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Stirling Broadcast LS3/5a V3 Review.

Discussion in 'classic' started by Martyn Miles, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Why would Falcon's sales method necessarily affect Stirling Broadcast's pricing structure?
  2. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Apparently both versions will remain on sale. The £500 price increase pays for the only significant difference in content- the bigger, higher spec’d crossover board designed by Derek Hughes. A canny marketing move and aficionados will I’m sure pay for the enhancements.

  3. Stuart Frazer

    Stuart Frazer pfm Member

    Crossed wires here. I'll get my coat!

    However, I do think Falcon moved their sales model from direct to distributor.....
    Brian and ToTo Man like this.
  4. regafan

    regafan pfm Member

    Happy to be corrected. I remember buying several pairs a few years ago and they were £900 to £1200 but time moves on.
    One dealer has an online price of £1698 for V2 and £2198 fpr V3. Both basic finishes. premium finish adds £200 to each.

    I was under the impression V2 had been discontinued? Both models available is a good thing in my opinion.
  5. BigBlue2020

    BigBlue2020 New Member

    They both have the same response to meet BBC approval surely? I know it's not checked by BBC any more but still...

    I recall hearing somewhere that the BBC Licensing is now, ahem, less particular than it used to be
  6. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley pfm Member

  7. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Interesting, but not really that relevant.
    I’ve heard too many ‘pretenders to the throne’, both commercial and home-brewed.
    Others may disagree...
  8. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley pfm Member

    I thought the Falcon Acoustics version were supposed to be the real deal? (Hence why I posted the link)
  9. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    The Falcon version exactly conforms to the BBC spec. so in fact you are correct.
    Or are you ?
    According to the U.K’s LS3/5a Guru ( Ken Kessler, not me ) the Rogers Classic is pretty close, if
    not an equal.
    Then again, Ken said the Falcon ‘Kingswood Warren’ version was the best LS3/5a he’s ever heard.
    The world of the LS3/5a isn’t a simple one...
    Fatmarley likes this.
  10. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    I’ve had my new Stirling V3s up and running for an evening and a day now. I echo Martyn’s observations on their superb performance. In fact, you need read no further to get the gist...

    But if you care to read on:

    To my ear, the V3s have a tremendous combination of depth, scale and delicacy. My primary comparators are my 10+ year old Harbeth P3-ES2s, and earlier experience with the Stirling V2s, brief experience with the newish Graham LS3/5s. Although I can compare directly with the Harbeths, comparison with the V2s or Grahams is indirect. That is, I know how I rated the V2s against the Harbeths a couple of years ago, the Grahams within the last year, and how the V3s compare to those Harbeths now. So, take my remarks on a FWIW and IMHO basis.

    A little more context, so folks can assess whether my experience seems at all pertinent to them. Firstly, I have never heard any of the original made-for-BBC LS3/5a’s from the 1970s or ‘80s. I’m of an age when I might have done, especially if I’d lived in a larger centre, say London or New York. There were at least a few pair in my hometown; an audiophile friend had an early pair of Rogers LS3/5a’s which he sold off decades ago. I remember seeing a pair or two of strange looking early JR149s in record shops and such, but these speakers were not on my radar in those, my student years. No Google or online forums for easy access to such info then. I had some nice Mission bookshelf speakers, followed by Totem Sttafs when I started working...

    I have had the new Graham LS3/5s in house for a trial. My son has inherited the Graham LS5/9s I had for some months, and I owned the Harbeth Compact 7-3 for awhile. All fine speakers that gave me great pleasure. The larger ones didn’t quite suit my 3.5 meter x 5.5 meter den, at least to my taste. I know others are happy with speakers the size of American refrigerators in smaller spaces than that.

    Back to the Stirling V3s. Relative to the experience I’ve outlined, they are exceptionally revealing of layers of inner detail and tonal shadings. By ‘inner detail’, I mean to include the low level background instruments in a recording, that can easily be lost amongst the more prominent instruments, or excessive bass. That is to say, low-level detail such as plucked higher-note strings, or soft percussion elements - brush on cymbal and so on, all are retrieved beautifully and with conviction. The V3s seem to open up subtle layers of musical sound in a more fully realized 3 dimensional space than I’ve heard before. Formerly, I’d noted that the earlier V2s had greater delicacy in the fine detail of higher notes than my Harbeths. That quality is all the more so with the V3s. At the time of comparison with the earlier V2s, I said the Harbeths had more satisfying weight and physical presence. The reverse is true with the V3s; they eclipse the Harbeths in that regard, at least for my ears, my music, my room.

    The rendering of the human voice is generally a big part of the reason the LS3/5a genre maintains some popularity. That’s what does it for me; women’s voices, often backed by acoustic instruments are a big part of my pleasure in music. My old favourites - Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, Mary Black, Jacintha, Eva Cassidy - just an off-the-cuff sampling - are rendered in all their distinctive glory....
    I have to say that from my own, admittedly limited experience, the V3s extend the boundaries of what a small speaker can convey. Without excess, the bass is profound but exceptionally well-defined. It is difficult to reconcile the apparent weight and depth of the sound with their physical size. Whether this actually translates into measurably greater decibels at lower frequencies, I cannot say. It may just be a damn clever illusion, which is fine with me.

