Question

Using Sonos with KEF LS50 W


I would like to set up a small system using KEF LS50 W (wireless) speakers. I will have a connect and use an ipad for the controller. My question is about using a wireless external hard drive. Is it possible to use such a storage device connected to the same router as the Connect and access the music library through the ipad? If yes, are there any specs I need to look for in the wireless external hard drive to make sure it works? Thanks for your help.

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19 replies

Not familiar with the KEF speakers, is there a base station that you'll be connecting to the Connect to get the music over to them? Ah, I see there's a RCA input on the back of one of the pair.

In answer to the other question, as long as the storage device is on your local network, and accessible from any device on it, then yes, you'll be able to use the controller on the iPad to point to that source, and control the music.

It would need to support SMB1 (a hot topic in these boards) for discovery by the Sonos controller, I think.
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I've been considering purchasing these speakers, but problems reported by users with software have held me back. However, I'm curious why you would want to use them as part of a Sonos system. The audio reproduction limits of Sonos won't allow you to take full advantage of the apparently excellent audio quality of these speakers. You'll be depriving the builtin DAC/amp of an opportunity to really shine. They already have remote playback and control, although some users aren't happy with it. Why not use the previous generation of these speakers, the ones without wifi and builtin amp\DAC instead? You'd save some money. Plus, these aren't really wireless. They require a wired connection between the two speakers. It seems that these speakers are likely to work with Roon in the future, which would be a better bet than Sonos.
Why not use the previous generation of these speakers, the ones without wifi and builtin amp\DAC instead? You'd save some money.
He would save money, but I believe that the wired version is just that, and not a previous generation. It is the obvious choice for Sonos, because Sonos wireless will not talk to KEF wireless, so one of them is wasted.
The passive version are excellent speakers, but bass isn't their strength so I assume you have listened and passed the speakers on sound quality required. The passive ones are also reputed to need a lot more power than what the correct Sonos solution for them, a Connect Amp will deliver with its 55wpc. A 150wpc stereo amp is better suited, with a Connect front end.
Why not use the previous generation of these speakers, the ones without wifi and builtin amp\DAC instead? You'd save some money.
He would save money, but I believe that the wired version is just that, and not a previous generation. It is the obvious choice for Sonos, because Sonos wireless will not talk to KEF wireless, so one of them is wasted.
The passive version are excellent speakers, but bass isn't their strength so I assume you have listened and passed the speakers on sound quality required. The passive ones are also reputed to need a lot more power than what the correct Sonos solution for them, a Connect Amp will deliver with its 55wpc. A 150wpc stereo amp is better suited, with a Connect front end.
Or, just pick up a new 5 pair from Sonos.
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[quote=Kumar]Why not use the previous generation of these speakers, the ones without wifi and builtin amp\DAC instead? You'd save some money.
He would save money, but I believe that the wired version is just that, and not a previous generation. It is the obvious choice for Sonos, because Sonos wireless will not talk to KEF wireless, so one of them is wasted.
The passive version are excellent speakers, but bass isn't their strength so I assume you have listened and passed the speakers on sound quality required. The passive ones are also reputed to need a lot more power than what the correct Sonos solution for them, a Connect Amp will deliver with its 55wpc. A 150wpc stereo amp is better suited, with a Connect front end.
Or, just pick up a new 5 pair from Sonos.

I was assuming he was talking about a Connect, not a Connect amp. My suggestion was based on the supposition that he would use a Connect paired with an amp or receiver. I could be wrong, but there was no mention of a Connect amp.
The passive KEFs are excellent speakers but highly dependent on the proper amp pairing. They aren't for bassheads, but not everybody requires a sub with these. I owned a pair briefly. I have auditioned the active versions and the sound is wonderful. Some would want a sub with these, but IMHO the bass is more prevalent than with the passive version.
The Play 5s aren't even in the same league. The active KEFs are a game changer for the price, but the software is flawed. If they end up working with Roon, I'm in. Until then, I'm wary.

The Play 5s aren't even in the same league.

That is a subjective assessment, not universally acknowledged. There are some here that will disagree, in comparison to actives from other makes better known for actives than KEF. And with a Sonos Sub added, they might say that it is even more obvious which is the better sound maker.
And the KEF, afaik, don't do Trueplay.
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Of course it is subjective. Almost everything in audio is. Having said that, I own Play 5s and I like them. But they don't compare with the new KEFs. Have you heard the LS50 actives?
No, they are just one of many excellent speakers out there, some of which I have listened to and compared with Sonos kit. I am therefore not making subjective claims against them.
The OP is best served by listening to speakers with music of his choice, at home. Always the best way to buy audio kit. In the case of Sonos, after running Trueplay.
Sonos makes this easy to do, as do some other makers. There is no need to rely on other opinions then.
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You'll get no argument from me. Everyone should audition before buying. I'm usually in Brasil, but have been in Canada for the past two weeks. A good friend and neighbour has the KEFs and I've spent a few hours with them. I'm sticking with my assessment. You've probably noticed they've created quite a buzz in the audio community, and the consensus seems to be that they are excellent for the price (no external DAC or amp required, which must be factored in). I agree. I think they're fantastic. You can't opine on the KEFs, because you haven't heard them. But the controller apps, in a word, suck. In their current state, they would drive me crazy.
Presumably you are comparing them to a 5 pair/5 pair + Sub after Trueplay in the same room, with the same source so that every other variable that will influence perceived sound quality has been eliminated.
I mention the Sub anchored set up because that is available at a lower price than the KEF + Connect set up and is therefore a comparable set up on that front as well. In the OP seat, I would take a very good look at that first before going down the KEF route.
For the OP: buying a wireless speaker like this one would leave no place for Sonos, because the two wireless systems won't communicate. And Sonos isn't even needed if the KEF did its entire job well.

