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complin

Rogers LS5/8 Active speakers

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I'm interested in hearing from anyone who does, or previously has owned a set of these BBC monitor speakers. They were supposedly the pinnacle of the BBC engineering group before it was disbanded.

I understand that a pair were once exhibited at the Wam show and were commented on favorably by many who heard them. However; having done some research on various web sources they seem as though they could be a bit of a marmite speaker, some listeners saying they are the pinnacle of the the BBC design philosophy, while others saying they have bloated bass, rolled off highs and by modern standards are outclassed. I understand both Spendor (??) Harbeth (40) and Graham (5/8)  went on to produce speakers based on the LS5/8 design.

I'm sure there will be several Wamers on here who can point out the good/bad points of these speakers and their respective sounds from first hand experience.

Image result for Rogers LS5/8

Edited by complin

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I think it's correct to say the previous LS5/5 was actually the monitoring pinnacle, as the 5/8 and 5/9 were deliberately designed and more importantly VOICED, to have a character purely for the BBC's needs and nobody elses. these two models are NOT neutral in any shape or form, both offering a laid back (up to 5db) upper midband, pushing perspectives well behind the plane of the speakers - and as I understand it, this is a deliberate final tuning in the original neutral design as published in the BBC design papers. Modern active monitors if anything, push the upper mids forward a touch, so the BBC eforts do sound very 'different' from the norm - look up the 5/9 revierw in HFN or do a search on the Harbeth user group for plots of both. The Garah 5/9 is similar but maybe the tweeter is better integrated than the Roger's original was, leaving a mid bass hump instead of a suckout...

I mention the 5/9 as more was measured outside of the BBC on these and it's acknowledged that these were a small 'version' of the 5/8 and balanced to mimic them in most ways. In a more practical vein, if you can get them well off the ground and well away from walls and so on, they may well perform very well indeed - I mean, Pro-Ac traded on a sucked out midrange for many years I remember and everyone praised the (over-egged) deep soundstage this response shape gives. I can vouch first-hand that this is what the 5/9 does when used this way and it follows the larger model will do the same in a suitable medium to large room.

A quick word on the amps - Quad especially. The 405 is a bit cramped in stock form and shoehorning the active crossover in may well make them difficult to service. The larger caps used by Quad back then weren't, shall we say, the longest lived, so any original amp packs will need thorough checking for leaky supply caps at least. Please ensure that you budget for an amp pack service, especially if it's a Quad based one. Not sure how Chord amps age and the expensive bling outside means nothing to me, but the innards are also cramped a bit and may need careful checking and certain components replacing as reliability updates if nothing else.

At the end of the day, it's up to you, but just 'cos there's a 'BBC monika attached to these speakers does NOT guarantee they're going to be good sounding (domestic listening pleasure) away from the environments they were designed to be used in. This especially applies to a '12" two way' as Spendor discovered when the SA3 was around...

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@DSJR You seem to be saying these are not in-your-face sort of sound and if thats correct then thats what i'm looking for. I find many modern speakers too bright and analytical which makes them very tiring to listen to over a listening session.

From what I understand it was not necessarily a conscious decision for the specification to be changed when it went into production but that substitution of components to reduce costs had that unfortunate consequence that some say were not questioned at the time due to the culture of the BBC being a public sector org.

Yes I understand the 5/9's were designed to have a similar sound signature to the larger 5/8. However; its well know that the bass/mis driver has both reliability and aging problems so have steered clear of these, especially give their current ebay prices!  

I'm not familiar with ProAc sound that much as I have never owned a pair or heard any in a suitable listening environment

Edited by complin

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11 hours ago, complin said:

I find many modern speakers too bright and analytical which makes them very tiring to listen to over a listening session.

I think that an S100 or SP100 would be a better bet. I had the SP9/1s and they were very good speakers. Only sold them due to a move abroad.

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Good pairs of LS5/8 and 5/9 are like hens teeth. They were studio monitors and were caned. Spendor are a better bet as more were used domestically.  

I looked for years for a mint pair of 5/9 and never found a set.  I don’t now believe that there are more than a couple in existence. 

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On 11/01/2019 at 20:26, tuga said:

I think that an S100 or SP100 would be a better bet. I had the SP9/1s and they were very good speakers. Only sold them due to a move abroad.

These are all three way speakers where as the 5/8's are two way

I'm not sure anyway how these or the 5/8's would measure up to my go to reference speakers which are the Quad ESL's. In many respects I have found very very few speakers indeed which can equal electrostatics in many respects. 

