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Rogers LS3/5A

Discussion in 'audio' started by SamB1, Oct 4, 2022.

  1. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Yes another thread on the mighty LS3's.

    I've found somebody not far from where I live selling a pair from 1980. They're black label, 15 ohm. He indicates that the drivers are all original, there's been some minor repair on the binding posts, and the foam surrounding the tweeters might've been replaced.

    Just checking with folks here more knowledgeable then me on the these speakers how they feel the condition of the drivers are(and that they are original), plus anything else I should know as I consider purchasing these.






  2. Maxbertola

    Maxbertola pfm Member

    SamB1 likes this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Interesting. Lots of old Rifa caps?! No idea what the situation is in speaker crossovers as I’ve never seen them there, but these are notorious within the vintage computing world for letting in moisture over time and cracking/failing. In vintage computers this is often accompanied by an explosion and huge amounts of stink, which I guess wouldn’t be the case in a loudspeaker unless they failed short across the inputs. Regardless I’d be inclined to research them carefully and probably test them all. As we are clearly in the realm of collectable kit here just changing them may not be the best move value wise, but I’d certainly approach them with a degree of skepticism. They may well be way off spec. Start by looking for any cracks in the clear plastic casing.
  4. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Thank you! This is exactly the info I was looking for.

    These are going for at least near collector prices but figured there is wiggle room given that they’re local. But if the lurking issues that seem obvious then frankly I prefer something else. I f don’t solder and wouldn’t start with these.

    There’s a nice pair of Falcon Gold’s with an asking price less then the Rogers but they’re in the other side of the country. But shipping is included, although having something that valuable making that trip at the whims of the shipping services here is always a bit nerve wracking for me:rolleyes:

    For the moment I’ll keep listening to my JR149’s and see what shows up.
  5. canonman

    canonman pfm Member

    Did you doctor the serial number labels for the photos or has the seller done it? The numbers on the early ones usually fade big time. I suspect, being Black badge, they will be circa 10,000. If they were 1000, expect Gold badge.

    Check that the bass drivers move in and out freely, without scraping.

    Crossovers look OK, see Rifa before and the exploding ones are usually X type across the mains, found in old Quads, Revox etc. No idea why that connector has been bodged as the original cheap posts are available for peanuts and I have replaced lots.

    You should replace the gasket around the baffle to seal correctly if you buy.
    SamB1 likes this.
  6. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Here is the seller's blurb on his listing:

    "Rare opportunity!

    I am selling a highly sought-after

    Rogers LS3/5A BBC Monitor Speakers, Matched Pair

    These are early black-badge, right after the famed gold-badge. All drivers are original and in excellent condition. I opened one speaker and show the internal parts. As shown in some posted pictures, they are all original. Date is January 9, 1980. I have many other pictures if you are interested. I was not able to open the other speaker and I didn't want to force op it. These two are matched pair (A and B). As shown one of the speaker biding posts got some repair. I guarantee these are genuine, vintage Rogers.

    Serial numbers are SO 109xxA and 109xxB. I covered the last two digits in the serial numbers on pictures (not on the speakers).

    The speakers work great, produce wonderful music as one expects. Physical condition of the cabinets is excellent for the age. Grills are great; no issues. I believe the original foam surrounding tweeters have deteriorated and the ones here are replacement. That's my guess though.

    I have another pair of these Rogers LS3/5A (a bit later but still the same black badge)."

    Here's a picture of both pairs he has for sale:


    They are being offered for $3k USD. I'm not going to pay that under any circumstances. But, assuming everything is in good working order, and taking into account the so called collectible nature of these versions, what would folks consider a reasonable price for these. Obviously this question is mostly for people who really like LS3's/5A's, as opposed to people that can't understand why one would even consider paying the money that they cost.

    Again, for me the big draw about this specific pair is that they're only a few minutes from my home. So I can test them out before I buy, and get to know the seller a bit, and avoid the rough and tumble adventures that shipping brings. That is worth something to me.

  7. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    My concern is that the white circle around the dustcap indicates that the Plastiflex coating is starting to come unstuck from the cone.
    Martyn Miles and SamB1 like this.
  8. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Ah yes that is a concern! And on closer look it seems all 4 speakers have that to some extent. Thanks for making me aware.
  9. amazement

    amazement pfm Member

    Why don’t you buy the Mofi version made by Falcon? Has to be a better bet for the money. Assuming you’re in the states.
    TimF likes this.
  10. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I have a lot of experience of LS3/5As and know what can go wrong with very old ones.
    It’s been shown to me ( by Doug Stirling ) that most old ones are now out of spec.
    Also, the ‘white belly’ ( ! ) causes a response aberration.
    Falcon Acoustics pointed this out.
    Crossover components also drift from their stated parameters.