    To clarify a point raised a few posts back; the Stirling website indicates that the production of the V2 continues; at least for now the V3 is an addition to the family, not a replacement. For North American Fishies, I was able to direct order from Stirling, in the absence of distribution over here. The speakers reached me 6 days after the order was placed.

    I’ve stuck my neck out a bit, based on a short time with the V3s. A measure of my enthusiasm...will it last? I’ll keep you posted...

  11. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Well Paul, what can I say...

    I’ll just repeat what I said earlier, they are the best LS3/5as I’ve ever heard.

    Your enthusiasm will last, and grow.

    In the relatively few days I’ve owned mine I am still ‘hearing’ what these speakers can do.
    You will, too.
    Panderos likes this.
  12. herb

    herb music live

    Ken Kessler liked some LS3/5as stacked, one on top of the other in stereo pairs with a r2r tape deck source. I am intrigued by that ...
  13. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    So that's why the Far East Collectors buy so many.
    One of them will soon have three LS3/5as on each side...
    herb likes this.
  14. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    That’s a most informative write up Paul- I can echo some of your own experiences too. I found that bigger BBC type speakers, in my case Spendor SP1, Harbeth SHL5 and HL-K6ES do need room to breath. Even the smaller K6ES was overbearing in a small- medium sized living room. A bit over full in the upper bass.

    Then, the first impression I had on hearing the Falcon LS3/5a was ‘fast and crisp’ which took me by surprise. After an hour I thought the design is greater than the sum of its parts- it’s an excellent reproducer and a true monitor. I’m amazed I’m describing an LS3/5a as sounding ‘fast and crisp’ because that was not my impression from owning two previous pairs of Rogers 25-30 years ago. I’d have called those nice sounding/ warm/ likeable / great mid band/ inoffensive.

    My first ones were powered by a Quad 34/ 405.2 set up and my current ones are on the end of a Devialet which leads me to conclude the 3/5a is still in 2020, a very capable design. I had believed the sound I’d experienced back then was down to the Bextrene cone and the ordinary tweeter when in fact they were reproducing the character of what was being fed to them. The absolute limitations are still there- real insensitivity, limited dynamics and power handling before they compress but within that small window, they’re still a very astute piece of engineering with real insight into a recording or live feed from a broadcasting studio. A classic in other words.
    Panderos, misterc6 and Martyn Miles like this.
  15. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    Click to expand...
    “ ...I can echo some of your own experiences too. I found that bigger BBC type speakers, in my case Spendor SP1, Harbeth SHL5 and HL-K6ES do need room to breath. Even the smaller K6ES was overbearing in a small- medium sized living room. A bit over full in the upper bass.”

    Yes, that’s what I was trying to say. You put it better, Decameron. A ‘better speaker’ isn’t always right for the room we have.
  16. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Of course the thing we’re not talking about is the LS3/5a ( or other minis like the S3/5R) in context. Someone new to these speakers could read views expressed on forums, buy a pair then get a bit of a shock- you hear everything but in miniature. It was brought home to me listening to another pink fish’s giant Tannoys when he said he’d like to hear LS3/5as- I didn’t say it out loud but the question went through my mind, which was “are you really sure?”. I can’t remember who the hifi writer was but the expression ‘ a good big ‘un will beat a good small ‘un” stuck in my mind.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 7:27 AM
  17. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    ‘TheDecameron’ mentioned the bigger BBC type speakers needing room to ‘breathe.’
    I have lived with BC1s for forty odd years, also with Harbeth HL1s briefly.

    Pulled out in the room ( on trolley stands ) they have sounded excellent, never overbearing.
    The only adjustment required ( more so with the Spendors ) is some bass cut.
    My Audiolab 8000A has worked well in this respect.
    I’ll admit I would like to hear my Spendors in a bigger room, but as I’m unlikely to move
    house again it’s unlikely.

    I do like ‘TheDecameron’s’ experience of the Falcon LS3/5as. ‘Fast & Crisp’ is my memory of
    them. As I said, a bit bright but it may well have been the music.
  18. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    Yes, context is important to this discussion. My comments presuppose some experience with the extended LS3/5 family, or at least an interest in high quality small standmount/bookshelf speakers for a suitably small space. Far be it from me to try to talk someone out of their Tannoys or Wilson Sophias, or even BBC two cubic foot boxes where they are working for their owners. I think your point ‘...you hear everything, but in miniature’ says a lot. To extend the analogy a bit, a miniature painting can be rendered in exquisite detail - as long as you are viewing up close, you may find it very satisfying.

    As to “...good big ‘uns beating good small ‘uns...” I’m more familiar with that expression in the context of boxing...
  19. omers

    omers pfm Member

    Have you tried electronic music on the V3?
  20. Panderos

    Panderos pfm Member

    Not yet. Other than girl/guitar, old and new folk, I listen to a lot of chamber music, baroque and early music - Jordi Savall’s rediscoveries etc.; classical, Spanish & Latin American guitar. Also, some small ensemble jazz. I’ll get to some more electronic & hip hop, which my son likes, and some classic & prog rock, will let you know. Not to put any limits on others’ experience, but I tend to think of the forte of this sort of speaker as lying more with vocals and acoustic instruments. Certainly good with electric and slide guitar though...

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