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Article: KEF LS50 (David) Versus JBL 4722 Cinema (Goliath) Speaker Comparison with Binaural Recordings

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Congrats Chris on the site refresh! All the best for 2019!

 

Mitch: Wow dude. You have outdone yourself with that binaural A/B audio track :-). Agree "the differences between David and Goliath (with subs) are not that big"! All the more remarkable considering that image of the LS50 sitting beside the 4722 behemoths... A beautiful demonstration of your skill and the power of DSP processing (and Audiolense particularly in this case) in achieving the intended sound.

 

Just add a screen between the listener and speakers, and you can offer the "Barnett Challenge" :-).

 

Happy New Year!

 


Archimago's Musings... A "more objective" audiophile blog.

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I love the binaural recordings - lets you get a real "feel" for how the speakers sound in the room.

 

Very well done.


John Walker - IT Executive

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With my second system. Speakers first and headphones after.

 

Kef LS50 plus subs vs JBL 4722 plus subs

 

 

foobar2000 1.4.1

 

With speakers or headphones is very easy to differentiate ALL files, too easy!

 

* KEF Q100 5.25" coaxial speakers tweaked and modded: it is very easy.

 

* Takstar ts-671 open dynamic headphones tweaked and modded: it is very very easy.

 

 

JRMC 24.0.72 64 bits

 

The same but more easy

 

 

By the way, amplification?

 

Note: I have my Win 10 Pro 1709 x64 very very very optimized to play multimedia. Before summer only very very :)

 

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Mitch, you've nailed it again.

Love your observations & articles.

Rare combo of logical, straight forward writing. Explained so a chunkhead like me can understand & read the entire copy.

Sorry but, you can elucidate audio like Richard Feynman could explain astrophysics.

 

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Hi Mitch. Happy New Year. Once again, I appreciate your thorough work. Yes, it takes a while to read all the "pages", but it's worth every paragraph. Thumbs up.

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I wonder what the effect is of sympathetic resonance with the sensitive JBLs present in the room when the small KEFs playing.

 

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On 1/1/2019 at 11:34 AM, Archimago said:

Congrats Chris on the site refresh! All the best for 2019!

 

Mitch: Wow dude. You have outdone yourself with that binaural A/B audio track :-). Agree "the differences between David and Goliath (with subs) are not that big"! All the more remarkable considering that image of the LS50 sitting beside the 4722 behemoths... A beautiful demonstration of your skill and the power of DSP processing (and Audiolense particularly in this case) in achieving the intended sound.

 

Just add a screen between the listener and speakers, and you can offer the "Barnett Challenge" :-).

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

Thanks Arch! @Archimago  Happy New Year man. I have some plans for this binaural approach moving forward.

 

Keep up the excellent writings!

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On 1/1/2019 at 11:12 PM, STC said:

Mitchco, thank you for a meaningful comparison of different speakers. Meanwhile, the audio stops at 3:10 for https://cdn.computeraudiophile.com/article-images/2019/0101/mitch/JBL 4722 compare to LS50 plus dual subs.wav . 

 

I believe you changed the recorded sound at 3:00 but it stops after 10 seconds.

 

Hello @STC Each recording is a random length and have different start times... Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question?

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On 1/2/2019 at 7:14 AM, maty said:

With my second system. Speakers first and headphones after.

 

Kef LS50 plus subs vs JBL 4722 plus subs

 

 

foobar2000 1.4.1

 

With speakers or headphones is very easy to differentiate ALL files, too easy!

 

* KEF Q100 5.25" coaxial speakers tweaked and modded: it is very easy.

 

* Takstar ts-671 open dynamic headphones tweaked and modded: it is very very easy.

 

 

JRMC 24.0.72 64 bits

 

The same but more easy

 

 

By the way, amplification?

 

Note: I have my Win 10 Pro 1709 x64 very very very optimized to play multimedia. Before summer only very very :)

 

 

@maty Cool! Which recording did you prefer? You can find the amps I used in other articles...

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On 1/2/2019 at 6:05 PM, Milt99 said:

Mitch, you've nailed it again.

Love your observations & articles.

Rare combo of logical, straight forward writing. Explained so a chunkhead like me can understand & read the entire copy.

Sorry but, you can elucidate audio like Richard Feynman could explain astrophysics.

