I see Rodgers have launched an SE version of the LS5/9 speakers. This got me thinking I have NEVER heard a bad thing said about either the LS3/5A or the LS5/9; though I have seen comments about the price. But, saying that, I’ve never heard them nor, if I’m honest, heard any opinion from a real user (c.f. a reviewer). However the reviews are so good it makes be wonder why everyone doesn’t have a pair!
Are they really that good? We’re talking over 5K and then there’s the stands as well… just wondering.
Saw a review of that same product - Rogers LS5/9 - in a well known HiFi magazine this week.
Got me thinking too. All the LS3/5A’s I’ve heard have impressed. Heard the Falcon version recently and they were amazing.
Seems to be lots of nostalgia for older designs “reinvented” at the moment. How about an update on the Epos ES14’s ???
FWIW, I used a pair of Rogers LS7’s from late 70’s through early 80’.
System was : Sansui SR222 mkII → NAD3030 → Rogers LS7.
In fact, I think they were the first proper Hi-Fi speaker I owned.
Anyway, they were fabulous.
There are bits throughout the forum, I have Graham Audio LS5/9. In theory because of the BBC licence there should be little or no difference between brands. That said, Ken Kessler did an LS3/5a shoot out many years ago and ranked them.
As regard criticism, personally I have found that comes from people, similarly with Leonard Cohen, repeating what they have read.
Shortcomings might be found on Harbeth and Mark Hennessy forums, the former because of improvements to the design, the latter because he has researched just about every variation of BBC design.
I bought them to replace some KEF floorstanders that replaced home built HFN/Fris Dalines. Those replaced some Whiteley Stentorians in 3plus cubic feet cabinets. The latter were too large in my parents spare room, the Dalines were described as like LS3/5a with bass, they were designed to stand against a wall with just 6 inches depth. Later with children and no available walls they stood out in the room and were too unstable.
The KEFS convenient, stable and horribly raucous IMO.
The LS5/9 have treble that rolls off above 16k, the design limited by what FM radio could do. As my hearing rolls away above 7k its not too much of a problem. I am well aware that frequencies above 7, 16, 20 and even 30k can shape the sound (the Cleo Laine microphone story that after a recording session that her voice was not identifiable, a tech had accidentally given her a vocal Mike that rolled of lower than her normal one, allegedly extending to something like 37k).
As regards amps, we made the decision that we wanted them after going back to the Graham room half a dozen times at the Bristol Show launch, they were driven by Pass Labs monoblocks. Only having 13 watt EAR Yoshino 859SE we arranged to visit the factory to check they would be sufficient. Given that the demo room was about four times the size of ours, we were happy.
When the EAR needed a service I bought an Astin Trew AT2-2100. Rightly or wrongly I based that decision on hearing the demo at the Bristol Show where Astin Trew used Graham speakers and won best sounding room. 90 watts a channel, so plenty, then a recent review on the Hifi Advice website is interesting reading.
Having the EAR back I feel there is a little more sparkle, not to be read as brightness.
Pipe and slippers? Not really, just relaxed listening.
Lacking bass? Not really, quite adequate for most things, that said a BKE 200 XLS DF provides gently fill in and I know when it is not there.
My room 24’ 7" by 11’10".
The price, raised by the BBC licence, perhaps the difference in cost of the Graham LS6 and LS5/9 gives and idea of that premium.
A million years ago my wife and I went to a high end audio store in Chapel Hill, NC to look at speakers. There were many speakers to choose from and a salesman was demoing them for us.
Eventually, he excused himself to take a phone call but before he left he put on a Frank Sinatra record. We were blown away and began trying to find the speakers we were listening to.
Finally, the salesman returned and took us to see the speakers. They were these little shoebox sized Roger’s LS3/5a’s.
We bought them for $450 and had them for 36 years. I eventually sold them to a man from Japan for a $1,000. I later found out I could have got $2,000. These speakers were in poor shape but that didn’t matter. They were the real thing…Rogers LS3/5a’s with the original crossovers.
It’s no wonder that I’ve eventually come full circle back to another BBC thin wall monitor, Harbeth 30.2’s.
$450? That must have been a billion years ago (or mid-late 1970s). Must have been the Stereo Shop - they sold LP12s too. I got my Rogers LS3/5As in 1981 and paid $650 for them. Sold them in 2010 for $2000 - big mistake! Wanted more bass so got LS5/12As - even bigger mistake! 10 years later I have two pairs of (11 ohm Spendor) LS3/5As, 1 pair of Harbeth HL P3-ESRs and a pair of Aerial 5Bs rotating through the listening room at regular intervals. The LS3/5As give little away to the later speakers and exceed them in some areas.
Yes, it was the mid-70’s. I don’t remember the name the place where I got them but it was the best in Chapel Hill.
I was happy to get $1,000 for them because they were a bit battered.
My dream system in those days was Spender BC-1’s, Linn Sondek and Naim. My interconnects were a mixed bag of used ones.
I just bought an Ansuz D2 Ethernet cable that cost more than all the equipment I bought for the first 36 years of my married life.
