Rogers LS5/9 Classic SE Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingOne time staple of BBC monitoring, and with feet in both professional and consumer camps, this large standmount has been resurrected and refreshed by a master of the art

One cannot but think of the notion that 'Once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time is a pattern'. Following the revived 1970s JBLs and Rogers' return to LS3/5A manufacture [HFN Jul '19], the arrival of a dead-accurate, reborn BBC LS5/9 as part of Rogers' 'Classic' range is further proof that a trend is under way. All those Instagram images of systems made up of 50-year-old components tell us the past is back with a vengeance.

With a difference: now you can recreate 'golden age' sound with new kit rather than used, free of the risks of running aged hardware. Allowing for inflation and other concerns, though, the new LS5/9 will set you back considerably more than a decommissioned, ex-BBC pair. Beaten-up LS5/9s exist online for £1000, minters for £2000. Peace-of-mind, in the form of these factory-fresh LS5/9s, costs £4899 for a pair in walnut, olive and Amazaque finishes; add £50 for rosewood.

Panzer Power
Reviewed and pictured here, however, is the deluxe 'SE' version finished in the Amazaque veneer (an African hardwood, and it is gorgeous). What you get with the SE, at £5499 in the basic finishes and £5599 for rosewood or RAL colours, are gold badges and a Panzerholz front baffle [a resin/hardwood composite also used in the Clearaudio Ovation turntable HFN Feb '13]. According to designer Andy Whittle, 'although that sounds a lot, this stuff costs a fortune and is a nightmare to manufacture... but you get the most marvellous open, natural bass'. The £1599 stands are made entirely from the same material (£1499 for the LS3/5A version) and feel as hard as metal.


As with Falcon Acoustics' search for utter faithfulness to the originals [HFN Dec '18], and JBL reviving its waffle grilles for the L100 [HFN May '19], Rogers specified Tygan, that heavy woven fabric which is tuned to the speaker. (If you don't believe that the grille is an integral part of the design, try them without.) The Rogers badge is gilt and the rear speaker sockets are the same 4mm silver-plated orifices found on the revived LS3/5A, also with a gold rear label.

Surround Sound
Panzerholz aside, the rest of the UK-made cabinet is the standard BBC design of thin-wall 9mm birch ply with damping sheets. Andy explained that Rogers is 'adhering strictly to the original BBC design brief, so the latest version is as close as possible to the original specification. The 34mm Audax HD34 tweeter is still made in France, modified by us in the UK. The crossover is assembled in the UK to the same BBC specification. We're using high-power, iron-dust-cored inductors with high quality capacitors'.

Rogers reverse-engineered the 210mm bass unit, which is fitted with the correct BBC specified PVC surround. Says Whittle, 'The surround is critical for the midrange performance where the BBC demanded the best possible sound quality'. The high frequency adjustment tag strip is visible on the baffle as per the original studio speakers, although it is not user-adjustable; for tight pair-matching, the speaker is tuned via this tag strip in a similar way to the LS3/5A, where tweeter level is matched via an auto transformer.

Weighing only 12kg each and measuring 460x275x285mm (hwd), the LS5/9s are compact and easy to handle. Supported on Rogers' dedicated Panzerholz stands, no toe-in was needed – I set them up in an equilateral triangle from the hot seat, swiftly learning that too far apart will create a serious 'hole in the middle'. This effect is so obvious that you will soon find the optimum spacing in your own room. While these LS5/9s are modestly sensitive and not a tough load I found that they love power and revel in being driven hard. I was also warned that the PVC surrounds 'need to do some work before they warm up, about half an hour, to fill the bass out!'.

sqnoteReal Romeo
Enamoured as I am of the LS3/5A and the BBC sound per se, I admit to being pre-disposed toward the LS5/9. If the prices stopped me in my tracks, that ended when I fired 'em up. Over the years, having owned more than ten pairs of LS3/5As in assorted iterations, Spendor BC1s and other BBC or BBC-ish designs, I was hoping for two things: natural midband/upper-bass and realistic vocals. I was not anticipating cavernous bass, because these are not huge, woofer-filled speakers like the Wilson Sasha DAWs [HFN Mar '19] I use as a reference. And yet, I was not quite prepared for what they delivered, despite the decades of conditioning.

Rogers International UK Ltd
Virginia Water, UK
Supplied by: Rogers International UK Ltd
0333 533 0135