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Stirling Broadcast LS3/5a V3 Review.

Discussion in 'classic' started by Martyn Miles, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Hi Fi Plus magazine has a review of the Stirling V3 in its April 2019 issue.
    It’s a positive review and in my opinion very well balanced.
    The only downside is the price, which is £2000 plus depending on the cabinet finish.
    All I need now is to hear a pair...
    Panderos likes this.
  2. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    Thanks for this Martyn, I've been waiting for some news of the V3 - seems manufacturers' websites are often the last place to put up info on a new product...

    BTW - have you or anyone following heard the AB-2 bass extender, or the earlier Rogers AB -1 version, with either the Stirling V2, or an original LS3/5a, or a credible descendant? I wonder if the extenders are worthwhile, compared to just moving up to a larger BBC style speaker, such as an LS5/9 style...

    Off to get a copy of that review now...
  3. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    Regarding the AB-2 bass extender. Yes, I owned them with the Stirling V2. I think the result is good. There are various ways to hook them up and also to place them with respect to the V2. They can be run in series, using their internal crossover, as designed. They can be run parallel, as an overlaid bass component, avoiding their internal crossover. The bass extenders can be placed geographically independent of stand-mounted ls3/5a for room loading variations. Endless fun. The extenders do allow the ls3/5a to be placed well into the room, to avoid over-exciting their 'bass hump', and preserving midband transparency.

    I'm interested in the Stirling V3. I read the Hifi Plus review. I was puzzled by the reviewer's placement of the speakers just 18cm from the wall behind. With my V2s, that would have certainly resulted in boomy overhang and a muddled midband. Has anybody tried the V3 yet and can comment about placement?
  4. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    Martyn, did you manage to get your ears on a pair yet? You seem to have listened to most of the iterations of this type of speaker!
  5. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    No, and it’s rather annoying. I haven’t found a dealer who’s close enough.

    Doug Stirling told me that he’d supplied demonstration models of the V3 to overseas dealers.
    From what I can see, that’s where his main market is.
  6. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    The V2s remain one of the most nuanced and classy audio experiences I've ever had. I sold my pair a few years ago because I needed more bass in my room, but the room has changed now! I found the upper midband to be so accurate, particularly on string sound and micro details.
    Panderos likes this.
  7. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    You are correct about the midrange and string sound.
    It’s odd how people still pursue very old LS3/5as when a superb performance can be had from V2s,
    but then collecting old ‘3/5as isn’t about sound quality...
    Panderos likes this.
  8. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    Yes, I've also been puzzled by that. Brand new ls3/5a....and a slew of choices presently, are readily available. Who would have thought this could happen? There is no doubt that the design has a great deal of excellent qualities that remain desirable for those who listen to music. I remember carting around my V2s to various hifi stores to compare with high end current speaker offerings and it was no contest. V2s every time. I'm presently happily listening to MAD 1920S, a much more 'normally' balanced and very classy speaker. They are brilliant, but I think that the ls3/5a are irreplaceable. V3s sound compelling.....
    Panderos likes this.
  9. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    The MAD 1920S speakers are new to me. I shall have to track down a pair to listen to.
    At the present time I don’t own a pair of V2s, but the V3s are beginning to look very
  10. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    There is not much about them in the audio forums. I have to say that they are extraordinary. They can play all music, from Zeppelin to Brahms to Sade to Massive Attack with equal aplomb. They are fast, dynamic, detailed, tonally warm-ish, beautifully integrated, with real bass and no sense of being forward or shouty. I can pressurize my room with bass that I can feel, from a pair of boxes only slightly larger than the ls3/5a.
  11. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    The V3s arrive in early January.
    I’m really looking forward to hearing them in my own home...
  12. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    So Martyn, or Ampedup, care to indulge in a little speculation ahead of that? The website and Hi Fi plus review say that the V3 is all about the improved crossover, which reduces distortion and enhances transparency and holographic imaging. From my pleasant time with the V2s, I certainly wouldn’t have identified ‘distortion’ as a limiting factor in their sound quality. Any preliminary thoughts?
  13. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    My first thoughts are the fact that Derek Hughes was involved.
    Not only is his work for Stirling Broadcast superb, but his input in the Graham Audio
    speakers is well known.
    I’ve not heard the Graham LS3/5 & LS3/5a, but they have been well received.
    I think it was Stereophile who felt the Graham ‘3/5a was superior to the Falcon ‘3/5a.
    Having not heard the Graham models ( but having lived with the Falcons ) I can’t pass
    an opinion.
    We all prefer different speakers and at the moment I live with Harbeth P3-ESRs.
    Over time I have always preferred them to any type of LS3/5a.
    That’s why I’m really looking forward to these V3s.
    After all, I can always return them to Doug...
  14. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    I’ll take that as ‘I don’t know if V2 needed an improved crossover, but if Derek Hughes thought so, it’s worth a listen...’. Bearing in mind the drivers and cabinet are apparently unchanged for the V3...

