When I first arrived at AXPONA on Saturday morning, I had no real clear chosen path laid out. I knew that I wanted to start on the top floors to see some favorite things, but other than that, I was trying to let the sights and sounds be my guide. Almost immediately upon arrival, in the lower exhibition hall, I ran into some friends from the Chicago Audio Society. We talked about what we’d all like to see that day, and what we’d seen on Friday already. One of the guys was very excited about a room occupied by a vendor from Hawaii named Walter. I was handed a card from Underwood HiFi with Walter’s info, and practically sworn to an oath to stop by that room. I said that I certainly would, as the product lines I was being told about were sounding very intriguing.
The day went on, from room-to-room, and I had practically forgotten about my promise and this man Walter from Hawaii, until I happened into this room where a beautiful pair of bookshelf speakers were playing. I sat down, and just listened. They sounded big and full, and imaged well, even in a room that wasn’t the greatest, sonically.
“There’s no sub in here.”, said an older gentleman, on cue, even before introducing himself. Truthfully, I hadn’t even looked for one, but I could plainly understand why most people would. I was hearing great bottom end out of these rounded mid-size speakers. I continued to listen some more before getting up and finally introducing myself. It was then that I found out that I was talking with the man himself, Walter Liederman. We talked for a while about the speakers that I was listening to, the LSA-10 Signatures. He told me that LSA’s intention was to design a bookshelf speaker that would perform as well as a floorstanding speaker.
When my demo pair arrived a couple weeks later, my very first thought was of the poor UPS driver. The speakers came beautifully packaged in a single, large, 57-pound box, with each speaker bagged in cloth, the dome tweeter protected by film. The cabinets themselves were far more attractive than I had remembered them at the show. The rosewood veneer makes them furniture-grade and the curved boxes make for a stunning appearance right out of the box. They do come with grilles, but I set those aside.
It was recommended that I give the LSA-10’s a lot of burn-in time, which I did. During that time, I listened to them as they broke in. The bass opened up, as did the staging. They went from somewhat impressive to downright stunning in a matter of weeks.
The unique thing about the LSA-10’s is that they are a passive radiator design, which I’ll admit, I have a real affinity for. Perhaps it harkens back to the days of my old Realistic Nova-10’s with their 8” radiators from when I was a teen (one of my many projects around here is to restore them). There’s just something tight and deep that you get from a speaker of this design, particularly when they’re done well.
Once the LSA-10s were burned in, I began to spin several discs on them, both for evaluation and out of sheer enjoyment. One evening, I was playing some Lyle Lovett while doing another review. It ended up drawing my wife into the room. At first, she wasn’t sure which speakers she was hearing, she found the staging to be that wide. Then she asked which sub I was using. I echoed Walters words: “There’s no sub in this system.” She was floored.
To seriously review the LSA-10 Signatures, I grabbed Pink Floyd’s “The Endless River,” specifically to hear that deep drop at about 50 seconds into it. The 6” woofer, along with the 4×6” radiator came together to give me all the depth that I was looking for. I ended up getting drawn into the entire album. As the disc progressed the bookshelf speakers showed me that they could really sound like a couple floorstanders.
However, bass is not their only trick. While I do praise their low end, it’s the staging that I feel I must go back to. Yes, they sound big, and that’s wonderful, but they also make the room sound big, as well. The LSA-10’s have great, almost holographic, dimension about them that became even more impressive to me. When placed correctly, the walls behind them seem to disappear, and they paint huge, lush images of sound. Instruments move in the sound field fluidly, with a soundstage much wider than the stance of the speakers themselves. The 1-inch dome tweeter created well-defined sound and crossed over very smoothly with the woofer. Even the piano, probably the hardest instrument for a bookshelf speaker to reproduce well, sounded wonderfully natural.
I moved to something a bit mellower- Mark Knopfler’s “The Ragpicker’s Dream.” Again, I got that deep bass, the sound of bigger speakers, but I got some really fun imaging here. The LSA-10’s are very good at making a mural of your listening wall. If I could have typed and closed my eyes, I would have. The instruments were almost evenly spaced across the room, as if coming from individual cubes of my Ikea Kallax. It was quite interesting. Percussion was popping through the mix in such a lively way that it drew my wife back into the room again. It was hard to sit still.
The LSA-10 Signatures are absolutely the speakers that belong on your short list to listen to and try out.
Now through August 31, 2019, mention “Shoestring Audiophile” and get a pair of LSA-10 Signature speakers for $1799.00, delivered.
Cyrus One HD integrated amplifier
Pioneer Elite DV-45A CD/SACD player
APC power conditioner
Audio Art SC-5 speaker cables
Triode Wire Labs Spirit II interconnects