KEF is one of the go-to audio brands when it comes to high-end stereo speakers. Its latest pair, the KEF LS50 Wireless II, draw upon on the company’s wealth of sonic smarts to deliver truly phenomenal sound, without the need for annoying cables snaking their way across your living room floor.
Available in a range of chic colors, the LS50 Wireless II build upon the success of LS50 Wireless, which impressed with their detailed sound and connectivity options, to create what could be the best stereo speakers you can buy today at this price.
With support for Hi-Res Audio, an expansive soundstage, and excellent detail and dexterity, audio quality is nothing short of fantastic. Add to this a vastly improved app, the ability to adjust the EQ settings, and blissfully easy setup, and you have yourself a pair of stereo speakers that can really do no wrong in our eyes.
That balanced sound may not appeal to bass-heads, and the vast array of inputs may be lost on those who are simply looking for a Bluetooth speaker for background music. However, for analytical listening, boosting your TV’s weak built-in speakers, or blasting your favorite vinyls on your turntable, the LS50 Wireless II are a dream.
KEF LS50 Wireless II price and release date
- Released September 2020
- $2,499 / £2,250 / AU$4,295
The KEF LS50 Wireless II were announced in September 2020, and are available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,250 / AU$4,295.
That may sound expensive, but there hasn’t been a significant hike in price since the original KEF LS50 Wireless were launched back in 2016 – and for a pair of audiophile speakers with wireless connectivity, that price isn’t exceedingly high.
Although Black Friday is coming up soon, we don’t expect to see these speakers reduced significantly, because they’re new. However, you may be able to find some great deals on their predecessors, which have now been usurped by the LS50 Wireless II.
- Four color options
- Stands available at an extra cost
- Touch-sensitive control panel
Available in four muted finishes (white, black, red, and gray), the KEF LS50 Wireless II look stylish and understated.
The sleek cabinet – which KEF says has been “optimized for [the] best acoustic performance” – is offset by the well-known copper-colored Uni-Q driver, which fits a tweeter in the center of the bass and mid-range cone.
If you want to go all out on your hi-fi setup, the inserts on each corner of the LS50 Wireless II allow them to slot securely onto the KEF S2 stands ($449.99 / £400 / about AU$610) . Or, if you're on a strict budget, then simply use them as a pair of bookshelf or desk speakers.
On the top of the primary speaker is a touch-sensitive control panel that lights up; from here you can turn the speakers on, cycle through different connectivity options, and adjust the volume or mute them altogether. A mode indicator at the top of the control panel lets you know the audio source to which you’re connected, whether that’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, TV, optical, coaxial or auxiliary.
The KEF LS50 Wireless II also come with an infrared remote control, with which you can skip tracks, fast forward, rewind and play/pause your music, adjust the volume, and toggle through audio sources.
For wired connections, there are a host of ports on the rear of the primary speaker – more on that next.
Setup, app and connectivity
- Simple setup
- Wired and wireless connectivity
- Customizable EQ
Setting up the KEF LS50 Wireless II is blissfully easy: simply plug each speaker into the mains and connect them to your Wi-Fi network. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to stream directly from the Spotify app using Spotify Connect, or via Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, or Deezer through the KEF Connect app.
With Google Chromecast built in, you can easily create a multi-room audio setup with compatible speakers – and KEF says that Roon support is “coming soon”.
The app is super-easy to use, and provides access to the speakers’ equalizer settings. From there, you can optimize the sound based on where you’ve positioned your speakers (via Desk mode or Wall mode), as well as adjust the bass extension, treble trim, and set low and high-pass frequencies. Basically, you can pretty much tailor the sound profile exactly to your needs and environment.
Aside from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, you can also choose from a number of wired configurations. These include an HDMI eARC socket for your TV, an Ethernet port, coaxial and optical inputs, a subwoofer output, and 3.5mm AUX inputs.
Whatever audio source you’re using, you can opt to connect the speakers via the supplied cable, which gives you 24-bit/192kHz resolution audio, as opposed to the 24-bit/96kHz afforded by the wireless setup.
- Wide soundstage
- Great clarity and detail
- Well-controlled bass
We’re happy to report that the LS50 Wireless II stereo speakers continue to provide the phenomenal audio quality offered by their predecessors – and then some.
Audiophiles will be pleased with support for streaming files up to 24-bit/384kHz, as well as MQA and DSD256; but even if you eschew the wonders of Hi-Res Audio in favor of some simple Spotify streaming, you won’t be disappointed by the sound.
The LS50 Wireless II sound incredibly well balanced, displaying great stereo separation and a wide enough soundstage to truly fill any room with detailed, clarified audio.
Part of that sonic prowess is down to the use of Uni-Q speakers, which KEF says allows for “three-dimensional, wonderful revealing sound” – and we agree. Each tweeter is powered by a 100W class A/B amplifier, designed to deliver a “smooth, incredibly detailed treble performance”, while the mid and bass drivers are driven by dedicated 280W class D amplifiers for a powerful sound.
We heard that audio power in action when we listened to Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Jangly guitar riffs sounded crisp and clear, while the pulsing bass was forceful without overpowering the other frequencies.
We were also impressed by their great sense of timing and dexterity, with the speakers deftly handling the driving rhythm of the track and Roland Orzabal’s distinctive, reverb-heavy vocal.
This rhythmic agility is made possible by KEF’s Music Integrity Engine. This uses digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms that have been optimized for the speakers’ Uni-Q drivers, which KEF says helps the LS50 Wireless II to deliver “a perfectly timed performance, for better imaging and tighter sound”.
Should I buy the KEF LS50 Wireless II?
Buy them if...
You’re looking for uncompromised, audiophile sound
With support for Hi-Res Audio, customizable EQ settings, and a gorgeous, expansive sound, the KEF LS50 Wireless II are a fantastic choice for any audiophile.
You use lots of audio sources
If you like to switch between your TV, laptop, smartphone, turntable, and CD player regularly, these speakers make connectivity easy.
You hate cables
Wireless speakers sometimes get a bad rap in terms of audio fidelity, but the KEF LS50 Wireless II make no compromises when it comes to wireless sound.
Don't buy them if...
You’re on a strict budget
There’s no getting away from the fact that the KEF LS50 Wireless II are pricey – throw in the dedicated stands, and they'll be making a fair dent in your wallet.
You prefer very bassy sound
These speakers are well balanced – so if you like to go overboard with your bass frequencies, then they probably aren’t for you.
You’re looking for smart features
There’s no onboard voice assistant here, and you won’t be able to control your smart home devices with these speakers – check out the best smart speakers for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri-powered devices.
- The best wireless speakers you can buy today