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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Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor Review

Studio monitors, otherwise known as audio monitor speakers, are a vital part of the studio set up. Audio monitor speakers give a clearer sound than regular home speakers. They allow people in the studio to hear more details of the track they are creating.

A studio monitor lets you hear your music at a great level of accuracy and clarity, which is highly important at any stage of creation, or even simply for true listening enjoyment. This type of high end speaker will let you catch any flaws, mistakes, or unwanted sounds between stages and before your song’s completion. This ensures that your song will sound great on any system!

There are some great options for studio monitors on the market. One that many people rave about is the Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor. It is highly reviewed by others who have used it. This product sells for about $1,300, which is pretty affordable for the quality and longevity of the product.  What do we think of it?  Find out below!

Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor Review

The Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor is one of the best monitors within its price range. This studio monitor provides true, uncolored sound. This allows you to hear the truth, so that you can perfect your music.

Feature Pick

Focal Solo6 Be 65″ Powered Studio Monitor

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This studio monitor is a great investment for any studio. It has a high frequency response, allowing the details of a song to shine through. For a similar reason, you can also work on your track at a low volume, while still being able to hear the track clearly.

This monitor is so up there in quality that it has even been used to master Alicia Key’s “As I Am”. The Focal Solo6 saves a lot of mixing time and is great for anyone who is serious about their music and would like to excel in terms of musical quality.

This product is created to last a long time. It is sturdy and durable, making it cost effective in the long run.  If you are an audiophile who loves to listen to music the way it was meant to be listened to, you should surely be doing yourself a favour by acquiring a pair of these speakers.

Features

  • Protection grille
  • Power cord
  • 2 year warranty
  • Low Frequency Driver: 6.5”
  • “W” composite sandwich midwoofer
  • High frequency driver: 1”
  • Beryllium inverted dome tweeter
  • Frequency response: 40Hz – 40kHz
  • Sensitivity: Adjustable
  • +4dBu or -10dBV

Who can benefit?

Anyone with an at-home or professional studio will benefit from purchasing a studio monitor like the Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor. The Solo6 provides the highest quality of uncolored sound, allowing you to hear details in music you never even knew existed.

Technology

The Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor has an upper frequency response that goes up to 40kHz. This is an amazing feat because this means that the Solo6 actually goes beyond human hearing, ensuring maximum clarity on your playback.

The Focal Solo6 utilizes a Beryllium inverted-dome tweeter, which allows the studio monitor to perform at its maximum capacity of quality. The inverted dome makes the sound precise and efficient.

Design

The Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor is a 2-way studio monitor, making it more compact than its 3-way counterparts.

Its dimensions are 9.4 x 11.4 x 13 inches. It weighs about 30 pounds, making it relatively easy to carry and install.

The Focal Solo6 has a rather sleek look, which keeps the studio looking fresh and cool. The front is black and the sides are made of polished cherry wood.

Insider Thoughts

The Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor is a studio monitor that was built to create the finest-tuned music post-production. It is there to help you catch every last flaw and imperfection during production and mixing.

Buying Advice

The Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor is an efficient studio speaker that will deliver that most clear playback available. Buying a studio monitor of high quality for your studio is imperative, and this particular one, due to its specs, makes a great option.

The best place to make this purchase is Amazon. Amazon provides convenient and quick shipping, gift wrapping, easy returns, durable packaging, and a 2 year warranty.

My Verdict

I would highly recommend buying the Focal Solo6 Powered Studio Monitor. It is a high quality studio monitor at a great price.

Studio Headphones VS Studio Monitors – Which Do YOU Need For Home Recording?

studio-headphones-vs-studio-monitors

There is an endless debate among amateur music producers and sound engineers regarding the best way to get what you’re seeing on screen into your ears. How do you get the most accurate representation of the sounds you are crafting in your DAW, so that what you’re hearing enables you to mix effectively?

Honest Audio

Ordinary headphones or speakers designed for listening to your favourite songs, no matter how good they are, just aren’t appropriate for mixing. They are always designed to present the sound in a way that would make it pleasing to enjoy casually – they do not give an objective, accurate representation of the frequency spectrum that is so important for you to nail at the mixing stage. So we have to choose between studio headphones and studio monitors when building up our home setup.

headphones-vs-monitors-recording

Considerations

There are several factors to consider at the foundation of making a choice between the two options. The first is your budget – how much you are willing to spend, because good monitors generally cost far more than good cans. The second is your workspace. A residential location without soundproofing or acoustic treatments is not usually conducive to mixing with monitors, because the noise you make will inevitably bother someone, and your setup may cause their sound to be corrupted before it reaches your ears. Finally, you need to be aware that there is huge diversity within either choice, particularly monitors. Once you have made a decision about which is best for you, you then have a far more complex choice to make to pinpoint the precise pair of headphones or monitors you will eventually go for.

