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SoundArtist ("BBC") LS3/5A Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 183 93.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 2.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 7 3.6%

  • Total voters
    196

fpitas

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So I am the unfortunate owner of these speakers.

I bought them based on all the positive reviews on YouTube when they were first released (note to self - never believe a word that was said by those reviewers again). My hope was that due to their supposed 11-ohm impedance I could make an era-appropriate system with a Quad 33/303 I am going to refurbish.

In case some might wonder if the one I sent Amir might be a bad sample, I can say that I measured both with a DATS v3 and they both have nearly identical impedance/phase measurements.

Now I have a dilemma, what to do with the speakers since I have them, and don't feel comfortable selling them with the terrible impedance dip.

The only redeeming quality is the cabinet.

Do I replace the speaker drivers? I don't mind spending a little bit of money to make them into something decent.
Passive with high impedance would be great so I could still pair them with the Quad.

Or I could make them active, so that I could plug a record player direct into them.

I also see that I could adjust the response with EQ, but that wouldn't solve the 1.7ohm problem...

Any advice would be much appreciated!
The modern class D amps won't mind the 1.7 ohms. Then you can EQ them to something more reasonable.
 

OldTimer

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No, not really, unless it's car audio, where you're often voltage limited.
The one that I knew from high-school:
V = i x R

R is the Ohm. The lower the impedance, the more current a speaker draws for a given voltage. This means a lower impedance speaker can potentially deliver more power.
 

fpitas

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The one that I knew from high-school:
V = i x R

R is the Ohm. The lower the impedance, the more current a speaker draws for a given voltage. This means a lower impedance speaker can potentially deliver more power.
Correct. But power is cheap these days. I'd think if you bought these speakers, affording a good amp is not a burden.
 

fpitas

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All those LS3/5A and Class D amp lovers. How many on this earth of that combination can there be?

That said, a good practical suggestion.:)
Given lemons, make lemonade ;)
 

NHL99

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This is a hobby. You test, sometimes a gold nugget, sometimes on the other side of the spectrum.:)

....You win some, lose some
It's all the same to me

The pleasure is to play
Makes no difference what you say...
meme.png
 

DanielT

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Heh heh, superb.:D

But nowadays we can skip some of the chances that are indicated in the song via ASR. If we're lucky, the thing has been tested, measured. At ASR or at some other place. Erin's Audio Corner for example.

I would NEVER buy a new speaker that I haven't seen tests, measurements on. Used HiFi another thing. You figure out quite quickly what is a reasonable purchase price and what you can sell the stuff for. It's not so much about money, more about time and interest.
 

ROOSKIE

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Looks a lot cheaper than the original type, using electrolytic caps to set time constants is never a marker of quality... They may even be going a bit dry, losing value, and pushing the Xover point up, resulting in more out-of-band driver distortion. Pure speculation on my part, though. From memory crossover impedance can dramatically drop if unloaded at certain frequencies so my bet would be on those electros causing that shocking 1.7 ohm impedance dip.
Isn't the placement of both coils in the top right corner also pretty bad from a xover designer's point of view? I know it's probably the least of the concerns, but still.
Good spot! It's pretty ugly to look at. Usually when serious class B amplifiers are designed with two channels on the same board the output/stability chokes are oriented at 90 degrees from each other to avoid transformer action at HF inducing crosstalk.
Hopefully those caps are not already bad. These particular Sound Artist models have only been around a few years. Of course the caps could be old stock.

I am used to thinking about air core. This chart below is about them & so is this link to Troels site http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/coils.htm. I believe metal cores are similar in thinking but obviously are usually oriented flat on the board due to one long dimension.
Both the air and the Metal core inductors are really affected by nearby metals, aluminum can lower inductance and steel and other strong magnet material can increase it. A cast aluminum basket could affect if the inductor was very close for example.
Generally this effect has been shown to be less than 10%, so it is an issue but not enormous.
1700843147006.png

Also troels site
 
Last edited:

ROOSKIE

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So I am the unfortunate owner of these speakers.

