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The Sony LSPX-S3 Glass Surround Speaker: Modesty's Beguiling Musical Eros

08-13-2022 | By Jim Merod | Issue 122

Jim Merod: a self-portrait.

Sony's LSPX-S3 glass sound speaker can be regarded as a leaner, no less enjoyable sonic anomaly which the paradigm-setting Harmon Kardon three-unit stereo playback device, a decade or so back, brought the convenience of music's joyful digital miniaturization. This inexpensive, highly-compatible audio triumph depends not so much on Bluetooth flexibility, but on its clear, seductive presentation of music it allows computers to deliver almost as if any intervening footprint were utterly absent.

Image courtesy of Sony

I've not merely been an advocate of grand stereo systems for more than forty years, but a died-in-the wool tribal ring leader hanging out with the bold cognoscenti who pioneered the most exquisite speakers, hardware, and cables. To wit, no less than five fully-rendered high-end audio systems hold places of dispositive honor at Chez BluePort. Thus, one easily extrapolates a damning if, also, cheerful conclusion. Music means more to the height and depth of my soul's vulnerable being than virtually anything on earth has ever accomplished.

Image courtesy of Sony

A quick note about that honorable recherche: the remarkable Dave Magnan became a hero for me long years ago. A no less fortunate collaboration with Steve McCormack averred that Dave's cables delivered that most elusive of all qualities: great audio reproduction, a truthful you-are-there delicacy, ease, and charm. Anyone who pays sustained attention to music well-recorded—captured at its maximum of sonic precision and spiritual allure—comes to recognize that each element in a playback system is crucial. Crafting so called "state of the art" sonic reproduction is an achievement of its recording regime no less than the system delivering that potential glory.

Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg with his beloved Tannoy Westminster, in all his glory. Image courtesy of the dear departed Gizmo…

Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg (a literally unforgettable sonic guru) hung out prominently and late into evenings @ AES and other venues where technical as well as philosophical discourse was on display. Trust me. You'd want to hang out with Gizmo's double PhD seminar in "things audio"... analog glory, in specific.

Joe Harley: a portrait. Buena Vista, CA, 2021. Photograph and image processing by David W. Robinson.

Others dance through the buoyant flotsam of my reverie's private domain. I'll include Joe Harley whose constant vigilance to remaster jazz masterpieces is an ongoing complement to my nearly forty years of "on location" live recording: Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Sweets Edison, Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, Benny Golson, Joe Henderson, Tom Harrell, Kenny Barron, Barry Harris, Nick Brignola, Charles McPherson, Scott Hamilton, Kenny Burrell… . Lauded as he is, I'm certain that those who enjoy, perhaps adore, Joe Harley's discrete magic touch, may not imagine how much the work he achieves (the effortless fluidity of Hank Aaron's swing being an apt cognate) is a product of virtually ineffable intuition-focusing technical hipness.

Image courtesy of Sony

I mean to reinforce a somewhat counter-intuitive quality these Sony mini-reference speakers deeply. This inexpensive unit delivers subtle sonic delight straight from the trove of music situated on any laptop. The term "subtle" does not intend to depreciate its sonic value. This truly engaging musical addition to any caring listener's world is surprising in its vivacity; endearing in proximity; and, sonically, emotionally alluring. Does it blitz or rival the height of audiophile reproduction? 

Of course not.

Does it charm your villainous gremlins as you peck and hunt, or wail away, on your Mac laptop? It does and it will. Are you secure enough in your forensic musical fury to admit a victory the High End rarely imagines possible? 

Check it out.