Upgrade from Ls50

Sathish123

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Hello members,

Would need your advice on bookshelf speakers for my living room which is 15 ft wide, listening distance is 12 ft from speakers although there is more room behind listening space. Currently the set up is Ls50 being driven by Octave V40SE. I'm looking to upgrade from my Ls50s. I find the Ls50s doesn't sound full, particularly in low-moderate volumes, lacking in midrange fullness. I'm not sure whether its the amp or just its traits. I auditioned the Harbeth P3ESR XD and the C7 XD at the shop. I think that's the exact sound signature im looking for. The midrange clarity and details in low volume is amazing, day and night difference vs the Ls50 at least for my tastes. Rock music was actually non fatiguing and listenable. The question is, are there any other speakers which have similar traits (or close) to the Harbeths. Im specifically looking at ProAc D2R or ATC SCM19. I would be happy to hear from you about other options too.

Thanks.
 

jai1611

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Worth checking out Spendor as well. Particularly their Classic line. Audio Lounge at Taj West End has some on demo.

Rethm options are worth checking out as well.

ATCs need power, may not work well with tubes.
 

OM_2K19

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LS50/Meta amplifier matching is a bit tricky. They usually shine with Hegel. People reported varying degrees of success with different amplifiers. You can audition their active version. That will give you an idea of what LS 50 is capable of.
 

Sathish123

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Worth checking out Spendor as well. Particularly their Classic line. Audio Lounge at Taj West End has some on demo.

Rethm options are worth checking out as well.

ATCs need power, may not work well with tubes.
Thanks Jai, will check them out. Have seen reviews they have similar signature with the Harbeths.

LS50/Meta amplifier matching is a bit tricky. They usually shine with Hegel. People reported varying degrees of success with different amplifiers. You can audition their active version. That will give you an idea of what LS 50 is capable of.
Thats true, the LS50s sounds great for electronica and ambient, but not so great for classical and complex pieces (streaming from Tidal). Changing the amp is difficult for me since the Octave will be with me for long and hence searching for speakers now. I guess I'm doing it the wrong way but that's how it is now.
 

Pratyush J

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Thats true, the LS50s sounds great for electronica and ambient, but not so great for classical and complex pieces (streaming from Tidal). Changing the amp is difficult for me since the Octave will be with me for long and hence searching for speakers now. I guess I'm doing it the wrong way but that's how it is now.
@Sathish123 , since the amp is a constant in your chain, always carry the amp for auditioning the speakers. Without that it will again be a gamble
 

Sathish123

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That's pretty odd; these are all-around speakers for that price bracket; probably it's an Amp Matching issue. Nevertheless, if it's not working, then it's not working...
I agree. Its probably the Amp like you say. Perhaps the 40W is not sufficient for the Ls50s to sing. I guess I need to stay away from the ATCs too.
 

Pratyush J

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I agree. Its probably the Amp like you say. Perhaps the 40W is not sufficient for the Ls50s to sing. I guess I need to stay away from the ATCs too.
Since you are in Bangalore, you can give IndiqAudio a listen too. Few FMs have paired them up with tube amps including Fatman 15 w, DIY 1w and they paired very well
 

OM_2K19

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I agree. Its probably the Amp like you say. Perhaps the 40W is not sufficient for the Ls50s to sing. I guess I need to stay away from the ATCs too.
From whatever I read in other forums, Tube Amp with LS 50 is a hit or miss. It's always better (if possible) either to carry your Amp for an audition or carry the speakers home and see how they perform. If you insist on Bookshelf speakers, check Dynaudio as well.
 

Analogous

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Hi,
I moved on from LS50 (original, not Meta) to ProAC Response 1SC (it’s got some magic) and more recently to Harbeth P3ES and I (kind of) understand what you are feeling. My amp is a Hegel H300 and it is able to drive the 4ohms(?) 83Db/1m Harbeths well. But low listening volumes does not cut it. The P3ES really starts performing at slightly higher volumes than I normally listen to. But they are fantastic. Much better than the LS50 in my opinion. The mids and the treble are both of a higher quality and the imaging is tremendous.
I also have a pair of Spendor A5R (small towers) and I strongly recommend you audition Spendors if possible.
As mentioned by @Pratyush J I think you should try the speakers with your tube amp before deciding.
 

