frequencies and digital for low, but its all tuned through dsp. 

Digital signal processing to fine tune crossovers, amps, room position, dimension, and subwoofer integration. The tweeter sits in the middle of the woofer, so the sound-staging integrates immediately, which means, the have a huge sweet spot for listening, and you don’t have to be on axis for balanced sound.

When set these up a foot from the wall, they intelligently adjust for neutral.  Quite impressive. I’ve mostly been reading about them up until recently on some of the audiophile sites, but if you even read the purchasers comments on that article, you see the continuity. 

All in all, I think I’ve made a very solid purchase here.

Feature Pick

Ls50 Wireless Powered Music System (Black, Pair)

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ION Audio Road Warrior Portable Speaker Review

Today we review the ION Audio Road Warrior Portable Speaker, which is everything you could possibly need in a speaker, more or less.

It’s got an FM radio, the ability to stream music from any device, a microphone input for karaoke, performances, speaking engagements, or backyard parties. It can be carried easily and be used as a powerbank for your devices, too.

There’s almost nothing this speaker can’t do.

Feature Pick

Ion Audio Road Warrior – 500-Watt Portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker System With Twin Lighted Speakers, On-Board Fm Radio, Rechargeable Battery And Ac/Dc Power Inputs

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Features

  • USB powerbank
  • Microphone input
  • Transmits 100 feet
  • Portable
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 70 to 20000 Hz frequency response
  • Wired or wireless

ION Audio Company

The company has been around since 2002 providing electronics to customers. They strive to provide innovative, fun products to their customers.

After their first USB-conversion turntable, they realized they could take vinyl records to the next level. That’s the kind of electrifying products they like to give the world.

Since that time, they’ve taken conversion to the next level as well as providing products like the advanced speakers we’re reviewing here.

Portable and Wireless

You can use these stereo speakers absolutely anywhere. It has recessed handles, so it can be carted anywhere you need it. Along with being portable in terms of weight and bulkiness, it can work wirelessly, too.

It can plug into the wall or be used with the included battery. Some people use this in the trunk of their car and when it’s needed, they pull it from the trunk and port it around to their destination.

Uses and Specifications

The speaker can be used with your favorite device to project and stream music from your phone, tablet, or computer. It has a built-in FM radio, so you can listen to the show while sitting in the parking lot.

It’s great for use with other applications coming from your favorite podcasters, radio announcers, or music sites. The angle of the speaker is perfect for projecting the sound into the crowd, too.

Along with your favorite music and sounds from others, you can use this speaker to project your own music or voice. This is a perfect speaker for karoake and performances in public where you’re making your own music.

This is a great speaker for the stage you erect in your backyard to perform for all your friends. It’s a terrific speaker for parties since you only need the sound to reach within your own property. The 100 feet of range is perfect.

Output Power

These 10-inch lighted speakers have incredible bass. You’ll be able to bring this to any event and project loud, clear sound at the crowd.

It’s built with enough power at 500 watts to really transmit sound over 100 feet. The design elements of the speaker provide even more power and projection since it’s angled for that purpose.

ION includes the ability to plug this directly into your car’s 12 volt input jack. They also send the wiring you’ll need to marry this speaker to your car. If you don’t want to power using the car, or want to have mobility in your speaker system, use the ION Warrior’s battery.

Rechargeable Battery

When you’re ready to break out the speakers at your next event, you’ll want to ensure they’re fully charged.

At full capacity, they can last for hours. If you plan on having an all-night party with this speaker, it can be paired with another power source to extend the life and music of the party.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the battery actually last?
The manufacturer boasts a 12 hour battery time, but customers have said it’s between 4 and 6 hours. After that, it has to be plugged into a power source.

Is it water resistant?
This isn’t splash resistant, so it’s important that you’re careful at the beach or around the drink table at the party. Consider placement before setting up the speakers.

Can it be paired with an MP3 player?
Hook up the cable from the MP3 player to the speaker. It works great for streaming from many devices. It’s not limited to MP3 players.

What kind of microphone can I plug in for karaoke?
You can use any microphone that needs to be plugged into a speaker.

Conclusion

This ION Audio Road Warrior Portable Speaker is a great portable option for times when you want to carry an easy sound system with you.

It’s terrific for parties and places where you might not be able to easily find a PA system.

That could be the beach, the back of your truck, your backyard, or a meeting room without its own system.

Yamaha Club V Series S215V Dual 15″ Loudspeaker Review

Today I am going to review the Yamaha Club V Series S215 Dual 15″ Loudspeaker

At just over 100 lbs and with dimensions of 19.5 x 23.5 x 45.9 inches, the S215 is the kind of speaker you might typically see getting unloaded off of a truck by some sweating roadies when it’s time for a rock concert or giving your future brother-in-law a minor back injury as he tries to one-man (“don’t worry I got this bro.. AHHH! my back!) it onto the stage for your sister’s wedding. 

