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KEF Cram 50 Years Of Musical Heritage Into A Speaker

KEF’s goal was to produce reference-grade monitors that can be used in the every-day home. The monitors had to emanate KEF’s unique styling while advocating the company’s deep appreciation for sound. Their pursuit started with researching the cabinet.

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Thorough research revealed the marriage of three cabinet elements would result in ‘clear and spacious sound.’  The first is the LS50’s curved baffle, which has been shaped to radiate sound that is evenly spaced. Additionally, the curved shape improves the baffle’s rigidity and does away with unwelcome vibrations.

The second is the constrained layer damping located between the brace and the enclosure walls, as well as the front baffle. It fends off unwanted vibrations and radiating sounds, which helps keep the mid-range free from unwanted colouration.

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And finally, a port tube that has unusually flexible walls frees the mid-range from perverting distortions.

With the optimal shape and design nailed, the engineers focussed on the materials. The cabinet’s curvy façade is made of DMC (Dough Moulding Compound, polyester resin combined with glass fibre and calcium carbonate.) According to WhatHiFi, DMC was the go to material because of its mass and its subsequent inertness, ensuring the speaker remains planted at high volumes. The remainder of the cabinet is made from heavily-braced MDF.

The LS50s stand a mere 30 centimetres tall, but these monitors aren’t hampered by their dwarf-size. Similarly sized speakers tend to suffer in lower frequencies, producing bass that sounds disproportionate to the mid and high-range, but the LS50s overcome this crippling shortfall.

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They sound balanced, tending to the soundstage equitably and dazzling audiophiles with their terrific volume and clarity. Even though they borrow the Uni-Q driver from KEFs much larger (and more expensive) flagship, you don’t expect sonic performance this proficient from speakers this small.

The Uni-Q drive unit might look like one complete component, but it’s actually an intricate arrangement. It consists of a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter in the centre of a 13cm magnesium/aluminium-coned mid/bass. Covering the tweeter is a waveguide responsible for managing high frequencies.

Together these components have been assembled in a way that optimises sound while conforming to KEF’s distinctive styling. Of course, the rose-gold colouring contributes to the LS50s undeniable charm.

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The result is a pair of monitors that sound as good as they look: fantastic. Sound is enlivening, even across the range and for their size, impressively voluminous. The LS50s don’t just celebrate 50 years of KEF’s heritage, they present an argument suggesting KEF will go on to celebrate 50 more.