Best Amp for Graham Audio Chartwell BBC LS3/5 (not LS3/5a) Monitors

I own a pair of Graham Audio Chartwell BBC LS3/5 Monitors.

The nominal impedance is 9Ω, and the sensitivity is 83dB SPL (2.83V, 1m).

25 to 50 watts unclipped programme is recommended.

Can anyone suggest an integrated amplifier or an all-in-one to drive these speakers?

(As noted in the topic, these are the original LS3/5 and not the LS3/5a.)

Thank you in advance!

I’m sure spending more would be ‘better’ but they sound good to me with a NAIT XS2.

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What sort of budget are you thinking of?

What are your thoughts on the Graham Audio LS5/9? When I ran with EAR-Yoshino amps Tim de P. strong recommendation was for these; they weren’t a good match for my room.

Do you need a headphone output?

I assume this will be for a second system? Nearfield??

That is not a very useful way to look at it… IMO. More damage is done to speakers with small amps driven too hard, than by big amps.

Any of the Naim all-in-one’s would suit, I think. The bigger, the better, though.

(I used to drive Linn Kans - which are BBC LS3/5A size/derived - with a Naim 250…!!)

Thank you for your reply.

My main system is Graham Audio LS5/9 BBC Monitors with NAC282 (NASCP, 2xHiCap DR) & NAP250 DR.

I will be using the LS3/5 monitors in a second system for low level, nearfield listening.

I stream all my music (Tidal > Roon), and I would like to keep the second system as simple as possible. Ideally, I would like only one or two boxes.

I do not need a headphone output.

I am in Canada, and my budget is $10,000.00.

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I had both the LS5/9 and LS3/5 as well and have been trying them with various systems - Accuphase E600, E800 and Naim 52/SC/250.

The LS5/9 which is quite a bit more refined IMO works really well with the Accuphase amps and is a lot more delicate than with the Naim. On the other hand the LS3/5 needs a bit more drive and energy to come alive and I actually preferred them with the Naim setup. The Falcon LS3/5a is even better with the Naim . I would say the Naim 250 would be a perfect match; maybe a Supernait, Nova or Atom for a more compact setup…

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That doesn’t sound good for me as I am planning to use the Naim 282/250DR with the Graham LS5/9. I currently have a Luxman L-590AXII with the LS5/9 and there is fear of getting the same experience after I make the switch to the Naim.

Not to worry - the Naim is a lot of fun with the Grahams which are just wonderful speakers. I do want to hear about your impressions when you do move from the Luxman to the Naim!

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The LS5/9 monitors with the 282/250 is, in my opinion, magical.

I have my electronics plugged into an Audioquest Niagara 5000, and I have IsoAcoustic GAIA isolation footers under the speaker stands.

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My Graham LS5/9 on Tontraeger stands:

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Thanks for the reassurance folks. I will be installing the Gaia footers under the stands of the LS5/9 by tomorrow. I’ve tried listening to the speakers with the spikes and the bass quality didn’t improve much.

The Naim amps are in another room and the Graham is supposed to go to that room. Nevertheless, the acoustics of the room is not good so I am currently trying the Grahams in the main system with the Luxman. I have Marten speakers in the main system and will attempt to use the Naim with the Graham in this room some time, and that means the Luxman and Marten speakers will need to go somewhere.

Mini-monitors can be very good speakers and much more revealing than the big ones. The LS3/5a is one of them. I used the LS3/5a:s as only speakers for almost 10 years and most of them with Naim 135. From my non-UK horizon they survived the 70s much thanks to american hi-enders like The Absolute Sound magazine. They will simply continue to respond to improvement in source (first) and power amp but unlike some speakers that is terrible without a powerful amp the LS3/5a:s sound fine with a simple amp.

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Just installed the Gaias. I’m now a convert. They basically resolved all the bass issues I had with the LS5/9. Incredible. The mid bass which stuck out like a sore thumb and made music sound unnatural is all gone now. Improved separation and detail across the frequency spectrum as well.

I’m now convinced that the Gaias should be used for all types of speakers, floor stand or stand mounts supported by all types of stands heavy mass-loaded or lightweight open frame.

By the way, I’m using a sub with the LS5/9 with great success. I find the bass to be inadequate as I was previously using the Harbeth SHL5+.

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I am still in the early phase of searching for electronics for my Graham Audio Chartwell BBC LS3/5 Monitors, but here are some products of interest to me…

Naim Audio Uniti Nova All-In-One
Moonriver 404 Reference Integrated Amplifier (I love the look of this amplifier)
Rogers E20a/ii Integrated Amplifier
Bryston BR-20 Streaming Preamplifier (now Roon Ready)
Hegel 390 or 590 Integrated Amplifier (now Roon Ready)

Cheers!

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Hi @razzzor1963

I have Wilmslow Audio’s equivalent speakers
WA-LS3 Specifications:
Treble: Vifa D27TG-35-06
Bass-mid: Monacor SPH-135AD
Enclosure type: 2-way infinite baffle
Frequency response: 40Hz - 30000Hz
Sensitivity (2.83v/1m): 89dB
Amp requirement: 30-100w
Impedance: 8 ohm
Internal volume: 5 litres per speaker
Weight: 14Kg per pair
Dimensions (HxWxD): 305mm high x 190mm wide x 165mm deep

Which I use in my 3M by 2M office powered by a Naim Atom.

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Hi @ryder

I too use subs with my LS5/9

To my ears it lets them breath.

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Hi @restock

My LS5/9 on stands manufactured for me by a local cabinet maker.

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Hi @ryder
I use a Naim Supernait 3 with mine.
To my ears it is wonderful combination.

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Nice!!!

I will claim Tontraeger as „local“ furniture maker :face_with_hand_over_mouth: since I did grow up in Bavaria and had the pleasure to meet Eva-Marie in person earlier this year - wonderful and really dedicated and perfectionist in their work!!

I use the 30.2 Tontraeger stands which are perfect match to the LS5/9.

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Hi Roger, looking good. I am sure they sound wonderful. I’m using a single sub with the LS5/9, placed in the middle of the room symmetrically between the speakers. It may not perform as well as a dual sub system but it does help in the bass, making the overall listening experience more enjoyable. I used the Harbeth SHL5+ for 13 years before this (without a sub), and going to the Ls5/9 the sub was required to even things out.

FWIW I find the Graham LS5/9 to be a better speaker than the Harbeth SHL5+ in areas of neutrality and engagement. It’s a bit more refined and has the ability to respond well with changes to the amp and source. The Harbeth, not so much as it imposes more of its character to the sound. In other words you hear more from the speaker than the other components.

It is good to note that the SN3 works well with the LS5/9. I’m currently using a Luxman with the LS5/9 and will make the switch to 282/250DR soon. It is a lot of work though as the rack needs to be configured for the additional components.