KEF LS50 Meta Review: Looks good, sounds even better
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The new KEF LS50 Meta loudspeakers are equipped with the traditional KEF driver Uni-Q (here it is already 12th generation), complemented by the revolutionary MAT sound absorption technology.
The Absorbent Metamaterial (MAT) technology, developed by KEF engineers in collaboration with the Hong Kong-based Acoustic Metamaterials Group, as the name suggests, involves the use of an artificially created material (metamaterial) that behaves like an “acoustic black hole” (this is exactly what the official press says release KEF), absorbing almost all the sound energy from the back of the speaker, while taking up a minimum of space in the speaker cabinet.
KEF’s MAT technology uses a special labyrinthine structure, each segment of which absorbs sound in a specific frequency band. It is not for nothing that KEF says that this structure behaves like an “acoustic black hole”, since MAT allows to absorb 99% of unwanted sound energy, while traditional absorbers such as synthetic winterizer provide absorption only 60%.
The KEF LS50 Meta speakers are connected to the amplifier using two universal terminals. The crossover (with a crossover frequency of 2.1 kHz) consists of two boards (they are removed from each other closer to the side walls). All parts are integrated on them using the surface mounting method.
The KEF LS50 Meta monitors turned out to be surprisingly miniature – with a curved front panel A4 sheet format and a depth of 30 cm. The heart of the KEF LS50 Meta is the Uni-Q coaxial driver (which is a ring-shaped 5.25 “HF head in the center of which there is a 1” dome tweeter ) of the last generation.
Each monitor weighs more than 7 kg. This indicates a high quality factor of the case and the use of large and heavy magnets in emitters. A massive curved front panel, special metal pins (fastening the facade to the rear wall), special spacers connecting the upper edge with the base and side walls, plus special damping materials – all this is designed to neutralize unnecessary internal overtones to achieve a relaxed and, at the same time, natural and accurate sound.
However, the stylish looks and high-tech equipment intrigue the user much less than the sound. When the KEF LS50 Meta first sounded, it was hard to believe that such a large-scale and rich sound was reproduced by such compact monitors, and not by large floor-standing loudspeakers.
During the listening, there was a desire to walk along the music stage (like at a concert) in order to look at the musicians from different angles. And, we have to admit that (in the case of sufficiently good recordings) it was quite successful. The Uni-Q driver does provide a very realistic and spacious soundstage.
The timbre character of the sound really surprised me with monitor accuracy in almost the entire operating frequency range, which makes it possible to use the KEF LS50 Meta in a recording studio.
Some coloration of the sound takes place only in the area of deep bass (somewhere below 100 Hz) – after all, the “ring” of the woofer brings its “zest” (in comparison with the woofer of the traditional conical design.). When using the KEF LS50 Meta in a professional studio, this is worth considering.