LFD AUDIO: LS3 versus Krell KRC-3 plus Meridian 502, SAE C-102, Stax CA-X, and more

Hi Howard, Spied that LFD LS1 preamp on eBay.  I have a Krell KRC-3 on the way, but thought I’d take a punt on this too.  Is the LS3 substantially better, or are we talking slight differences here?

Thank you for this. You raise a very interesting point. There is no unqualified answer. Let me explain. During the 36 years I’ve been in this business, the countless demonstrations, thousands of buyers and my own introspective appreciation of both my musical sensitivities and my own sensitivities to different types of equipment I have concluded that to a large extent the superiority of a piece of equipment to another is inextricably linked to the aspirations and perceptions of the listener.

Or put differently, what they think they hear rather than what is being sent out by the components of the system working together. And then of course, do they like what they think they hear. Okay so far? For example, take the holy trinity of turntable, arm and cartridge. For me, I am far more sensitive to the variations in sound, per £250 spent on an arm than I am for the similar amount spent on the cartridge. For others, using the identical two components, the influence of the cartridge is more affecting for the listener than the arm.

As far as I am aware there is no published objective explanation as to why this might be. Only theories.

So, to LFD. As you might have previously concluded, I’m a die-hard LFD enthusiast. However, I’m a realist too. I estimate that in at least 80% of occasions I prefer alternative makes of pre amp to use with my LFD power amps. Dr. Bews knows this. He and I have had long discussions re this. Personally, £500 per £500 spent I prefer the sound of LFD power amps to their preamps. The truly astonishing LFD Anniversary Linestage being a mighty exception. Painful price though!

And for me, only under exceptional and carefully arranged circumstances was I able (and even then only rarely) to conclusively and consistently demonstrate the superiority of the LS3 to the LS1. The ultra rare LS2 was/is perhaps the best value in that now discontinued range of 3 Linestages. I’ve owned and used with great success with my various LFD power amps the

  • Krell KSP-7B
  • Stax CA-X,
  • SAE C-102,
  • Accuphase
  • Luxman and
  • various Meridians.

Thus my suspicion is that at best an LFD LS3 will be sonically different to your Krell KRC-3 but not necessarily more musically satisfying. Looking back, I feel that my long since sold (silly, silly me) Meridian 502 was one of the most pleasing combinations when I was demoing the PA2M (SE)

A long answer I know, but an informative one I hope.

ME but smaller

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