    I would avoid these.
    It’s the Far East Collectors that have pushed up prices.
    Many just collect them ( some have up to 30 pairs ) and pay high prices for rarity.
    You’re much better off buying some recent Falcon models.
    narabdela, MikeMA, tuga and 1 other person like this.
  11. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Martyn thanks very much for your insightful comments. In the short time I've been on this forum I have very much enjoyed reading about your valuable experience with LS3's. I will take your advice and consider the Falcon's.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Likewise given the amount of money in question I’d personally look out for a nice tidy second hand pair of Falcons or consider the MoFi ones if you want to buy new. They take the risk out of the equation. Just be aware when buying second hand there are two different types of crossover available (Silver/Gold) and the latter will be more recent and command the higher price (the MoFi are silver). This can be upgraded later, in fact I posted a thread recently (link) detailing the process as I did my pair.
  13. Maxbertola

    Maxbertola pfm Member

    I am not sure about it, but I think that on the website as per my previous post, the 'white-collared' woofers are also considered, as a precise production batch. But better verify personally..
  14. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    As I understand it this is an ageing property. I remember speaking to Jerry at Falcon and a lot of old B110s are a fair way from spec now as the glues used were not entirely stable. I can vouch for this as my JR149s really did not behave as a pair despite all four drivers “working”. I know the ‘white belly’ have attained mythical status in some circles, but I’m certain you will never find an original picture from the ‘70s or ‘80s of a new B110 that looked like that. No idea of the exact mechanism that could cause this, but it is worth noting the voice-coil, cone and dust cover join at that point, so it could even be heat related.
  15. Jodet

    Jodet pfm Member

    Three grand? That's insane. Three grand for a new pair is a hard sell.

    You can get Falcon Q7's for two grand and I prefer them to any LS3/5a I've ever heard. And I've heard a LOT of LS3/5a's.
    Martyn Miles and PhilofCas like this.
  16. canonman

    canonman pfm Member

    White belly B110's have always been that way in my 25 years of experience with LS3/5a's. Asian markets have always preferred them. By the same token, they prefer T27's with blue/ black wiring. If you look closely at the photos above, one pair has these, the other both black.

    I have never heard of it being described as a failure until recently on here and I recall that Kef told me it was a result of the doping process in production but of course they could have been wrong.

    Whilst the very old ones, especially ex broadcast, are almost certainly out of spec, as Martyn mentioned (and Alan Shaw to me too) they still sound sublime and the majority of punters will not notice. Same scenario with early BC1's with the white surrounds. We measured a great sounding early pair at the factory one day and they were miles out of spec.

    The other thing to consider is depreciation, or lack of it. Despite the shock/ horror of non believers, genuine LS3/5a's have consistently held value and in most cases increased significantly. I would be surprised if anyone has the same experience with current offerings.
  17. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Yes it would seem to be insane, particularly if their sound is not something that you find appealing. But for me it's about the sound, plus the history behind the speakers. One can make the argument about all kinds of modern gear sounding betting then much more expensive vintage gear, but again that's only part of the equation, at least for me. I would never buy a piece of gear simply as an investment. I would need to like it enough to want to use it regularly. The McIntosh gear seen in my avatar as an example. I've never heard LS3/5a's, although I've been told that my JR149's are quite similar in presentation. So I'm sure that I would enjoy them, and I like owning audio gear with a history.

    Wow more lessons learned. Thanks very much for chiming in. Of course, you have made my decision difficult again, but that's ok!
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    They are actually quite different, though even after a lot of time with both I couldn’t tell you which I prefer. The JR149 is a remarkable speaker at the price it can still be found. Don’t expect the LS3/5A to be way better, it’s just a slightly different set of plus and minus points. They also want to be in different places in the room, different heights etc. Different speakers. FWIW I’d describe the JR149 as the mid-point between a really good pair of Linn Kans (likely Kan IIs) and LS3/5As.
    SamB1 likes this.
  19. canonman

    canonman pfm Member

    If you are not concerned with future values, the advice from others to buy new is very sound. There is no doubt that Falcon make great speakers!
    SamB1 likes this.
  20. SamB1

    SamB1 Member

    Ah ok thanks Tony. That's helpful. As for being "better", I try not to use terms like that. For me different pieces of gear can all be appealing even with different presentations. I wouldn't want the LS3's to be identical sounding to the 149's, and that you indicate that they're different is very much a positive. I have my 149's on top of a pair of Allison One speakers at this time, very close to the front wall(The Allison's required placement is against, or as close to the wall as possible). It certainly wouldn't be difficult to put the LS3's out in the room. They'll take a lot less space then most of my collection of speakers do currently.

    Yes I realize that buying new( or at least something used that is not old) is probably the safest thing I can do. And I am leaning towards the Falcons. They're $2600 USD, shipping included. The only issue for me is that they have to cross the country to get here, which means that they will be at the mercy of the rough handling of the shipping service. If they were local at that price I'd already own them.

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