The Money Factor

Your budget may end up making the choice for you. To get a set of headphones that are suitable for mixing purposes, the range we are looking at is around $40 up to about $500. For monitors, the range is more like $140 – $1,750! So it’s pretty clear which option is better suited to those with lesser means, regardless of what you think about which option is objectively the superior.

Feature Picks

Behringer Hps3000 Studio Headphones

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Sony Mdr7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

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Audio-Technica Ath-M30X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

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Audio-Technica Ath-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

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Upfront investment is so often the greatest barrier towards the amateur, DIY musician fulfilling their setup dreams. When a monetary return on your investment is anything but guaranteed, it may seem foolish to shell out on the most expensive products just for home use. Furthermore, the reality is that utilizing the best equipment in a studio that isn’t kitted out with the best acoustics is not gonna allow you to get the best out of your equipment!

If you have the skills of mixing, you will make a good end result with whatever option you go far. Besides which, you will learn how your setup sounds through experience, and gradually become more adept at getting the right sound from your process.

That being said, here are a few suggestions for budget category equipment:

Open Back Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO – available for around $150, these headphones are not the absolute cheapest, but offer great value for their price.

Feature Pick

Beyerdynamic Dt 990 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones In Black Open Construction, Wired

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Their selling points include:

  • A wide frequency range – 5Hz-35kHz
  • A very strong bass presence
  • A supremely comfortable fit

These headphones will keep you going for a long time, and won’t break the bank if you purchase them.

Check out this video review of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones by Youtuber HiFi Heaven

Another popular model along with these Beyerdynamics at a similar price is the AKG K701.

Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones – Available at around $50, if you have the tightest of budgets then these are the headphones for you.

Feature Pick

Samson Sr850 Semi-Open-Back Studio Reference Headphones

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Their best features include:

  • A frequency range of 10Hz-30kHz
  • 32o impedance
  • 50mm drivers for exceptional reproduction/wide dynamic range

It is widely reported that these headphones exceed their modest price tag. A skilled producer will be able to achieve great results for the humble investment the Samson SR850s command.

Check out this video review of these Samson SR850s by Youtuber ODi Productions for a closer look!

Studio Monitors

KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitors – For a pair of $300 monitors, you can get some great performance. In fact, there are few (if any) reviews of the KRKs that have a word of criticism to offer.

Feature Pick

Krk Rp5G3- 59107 Na Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor – Pair

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Their features include:

  • Large headroom and very low distortion
  • Pristine clarity and extended response up to 35kHz
  • Proprietary waveguide optimized for superior imaging

They aren’t the very cheapest of monitors, but they are a million miles from being the most expensive.

Check out this video review of these KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitors by Youtuber recordingrevolution.

If you are starting out, but want to invest in something above the most basic, the KRKs are a good shout. As are the JBL LSR305s and the M Audio AV42s, in case you’re interested!

When Money is no Object

Some of the best headphones you could imagine are these Shure SRH1840.

Feature Pick

Shure Srh1840 Professional Open Back Headphones (Black)

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Check out this video review of the Shure SRH 1440 by YouTuber Headroom to get more information.

Hearing music for the first time through them is a beautiful experience, and it just might change your entire outlook on what music is supposed to sound like. The same could be said of the Focal Twin6 Be studio monitors.

Feature Pick

Focal Twin6 Be 65″ 3-Way Powered Studio Monitor

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These are the high-end options for you to consider if you really do have the means to acquire the best that money can buy. Your setup will be at its most effective if you have these, but they won’t perform at their maximum capacity unless you have the best interface, software and studio setup to support them.

The Truth

The reason the debate between headphones and studio monitors has endured as long as it has is because it ultimately comes down to personal preference. And, in reality, the best option is to have both! You need to hear your mix through as many different sound mediums as possible to get a full idea of how it sounds on the countless sound systems you plan to be played through eventually. The suggestions in this article will give you the best options to fit your budget…it is up to you to decide which side of the debate you land on.

Please feel free to join the debate through our social networks or comments section to let us know your thoughts on the best way to mix tracks.  

Check out one of our own tracks, made with some of this pro audio gear.

https://open.spotify.com/album/1ccn5njCoBKCnaiWJHcp7i