On 12/01/2019 at 00:12, HectorHughMunro said:

Good pairs of LS5/8 and 5/9 are like hens teeth. They were studio monitors and were caned. Spendor are a better bet as more were used domestically.  

I looked for years for a mint pair of 5/9 and never found a set.  I don’t now believe that there are more than a couple in existence. 

Well I suppose they were primarily designed as working speakers for the BBC and being 35+ years old are bound to have had a fair amount of use. I suppose the dual concentric Tannoys fall much into the same category as many were used in professional applications too. I have been advised by Derek Hughes to be extremely careful of buying 5/9's due to the known issues with bass/mid drivers failing.

There is also an option of the Rogers Studio 2 I suppose?

Edited by complin

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15 minutes ago, complin said:

These are all three way speakers where as the 5/8's are two way

What's wrong with a 3-way? I see only advantages.

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1 hour ago, tuga said:

Derek Hughes designed the Graham Audio LS5/8.

Maybe you can find a used pair there one on eBay not too long ago.

More likely to find a Harbeth 40.x I would have thought. However if spending that sort of money might prefer to spend it on a new Quad  Quad ESL-18X

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 Hello. 
Although I have the passive version (filter made to measure) of the LS5/8, as you can see in other posts, and the BC3 of Spendor, both models the best of its range at the moment, I can say that have a totally opposite sound. 
Particularly I prefer the LS by its unbeatable middle zone and its ease to amplify against a much more muffled and difficult sound with the amplification thanks to its 4 tracks and a large complex filter. Aesthetically the BC3 is, for my taste, beautiful and with a fine and elegant design against in this section of the Rogers which is rough and with some forms difficult to assimilate. 
Some acquaintances, where I live, coincide in describing Spendor as off and lacking "life ". What is also known as "sweet and not tired listening to long hours".
It is true that in my case, to this day, I have placed in the second team the Spendor instead of Rogers... but it is more an aesthetic issue since the LS5/8 is, to my ear, well above the BC3.
 

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Edited by alpina

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3 hours ago, complin said:

Introduces issues like integrating three drivers, likely complex crossover, potential issues of phase and timing with multi driver systems.

Have you been able to identify the sonic disadvantages of "complex crossover, potential issues of phase and timing with multi driver systems"?

What if the advantages outweight tose downsides you refer to?

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5 hours ago, complin said:

Well I suppose they were primarily designed as working speakers for the BBC and being 35+ years old are bound to have had a fair amount of use. I suppose the dual concentric Tannoys fall much into the same category as many were used in professional applications too. I have been advised by Derek Hughes to be extremely careful of buying 5/9's due to the known issues with bass/mid drivers failing.

There is also an option of the Rogers Studio 2 I suppose?

Rogers Studio 1 and 2 are underrated. Quite a few Spendor BC1 and SP1 were used domestically.  There’s basically only one chap who does decent BC1 bass driver restorations - details to be found on the Yahoogroups Spendor group if he’s still operating. I prefer the BC1 to the SP1 but the SP1 are more accurate. SP1 are very robust.

LS5/12 are interesting if you can find a good set. I haven’t owned a set but have heard them and they’re excellent.  

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On 12/01/2019 at 00:12, HectorHughMunro said:

Good pairs of LS5/8 and 5/9 are like hens teeth. They were studio monitors and were caned. Spendor are a better bet as more were used domestically.  

I looked for years for a mint pair of 5/9 and never found a set.  I don’t now believe that there are more than a couple in existence. 

My 5/9's (ex non-BBC editing suite and in pretty good nick) have been compared to both Harbeth 30 and 30.1 and they're not at all so far apart as to suggest the 5/9's are old and/or faulty! The M30 has a general down-tilt in the response when the 5/9 brings the tweeter up after the upper mid dip, but the 30.1 is almost 'flat' I gather and certainly sounds it - NEVER rough though as the 'Radial' driver is creamy smooth in this application - the 5/9's sound a little dirtier in direct comparison, but not on their own in free space in the high stands theyneed. My 5/9's will be up for sale when I can find some decent boxes for them.

I also compared my 5/9's with some 'rescued' Spendor SP2/3's with rejuvenated driver surrounds (they need regular treatment with a particular brake fluid as per the Yahoo-group recommendations and recommended by Derek Hughes, the designer). I found them thick and lush toned and hopeless with well recorded rock and jazz.

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