Oh, wise ones:
Are the LS50 Metas a big enough upgrade over the original LS50 to be a worthwhile purchase? Or should I sit tight and save for a KEF Reference line speaker or even Magnepans?
(Metas are now $999 with a year free financing. I have regular LS50s now fed by Stellar M700s and with an SVS SB3000 subwoofer).
Thanks for your advice in advance.
I replaced my original KEF Reference 1s with the metas and it was absolutely worth it. Much better/smoother highs. I assume it would be a similar bump with the LS50s.
I have not heard them, but a buddy of mine cross country replaced his older LS50’s with the Meta’s and he says he noticed a pretty dramatic upgrade in clarity, high end smoothness, and soundstage. He loves them.
My favorite reviewer, Steve Guttenberg raved about the Metas, saying the improvement over the originals is substantial.
Can you audition some in your home?
Yeah, it’s Music Direct so it’s a 30-day audition. I think if I go through Crutchfield it’s 60, but I’d lose the 1-year financing. I may do it. What do I have to lose, right?
edit for TMI
I started out with a pair of their 50th anniversary LS50s and just recently upgraded to the Metas. Once they’re completely broken in, (very important) the improvement is substantial, but I wasn’t too pleased with them right out of the box and I almost returned them.
After a few weeks of burning them in, they’ve completely opened up. BTW, I’m also using them with an SVS SB3000 sub and the pairing works great in my listening room.
While the current (substantial) sale price on the LS50 Meta makes it hard to argue with, the KEF concentric designs really shine when they are used with a separate midbass driver. I think that the KEF R3 Meta, while a slightly larger stand mounted speaker is a big jump in performance and more worthy of an upgrade. Unfortunately, with the current sale price on the LS50 Meta (at $999), they are now over double the price instead of being 37% more.
My experience with the KEF ls50 is mixed. In my home office system , DS Dac, PerfectWave transport, Bernchmark HPA4 preamp, M700 amps and Jl Audio e110 sub I used the original KEF ls50 for several years. I then purchased the Meta version. The Meta seems like a significantly larger speaker, more authority and gravitas however they lost some of the excitement , sparkle I prefer in vocals. Perhaps this is the meta device reducing distortion or ringing in the higher frequency . I then did a month long comparison with the Harbeth ps3esr xd and the Audience 1+1 V5. I would say the Harbeth was the finest of the trio for my listening, chamber, jazz and especially vocal music. However the Audience speakers won my heart . Especially in a small room these small drivers without crossover and firing front and back really open up the soundstage and make my home office less claustrophobic . These alternatives are significantly more expensive unfortunately . Good luck with your decision .
Very interesting that we have very similar tastes in both music and speakers.
I also have a pair of Audience 1+1 V5. My Harbeths are the C7ES3s. I’ve moved my system from my living room to a small unused bedroom and for me the 1+1s are magical in that space. I’d have to give second place to the LS50s, simply because the Harbeths are just too large for a room that small.
@umiami91 This piece helped me decide whether or not to upgrade from the LS50 to Meta and from the LS50W to LS50W II.
Huge sigh. I have old school LS50’s up at the lake. All this talk makes me think it’s going to cost me $999.
It has been a loudspeaker shopping spree holiday for me.
I bought a pair of LS50 Metas for Thanksgiving. At the $999 promo price it was a no-brainer decision for me.
They replaced a pair of HD6s from Audioengine that I had in my office for a few years. I am very pleased with them even without proper burn-in time. No contest vs the HD6s.
Thanksgivings also brought a pair of FR20s for my main rig, so that is where I am spending most of the little listening time I get these days.
I bought one, going to probably buy more once I sold off all my Klipsch surrounds, going to replace them with LS50 Metas. They’re pretty good I thought, I thought the bass was not bad, but I don’t listen to bass heavy music to begin first anyway. They have their own qualities compared to the Magico A5, when I first listen I thought, ok nice details, but it does get tiresome, I see now the magic of the Magico tuning - just right, and of course the impactful bass, which LS50 doesn’t have (or expected to have). Too bad I sold my REL 510s only a few weeks ago, or else it would be a beautiful paring I’m sure.
For $1k… no brainier, if not for it an easy taste cleanser, so you can appreciate your current speakers even more
Dollar for dollar, I think they’re the best bargain in HiFi.
But I sorta already have them! Sorta.
I may be wrong, but I don’t think ‘sorta’ counts in our hobby.
I decided to stick with my existing speakers as an improved LS50 is still going to be an LS50. It won’t change the character of my system, so to speak. Well-mannered, but more-so. If I get new speakers it will be some rough-and-ready thing like a Heritage Line Klipsch for listening to Boston and The Guess Who, or Maggies (or similar) for my Genesis (although the KEF, with its essentially British sound, does fine there. The quintessential Englishman like Mike Rutherford would, I imagine, approve).
I did find a factory refurbished Cambridge CXN (v2) that was too good a deal to pass up at $599, so I am scratching at least another itch. It will mean resetting my rack though, so I have SOMETHING to look forward to. It should be a nice upgrade over the Raspberry Pi 4! (It had better be. I’m most excited about the remote!!)
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice, Mazel Tov, and all that. Music is fun!
Mike in Dayton
Someone hit the Solution button. Can you fix this @Elk ?
Sorry, that was me because my dilemma was solved. I un-solutioned it. Or maybe Elk did. But I did try to. ¯_(ツ)_/¯. Who knows?
I unchecked it. The OP of a thread can do so also.