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Getting to know LS3/5As

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I'm trying to visualise this, is the room node you're harnessing the front wall - rear wall axial, or the floor-ceiling axial? If the former then I'd expect closer front wall placement to result in stronger 40Hz output, if the latter then I'd expect closer placement to the floor (either speaker or listener height) to result in stronger 40Hz output.

    In either case, isn't the 50Hz-80Hz area still lacking a bit compared to the JR149, or does the Falcon's 100Hz bump help to stave off the roll-off below 80Hz?
     
  2. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    I intend to land a pair of 3/5a at some point and revisit them.
    My initial reaction was largely negative (to put it mildly) and too many ears that I trust tell me I'm wrong.
     
    Graham H likes this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    To my understanding in a typical UK living room size placement on the wide wall and about a metre or so from the back hits that node that typically causes havoc with aggressively ported small speakers and leads to all manner of awful honk/boom. It is normally a very bad thing, and I certainly found it in the front room when I owned MEG RL-904s! The LS3/5A community seem to have figured out that it can be used to advantage as it is so many db down at that (40-50Hz) frequency with that speaker, plus very tight and well behaved being an infinite baffle, so it just gains a little reinforcement from the node without bringing boom, and the upper bass bump (130Hz) stops them sounding thin or lean and needing wall proximity effect the way of say a Kan or JR149.

    I’m new to this theory. I only read about it a couple of days ago, though my preliminary findings are that it might be bang on the money. Pulling them a good bit forward upstairs and moving the beanbag back a corresponding amount certainly got them to grow substantially in stature and seemed to flatten the bass out and send it deeper. Downstairs plonked in front of the Tannoys they sounded remarkably good. I was actually shocked by just how good. Good to the point you’d likely not know which speaker was playing unless I told you! In hindsight I suspect they were driving the same node that ensured the otherwise rather nice active MEGs just weren’t a match for the room (the Tannoys are ported so low and are so low-Q aperiodic loading they don’t seem to care about room position much and work fine in what to be honest is the only position I can house them).
     
  4. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I believe the cabinets were MDF, the battens being beech.
    As for the baffles, I seem to recall they were ply.
    Incidentally, Kef’s Limited Edition ( with gold plated labels ! ) had MDF cabinets.
    Presumably both the Kef & Spendor cabinets met the BBC spec.
     
    Graham H likes this.
  5. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I suspect by that time it was just a marketing exercise for the domestic hi-fi market, I very much doubt the BBC were still buying LS3/5As for monitor use at that point. The label means next to nothing now, pretty much anything of that size can buy a license!
     
  6. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    The Chinese certainly seem to think so !
     
  7. Yivez

    Yivez Member


    I have been getting to know a pair of Falcon Acoustics Ls3/5a the Gold Badge version over the last six weeks. Been on my bucket list for a while having been impressed by them at shows. This is my first post about them and to give some context I also own Quad ESL57's and Proac SM100.

    The Falcons are quite remarkable for their size very clear, image and time extremely well. Even though they don't go down that low there is enough there to satisfy in a near field listening scenario.

    Initially, I listened to the Falcons for 4 weeks straight before comparing them with the Proac SM100. The Falcons have an ever so romantic/warm presentation and are very responsive and I would also say easy to live with. It's not just jazz and acoustic music they can rock out!

    With the Proacs they are more extended the mid-range is similar (Falcons just edging it). The differences are in the overall presentation the Proacs clearer/cleaner and with some styles of music just more engaging.

    For a second pair of ears, I use my 13-year-old son and neither of us can pick a clear winner - Proac SM100 vs Falcon Ls3/5a they both do amazing things! Time will tell but we will keep on listening as I cant' keep both!
     
    Tarzan and PhilofCas like this.
  8. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    In your second paragraph, you could replace 'Falcons' with 'Stirlings.'
    I find your description matches mine for the V3s, except to my ears the Stirlings go subjectivity lower than the Falcons.
     
    ampedup likes this.
  9. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    @Tony L , have you taken comparative FR response measurements of the JR149 and LS3/5A at your listening seat? I appreciate the two require different placements for comparable performance but I'm particularly interested to see the difference in response around the XO frequency. Would you say the Falcon is less forward / less coloured than the JRs through the midband? (IIRC you were going to tweak the JR's HF trimpot to try to match the Falcon's curve?)
     
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve not done any measurements yet. Mainly down laziness, but partly down to not being able to figure out how to do it without compromise. For measurements to show any real difference between the speakers they really need to be done in one location. I do have a stand position where they both sound very good, though it arguably favours the 149 rather than the LS3/5A. I think I’ll probably use that position.

    Tonally my perception is that the LS3/5A have a bit of a ‘saddle’ response with a little lift above and below the mid, the JR149 is more mid-forward, but likely digs a little deeper in the bass even if it is drier. I think I have the JR149 tweeter pulled back just a little compared to the LS3/5A, but that will obviously come out in the measurements. I set it for what I hear as the best possible crossover transition around 2-5kHz.