Feature Pick

Yamaha Club V Series S215V Dual 15″ Loudspeaker

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At just a glance, it’s a solid unit.  In fact, I have seen these speakers used at various musical events, from church events, to open mics, to rock concerts, to live DJ sets. 

These puppies get around, and understandably so.  The Yamaha Club series of loudspeakers are what most consider to be all purpose speakers, so you can use ’em for almost any type of event, and they excel at producing what I might call a “lively” sound. 

The ones I have are definitely not small. 

Here is an example of these particular loudspeakers in action.  The sound quality of this performance is bad, but you can get a sense of the size of event you might use these for.

Don’t you just wish you were there?  Anyway, I have been using my pair of S215V’s for a couple of years now as they sit in the music room at my high school, where I am the teacher. 

We use them mainly for, well, various types of playback during classroom exercises.  Quite often, I’m playing things for my students and I don’t know if they know this, because kids these days are so entitled, but they’re getting treated to some very good quality sound that they probably don’t deserve. 

I’ve been known to play them Bach on these babies, or sometimes on lunch break I throw on some Orbital and let that bass vibrate my chesticles. In the ’80’s, my teachers used to play things on a boombox and it sounded like crap.  Big step up here with these S215V’s. 

Occasionally we use these speakers for assemblies, and I usually have to lug them down to the gym on a dolly or with the help of a strong student.  Since I’m the music teacher, they expect me to be an audio engineer as well, which I’m not. 

That said, I’ve used them for a few concerts myself with my band.  In my classroom, this pair of speakers are currently hooked up to a Behringer Eurodesk SX3242FX Mixer, and coupled with a Yamaha MSR800W 15″ Powered Subwoofer. 

We do a lot of ensemble pieces, using a wide variety of instruments, and often more than one vocalist, so having all of this equipment at our fingertips is very useful! 

Even the shy kids can be boosted so you can hear what they’re actually doing.  Nowhere for the shy singers and guitar players to hide when I crank this baby up!

High Quality Sound From Yamaha

Loud or quiet, the sound quality from these units is overall great.  I’m sure there are people with better ears than me who work in the music industry, but my ears work ok, thank you very much! 

In the classroom environment that I use this speaker in, the S215V provides quality sound, and a real punch.  The classroom I work in is fairly large, and these speakers have no trouble filling the room whatsoever. 

At fair-sized venues, these speakers are really in their element.  In fact, I’d say these speakers are a bit big for my room, but hey, they were there when I got there. 

They tend to stay in one spot, too, because they’re not the lightest speakers to move.  They do have nice handles, but that’s more for when you have to carry them down the hall, not drag them a few inches here or there.  

In our class, it’s not hard to point them in one direction or another, as they are somewhat directional in nature, but moving them around the room is a bit of a task.

Aesthetically, what you get with these Yahama Club V Series S215 Dual 15″ Loudspeakers is a trapezoidal cabinet design, a black carpeted surface, and a real rugged, utilitarian look overall. 

Every once in a while, I remove the odd hair or two from the speakers, or I give it a good vacuum, because they do collect dust.  I want them to be presentable when I take them out, and they’re not hard to keep clean, honestly. 

These speakers are big, black, and they stand there like monoliths in my classroom.  They appear to be more normal-sized in the gym, or at an outdoor event.  People have asked me if they have any XLR jacks in the back.  Nope, just 1/4″ jacks.  Here’s what the back looks like.  Sorry it’s blurry.

There has been one or two times where I really crank them up, but there’s no way I could max them out at school.  Windows would break. 

Using my Behringer, I can easily keep things in check in terms of volume, and I can do some EQ’ing as well to make the sound better depending on what is playing through the speakers. 

The bass is very clean, I will say.  And it’s deep as well, even on it’s own.  As I said, we have the MSR800W’s as well, and their inclusion in the setup wasn’t my choice. 

The two were purchased together, and sometimes I don’t even use the subwoofers as the S215’s have a great subwoofer.  When it comes to the bass of the S215’s, the crispness of the low end comes in handy in certain venues which can get muddied up by an overly bassy sound. 

As far as longevity goes, I think these speakers were in my class for a year before I arrived.  I’m honestly not sure how long they’re supposed to last, but they seem fairly invincible to me. 

I’ve never noticed anything that makes them seem like they’re old except maybe some dust.  A quick vacuum and they look new again.  I feel like these speakers will most likely outlive me, but we’ll see.  Highly recommended!

PS: I also used these speakers to mix an album I produced recently.  The sound coming from the speakers is fairly honest, so it was useful to listen to tracks on these speakers both quiet and loud.

PPS, and here’s a video I found online that shows how they make these speakers.  I showed it to my class, and they thought it was pretty cool.  Check it out.