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KEF LS50 meta vs Other speakers

Discussion in 'audio' started by yunie_, Oct 25, 2021.

  1. yunie_

    yunie_ pfm Member

    I saw a pair of used royal blue LS50 meta and immediately snatch it up at close to retail price. It is a limited edition colour and I have to say, the finishing looks absolutely high-end. much more expensive looking than the other speakers I have at the moment, though i would say the colour can be highly polarising.

    A little bit of context, I listened to LS50 (non meta) and have never liked them. Thought that they sounded hollow and a little too bright for my liking. So I was very hesitant to get the meta but since the limited royal blue is available on the local market, and I have some spare cash, i went for it.

    I listen to my speakers on a desktop setting as my computer speakers. The LS50 meta is as what the reviews said. It is really detailed yet it doesn't sound bright. It in fact sounded just a tad warm yet highly detailed. I don't know how is this possible since being detailed and warm is oxymoron.

    off axis and imaging is absolutely wonderful as well. low volume listening is also the best I've experienced.

    here are my quick opinions on how the meta compares to my other speakers

    Falcon Gold Badge
    The bass on these are surprisingly better than the ls50 meta. hits harder and tighter than the ls50 meta. Its mid-range magic is also better than the ls50 meta. Somehow though, the gold badge can be transparent to a fault and make certain recordings appear bright. as computer speakers, the ls50 meta is more forgiving and a better match than falcon gold badge.

    P3esr XD
    p3esr XD is in almost everyway inferior to falcon gold badge so whatever I've said above is true for p3esr xd as well. except the looks. p3esr xd in olive is the best looking speakers I've had.

    graham ls6
    the sweet midrange and scale of graham ls6 is unmatched among the speakers I've had. LS50 meta is nowhere near the level of graham ls6 when it comes to midrange. But ls6 is a one-trick pony. it can't play modern music like hip hop well and can sound a little too warm for most people. the meta are much more versatile

    amphion argon 1
    These speakers have very poor off axis performance which is why i rarely use them. however, its bass goes deeper and tighter than ls50 meta. I find the bass to be amphion argon's biggest strength. Its midrange is not as detailed as ls50 meta but its presentation is less in the face than the metas. you feel like you are in row 4 with the argons but row 2 with the metas.

    ATC SCM11
    huge fan of ATC and find that it is still better than the meta in most areas. the ATC mid range is also better than meta's mid range. It is however not as detailed as the meta. it is also significantly larger and visually less appealing than meta.

    I'd like to hear what are your experiences with the meta.
    Panderos, jamesd, omers and 3 others like this.
  2. amazement

    amazement pfm Member

    I recently sold my meta, just couldn’t get on with the bass, I’m not a fan of ported speakers. I now have the Falcon gold badge and much more to my taste.
    You can’t really see these two as close relatives in any way, night and day. The Falcons are so much better in every way, even the bass.
    I’ve also owned the Harbeth P3’s and they need some space behind them to work well IMO, nice speakers though.
    I’ve owned ATC 19’s another good speaker but I found them a bit tiring and too analytical for the long haul.
    Panderos, ArtK and Jezzer like this.
  3. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley Agnostic

    It's not transparency causing recordings to appear bright. Looking at the Stereophile measurements it's quite obviously due to the elevated highs.
  4. Jezzer

    Jezzer eats shoots and leaves

    I had the LS50 Metas for about 2 months. I really couldn’t get their bass to work no matter how hard I tried (as far from walls as possible/bungs/half bungs/without bungs). My listening room isn’t massive but I didn’t suffer from such ‘boominess’ with my Usher Be-718. I didn’t think they were that detailed either. They’re not as resolving as my ProAc Tablette 10 Signatures (with the Sigs it’s easy to unravel and separate musical strands, vocals, instruments).

    I’ve also owned regular Harbeth P3ESR which were equally as detailed as the Metas but had, in my room, tighter bass and a more rolled off treble (but lacked presence ultimately). Speaking of treble, this is the best thing about the Metas. Treble isn’t bright but is perfectly well judged and extended.

