Trio LS-77 Review

My Story

These strange looking speakers were purchased from eBay. I found them when I was searching for coaxial speakers. I have never seen Trio LS-77 before and I did not know much about Trio brand at the time. I perhaps paid for them more than they were worth, but I liked the 80s look and the fact that these are really rare. More importantly, I was really curious how these were going to sound…

Speaker Info

As the name suggests, these Trio LS-77 speakers were made by Trio Corporation (in 1986 officially rebranded to Kenwood Corporation) and from what I’ve gathered, they were only released to Japanese market. I recall reading somewhere that the LS range was designed with studio monitoring in mind, but not sure how much truth is in it. Feel free to email me if you are able to provide some more info on these rare speakers.
 

Trio LS-77 Specs
Frequency Response: 35 – 20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 93.5dB (1W input, measured at 1m)
Impedance:
Power Capacity: 60W (continuous program)
High & Low Frequency Driver: 250mm (10″) Coaxial Driver with Horn Loaded Bullet Tweeter and 250mm (10″) Paper Diaphragm
Passive Radiator: 250mm (10″)
Crossover Frequencies: 4,000Hz
Enclosure Type: Closed
Enclosure Dimensions (HxWxD): 600x330x297mm (23.5x13x12″)
Weight: 15kg (each speaker)
Production Year: 1976
Price When Launched: £106 for a pair
Equivalent Present Day Price: £690 for a pair
Current UK Price: £50 to £150 for a pair

 

Look & Feel of Trio LS-77 Speakers

I have to say – not everyone will be able to appreciate the look of LS-77s. White speaker cones against black enclosures look very 80s. But, I like them a lot. I always liked the look of speakers like Yamaha NS-1000 or JBL L100; and Trio LS-77 remind me of both of these.
The enclosures are made from quite thick chipboard with one internal bracing. They are finished in black worktop laminate – not as nice as wood veneer but a lot more scratch resistant. The speaker drivers are very neatly made with a lot of attention to details. Glue is only where it needs to be and both diaphragms and suspensions look very clean. Each speaker features a passive radiator as well as a coaxial driver (Coaxial driver means that there are two diaphragms (HF and LF) combined in one driver and working on the same axis, creating a point source). Both drivers’ and passive radiators’ baskets are made from die cast alloy with good amount of ‘breathing’ space. The cones are made from rigid paper suspended on fabric surrounds (they will not deteriorate with age). I’m not sure about the tweeter diaphragms’ material as at the time of testing I did not feel comfortable taking these drivers apart. The tweeters are in-line with bass cones and generate the sound via aluminium horns, which expand horizontally (presumably to aid with stereo imaging). The crossovers are hardwired but are very basic and made from rather poor quality components, which is really disappointing, as all of the other components are very well made. Treble potentiometers are not the best quality but they seem to work just fine.

Sound of Trio LS-77

With an exception of couple of models, Japanese speakers do not have a very good reputation in the UK. I personally do not believe that country of origin has anything to do with the sound of the speakers. So trying to stay away from any stereotyping I’ve commenced my test. First thing that I’ve noticed about these Trio LS-77 was the efficiency – a lot better that what we can see from majority of modern speakers. But nothing comes for free and high efficiency and relatively small enclosure volume meant that the bass was not going to go very low. And it didn’t. It was quick, had a good attack, was well controlled but never deep. If anything, I’d say that the bass was a bit ‘boxy’. Not something that people who like full bodied sound would appreciate.
Midrange and treble were OK but there was nothing special about them. Vocals sounded a little flat and string instruments were a little coloured. Definitely not the most truthful presenters. Level of details was good, but they are number of speakers that are a lot more detailed than these. Where these speakers do really well is the attack, but when it gets to the more ’emotional’ stuff that requires engagement they really struggle. Stereo imaging is good, however, the soundstage is rather shallow.


 
 

Conclusion

Trio LS-77 are not the most engaging speakers which can sound flat at times. Very good attack though. Good if your are on a tight budget and can pick them up for £50. If I was to keep these for myself, it would only be for collector’s purposes.

Balance of Sound: 2.5 grey stars
Neutrality of Tone: 2 grey stars
Transparency: 2 grey stars
Soundstage: 2 grey stars
Attack: 3 grey stars
Engagement: 1.5 grey stars
Total Score: 2.5 red stars