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KEF LS50 Wireless Nocturne Edition

High-performance powered speakers with Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®

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Item # 991LS50NE

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Overview

Our take on the KEF LS50 Wireless Nocturne Edition

When I first wrote about KEF LS50 Wireless speakers, I described them as "beautiful, compact, easy to use, and versatile." So what can I say about the Nocturne edition except that they are even more beautiful? Visionary Dutch designer Marcel Wanders created a limited-edition design that wreaths each Uni-Q driver in art inspired by the structural elegance of music. And they glow in the dark, which pretty much maxes out the cool factor.

KEF LS50 Wireless speakers, Nocturne edition

Glow-in-the-dark KEF LS50 Wireless Nocturne edition speakers make an impressive visual statement.

A gorgeous, versatile, glow-in-the-dark high-end audio solution

When I first wrote about KEF LS50 Wireless speakers, I described them as "beautiful, compact, easy to use, and versatile." So what can I say about the Nocturne edition except that they are even more beautiful? Visionary Dutch designer Marcel Wanders created a limited-edition design that wreaths each Uni-Q driver in art inspired by the structural elegance of music. And they glow in the dark, which pretty much maxes out the cool factor.

Audiophile sound quality

When you're going for that magical level of sonic realism that can raise goosebumps, one of the biggest challenges is matching the right amplifier to your speakers. So KEF has eliminated the guesswork: they put two custom-designed amplifiers in each speaker — 200 watts to each woofer, and 30 watts to each tweeter — so each driver gets perfect power. And the attention to detail doesn't stop there. Each driver has a high-end 192 kHz/24-bit DAC to make digital sound come alive.

Built-in digital signal processing (DSP) offers an easy Beginner mode, but you may prefer to take total control in Expert mode, and tweak the sound to perfectly suit your unique room. Whichever way you choose, you can make your changes via a free smartphone app, available for Apple® and Android™ devices.

A room-filling "sweet spot," thanks to Uni-Q technology

KEF's patented Uni-Q technology places each speaker's tweeter in the acoustic center of the bass/midrange cone. That lets the LS50 Wireless create a detailed, accurate, three-dimensional sound image. In essence, it makes the "sweet spot" — the ideal listening position — much larger. Sit wherever you like! It'll sound fantastic.

Customizable room EQ with the free app

KEF knows your room is unique, so they've put the power of choice in your hands. Just download KEF's free app, and you'll be able to tune the speakers to suit your space. Once you've made all the big adjustments, you can revisit and make manual tweaks to your heart's content.

Convenient connections

Think of a way you want to use these LS50 Wireless speakers, and you'll likely find a connection to make it happen. Want to transform the sound from your TV? Run an optical digital cable to the back of the right-hand speaker. Enhance computer gaming by plugging your machine into the asynchronous USB port. You can even run the output of your phono preamp into the RCA inputs and enjoy your favorite records.

Or, you can skip the wires altogether and stream your favorite high-res tunes through the LS50 Wireless' Bluetooth® connection. Or use your home's Wi-Fi® network to play music files from a DLNA-compatible computer or music server. The left and right speakers share audio signals via an included Ethernet cable.


Praise for KEF LS50 Wireless speakers from digitalaudioreview.net

"Something for audiophiles, something for mainstreamers — after all, it's in the LS50 Wireless' DNA. As a straddler of worlds, the KEFs walk away not only with a Knockout Award but also DAR's Product of the Year award for 2016. If this product doesn't convince audiophiles of the legitimacy of active loudspeakers, nothing will."

— From John H. Darko's review at digitalaudioreview.net, December 29, 2016
Read the full review


Did we mention that they're super-stylish?

LS50 Wireless speakers come in three attractive colors, as well as the out-of-this-world Nocture design, so they'll delight your eyes as much as they do your ears. Each has a curved front baffle that adds a touch of elegance to your shelf or speaker stands. Even the most design-conscious homeowner can find a prominent place to display these beauties.

