KEF and Lotus Team Up for Wireless Speakers in British Racing Green
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KEF and Lotus Team Up for Wireless Speakers in British Racing Green

Jul 07, 2023

For our 2023 Robb Report Audio Awards, we chose the KEF LS60 as the Best Wi-Fi Loudspeaker, and for good reason. Its elegant form factor and thin profile—each column is just over five inches wide—allows the 43-inch-tall tower to integrate into any interior. The LS60 was only available in titanium gray, mineral white, or royal blue, with each cabinet featuring four color-matched bass drivers—until today. Introducing the KEF LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition in British Racing Green.

Priced at $7,999 per pair, this component is the first product in the KEF x LOTUS collection, a collaboration of both British brands that began with the automotive sound systems developed by KEF for the Lotus Emira sports car and Eletre “Hyper-SUV”. KEF, founded by BBC sound engineer Raymond Cooke in 1961, is named after Kent Engineering and Foundry, the original site where the company’s development and manufacturing of the brand’s signature models continues today.

For sports car and motorsport enthusiasts, Lotus Cars, founded in Hethel, England, in 1948, needs no introduction. The marque’s heritage color—British Racing Green—proudly proclaims its country of origin, and by the way, is ideally suited to the elegant matte finish of the KEF. Like a Lotus Formula 1 car, the KEF LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition has an inimitable sonic signature, but boasts a broader frequency range, though its maximum sound-pressure level might not quite match that of a screaming Formula 1 engine.

The KEF sound signature is largely due to the Uni-Q front driver—four inches in diameter—now in its 12th generation. It was developed to function as an incredibly coherent “point-source,” meaning that the greater portion of the frequency spectrum appears to come from a single driver as opposed to the multi-driver approach of most traditional dynamic loudspeaker designs. At the same time, sound is evenly dispersed throughout the room, enabling listeners to sit off-axis and still enjoy a detailed and accurate soundstage. Bass response is formidable, with two pairs of Uni-Core bass drivers, measuring 5.25 inches in diameter, mounted in the sides of each column. Powering the five-driver system is a combined 1,400 watts of Class AB and Class D amplification, housed in both cabinets.

Wireless loudspeakers are a welcome discovery for music lovers in search of simplicity and great sound. Although dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles will likely opt to build a fine-tuned stereo system with myriad components and cables, the truth is that a well-designed wireless loudspeaker can deliver major performance with maximum simplicity—all while realizing considerable savings.

The vast majority of loudspeakers are “passive,” requiring an amplifier and speaker cables to connect the two. An “active” loudspeaker ingeniously has amps built into each speaker enclosure, optimized for the driver complement and eliminating the need for a traditional crossover, amplifier, and speaker-cable configuration. These are generally small, cool-running Class D amps, and while they aren’t a match for the best standalone amplifiers, they can acquit themselves nicely in the KEF LS60 while cleaning up the listening-room landscape and greatly reducing overall system cost.

A true wireless loudspeaker, the KEF LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition adds D-to-A conversion and volume control, meaning that a digital signal can be streamed directly, or alternately, digital and analog sources can be run via interconnect cables to the rear of the master loudspeaker. Plug both speakers into an AC outlet, and you have sound!