New Falcon ls3/5a Silvers in the house

I picked up a pair of new b-stock Falcon silver badge ls3/5a’s last week and have been getting used to them since then. I work in the city and have an apartment where I stay 4 days a week and my real home is a couple hours north where my main stereo system resides. So the Falcons are essentially in a 2nd system setup that is mostly near field. Streaming only right now which is an Ifi Zen Stream powered by a 12V LHY linear supply feeding a 30 year old California Audio Labs Sigma ii tubed dac (16/44.1 only).

My amp at home is usually the Van Alstine SET 120 paired with a Van Alstine RB10 tubed preamp. (And my speakers with that set up are Fritz Carbon 7 se mk2).

So I’m currently using my beloved old 1977 Yamaha CA-2010 to drive the Falcons.

and it’s actually a pretty surprising and sweet pairing. The Yamaha has a Class A setting which outputs 30wpc vs its normal 120. (Into 8ohms).

The imaging , the floating center voices , the textures and the superb bass in this near field set up are truly impressive. I’m so glad I made the impulsive purchase to pick up these speakers. And I’m really happy I have an amp that is driving them well… but… I do wonder if I’m leaving anything on the table by not using a different amp that is known to pair exquisitely with ls3/5a’s?

I’m not really in the market for a new expensive amplifier purchase but I am poking around at some used solid state amps (power or integrated) like Exposure, Sugden, Belles and also some vintage el34 or el84 tube amps .

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for something that would raise the bar from the vintage Yamaha that isn’t going to break the bank. I’m thinking in the less than $1500 zone … used market.


pics linked





I have heard the Falcon LS3/5A powered by the Oto and I liked the sound.  But, I don’t play speakers very loudly, and so I don’t know if your Oto was enough juice for your use.  I would bet that your B&Ws are at least as hard to drive as the Falcons so you are probably good.  The Falcon is an amazingly good speaker and your Oto is terrific too.

I have Falcon ls3/5a gold badge. Found few tips to get best of em. 1. They need power. The little speakers make my pass labs X250.8 amp needle move. 2. Place them lower. For me, 22 inch stand is perfect, tweeter at my ear level. Good bass too. 3. Very sensitive to positioning. Play with toe ins and width. Overall the falcons are magical speakers but feed them with a high quality juice 

Follow up 

my Yamaha CA-2010 needs service. Yes it sounds good , but there are issues. (1) There is a certain amount of channel dropout .  I’m not sure if it’s the pot (which is a fancy 8-gang sealed Alps unit) or something else.

i had the amp serviced in 2021 but not much was done.  One switch was replaced and all the pots and switches were cleaned .  It hasn’t been recapped or re-biased.

When the channel dropout happens it is quite jarring and can send static signals to the speakers which really could be damaging.  
(2) It can be a little bit flabby.  That is an exaggeration but it’s noticeable.  I believe that if it were to be refurbished and recapped and brought into spec it could be a strong performer . My plan is to do that but I have to find someone in NYC to do it.

In the meantime I just picked up a used Van Alstine Ultravalve 35wpc tube amp… essentially a re-worked ST-70 with el34’s.

It’s an amp I’ve been looking to get for a few years and a used one came up in great condition so I took the plunge.

The amp has 16ohm taps which should make the Falcon ls3/5a’s happy.

Not sure what I’ll use as a preamp in front of it yet.  Perhaps my Van Alstine RB10 or I’ll try my homemade Intact Slagle autoformer volume control as well.

Will share the results here.

If anyone has recommendations for a good tech who could look at my 1976 Yamaha CA -2010 I’d love to hear about them



Nice.  I think you’ll like that combination - I had original LS3/5a’s and a Dynaco ST70 back in the 1970’s and it was my first taste of higher end sound. Had an RB10 as well more recently and think you’d have to spend a lot more to do better. 

Hello there, I’ve owned LS3/5a speakers for over 30yrs.  I’m listening to my pair now playing Vinyl via a Thorens 124 table. I have a 100lb single end tube amp on them 45 watts per channel, the vacuum tube power is combined between 300b and the 805 tube.  I’m a big fan of the original LS3/5a’s.  I still own several pairs.  My son and daughter owns pairs as well and are also setup in their living rooms.  I’ve tried many different types of amplification on the LS3/5a and found tubes to sound best. Do not under power them as the drivers will get damaged as happened to me yrs ago using 18 watts single end 300b mono block amps.  I feel LS3/5a speakers need minimum 30 watts.  I also use another amp in house that provides great performance, 100lb as well, 100 watts EL34 tube power.  I’ve found a nice, well designed EL34 tube amplifier around 45-50 watts to be a perfect match.  I personally feel the LS3/5a speaker sounds best with the EL34 tube. EL34’s has more inner information and resolution than other more powerful tubes and it presents that information in a sweeter more pleasing way. All 15ohm LS3/5a’s should function very similar.  I also own big Electrostats and Magnetic speakers. I personally heavy discouraged Solid State on LS3/5a speakers.  The SS design can easily damage the drivers with loud volume.  Tube amps will be much gentler on the speakers.    My #1 pick for the LS3/5a is mid power tube amp (45-50 watts) and super recommended is a EL34 tube amp design.  No Solid State or No low power amps (below 30) if you care about your speakers. An amp I started with, still own and can highly recommend is the Conrad Johnson MV 55. There are many good EL34 tube amplifiers to choose from, good luck.  I purchased my first pair of LS3/5a when I walked into my friends house yrs ago and heard them. It was one and still, one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard. He was driving them with Cary 805C tube mono blocks.