Sathish123

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Hi,
I moved on from LS50 (original, not Meta) to ProAC Response 1SC (it’s got some magic) and more recently to Harbeth P3ES and I (kind of) understand what you are feeling. My amp is a Hegel H300 and it is able to drive the 4ohms(?) 83Db/1m Harbeths well. But low listening volumes does not cut it. The P3ES really starts performing at slightly higher volumes than I normally listen to. But they are fantastic. Much better than the LS50 in my opinion. The mids and the treble are both of a higher quality and the imaging is tremendous.
I also have a pair of Spendor A5R (small towers) and I strongly recommend you audition Spendors if possible.
As mentioned by @Pratyush J I think you should try the speakers with your tube amp before deciding.
That’s precisely how I felt after listening to the Harbeths. It was a very intimate and musical listen, the vocals were very upfront. It sort of pulls towards the music. I’m getting hyperbolic now. The Ls50 was always a hit and miss. I’ll try to audition the spendors, hope they allow my amp. Seems the 1SC is not any more in india, I read great reviews about them.

Also want to add that no way I’m implying the ls50s are bad. The dynamics and slam are great in the ls50s. It’s most likely my set up which makes me try to upgrade.
 

Analogous

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The LS50 are very good speakers and o had them for a long time. They do a lot of things well. I think I our grew them.
The spendors took a while to break in and settle, but they are captivating and easier to drive than the Harbeths.
They are excellent for long listening sessions.
 

Beast_of_burden

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Hello members,

Would need your advice on bookshelf speakers for my living room which is 15 ft wide, listening distance is 12 ft from speakers although there is more room behind listening space. Currently the set up is Ls50 being driven by Octave V40SE. I'm looking to upgrade from my Ls50s. I find the Ls50s doesn't sound full, particularly in low-moderate volumes, lacking in midrange fullness. I'm not sure whether its the amp or just its traits. I auditioned the Harbeth P3ESR XD and the C7 XD at the shop. I think that's the exact sound signature im looking for. The midrange clarity and details in low volume is amazing, day and night difference vs the Ls50 at least for my tastes. Rock music was actually non fatiguing and listenable. The question is, are there any other speakers which have similar traits (or close) to the Harbeths. Im specifically looking at ProAc D2R or ATC SCM19. I would be happy to hear from you about other options too.

Thanks.
The best sound at the Whathifi show Bangalore in my opinion was the Octave amp driving the Graham LS5/9. That you liked the P3ESR and C7 is no accident. I have heard both these speakers with a Primaluna and understand the attraction. its beauty in sound.

Heard the Ls50 with a Denon PMA1500 at Profx, for some reason it just didn't click with us quite like Cabasse Antigua did.

The Spendor A1 or 4/5 would be in similar company as the P3, but not the same. Worth checking out Spendor.

I find all of the above speakers a bit rich for my frugal sensibility but heck, if you can afford it I'd say it's money well spent. I find some of that beauty in the NAd325 and Quad S2 combination. My brother recently acquired a pair of sound artist Ls3/5 in Singapore which paired with a NAD 326bee have that same intimate quality. He described it as luxurious sounding, superb imaging, euphonic etc

With the amplifier you've got, I don't think you can go wrong with a classic British monitor. Try French speakers too if you have the opportunity, these too have a certain sophistication.
 

OM_2K19

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Hi,
I moved on from LS50 (original, not Meta) to ProAC Response 1SC (it’s got some magic) and more recently to Harbeth P3ES and I (kind of) understand what you are feeling. My amp is a Hegel H300 and it is able to drive the 4ohms(?) 83Db/1m Harbeths well. But low listening volumes does not cut it. The P3ES really starts performing at slightly higher volumes than I normally listen to. But they are fantastic. Much better than the LS50 in my opinion. The mids and the treble are both of a higher quality and the imaging is tremendous.
I also have a pair of Spendor A5R (small towers) and I strongly recommend you audition Spendors if possible.
As mentioned by @Pratyush J I think you should try the speakers with your tube amp before deciding.
LS50 + Hegel H300, that's the way... This combination never let me down. The Meta version even integrates more seamlessly with H300 and is an absolute pleasure to listen to; that's what I hear from my friends.
 

