Audio Dandy LS3/5a
DIY open hardware loudspeaker
This article is about the building of my DIY Audio Dandy LS3/5a inspired
Part 3 - Listening & Conclusion
My project is personal, I build these speakers only for myself.
So they are NOT commercial available.
If you want them also, then you have to buy the parts and build them
Later I will share all my building plans, info about XO, etc. on my
These speakers are not difficult to make, but it's a lot, lot of work.
It will cost you also a lot of time to make them, and a lot of money...
Because building these speakers is not cheap!
I didn't made a final calculation yet, but I know that these speakers
are more expensive than the real thing. (on materials alone)
So if you want the easy and safe way, buy the original in the shop!
because they are cheaper than these DIY speakers.
If you want to go the hard way, and you want to become the expert of
your own creation, then this project is for you.
You will be in control, and you will be able to modify, repair your own
And of course you also can help others with building these speakers.
I give no guarantee on this design, you are responsible for your own
I only share my knowledge & building experiences, so that others who are
interested can make these speakers themselves.
Designed by ears & experience
These speakers are designed by ears & experience, not by measurement.
They are designed to sound good not to measure good.
I only measured if the connections ( + and - ) were correct, and that
the resistance is around 7 Ohm.
So these speakers are very well suited for tube amplifiers.
The parts of the speakers are chosen because of the good experience we
had with them, and their excellent quality.
All parts to make these speakers are manfactured in Europe (Germany,
France, Danemark, Netherlands)
How to build your own DIY Audio Dandy LS3/5a speakers
I have started to make “Howto Build Manual” (PDF) were I shall explain
in detail how I build these speakers, which materials I used, were I
bought the parts, etc.
With this manual your could make the exact speakers I have.
When a part is not available anymore, I shall look for a replacement
part (with same or better specs) and update the manual.
This way the speaker will have extended lifespan.
and that is exactly the intention of this project, to create a speaker
that is available for everybody, and that can me modified, improved by
This speaker will be available forever, for the rest of our lives and
When this manual is finished I shall place it on my website, so check my
website regularly :-)
Listening test 1 - with
After many months of hard work, finally I could listen to my
First of all I would like to thank my friends (Bert & Leon) and my
family for support and help with building these loudspeakers.
Without their support these speakers couldn't never have been made.
The first listening test was in the house of my friend Bert, who owns a
pair of Roger LS3/5a clones that has the original KEF B110 woofers and
KEF T27 tweeters.
Before we started listening we first measured both external XO’s if the
resistance were identical and had the right values.
We measured a minimal resistance of 7 Ohm on both XO’s (when they were
connected to the speakers) which means that the load on the amplifier
would be very low.
So these speakers are also very well suited for tube amplifiers.
The speakers were connected to the Quad 303
power amplifier, Quad 66 pre-amplifier and a Quad CD player
you almost don't see the Quad power amplifier next to the
We used this CD: Steve Strauss - Just like Love (Stockfish SACD Hybrid
When we played the first song, it became very quiet in the room.
A big relief felt off my shoulders because I knew then already that it
The sound was marvellous, it sounded very good.
Also Bert was very quiet and I could see on his face that he was
I was a little afraid that the combination of a AMT tweeter with Carbon
woofer would maybe sound too harsh, too bright.
luckily this was totally not the case, the sound was very open, with
lots of details in the higher frequencies but also in the lower!
But the higher frequencies were transparent and pleasantly soft.
I also noticed little background instrument sounds that I had never
noticed before on this CD.
The amount of these details is impressive, my goal to design a
loudspeaker that is optimized for the reproduction of high-resolution
music is any case successful.
When we compaired the two speakers (Audio
Dandy LS3/5a vs Roger LS3/5a clone)
we noticed quickly that the amount of resolution and resolving power of
details between these speakers is huge.
Some little instruments at the back ground were totally gone on the
Also the music sounded a bit dull, and more muted on the Rogers clones.
I personally think that 30 years or technical developments in the
loudspeaker units design are responsible for this big difference
While listening to the Audio Dandy LS3/5a's we noticed that the music
was also sounding very natural, Bert told me “listen to that piano, it
really sounds like a piano”
Also the strings by classical CD’s were sounding very lifelike and
Then we played a CD of Andrea Bocelli.
His voice was sounding very good, although the speakers were slightly
indicating that it could sound even better…meaning that this CD was not
optimal recorded, it sounded a bit flat. But still the sound was very
The biggest compliment came after the listening session, were Bert told
me “I’m going to make also a pair of these speakers!”
Listening test 2 - Audio-gd Master 10 amplifier
When I was home I connected the Audio Dandy LS3/5a’s on my Audio-Gd
Master 10 amplifier, and played the same CD of Steve Strauss.
