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Graham Audio Chartwell LS6

Passive Monitors
Published November 2017
By Phil Ward

Chartwell LS6Chartwell LS6

The LS6 combines old-school BBC-style monitor design with modern driver technology to deliver a very classy loudspeaker indeed.

Over the last few years, Graham Audio have developed a successful niche in reinterpreting classic BBC monitor designs, and I wrote a piece back in the June 2016 issue about their reincarnation of the LS3/5. That Chartwell LS3/5, as it was christened, has now been joined by a larger sibling, the Chartwell LS6, and that’s the subject of this review. The LS6, however, marks a compact monitoring departure for Graham Audio because, rather than being a reinterpretation of a BBC classic, it’s an an original design. Well, I say it’s an original, but there’s no ignoring the traditional look of the LS6, and the clear inspiration it takes from an earlier age of monitoring. There’s no ignoring, either, the fact that its designer, Derek Hughes, is the son of Spencer Hughes, who was a core member of the engineering team responsible for numerous BBC monitors (and later the founder of Spendor). So, the LS6 is an original monitor design that obviously benefits from four decades of driver development, but in many respects it has roots planted firmly back in the 1970s. Is that a bad thing? Read on.

You Sixy Thing

The LS6 is a passive monitor, and despite the domination of the monitor market by active products, there’s still a market for passive units. I’ve no definite numbers to back this up, but my gut feeling is that passive nearfield monitoring is undergoing something of a renaissance at present. We’ve written about a few in the magazine recently, and they’ve all acquitted themselves vey well. Perhaps it helps that a consequence of so many studios still having a pair of Yamaha NS10s in residence is that they also still have a power amplifier available.

But back to the LS6: it’s generally a conventional two-way passive speaker with a 180mm coated-polypropylene-diaphragm bass/mid driver and a 19mm soft-dome tweeter. The tweeter is actually the same unit as the one employed in the...

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Published November 2017