Answered Kef LS50 passive or Focal CMS 50 active for surround sound?

ian-500

Active Member
Hi all.

Kef LS50 passive x 5 in a 5.1 set-up using my Pioneer SC LX83 or Focal CMS 50 (front 3) and CMS 40 (rears) active 5.1 using an Audiolab 8200AP. Which would give me better overall sound for both music and movies? Both are at a similar price used.....

Thanks,

Ian.
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
This one is quite a tough question as you have one system which is basically relying one line-in and other using traditions speaker cable connections.

If you are a tinkerer, happy to ensure you use reasonable interconnect for shielding and signal transfer over the lengths required, then the Audiolab and Focus solution would be an interesting option. This type of combination is widely used "state-side" with processor/active speakers pairings, so I can see no reason as to why it wouldn't sound good. On the other hand, the traditional system using speaker cables will be the easiest one to setup.

So, if your after a challenge and one that could create a very interesting system, then it the processor/active speaker configuration otherwise the obvious answer is left.
 

ian-500

Active Member
Thanks Shane.
So, as long as the rca cables are good quality, the Audiolab and Focus combo SHOULD sound better?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
It's a tough one, They will sound different and should give you more enjoyment in tweaking each speaker for its dedicated space, but sounding better, that is down to your ears as these systems are so different

If you'd have gone for the Audiolab, a poweramp and the Kef's. I would say that this would be a better solutions, however, as these are active speakers, you are relying that the amp's within the speakers having what it takes to match a "poweramp" and this is where it becomes tough to answer
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Looking at your system, why not upgrade the zensor 1 's to 5's, this will give you a stereo boast whilst not spoiling your current system's performance?

You could also look at a pair of Opticon 5 speakers as these will give you a better route for future upgrade path, sonically even with your 83 driving them, you will hear a musical boost, Dali do a matching centre "Opticon Vokal", which will enable you to balance the front three and from here you will have a great system which will give you a significant upgrade with both music and movies
 
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ian-500

Active Member
Looking at your system, why not upgrade the zensor 1 's to 5's, this will give you a stereo boast whilst not spoiling your current system's performance?

You could also look at a pair of Opticon 5 speakers as these will give you a better route for future upgrade path, sonically even with your 83 driving them, you will hear a musical boost, Dali do a matching centre "Opticon Vokal", which will enable you to balance the front three and from here you will have a great system which will give you a significant upgrade with both music and movies
I've about going down the Opticon route, but space and the lack of has put me off. The ls50'or Focal would fit perfectly without any change to furniture etc.
 

ian-500

Active Member
Looking at your system, why not upgrade the zensor 1 's to 5's, this will give you a stereo boast whilst not spoiling your current system's performance?

You could also look at a pair of Opticon 5 speakers as these will give you a better route for future upgrade path, sonically even with your 83 driving them, you will hear a musical boost, Dali do a matching centre "Opticon Vokal", which will enable you to balance the front three and from here you will have a great system which will give you a significant upgrade with both music and movies
I've thought about going down the Opticon route, but space and the lack of has put me off. The ls50's or Focal would fit perfectly without any change to furniture etc.
 
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ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
If space is a real problem. Check the size of the Amphion Argon 0 Speakers, these eat the Kef LS50's for dinner. Musically, there quite a sensation and even though they are tiny, the level of bass produced from their tiny cabinet defys logic. They also do a centre and although they are expensive, they are worth the money. If you can opt for the Argon 1 the benefits are another jump
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
The LS50s are a beautifully balanced speaker for music with music being their forte. There are better speakers in the KEF range for filmatic use and the R300 is a better allrounder which is equally adept at music. How serious are you about music?
 

ian-500

Active Member
The LS50s are a beautifully balanced speaker for music with music being their forte. There are better speakers in the KEF range for filmatic use and the R300 is a better allrounder which is equally adept at music. How serious are you about music?
Split 50/50
 

gibbsy

Moderator
For music then you and certainly LS50s would benefit from the introduction of an integrated stereo amp into the set up. No AVR is going to give anywhere near a musical performance as a stereo amp.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
For music then you and certainly LS50s would benefit from the introduction of an integrated stereo amp into the set up. No AVR is going to give anywhere near a musical performance as a stereo amp.
I will second that, and withthe LS50's they are not the most efficient speaker at 85db and drops in ohms to 3.2, can strain an avr.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d go for the Audiolab and the Foculs every time.

The Audiolab is a very well respected processor/preamp for both films and music.

The foculs are very good indeed, and despite what many will have you believe, the power amps are built to get the very best out of each speakers driver.

Each driver having its own power amp AFTER the crossover. This makes a big difference to the control you can expect over the speakers output.

It is total. No overhang, no nasty flabbiness just total control.

I think you’ll be astonished with that set up and it will be an appreciably better set up than the kefs and the pioneer.
 

Member 769353

Previously davidf
Having owned the 8200AP and an SCLX83 in the past, these are quite different animals. One thing to consider is if you need/want EQ, or at least some sort of tone control to help suit either your personal preference or help the speakers work a little better in your room. The 8200AP has no tone controls or EQ system, so you're getting "as is", which can be a good thing, but it does mean there's zero options available to help your system sound better in your room. The SCLX83 will give you this option, both in respect of tone controls and an auto EQ system you can change manually. I enjoyed the grip and control the Pioneer had on the various speaker packages I had whilst owning it (I owned the LX82, LX83, and the LX85 as they became available), as well as tweaking the tonal balance to my own liking and to suit the speakers.

If you watch films at "normal" levels, the LX83 will be fine with the LS50s - if you require 'reference level', then something bigger and more capable than the LS50s will be needed. I changed from R300s to LS50s in my room as I felt the LS50s suited the room better, and catered more to my taste (a little more forward in the mid than the R300s).

How this system would compare to your other option, I don't know, as I've not heard that combination, and I'm not going to guess and tell you what you should hear, as personal preference plays too large a part in our own system choices.
 

ian-500

Active Member
Thank you all for your replies. I would have gone the active route but I missed out on a set of Focal CMS 50's. I then missed out on a set of LS50's!
So with a bit of disappointment I'm now going down the slow upgrade route of replacing the Dali Zensors with Ikons or better and keeping the SC-LX83 for now.
Again, thank you.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I changed from R300s to LS50s in my room as I felt the LS50s suited the room better, and catered more to my taste (a little more forward in the mid than the R300s).
There's a statement that shows just how important auditions are. I felt that the R300 had better mids so differing from your own perception. Different ears connected to different heads.:)
 

Member 769353

Previously davidf
There's a statement that shows just how important auditions are. I felt that the R300 had better mids so differing from your own perception. Different ears connected to different heads.:)
I would say it’s more mid to top end. The R300s worked fine, but the LS50s, in my roughly 10x12ft room, gave mea cleaner top end with a little more edge to it.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I would say it’s more mid to top end. The R300s worked fine, but the LS50s, in my roughly 10x12ft room, gave mea cleaner top end with a little more edge to it.
Highs can be a little cleaner on the LS50s, especially with female vocals whereas they can drift off with the 300s. Not much in it really it all boils down to what we want to hear in our speakers, in fact I also preferred the 300s to the 500s. Now that the 300s are being given some serious power and poise with the Rega they really are superb.
 

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