Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Hans Wetzel,

I read your write-up on the KEF LS50. What kind of amplifier were they using? Do you have any amplifier suggestions for them? I am looking for an integrated amplifier to use with this speaker, but will consider separates if the price is right.

Todd L.

The Audio Excellence folks at TAVES partnered the LS50s with Cary Audio Designs' 120S MKII tube amplifier, which develops 60Wpc in Triode mode and 120Wpc in Ultralinear mode. The reason I mention its power ratings is that the KEFs are pretty inefficient speakers, with a sensitivity of 85dB (2.83V/1m). Combined with a minimum impedance of 3.2 ohms, they're not going to be the easiest speaker to drive. I'd recommend an amp that can produce at least 100Wpc into 8 ohms and is stable into a load that drops below 4 ohms.

With that said, I don't think there's a need to invest in separates. There are a lot of terrific integrated amplifiers out there, and without knowing more about your preferences and budget, I'd suggest starting your search with Peachtree Audio's new $1499 nova125. With 125Wpc, a tube buffer, and a built-in Sabre digital-to-analog converter, you get your money's worth. For $1599, you could also check out NAD's C 375DAC. If you choose either of these, you'll have a really terrific $3000 system -- the KEFs are that good. . . . Hans Wetzel