    I don’t place anything like the weight on slight tonal differences many do and consider a db here and there as all but irrelevant and certainly vastly less significant than temporal colouration (boom, flub, honk, crossover phase issues etc), or for that matter dynamic/transient compression etc, so really I want to try and learn how to measure these aspects. What interests me the most about these two speakers is the crossover region, as they are both very, very good, so a really high-bar to start with, but there is something quite exceptional about the LS3/5A.
     
    ToTo Man likes this.
  11. Flat

    Flat pfm Member

    Has there ever been an active version of the LS3/5A ?
    I have Linn Kan’s active with Naim Snaxo crossover and Naim amps ,it is so much better than the passive version.
     
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    No, and I suspect you’d need a very complex active crossover to achieve what the LS3/5A does, certainly far more complex than a SNAXO. I get the impression the active crossover in the LS5/8 is far more than a simple low-pass on the bass and high-pass on the treble having phase alignment and various notches to remove cabinet issues.
     
  13. Flat

    Flat pfm Member

    Thank you.Yes with all the components in the LS3/5A crossover it may be an even bigger advantage with a active crossover.
    I will try to activate a pair of LS3/5A with the Naim Snaxo and see what happens.
     
  14. SwapShop

    SwapShop Member

    I have got some Stirling LS3/5a V2's. Love them. Now they differ from 'proper' LS3/5a's because they use adapted modern drivers rather than the KEF drivers - hence the V2 moniker.

    Can anyone advise how the sound differs from other regular old LS3/5a's or the modern replica Falcon's / Roger's ?

    I suspect they have similarities and differences.
     
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    To my mind the name is just a marketing exercise. A very nice little speaker for sure, but it isn’t an LS3/5A, and it has no direct connection at all to the BBC research department. Tonally similar, but I’d be amazed if you could use a Stirling on one channel and a real LS3/5A on the other and they’d be pair matched, and that is what the BBC spec actually requires! Some folk seem to like them better, so I’m not criticising the speaker itself, only the marketing.
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Ok, measurement fans, here it comes:

    [​IMG]

    This is the right speaker measured from my listening position about a metre and a half away roughly between the woofer and tweeter height. I did not move the mic and the speakers are in the same position which arguably slightly benefits the JR149.

    One thing I notice is my JR149s definitely have a big spike at around 16kHz, as did the Falcon LS3/5As Stereophile measured, whereas my Falcon LS3/5As don’t seem to. I wonder if this means Falcon have improved their T27 over time (the pair in my 149s are very early ones)? To be honest it is above my ability to hear so not something that bothers me, but it is interesting nonetheless.

    [​IMG]

    JR149 Waterfall.

    [​IMG]

    LS3/5A Waterfall.

    I’ll let those more knowledgeable about these things pick the bones out of it, but to my eyes they look like two remarkably similar little speakers and I don’t see the differences I was expecting to. As ever I suspect I am measuring the room far more than the speaker in most respects.

    PS I’d totally ignore any odd sub-40Hz stuff, I suspect that is the central heating, or maybe a car going by!
     
  17. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Interesting stuff. The LS3/5A does appear to be more saddled in the mids and tipped up in the top-end. I'd put money on the latter being an effect of the perforated brass grille glued onto the T27 dome as I noticed a similar effect when I put those grilles on my T27/B110-equipped IMF MCR2A's. We probably can't read too much into the differences in the midrange responses as 1.5m is still pretty close to being a nearfield measurement and I found that when I was measuring my JR149s at 1m, placing the mic at either tweeter, woofer, or in-between height had a significant effect on the response around the XO frequency. Bass response is interesting, I'd have expected the JRs to have the edge on the Falcons below 70Hz by a couple of dBs. It does look like they dig a bit deeper (I'm basing that on what I'm seeing at 50Hz), but it's too close to call from that graph.

    EDIT - The JR's seemingly more jagged response above 8kHz could well in part be caused by diffraction off the under lip of the enclosure's end cap, - I'm not convinced the yellow foam above the tweeter fully prevents this.

    PS - I assume the Falcons were measured with tygan grilles on?
     
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    [​IMG]

    Here’s a ‘psychoacoustic’ smoothing which might make it easier to gauge the character traits. I suspect the big tonal difference is between 350Hz-1kHz. The crossover region around 3-4kHz is noticeably different too, and again I suspect there is more to be told there as that is the make/break of any multi-way speaker to my ears. This smoothing also highlights the LS3/5A’s bass bump at 110Hz or so.
     
  19. stuwils

    stuwils pfm Member

    If you activate Ls3/5A's with a snaxo you will end up with a low power handling set of linn kans with a spitty treble. absolutely no point in doing that.
    Rgds
    Stuart
     
  20. Flat

    Flat pfm Member

    Okay,but why would it be low power handling,it´s the same version of the Kef B110 as in early Linn Kans.The treble and the bass I can adjust with the pots in the Snaxo.
    Maybe I can ask Naim if they can tailor the Snaxo for the LS3/5A.
     

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