KEF LSX promises premium stereo sound – and eyes up your TV

British audio specialist KEF's new wireless speaker system – designed for music and AV – not only outperforms Alexa and Google audio systems, but challenges the appeal of soundbars, says the brand.

The LSX is essentially a compact version of the company's premium LS50 Wireless active speakers, with a fittingly downsized price tag – £1,000 compared to £2,000. Aside from power, the units can be used completely cable-free, both from the source and between each other, using proprietary wireless technology.

Consumers shouldn't be shortchanged by wireless single-box smart speakers, KEF European Marketing Director Michael Johnson told HCC. 'This wireless music system takes wireless stereo sound to the next level,' he said.

'If you walk into any studio in the world, you will see stereo loudspeakers,' adds Jack Oclee-Brown, the company's Head of Acoustics. 'That's how music is produced. If you want an audio product at home that gives you good reproduction, it should be stereo.'

Developed in collaboration with industrial designer Michael Young, the LSX is available in a choice of five colours, with matching drivers. All but the gloss white edition have a fabric finish from Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat.

The LSX uses a 4in version of KEF's Uni-Q driver, featuring a 0.75in aluminium tweeter in the centre of a 4in midbass.

A Music Integrity Engine DSP engine is used to enhance bass response, although if you feel the need for a deeper bass performance there's scope for a 2.1 configuration, using the LSX's pre-out connection to an optional sub.

Velvet smooth
HCC had an early preview of the system, and noted extreme clarity with a velvet smooth mid-range. Class D amplification, rated at 2 x 100W, along with dedicated DACs, makes for an exciting listen. Adjustable EQ settings are available via the KEF control app.

Connections include dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, plus app-based Spotify Connect and Tidal music service support. For stereo TV installations, there's an optical digital input, plus a 3.5mm aux input for a local music player or smart device. The small form factor allows the speakers to be placed either side of a TV on conventional furniture. The LSX is also DLNA/UPnP compliant, allowing users to play music files from a NAS. AirPlay 2 compatibility is due early 2019, and will enable the use of multiple LSX speakers in different rooms as well as integration with Siri.

Hi-res compatibility runs to 192kHz/24-bit, although sources are downsampled to 96kHz/24-bit if the speakers are tethered using an Ethernet cable, or 48kHz/24-bit when a pure wireless connection is employed.