Stereophile review / comparison Graham LS3/5 and LS3/5A versus Falcon LS3/5A

LS3:5A.jpg LS3/5A in Cherry.

"At the end of the day, Graham Audio's Chartwell LS3/5a was my favorite of these three seriously good, BBC-designed mini monitors. As much as I admired the greater openness and air of the Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a, and as impressed as I was by the surprisingly rich, colorful bass of Graham's Chartwell LS3/5—not to mention the sheer coolosity of hearing, for the first time, a historically important BBC design that has languished in obscurity for over 40 years—it was the newest LS3/5a that gave me the most consistent listening pleasure. Indeed, I was all but shocked, not just by its considerable dynamic aplomb, but by this LS3/5a's ability to play music with natural momentum and flow, and to deliver natural, colorful, well-balanced sound.." Art Dudley, July 2019

You can read Art Dudley's complete review
here.
 

TEA FOR ONE

Well-Known Member
Sep 1, 2017
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I recently acquired a pair of the LS3/5's. I am absolutely in love with them. I have not had the chance to hear any other LS3/5a's,new or originals. My only point of reference is my Spendor S3/5's. I find the Spendors to be wonderful speakers. However,the Graham Chartwells are a step above .
 

sharik

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2016
32
21
75
moscow, russia.
and while at it, has anyone ever figured out what amplifier drives best the Chartwell's 3/5 maybe?

a power amp, specifically, because i might intend to plug the source directly into it.
 

TEA FOR ONE

Well-Known Member
Sep 1, 2017
3
0
66
My Chartwells are set up in my small listening room. 9'x13'x 8'. Currently I am driving them with a pair of Monarchy Audio SM70mkII's class A amps with very good results. I will also swap in my First Watt F5,also with very good results. Everything is run through an Aric Audio Unlimited tube preamp.
 

rossb

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2017
38
6
73
and while at it, has anyone ever figured out what amplifier drives best the Chartwell's 3/5 maybe?

a power amp, specifically, because i might intend to plug the source directly into it.

I have tried a number of amps with the Grahams, including some EAR tube amps, pre/power amps from Exposure and integrated amps from Lavardin, Ayre and most recently LFD.

The 3/5s are amazing speakers. I also have the LS6 and have owned the LS5/9. In a small room, provided you are willing to forgo even the illusion of bass, the 3/5s are just stunning. But I mostly listen to the LS6s in my small room because they are almost identical sounding, trading a very slight loss of transparency and cohesion for a better illusion of a full range sound. I preferred them to the LS5/9, which I sold, finding the treble a bit too prominent on the 5/9s. At some point I will probably acquire the LS6f.

These speakers respond well to the best possible amplification and sources, and also to a reasonable amount of power. Don't assume because these are small speakers that they need small amps. The 200 watt Exposure 5010 pre/power amps sounded great with all of these speakers. The Ayre AX5 Twenty is also a great match, and its extra power makes the speakers seem much bigger than they are. But the sweetest sounds I have been getting, particularly with the 3/5s, have been with the LFD NCSE III. It's only 70 watts, and that limits both the volume and the dynamics of the speakers. But in a small room, in a near-field position at moderate volumes, the LS3/5 combination with the LFD amp is just magical.
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
1,454
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How do the Graham Chartwell LS3/5s compare to the Harbeth P3ESRs? I have owned the latter but not the former.
 

rossb

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2017
38
6
73
I have owned both, but not at the same time. Both are very good speakers. The Harbeths have that slightly plummy sound which is the trademark of all Harbeths (I also owned the M30.1s and 30.2s). It is a very engaging sound but imposes its character on everything. The LS3/5s are more neutral and have more tonal accuracy as well as variation in tone. I think they are probably also a bit more dynamic.

In a small room I could probably live with either but I am finding the LS3/5s more engaging in a way that I never experienced with the Harbeths. As I mentioned, I owned the two sets of speakers at different times, separated by more than a year, so take these comments with a grain of salt.
 
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sharik

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2016
32
21
75
moscow, russia.
In a small room, provided you are willing to forgo even the illusion of bass, the 3/5s
no bass?.. hmm, i for one have kind of struggled to moderate their bass output and there somewhat inflated presentation, however to no avail yet, hence my enquiry...
in a small room, in a near-field position at moderate volumes, the LS3/5
mine is 20 sq m, a semi-position (3 m) at very loud volume.
 

rossb

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2017
38
6
73
no bass?.. hmm, i for one have kind of struggled to moderate their bass output and there somewhat inflated presentation, however to no avail yet, hence my enquiry...

That's surprising. the LS3/5s have virtually nothing below 100hz and I can't see how it is even possible to play these tiny speakers at "very loud" volume, no matter how much power you feed into them. It sounds more like you may have a room problem than a speaker problem .
 

sharik

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2016
32
21
75
moscow, russia.
you may have a room problem than a speaker problem.

i happened to change rooms and move around houses, but - same result.

my suspicion lies on the source and the software i use, though.
 

Blue58

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2013
614
275
310
London, UK
Interesting setup from recent show in UK courtesy of Falcon Acoustics. 4 per side.
A7959C6D-4CA9-4A33-B852-9E91BEC0D36B.jpeg
 
and while at it, has anyone ever figured out what amplifier drives best the Chartwell's 3/5 maybe?

a power amp, specifically, because i might intend to plug the source directly into it.
Ever since the Graham Audio loudspeakers representation in the U.S. and Canada, we have been looking for a suitable amplifier for the 3/5's and the 6's. After many auditions and A/B tests, we are delighted to say that the Moon Audio integrated amplifier from Sweden is a fantastic pairing to deliver the mid-range magic that we look for. This integrated amp has this beautiful design with a timeless representation. The modular design allows us to use either or both analog and/or digital source with it. You can read more about it here: https://onahighernote.com/moonriver-audio/ with reviews excerpts posted. U.S. reviews and user experience will come soon.
 

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