• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Rogers LS3/5a (BBC) Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 149 55.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 87 32.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 21 7.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 14 5.2%

  • Total voters
    271

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4,044
Likes
6,322
As noted in an earlier post, they are really good for chamber music and vocals. For performers like Sade, Frank Sinatra and Irma Thomas, you can really feel like you are right there, in a smoke filled club. You can feel the timbre of the vocals, and the performers fingers sliding on the strings of the stand up base. Wind instruments are great too.

I liked them more than two modern speakers from reputable brands, but I never got that “smoke filled club” effect that I read about. The Magnepan midrange magic is more impressive in my mind.

I didn’t love the sound, but part of the reason to send in these speakers is to “characterize them”. What if the magic vocals is actually the defect and dip?

We do see that the dip hits the core vocal frequencies and so called “box” region.

For those that LIKE the LS3/5a sound, I wonder what a modern speaker would sound like if you put in that dip?

1700627058792.png
 

CleanSound

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 30, 2023
Messages
1,654
Likes
2,533
I have heard Brits call these speakers "legendary," "ground breaking," "standard bearer" amongst other terms of accolade.

Well. . . that's a disappointment.
 

sam_adams

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
1,055
Likes
2,638
I wonder what a modern speaker would sound like if you put in that dip?

Since your example is forty years old, it's almost certain the various non-linearities of the original drivers and enclosure—the result of materials and methods of the time—that contribute to the unique sound signature, could be replicated—exactly—using drivers that are available today. Although, given the advances in DSP technology, one could probably get close. But would a replica be indistinguishable in a true double-blind test with the original?
 
Last edited:

Dennis Murphy

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
1,071
Likes
4,554
The old LS3 "BBC dip" I have heard of is far more dramatic than I would have ever thought.
`The infamous BBC Dip is much higher up--in the 2-3 kHz range. I'm not sure what the dip observed here is supposed to accomplish. the rationale behind a "BBC" dip is to reduce harshness from poorly recorded music in the region that humans are most sensitive to. Equalization would obviously be a better solution.
 

Bridges

Active Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2023
Messages
151
Likes
59
What about paper cones coated with liquid bextrene?
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4,044
Likes
6,322
Thanks for being brave enough to send them to @amirm for testing.

The only brave part is packaging them so that they don’t get damaged in transit. The LS3/5a are like gold bullion or loose diamonds in the audiophile world. They are easily converted to cash with value based primarily on scarcity not actual performance/value.

I don’t love the sound of these, and I was worried that I got a dud or something. Looking at this measurement from the ‘net we can see the weird 100-1000hz dip in these measurements with the person doing the measurement thinking it was a problem with the room. If anything, my specimen has a lower 1 kHz peak.
1700627634412.jpeg

Sometimes, you run into something like the Bose 901 which sounds way better than you would predict from the measurements and sometimes you run into this, which I think probably reflects the true LS3/5a sound but doesn’t gel with my preferences.

That said, both the Focal Vestia and JBL L52 Classic were jarring to my ears whereas these did not sound transparent and I knew I was listening to a recording but was happy to finish a song or album. The Vestia and L52 were in home trials where I took a big hit on shipping costs.
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4,044
Likes
6,322
But would a replica be indistinguishable in a true double-blind test with the original?

I don’t think you need to replicate everything. In fact, people like the Falcon Gold more than the Falcon Silver, when the Silver is the true original and Gold is the true prototype original.

That said, even among those who appreciate neutral speakers, there are those who also express a preference for the LS3/5a sound knowing that it’s not as neutral.

I am curious why that is. Does our brain fill in the vocal region with our preferences more? Is it all sighted bias? At least we now have the first full spin on a Klippel NFS.
 

MacClintock

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 24, 2023
Messages
642
Likes
1,203
Wow, extremely dissapointing for the hype and the price, shocking.
 

Bridges

Active Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2023
Messages
151
Likes
59
`The infamous BBC Dip is much higher up--in the 2-3 kHz range. I'm not sure what the dip observed here is supposed to accomplish. the rationale behind a "BBC" dip is to reduce harshness from poorly recorded music in the region that humans are most sensitive to. Equalization would obviously be a better solution.
"Reducing harshness from poorly recorded music in the region that humans are most sensitive to." This is still very appreciated design goal for home hifi, if not for monitoring purposes, the Kef B110 driver was used for this reason in many great speakers like Kef ,IMF, Rogers, Harbeth and others. Most Rock records are over produced and contain lots of guitar distortion desired by artist and producers. For this reason I still use this type of British signature sounding speakers. On my more resolving monitor speakers, I can't listen to a whole album. The other solution is fill your music library with content labeled "well recorded albums" by audiophiles and used for demonstration at audio shows. Not my choice.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,966
Likes
39,746
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The Harbeth P3ESR response looks pretty similar. Clearly deliberate.