 

@Milt99 You are too kind, thanks. Fan of Feynman 🙂

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On 1/3/2019 at 12:36 PM, JR_Audio said:

Hi Mitch. Happy New Year. Once again, I appreciate your thorough work. Yes, it takes a while to read all the "pages", but it's worth every paragraph. Thumbs up.

 

Happy New Year Juergen @JR_Audio Thanks for the thumbs up. Yes, I write verbose 🙂 

All the best!

Mitch

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15 hours ago, Tin said:

I wonder what the effect is of sympathetic resonance with the sensitive JBLs present in the room when the small KEFs playing.

 

 

Hi @Tin When the KEF's were playing (even with subs) I put my ear up to the JBL cones and port and could not hear anything. If there was something, then it is too low in level and being masked by the SPL of the KEF's to my ears.

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1 hour ago, mitchco said:

 

Hello @STC Each recording is a random length and have different start times... Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question?

 

The said track is 4:30 long. You stopped the music after 3:10.

 

And in another track (https://cdn.computeraudiophile.com/article-images/2019/0101/mitch/LS50 compare to LS50 plus dual subs.wav)  you stopped the music at 3:00. The total length was 3:43.  I was just curious to know why instead of just snipping away the silence.   

 

And once again, I am grateful for the binaural recording of the speakers playback. I think this is the best way to judge a review and I regular use the cheap Roland CS10EM and have been looking for other system's binaural recordings.  Hopefully, you would also choose some classical music and ideally the same music for all of your future reviews.

 

Warm regards,

ST

 

p.s. @The Computer Audiophile ,  For your kind attention, I am unable to remove the format after the link in para two. 

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@mitchco, great evaluation. I always enjoy reading your articles. 

 

Do you have any idea if these results can be obtained using the active version of the KEF LS50, the LS50W’s? I’m thinking maybe not since the LS50W’s are active and there’s no way to get the audiolense corrected subwoofer signal into the LS50W signal path. I’m unsure given the LS50W’s only have a subwoofer out. 😐 

 

If I can’t build it with the LS50W’s I might just look at replacing them with a pair of non-active versions and build it that way. Your results are amazing and previously I thought I could only get these results with something much more expensive like the Dutch & Dutch, Kii’s, or Genelecs. The fact I can get measured, repeatedly good in-room audio performance for under $3000 is amazing 😉 . Kudos to you for putting this evaluation together. 


Thomas Turner

 

SPEAKERS - Snell Type C/V | PREAMP/DAC -  Project Pre Box S2 Digital  | SOURCE - Auralic Aries Mini | ROOM TREATMENT - LEDE, bass traps @ Rear of room, acoustic panels @ 1st reflections point: side walls | AMPLIFIER - Acurus A100

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6 minutes ago, hionhifi said:

@mitchco, great evaluation. I always enjoy reading your articles. 

 

Do you have any idea if these results can be obtained using the active version of the KEF LS50, the LS50W’s? I’m thinking maybe not since the LS50W’s are active and there’s no way to get the audiolense corrected subwoofer signal into the LS50W signal path. I’m unsure given the LS50W’s only have a subwoofer out. 😐 

 

If I can’t build it with the LS50W’s I might just look at replacing them with a pair of non-active versions and build it that way. Your results are amazing and previously I thought I could only get these results with something much more expensive like the Dutch & Dutch, Kii’s, or Genelecs. The fact I can get measured, repeatedly good in-room audio performance for under $3000 is amazing 😉 . Kudos to you for putting this evaluation together. 

I use KEF LS50 Wireless speakers with a KEF R400b sub woofer and it sounds great. I cross the sub over at 70 Hz and cut the LS50s at 70 Hz with the KEF Control app. At the moment there is no way of configuring the impulse response to time align the subs with the main speakers, and there is only a phase switch on the R400b to switch to out of phase. I could physically move the sub backwards and forwards though instead, and I think I'm going to get a UMIK-1 microphone and REW to tune the sub woofer via measurements.


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3 hours ago, Richard Dale said:

I use KEF LS50 Wireless speakers with a KEF R400b sub woofer and it sounds great. I cross the sub over at 70 Hz and cut the LS50s at 70 Hz with the KEF Control app. At the moment there is no way of configuring the impulse response to time align the subs with the main speakers, and there is only a phase switch on the R400b to switch to out of phase. I could physically move the sub backwards and forwards though instead, and I think I'm going to get a UMIK-1 microphone and REW to tune the sub woofer via measurements.