I bought them based on all the positive reviews on YouTube when they were first released (note to self - never believe a word that was said by those reviewers again). My hope was that due to their supposed 11-ohm impedance I could make an era-appropriate system with a Quad 33/303 I am going to refurbish.

In case some might wonder if the one I sent Amir might be a bad sample, I can say that I measured each in the pair I have with a DATS v3 and both speakers had nearly identical impedance/phase measurements.

Now I have a dilemma, what to do with the speakers since I have them, and don't feel comfortable selling them with the terrible impedance dip.

The only redeeming quality is the cabinet.

Do I replace the speaker drivers? I don't mind spending a little bit of money to make them into something decent.
Passive with high impedance would be great so I could still pair them with the Quad.

Or I could make them active, so that I could plug a record player direct into them.

I also see that I could adjust the response with EQ, but that wouldn't solve the 1.7ohm problem...

Any advice would be much appreciated!

These have relatively excellent directivity.
A good job with your PEQ will make them into very decent speakers.
If you have PEQ these can be tamed very nicely. Actually they should sound excellent at modest output levels(desktop, bedroom levels @ least) and would be easy to tailor to taste.

The low impedance is a thing. Get a Crown pro amp. It will spank them and never have an issue and the costs on the street are so low for those.
Or really 8ohms at 150watts and high SPL on a 150watt amp is harder than 2 or 10 @ 2ohm and modest play back levels.

You could also redo the crossover but since the directivity is great I'd rather just keep as-is and then PEQ. If you make changes then you don't have the Klipple data.

Your DATSV3 did not show the impedance dip? Can you cut and past your graphs?

Otherwise sell em' cheap and be done. In any case post those impedance graphs.
 
Last edited:

fordiebianco

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I had a pair of Sound Artist SC8B (the coaxial ones) which I loved dearly, particularly for symphonic classical music. Unfortunately my SO hated their looks, so I sold them last week. The poor review by Amir makes me think that Sound Artist might not be the stand out HiFi outfit that I believed them to be. Oh well, I liked them. Psychoacoustics and such...
 

BadAudioAdvice

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Your DATSV3 did not show the impedance dip? Can you cut and past your graphs?

Apologies if my wording wasn't clear in my earlier post - both speakers tested with DATS showed the impedance dip.

I was trying to say that in case some forum members thought that perhaps the single speaker I sent Amir was somehow a bad-sample, I tested both of the speakers in my pair with DATS prior to sending and both measured very similar.
 

Stokdoof

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“I got a kick out of that "CE" mark. What exactly did they test?”

I think it required by NEN and or IEC to have insulated terminals.
 

audio_tony

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“I got a kick out of that "CE" mark. What exactly did they test?”

I think it required by NEN and or IEC to have insulated terminals.
I said the same - see post #12

 

Stokdoof

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I said the same - see post #12

Your version describes it much better, thanks
 

phoenixdogfan

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So a cheap and nasty knock off. Any version of the LS 3/5a will not come up to a well done contemporary mini monitor, so if someone is looking for an optimized product, they should not be spending their money on any LS 3/5a, because the design is antiquated. The people making this speaker designed it by ear with 1970's quality parts, so it will never be as good as any number of well thought out contemporary bookshelf speakers sold today. Not nearly.

However, if someone wants to own the speaker as a colector's item, it makes no sense to buy anything like the Soundartist. Those speakers have to be considered as cheap repicas, and nothing more. It's doubtful if they are even using the same parts, particularly the Kef Bextrene woofer and T27 tweeter, so not at all authetic.

Best to look for the speaker that Amir reviewed which was a Rogers unit manufactured in the late 1970's and then just refresh everything on the crossover boards with the same original valued parts, to bring everything back to spec. That would be the best way to own a piece of High End history if that's your thing.
 

sam_adams

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If anyone has the DIY spirit to construct a pair of these, Falcon Acoustics in the UK has everything needed for such a project.

 
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