GoldenEar Aon 3 vs. KEF LS50

To Doug Schneider,

I read your reviews of the GoldenEar Aon 3s and the KEF LS50s. How exactly would these speakers stack up against one another? I know the Aon 3s would give me a $500 savings, but the raves about the KEFs are a little hard to ignore. My current system is more or less on the low end: a Harman Kardon 3250 receiver and 1977 Bang & Olufsen Beovox S45s (pretty great in their day -- and still good -- but time marches on). I realize that new speakers might require a new receiver. However, with the limits of the HK I now have, what can I expect with speakers like these? My CD player, by the way, is a Marantz CD5004. I'm a classical listener mostly -- Renaissance choral and lute music, anything by Bach, Beethoven symphonies, and Wagnerian opera too -- the whole gamut. So, back to speakers: How well should these work in a living room 16' x 20'? Any advice will be appreciated.


It’s hard to ignore the raves about the LS50, and you probably shouldn't. I’m one of those who raved about it, since it’s a great small speaker that can compare with many costing much more. But I also wouldn’t ignore the Aon 3, as it costs quite a bit less and it, too, can compare with costlier models. For the grand a pair it costs, it’s also a really good deal. Plus, the Aon 3’s tweeter sounds super sweet, which might mate well with your music tastes. Both speakers received Reviewers' Choice nods. That said, I can’t tell you much more than to try and hear both and let your ears decide, since which one is better will come down to personal preference.

How either speaker will work in that room of yours with your amp will depend largely on how loud you like to listen to your music. I looked up your amp and found that it’s rated to deliver 40Wpc into 8 ohms or 65Wpc into 4 ohms. Frankly, that’s not a lot of power if you really like to crank your music up, but it is enough for low to moderate listening levels. So that, too, is tough to answer. Still, how well that amp works with your current speakers should be an indicator -- I can't imagine that the Aon 3 or LS50 are any tougher to drive. If they are too tough to drive or you want to listen loud, consider GoldenEar's Triton Three, since it has a powered bass section, which will take some strain off the amp. But at about $2000/pair, the Three costs quite a bit more; however, it's a floorstander and doesn't require the extra expense of stands. . . . Doug Schneider