Wi-Fi woes make Kef’s wireless speakers a letdown

Kef’s new LSX wireless speakers, a smaller, cheaper incarnation of its immensely impressive LS50s, are just as impressive; maybe even more so given they’re almost compact enough for a desk. So why am I hesitant in recommending them?

They sound terrific, especially with the volume way up. There’s a very strong low end that, despite its power, doesn’t get muddled or fuzzy. Fear not; the high end is every bit as pronounced. Maybe it gets just a tad harsh but I’m being picky because overall I loved it. And the soundstage is surprisingly wide. If you’re into Philip Glass these are the bookshelf speakers for you.

The speakers look and sound great, but they're tough to recommend.

The speakers look and sound great, but they’re tough to recommend.

The midrange is just as good. The soundtrack to a 1971 movie called The Last Valley (it still rates a 7.4 on IMDb) has a couple of tracks of modestly liturgical music by an unaccompanied female choir recorded in the wonderful acoustic of the Prague State Opera House, and the LSXs capture it deliciously enough to get goosebumps bumping.

You have to keep reminding yourself that these are cordless. You can connect through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Apple AirPlay at up to 48kHz/24-bit resolution and as long as there’s a wall outlet in the vicinity you can forget any other cables. If you must there’s a 3.5mm plug for hardwiring a phone or tablet, an optical input and, for purists a three-metre ethernet cable to connect one speaker to the other for 96/24 res. I was perfectly happy with the wireless connection between the two. There’s an RCA output for a powered subwoofer and a USB charge outlet, there’s Tidal and Spotify. And you have your choice of five colours, four in fabric and one in white gloss.

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