LS3/5A & Pass Labs

I am looking for new speakers to go with my Pass Aleph 3, Aleph P, and 9X16X8'celing room...concrete walls. I found a used shop that sells used Spendor LS3/5A speakers $550-$650. I wonder what you all think of this combo in terms of musicality, sound volume, sound staging, speaker placement etc...

superb pairing.
I had the opportunity to borrow an Aleph 3 for over a month and thought it sounded fantastic. I experienced some impedance mismatching with my tube preamp, but the Aleph P should be a perfect mate. The speakers I used were ProAc Response 1SCs. I think the Spendors would be a great match as well.
I have the same Aleph pair and use the Silverline Sonatinas, original, Avalon Style. Great combo.
The used shop in question has several (4-6) pairs of LS3/5A and the prices vary as stated above. Is there something that I should look for when buying these speakers. I am in Hong Kong, and the shop in question is not the type to give a refund after you part with your money. I think they will hook it up to a system to show that sound comes out and that's it. Some of the speakers have newer looking mid-drivers, and some of them...well...just look a little older with the grills off. Just wondering if you have an opinion on this cuz you guys seem to be LS3/5a vets.

Could you please tell me what my amp will do if asked for 15 ohms as opposed to 8 ohms? Be louder or quieter.

Previous speakers I have owned with this combo were the proac 2.5 and the JM mini utopias. I liked the smoother vocals and deeper soundstaging of the proacs and the way the cymbals sounded with the JMs. How will the Spendors compare in soundstaging, smoothness in vocals, and cymbal sparkle? I am assuming that the Spendors will reach the same volume of the as the proacs. Please tell me if this is not right.

ls 3/5's by spendor,rogers,kef or harbeth are classics. in some ways, one of the best of all time.
Will your dealer allow you to try the speakers in your own room and gears? I think this is the best way to find out.

I know a lot of people prefer PP tube amps with these speakers, generally. But you may just cut it given the tube-like sonic character of Aleph3. Report to us your findings.

I own the Chartwell LS3/5a circa 1978 in Rosewood Finish. They are in original condition and still sound like voice coils of God! Before you even think of buying them you should check out the website dedicated to the LS3/5a's and you will be able to educate yourself before you part with your money. The website also has a Yahoo Group listing of which I am a member. In the group there are many LS3/5a lovers from Hong Kong and they know the speakers inside out. Some of them own more than 20 pairs of LS3/5a speakers and all connected at the same time! They are so into it that I would not be surprised if one of them came up with the history of the speaker if only the serial number is provided to them.

If you have not yet purchased them I urge you to pay a visit to the site maintained by a very nice guy, Paul Whatton (the speaker designer's son). You can also try to become the member of the Yahoo Group mailing list (membership of 1157 as of today) where you can specifically ask for guidance and suggestions from members. They are nice folks who basically are true audiphiles and would not hesitate to help a fellow member who is interested in buying the speakers.

The website address:
I heard the older Harbeth HL-P3s driven by one of the Pass-designed Class A amps 8-9 yrs. ago, and it was one of the most amazing reproducters of the human voice I had heard till that point. I ended up going instead w/ larger Spendors and tubes, but I would think that this would be a fantastic combo.
Thanks everyone.

I have looked at the site...good stuff.

On one hand, the site makes me think that the LS3/5A is perfect for me because I want really great soundstaging and liquid vocals.

On the other hand, it did say that the 15ohm version would work with a 25watt amp but the 11ohm version might not be the perfect match. I have a 30 watt amp. Might this be cutting it a little close?

Last concern. I must admit, I am a bit of a bass hound. The people that I have talked to on and off in HK say that getting a sub to integrate well with main speakers is almost impossible. Their view is that a sub is only to be used with home theater. My goal with a sub is to get good spacial cues with *delicate* music, rock out when rock is present. I don't want the bass to take over, just to compliment and support.

My room is quite small, so I think that I may just be happy with the LS3/5as and the bass they produce in a small room.

I really want to get in touch with the people from Hong Kong/the Yahoo Group mailing list (membership of 1157). How exactly do I do that?

Thanks a lot.
Its very simple, when you visit the LS3/5a website click on the link which says Yahoo Group Mailing List which will take you to the page on YahooGroups server, on the page you will find the button "Join Goup" click that and fill the form on the next page and submit it. You will be notified by the Group Moderator about your being inducted into the group. Once you are the member of the group you can post messages. Response from the moderator may take a day or two but have patience you will eventually get a response. You must have a Yahoo ID to become a memeber, if you have one no problem but if not just follow the instructions when you try to join the group. It is a very easy and simple process with may take only a few minutes.

