Sometimes, you almost know the direction a review is headed even before you finish unpacking it. It has been many years since my review of the KEF LS50, but the original model made a very strong impression and it has been a goal to get any of the current models back into my listening space to refresh my aural memory. The KEF LSX II have huge boots to fill — especially because the LS50 were the only loudspeaker to make my family pay attention over 24 years of reviewing.
Following up on the recent release of the LS60 wireless floorstanding speaker system, KEF has now released the LSX II Wireless Hi-Fi System. The system features a compact bookshelf design and is the successor to the original LSX wireless speakers and is similar to the popular LS50 II wireless speaker system; although they did not incorporate the latest 12th generation driver with MAT.
The LSX II features a great visual design courtesy of Michael Young and the KEF Product Design Team.
$1,400 USD is a lot of money for a pair of wireless speakers, but when you consider everything that comes with the KEF LSX II and how easy it was to integrate the loudspeakers into our daily listening routine — the price doesn’t feel so outlandish.
KEF does offer desktop stands, floor stands, and a wall-mount option for the LSX II; all 3 of those options are an additional expense ranging from $179.95 to $349.95 USD for the S1 Floor Stands.
I managed without any of the stands, but investing in the desktop P1 Desk Pads is something that one should consider if the LSX II might end up on your desktop, media unit, or on a bookshelf.
The LSX II arrived at the same time as the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 Turntable and it became rather obvious that the 3.5mm input on the rear panel of the primary loudspeaker was going to get tested in that way.
The Alva TT V2 comes equipped with its own internal phono pre-amplifier which helped limit the system to only 3 components. With access to my Roon account and Nucleus music server, it was easy to listen to both records, ripped CDs, TIDAL, and Qobuz.
We recently took delivery of a new BDI media unit and the trio of components with all of the cables neatly tucked away (and where the dog couldn’t access them) was a huge plus with the family.
My 9 year-old daughter is very tech savvy and walks around with an iPad Pro so she can lose brain cells watching TikTok videos and listen to her Spotify account. When I showed her how to use the KEF app and Spotify Connect to stream to the LSX II — I regretted the decision almost immediately.
The KEF LSX II system consists of two wireless powered speakers. The “powered” designation means that they have built-in amplifiers. The primary speaker includes all the physical source connections.
The audio signals that are needed for the secondary speaker are transferred from the primary speaker via the supplied Ethernet cable that was of very high quality. There was zero temptation to swap out the cable for an “audiophile” approved one because consumers don’t receive one in the box.
Uni-Q: To optimize the listening experience, each speaker includes an 11th Generation Uni-Q driver array consisting of a 19mm (0.75-inch) aluminum dome tweeter and 115mm (4.5-inch) magnesium/aluminum alloy cone woofer.
The rear port design minimizes its interaction with the wall behind it and I never found that placing the LSX II very close to the wall resulted in the bass overloading the rooms in which the loudspeakers were utilized.
There is also a subwoofer preamp output, should you desire to enhance the low-frequency performance that the LSX II’s can provide; you can use any powered subwoofer, but one option is the KEF KC62 space-saving compact sub.
One of the biggest selling points of the LSX II is the wide range of connectivity options and I moved back and forth between the KEF Connect app and TIDAL Connect without any issues.
Previous iterations of the app have been rather wonky in their execution and operation, but it would appear that KEF’s software engineers have been hard at work improving the responsiveness and making it easier to access your favorite streaming platforms.
The LSX II Wireless system is also Roon Ready.
Physical Source Connectivity
In addition to wireless connectivity and streaming, the LSX II system also includes HDMI ARC, Digital Optical, 3.5mm stereo, and USB-C connections which allow direct connection to compatible TVs, CD/DVD/Blu-ray players, game consoles, and more.
The LSX II are not a full-range option without a subwoofer, but they would certainly work for most people as part of a 2.0 music/home theater system and the industrial design was definitely noticed by family and guests who wanted to know the price, color options, and how it could work with their smartphone or television.
First impressions are everything.
What Comes In The Box
- LSX II Wireless Speaker System
- Power cords
- Interspeaker connect cable
- Remote control
- Optional floor spikes
- Quick Start Guide, warranty, and safety information
- Dimensions (H x W x D per speaker): 240 × 155 × 180 mm (9.5 × 6.1 × 7.1 in.)
- Weight (per set): 7.2kg (15.6lbs)
KEF Supplied the Soundwave version which matched our walnut BDI unit rather well but the overall consensus was that the Mineral White or Cobalt Blue would be easier to integrate into different rooms in our home (we have a lot of blue walls).
The fabric that surrounds the loudspeaker cabinet was designed and manufactured by Kvadrat for KEF and it offers a rather nice contrast to the front baffle and appears to be a very durable material.