My view, and would appear the view of the BBC speaker licensing approach is that one manufacturers LS3/5A that is licensed will sound like another that is licensed. This was the whole point of the BBC licensing approach that started in the 70s … its aim was to drive performance equivalence and sonic consistency to outsourced commercial undertakings.
Sure they can vary in materials and how they are made, but being licensed means they need to conform to a specific sonic consistency… ie sound the same.
Now a non licensed ‘LS3/5A’ can obviously deviate to suite the market.
If they are truly licensed they will need to be conformant… as I said that was the whole point originally of the BBC licensing programme to commercial undertakings… ie to remove variability… and designs were assessed by trained listeners to assess effective consistency apparently using tape recorders.
Now these days I kind of doubt this happens, and I suspect the ‘licensing’ is more a marketing ploy than anything else
I doubt this will add much to the discussion, beyond an explanation of my experience.
I have been listening to the BBC sound since the mid 1970’s. Having done a little exploration of the speakers available at the time, and my very limited budget which meant only second hand purchase was possible (this has been largely true ever since) I came across the Rogers BBC Studio Monitors which were £145 in 1974 and although a lot on cash at the time I have enjoyed them ever since, and they are still the speakers in my system, although the amplifiers changed about a dozen years later to the Naim NAP 140, NAC 62, and still a little later with the addition of a HICAP (all “chrome bumper”). This is still my current system, though when feeling flush once I added the NAT 02.
I added a pair of Rogers LS3/5A (cost £165 in 1983, of course second hand) which was one of those purchases that was possible in those days when I said I could not pay in full, and the dealer let me take cash into the shop whenever I had spare cash available, and I drove into the local town in my lunch hour with a wad of notes to pay over many months. No paper work, just a trust between us that I would not disappear.
Loudspeaker design is much the same as anything else and the idea seems not to buy something to last. For example, a car that we keep for 30 years for example, could easily be done but as Mr Ford worked out when he had sold a car to mobilise the Americans, he could see the market shrinking, so he invented the fashionable idea of replacing everything frequently and this seems to be the idea everywhere, and explains why the current BBC licensing is as Simon in Suffolk mentions ‘more of a marketing ploy’. However, listening fashion seems to have changed, and current speakers have different characteristics. The idea of the BBC to find an speaker that reproduces sound, speech in particular, accurate and without colouration, is unfashionable these days. However this is still true for a few speaker manufactures, but you will note they make more than just the BBC licence models.
“Each to their own.”
However, I realise I am at odds with most here, as I am with much of the world these days.
If anyone is interested in the story of Rogers and the BBC licensing of the BBC designed series of monitor speakers required for broadcast monitoring, have a look here:
The only thing I can say about the Rogers ls3/5a is how ridiculously overpriced they have become. I sold a pair fairly recently in good cosmetic but poor audio condition. I didn’t want to have then refurbished. It was almost embarrassing how much I was offered for them, without even advertising. Just word of mouth and a friend of a friend made a silly offer I couldn’t refuse. I think with much ‘older’ hifi we are now getting into the classic car investment type bubble. Nain Naits spring to mind.
I understood the BBC design was intended for near field listening, neutral but with a limited dynamic range, as an alternative to headphones in the back of a van. With that in mind I didn’t expect much of Graham LS5/9f (floor standing version) I listened to a while back but they were very enjoyable. A little limited overall but what they do, they do very well. Not much low end extension (but not obviously missing, strangely - couldn’t quite figure that out), lovely neutral mids and great tonal balance. I can see why they favour certain genres and could be a great choice for a difficult room. Not Rodgers but given the BBC design criteria, I imagine they are of a similar ilk.
I have the Falcon Ls3 on solid steel stands.
Driven by a high capped dr super nait I am not sure they could be bettered for my jazz/chamber listening. My room is ‘cosy’ size.
They do seem to flounder when given large scale orchestral pieces to deal with. But if this is your bag you probably wouldn’t have tried them in the first place.
Internet searches give lots of information, in particular from the BBC R&D pages.
The LS3/5 and LS3/5a were designed for outside broadcast vehicles, these seem to range through Transit and Luton van sizes to a rigid axle lorry. Certainly my recollection of what I used to see around BBC Bristol and Cheltenham racecourse is that they were small.
The LS5/9 was for medium sized studios, the design sheet refers to a 70 cubic metre listening room.
Interesting that the page about licensing refers only to three models, the Graham Audio site refers to four. The LS5/5 on their site is not prefixed by BBC.
What I haven’t found, but I am sure I read in the past, are about the fact that in the main they were driven by 50 watt Quad amps and a suggestion that the LS5/9 and the larger LS5/8 were used to monitor The Old Grey Whistle Test (the design date of 1983 doesn’t seem to support that fact).
Agree. Which is why I wonder how meaningful these “shoot-offs” comparing different manufacturers and models of the LS3/5A supposedly pick a “clear” winner (Harbeth 11 ohm vs Rogers 15 ohm… etc, etc). Surely any differences are either psycho-acoustic or unit to unit variation? But try telling that to a far-east collector swooning over a pair of 15 ohm Rogers “white bellies”!!!