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The Development of the KEF LS50, a Compact Two Way Loudspeaker System

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The development of a compact two-way loudspeaker, the KEF LS50, is described and contrasted to a small studio monitor loudspeaker designed at the BBC in the early 1970's. The latter loudspeaker, the LS3/5a, is still remarkably successful in the Hi-Fi market. This comparison provides an interesting contrast, with the LS3/5a designed primarily using empirical techniques and the LS50 relying heavily on numerical analysis and modern measurement methods. The progression in modelling and measurement technology since the early 1970's is briefly discussed. Following this, the driver technology used in the LS50 is summarised. The systematic application of lumped, finite element, and boundary element models in the design of the LS50 is illustrated. A number of modelled results are included, demonstrating new design and modelling approaches. The performance of the LS50 and LS3/5a is directly compared using acoustic and laser Doppler measurements.

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