Product Highlights:

  • frequency response: 45-28,000 Hz (±3 dB)
  • bi-amped design with separate Class D woofer and tweeter amplifiers for greater headroom and lower distortion
    • woofer amplifier power: 200 watts
    • tweeter amplifier power: 30 watts
  • Uni-Q Driver Array technology makes your entire room sound like the "sweet spot"
  • individual 192kHz/24-bit DAC for each driver
  • 5-1/4" magnesium/aluminium alloy woofer
  • 1" vented aluminium dome tweeter
  • peak SPL: 106 dB
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX® for high-quality audio streaming performance
  • built-in dual-band Wi-Fi® for audio streaming from DLNA devices on your network
  • Spotify Connect lets you stream music wirelessly using the Spotify app on your smartphone or tablet (premium subscription required; requires firmware 1.62 or later)
  • precise digital signal processing controls allow optimal room integration
  • free downloadable app lets you make pinpoint EQ adjustments with your Apple® or Android™ device
  • bass-reflex cabinet with elliptical rear port for accurate, musical bass
  • MDF enclosure with elegant curved front baffle
Connections (located on back of right-hand speaker):
  • stereo line level RCA input
  • Toslink digital optical input (accepts signals up to 24-bit/96kHz)
  • asynchronous USB Type B input (accepts signals up to 24-bit/192kHz)
  • 10/100 Mbps RJ45 Ethernet input
  • mono RCA subwoofer output
  • detachable power cord
Dimensions and Warranty:

What's in the Box:

  • Bluetooth powered speaker (Right)
  • Bluetooth powered speaker (Left)
  • Two 6.5' AC power cords
  • 10' Cat-6 interconnect speaker cable
  • 6.5' USB-B to USB-A cable
  • 42" Ethernet cable
  • Remote control (CR2032 battery installed)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Important Safety Information
  • Warranty Information
  • "Caution/Warning" sheet
Reviews

KEF LS50 Wireless Nocturne Edition Reviews

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Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Special Edition
Audio Section
Variety Of Sources
Convenience Features

Special Edition

"Nocturne" by Marcel Wanders: KEF has collaborated with the globally renowned design studio Marcel Wanders to produce a special-edition speaker, the LS50 Wireless 'Nocturne' by Marcel Wanders. Its sensuous aesthetic quality sets it apart from every other music system, creating a magically compelling audio system that is in a class of its own.

  • Marcel Wanders is a leading product and interior design studio located in Amsterdam, credited with 1,900+ iconic projects. Marcel Wanders works with premium brands such as Alessi, Baccarat, Bisazza, Christofle, Decorté, Flos, KLM, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Louis Vuitton, Morgans Hotel Group, Puma, among scores of others. Under Marcel Wanders' creative leadership and direction, and with the support of Gabriele Chiave as creative director since 2014, Marcel Wanders employs over 50 design and communication experts. Marcel Wanders' 27 years of designs are celebrated in some of the most renowned museums in the world, including the Centre Pompidou (FR), MoMA (US), and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL).
  • Marcel Wanders' chief concern is bringing the human touch back to design, ushering in what he calls design's "new age"; in which designer, craftsperson and user are reunited. In his process, Marcel Wanders defies design dogma, preferring instead of focus on holistic solutions rather than the technocratic. In this universe, the coldness of industrialism is replaced instead by the poetry, fantasy and romance of different ages, vividly brought to life in the contemporary moment.

Rhythmic Design: The rhythmic design that is inspired by the circular arrangement of time presents a structured, architectural-type pattern from a distance. Upon closer inspection, the two-dimensional, textured surface reveals several different types of musical elements layered throughout. Placed around the center focal point, musical notes and symbols references add to the seemingly unending depth of the thoughtfully detailed design. Much like a musical composition, the final result finds the surface shapes coming together to create one unified design. Playing off the product name, when the lights are turned off the product continues to captivate late into the evening as selected elements glow in the dark.

Audio Section

Uni-Q Driver Array: The LS50 powered speakers feature KEF's patented Uni-Q driver configuration, in which the tweeter is mounted at the acoustic center of the midrange cone. With both acting as a single point source, the sound is dispersed widely and evenly throughout the listening area allowing you to experience superbly defined and perfectly balanced stereo imagery with a wide "sweet spot". The Uni-Q driver array is made up of a 1" aluminum vented-dome tweeter and a 5.25" magnesium/aluminum alloy cone woofer.