Coming back to your message, I do not think it is as simple as someone saying the subwoofer is impossible to integrate with speakers. Many fellow audiogoners are enjoying it. First of all one must accept the fact that none of the equipment we use is perfect, on top of that none of the rooms that we have equipment in is perfect, next comes our own hearing which as you may know is also not perfect, infact as we age it deteriorates. What everyone is actually doing is compromising on many many variables and tries his or her level best to make things acceptable.

One must experiment on his or her own and find the most acceptable set of components. I may like certain brand of speaker but my fellow audiogoner thinks otherwise and vice versa, that does not mean the equipment is good or bad, it is different sounding to each of us and our personal preferences come in the way. That's what makes this hobby so enjoyable and that is why we all come here to share each others experience.

As for amps, I have an older NAD which is just 25 watts per channel and is in service with my computer rig presently connected with a pair of Mission speakers. I have used this amp with the LS3/5a's and I thought the sound was very good. The Missions did not even come close to what the LS3/5a could do. On the other hand I have a large 300 watts Perreaux amp which I also used with this speakers and again I really enjoyed listening to it, there was a difference no doubt but the 25 watter did the job admirably. So if you have a 30 watt amp it should work. By the way which amp you currently own, if you do not mind my asking?

I realised you did not get an answer to your question: about 15 Ohms and 8 Ohms. All amp specifications generally are quoted for 8 Ohms into certain watts say 50 watts RMS into 8 Ohms. If you plug in the speakers with a 4 Ohm rating the output ideally should double meaning 100 watts. If a 15 Ohm speaker is connected the output becomes half, 25 watts. This is a very crude way of explaining but I hope you get the idea. You can always do a search on google and read about how amplifiers work and and what the impedence means. In real world there are always surprises

I look forward to your messages on the LS3/5a forums.
Quadophile and all,

I guess that means that I can expect to get about 93db from this set up.

I signed up for yahoo, so I'll see you over there soon.

I guess the reason that I am interested in the LS3/5a at all is because I was out looking at tube gear and I hear this amazing sound in a room that must have been at least 15x20. Obviously, it was a showroom and there were speakers everywhere. The soundstage was set very far back making it seem like the room was a whole lot bigger...what we definitely need more of here in HK. The volume wasn't very loud...just comfortable and the bass was just fine. When I looked to see which speakers were playing...I was entirely fooled. It said Harbeth on the back, and it only had a little banana terminal for the speaker wire.

You better believe that I wrote down the model number on those speakers .... I don't know the model of the amps that they were using, but they were long slender silver Audio Note mono amps. Wow what an impression...and of course they were not for sale.

After finding out that Harbeth is not the only maker of the LS3/5a, and finding a source for the speakers, I hope my Pass Aleph 3 amp can come close to doing what the Audio Notes did.

I do think I am going to research a little more before I part with my money. Plus I have to start thinking about buying stands.

One question, if I do use a sub in the future, where should I have it crossed over?

You may check out this thread which I started and has all the details you may like to read about.

You amp is fine and should give you excellent sound from the Ls/35a. You will be amazed how good some of the female singers sound when heard on these speakers.

By the way, when you are on the forum look out for posts from Joe Ki, I consider him to be a walking bible for LS3/5a's. Infact I have never come across anyone so passionate about any equipment as he is. His reputation is such that if a mosquito is sitting on the LS3/5a's and just batting an eyelid Jo Ki (KI Architect) senses there is something wrong about the sound. An amazing guy!

On the site you will find a database of Amps being used by the members. This information will be very interesting for you so do check it out as well.
I have since moved over to the recomended LS3/5a site...I'll let you all know what happens if I end up getting the speakers.

Over and out.

What about getting a new pair from STIRLING BROADCAST?
I bought a pair from Stirling two years ago. excellent service. remember the ls3/5as take a lot of running in, so don't be disappointed when you take them out of the box.
They make both standard cabinets and reference ones. The reference ones are mabe from birch ply and are a copy of the BBC 001/2 prototype pair.
all the ls 3/5's have the same refined musical quality. i would think the sterlings would be no exception. it is still relitively easy to find harbeth,rogers and spendor. kef's are maybe a bit more rare.
What about chartwell?
I have the Chartwell's 15Ohms and a friend of mine has Rogers 11 Ohms and another one Rogers 15 Ohms. I have in my own system compared the Rogers 11 Ohms and my Chartwells, although strictly speaking both the speakers more or less had similar sound but if one goes deep down into the nitty gritty of things than there is a difference between the two, at least to my ears.

