Sunday, 18 August 2019

KEF LSX Wireless Music System - Compact and Simple System


I remember the time where the users of wireless systems are shunned away by audiophiles and music lovers. The common statement of wireless is inferior compared to conventional wired set up always would be the baseline debate. While there is some truth in it, the technical and quality gap between them have become narrower with time.

While some hifi designers opt for a full deck, cube or soundbar design, KEF stick to what they know best... A wireless music system in a speaker. Take the award winning KEF LS50 speakers, put in wireless module and Michael Young in the equation, shrink it a little bit and voila - you get yourself KEF LSX wireless music system :) . Sounds simple? Well its not that simple if you want to get good sound quality from them.

What Is Inside The Box?

The LSX comes complete with all the required accessories for you to set it up. 
  • 1 Master and 1 Slave speaker unit
  • Power cable for each unit (with 2 pin plug)
  • Ethernet cable to connect the Master and Slave speaker unit
  • 1 remote controller

The Built

Small but heavy. Each unit weighs about 3.5 kg and stands at 240 x 155 x 180 in dimension. Small to call it a bookshelf speaker but big to call it a PC speaker. The review unit came in a grey fabric finishing which was designed to make it look different form the ordinary speakers. And yes, it comes with various colours.

It is sturdily built with no sign of skimming things on quality that KEF is known for. And of course, one can admire the Uni-Q driver array from far away. The design is equipped with a 19 mm aluminium HF driver and  115 mm magnesium/aluminium allow cone. Caution - the speakers need to be handled gently and only to lift it from the rear side.

The remote is moderately sized with all the main functions to control the speakers. Volume, input selector, play/pause/next/previous tracks etc. Even though made of plastic, it feels right in my hands. 

The LSX can also be controlled using the inhouse KEF apps. You have to download 2 apps - The KEF Control and KEF Stream. A bit inconvenient as you have change between the apps back and forth. The latter is to choose and control the music while the KEF control is to choose inputs and control volume.




 


What Can It Do? 

Given the name, the LSX is designed to stream music wirelessly (or you can still opt for a cabled connection) either over the wifi network or bluetooth AptX. Over the network, it reads my Western Digital NAS and SONY HAP Z1 ES with ease. Once set up, you also can pair it with your Spotify and TIDAL account.


         


You can also connect a digital player such as a CD player or an MD player via an optical cable into the LSX. If your equipment is not equipped with a digital out, you can opt for the Aux In port with a 3.5 mm jack.

As for the output, the LSX is designed with a healthy amplification of 70 watts to the LF and 30 watts to HF. It can go loud up to 102 dB. 

Can it play anything under the sky? Unfortunately no. It is limited to a resolution of 192 kHz/24 bit files. Hence, anything higher than that such as DSD, the pair will not be able to detect.

The LSX is also equipped with a special feature where you can set up your own sound profile depending on where you set up the LSX and also your listening area.

For more features, you can download the product info here





The Listening Session

There are various ways to set up the KEF LSX. For my review, I have set it up as follows:

1. Wired ethernet from my router to the Master speaker
2. Wireless set up from Master to Slave speaker




1. S'Wonderful by Diana Krall on WAV 16/44

With standard 16/44 digital file like this, it sounded very natural with the LSX. Diana's vocal sounded soothing and the clarity that this speaker produces really amaze me. Its gives out crystal clear vocal without leaving out the music surrounding it. The music just flow fluently and the LSX reproduces the ambient in a big soundstage compared to the size of the speakers.

2. New York New York by Andrea and Tony Bennett on FLAC 24/96

For a live album, nicely recorded like this track, the LSX delivers the liveliness of a live show with quite airy presentation. It befits the intended sound for a live track. Even though its a live track, the LSX still capable to reproduce Andrea's deep vocal with such boldness and melody. When Tony's vocal came in, the LSX does not have any problem to deliver the a different spectrum of vocal as well. Very versatile to adapt the different depth of vocals. Tony's husky-loungy vocal sounded very natural.

3. Japanese Roots by Takedake on MP3 320 kbps

The wind instrument sounded huge on the LSX and the percussion was also quite entertaining. It digs quite deep given the small size of the cabinet. The highs from the percussion sounded sharp and detailed enough that it does reproduce and overall punchy sound on this track. Surprisingly given the source is an MP3. The LSX somehow injects a different breath of liveliness to this track that people may not realise it is an MP3 file.

4. You Were Always My Mind by Willie Nelson on WAV 24/192

This was the most entertaining track played on the LSX. It sounded big. Bigger than what I thought these speakers can do. Willie's vocal was energetic and extended to give me the goosebumps. It delivers the emotion that this track carry. The piano sounded very melodious where the LSX reproduce the ambient of the song in a very emotional way. 

5. Take Five by Dave Brubeck on WAV 24/192

This has always been my reference track when it comes to highs and lows. Somehow I feel that LS50 DNA is in the LSX where the highs from the wind instrument sounded sweet, sharp and full of energy. No sign of fatigue from prolong listening. The low end frequency however was a bit laid back to my liking. I could use with a deeper and punchier bass response for this track. 

6. My Hero by Foo Fighters on WAV 16/44

For heavier music like this, the LSX belts out quite a raw sound. This particular track is actually quite complex when it comes to the drums. The works on the kick pedal needs a system or speakers that can handle speed and accuracy. While the LSX is capable doing that, the bass response still lacks a little bit of punch. While it delivers quite a high level of energy for this track, it lacks some dynamics to it. It still does really good with vocal where Dave's vocal was reproduced with such rawness which is required for this track. The guitar riffs also sounded energized and delivered with a powerful loudness.

Overall Verdict

Does the KEF LSX ticks all the boxes on my true wireless system? 

Maybe about 90% of it. I am a heavy DSD user. Having to set up Roon to decode DSD before the LSX can play it is a bit cumbersome and will add cost to the set up.

Does it meet my musical expectation? 

Yes for its size and price bracket. It might not be the most attacking and punchy speakers but given its size, use it for the right usage, it will give you hours of pleasure.

Is it stable as a wireless system?

I didnt experience any drop out of music signal in my review. But the app to choose lags a bit when changing from one track to another.

Who would enjoy this KEF LSX?

If you are looking for simplicity but does not want to compromise on SQ and also need vibrant colours for your home, look no further as this is a one stop solution. Not for those who seeks for heavy bass reproduction. Suitable for vocal, jazz, ballad and rock.

KEF LSX is distributed by Perfect Hi-Fi. For a shop demo, please call +603-58821693.

Local RRP: RM 5,699







4 comments:

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El Hefe said...

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LoganZ said...

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