KEF, Hegel, Straightwire | AXPONA 2019

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies

CHICAGO (PTA) — KEF teamed up with Hegel and Straightwire to present an almost Broadway musical like showcase of KEF’s most advanced products. From the new LSX and R-Series products, on up to the statement Muon loudspeakers, each dominate a layer in the strata from entry-level to the most esoteric.

The Story

To go ahead and address the elephant in the room — or elephant sized speakers that is — the KEF Muon for those who haven’t heard them, are amazingly powerful and delicate. They do it all. Using the same Uni-Q technology that has populated all of KEF’s existing models, the Muon demonstrates just how far one can implement a small point-source and coherent driver into being something that works at every level of sonic demand. The Muons are indeed a showcase of KEF advancing technology in what some would see as a status piece, but more true to its reality the Muon is in-fact a “concept speaker” that you can buy — given you can swing the $225,000.00 USD price tag.

Further to the point, the Muon was brought to AXPONA to perform dual-duties, one of them being in a support position to the new LSX and R-Series speakers that share the Uni-Q design philosophy. Starting with the new LSX, it is based off of the technology found in the LS50 wireless. It creates an addition to the LS family of products, by offering more options for speaker placement in the near-field or in domestic situations where space is limited. While both the LS50 and new LSX have a shared heritage with the LS3 5a, it’s the LSX in practical use as a near-field monitor which mirrors more the classic LS3 5a which it derives from. How the LSX advances the LS series is that it offers more finish colors and materials. The LSX integrates more with the current wi-fi connected technology lifestyle. Connectivity to Roon, Spotify, Tidal, etc, and I’m sure more to come in the future with updates. The on-board DAC taking input from the traditional selection of optical digital input. On the analog side, an RCA input for all line-source. Also included are a dedicated subwoofer output. Most impressive about the LSX is that you can use them completely wireless, untethered from each other, only connected to power. However they can be tethered together and with that comes higher-fidelity. Color coded LED input identifier and remote control round out the features.

But once you’ve outgrown the LSX, and are ready to take that next step into the KEF family of loudspeakers, consider the new R-Series. KEF released the new R-Series last year after discovering the successes both technological and in the market of the Reference Series. After an eight-year long iteration of the previous R-Series, KEF redesigned the new R-Series to incorporate many of the lessons learned in the Reference Series. The new R-Series is a completely new speaker for KEF aside from the name. New woofer designs, new bracing, new porting, new first-order crossovers, and the biggest change is in the Uni-Q driver. The new R-Series uses a twelfth-generation Uni-Q array, which improves on all T/S factors. Acoustically the new R-Series has more in common with the Reference Series than in previous years.

The Sound

From each of the KEF family of speakers, LSX, R-Series, and Muon, the same breath of life and phase coherent realism prevails. Before KEF’s Uni-Q technology came along, I had not considered myself a fan of most point-source speakers as they either sounded closed in or were limited in their single-driver dynamic range. The KEF Uni-Q changed that for me, by melding two drivers into one perfectly time-aligned and focused point-source that retains the dynamics of two-way loudspeakers. This makes all of the KEF speakers fun to listen to, but also when called upon the perfect orators for displaying the sonic picture with accuracy, finesse, and truth.

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by the LSA Group