New BBC loudspeakers

Commercial production of BBC loudspeakers ended in the 1990s when Rogers finally discontinued the LS3/5A because of the non-availability of the KEF drive units. That literally was the end of an era - and I can vividly remember how strange it felt after decades of successful manufacturing that included many domestic as well as commercial sales. Rogers made over 50,000 pairs of LS3/5As during that time!

But this situation did not last long. Stirling Broadcast were quick to buy bankrupt stock from Rogers to sell on, and then they acquired a BBC licence to manufacture the LS3/5A using a batch of drive units that they commissioned KEF to build for them.

So that they didn't need to rely on KEF who, quite understandibly, were not awfully enthusiastic about building the historic LS3/5A drivers, Stirling commissioned Derek Hughes to design a new version of the LS3/5A, dubbed the "V2", which used modified versions of modern drive units. This set a new precedent: providing the loudspeaker met the original BBC specification then a licence could be granted.

This was clearly quite a change from the strict terms and conditions that licensees had to abide by in previous years, but as drive units were mostly no longer available, it was a pragmatic solution to allow companies to market BBC designs. There's no doubt that this change of policy raised a few eyebrows, and I do understand some of the concerns that were voiced by one or two in the industry, but suffice to say, I have been involved in some of the licensing processes, and have helped ensure that the models met the required standards.

Because there is a potential - albeit tiny - risk of a percieved conflict of interest here, I refrain from posting detailed reviews of the current BBC-licensed models on this website. I have, however, heard most of them, and have no problem suggesting they could be added to the shortlists of anyone who wishes to buy a BBC monitor. These new models deftly sidestep the risks of the second-hand market - remember, old examples have been subject to 30+ years of aging, and usually don't come with a warranty. But having said that, I can't provide specific recommendations - please see the disclaimer below.

The rest of this page is a summary of current licensees, in alphabetical order. I don't pretend it is a definitive list, but it's a start! Please feel free to contact me with additions and corrections to this list.

Falcon Acoustics

This is a long-standing company that was originally formed in 1972 by Malcolm Jones of KEF. More recently it has moved into Jerry Bloomfield's ownership, but Jerry has ensured that Malcolm enjoys an active retirement! The main business has mainly been drive unit sales, along with crossover components and other useful parts for loudspeaker construction, but more recently they decided that it would be an interesting exercise to re-create the SP1003 B110 as used in the 15Ω LS3/5A - and with Malcolm being on the original design team back in the 1960s, who else would be better placed to do this?

The next obvious step was to do the same for the T27. Now Falcon was in the unique position of being able to provide brand new drive units to people with faulty LS3/5As. But - almost inevitably - Falcon took the next step of acquiring a BBC licence, and started production of the LS3/5A.

It's interesting that Falcon applied to be an LS3/5A licensee in back 1982, but lost out to Goodmans. The BBC measured the components in the crossover of the supplied sample, and decided that it probably wasn't typical of a what could be expected on a production run because all the components measured too close to the required value - a tad unfair, it has to be said. More on this story can be found here: The Falcon Story. As you'll see, they didn't lose out completely - they provided the crossover assemblies to Goodmans!

Final bit of trivia: I lived in Norfolk for a few years, and it turns out that I was in the same village as Falcon. I had no idea about this until long after I'd moved away, but it's probably for the best, as I no-doubt would have spent a fortune there! Today the business is based in Oxfordshire.

They make other products today, including a range from the R.A.M. brand, but the LS3/5A is the main one of interest here. What distinquishes their LS3/5A from some of the others is authenticity - as they are making the original drive units to the original specification, it means that the rest of the speaker is also made completely to the original specification.

