KEF LS50 Bookshelf speakers

Popular, the LS50 gets off to a fantastic start thanks to its fairly wonderful appearances. This might just be the exception to the rule, although there aren't that many standmount loudspeakers around that will probably appease partners that are averse to having hi-fi around the dwelling.

The cabinet is really beautifully done also, having a beautiful piano black lacquer and brilliant detailing - this loudspeaker looks far more expensive than it actually is.

The front baffle is made from a unique polyester resin together with glass fibre and calcium carbonate and curved. The back panel, meanwhile, sports luxurious single-wire terminals and a decidedly unusual-looking bass reflex port. It feels sound when you rap it and is not very light given its comparatively diminutive measurements. KEF asserts a sensitivity of 85dB, which is all about middling for a box of the size.

Sound quality

The LS50 is a larger than life loudspeaker, throwing instruments and voices broad into the listening room, giving that uncanny feeling of the sound hovering outside to the space, utterly detached from your speakers. Soundstaging is outstanding. The Tyler of UB40 is impressive, a vast expanse of music with each instrument in the mix found with laser- like precision.

The treble is truly good for a loudspeaker of the type. It's smooth and well incorporated with the midband, and nicely broad too - making for a wonderful, even, full-range speaker that conveys the air of a record that is good. Really, it's so insightful you may also hear the tape hiss on Tyler. The only caveat is it's more directional than you might expect; there is definitely a sweet spot; owners will need some experiment here.

It's an even, uniform tonal balance. It doesn't seem particularly strong down in the bass, but what bass there is, is tuneful and well expanded. Ever so slightly warm, the LS50 does not dry out the record, sucking the natural tonality outside of instruments. On the contrary, it allows the loudspeaker to be heard in their full glory, and this extends to vocals, where there is a timbre that is real and believable. Isaac Hayes' Life's Disposition sounds natural, without any sense the KEF is editorialising.


Truly, the LS50 doesn't add much; it is actually a pretty impersonal performer and throws out tons of fine detail from recordings. It's amazing at conveying the differences involving the beats The Smiths' Girl Afraid, so you could hear in and relish the attack transients. This gives actual clarity to the speaker, as well as makes for a feel that is rhythmically pleasing. There's some slight overhang in the top bass, which pads the sound out marginally, but this the KEF is a snappy thing to listen to.

KEF LS50 Bookshelf speakers photo