I would like to share my findings about the most underappreciated product in your line LS3/5 . You might ask why I say that, well those amazing speakers are tucked in along the great Retro 50 and that is great piece of equipment but the review from Tone audio on your page praises the Retro 50 but it’s not necessarily putting ls3/5 speakers in greatest light.
I was aware of this legendary BBC design and read some great reviews of various companies who took it upon themselves to bring those speakers to life .
I was very intrigued and obviously had the chance to hear some big boys like Harbeth and their own take on this legendary design. The sound with right audio equipment was gorgeous but during Shanghai show I had a chance to hear small local brands and their take on ls3/5a design. To my surprise paired with quite expensive tube amplifier ($6000 USA dollars ) they sounded exquisite.
I wrote to my friends at iFi audio and they were so kind to send me their own take on this legendary design.
iFi audio’s approach is bit different, their ls3/5a are more of 21st century update of this design than classic design of ls3/5a.
Let me tell you iFi audio know few things on building speakers, let’s not forget that they belong to AMR audio family and they have their amazing ls77 speakers.
iFi audio’s version of ls3/5a is a fully in-house design from top to bottom it allows to control every aspens of a speaker design. And this shows.
These beauties might be small in stature but are big on sound.
Personally, I think they are look gorgeous in person with solid build and thick cabinet truly timeless look.
Drivers are designed in house to required specifications and same goes for crossovers or lack of it. Yes, mid driver has no crossover so to speak its acoustically tuned and tweeter is first order design means only one element in a circuit beautiful simplicity. Speakers are also transmission line design and organic damping material is used. All that adds up to truly spectacular sounding speaker regardless of price. Yes, they’re just fantastic speakers no question about it and lets not forget drivers are time aligned so it will sound as point source type speaker.
Listen to many systems and sometimes even expensive set ups are underwhelming it takes a lot of work.
A lot of people want do what I did – put iFi audio ls3/5a in a different system than the Retro50 and let me tell you those little babies sound sublime in my set up.
Now my set up consists of hind dual mono preamplifier From Kinki studio exp7(review pending from 6moon audio) , Audio gd nfb7 big DAC powered by matrix audio i2s cdmi connection filtered by igalvanic3.0 (another stellar product will mention at the end ) and of course Audio GD precise 3 amplifier soon to be accompanied by second unit in dual mono configuration .
THIS system is very transparent to the point that I had to rethink all cabling and test all one by one. Everything matters in audio. LS3/5A by iFi audio elevated my system to another level of natural uncoloured sound truly involving and hiend all the way. Sound stage is extending way beyond speakers in all directions projecting holographic immersive sound were voices are exceptional and natural.
Listening to Dire Straits MQA cd sound is unbelievable. I listen to systems double/triple the price and they were less impressive. Now I have to mention that I use ls3/5a with powered sub-woofer and I would always suggest use this way as it compliments the sound greatly. Not only because of the lower frequency extension, but because of how your brain processes the sound it hears. Lower frequencies help the brain to analyse the whole spectrum of sound it hears. Same goes for higher frequencies I also experimented with super sweater and they enhance sound but with ls3/5a its not necessary as top end is extended and articulated. They are truly iFi audio’s hidden gem. For us urban dwellers with mid size apartments, those little beauties along with good sub-woofer they will rock your world. Just listen to the Dark Knight Rises soundtrack to understand what I mean.
No need for massive towers to shake you house and did I mention holographic sound stage? Take care when choosing you components and you will be greatly rewarded. With those speakers, iFi audio delivers on its promises and give us the 21st century take on classic ls3/5a and I have to thank them for it.
Enjoy the music