Kef LS50s - great like me but need to come up for air

So over the years I've really enjoyed my primary speaker the Kef LS50s. They work well in my current setup: Schiit Aegir, NAD preamp (class A) in a small room (11'x14').

Maybe I like them so much because they are very much like me: precise, balanced, neutral but not overly. Contrary to many they are more on the warm than bright side. You just need to know how to place them and match them to the right components. Like me :)

However, l've gone through a change. I need to and been told by my wife and doctors that I need to relax some and come up for air. I've been working on this for the past 2 years. Now I've seriously realized my beloved music system has come to the same change point.

Like me and my ears I'd like to find a speaker with the same basic qualities of the LS50s but that can come up for air - call it more relaxed, warm...whatever. Those in the know will know what I mean. I can explain this more if necessary.

My budget is up to 1,500.00...I've online researched Harbeths, Dynaudio Evoke 20, Usher, Spendor but don't really know where to go from here. I've thought about higher sensitivity speakers but most quality speakers are physically too large (maybe).

Any input is appreciated.


I have found the Kef LS50s to be quite demanding but they will reward your efforts. Room treatment and the addition of a small sub (Rel T/5i) made for a much more enjoyable listening experience.

If your speakers are more than 15 years old, they could be in need of recapping. Replace any electrolytics and mylars with Polypropylene

If the tweets have ferrofluid, have them rebuilt.

I have LS-50s as my primary speakers. the 'body-hugging Ferrari sports seat' analogy is not far off. If your room placement can accommodate them, the Magnepan .7 is everything you are asking for. and will not leave you feel like you have compromised. With lesser box speakers than the LS-50 (and that's most all of them) you will rapidly become annoyed with box colorations that simply don't exist with the LS-50 or the Maggie .7s. The .7s, on the other hand, will provide you a transparent and large window that is a very different, but equally enjoyable, listening experience. 

If your NAD amp will drive the LS-50s to your satisfaction, it will handle the ,7s as well. 

My second recommendation, only if placement limitations preclude using the Maggies, would be the KEF R3. Think of that as the luxury GT version of the uncompromised sports car that is the LS-50. A little bigger, a little softer, but definitely cut from the same cloth. And in this case with another 1/2 octave or so of quite noticeable bass. A warmer, more forgiving speaker than the LS-50, for sure.

And I have to laugh at the Heresy recommendation. The most gawdawful speaker I've ever heard, No low bass, squawky,honky mids and harsh tweeters. Yes, they are efficient, and yes a good tube amp can tame them to some extent. I've always wanted to like them for their dynamics, but in 50 years of listening to several versions of them, on all kinds of amps, SS and tube, I've never heard them sound even good. The only Klipschs I've heard sound good sound were far bigger and in a very large room.  That seemst to be their place.