I have had the Kef LS50's for a couple of months now. I had intended to up-grade my main speaker system from the NHT Classic Three and NHT B-12d subwoofer combination I had been running for a couple of years. I had previously added a Bryston B135 SST² and Cambridge Audio Azur 851C, and though very happy, thought that an investment in speakers would put the final touch on the main system. I set a budget of between $4 to 5k. Problem was, when I took my Classic 3's to the store (sans B-12d sub) to play them beside what I was considering; or when I brought home the new contender, as I was able to do with the 3 that I had narrowed down as truly worth the effort at the store, they were all returned. What I had learned, beyond any doubt, was how absolutely amazing my NHT Classic Three speakers are. (I will keep them forever). How does a $900 pair of speakers outdo some of the most respected speakers in the $4-5k range??
Admittedly, one, and to a lesser degree, two of the pairs I brought home were better than my Classic Three's in combination with the B12d. However, their level of improvement; could in no way justify an outlay of $5 and $6k for the pair. So I gave up, and concluded that until I was able to spend well above my original budget I was very happy.
After reading rave review after review on the LS50's, I thought hell, for that money I'll try them. I have a deep respect for my B-12d's musical capability and thought they may go well together. I also know from 30+ years at this, that there can be, very occasionally, a true anomaly when it comes to any type of audio product. My NAD 3020 purchased in 1976 (?) proved to be one, and the Classic 3's another.
I am utterly GOBSMACKED....... After the initial pre-requisite 100-200 hours of break in and a little set up fine tuning on placement and subwoofer integration (kudos to Jim Smith's book, 'Get Better Sound') I have a speaker system that I could very conceivably be happy with for the rest of my life.( I know, I'm 58, but hey.... ) I cannot begin to describe how magnificent this combination is; as I do not possess the vernacular needed to accurately do so as I am not a "reviewer". However, let me say this at least; if you purchase the Kef LS50's, adding sufficient quality and quantity of power, good source, and proper care and attention to placement and room configuration, I would find it hard to believe that you could best your modest overall investment in the area of $4-8k, with anything justifiable approaching less than a minimum of 3-5 times your initial system cost. You will have reached the cliff of diminishing returns at that point.