If you have $1,100, these are the wireless speakers to get

Ask tech enthusiasts about the best wireless speakers, and chances are you’ll get the same set of answers: the Sonos Play:5, Google Home Max, and, Apple HomePod. These are the tech industry stalwarts, and truly solid speakers, but ones designed with convenience as an equal priority as sound quality.

Ask the audio enthusiasts and one answer will likely reign: KEF’s LS50W. Launched in 2016 as a wireless upgrade to the LS50 – already an audiophile favorite – it has become the defacto standard among high-end wireless speakers. It’s not as intuitive as, say, Sonos, but almost a year after I reviewed them, no wireless speaker I’ve tested has really come close.

That is, until KEF launched the LSX.

See, the LS50W had two big problems. First, it cost $2,200 a pair. Many audiophiles considered it a relative bargain, but that’s still an unreasonable price for most people.

Second, the speakers weren’t quite as wireless as their name implied. Unavoidable power cables aside, they also required an Ethernet cable between the two speakers for stereo to work. They were only “wireless” in their inclusion of Bluetooth and WiFi playback.

The LSX fixes both of these issues. For $1,100 it gets remarkably close to the LS50W, it is truly wireless, and it handily outperforms any of the aforementioned ‘techy’ speakers. It costs just a little more than a pair of Sonos Play:5’s, but to my ear, it’s an obvious improvement. Surprisingly, it even surpasses its bigger sibling in some listening scenarios – but more on that later.

Mind you, it does all this while being a third the size of the LS50W, or about half the size of a Sonos Play:5.

It also comes in a bunch of pretty colors: red, green, blue, charcoal, and white. I’m particularly fond of the blue, because there should be more blue gadgets in the world.

Most of the colors are covered in a fabric material that looks oh so aesthetic, but you can opt for the glossy white if you’d prefer something more traditional. I was a little worried about the textile durability, but I didn’t notice it degrade over a month of use and a fair bit of moving the speakers around. You might just want to keep them away from scratch-happy cats.

I appreciated the LS50W’s wealth of input options, and the LSX mostly follows suit. Where the Sonos and Home Max only have a 3.5mm aux port and Wi-Fi, the LSX has Aux, Optical, and Bluetooth AptX in addition to WiFi playback via Spotify Connect, Tidal, or Apple AirPlay 2.