I’ve never been a Spotify user but with a house filled with children and iPhones, Spotify gets some of our money every month.
My eldest who resides upstate (college…not prison) and lives in an apartment with 3 other college students took one glance at the LSX II and asked if she could borrow the system for a few weeks.
When she quickly realized that she had a better chance of winning the Powerball, she sat down on the floor and started streaming from Mia Berg’s Sleepwalkers at noon and we listened as the LSX II filled the 16′ x 13′ x 9′ den with rather robust and transparent sound.
She tapped her foot along the floor as Tyrion tried to eat her other sock and it was clear that she didn’t view the presentation as background music.
The midrange of the LSX II has some added emphasis to give both male and female vocals some additional presence in the mix, and it was hard to ignore the overall clarity, speed, and detail that captivated my 20 year-old who plays more than a few string instruments in her spare time when she is not painting or studying.
When we switched over to Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” from the BBC Sessions, there was a tiny amount of hardness in the treble as the volume inched ever higher; the LSX II are far more engaging at moderate listening levels and lose some of their dynamic prowess if set too low.
Part of that hardness can be attributed to the recording itself; but the treble can be slightly thin on the LSX II on some recordings; there is a lot of detail present but I wouldn’t describe the LSX II are overly “airy” in that regard.
Horns have more than enough bite but the top end can get somewhat brittle if you really push the volume levels too high. Once you find the ideal level in your listening room — I wouldn’t deviate too far in either direction.
The bass response from such a small driver has a pronounced bottom; hence the subwoofer recommendation, but there was a nice blend of definition and impact in the mid and upper bass to give most genres of music some degree of foundation.
The entire house loves Stranger Things, so it was impossible to ignore a request from the 9 year-old for “Master of Puppets” which has become her “favorite” Metallica track. She couldn’t name another one but it’s a start versus the nonsense she watches on TikTok and YouTube.
The LSX II don’t have the low end impact to really give the song the weight that it requires, but it fared rather well in the upper bass and lower midrange — the overall clarity and coherency kept everything rather well organized.
My wife looked at me in horror as the little one cranked her neck and spun her rather long hair while shredding along with the band.
Does the LSX II deliver that kind of “magic” with all genres of music?
Listening to Miles, Jason Isbell, and Natalie Merchant later that evening alone in the dark — it was all about the music and not the loudspeakers.
When I switched over to the Alva TT V2 and spent most of the week listening to Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Ella Fitzgerald, and Muddy Waters — there was less of an edge to the music, which didn’t make a lot of sense at first because the LSX II converts any analog signal into digital, but it felt more organic.
How you setup the LSX II has a significant impact on the imaging, but I never felt that the soundstage extended well beyond the outside edge of either loudspeaker; all of the music is confined within the space between the speakers but that’s perfectly fine in the context of a small den or even our dining room.
The LSX II have very good pacing and never struggled with electronic music or synthesizers played at higher volume levels; the bass begins to roll-off in the 40-45Hz range and you quickly realize that adding a subwoofer would substantially change the dynamic range of these loudspeakers and alter the imaging and soundstage capabilities.
When we watched Game of Thrones and Andor using the HDMI ARC connection, there was a noticeable improvement in stereo separation and dialogue was clearer and pushed forward into the room. The bass impact was definitely lacking in some scenes but that’s nothing a subwoofer couldn’t fix.
Who should consider the KEF LSX II?
When we look at the $1,000 to $2,000 range, there are a number of options from Naim and Sonus faber but they are lifestyle oriented products that don’t offer the same level of connectivity or performance.
The LSX II offer a better control app, superior industrial design, a wide range of connectivity options (both physical and wireless), and a better sonic experience that can be tailored to the setup location.
The growing list of streaming platforms that are supported only broadens the long-term appeal and there is no question that adding a KEF KC62 Subwoofer would take its performance to another level that most people would be happy with for many years to come.
KEF are one of the premier loudspeaker manufacturers in the world and years of R&D have gone into developing products like the LSX II.
If one is looking to build a compact and forward thinking hi-fi system in 2022 below $3,000 with a turntable and streaming capabilities — the KEF LSX II must be on your audition list.
- Ludacris Spreads Cheer By Surprising Atlanta Students With Over 500 Pairs Of New Kicks December 8, 2022
- Man Arrested For Sex With Dog In Front Of Horrified Families December 8, 2022
- ‘We’ll Always Be Family’ Tia Mowry Says She And Kids Plan To Spend The Holidays With Cory Hardrict December 8, 2022
- McIntosh’s MC451 Dual Mono Power Amplifier Unleashes the Hybrid Drive December 8, 2022
- M&S and bp pulse to bring EV charging to customers December 8, 2022