Gripped By Upgrade Fever


I’m sure that 99 percent of the people reading this have suffered from the same syndrome before. So please show some empathy.

I’m two months into my ownership of KEF LS50s. Only a fool would be in a hurry to replace those speakers. I am that fool. It’s just that now that I’ve had a taste of what’s possible . . .


This is a long term plan. First, of course, is a new apartment so that a decent listening position is possible. Next, I spend about $5,000 on speakers and I make the big jump from bookshelves to floorstanders. Because this is all so hypothetical, I won’t mention any specific models and I’m not looking for advice on that point. Instead, let me start somewhere more basic.

A lot of of tower speakers, even the relatively small ones you get for 5K, cram a flotilla of drivers into the available space. Not unusual at all to see a tweeter, two mids, and three woofers. Not hard to find more. Right now, with the LS50, I’m looking at a single apparent source that’s five inches wide. All these drivers look like trouble to me. More crossovers, more timing issues, more phase issues, more I-don’t-know-what.


Is this fear rational? Am I crazy? I notice that at the 5K price point, KEF only uses 2.5 drivers—one Uni-Q and one woofer. Everything else is a passive radiator. While I don’t know what passive radiators actually do, I know that they are not independent sources of sound, that they are somehow just passing along energy from the woofer. Lots of other companies—Tannoy and Zu among them—claim virtues from one or two drivers that cover the entire audio spectrum or at least a big chunk of it, arguing that the simpler approach avoids the problems inherent in having lots of drivers trying to do the same thing.


For some reason, without any listening experience or technical knowledge, that argument appeals to me. Is my fear justified? Are speaker makers beyond such paltry concerns? Thoughts/comments/criticism?
paul6001
Its no wonder you want to get rid of them after only two months, they are fatiguing to listen to after long periods. You need a Wharfedale or Tannoy speaker. Both are fantastic speakers, although once you hear the Tannoy dual concentric driver you will be hooked and won't look back.
For 5K you should take a look at Dynaudio Evoke 50. They are magnificent. I became a huge fan of Dynaudio when they introduced their Audience line many years ago. Whilst I was not as impressed with Emit or Excite, I have found Evoke to have more of that "old school" Dynaudio sound. What really blew me away with the 50's though was their bass response. I have 4 SVS SB4000 subs (obviously I do HT), so although I love bass when I listen in 2 channel I use Analog Bypass rather than stereo. In Bypass there are no subs and because the 50's hit remarkably hard and low I do not miss anything. 
Sounds like the addition of a well-crossed over subwoofer would add to the LS50 impression. I’ve had one or another form of biamplification since I can remember. 
I love the Kef sound, sold many in the past, and would replace my existing, aging Kefs with same. But I will keep my Rel T9i also. 
ROTFLMAO?
Eric clearly is one of the few brilliant crossover (speaker) designers.
In speaker design, crossovers are where it is at.
The more crossovers, the more problems.
Hi Paul

Jwillox advice might be the best you have received so far. If you calm down you will save yourself time and money. It’s obvious you are not happy with what you have now but before making radical changes try to set it up properly. First get some decent stands if you don’t already have them. Learn how to position them correctly. Next get the best subwoofer system you can afford, something like The Swarm by Audioknesis or a couple of SVS subs. The subs will stay even if you decide to get rid of the LS50’s, so get good ones.  Without properly set up subs you will never get the whole musical or theatrical experience. Setting up the subs will keep you busy for a while but by then you will have a much clearer sense of what you have and what you need. Unless you have a lot of space, floor standers are not going to be a solution for you. 
More to discover