Magazine article Gramophone

'The Speaker That's Also a Complete System': A Complete Approach to Streaming Is Part of the Appeal of the Latest Design from Speaker Company KEF

Magazine article Gramophone

'The Speaker That's Also a Complete System': A Complete Approach to Streaming Is Part of the Appeal of the Latest Design from Speaker Company KEF

Article excerpt

When is a loudspeaker not a loudspeaker? When it's much more than just another speaker--and that's certainly the case with the new KEF LS50 Wireless from the British company KEF (1). Based on the innovative and acclaimed original LS50, the idea behind this new model is to create a speaker that's also a complete system: as well as having powerful active amplification built into the new 2000 [pounds sterling]/ pr design, it is also a complete network audio solution, able to stream music from computers or network storage solutions.

The LS50 Wireless is only slightly larger than the original passive speaker, the extra depth accommodating the additional electronics, and it shares the same KEF UniQ concentric drive unit, which has a tweeter in the 'throat' of the mid/bass driver. This driver is available in a range of colours, as part of three finishes available on the LS50 Wireless: gloss black with a blue driver, gloss white/ copper or titanium grey/red. As well as network streaming, the speakers have Bluetooth with aptX, an asynchronous USB input for computer connection and both optical digital and analogue inputs. A dedicated iOS or Android app allows detailed adjustments to optimise the sound for different rooms and the position of the speakers, and offers both basic and expert adjustment ranges.

Linn has upgraded its flagship Klimax DS network music player with an all-new digital-to-analogue conversion technology, called Katalyst (2). It's now standard in the 13,300 [pounds sterling] player and available as an upgrade for existing owners, and addresses five key areas of performance in the search for the most accurate output. A new stable reference voltage is provided to generate signal amplitude without variation; independent, isolated power supplies are used to reduce distortion; a data-optimisation stage is designed to eliminate errors in the incoming signal; a new high-precision clock with its own power supply is used; and a new ultra-low distortion output driver is employed to make the final signal less susceptible to noise and degradation.

It wouldn't be an audio news page without a new Pro-Ject turntable, so regularly does the Vienna-based company launch new models, and this month's is the 239 [pounds sterling] Essential III (3). …

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