The Audio-Gd amplifiers have a name to be clinical neutral, so I was a
how it would sound.
But wow, I was impressed! The bass was even deeper then by Bert, the
music sounded very well controlled, also with many micro details and it
sounded very natural.
With some recording the instruments were notiable many cm away from the
side of the cabinet (sometimes even meters) so the 3D projection is also
very good. (=wide)
From three IKEA table legs I made a reverse loudspeaker stand
for less than 15 euro's, they are also very solid.
Luckily the sound was not over-analytical at all.
Then I played some SACD.ISO files and DSF high resolution music...
I was enjoying my little creations, every music was sounding
Relaxed but crystal clear
But what about the laid back, comfortable never intrusive sound of the
Does the Audio Dandy LS3/5a also has this character?
This speaker has it too, but in a little different way.
Were the original LS3/5a has a more darker, warmer sound, my speakers
open, crystal clear but with also with a relaxed and very soft pleasant
The external Audiophile grade XO is blending the mid bass and higher
frequencies in such a way that there is not one fixed XO point,
therefore you cannot hear when the tweeter is playing or when the mid
woofer is playing
This gives a very natural sound transition.
because of this the speaker has a very comfortable sound character.
When you listen to this speaker you hear that the speaker is also well
balanced, it has no difficulties in reproducing any kind of music in
This speaker has no weak points, the sound is solid as a rock, and it
like a High-End speaker costing much more in your local High-End shop.
The only little “problem” is what you feed it, you will get back.
Meaning; when playing good recorded music the speaker really shines,
But if you play music of a lower quality, the music will still sounds
comfortable but the speaker will let you know (on a polite foregiven
way) that the music could be of a better quality :-)
But don’t worry this speaker is not over analytic at all, the next day I
managed to listen all day to internet radio (128 kb s) and the sound
never became exhausting or tiresome.
It even sounded cosy and comfortable!
So this speaker has a foregiven well balanced character, and this is
good, because this was also a quality that the original LS3/5a had, it
always sounded comfortable whatever music you played.
Listening test 3 - with tube amplifier (Yarland
I was very interested how the speakers would sound in combination with a
good tube amplifier.
So I asked Jan (my father) if he you would like to visit me with his
Yarland FV-34A-IV amplifier.
This tube amplifier has two EL34 tubes in Single Ended Class A,
and has 2x 12 watt, and can handle speakers with a load impedance of 4/8
I was really excited how my speakers would sound in combination with a
We listened that day to several high-resolution music, and I can say it
The micro details, fast dynamics and clear high frequencies were still
there, but the music sounded just more comfortable than with the
Audio-Gd Master 10 amplifier.
So my next upgrade plan will be to save money for a good tube amplifier
This speaker has a modular design, so you can experiment with
other XO's or front baffle damping materials to adjust the speaker
entirely to your own taste.
The original LS3/5a had a thick 12.5mm x 130mm x 110mm square piece of
felt around the softdome tweeter.
This was done to control the diffraction effects caused by the raised
edges of the front baffle.
This felt edge became also a characteristic recognition point of the
I decided to keep this design element also in my interpretation.
I have done many test with all kinds of different materials (foam,
and the best experience I had was by placing a 6mm thick felt square
around the Mundorf AMT tweeter so that the felt covered all surrounding
This way the front baffle around the tweeter would get the same height
like the tweeter.
After placing the felt, the diffraction effects caused by the raised
edges were gone.
and the stereo imaging improved, the sound became more balanced and also
more comfortable, because of the absorbing effect of the felt.
The final look of my Audio Dandy LS3/5a
Building these speakers was a lot of work, and I’m glad that
I can listen now to two beautiful sounding loudspeakers were I’m now
very proud of.
Not because I made them together with my friends, but also how they
Because this project was not without risks, I had no XO experience,
I didn’t knew how this speakers would sound in the beginning...
But I was very lucky and the result is even better than I hoped for!
This speaker really has High-End qualities, and I think a speaker of
this level would cost in the High-End shop much, much more.
Still this speaker is not cheap to make, it’s costs also a lot of work
But when this speaker gets it OSHW certification, then I will be very
Then I have reached my goal, a High-End speaker for everybody, that will
be available forever.
A speaker of the DIY community that hopefully will evolve and also will
be improve over time
This speaker will be available forever, so that everybody can enjoy of
High-End quality music!
Happy building & listening!
Audio Dandy (Maarten van Druten)
When my building document will ready, I shall place it on my website
so everybody can downloaded it.
Part 1 -
The Beginning & Building the cabinets
Part 2 - Building
the front baffle & External XO
Part 3 -
Listening & Conclusion (this page)
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