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The BBC LS3/6

Discussion in 'classic' started by tuga, Mar 18, 2020.

  1. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    I thought that it might be of interest to cross-post this information about the BBC LS3/6 which I have just posted in the classifieds.

    The LS3/6 was the BBC "clone" of Spendor's BC1 (bextrene cone). Spendor then updated this model with the SP1.
    Rogers started selling the LS3/6 as the Export Monitor, then updated that model to the Studio 1.

    A new version of the BC1/SP1 was launched using new tweeters and a polypropylene cone, the SP1/2. The last version of this speaker to be designed the Hughes' was the SP1/2e from '94. For some years Spendor, under a new ownership and design team, produced the SP1/2 R1 and R2 with new drivers and, judging from these measurements (scroll down to the conclusion), new design brief/standards.
    The Spendor Classic 1/2 is a completely different design.

    Harbeth's original HL1 was an underperforming single tweeter cousin of the original BC1 which only had one tweeter.
    Under a new ownership and design team the company later came up with the Harbeth Super HL5 which uses an identical tweeter configuration and is a much closer relative to the LS3/6(BC1). The SHL5 is part of Harbeth's domestic series which uses "cheaper" metal-dome tweeters; the original non-Plus version had a mistaken has a slightly contoured response (not flat on-axis).

    There's more info and photos in Mark Hennessy's (I think that he's a member) website: https://www.markhennessy.co.uk/rogers/others.htm


    Family tree:

    Spendor BC1(bextrene cone)

    BBC LS3/6 & Rogers Export Monitor (bextrene cone)

    Spendor SP1 & Rogers Studio 1(bextrene cone)

    Spendor SP1/2 (polypropylene cone)

    Spendor SP1/2e (polypropylene cone)

    Harbeth Super HL5 (radial cone)

    Harbeth Super HL5+ (radial cone)

    Stirling LS3/6 (polypropylene cone)
     
    jackbarron likes this.
  2. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  3. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  4. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  5. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d personally put the Harbeth in another ‘influenced by’ category as the metal dome tweeters and Radial cone give it an entirely different sound. I know I’ll annoy many here, but they just don’t have the BBC’s midrange magic to my ears. IIRC they have MDF rather than ply cabs too. They just aren’t a BC1 or LS3/6 type speaker. They certainly have their fans, but I see them as a modern alternative/competitor in the same way say a Kef LS50 is to an LS3/5A. The only thing in common is the box size.
     
    Linus likes this.
  7. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  8. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    I agree, which is why I wrote that they're "a much closer relative to the LS3/6(BC1)" than the HL1 both in terms of topology as well as performance.

    They use MDF (probably to keep the cost down, as with the tweeters) but retain the "lossy" screwed thin panels screwed onto hardwood battens construction.

    Stereophile writes that the Stirling also uses MDF in the front and back panels.

    As for the sound, in my perspective modern drivers are capable of reproducing the signal with more accuracy / less distortion. Since both the original (BC1) as well as the current models (SHL5+, SB LS3/6) are identically flat in that region what you refer to as "BBC’s midrange magic" is probably down to "colouration".

    In my opinion the midrange of both the SHL5+ and the SB LS3/6 is quite similar. The SHL5+ has a slight edge in the sub-bass probably due to the lower frequency and overdamped tuning of the port and the SB LS3/6 has a slight edge in the treble. I bought the latter.
     
  9. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I owned SHL5s for a short while and just couldn’t cope with the way the metal-dome tweeter crossed-over to the bass-mid. It was really obvious on female vocal etc and as soon as I pointed it out to others they could hear it too. FWIW I heard it with the Compact 7ES I owned 20 years ago too. In fairness I’m one of those people who always hear crossovers, I just seem really sensitive to phase etc, and I tend not to like the lower-ranges of metal dome tweeters either. I’d take a proper BC1, LS3/6, Export or Studio 1 every time even though the bass is less good than the Harb’s Radial.
     
  11. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    The crossover and response on the SHL5 "Plus" has been revised and the problem that you mentioned may no longer be audible, but I am also very partial againts metal domes and cones, which is why I went for the Stirling instead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  12. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    There is something 'special' about the BC1's midrange, which keeps me listening to them.
    My Harbeth HL1s were superior in the bass, I felt, but the Spendors mid./top is definitely better.
    I have never heard the bigger Harbeths, but owned the P3-ESRs. Excellent speakers, but I prefer my new Stirling Broadcast LS3/5a V3s.
    Mind you, speakers are so different and we all make our own choices...
     
    tuga likes this.
  13. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  14. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Re-reading the ‘Choice’ report on the HL reminds me how the speakers sounded, when they were
    in my home.
    Also, my BC1s still sound ( to me ) exactly as the ‘Choice’ report says.
    They are exceptional speakers...
     
    tuga likes this.
  15. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Spendor BCII has been completely forgotten here!! it is the model that came after the BC1 and before the SP1 and sounds very good. It's what is used here at Arkless Towers.
     
  16. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    I have an LS3/7, which of course must be /1 better. Only one mind, although I do have two of the modified Quad amps (303A2) needed to drive them.
     
  17. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Is SP1 better than BC2 and BC2 better than BC1? Or is life not so simple?
     
  18. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

  19. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    BC2 is basically BC1 with a new bass driver which has higher power handling. There's more to it than that though. The BC1 driver was basically designed by Spendor using the BBC's facilities whilst Spencer Hughes still worked for them and they were not too happy about this and took action resulting in Spendor having to pay BBC a royalty on BC1's and/or to supply BC1's to BBC at reduced cost. All IIRC!

    BC2 was intended to get around this and to improve on the BC1. It has higher power handling, max SPL and better bass tightness but loses a little to the BC1 in mid range magic.... if not by a huge amount.

    SP1 probably a better all rounder than either, with even greater power handling and max SPL. Not sure even SP1 quite matches mid range of BC1 but slightly closer than BC2. All versions ultimately sound more alike than they do different and very obviously share a "family sound".

    I'm very familiar with all the above but not much with the Rogers one's which I know more by reputation than personal experience.
     
    mandryka likes this.
  20. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Arkless, your ’the BC1 mid range magic’ is what it’s all about for me.

    The higher power handing, max SPL and bass tightness of the BC2 don’t really concern me, but
    I appreciate it might concern others.

    Sitting listening to my BC1s as I write this, it really is ( almost ) magic how good things sound.
    The Spendors are my long-term reference speakers and I’ll never let them go...
     

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