KEF Introduces New LS50 Speakers Including Uni-Q Driver Developed in Collaboration with Acoustic Metamaterials Group

September 22 2020, 14:00
British brand KEF made a splash announcement, confirming the simultaneous introduction of two new LS50 models, updating the extremely popular speaker design. The range now includes the LS50 Meta, an improved version of the original LS50 passive design, now featuring a new Uni-Q driver that is coupled with an interesting new Metamaterial absorber in the back. The other model is an updated LS50 Wireless II, now with support for AirPlay 2, MQA and Roon.

This new LS50 Collection has allowed KEF to introduce the results of its first collaboration with Acoustic Metamaterials Group (AMG), a young company from Hong-Kong researching the usage of metamaterials in noise control solutions. The startup was set up in 2012 by three young entrepreneurs — Vincent Fong, Chen Shuyu and Yang Min — who are in charge of business development, manufacturing, and research and development, respectively.

KEF has harnessed the company's Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), a synthetic material that has the super capacity to absorb 99% of the unwanted sound, in this case applied in a completely new acoustic labyrinth, tuned to absorb the unwanted frequencies radiating from the rear of the driver to reduce unwanted resonates an distortion.
Detailed view of the new KEF Uni-Q driver with the MAT absorber labyrinth applied.
Detailed perspective of the new Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) labyrinth, with multiple ducts tuned to specific frequencies.    
The new KEF LS50 Meta features a specially designed 12th generation Uni-Q with MAT, a joint development between KEF and AMG, also benefiting from a new cone and motor system design, a newly optimized cabinet size that is elegantly curved in the front, and featuring an improved back panel with recessed port and speaker terminals. Other enhancements from the original LS50 include an off-set flexible bass port, a low diffraction curved baffle, and rigid cross bracing with constrained layer damping. The LS50 Meta will retail for $1,499.99 / pair, and will be available in a series of appealing colors, together with matching S2 Floor Stands, new to the collection ($449.99 / pair).  

The KEF LS50 Wireless II speaker benefits from most of the design refinements in the driver and cabinet design, while also updating the technologies required to support streaming services. The LS50 Wireless II now comes with advanced DSP, a new 100W class A/B amplifier that powers the tweeter, and a 280W class D amplifier that powers the mid/bass driver, and will retail for $2,499.99 / pair. The LS50 Wireless II can also be ordered with with matching S2 Floor Stands.  

The left and right speakers are connected wirelessly, supporting digital audio transmission up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution; alternatively, users may connect with the supplied interspeaker cable to support audio signals up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. With the new KEF Connect app, users can take the experience a step further by tailoring the sound to the environment in which they are listening. The speakers can stream directly with Spotify Connect and now support the updated AirPlay 2 over WiFi for multiroom (apart from the already supported Google Chromecast). While Bluetooth remains unchanged at 4.2, the LS50 Wireless II is now able to support streaming music files up to 24-bit/384kHz, it is Roon Ready and also supports MQA, and DSD256 using the multiple wired optical and coaxial connections, apart from HDMI and analog.

The two speakers are innovative evolutions from their previous iterations and reflect three years of intensive research work and efforts to raise a benchmark even further. Designed in conjunction with the LS50 Meta and the LS50 Wireless II, the S2 Floor Stand features a top plate designed to allow secure fixing points for the speaker, integrated cable management system, dampening base plates and a hollow central column that can be loaded with inert filler for less uncolored sound.
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