A slim profile and interior design-friendly aesthetic belies the power and authority of performance. In the world of floorstanding speakers, they’re small, but it’s notoriously dangerous to underestimate this little guy in battle.
In keeping with the diamond birthday theme, we started listening to Del Shannon’s 1961 doo-wop hit “Runaway,” and we were immediately struck by the clarity and breadth of the soundstage, with Max Crook’s Musitron solos running through the mix.
The speakers provide unbridled fun and enthusiasm. This might make them sound like a Labrador puppy, but they’re more akin to that inevitably infectious friend whose tireless pursuit of new and exciting music is unavoidable.
Likewise, if Elvis Presley’s 1961 chart-topping Tidemaster recording of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” doesn’t make you dazzle and want to give your closest one a hug, well, you’re not human at all. The flawless execution of the LS60 Wireless puts you at the heart of the recording and surrounds you perfectly, although in this reviewer’s normal living space the speaker placement isn’t as perfect as the demo room, the sweet spot is huge, almost to the point where the point doesn’t exist of.
John Coltrane’s 1961 recording of “My Favorite Thing” was also Tidemaster, again underscoring the speaker’s ability to unbox the recording with complete precision. If you want to focus on Elvin Jones on drums or McCoy Tyner on piano, you can, or just sit back, tap your feet, and bathe in the brilliance of it all.
No matter what we played through them, the LS60 Wireless delivered, and we were in awe of how well the slim speakers could handle the bass. Every thump, thump, and impact hits you relentlessly, and despite the 60s birthday-themed theme, we urge you to play hours of early 90s drums and bass through them.
Are they really that good? Yes, but we warn this statement with a few points.
First, we occasionally experienced signal loss between the master and slave speakers. Auxiliary speakers malfunctioned and interrupted the signal for a few seconds, even though the distance was not more than 3 meters. We consider this an early software glitch, but one worth flagging.
Second, while the speakers are loud and sound great when pushed, we did find that quality to be diluted when used for casual, quieter, self-thinking listening.
We also had issues with volume sensitivity using the app or Spotify/Tidal Connect. The touchscreen isn’t responsive enough, and it’s easy to go from quiet reverence to engrossed carnival. The volume adjustment is noticeably more accurate if you use the remote, but given our general tendency to be lazy, it’s a smartphone or nothing.
Is there competition?
What are the needs of active floorstanding speakers? Of course, there are not many ways to compete. Q Acoustics Q Active 400 (£2,299) is the main, albeit quirky alternative, with both Dali and ATC offering impressive but ageing alternatives.
There are huge “bookshelves” Bowers & Wilkins formation duo £3,999 for Linn’s excellent but overpriced single £3,000 Series 3, or you can go back to KEF’s own LS50 Wireless II, which are less than half the price, compact and stylish, and offer pretty much everything most people actually ask for in a powered speaker. No, they don’t sound as impressive as the LS60 Wireless, nor should they, but they’re still an excellent, hard-to-error alternative.
Taking the time to leave a demo room with speakers as good as the LS60 Wireless is an absolute privilege. They’re different, offering comprehensive connectivity and usability along with pleasing sound quality. They also look great, with a modern, minimalist aesthetic that manages to appease interior designers and audiophiles alike.
Large floorstanding speakers sound great, but bulky cabinets, miles of cables, and countless black boxes are unacceptable for most people. It’s a refreshing antidote to KEF’s flawlessly executed niche problems.
So, for now, the LS60 Wireless is without a doubt the best active streaming speaker system.Nothing else even comes close, but they cost $7,000 should Excellent, and with a top-notch option from the same brand for half the price, the question remains, do you really need more?