  • 1" Aluminum Vented-Dome Tweeter: The geometry of the tweeter dome matches that of the midrange cone to avoid disrupting the waveform. By smoothening high frequency response, this helps to account for the detailed and strikingly natural-sounding treble. The 1" aluminum vented-dome tweeter utilizes a Tangerine Waveguide to encourage the sound to radiate spherically for wider, more even dispersion so that everyone in the room enjoys the same superb sound quality. A large internal vent prevents potentially distorting high pressures from building up behind the dome in the critical vocal region, preserving all the nuance and fine detail of the original performance.
  • 5.25" Magnesium/Aluminum Alloy Woofer: The 5.25" woofer uses a magnesium/aluminum alloy cone that is light, stiff, and smooth for natural midrange and midbass sound. A well as allowing the midrange cone its full extension, KEF's ingenious Z-flex surround guides the sound from the tweeter across the surround without any disturbance or secondary radiation. Treble response is clearer and sweeter.
Note: The LS50 powered speaker system does not include grilles.

Bi-Amplifier Configuration: The 1" aluminum vented-dome tweeter and 5.25" magnesium/aluminum alloy woofer are powered by an incredible clean and fast 230 watt amplifier in a bi-amp dual mono configuration (200 watts to the woofer and 30 watts to the tweeter) that produces high-fidelity sound.

Note: Because the LS50 Wireless speaker system is self-powered, each speaker will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet.

Advanced Time Correcting DSP: The LS50 Wireless employs an advanced time correcting DSP crossover that corrects for inherent time delays introduced in the crossover stage.

FEA-Designed Cabinet: The FEA-designed cabinet with its constrained layer damping bracing and precision engineered curved baffle, along with the elliptical flexible port all work in concert to prevent cabinet vibration and resonances that produce unwanted sound coloration for clear, spacious, distortion-free sound.

  • Curved Baffle: The curved baffle is shaped so that the sound waves spread from the drivers with minimum reflection from the edges which gives a very nice spacious sound. The curvature also improves the rigidity of the baffle which reduces vibration and sound coloration.
  • Constrained Layer Damping: The constrained layer damping which is between the brace and the enclosure walls and also the front baffle, prevents the cabinet from vibrating and radiating sound. This helps to prevent coloration in the midrange.
  • Flexible Port Tube: The rear-firing port tube has a flexible wall which allows midrange sound that is travelling down the port tube to escape back into the cabinet and prevents longitudinal resonances; which can otherwise radiate and cause midrange coloration. The port tube also has very carefully flared walls to avoid the chuffing noises that you can hear when you get air turbulence inside the port.

24-Bit/192kHz DACs: The LS50 Wireless features an end-to-end 192kHz/24-bit high-resolution digital signal path with two separate DACs for each speaker, for a total of four for the pair.

Speaker EQ: The LS50 Wireless speaker system provides a built-in Speaker EQ to tailor the sound of the system to the placement of the speaker. Select from "Desk", "Stand", "Wall", or "Free Space".

Advanced Audio Settings: Through the KEF LS50 Wireless app for Apple iOS 8.0+ and Android OS 4.1+ you get access to advanced  audio settings to expertly tailor the system's sound to your room environment and preference.

  • Room Acoustics: You can select the size of your room (Small, Medium, or Large), as well as indicate the room setting (Damped, Moderate, or Lively). In addition, you can indicate how far the speakers are from the back wall.
  • Bass & Treble: You adjust the treble trim from -2dB to +2dB. The bass extension can be set to Less, Standard, or Extra. There is also phase correction between the two speakers.
  • Sub Controls: If you connect a powered subwoofer you can activate a variable high pass (50-120Hz) & low pass (40-250Hz) crossover. You can also adjust sub polarity and sub gain (-10 to +10dB), as well as the balance between subwoofer and speaker.

Tethered Cable: The speakers are labeled "RIGHT" & "LEFT". The included 10' Cat-6 cable plugs into the back of each speaker to connect them together as a stereo pair. You can set the balance between the Right & Left speaker.

