KEF LS50 vs. Cambridge Audio Aero 2

To Doug Schneider,

I e-mailed you about two years ago and you published my e-mail, actually. I had Focal 806 speakers and was contemplating replacement. You recommended the KEF R500 at that time.

About three weeks ago I pulled the trigger, finally, and got a pair of KEF LS50s from Amazon. I have always been partial to minimonitors. And I have a very small 12' x 14' listening room, albeit a dedicated one.

They seemed to take some break-in, but the detail and overall presentation are fantastic. In fact, for their size and price, I'd say they're somewhat shocking! If I had to pick nits, maybe the sound is a tad harsh/fatiguing/crispy in the highs, but then only maybe.

I've read your review on the Cambridge Audio Aero 2 recently, which was quite the endorsement! Any reason I should consider a pair of those or the newer Aeromax model before my 30-day return window on the KEFs runs out? I really do like the articulation and detail I'm getting on the KEFs. I'm not sure what more another speaker could do in my small room!?

Thanks in advance!

Ryan H.
United States

I did rave about Cambridge Audio’s Aero 2, but that doesn’t mean you have to send your LS50s back. In my opinion, the LS50 has three distinct advantages over the Aero 2: it’ll play considerably louder without strain, it’s built much better, and it looks way cooler. Of course, the LS50 is almost three times the price of the Aero 2 ($1500/pair in the United States for the LS50 vs. $550 for the Aero2), so these things should be better.

Insofar as overall sound quality goes, what really makes the Aero 2 special is its midrange, particularly for the price -- open, clear, and wildly detailed. The performance it offers there is largely attributable to the Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR), and I could see some people enjoying that performance aspect so much that they might prefer the Aero 2 not only to the LS50, but to many other higher-priced speakers as well. Or not -- it really depends on the kind of sound you like. The downside of the BMR is that its highs are a little soft, which can be adjusted somewhat with toe-in, but not completely. I also found the Aero 2’s bass a little uncontrolled and woolly, something I noted in the review.

As for the Aeromax models, I’ve received quite a few inquiries since we covered them at High End 2014 in Munich, but we recently learned we won’t be getting any review samples until after the summer, so there’s not much I can say about them right now.

All told, you’d really have to listen to a pair of Aero 2s in order to know if their sound is going to float your boat, so, as I said, don’t go thinking that you have to send your LS50s back -- particularly with the not-so-insignificant strengths I mentioned. I hope that helps. . . . Doug Schneider