I see. Mitchco is using Audiolense to supply the linear phase digital XO at 70 Hz and time alignment to the LS50’s. He’s also using , Audiolense to apply DRC, both in the frequency and time domains. The combo of subs and DRC fill in the low end frequency response and gets rid most of the nulls at 70 and 80 Hz. It doesn’t appear that the LS50W built-in controls offer enough horsepower or granularity (ie, phase control, bass extension, sub out low pass frequency, sub gain, sub polarity, wall distance) to achieve the same results Mitchco is getting using Audiolense.

 

I suppose the only real way to know if the KEF’s/Rythmik sub can be integrated to achieve the same in-room response is to measure them in a similar way done in the article.


Thomas Turner

 

SPEAKERS - Snell Type C/V | PREAMP/DAC -  Project Pre Box S2 Digital  | SOURCE - Auralic Aries Mini | ROOM TREATMENT - LEDE, bass traps @ Rear of room, acoustic panels @ 1st reflections point: side walls | AMPLIFIER - Acurus A100

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2 hours ago, esldude said:

Man, your speaker reviews should be the gold standard.  They are the Gold standard.  

 

Binaural just doesn't work well for me.  I actually got a better sense playing this over a pair of speakers.  

 

Your results are very, very impressive.  I've got two suggestions/requests if you like. 

 

One is could you record both speakers up close and use that instead of binaural or maybe you've tried that.  

 

The other is just a different approach.  How about putting one speaker in one channel and the other speaker in the other channel.  Letting them play together.  You'll probably want to do that in the real physical world and do a binaural recording of that.  I think that might be the most impressive thing to show. Maybe alternate sections like you have between a matched pair of speakers and the two different speakers in each channel.  

 

Happy New Year Dennis! Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I tried the up close and did not sound natural and was bested by the binaural recording.

 

I got around to purchasing this mic pre and after a shootout, it still comes up on top against the more expensive ones. It's a discrete Class A design with 40 dB of gain before the tube stage. The binaural mics I use are high output and won't need the tube stage.

 

ART%20Pro%20MPA%20II.JPG

 

Thanks for the approaches. Good idea on one speaker in one channel and the other in the other channel...

 

Cheers! Mitch

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On 1/5/2019 at 7:39 AM, mitchco said:

 

@maty Cool! Which recording did you prefer? You can find the amps I used in other articles...

 

Well, I do not like any. Something more the LS50.

 

In my first system (Woofer 10.6", tweeter and supertweeter (19 kHz), kidnapped by family and TV) I like more the music without  EQ, only Direct. When you EQ > 200 Hz you modify the phase too: the human ear is able to appreciate the variation, unlike < 200 Hz.

 

I think is better idea only EQ < 200 Hz, and to have speakers with flat response. And EQ only with attenuation.

 

Films, better with Roon EQ off course.

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Thank you, Mitch.

 

The recordings were awesome and really took this review to the next level.

 

To my mind, if money and space were no object, the JBL's are hand's down the winner. Their sound felt more natural and balanced. The song coming out of them had less of a reproduction feel, like the singers were present in the room. In contrast, the KEF's I coldn't shake the feeling that the song sounded like a playback of recording made in a studio. A very good recording, but a studio all the same. It didn't make me feel "presence" for lack of a better word that the JBL did. A little too "clinical" may be.

 

Next, the KEF's with and without sub's were interesting to me because the difference is very similar to what I experience listening to my pair of Emotiva Airmotive 6s" powered monitors with and without sub's. Without sub's, it sounds nice and perfectly clear, but there's something missing... it doesn't get my body responding to the music. As soon as the sub's turn on, though, it's like the bottom half of the music comes alive and now I can feel it. At the same time, if I stop and consider it, it also feels a little made-up. Too much energy underneath. That is also something I struggle with on my sub's -- keeping the bottom from getting too strong where it starts to be fake. And again, I don't get that "fake" feeling from the JBL's.

 

I reckon the million dollar question is whether it's from the room and the speaker placement that could be easily solved, or something else, like directivity, that can't be captured without big boxes like the JBL's. In any case, I am looking forward to more reviews and more binaural recordings.

 

Many thanks and much appreciation,

Allan F.

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This was awesome - thanks so much! I have a very soft spot for the LS50s and until a few months ago they were my mains (partnered with two JL Audio subs). I still maintain they are one of the few true bargains out there in this crazy "hobby". 

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