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Small Yet Mighty! | KEF LSX II Review

If I can say one thing about KEF, they pride themselves on clarity. No matter how big or small their design. The LSX II was just released, and I got a pair in for review. I am curious if these ultra-compact form factor speakers can produce the room-filling sound that is worthy of your ears and wallet. Unfortunately, I never listened to its predecessor; however, I have heard the LS50 Meta, and I know the type of clarity these drivers are capable of.


The LSX II has a gorgeous minimalist design created by Michael Young, a well-known industrial designer. The speakers come in a variety of colors and materials. The Blue on Gold and the Carbon Black have a particular fabric hugging the outside enclosure. The fabric was sourced from a Danish textile company, just in case you wanted to know where it came from. The mineral white and lava red versions are adorned with a high gloss finish and look smooth. Now, there is one variant that I feel will probably be their most popular configuration; the Soundwave by Terence Conrad Edition was one of the final collaborations of the British Designer. The Blue accents on the tweeter pay him homage.

I think the first takeaway with these speakers is the size. KEF made these as compact as possible, and in doing so, it has opened up the possibilities for positioning. For example, KEF offers their S1 speaker stand to present them in your listening area with style, or perhaps you want these on your desktop utilizing their DAC and running your PC directly to them while sitting on their P1 Deskpad. If you are in a bedroom or living area and are tight on space, KEF also offers their B1 Wall bracket, making it a very versatile solution for your listening experience. Now, on the front, they are about as a matter of fact as they can be. The curved front baffle houses their Uni-Q driver, which is quite common for this line. For those unfamiliar with Uni Q technology, it's a bass driver with the tweeter replacing what is typically a dust cap. This type of driver is meant to provide a more sophisticated stereo imaging over a wide listening area. In my experience with these types of drivers, they do deliver. The rear of the main speaker is where the magic is happening.

First and foremost, they are rear-ported. So, you must consider placement to optimize the amount of bass these speakers provide. The LSX II was designed for plug-and-play connectivity. Through their mobile app, you can access Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, and Apple Airplay 2. I, of course, went the long route when first testing them and connected them via Chromecast so I could stream in Roon; however, there is a lot more going on than just streaming back there. An optical input for your primary source devices is provided. Alongside that is a USB-C input, which I am starting to see more and more companies incorporate the USB-C instead of USB-B; perhaps this is a transition to the newer version of the interconnect. There's an auxiliary input via a 3.5mm connection. And a subwoofer output, which I feel is necessary with any powered bookshelf speaker. Below you have an HDMI ARC in case you're connecting to a gaming system or tv, and lastly, two ethernet ports, one to connect to the other speaker if you choose to hard wire in and one for the network, again if you choose to hard wire in. You can connect these speakers wirelessly for additional convenience. I am using my wireless internet for streaming, and they are working just fine. You can also combine these with other KEF speakers to provide sound throughout your home. I have never personally done that, but if you are out of the house and your kids want to throw a party, they and their friends can play their favorite tunes, and the entire house could be immersed in music. This is likely why I'll never have kids because I expect them to be as bad or worse than I was, and that would just be tragic.

I would say the only critique I have so far is the remote. It's a cheapy feeling remote. At the price point of $1,399, I expected something more luxurious than this. However, let's hope they invested everything into sound quality. So far, we know they look good; they are filled with intelligent tech and have plenty of inputs for your sources. So now, let us get into measurements and sound quality.


I ran two measurements using REW; we will first discuss the near field (blue line) measurement taken from around 6 to 8 inches from the speaker. The bass waterfalls at the high 60's to low 70Hz. It has a very prominent midrange throughout the measurement and a little hump on the top end, more than likely giving it a bit of brightness near the 10-15kHz range, which is usually the ceiling where most of us cannot hear beyond those frequencies. Aside from the bass playing down to the low 60s, the in-room measurement (orange line) is almost identical to the near field measurement, aside from the room nulls and spikes. I took these measurements without any equalization in the KEF app, so this is what the raw speaker can do. So It's a safe assumption just judging from the measurements that these speakers will have a forward midrange, slightly bright top end, and mild bass, let's see if the measurements coincide with my subjective listening.

Sound Quality

So, there are strengths and opportunities with these speakers. I'll start with the opportunities because I want to get that out of the way. The biggest obstacle these speakers face is the bass and the mid-range. The bass I can forgive because they are small-form-factor speakers and aren't meant to dig deep into low-end frequencies. However, I feel that you should complement these speakers with a subwoofer if you are interested in a full-range experience. However, I always say that about most speakers. The other opportunity is the midrange. It's a bit too forward for me. Not fatiguing, but it dances on the fence of fatiguing. The vocals and midrange, in general, are so prominent that it dilutes the rest of the music, creating this strange separation where it's primarily midrange dominance. I always seek balance in my sonic experiences. I honestly don't care how much technology you throw at a pair of speakers. They can play a stream from outer space for all I care, I want them to sound balanced, and that's what I feel are the most significant opportunities sound-wise that these speakers face.

As with all KEF speakers I have experienced, the clarity is immensely satisfying. This is probably a result of its bright top-end frequencies. It has a lovely treble allowing the higher frequency instruments to shine well. I will not write "for their size" because I don't think these speakers' size should be a handicap. They provided a soundstage that is just incredible. I knew they'd image well; I didn't expect the expanse I received. Through their mobile app, I could tame things down a bit using their equalization; however, I believe these speakers are meant to command the attention in the room. I put these through the gauntlet using my Qobuz playlist. They warmed up a bit, so the bass was better than I had initially anticipated after spending some time with them. It still needs a subwoofer, but for being small form factor speakers, they outperformed my expectations and provided a pleasant dynamic experience that would work great in an office, living room, bedroom, or anywhere else you'd like to enjoy a fun musical experience.

Final Thoughts

These speakers came with so much connectivity it was time-consuming to test it all; however, the DAC and DSP they used within the system performed exceptionally well. Since they are both independently powered, the internal amplifiers drove these speakers without issue. I could crank them up, and they didn't distort or flop. I think these speakers would be perfect for someone looking for an all-in-one experience pressed for space; however, who doesn't want to sacrifice space for dynamic sound. At the $1,399 price point, I would have felt they were a bit aggressively priced as passive speakers; however, since they come with amplification, streaming capabilities, and a myriad of other features, I would say that they are a bit on the top end of the budget I would have given them. Still, with KEF, you are paying for quality and the peace of mind of dealing with a reputable company with stateside customer service.

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