The First Bookshelf Loudspeaker with Metamaterial Absorption Technology: Pure-Sounding KEF LS50 Meta Features 12th-Generation Uni-Q Driver Array, Patented Port, Much More
Just how does the silky matte-finished KEF LS50 Meta bookshelf loudspeaker set new, impossibly high standards and differ from its predecessor, LS50, one of the most acclaimed audio designs of the past three decades? In short: Pioneering Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) that eliminates 99% of high-frequency distortion; 12th-generation Uni-Q driver with MAT array for outstanding acoustic accuracy; Driver Performance Optimization for reduced coloration; and a patented off-set flexible port for exceptional depth and detail. Add to those feats an impeccably stylish re-engineered cabinet distinguished by a low-diffraction, curved baffle, gently radiused rear panel, and underside-mounting inserts that allow for secure, simple attachments to the optional KEF S2 stands, and you have a two-way bass-reflex model that immerses anyone lucky enough to hear its precise, clear, dynamic, and stunningly pure sound.
Developed with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, MAT breaks new ground by using metamaterials – specially developed structures that incorporate existing materials in ways that exhibit new, desirable properties not found in naturally occurring substances. Employed in the 17.2-pound LS50 Meta, MAT takes the form of a highly complex maze-like structure in which each of the intricate channels efficiently absorbs a specific frequency. When combined, the channels act as an acoustic black hole, absorbing nearly all the unwanted sound that comes from the rear of the tweeter.
Speaking of the one-inch vented aluminum dome tweeter, it is part of the 12th-generation Uni-Q array – a point-source configuration with a brand-new cone-neck decoder and motor system. It boasts an unusually large sweet spot and offers remarkably fast, natural, transparent sonics complete with three-dimensional imaging and deep bass. In addition, a high-frequency tangerine waveguide augmented with strengthened ribs furthers the extremely wide dispersion. The meticulous combination of such architecture allows LS50 Meta to provide rich, exacting, and notably exciting performance despite its compact 11.9 x 7.9 x 11-inch (HWD) size, belying expectations and logic.
Not to be overshadowed, LS50 Meta's port and cabinet prove equally crucial to its abilities. Created with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the flare and profile of the patented off-set flexible port arrives calculated to delay the onset of turbulence all the while flexible walls prevent ruinous resonances. On the exterior, smooth curved surfaces help radiate sound out across the baffle sans interference. And the baffle itself is comprised of an injection-molded Dough Moulding Compound (DMC) often found in the automotive industry. Inside, cross bracing and Constrained Layer Damping (CLD) combine to deaden internal vibrations. The end result: LS50 Meta boasts best-in-class low-coloration ratings.
Regarding the subject of color, that's really all you need to decide. Our 100% Music Direct Satisfaction Guarantee does the rest.
"A magnificent compact speaker capable of a huge soundstage, generous bass and terrific imaging."
—EISA Award for 2021-2022, Standmount Loudspeakers
"We've always loved the LS50s and this new version takes their performance to a notably higher level. We think KEF is on to something with the Metamaterial technology and can't wait to see how it develops. As things stand, that tech and all the other work KEF's engineers have put into the Uni-Q array has propelled the LS50 Metas to the head of the class at this level. Buy them with confidence."
– What Hi-Fi?, 2020 Best Standmount Speaker €750-1,500 Award
"The LS50 Meta is significantly more refined than its predecessor.... [This] is a loudspeaker that will continue to set the standard for affordable stand-mounts for years to come. More importantly, the original LS50 was loved for its combination of guts and clarity, and now it is gutsier and even clearer than ever. And it does so without losing that easy musicality and effortless fun the original put into the replay."
"The LS50 Meta equals its predecessor in that respect but improves on its presentation of low-level detail and has a little more treble energy. As a result, it presents a more transparent window into the recorded soundstage without compromising the ability to communicate the music's message. Highly recommended."
– John Atkinson, Stereophile
Groundbreaking Sound Absorption with MAT
A result of joint development with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, using Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) breaks completely new ground in loudspeaker design. Metamaterials are specially developed structures that use existing materials in such a way that they exhibit new, desirable properties that are simply not found in naturally occurring substances. A truly revolutionary tool in the KEF acoustic armoury, MAT is a highly complex maze-like structure, where each of the intricate channels efficiently absorbs a specific frequency. When combined, the channels act as an acoustic black hole, absorbing 99% of the unwanted sound that comes from the rear of the tweeter, eliminating the resulting distortion and providing a purer, more natural acoustic performance.
12th-Generation Uni-Q with MAT Driver Array
The Uni-Q point-source configuration delivers a detailed, accurate, and integrated three-dimensional sound image, which is dispersed so evenly throughout the room that the sweet spot is wherever you are in the room. Using simulation and analysis tools and decades of accumulated in-house knowledge, KEF engineers developed a new iteration of KEF's signature driver array, with a new cone neck decoupler and motor system that is precisely shaped to reduce high-frequency distortion in the mid-frequency driver. The result is reduced coloration, less distortion, and a sound that is more transparent and lifelike. The same can also be said of bass performance, where LS50 Meta completely exceeds the expectations of a modestly proportioned stand-mount speaker to deliver sound with deep, articulate bass.
Attention to Every Detail
Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the flare and profile of LS50 Meta's patented off-set flexible port is calculated to delay the onset of turbulence and the flexible port walls prevent resonances from coloring the midrange. This leads to improved clarity, with exceptional levels of depth and detail. LS50 Meta's extremely rigid cabinet is optimized for stellar performance, with smooth curved surfaces that help radiate sound out across the baffle without interference. The baffle itself is engineered from an injection-moulded Dough Moulding Compound (DMC) usually found in the automotive industry. Inside the cabinet, cross bracing and Constrained Layer Damping (CLD) combine to deaden internal vibrations. The result of such meticulous attention to detail is that LS50 Meta produces the lowest coloration of any speaker in its class.