Of course if you are so swayed by both to want both, I suppose you could wire the Connect to any audio input jacks on the KEF and use it in wired mode, with Connect for the wireless front end.

But there are more elegant solutions as options worth fully evaluating.
And some more insights: I do have a highly rated pair of KEF Q100s driven by a Connect Amp in one zone that is doing very well for three years now. It essentially uses the same Unipoint driver that the LS50 has so I am not completely ignorant of the KEF sound signature. I am not saying that the LS 50 will not sound better, but my experience tells me that a lot of the sonic signature of a speaker is in the secret sauce in the drivers. Experience also tells me that the slicker finished LS50 will sound better in a sighted test than the Q100. As it tells me that any system moved into a better room from an acoustic point of view can be transformed into one delivering a day and night quality difference in the heard sound, Trueplay tech notwithstanding.

All points for consideration in helping you or anyone else going down this road to make a better purchasing decision.

So, good luck with that.
Wow, quite a conversation. Thanks to everyone for weighing in. My main concern is that a wireless external hard drive would work in this setup and it apparently will if I choose correctly. I may go to a small Synology NAS route and then I could also stream movies to the TV. As far as the LS50W is concerned, I am aware that the DAC is capable of higher performance than Sonos but this is mainly for casual listening in our pied-a-terre. The bulit in amps make life easier. WAF also played a role in the speaker selection- she likes the look.
I am an audiophile since the 60's and have a wonderful big rig in our home. We remodeled a couple years back and built a purpose built listening room for serious listening.
Thanks again for the input.
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I use a Synology NAS for music and video streaming. Be aware that most Sonos-related NAS "solutions" are largely a bust, including Plex. However, Roon works very well for streaming music from a NAS or external hard drive to Sonos gear. It's not cheap, but it has all many other benefits for audiophiles. It also gets around the Sonos 16bit/44k file streaming limit.

I am an audiophile since the 60's and have a wonderful big rig in our home. We remodeled a couple years back and built a purpose built listening room for serious listening.

Could you share the make/model of speakers used? A discerning audiophile of that many years experience isn't common, and this will be useful/interesting information.
Sorry, didn't see this request. Here is my main system:
Avantgarde Duo Omega Speakers
BAT REX Preamp
Audiopax M-88, Mark II mono tube amps
Ayre C5xe-MP CD, SACD, DVD-A player
PS Audio Perfectwave DAC Mk. II
Audience Adept Response Conditioner aR12
BSG Technologies qol Signal Completion Stage
Also Avantgarde Solo Powered Speakers (3) for HT
Tron Seven Phono Preamp with two sets of inputs and NOS Telefunkens
TW Acustic Raven Two Turntable with Stillpoint feet with two tonearms-
Graham Phantom II Supreme tonearm with
Air Tight PC-1 Cartridge
Ortofon 309S 12" arm with
Ortofon Rondo Bronze cartridge
KL Audio KD-CLN-LP200 Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
Furutech DeStat tweak
Grand Prix Audio Monaco Stands (2)
Grand Prix Audio Apex Footers on Avantgarde Duo Omegas
WSS Kable Platin phono IC's
Elrod Signature 3 PC’s on Avantgarde Subs
Elrod Signature 2 PC’s on Audiopax amps
Cardas Golden Reference Speaker Cables
Cardas Golden Reference Jumpers on Duo Omegas
Cardas Golden Reference PC’s on Ayre and BAT
Cardas Golden Reference IC’s- Ayre to BAT and BAT to Audiopax amps
Shunyata Hydra 6
Sennheiser HD-600 Headphones
Audeze LCD-2 Headphones
Burson Audio HA 160D Headphone Amp
Musical Fidelity X-Can V2 Headphone Amp
Oyaide SWO-XXX AC Receptacles (2)
OPPO BDP 103D Blu-Ray Player
Marantz AV Processor
Revox Tuner
Nakamichi Dragon
PS Audio Noise Harvesters
10 AWG wired dedicated circuits (2)
Bunch of Sonos Gear
In how many houses is this installed?
LOL!
Just one. This is my main listening room. There are six smaller systems in other rooms in the home.
I've been at this for awhile-just enjoy music.
Interesting. I notice that the business end - speakers - are high impedance, high sensitivity type as all horn speakers are, with a powered subwoofer to boot. I would therefore think that these would work fine with almost any amplifier and not much more needed except for room acoustics treatment and well selected source files.

The best speakers I have owned are Harbeths, so I have no data point to compare these to the Duo sound, but all I now have in my 4 rooms is Sonos kit and a couple of pairs of passive speakers - KEF/Quad. Very little needed by way of wires, obviously. And I am content that I get equivalent sound quality to my since sold Harbeths, with just this and no ambition to add anything to this except Alexa voice control, if that turns out to be truly useful via Sonos.