    I did have the Graham LS3/5s for a home audition. I liked them, could certainly see their appeal. As with the V2s, but for somewhat different reasons, I found my old Harbeth P3ES2s more satisfying all around. The Grahams seemed to me to reflect their studio monitor origins - a more penetrating look into the mix, including any rough spots. Some would find that more satisfying, immediate or accurate. To me, the Harbeths balance the mix as it best serves the music.

    But the Stirling V2 had a nicer top end, both more revealing and sweeter. So if V3 betters that, it might eclipse the Harbs for me.

    No pressure, but a lot riding on Martyn’s review here.

  15. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Oh, the pressure...
  16. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Well, the time has come...

    I set up the V3s in the same place as my Harbeth P3ESRs and began a listening session.
    First impression was they sounded like the Falcon LS3/5as.
    A good start, I thought.

    Further listening confirmed what I first thought, that the bass was tighter and subjectively deeper
    than any ‘3/5a I have heard.
    Leonard Cohen’s ‘Old Ideas’ was a good test.
    Yes, the bass end is superb.

    The midrange ?
    LS3/5a without question.
    If you’re a ‘3/5a fan you’ll understand.
    The mid. moves seamlessly into the top end, which is detailed but so smooth.

    I almost forgot, a piano sounds like. A piano.
    As for the soundstage and depth, they are there in spades.

    I almost know a question which will come up.
    How do they compare with the Harbeth P3s ?
    Slightly brighter, midrange more open and the bass tighter.
    The bass end of the Harbeths is fuller and perhaps warmer.

    I think I’ll stop now, listen to some different music and report back later.

    See you soon...
    ampedup, Tarzan, Panderos and 5 others like this.
  17. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

  18. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Listening session two...

    I have been listening to the Unthanks ‘Mount the Air’, which I’ve heard live.

    So much ‘air’ around the voices and the violin.
    The percussion is nicely delineated in the soundstage and separated from the violin.
    Speaking of percussion, the piano is beautifully rendered.
    Less ‘weight’ than on the Harbeths, but very clean.
    The trumpet really cuts through the air and almost ‘catches you out.’

    Onto some classical music...

    I love Vaughan Williams and especially ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.’

    I started with ‘Fantasia on Greensleeves’, which always sets me up for VW.
    It’s a piece of music which is so familiar, but can ‘catch you out.’
    Those plucked strings sound so precise with these Stirlings and the harp touches the soul.
    I was totally immersed by the time the massed strings came in.

    ‘Thomas Tallis’ is a very deep piece of music and these V3s carry all the emotion.
    I sat entranced to the end, over 16 minutes.
    I can’t really say if it’s the music or the speakers, but I was spellbound.
    It must be a combination of both.

    You must be getting the message by now.
    These speakers really are something special.
    Well done Doug Stirling & Derek Hughes.
    Panderos and ampedup like this.
  19. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    Martyn, your impressions are compelling. Have you had an opportunity to try some rock music yet? I'm very curious how this version is able to cope with Massive Attack or Zeppelin, (or whatever you might have in your collection!).
  20. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I’m not a fan of rock music, as such.

    The closest thing I have is Pink Floyd, and I know that isn’t rock !
    I’ve never heard Massive Attack...

    It’s folk music, female voices and light orchestral music for me.
    I used to be in a folk group.

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