The LS3/5A Timeline
After the LS3/5A design was finished by the BBC manufacturers were invited to apply for a licence. For most of its life the BBC restricted the number of licence holders. The story of who was making the LS3/5A at any time is complex and full of intrigue, with manufacturers going into receivership and being resurrected under new ownership. Sometimes published information from different sources does not agree.
The following timeline has been built from many research sources including publications and the accounts of people who were there at the time. If you have any information, corrections, or dates to add to this timeline please contact me.
See here for a graphical representation of manufacturers and dates.
- Feb 1974. Jim Rogers issues a press release and flyer for the LS3/5 but the BBC change the design to the LS3/5A.
- 1975 Michael O'Brien as Chairman and Brian Pook as M.D. buy Rogers from the receiver. In order to do this Michael O'Brien bought an off the shelf trading company called Swisstone. Swisstone, trading as Rogers, with 6 former employees retain the BBC licence for the LS3/5A and start manufacturing.
- 1975 Audiomaster set up under parent company KJ Leisuresound with Robin Marshall as MD. See A Modicum of Genius from Stereophile.
- April 1976 Audiomaster launch LS3/5A
- October 1976 BBC RD1976/29 published
- 1977 Dave Stebbings who had been employed by the BBC at Kingswood Warren set up Chartwell Electro Acoustics in partnership with Joseph Pao.
- 1977 Dudley Harwood starts Harbeth. He obtains a BBC licence but at this stage does not make any LS3/5As.
- 1978 Chartwell cease trading. Apparently Joseph Pao was having to subsidise Chartwell massively through his other businesses.
- 1978 Rogers (actually Swisstone because Rogers now wasn't a company but a trading name) under Michael O'Brien and Brian Pook buy Chartwell from the official receiver.
- 1978 Rogers announce the Reference Monitor System
- 1979 Rogers announce 10,000 pair of the LS3/5A
- 1979 RAM under Vince Jennings begin production of the LS3/5A having obtained a BBC licence after Chartwell stopped production
- 1981 (about) Audiomaster cease trading
- 1981 KEF CS1 kit introduced
- 1982 January Falcon Acoustics apply for BBC licence through subsidiary company Nightingale Acoustics Ltd who they had taken over in 1978 but loose out to Goodmans
- 1982 Spendor produce LS3/5A
- 1980s Falcon Acoustics making crossovers for Goodmans and RAM
- Approx 1983 RAM cease trading
- January 1984 Goodrnans Loudspeakers Ltd., Downley Road, Havant, Hants P09 2NL announce that they have been awarded a licence to manufacture the BBC-designed LS3/5A compact monitoring loudspeaker. The Goodmans version will carry a five-year guarantee and cost £194 per pair.
- 1984 Spendor review by Dick Olsher in Stereophile
- October 1986 Alan Shaw buys Harbeth from Dudley Harwood
- 1987 BBC ask KEF to redesign LS3/5A
- 1988 KEF design 11 ohm version using the T27 SP1032, B110 SP1228 and a new crossover.
- 1988 Harbeth launch 11 ohm LS3/5A (although Harwood had earlier licence)
- 1989 Rogers review by John Atkinson Stereophile
- 1990 Rogers announce 33544 pairs sold
- 1990 BBC approve bi-wiring option with SP2195 crossover
- 1991 Richard Ross MD of Rogers sadly dies aged 41
- 1993 early. Rogers end production Stereophile John Atkinson 1993 V16 No12
- 1993 Rogers bought by Wo Kee Hong group
- 1993 KEF produce LS3/5A. About 4000 units will be made.
- 1995 Rogers announce the AB1 bass extender designed by Andy Whittle
- 1999 Spendor cease production of LS3/5A
- 2001 Stirling Broadcast produce legacy 11 ohm LS3/5A
- 2002 Richard Allan produce legacy 11 ohm LS3/5A
- 2005 Stirling Broadcast LS3/5A V2
- 2008 Rogers new LS3/5A in production
If you have any dates for this timeline please email me