Connect. Set. Play. LS50 Wireless II: How & where to stream

01. Stream with KEF Connect

  • 01. Stream with KEF Connect
  • 02. Other ways to stream
  • 03. Play your first song
  • 04. A bit about audio quality
  • 01. Stream with KEF Connect
  • 02. Other ways to stream
  • 03. Play your first song
  • 04. A bit about audio quality

01. Stream with KEF Connect

Music services

There’s a whole world of high-quality streaming waiting to be discovered. And with KEF speakers, you can stream music beyond CD quality.

The easiest way to stream high-fidelity audio to your KEF speakers is through the KEF Connect app. Simply navigate to the Music section of the app, log in to your favourite service and begin streaming whatever you want.

KEF Connect gives you direct access to TIDAL, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer, with your playlists and favourited music ready and waiting.

Podcasts and Internet radio

Access global podcasts and Internet radio stations from all over the world. Listen to that obscure station you fell in love with while travelling, or even that weekly podcast you started listening to before anyone else. Except now, it will sound as though you’re right there in the studio with the hosts.

02. Other ways to stream

Just use your streaming app directly, or use your smart device’s streaming feature.

Streaming from smart devices

Your speakers and the KEF Connect app will unite you with your music without fuss or wires. Your speakers can play audio streamed through your network over AirPlay 2 or Google Chromecast, and even Bluetooth.

Using AirPlay 2

For more, watch the short video above.

Using Google Chromecast

Follow the video above for more.

Using Bluetooth

Then, follow your device’s instructions to connect to Bluetooth.

Streaming from music apps

Prefer Spotify or TIDAL? You can also use these apps to stream directly to your speakers.

03. Play your first song

Our experts agree: for that first experience, play something that moves you. A song filled with memories. Something you grew up listening to, or even the first song played at your wedding. Or mark your new speakers with inspiration from Sound of Life. Whatever it is, be ready for it to surprise you.

Just remember: to make it special, to get the full experience, you’ll want to find the right moment and focus on the sound.

For an example of how your KEF speakers can create a vivid picture of sound, take a listen to Yosi Horikawa’s Bubbles (Wandering EP, 2012). Listen out for where the sounds are coming from. It’s as if the speakers disappear into the room, replaced by an avalanche of ping pong balls dropping from above. The balls bounce around. Up and down, side to side, back and forth. Slowly at first. Then faster and faster, until they roll away into the distance. Listen to the sharpness of plastic striking the hard floor, the resonance and texture, and how every single sound stands as an island in a sea of unique voices.

We’ve curated this playlist especially for LS50 Wireless II. As you listen, it will feel as though your speakers have just disappeared into the room and been replaced by a vivid picture of crisp, clear, immersive sound.

Listen Now

04. A bit about audio quality

It took decades of innovation and engineering to bring high-quality, stereo sound into our homes. LPs and CDs spun in sound systems that took up entire shelves. But then came the streaming music era. As the focus fell on how to carry every song ever recorded in your pocket, sound quality waited in the wings. Now, with higher quality streaming available, and the performance of your KEF speakers, you get the best of both worlds.

Streaming by numbers

16bit? 96kHz? 320kbps? There’s a lot of numbers flying about when it comes to digital audio, but what does it all mean? While the numbers only tell a part of the story, they can guide you to a higher quality audio experience.

Sampling rates and bit depth

Analogue audio is a continuous stream without gaps. Think of a turntable playing a vinyl record – the needle is always moving in the groove. Digital audio can’t be stored like this, it needs the audio recording to be divided into samples – snapshots of what the analogue signal would look like at a precise moment in time. There are two important numbers when it comes to samples; how many per second (sampling rate, measured in kilohertz/kHz) and how accurate the sample can match the original signal (bit depth, measured in bits).
CD quality has a sampling rate of 44.1kHz (44,100 samples every second) and a bit depth of 16bit. If the numbers are higher, you’ve entered the world of high resolution, with more information being captured from the original performance.

Bit rate

High resolution audio is a lot younger than CD quality, so most audio ever recorded has been done in 16bit/44.1kHz (although high resolution is becoming more and more available). The sound quality you get from different streaming services can be different, and this is in how the service or filetype compresses the audio.

There are three types of compression

Uncompressed: the audio file is sent without any information being removed at all.
Lossless compression: the audio has information removed in order to be sent between devices, but it is always replaced when the speakers play the music. Think of it like a ZIP folder – less space is used to store the files, but when you open it, everything is in its right place. There should be no difference in sound between uncompressed and lossless compression.

Lossy compression: data is deleted from the audio file and cannot be recovered. The amount of information being sent per second is called the bitrate. The bitrate for uncompressed CD quality is 1,411kbps. A lossy format like MP3 may only be 320kbps or less. That’s not even a quarter of what a CD is capable of.