KEF LSX Active Loudspeaker Page 2

At its most basic, you can use the LSX as a glorified Bluetooth speaker, or with sources connected via analogue or digital sockets, and not need a network connection. A remote handset is provided, and for this simple operation that's about all you will need. However, switch to network/online streamed content, and you'll need a display to see what you're accessing, which is where the app comes in – or rather another app comes in.

You see, while there's one KEF app to set up the speakers, adjust their various DSP parameters, and carry out any firmware update, you need a second app, called KEF Stream, to actually play music through them. That seems just a shade clunky, but at least it keeps the Stream app relatively clear in use as a trade-off.

sqnote Worth The Weight
With that app-juggling done, it was simple to use the LSX as a streaming device, connect via the audio inputs and play music straight to it using a selection of portable devices, both Android and Apple.


I should admit, however, that this last means of using the speakers, while convenient on an ad hoc basis, is far from my favourite way of playing music. True, the LSX is certainly a very good Bluetooth/AirPlay 2 speaker system, and a world away from the inexpensive alternatives many listeners seem happy to run cranked within an inch of their life, but this capability is largely wasted. So, as is usual with these wireless protocols, I find the sound rather parched and uninteresting, and more of a chore to listen to than a delight.

There are no such problems when the LSX is used either via its analogue/digital inputs or streaming from a network or online source. Here the surprising weight available from these little speakers combines with a smooth yet informative midband and treble to give much more musical involvement. And what's also clear is the remarkable focus available from those Uni-Q drivers when driven actively. They give a highly credible soundstage with the speakers a few metres apart, about the same distance from the listener and with a slight toe-in, and also focus elements within the mix with great precision.

As well as trying the LSX in 'main room' mode, I also listened to the speakers in desktop audio guise. They proved very enjoyable when used as nearfield monitors, giving a striking sense of insight into recordings when parked either side of my computer. With the superb intimacy of the one-mic-recorded jazz of Reinier Voet & Pigalle 24 on the Ballade Pour La Nuit album [SoundLiason SL-1035A] the LSX's are able to create an almost holographic image of the musicians ranged in front of the listener.

Add to this rock-solid positioning a wonderfully relaxed feel, plus a good sense of space, and this played into the hands of some excellent live Proms broadcasts. With TV sound connected via optical digital, the speakers confirm their user-friendly nature by opening up the sound of broadcasts while still maintaining the illusion of a performance coming from the screen.


No, they won't quite stretch to that wall-busting impression of your room extending out into the expanse of a concert-hall. But don't think any size-related limitations mean these are speakers best suited to small-scale music.

Pounding Rhythms
Playing the massed forces of the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the opening of Mahler 8 [Fresh! FR-725], the sound may well be a little more 'symphony of several hundred' rather than the full thousand, but there's no denying that the LSX is able to punch above its relatively modest weight. And that ability stands it in good stead with rock and pop too.

With the one-take live sound of the self-titled album by Greek psychedelic rock merchants Naxatras [NXTRS01;] played via Roon, the little KEF speakers do an excellent job with the pounding rhythms' Eastern influences and the dense mixes, allowing individual lines to be followed.

Meanwhile, in the perhaps more familiar territory of Drake's expletive-laden Care Package rap [a Tidal Stream] the LSX speakers thump out the backing tracks as well as they do the stream of invective on the opening 'Dreams Money Can Buy' before settling into an easier groove with 'The Motion'.

Take a swerve to the oh-so-polite and beautifully recorded Diana Krall on her Turn Up The Quiet album [Verve 00602557352177], and the LSXs are in their element with the kind of low-challenge sound beloved of hi-fi demonstrators the world over. However, what's being played still stays interesting even with the volume wound down to background dinner-party levels. Which is nice...

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Seriously, these are very fine little active wireless speakers, with no shortage of ability partnered with simply masses of convenience. They'll provide a background to your life with minimal fuss, then ramp up the involvement when required. In short, their combination of price, style, performance and 'just add – well nothing, actually' complete specification makes them a highly attractive real world buy.

GP Acoustics (UK) Ltd
Maidstone, Kent
Supplied by: GP Acoustics (UK) Ltd
01622 672 261