Stereophile Aug12 2010 review by JA:

1700632183022.png
 

Dennis Murphy

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
1,071
Likes
4,554
The Harbeth P3ESR response looks pretty similar. Clearly deliberate.

Stereophile Aug12 2010 review by JA:

View attachment 328427
Not really. That looks pretty darn good. The bass bump is an artifact of the near-field measuring technique that John uses. The actual response would be almost dead flat. So the only issue is the elevated upper frequencies, that I suspect a lot of people would prefer.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,966
Likes
39,746
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The actual response would be almost dead flat.

A good friend of mine has a pair, which we listened to when he first got them a year or two ago. They are not remotely flat and have virtually no bottom end at all. What they do have is one-note.

I had to say nice things about them of course, but I was struggling to hear where the money went.
 

Rja4000

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
2,841
Likes
4,839
Location
Liège, Belgium
In the early 2000s, I bought a pair of used Rogers LS2 for around 100€.
Not too bad a speaker for the price, with some tone control.
I never tried this one, though.
 

Dennis Murphy

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
1,071
Likes
4,554
A good friend of mine has a pair, which we listened to when he first got them a year or two ago. They are not remotely flat and have virtually no bottom end at all. What they do have is one-note.

I had to say nice things about them of course, but I was struggling to hear where the money went.
My remarks weren't directed to your friend's speaker. I was just trying to point out that John's nearfield measurement spliced to a quasi-anechoic plot at around 200 Hz will always show a bass peak of 4 dB -6 dB if the actual response is flat. At some point, I think we all need to chip in $10 to buy John a Klippel machine that will put and end to what are very confusing frequency response plots.
 

IAtaman

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
2,470
Likes
4,351
These speakers were designed by the BBC to give them something to use as monitors to listen to production of live broadcasts in small sound booths or even remote production vans. They are intended for near-field listening and are designed to give producers some reasonable idea of the sound going out over the air, with an emphasis on intelligibility. Radio production is different from home hi-fi listening. I have a pair and I rather like them, for polite listening in my dining room. I paid $1,500 and they tend to sell for more. Listening to vocals and string quartets is quite nice. They are not rock speakers
Isn't base frequencies of vocals and most string instruments live in the muted 200Hz to 1KHz range?
 

thewas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
6,954
Likes
17,223
Very interesting, thanks Amir!

I don't know how they measure, but I'll never part with my Spendor S3/5s, which I've had for 23 years or so. I absolutely love how they sound in my system.
I bought the S3/5s to use as L/R speakers in my original, modest, plasma-screen based home theater. Dialogue always sounded superbly natural and human, and they did such a great job of spreading the sound such that no center channel was needed. Even from off axis the sound didn't seem stuck in the speakers, but seemed to come from the TV image.

Now I just have them in the bedroom and sometimes put them in my main audio system for a while. I find them utterly addictive.
The Spendor S3/5 SE had been measured by Stereophile

https://www.stereophile.com/content/spendor-s35se-loudspeaker-measurements

and measure smoother than most "original" variants (but all have no real deep bass) which variate also quite:


A friend of mine used to have an even more expensive limited edition and I even had auctioned once a pair of the cheaper but same drivers using KEF 101, when listened with some typical "audiophile music" they didn't sound bad but wouldn't want to listen to them to music with bass content without subwoofer as the lower octave content is painfully missing to me.
 

milosz

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Messages
601
Likes
1,678
Location
Chicago
Well, mister refined palette, I'll have the Pork Chop Sandwich and the Polish with everything on it from Jim's Original in Chicago.

Oh, by-the-way, @amirm, nice review of a classic design.
That food would go well with "Blues from Maxwell Street 1960 & 1965" Blues sounds pretty good on these speakers too. Again, not as a main system in a big room, but they do bring out certain aspects of the sound. Their imaging is quite good, too- something Amir doesn't evaluate.
 
Top Bottom