Graham Audio

Founded by Paul Graham, Graham Audio launched the LS5/9 back in late 2013. At the time this was a brave entry into the hi-fi world, as the LS5/9 didn't have anything like the profile of the LS3/5A, and it wasn't always regarded as a completely successful design by professional users. But what Paul decided to do - which was a good bit of lateral thinking - was to return to the original BBC R&D specification. This was crucial, because the LS5/9 was altered by BBC Designs Department - and not, as history shows, necessarily for the better. The resulting design retains the basic character of the LS5/9, but takes the edge off the anomolies introduced by Designs Department (plus the effects of drive unit ageing that all surviving examples are subject to), and because it was more in line with their original concept than the DD version, BBC R&D was very happy to approve this version.

Paul worked with Derek Hughes to bring the LS5/9 to market, and this was the first of many successful collaborations, including a passive version of the LS5/8, the LS3/5 (yes, the original non-A version), the LS3/5A, and most recently, the LS5/5. In addition, they manufacture a number of non-BBC designs, including the LS6, which is one I particularly like. They acquired the Chartwell brand to launch the LS3/5, and several of their products carry that branding.

Drive units come from a variety of sources, including Volt, SEAS and Audax, and all are built according to Derek's specification. The speakers are hand-assembled in Devon. I have seen the assembly process, and was impressed at the efficiency and attention to detail - individual drive units are tested on arrival and complete speakers are tested and auditioned, and the results are held on record for future reference.

Graham Audio currently hold the record for the most licences granted to a single licensee!


The history of Rogers is long and complicated, and many aspects are discussed elsewhere on this site, and in other places besides. Concerning ourselves with the present here, it's clear that the owners of the Rogers brand (Wo Kee Hong Group) are taking it seriously again, and with Andy Whittle in charge here in the UK, they have re-launched several products, including the LS3/5A and the LS5/9. In addition, they are able to offer support to owners of the original LS3/5A and LS5/9 - I don't have full details of this yet, but this promises to be a really valuable service.

In addition, they have re-launched the E20a amplifier and the AB3a, which is an active subwoofer for the LS3/5A. Andy has mentioned some other products, but I'm not sure I can mention those yet. They've certainly been busy!

I've not had the chance to examine their products yet, but understand that they are able to pull on the resources of the parent company to produce drive units and cabinets. Given Andy's prior experience at Rogers when these products were in their original production runs, he certainly has the knowledge to produce extremely good versions of these designs. I'll add to this when I learn more.

Stirling Broadcast

Last in this list, but as described in the introduction, one of the first to relaunch BBC-licenced monitors after the sad demise of Rogers UK in the late 1990s, starting with the LS3/5A. The V2 followed, and then the LS3/6. More recently, the LS3/5A V3 was introduced, which uses an especially high-spec version of the crossover, with air-cored inductors to avoid saturation. Derek Hughes does the design work for Stirling, so the quality is not in doubt!

In addition, the SB-88 is a slightly smaller version of the LS3/6 - reviewed here - that sounds very similar to the LS3/6. Also, there is the AB-2 bass extender, which is designed to act as a stand for the LS3/5A while extending the response down to around 50Hz. As it relieves the LS3/5A of the lowest bass frequencies the system is able to play rather more loudly than the LS3/5A alone could. I haven't heard a set myself - nor the original Rogers AB-1s which inspired this design - but I have read plenty of positive reviews and comments over the years.

Stirling also offers several options for people with faulty LS3/5As.

As with Graham Audio, I have visited Stirling Broadcast (admittedly before the move to Wales) and was similarly impressed by what I saw. Every speaker is built and tested by Doug Stirling personally!


I haven't heard every product offered by these manufacturers, so can't offer opinions on them all. Indeed, my opinions on the ones that I do know about should be utterly worthless to you! You will have different expectations, different musical tastes, a different listening room and completely different system - long and sometimes bitter experience has taught me to avoid getting drawn into subjective conversations about hi-fi!

Naturally, there are lots of reviews out there, but the same cautions should always be applied to those. The most honest advice I can give is to seek a demonstration of the models you might be considering. Ideally at home if possible, but this is often easier said than done!

As mentioned above, via my day job I have had some modest involvement with some of these designs. This is another reason to not give recommendations - I would be opening myself up to accusations of bias. There is a lot of politics in the hi-fi world!