The good folks at KEF have been busy recently. First a refresh of the LS50 Wireless all-in-one speaker to MkII status. Yours for £2,499. Then a completely new model, the floorstanding LS60 Wireless retailing for a heady £6,000. Early reports say it’s a lot more than a stretched LS50W II. Most recently we said hello to the £30k Blade One Meta, an update of KEF’s stunning range topper (the £180k Muon is more brand ambassador than flagship model).
A brief pause for breath, then enter the diminutive KEF LSX II Wireless, which launches formally on 23rd June. A price rise takes it to £1,200, slightly higher than the normal HiFi Starters budget for a component. Given it’s a complete system in two boxes we thought it worth making an exception.
At the basic level the LSX II Wireless is a pair of speakers with amplification and a digital platform (DAC & streamer) built in. The W2 digital platform is a straight lift from the LS50 Wireless II, which makes eminent sense.
Generic networking is covered by Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast. Qobuz, Amazon Music and Deezer are available, with the Connect versions of both Tidal and Spotify built in (for which your phone acts as a remote, the speaker itself playing Spotify / Tidal from the Internet). Oh and the LSX II Wireless is Roon Ready too, meaning it can play ball in high-end setups.
The KEF Connect app (iOS and Android) handles setup and controls a lot of the functionality.
An HDMI eARC input has been added, meaning the LSX II Wireless works well with TVs. Or build a desktop system by using the new USB-C input to connect your Mac or Windows computer in. The analogue input of the original LSX has been retained, as has the subwoofer output. Finally there are various mounting brackets & stands that screw into inserts in the speakers to aid placement.
Class D amplifiers provide the grunt – 70W for the mid/bass, 30W for the tweeter. On the digital side the LSX II Wireless can handle up to PCM 24bit/384kHz, DSD and MQA. Finally, on finishes you can choose from Carbon Black, Mineral White, Cobalt Blue or Lava Red. There’s also a special Terence Conran Soundwave finish that looks drop-dead gorgeous in the photos.
Should HiFi Starters reach for their piggy bank?
Quite possibly. There is a downside – the risk of getting left behind as technology advances (better DACs, new drivers etc). All-in-ones are certainly not for the inveterate tweaker. For mainstream users the LSX II Wireless’ excellent connectivity negates much of the risk though. As and when just plug an external DAC into its analogue input for example. And where else can you get a fully-formed system that looks so good whilst intruding so little on your listening space? If the little KEF’s sound quality fulfills its potential then we’re sold.
More info here. We’ll try to get a pair in for review.