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Graham Audio BBC LS5/9 User Manual
LS5/9 The Absolute Sound Review
Graham Audio Brochure
The Graham Audio BBC LS5/9 Standmount Speakers
The LS5/9 is a high quality studio monitor that was designed by BBC Research and Development and featured a brand new 8 inch bass/midrange drive unit that was developed entirely in-house and constructed using the best materials available at the time.
Designed for use by the BBC in smaller studios and control rooms, the LS5/9 is a close sonic match for the larger LS5/8. Equally at home in a domestic setting, the open and expansive mid-range reveals previously unheard details from even the most familiar recordings.
With Derek Hughes at the drawing board, the original BBC design has been relaunched by Graham Audio. A new bass/midrange driver has been developed in conjunction with Volt Loudspeakers which uses a substantial die-cast aluminium frame and a massive motor assembly, allied to a diaphragm formed from a selected grade of polypropylene and matched to a high quality rubber surround. Each bass driver is hand-assembled and tested by Volt.
The tweeter is a selected version of the Audax 34mm soft dome, which is protected by a strong metal grille. A sophisticated crossover network blends the units together and equalises the overall response for optimum performance in free space.
The cabinet uses classic BBC "thin wall" construction, and is manufactured in the UK from high quality 9mm birch plywood. Hand-matched veneers are applied and finished to a very high standard indeed. All joints in the cabinet are reinforced with hardwood batons to ensure long life and total air sealing. The panels are mass-loaded to ensure that resonances are moved away from the critical mid-range region, and a layer of Rockwool held in place by fabric provides air damping. The grille - machined from a single piece of 9mm birch plywood - is held in place by concealed rare-earth magnets.
The short of it: stunningly good speakers. Musical. neutral, transparent, effortless, unfatiguing, without being analytical.I am thoroughly enjoying these Grahams. Now two months in, I have held off writing a review because I don't really know how to put into words the effect they have! It's like they are so transparent that they are not there, but with great authority and presence! It's very paradoxical, but utterly lovely.I have tried them with the Benchmark HABs, and they did not respond as well I would have thought. The modest Icon Audio single-ended valve amp pushing 20 Watts per channel of pure Class A triode goodness, is simply leaps and bounds ahead in precision and musicality through the Grahams. Bass extends forever and the highs scintillate clearly with no hint of brashness. Go figure. On paper it should be the other way round. These Grahams are, like I said, paradoxical.I've also been faffing around with new sources. Again, the Benchmark kit (DAC2 into HABs) was lacklustre. Get this, though: Sony's new high-end "headphone" DAC/amp (TA-ZH1ES) is amazing as a source/DAC component. It beats the Benchmark DAC2 by a mile, and beats the Chord Qute, too. Amazingly capable bit of engineering from Sony.So I have this nice synergy going with SONY -> Icon Audio valves -> Grahams.Vinyl is magical. I have Icon Audio's current top-of-the-range phono amp, so my analogue signal path is all controlled by valves. The Grahams seem to love valves so much more than solid state.Anyway, I am descending into audiophile voodoo drivel! Who knows how or why these synergies hit the spot, but Icon's tubes and the Grahams are a deliciously sweet spot, and being driven by a SONY headphone amplifier. WTF!!!(Footnote: Bizarrely, the Benchmark kit is a much better match with my Falcon LS3/5a speakers (they are rated at a daunting 15 Ohms). It drives them completely differently from the Grahams, and better than the Icon Audio valves do. Synergies, I guess. And that 15 Ohm impedance is a b**ch to drive, and the HABs have got the grunt to do it.)
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