Chartwell LS3/5 by Graham Audio, Graham Audio LS5/8 and Graham Audio LS5/9 – Genuine BBC Licensed Monitor Loudspeakers.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
After many years of research and development the BBC had developed some exceptional loudspeakers, mixers and amplifiers which generally were for their own use as no one could produce equipment capable of coming up to the high standards of excellence that was demanded in house.
One such product was the LS5/9, which the BBC had developed and licensed for production to select loudspeaker companies. As the LS5/9 was no longer being manufactured and Graham Audio a long time admirer of the legendary LS5/9 felt compelled to restart production.
Graham Audio have over 20 years experience working in the pro audio sector and are extremely proud to be producing the LS5/9’s under license from the BBC to their very exacting specifications and testing criteria. True to the original concept with some carefully considered cosmetic and practical alterations, the new LS5/9 loudspeakers will greatly enhance any professional level high fidelity system, providing accurate, transparent audio reproduction with exceptional build quality.
This is the first of a number of legacy products that Graham Audio will be producing drawn from the heritage and excellence of the BBC’s many years in furthering the standards of broadcasting.
The Best LS3/5 in the World!
Graham Audio is pleased to announce the purchase of the CHARTWELL and SWISSTONE Companies. The famous Chartwell brand were historically regarded as the finest builders of the BBC LS3/5A speakers and their products are the most sort after of all the licensees who built the brilliant LS3/5A.
Graham Audio will be manufacturing the most famous of all the BBC speakers under one of its most cherished names with the attention to detail and sound that made Chartwell so famous. The bespoke drive units and crossover networks are by Derek Hughes working in conjunction with Volt loudspeakers to produce a fully licensed ‘Made in England’ speaker using the very finest materials available.
Graham Audio’s mission is to produce BBC monitors that harness advanced manufacturing techniques whilst keeping the heritage and design of the original speakers alive.
Derek Hughes (father Spencer Hughes who founded Spendor) was part of the original team of engineers who worked on the development of the LS3/5 only 20 pairs were ever made and only very few images exist, and difficult to source. Nobody else is better suited than Graham Audio working with Derek to bring the LS3/5 to the market for the very first time.
The LS3/5 was never commercially available, and was only launched as the LS3/5A after Kef stopped making the driver they were using. The original LS3/5 driver was preferred and sonically superior, however using the substitute driver the team had to change the crossover and tweeter to suit the substitute driver resulting in the product model change to the LS3/5A.
Graham Audio are the first and only company to be granted a licence for the LS3/5.
Graham Audio recognised the qualities of the BBC’s legendary LS5/9, but were troubled by the lack of spare parts and support for any loudspeakers still in use. This studio monitor loudspeaker is much sought after by connoisseurs of high fidelity audio so after consultation with the BBC it was agreed to relaunch the original design under license.
BBC Research and Development staff from that era had long-since retired but from surviving documentation it was possible to discover the essence of the original LS5/9 as intended by R&D. The challenge was to recreate it in a form that has all of the essential qualities of the original design while using modern design and manufacturing techniques to avoid the longevity issues inherent in the original design.
Key to this project was involving Derek Hughes, son of Spencer and Dorothy Hughes, who formed Spendor when Spencer left his job in BBC R&D to build the BC-1. Of all the designers in the UK today Derek was best placed to understand and reinvent the original design.
The first objective was to re-create the bass/midrange drive unit. This was never going to be an easy task; nothing remained from the original production at Rogers. So it was going to have to be recreated from what data existed, using surviving examples as a starting point, and very early on, it was clear that Volt, who make some of the most respected drive units in the industry, had the necessary expertise. Working closely with Derek Hughes, a design was produced using the same translucent polypropylene diaphragm material as the original.
Things were more straight forward for the high frequency unit as Audax still produce the 34mm soft-dome tweeter that was originally used. The BBC modified this by adding a metal grille to protect the vulnerable diaphragm and this grille has been faithfully reproduced today.
The two drive units must be married together using a sophisticated crossover network. This circuit provides the basic function of routing the low frequency signals to the bass drive unit and sending the high frequencies to the tweeter. But additionally it is used to equalise the response of the drive units when mounted in the enclosure and it is responsible for the overall tonal balance that you hear when you audition the loudspeaker.
If the two drive units were identical to the models produced 30 years ago then the crossover wouldn’t need any modification. However, the bass driver is a new improved design and the tweeter had changed slightly as well. Derek Hughes was able to take the new drive units and knit them together using a highly sophisticated crossover design that results in an overall response that is true to the original BBC prototypes.
Once the revised design had gained full BBC approval and license, full production started at Graham Audio.
Chartwell LS3/5, Graham Audio LS5/8 and Graham Audio LS5/9 BBC Monitors.
Chartwell LS3/5, Graham Audio LS5/8, Graham Audio LS5/9 BBC Monitors and Graham Audio System 3D bespoke passive system.