I found Rogers to be able to handle the Rock better than Chartwells and had a bit punchier bass.

The Chartwells on the other hand were smoother at the top end and had better resolving capability when it came to the female vocals as well as slightly deeper bass. (not in volume).

Now when it comes down to personal preference one needs to consider one of the two. I personally prefer the sound of Chartwells.

By the way Chartwells are 15 Ohms
Regarding integrating a sub- with a little time and effort with a sound meter and test cd you can do it nicely. Using a crossover and an active sub means less work for your 30 wpc amp since it will not see frequencies below your crossover point. You can also insert a relatively inexpensive DSP-based parametric equalizer between the crossover and sub to quell any problem bass frequencies that you identify with the meter/test cd.
Using this approach with an aleph P, aleph 30, bryston crossover and REL subs worked great for me.

Last night I finally got a pair of Harbeths in black. They are in great condition...much better than the stuff in the shops. The nice guy that I bought them from gave me a quick demo, and I was ready to go.

Now all I have to do is find some good stands.... It's kinda funny, but they sound fantastic just sitting on my hardwood floor.

Foundation Designer and Music Tools seem to be the only two choices in Hong Kong, and Foundation seems to be heavily favored.

Thanks everyone for your advice. I'll get back to you all when I have it properly set up.
Really look forward to your letting us know how they sound. I will be watching this thread closely.

If I can assist you in any way while you set it up, it will be my pleasure.

Happy listening and tweaking!
I finally got the 50lb Foundation Designer II 24" speaker stands yesterday. I was listening until 2am last night. I have tried three main speker positions.

1. 4'from back wall/toed in/1'from side walls
2. 1'from back wall/toed in/1'from side walls
3. 4'from back wall/no toe in/3' from side walls

Option three sounds the best by farrrrr. The stands that I got come with pretty serious spikes and because I have hardwood floors, I have not put them in yet. I think I am going to drill some dents into some coins so that I can put them under the spikes.

The performance so far: The vocals are the syrup on my pancakes. I know that there is no perfect speaker, but man does this combo fill you up if you are hungry for great vocals.

I really want to get a Rel Strata III to pick up where the bass leaves off on this system. I know that there are entire bass lines that I am missing.

Things are good though, and they are getting better and better.

Glad you are enjoying the "liquid midrange", these speakers are very hard to beat in this particular category, unless you spend $,$$$'s.

"No toe in" will surely give you a very wide soundstage, I always thought these speakers should be set up only this way.

REL Strata does wonders to this little gem, I hope you do decide to go that route.

What vocal music are you listening to now?

You should listen to Diana Krall album "The look of love" on this as it sounds wonderful, especially S'Wonderful (Track 1). Let me recall from memory what sounds really good on them:

The Girl from Ipanema - Getz/Gilbarto
Most of Ella Fitzgerald
Making Music-Zakir Hussain
Most of Solo Piano Music

I am forgetting many but will come back and let you know
Well, I got a REL strata III sub about a week ago. I set it up exactly as the manual states, but I am still playing with the volume and crossover positions. At first I set it up where I couldn't really hear the difference with or without the sub. Then I set it up so loud that it could really rock. Now I am just toning it down a notch every other day. I usually have it crossed over just under 56hz, but I still feel as if there is unnatural aumentation sometimes, so I cross it over lower 56-38hz. I am guessing that the REL has a very slow roll off because there is so much to be heard even when you cross it off at 22 hz.

I also find the bass to be a little mushy in comparison to what proac 2.5 gave me and what ety headphones give me. I know that thoes are not exactly what some might consider reference equipment for bass, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that I occasionally have mushy bass.

I think if I get a real CD player one of these days, that might just clear itself up because the sub is probably just reacting to the signal that I am giving it.


Good to know you got the REL, I can assure you it will gel with the speakers one day, you just have to be a bit patient. As for crossover I suggest you set is lower than 30 Hz, I have set it up at 25 (A3) and it just sounds fine. You need to make sure that your sub it properly set as far as it max bass is concerned. The sound from the sub will depend on the quality of signal fed to it, if you have any weak links you should change the very component.