Gordon emailed me from the USA to tell me this story. I am publishing it here for information but have no way to verify it is true. Gordon did however support it with internet links to genuine and copy LS3/5A parts being offered for sale from several different countries.
I wanted to write about my experience of almost buying what I believe was a fake pair of LS3/5As. I nearly lost a lot of dollars despite having owned 10 pairs of LS3/5As in the past and being an electronics engineer. Please do not publish my full name because I am embarrassed that someone with my experience could almost be fooled like this.
I recently wanted to buy a nice pair of LS3/5As. I spotted a perfect pair with only a small nick in the cabinet. I asked the seller about the damage and he stated that it was minor, but that he also had a perfect pair of the Rogers’ Gold Badge. It sounded strange to me that someone would have two pairs (and one pair perfect) of these quite rare LS3/5As for sale and so I asked him for detailed pictures of the crossover/ drivers and back.
On the back I found that the sticker looked strange. I could not tell why but it was not 100% the same as other ones I had seen. Then when I looked at detailed shots from the crossover the solder looked fresh. It should have dulled with age. I am a highly qualified electronics engineer and I know it should not look like that after 30+ years. Also the B110 and T27 were from different date by almost a year. And the veneer on both pairs looked exactly the same which I found strange.
Then I asked for pictures of the second pair and spotted that the striped color coded capacitors were marked with their value. Despite 30+ years experience in electronics I have never seen 1970s or 80s striped capacitors marked like this. In addition I expected to see the name Drake on the autotransformer and coils but this one had a different name and a number.
I was sufficiently sure that these were not genuine to cancel the deal.
Looking on the internet I have seen copies of many LS3/5A parts being offered for sale including crossovers, badges and cabinets. I made some enquiries and was offered parts as well as whole custom made speakers from these sellers. Basically they could deliver anything I wanted and a copy of every part of any LS3/5A version I wanted.
With B110 and T27 drive units from local sources like old KEF speakers it would be entirely possible to build a fake pair of LS3/5As that would fool many buyers into believing they are genuine. And I think this is what the pair I nearly bought were. I believe that this mostly affects the rarer versions which fetch high values like the Rogers’ Gold and Black Badge and also Chartwells.
If these copies are well made they could sound as good as the genuine thing, but nevertheless they are fakes. I hope this will help buyers know what to look for. I just want to make the LS3/5A community aware that there are fakes around.
Gordon. New Jersey USA..