    The Metas are modern looking speakers. I quite like the aesthetic but since a friend said the Uni-Q drivers look a bit ‘anussy’ I can’t get over it (mine were grey with the red drivers).
    Rug Doc and roach like this.
  5. Conan

    Conan Loop digger

    Are the Falcons good close to the wall?
  6. amazement

    amazement pfm Member

    Mine are a foot from the wall, haven’t played around with them yet. Got some suitable stands arriving imminent. I’ve spread them further apart than usual, which gives a huge soundstage and improved the bass response. Very dynamic speaker. Can’t understand why I never got a pair sooner.
  7. yunie_

    yunie_ pfm Member

    The gold badge is great. I personally just prefer the silver badge or the meta on my desktop setup. The gold badge is perhaps best suited in traditional hifi set up
  8. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    I've had the Meta for around 9 months. They replaced a pair of Harbeth P3ESR's which I don't miss at all. Thinking of moving to a pair of Falcon Gold Badge as they may be even better in my smallish room. Hard to get a demo pair to try at home though so may end up sticking with the Meta's which, imho, are a total bargain in terms of SQ at the price.
  9. BigBlue2020

    BigBlue2020 pfm Member

    Do you use stands with your desktop speakers?
  10. amazement

    amazement pfm Member

  11. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    "How did you get the bass to sound right, they were either too boomy or no bass in my room with bungs and without bungs? I am of the opinion they need a larger room to really work."

    I'm using them with a sub-woofer and the outer part of the bung. Crossover at around 80Hz. They are in my office which is a totally compromised space - one speaker is on my desk the other on a stand both around 40cm from the wall. They sound fine but soundstage is quite compromised by the positioning.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  12. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Glad to hear you’re getting on well with the LS50 Metas.

    I owned them for a couple of weeks. For £1,000, I think they represent amazing value, and I could easily have lived with them. Like you say, they are detailed, clean, yet also have some smoothness and warmth to the sound too. Pretty good scale too considering their size. Imaging is very precise.

    In the end I didn’t hang onto them, as (personally) I found them a little too concise with imaging, being a bit ‘laser cut out’ and slightly crispy, as opposed to natural and expansive. I also found the bass, while deep for the size, to be a little lumpy and nowhere near as toe-tapping and fast on transients as my sealed-box Spendors. Tonally the Kefs are really good (particularly for a metal driver speaker), but they were again trumped by my Spendors in tone of voices and instruments. Overall though, my biggest issue was that I just didn’t find them as engaging or emotive to listen to. This is all really subjective though, and we are talking small margins. But all these things were enough to put me off when added together.

    But I stand by the comment that they are great value and do so much right.
    AndyCC72 and Gervais Cote like this.
  13. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino pfm Member

    What is different about the Falcon Gold opposed to standard
  14. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley Agnostic

    The gold has a more linear frequency response.
  15. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Are you referring to these measurements?
  16. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley Agnostic

  17. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino pfm Member

    Does this make them more balanced than the original. Interesting
  18. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley Agnostic

    It's hard to say exactly because the Stereophile low frequency response measurement below around about 300hz is taken separately (near-field) and then spliced to the far-field measurement, and it's a bit of guesswork as to what SPL level to use. So you should really take below 300hz with a pinch of salt. The near-field also doesn't include any baffle step/diffraction losses either. But from 300hz and up the gold version are quite obviously more linear, but they do have a rising response towards the highest frequencies (as do the originals) - or it could actually be more of a falling response toward the lower midrange, or somewhere inbetween. It's impossible to say, especially when the low frequencies are just tacked on after using guesswork.

    Saying all that, I'm sure Falcon Acoustics would have voiced the golds comparably, compared to the originals, so I'd be pretty confident they are more balanced, due to the more linear response.
  19. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    To my eyes the Gold badge actually looks more tipped up in the 5k-13kHz area than the Silver badge, but the Gold badge also has more lower midrange / upper bass output which will probably make them sound more balanced.

    2015 Silver badge:

    2021 Gold Badge:

    Very difficult to draw definitive conclusions from these Stereophile measurements IMO, not only because of the splicing technique used for the low frequencies, but also the fact that the measurements were taken at different dates. The Golds certainly have a smoother top end above 13kHz, this is due to improvements in the manufacturing process of the T27. I auditioned a new pair of T27s recently and they were incredibly well-matched throughout the entire operating range and had no spikes up top.

    The most interesting difference to me is the CSD plots. The Gold badge CSD looks remarkably clean, almost too clean? (I hope JA's accelerometer was working ok?! :)). I assume a lot of this will be due to the different enclosure construction of the Gold badge, and thus those looking to upgrade their Silver badge model with Gold badge crossovers aren't going to reap the full benefit?
  20. amazement

    amazement pfm Member

    My thoughts put into words better than I can articulate.
    Goat likes this.

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