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KEF makes some of the best speakers around, with an attention to detail in the build, innovative design, and undeniable looks.
Both the Q150s and LS50s are no exception to that. These bookshelf speakers come packed with features, and both look incredible, too.
The LS50s are pricier than the Q150, but there are some big differences between the two. We’ll break down whether the LS50 is really worth the extra cost.
Bottom Line Up Front: While both speakers are excellent, the LS50 is the clear winner in my book. The look and sound are both superior, and I think it’s worth the higher cost.
|Frequency Response||51Hz – 28kHz||79Hz – 28kHz (±3dB)|
|Amplifier Requirements||10 – 100W||25W – 100W|
|Weight||24.7 lbs||15.9 lbs|
|Price||Check the latest price here!||Check the latest price here!|
The KEF Q150 is a neat, small pair of bookshelf speakers. While they’re a little weighty, they’re compact, meaning they should fit unobtrusively into your living space. You can expect high-resolution and some big sound from them.
In terms of sound quality, these are great for small speakers. The Uni-Q driver, present on the entire Q-series, is made to give perfectly timed frequencies, with 3-dimensional sound. The array has been reset from older models, placed at the center of the cabinet. This is an advantage as it gives greater clarity.
The back of the tweeter has been dampened, which cuts out some sound leakage. Again, this improves accuracy.
The Q150 has a mounted bass port at the back. This means it’s pretty easy to set up. If you have banana plugs, you need to remove the plastic caps inside the binding posts before you insert the plugs. This is a little tricky to do.
It’s recommended that you have a minimum of 6 feet between the speakers, and a minimum of 9 inches from the wall – this is something to bear in mind when you’re thinking about placement.
Despite their small size, they give out a great amount of base.
The Q150 looks great. The grilles are an optional extra, and you’ll have to pay more for them unless you want naked speakers. With the grilles, they look sleek and sophisticated. Available in black, white, or walnut, they’re pretty inconspicuous on a bookshelf.
In our opinion, the walnut looks the best (although the other colors are good too). They’re sophisticated and would look great on either a stand or shelves.
These speakers are a little heavier than the LS50. Not as portable, then, but once you’ve found the perfect spot for them, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The KEF Q series has a unique sound. They offer a deep base and a warm midrange, with tons of detail. They provide excellent clarity, with each part of the speaker working together to create the best sound. If you’re a real sound geek, and you want the absolute best for your living space, you may well be tempted by these.
When it comes to percussion, they may not reproduce the ‘snappiness’ that you might be looking for. But they do offer a lot of depth and texture in their sound.
The Uni-Q driver sitting in the sealed cabinet makes the bass cleaner and reduces distortion. The DC blocking capacitor is eliminated from the crossover – this means the roll-off between drivers is more natural.
If you love a bit of base, this is a good choice. It faithfully reproduces even the small nuances of base instruments, with a clean sound even at high volumes. This is thanks to the dampened tweeter loading tube, which also improves lower treble performance.
Overall, the Q150 is an excellent set of speakers. At a pretty good price point, they offer some deep, rich sound. If you want faithfully reproduced base instruments with no distortion, these are a good option for you. While the snappiness of percussion is a little dampened, you might find the overall quality is worth it.
The LS50s come from a different bloodline. These speakers are intended to be used in a studio as a monitor and not in a home theater setup. However, they can be used there and no matter where you stick them, they are fantastic performers.
The LS50 borrows a lot from KEF’s flagship Blade loudspeaker. This mini studio monitor is built for professionals and enthusiasts a line, with a beautiful design and plenty of acoustic thought throughout.
Like the R100, the LS50 features the Uni-Q driver array. This extends the listening sweet spot and helps for a fast, clean, and responsive sound from the speaker. It cleans up the front of the speaker and helps the sound immensely.
The winner is the construction of the cabinet, though. The front baffle is shaped to reduce impact at the front of the speaker and lead vibrations to the driver itself. That combined with the smooth rear-porting helps to reduce secondary vibrations in the cabinet and clean up the sound of the speaker.
With a passive design, there isn’t much else to note on the LS50s. The construction and driver array sell this speaker, with little fussing in other areas. That, however, is a good thing with a clean and responsive sound through smart design.
While the R100 is a simple box, the LS50 has a bit more finesse. The vibrant colors demand that these speakers be noticed in any room, and the curved front baffle is sure to stick out (literally and figuratively).
The speakers come in three different color combinations. There is a gloss piano black paired with an orangish/gold driver, piano white with an electric blue driver, and matte red with a flat black driver.
These colors won’t be for everyone, but I love them. The contrast between the driver and cabinet on each of the speakers is beautiful. They’re going to have a difficult time looking cohesive with other speakers, but I think the look alone is worth looking into KEF’s line.
One exception to this would be Klipsch’s reference line of the speaker. The iconic copper-spun woofer on that line of speakers would pair very nicely with the black/gold combination of the LS50s. If you have some Klipsch speakers, I would seriously consider these as an addition to the setup.
The colors are very loud but in a good way. KEF isn’t afraid to go out and make speakers that walk the thin line between unique and beautiful. While the R100s look great, they don’t manage that same special thing that the LS50s do.
However, the hype surrounding these speakers is in the sound. While the bass extension isn’t as good as the R100s, everything else is superior. The LS50s sound like they should be exponentially more expensive.
While the rated bass response is lower, these speakers can still kick out some low-end. They won’t replace a sub, but they do a lot down low. The bass is tight, with just a subtle punch to satisfy.
The bass is clean, and that is due to the roll-off in sub frequencies. KEF isn’t trying to push frequencies too low out of them, and that goes a long way for these speakers.
The midrange is natural with excellent imaging and reproduction. These speakers are very transparent, and the midrange is where that shines. Nothing sticks out too offensively while also not meddling in “scooped” territory.
However, the highs set these speakers apart from the R100s. The top-end is smooth, with fantastic detail. From low volumes to high, these speakers don’t become too brittle or harsh which is a feat at the price and size.
At the price, you’re unlikely going to find a better speaker. There is a lot of hype behind them, but for good reason. The sound is simply amazing.
From the look to the sound, the LS50s clock in as a near-perfect speaker. They provide excellent value at the price with sound rivaling speakers four or five times for expensive.
While the KEF Q150 is a great pair of speakers for a really good price, the LS50 is still the winner for me. The sound, look, and build are superior, and it offers almost perfect sound quality – but if you’re on a budget, it’s still worth checking out the Q150.
So really, it comes down to whether or not you want to spend extra for the LS50 for that excellent sound quality.
Which one would you go for? Let us know in the comments!