ls3/5a - are they really that good?



i keep seeing them sell for decent amounts of money too. i am sure they are very good speakers and their reputation well deserved however, you have to wonder if they are so good why are so many people selling them?


Well-known member
They are wonderful in a particular kind of way, most notably in their mid-range and treble performance. This makes them wonderful for vocal and operatic music but less effective for driving rock music - the bass, whilst very musical, is in relatively short supply compared to more modern boxes. They are an intrinsically musical sounding speaker and very accurate tonally which, of course, is what made them so popular at the BBC. IMO though they are surpassed by more modern designs and much of the crazy buying and selling is more down to nostalgia and their reputation.


New member
Sep 1, 2007
Visit site
The BBC designed the LS3/5A as a monitor speaker. As such it is superb. It is designed to have a very natural tonal balance with particular reference to the human voice (as you would expect for monitoring radio and outside broadcasts).

The manufacturing of the speaker was licensed out to a number of speaker manufactures including Rogers/Chartwell/Ram. The conditions in the license were very tight with regard to spec tolerance. The idea being that one speaker from one manufacture would/should sound like another speaker from another manufacture. In reality this was not the case, the Rogers and Chartwell versions acknowledged by most aficionados as being the best sounding.

"Are they that good?"- my own memory of them is a tonally neutral sound. The treble being particularly pleasant. Because of their size, they lack bass and benefit greatly from a subwoofer . To get that neutrality, the speakers have a very complex crossover which tends to eat up power. The speaker aren't very efficient. They also suffer from a loss of dynamics with the loudest sounds not much louder then the quieter sounds (as compared to a modern speaker). Not a problem for a monitor role but some may not like it in the context of a modern hifi.

The speakers are regarded as classics and in their time they were very good. However when you compare them to modern designs with the latest components/ materials and manufacturing techniques you can hear their limitations. I still like them but not in a primary main system.

Take a look at :

People are generally selling them because the SH value is always increasing (the Japanese can't get enough of them). The speaker may therefore be a good investment.