Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a Loudspeaker Page 2

As with that venerable but equally bass- and level-limited, disarmingly-fragile speaker, the trick for Falcon was to achieve the same results with the LS3/5a, while preserving the original's virtues. It had to accomplish this with no changes whatsoever to tonal balance, timbre or voicing. Enhancements were never a specified goal, and at no point did I ever hear Malcolm or Jerry claim that this back-from-the-dead speaker would go louder or deeper – only that it would replicate precisely those original LS3/5as.

Without sight of KH's measurements, I realise that I am opening myself up for accusations of senility, but I swear on my Garrott Decca that these go louder and deeper than the originals, without any change in character.

There, I've said it, though this might follow me to the grave. I can try to put it down to the newness of the components compared to my aged Rogers and Spendors. One might cite possible improvements in the quality of the crossover components (particularly the inductors), the fresh magnets or the benefits of Jones' decades of experience. And surely it is feasible that the Falcon Acoustics T27 and B110 are better than those made by KEF back in the day? If not, then I have let wishful thinking colour my assessment of a speaker I have dreamed about for many a year.

It started with The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Capitol L2653; 7½ips ¼-track open-reel tape] played on an Otari MX5050. It took a while to readjust to listening to mini-monitors, because my regular system includes Wilson Yvette floorstanders [HFN Feb '17] capable of low frequencies no LS3/5a could ever hope to match. But – bam! – McCartney's bass on 'With A Little Help From My Friends' issued from the LS3/5a with enough impact to belie the 70Hz factory rating.

Pint-Sized Perfection
Was the circa-125Hz 'bump' still fooling me into thinking this tiny box could deliver mass? I was feeding it lots of KT150-derived watts from my Audio Research REF75SE power amp and yet there was no clipping of the woofer, nor was there a dearth of level. The only time I heard the same from its elder relatives was having them stacked, on a Rogers AB1 subwoofer.

But that is not why one buys LS3/5as. They are purchased by those who want two things above all others when space is limited: peerless reproduction of vocals and the kind of imaging that makes speakers seem to disappear. These are the raisons d'être of the speaker – not for the BBC, but for consumers who fell in love with them 40 years ago. These remain the speaker's dominant virtues, regardless of my possibly-delusional belief that they go louder and deeper than the originals.


Disc after disc surprised me, with the ultra-funky, supremely rhythmic, eponymous debut from Little Feat [Mobile Fidelity MFSL 1-299, Limited Edition 180g LP] delivering more shocks than I recalled. But it wasn't the more raucous material that impressed, for I was bowled over instead by the early, less-familiar version of the band's lean, plaintive classic, 'Willin''. The acoustic guitar opening the track, swiftly joined here by Ry Cooder's sublime bottleneck action, each flanking the vocals, was heavenly.

In The Air Tonight
Atmospheric? You bet. This elegy of a truck driver, standing right there, every nuance heard with utter clarity, drawing you in with its transparency, its patent lack of artifice. While still savouring it, my Koetsu Black Urushi moving-coil then slid into 'Hamburger Midnight' and these LS3/5as declared, 'Yeah, we can handle percussion, too.'

Bringing It All Back Home [Mobile Fidelity MFSL 2-380 45rpm LP] was next, folkie Dylan from over a half-century ago, visceral, palpable. Twanging, jangling, just one acoustic guitar, one electric, and then the wheeze of the harmonica. What was most surprising was the way this little speaker maintained at least 80% of the dimensional scale delivered by the much larger Yvettes.

Poco's Head Over Heels [Geffen Records Japan; UICY-78823 SHM-CD] opens with the staggering a cappella 'Keep On Tryin'', a song notorious for sibilance. The SHM-CD is the least aggravating version I've ever heard, and Falcon's LS3/5a spread it across the room, with no ssss-ing to ruin the moment.

It was luscious on every level. It had no right to be so, from a box this small. Paraphrasing what I said years ago, before PC prevented such analogies, and sanitising it for 2018, I still maintain that listening to an LS3/5a is like having a petite lover when Amazons are the norm.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
With well-worn LS3/5as costing £500-£1200 and cult variants fetching £5k+, Falcon's fee for a brand new pair – better-built than the originals! – is arguably a bargain. Put into context, at today's price norms, you once again have the privilege of being able to buy virgin pairs of the best-sounding mini-monitor ever made. My faith in the LS3/5a is vindicated, and my 40-year love affair remains undimmed.

Falcon Acoustics Ltd
Supplied by: Karma-AV Ltd, York
01865 358001; 01423 358846