sandeepmohan

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I find the Ls50s doesn't sound full, particularly in low-moderate volumes, lacking in midrange fullness.
You really should try a solid state amplifier before you bin the speaker. Kef's Uni-Q drivers are know for their mid range so I find this a bit odd that you have the opposite experience. That said, 85dB does require an amp that is stable. Bass will be limited owing to its compact dimensions and thats easily sorted with a compact sub woofer. You have an outstanding loudspeaker. Don't give up on it just yet and not before pairing it a few other amplifiers.
 

Analogous

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LS50 + Hegel H300, that's the way... This combination never let me down. The Meta version even integrates more seamlessly with H300 and is an absolute pleasure to listen to; that's what I hear from my friends.
The combination was good, but as I was experimenting with different DACs and sources (CDP, Streaming) the results in my room with the LS50 were sometimes disappointing (shrill, fatiguing - maybe the metal tweeters???) This was less so with warm sounding components. The P3ES also has a metal dome tweeter, but never sounds shrill. Could be crossover design? Reading the reviews of the LS50 meta, I get the impression the integration of the highs and mids are better and controlled than the original. But I haven’t seen or heard them yet.
So many reviewers seem to have the LS50 on hand and I think that maybe because of the exciting sound, relatively easy matiching with electronics and lest we forget the cool design (elegant, small, high WAF)
 
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square_wave

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You seem to be a Spendor- Harbeth - Graham kinda guy. Just move into that camp. IMHO, don't complicate things. There are camps in speaker design. People tend to gravitate towards a certain kind of sound. In case you want something in between, try Dynaudio, Totem, Blumenhofer etc. In case you want to stay in the coaxial speaker camp but want a warmer and richer sound that is transparent as well, try Tannoy.
 

arj

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I would agree with @square_wave above. our ears/brain have a preference for sound and liking one speaker over another does not mean one is not good..just that your ears like another better as a preference.

Harbeths have a very different signature and if you prefer that sound, maybe even Proacs in the same mould and am pretty sure the harbeth will go well with the octave amp.
 

OM_2K19

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The combination was good, but as I was experimenting with different DACs and sources (CDP, Streaming) the results in my room with the LS50 were sometimes disappointing (shrill, fatiguing - maybe the metal tweeters???) This was less so with warm sounding components. The P3ES also has a metal dome tweeter, but never sounds shrill. Could be crossover design? Reading the reviews of the LS50 meta, I get the impression the integration of the highs and mids are better and controlled than the original. But I haven’t seen or heard them yet.
So many reviewers seem to have the LS50 on hand and I think that maybe because of the exciting sound, relatively easy matiching with electronics and lest we forget the cool design (elegant, small, high WAF)
Yeah, the original LS50 was too bright and could cause listening fatigue due to their metallic twitter. And that's the reason a lot of them appeared on ebay overnight. But KEF listened to the feedback and rectified this problem. The Meta version is a very balanced-sounding device (although I couldn't have a chance to pair it with Hegel). Nevertheless, since you own an H300, your options are wide open in terms of speaker selection.
 

Analogous

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You seem to be a Spendor- Harbeth - Graham kinda guy. Just move into that camp. IMHO, don't complicate things. There are camps in speaker design. People tend to gravitate towards a certain kind of sound. In case you want something in between, try Dynaudio, Totem, Blumenhofer etc. In case you want to stay in the coaxial speaker camp but want a warmer and richer sound that is transparent as well, try Tannoy.
Not sure if your post was for the OP or responding to my comment.
I do take your point about preferences in sound etc. I was under the impression LS50 design evolved or was influenced by the BBC bookshelf monitor design. I do like European design and had Adam audio (German) and Chario (Italian) speakers last year and have listened to Focals, Dynaudios, and Totems (and a few others) quite a bit. Never had the pleasure of listening to Blumenhofer.
Thanks for the nudge, but I am not comfortable belonging to any one camp (actually this is the first time I have heard of such camps!; do they really exist?) I know my entire setup will be different a year from now.
Please ignore all the above if your comment was meant for someone else.
 
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