Chartwell Project Symphony

The design of the LS3/5A became very popular with BBC staff and many of them wanted pairs for use at home.

Arrangements were made with Chartwell to supply cabinets, crossovers and drive units in kit form allowing staff to assemble their own speakers. Project Symphony kits were never intended to be available to the general public although many pairs were bought by staff on behalf of their friends. The price was £100 plus purchase tax per pair, which adjusted for UK inflation is equivalent to about £1000 today.

Some Chartwell Project Symphony kits were built by BBC engineers at work in their break times. They had access to the expertise, reference LS3/5As, and measuring equipment. So Project Symphony kits can be among the finest LS3/5As made. But other kits were made by the less qualified on the kitchen table at home, so the quality of construction may be somewhat variable! They do come up for sale from time to time and tend to command premium secondhand prices.

Brian Pook, Managing Director or Rogers between 1976 and 1982 describes how the news was received by them in his excellent history of the company, “Meanwhile Chartwell had commenced production by selling LS3/5A loudspeakers `kits’ to BBC employees, something that disgusted us. We knew from extensive production experience that the performance would be compromised without selection of drive units and experienced calibration and adjustment. How could the BBC permit this violation of the LS3/5A? This was the stuff of nightmares!