Wireless HiFi Speaker Systems
Wireless loudspeakers are a category that, not long ago, was scoffed at by most serious music listeners. Wireless signals themselves were limited in bandwidth and dynamic range. In plain words, the streaming signals did not sound very good. So not only on modestly priced stereo gear, but even on elite audio and A/V systems, the sound was “just ok” at best. Records and CDs both sounded significantly better than wirelessly streamed signals.
These days, the software has caught up with the hardware. Even some dyed-in-the-wool audio vets have given up their record and CD collections (although plenty of others still use them!), as high-resolution or Hi-Res music streaming has become a reality. Streaming services like Qobuz and Tidal can provide great-sounding 24-bit Hi-Res quality streaming, with up to 192 kHz frequency response. DSD and PCM computer file formats can offer up to 24 bit / 384 kHz.
By contrast, CDs (which when using a quality CD player can still sound really good) are a 16-bit, 44.1kHz audio format - significantly lower than what you’ll find in Hi-Res streaming. Wireless music streaming in such a Hi-Rez format has significant advantages over conventional wired audio. Albums (and even CDs) can take up a fair amount of room in the home and are not easily portable when you’re out for a walk, at work, or the gym. With streaming, all you need is your smartphone or laptop. At Gramophone, we’ve seen a boom in good-quality wireless audio products.
Today we look at the KEF LSX II LT Wireless HiFi System. This outstanding music system is compact and affordable at a retail price of $999 and sounds really good. You’ll find our YouTube review of them HERE!
The LSX II LT is a new, streamlined version of their award-winning compact wireless system, the LSX II, and offers many connectivity features for improving your music and movie enjoyment, such as adding a subwoofer. Let’s highlight some of this impressive product’s key features.
Great sound: the LSX II LT speakers are wonderful. A wireless streaming speaker is, at its core, a speaker. KEF is an award-winning British manufacturer that has been making great speakers since 1961 and has won hundreds of industry awards and positive reviews. KEF holds over 20 patents on speaker technology as well. The LSX II LT has KEF’s famous UniQ driver technology. Now in its 11th generation, this method of placing the tweeter at the exact center of the mid-woofer assures that the speaker acts as a true point source.
The benefit of Uni-Q? When listening to music, you get a lifelike, “at the local jazz or blues club” type of sound, with a cohesive image, a real sense that all the musicians are playing together in space. Even better, there is no one “sweet spot” that you must sit in to hear this. The whole family can relax on the couch and enjoy great sounds. Both the left and right speakers have powerful individual amplifiers for the tweeter and mid-woofer, so the system can get plenty loud and stay clear, without distortion - remarkable for such compact speakers!
Wireless connectivity: this wireless system makes it easy to enjoy music. The W2 wireless platform is very stable, and KEF’s Connect app for your phone lets you stream music from Hi-Res platforms like Qobuz, Tidal, Amazon Music, and more. Both Apple Airplay 2 and Google Chromecast assure your streaming regardless of whether you are an iPhone or Android user. You can even access your own stored library of music from your laptop music server or NAS drive.
You can easily expand the system to enjoy your favorite wired A/V sources. An HDMI eArc connection makes it easy to hook up your TV and enjoy great sound from your movies and favorite TV shows. You can use your familiar TV remote control - no re-learning is needed. A dedicated subwoofer output means you can add powerful bass to your system whenever your budget allows. An optical input allows you to connect a CD player or gaming console. The USB-C connection makes the LSX II LT a great laptop/ desktop computer system.
User-friendly customization: each room in your home sounds a bit different from every other room, based on room size, how absorptive or reflective the furnishings are, etc. You can customize the sound of LSX II LT with the Connect app’s simple sound settings. There is also a powerful Room EQ DSP engine. A “Normal” mode talks you through the customization process, so you can easily fine-tune the sound to sound great in your home. Choose a KEF subwoofer, and you’ll get presets for easily choosing different levels of bass for music or movies.
Even more connectivity is possible if you have a smart home control system. The LSX II LT makes it easy to connect to your control system, and change sources, play music, adjust volume, etc. with your smart-home controller or app.
Most of the features and benefits of KEF’s award-winning LSX II are found here, but at a lower price of $999 for the LSX II LT system. The differences? The color choices in LSX II LT are simplified - white, graphite gray, or sage green. It doesn’t support MQA or Roon and has no analog RCA input for a turntable. It also requires an included 3 meter / 9 foot USB cable to connect the primary and secondary speaker (a 24-foot cable is also available), and one subwoofer output rather than two. If you want a compact, great-sounding wireless system for under $1,000, visit us for a demo of KEF’s LSX II LT. We bet that you’ll love it.