Speechless, but only for a few minutes, it's hard to shut me up!
This is because Sam just spent a good hour unboxing, spiking, levelling and hooking up the new Blade 2 Meta in the front of the shop and I've just played the first track.
Everything I hoped for and maybe even more but it's early days, just one track
So what did I pick as the first track I hear you ask, well thanks for asking I chose Mary Chapin Carpenter with Joe Diffie singing Not too much to ask from the Come on Come on album.
Mary never sounded as vulnerable and Joe never as warm and full.
Let's change tack, haven't played Chris Smither for a while, go to Happier Blue and the track Killing the blues. Love this song, I first came across the Shawn Colvin version although it was a big hit on the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album. This version is better than theirs!
I'm now jumping off at a tangent to listen to the original Rowland Salley version, that's what a truly great hifi system does to you, you want to play more music.
Let's keep it going them, up the tempo, up the excitement, let's go to Fela Kuti and Zombie. This is high octane Afro Beat excitement showing that Blade2 Metas can explain to you all the rhythms buried in this percussion and brass masterpiece. Absolutely brilliant!
Keep the bass lines coming with The Strokes, if The Adults are Talking doesn't get you moving then nothing ever will !!
Need to chill now, let's give it some emotion with Nina Simone from Silk and Soul. It's too obvious to pick the brilliant 'I wish I knew how it would feel to be free' when you can immerse yourself in the joy and ultimate triumph of Consummation !
If you have to ask are these better than the original Blade2 the answer is of course. Going further the Meta technology cleans up the high and mid frequencies leaving the music sounding more dynamic, natural and effortless.
These speakers are another level, can't wait to get them more run in and hooked up to an ultimate level system.
O did I forget to mention the price? Must have been to excited about the sounds. Just send me £ 22,500 and after a few weeks we'll turn up and install them, simple as that!
Can I also just make a comment that I know some people, hifi enthusiasts and industry folk who will not 'get' these speakers and what they do.
They can't hear the wood for the trees, they listen to hifi sounds not music, or perhaps they just don't have a soul and get music at all
Their loss !
The King is dead, long live the King !
New Blade Meta 2 alongside the Reference 207, a former King of the Hill
The famous Kef LS50 was to mark the 50th Anniversary of Kef with something special and 10 years later they are still top of the tree.
So the new LS60s are obviously to mark 60 years of Kef and with a lot to live up to they need to be equally ground breaking, so what are they and how have they done this?
LS60 is a pair of floor standing speakers with all Kef's new tech included, and that's an amazing list.
Take the UNI-Q drive unit on the front, it's smaller than before and includes a longer throw, extra bracing like the Blade/Reference and the ground breaking Meta technology also from Blade/Reference and LS50s.
Meta technology is more than just a buzzword, it's really advanced technology creates a series of tiny tubes behind the treble and midrange that takes away unwanted back reflections resulting in the cleanest clearest high and mid frequencies possible.
The elegant cabinets are only 13cm wide by 109cm tall so how can you generate any bass from that ? Another Kef answer coming up, double opposing bass units tied together with rods to give a super rigid cabinet. Remind you of anything?
These are the pinnacle of the Kef range, the Blades, £22,500 to £30,000, using the same layout of opposing bass units.
In addition these 4 bass units use an origami-like roll surround system that pioneered on the KC62 mini subwoofer to give a longer throw than is usually possible and move more air.
As if that's not enough, the LS60s have active amplification on-board. To achieve the cleanest delivery to the drive units there is a separate power amplifier for bass, for midrange, and for treble. The incoming signal is split in the digital domain and there is a separate digital to analogue converter for each frequency band. so that's 6 DACs in 2 loudspeakers.
The built in streamer has a new app so it really is simple to access the highest resolution files from Qobuz, Tidal and all the rest along with your favourite radio stations. Bluetooth is also on board.
AND you have extra inputs too so you can easily connect a tv, turntable, cd player or pretty much anything else!
The 64,000$ question, how do they actually perform?
The clarity, dynamics, highs and lows are incredible. The boxes disappear with a big big room filling sound. Started with Autumn by Paolo Nutini. Wonderful open voice echoing in the air and a simple piano backing. Beautiful, but is there any bass? Move on to The Adults are talking by the Strokes and Sometimes we Cry by Van Morrison. The bass is deep and controlled and the dynamics exceptional, should be of course with 1400 watts of active power on tap!
Couldn't resist a bit of Bat for Lashes, the song Laura is dynamic, dramatic and just hangs in the air.
I have heard many more expensive systems that don't come close to the easy musicality of the LS60s, however-
I'm not changing to them myself
That's not because they aren't brilliant, at £ 5999 they are an absolute bargain and for many people not having all those black boxes and wires is a godsend
Hifi separates go higher still and I love my streamer/preamplifier/power amplifiers and speakers so I'll stick with that, it should be better it cost a lot more!
Just like many hifi systems LS60 can be both brilliant and not for everyone all at the same time.
I will say though that I have friends and clients who love their music and don't want boxes, wires and big speakers.
These, my friends, are just perfect for you
Call in for a listen, pick your colour, lend me your card and we'll deliver and install them