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If you are looking for a pair of compact speakers that can deliver exceptional sound quality, you might want to consider the KEF LS50 Meta. These speakers are the successors of the acclaimed KEF LS50, which was launched in 2012 as a celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary. The LS50 Meta is not just a cosmetic update, but a significant improvement in terms of technology and performance.
In this article we will explain what makes the LS50 Meta stand out from the crowd and why it is worth your attention.
What is Metamaterial Absorption Technology?
One of the key features of the KEF LS50 Meta is the use of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which is a groundbreaking innovation developed by KEF in collaboration with Acoustic Metamaterials Group.
MAT is a synthetic material that can absorb 99% of unwanted sound waves from the back of the tweeter, resulting in a pure and natural sound with no distortion or coloration.
MAT consists of a complex maze-like structure that effectively acts as an acoustic black hole, trapping and dissipating the sound energy that would otherwise interfere with the output of the tweeter. This is a significant improvement over conventional damping materials, which can only absorb part of the sound and may introduce unwanted resonances.
How does MAT improve the sound quality?
By using MAT, the KEF LS50 Meta can achieve a level of sonic transparency and accuracy that is unmatched by any other speaker in its class.
The tweeter can reproduce high frequencies with more clarity and detail, while the midrange and bass can also benefit from a cleaner and more balanced sound.
The LS50 Meta can deliver a spacious and immersive soundstage that reveals every nuance and emotion of your music, regardless of the genre or volume level.
The LS50 Meta can also adapt to any room acoustics, thanks to the patented off-set flexible port design that reduces midrange coloration and enhances low-frequency performance.
What else is new in the KEF LS50 Meta?
Besides MAT, the LS50 Meta also features a redesigned Uni-Q driver array, which is KEF’s signature technology that places the tweeter in the center of the mid/bass cone. This allows the sound to radiate from a single point source, creating a more coherent and realistic sound image. The Uni-Q driver array in the LS50 Meta has been refined with several enhancements, such as:
- New cone neck decoupler that reduces high-frequency distortion and improves midrange clarity
- New motor system that optimises the magnetic field and reduces intermodulation distortion
- New surround that improves cone excursion and reduces harmonic distortion
- New tweeter gap damper that lowers resonance and enhances high-frequency response
The LS50 Meta also retains the same elegant and sturdy cabinet as the LS50, which is made from MDF and DMC (Dough Moulding Compound) materials that minimise vibrations and resonances.
The cabinet has four finishes: Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, Mineral White, and Royal Blue Special Edition.
The LS50 Meta also has mounting inserts to secure on KEF S2 Floor Stand (available as a separate item), which can further improve the stability and performance of the speakers.
How to get the best out of the KEF LS50 Meta?
The KEF LS50 Meta are versatile speakers that can work well with a variety of sources and amplifiers. However, to get the most out of them, you should consider some factors such as:
Placement: The LS50 Meta should be placed on sturdy stands or shelves at least 20 cm away from the rear wall and at least 60 cm away from the side walls.
The speakers should be angled slightly towards your listening position, forming an equilateral triangle with your ears. You can also adjust the toe-in angle to fine-tune the soundstage width and focus.
Amplification: The LS50 Meta have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and a sensitivity of 85 dB, which means they are not very demanding on power but may require some current to drive them properly. You should look for an amplifier that can deliver at least 40 watts per channel into 8 ohms, with low distortion and high damping factor.
Some examples of amplifiers that can match well with the LS50 Meta are: Audiolab 6000A, NAD D 3020v2, Rega io, Marantz PM6007, etc.
Cables: The LS50 Meta have gold-plated binding posts that can accept bare wire, spades, or banana plugs. You should use high-quality speaker cables that are thick
LS50 Meta vs. LS50
The LS50 Meta takes the original LS50’s design and performance to new heights, thanks to several key technological advancements. The most significant of these is the introduction of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). As we mentioned earlier, MAT provides unparalleled sound absorption, leading to a more transparent and natural listening experience.
Besides MAT, the LS50 Meta also features an improved Uni-Q driver array, which boasts several enhancements that contribute to its superior sound quality. These refinements include a new cone neck decoupler, a new motor system, a new surround, and a new tweeter gap damper.
These improvements work together to reduce distortion, enhance clarity, and improve the overall performance of the speaker.
Additionally, the LS50 Meta is available in four finishes, including the Royal Blue Special Edition, which sets it apart from the original LS50’s color options. This allows for greater customization to suit individual tastes and home décors.
Ideal listening environments for the LS50 Meta
The KEF LS50 Meta’s adaptability and compact design make them perfect for a range of listening environments, from dedicated listening rooms to living rooms and offices. These speakers deliver impressive performance, allowing for an immersive soundstage and accurate imaging that reveals every detail in your favorite music. The LS50 Meta can adapt to various room acoustics, thanks to its patented off-set flexible port design, providing an enjoyable listening experience in different spaces. Their compact design and outstanding sound quality make them suitable for enhancing everyday listening experiences, such as enjoying music, watching movies, or working from home, in a variety of settings.
Integration with home theater systems
The KEF LS50 Meta‘s exceptional sound quality and compact design also make them a fantastic choice for integration into a home theater system. While these speakers excel in a stereo setup, their versatility allows them to perform admirably as front speakers or surround speakers in a multichannel audio configuration.
When used as front speakers, the LS50 Meta can provide an expansive soundstage and precise imaging, which is essential for creating an immersive cinematic experience. Their ability to reproduce dialogue with clarity and accurately reproduce sound effects and musical scores makes them an excellent choice for the front left and right channels.
As surround speakers, the LS50 Meta can help create a more enveloping soundfield, adding depth and dimension to your home theater setup. Their compact size and the option to mount them on KEF S2 Floor Stands make it easy to position them optimally in your room. The LS50 Meta’s excellent off-axis response, thanks to the Uni-Q driver array, ensures that everyone in the room can enjoy a consistent and engaging surround sound experience.
To complete your home theater system, you can pair the LS50 Meta with a matching KEF center channel speaker, such as the KEF Q250c or KEF R2c, to ensure seamless integration and a consistent tonal balance across the front soundstage. These center channel speakers are designed to complement the LS50 Meta’s performance characteristics, resulting in clear and precise dialogue reproduction.
Matching subwoofers for the LS50 Meta
To further enhance the performance of the KEF LS50 Meta in your audio setup or home theater system, you may want to consider adding a matching subwoofer.
Here are some recommended subwoofers that pair well with the LS50 Meta:
KEF KUBE 10b: This compact subwoofer features a 10-inch driver and a 300-watt Class D amplifier, offering powerful bass performance and seamless integration with the LS50 Meta. Its frequency response ranges from 24Hz to 140Hz, ensuring accurate and controlled low-frequency reproduction. The KUBE 10b also includes KEF’s Smart Compression Limiting technology, which prevents distortion and allows for consistent performance at high output levels
KEF KC62: If you are looking for a compact yet powerful subwoofer, the KEF KC62 is an excellent choice. This subwoofer features a unique dual-opposed 6.5-inch driver design and a 1,000-watt Class D amplifier, delivering impressive bass performance from a remarkably small and stylish package.