Subwoofer Output: The KEF LS50 Wireless speaker system is equipped with a mono-RCA subwoofer output to connect a powered sub (sold separately).

Variety Of Sources

Wired or Wireless Network Connectivity: The KEF LS50 speaker system can be connected to your home network via a wired (Ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) connection. There is a RJ-45 Ethernet port (10/100Mbps) on the back of the speaker which allows for a hardwired connection. Built-in 2.4/5GHz dual-band WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n) allows the LS50 speaker system to connect wirelessly to your home network.

Note: KEF recommends streaming Hi-Res music files over a 5GHz WiFi network with a router transmission speed of at least 1300Mbps

DLNA Compliant: The  LS50 Wireless is a DLNA Digital Media Renderer and can play Hi-Res music files (up to 24-bit/192kHz) from other DLNA servers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. The following music files can be streamed wireless via DLNA.

File Format Sampling Frequency Bit Rate or Bit Depth
MP3 8-48 kHz 16 bit
WMA 8-48 kHz 16 bit
AAC 32-96 kHz 16 bit
AIFF 32-192 kHz 16 / 24 bit
FLAC 8-192 kHz 16 / 24 bit
WAV 8-48 kHz 16 / 20 / 24 bits
PCM 8-192 kHz 16 / 20 / 24 bits
Note: The LS50 Wireless does not support gapless playback.

Asynchronous USB-B Port: The LS50 Wireless speaker system is outfitted with an Asynchronous USB-B port for playback of 2ch PCM music files (up to 24-bit/192kHz) from your Windows PC (7-up) or Mac computer (OSX 10.6-up). If you are using a Windows PC, you will need to download a dedicated USB audio driver from the KEF website.

Note: There is also a USB-A port, but this is for service and software/firmware updates only. It cannot be used for music streaming.

Optical Digital Input: The LS50 Wireless speaker features an optical (toslink) digital input with support for 2ch PCM audio (up to 24-bit/96kHz). The Optical digital input does not support Dolby Digital, DTS, or other multi-channel formats.

Stereo RCA Input: The LS50 Wireless powered speaker offers an analog stereo RCA output for connection of an analog audio source device. If you want to connect a turntable, you will need a turntable with a built-in phono preamp or an external phono preamp (sold separately).

Bluetooth 4.0: With its built-in Bluetooth (version 4.0), you are able to wirelessly stream stored music and music apps from your Bluetooth-enabled Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android smartphone/tablet, Windows Phone/PC, Mac computer/laptop and other Bluetooth source devices to the KEF LS50 speaker. You'll still need to control music playback and view song/artist info from your Bluetooth source device.

  • aptX: In addition to support the standard Bluetooth SBC codec, the KEF LS50 offers support for aptX. With aptX, you can stream CD-quality sound from aptX compatible devices (like Android OS 4.0+). Now your wireless music sounds rich, full, and natural with less compression.
  • SSP: With SSP (Simple Secure Pairing), Bluetooth source devices can be paired with a single press of a button and without entering PIN code. Up to 8 devices can be paired with the LS50 speakers and two devices can remain connected, but only one device can be playing at a time.
Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the KEF LS50.

Convenience Features

Top-Panel & Remote Control: The KEF LS50 Wireless features top-panel touch-sensitive controls for Power, Source Selection, Bluetooth Pairing, and Volume. The included IR remote provides wireless operation of the same functions, plus Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track and Mute.

Remote App for iOS &  Android: The KEF LS50 Wireless app for Apple iOS 8.0+ and Android OS 4.1+ provides comprehensive and intuitive controls for the LS50 Wireless speaker system through your compatible smartphone or tablet device. The KEF LS50 Wireless app offers simple setup, flexible sound adjustment, and music streaming from your compatible mobile device and/or DLNA music server with complete playback control, song/artist info and album art.

Detachable AC Power Cords: Each speaker is powered by standard household current using the internal power supply and a detachable AC power cord.

Note: The KEF LS50 Wireless speaker system is not battery powered.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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I have the original LS50s. Want to upgrade. [ Matthew  Apr 29, 2018 ]
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