Graham's new LS5/5


Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
Hong Kong
Last edited:
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Derek Hughes assures us that the slots control the dispersion and make the speakers easier to position in a room. The BBC was v. proud of this design and thought it was their best design for monitoring their recordings of classical music. However, when the Rock n Roll era came about the engineers found that the LS5/5 would not play loud enough, so they replaced the LS5/5 with the LS5/8.

The LS5/8 was the first BBC loudspeaker to use a polypropylene diaphragm which, being lighter than Bextrene, offered greater efficiency and lower colouration. A carefully researched cone profile enabled the unit to work successfully well into the midrange.

Fast forward to 2019 and with the use of higher quality magnets, drivers, glue, crossover components; the revised LS5/5 now has 9dB greater power handling/output. This is eight times louder than the original. As you can see from the White Paper (click here), the original LS5/5 was powered by an onboard 25 WPC amplifier. The 2019 Graham revised LS5/5 is a passive design. We are currently waiting on Gig Harbor Audio to finish the fabrication of the bespoke stands for the LS5/5.


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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I had the good fortune a few days ago of hearing both the ls 5/8 as well as the ls 5/5 at Philip's home. As Philip has pointed out some of the differences my take on the Graham line was that their flagship was the 5/5 done many decades ago by the BBC and then the 5/8 which came to market because it could play louder, and in the rock and roll era of the time the new speaker satisfied many more needs

From what I recall the 5/8 has an MSRP of $12,500 USD whereas the 5/5 has an MSRP of $18,000 USD

I had a good listen to both speakers and for the money and peoples' music likes both speakers fill a niche.

I must say however that it was the 5/5 that really caught my attention. First off the build quality of the 5/5 IMO was better and I liked the darker finish which used darker fastening bots so that the numerous bolts were essentially invisible. I thought the 5/8 weighed less and used glossy silver bolts which I found distracting. Philip said it is an easy fix as the speakers come with many different finishes as well as hardware finishes..The deep bass on the 5/8 was louder ththe 5/5 but IMO the deep bass as well as the entire sound on the 5/5 was far better defined than the 5/8.

I asked Philip about the wood slots covering the bass drivers and got the answer he describes in the post above. That was my first question about the speaker

What I did like about the 5/8 was the trim switch for the tweeter. which I have always thought was a good thing.For me however the sound of the 5/5 was more refined and more to my tastes.

These were some of the caveats I learned about the 5/5

As great as the LS5/8 is, the 5/5 is in a different league.
¾ of the volume of the 5/8, it has an 8” woofer for the midrange in its own sealed compartment. A more complex crossover accounts for much of the weight differential, the smaller speaker is some 20 - 30lbs heavier than its larger sibling.

The slots around the woofers are wave guides and allow easier room placement. Did I mention that they seem to offer smoother sound ? Though I’m not sure if that’s a function of the ‘xovers or the slots ?

Sonically, the 5/5 has considerably more information across the midrange than the 5-8. There is a refinement present that many competitors could only aspire to but don’t have the resources to realise.
The bass is tighter & better defined. There is no loss of the midrange magic (realism) that the BBC is justifiably proud of.

An engineer from the BBC that Paul Graham introduced me to, described the LS5/5 as the best speaker that the BBC ever designed.
It was replaced by the LS5/8 at the advent of the Rock era in the seventies, as the artists wanted speakers that could play louder.
Derek Hughes 2019 version of the 5/5 has 9dB greater power handling. Due to the improvements over the past fifty years in magnets, glues, cabling, capacitors, coils etc.

1. It is 1 dB less efficient than the 5/8.
2. Flea powered amps need not apply. The Dynaco ST35 was found lacking, while an old Luxman MQ-88 (KT88 output) was up to the challenge & proved up to the task of delivering plump, rich, liquid, midrange magic.
Nice write up of the LS5/5 Montreal launch in Stereophile, missed this last year - my bad.
You can read here - happy reading !
This is a message from Derek Hughes, designer, Graham Audio, to give you an insight into how the LS5/5 unconventional slots work:

“All drive units are omnidirectional at low frequencies and have an increasingly narrow dispersion (beam width) as the frequency increases.
This means that at the crossover frequency, there will often be a reduction in the response to the sides of the speaker, and then an increase above the crossover frequency, as the smaller driver has a wider dispersion.
To reduce this effect, the LS5/5 uses slots in front of the LF & MR drivers.
The slot makes the drives perform as if it was a narrower source, giving it a wider dispersion, thus leading to a more uniform response off-axis.
This is particularly advantageous where there are several listeners as it widens the area where the response is smooth.
There is a limit to how narrow the slot can be in order to avoid resonant cavities behind it, giving dips in the response, so the slot width is such that these resonances occur above the crossover frequency.”
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