KEF LS50 Meta vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$1600 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
79-28,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
4.6 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
6.7 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the sphere of high-fidelity sound, the KEF LS50 Meta and Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers represent modern precision versus classic charm. The LS50 Meta, with its innovative Metamaterial Absorption Technology, offers a detailed soundstage and clinical accuracy that appeals to purists seeking transparency. Meanwhile, the Dentons, celebrating Wharfedale's storied heritage, exude warmth with a rich, inviting tonality that harks back to the golden age of Hi-Fi. Both are compact bookshelf models, yet they diverge on aural philosophies: KEF's forward-thinking design versus Wharfedale's nostalgic acoustics, making the choice a matter of personal listening preferences.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-end audio, the KEF LS50 Meta and Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speakers are two models that resonate with sophistication and acoustic excellence. The LS50 Meta, a successor to the acclaimed LS50, carries forward KEF's legacy of innovation with its Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). This innovation is a highly complex maze-like structure that absorbs 99% of the unwanted sound coming from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and enabling a purer, more natural sound. In contrast, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers are a nostalgic nod to the past, celebrating the brand's heritage with a classic design that pays homage to the original Denton, combined with modern acoustic components to deliver a warm and inviting sound.

Design Aesthetics

The KEF LS50 Meta exudes a contemporary charm with its sleek, no-frills design and the unique Uni-Q driver array that positions the tweeter in the acoustic center of the bass/midrange cone. This design enhances the synergy of sound waves and results in a more detailed stereo image. The LS50 Meta's compact and modern form factor is complemented by a range of color options to suit various decor styles. On the other hand, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers offer a retro design, with a beautiful wood veneer finish and a traditional cloth grille. This speaker isn't just a sound device; it's a piece of furniture that speaks to vintage sensibilities and would be right at home in a classic wood-paneled listening room.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta arrow (at

Sound Characteristics

In listening tests, the KEF LS50 Meta reveals itself to be exceptionally precise and articulate. The patented MAT technology in conjunction with the Uni-Q driver reproduces a soundstage with exceptional accuracy and a seamless tonal transition between the frequencies. The LS50 Meta makes listening to high-resolution audio files a revelatory experience, laying bare the layers of recordings with astonishing detail. Conversely, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary possesses a warmer and more laid-back sound profile. This speaker shines with analog sources and is forgiving with lower quality recordings, often smoothing over the rough edges to present a pleasant listening experience that can be enjoyed for hours without fatigue.

Performance Dynamics

Dynamic performance is another arena where these two contenders differ. The KEF LS50 Meta, with its incisive sound, delivers transient notes with a rapid start and stop, showcasing the speaker's ability to handle complex passages with agility and poise. The sound is tight and controlled, with a punchy bass that belies the speaker's modest size. The Wharfedale Denton, by comparison, has a more relaxed approach to dynamics. It offers a more gradual crescendo and softer decrescendo, which, while less attacking, creates a sense of ease and warmth in the music that can be very appealing to those who prefer a less demanding listen.

Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th arrow (at

When considering the two speakers' performance across various genres, the KEF LS50 Meta stands out as the more versatile performer. Its neutrality and resolution make it a chameleon that adapts to any genre, from the intricacies of classical music to the driving beats of electronica. Meanwhile, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary shows a particular affinity for acoustic and vocal-centric music, where its lush midrange can really shine and envelop the listener in a cocoon of warm sound.

The debate between the KEF LS50 Meta and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary bookshelf speakers isn't just about sound; it's also about functionality and integration into a modern home audio system. The LS50 Meta is designed with the contemporary audiophile in mind, ready to pair with high-end electronics and streaming services, and it's also relatively forgiving in terms of placement. The Denton 85th Anniversary, while no slouch in this arena, might appeal more to the traditionalist who appreciates the tactile sensation of placing a needle on a record and the aesthetic of classic hifi components.

Ultimately, choosing between the KEF LS50 Meta and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary is a matter of personal taste and what you're looking to get out of your audio experience. The LS50 Meta is for those who seek the cutting edge of audio technology and the most transparent window into their music. The Denton 85th Anniversary, with its heritage charm and warm tonal balance, will appeal to those who value comfort, nostalgia, and a speaker that can make any recording sound good. Both speakers stand as testaments to their respective brands' commitment to quality and their understanding of what makes music listening so deeply personal and rewarding.

Check Current Prices:

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.