View Full Version : Calling all Harbeth users


Lordhenley
23-02-10, 01:54 PM
Well as the title says, would love hear what people gave to say about them, I am demoing a pair of PS3ER next week and am quite excited but on the other hand could be disapointed in my quest for new speakers.

Kindest regards

Joe Hutch
23-02-10, 01:56 PM
I'll be watching this one with interest too. Am pondering a pair for upstairs.

Tony L
23-02-10, 02:01 PM
I'm an ex-Harbeth user (C7ES), they are proper grown-up's speakers IMO. Give them a good long chance though as they don't play by the quick A-B dem boom and tizz / hyped detail / stunt bass game. What they will do is play any music you throw at them naturally and without favour or bias. I enjoyed owning mine a lot.

Tony.

JonR
23-02-10, 02:04 PM
Briefly got a chance to listen to some P3ESR's a few months ago and loved them. When I have some money saved up I plan to book a proper dem possibly comparing them to Compact 7ES3's. In the meantime I bought a pair of HL-P3ES's second-hand as a stop-gap until I can afford a new pair. A couple of generations older they may be but I adore them - wonderfully balanced loudspeakers.

In short, I love the Harbeth sound. Best of luck with your dem - I hope you enjoy what the P3ESR's do.

joff
23-02-10, 02:15 PM
I'm an ex-Harbeth user (C7ES), they are proper grown-up's speakers IMO. Give them a good long chance though as they don't play by the quick A-B dem boom and tizz / hyped detail / stunt bass game. What they will do is play any music you throw at them naturally and without favour or bias. I enjoyed owning mine a lot.

Tony.
I am listening to your old C7ES's right now :)

Tony L
23-02-10, 02:17 PM
I am listening to your old C7ES's right now :)

Excellent, what have you got upstream of them?

Tony.

jimb0
23-02-10, 02:19 PM
I have decided to take a punt on some P3ESRs unheard. I haven't read a bad thing about them. Fingers crossed...

Lordhenley
23-02-10, 02:24 PM
Jimbo

I nearly did that myself but I'm down London next week on business and managed to get a demo, everyone speaks highly of them, I just hope I'm not disapointed

joff
23-02-10, 02:24 PM
Excellent, what have you got upstream of them?

Tony.

Right now I have my own TT design, sometimes a Garrard 401 into an ANT phonostage and a Unison Research integrated (Croft pre power coming soon):)

Tony L
23-02-10, 02:38 PM
Right now I have my own TT design, sometimes a Garrard 401 into an ANT phonostage and a Unison Research integrated (Croft pre power coming soon):)

Sounds good - are you enjoying the Harbeths?

Tony.

Lordhenley
23-02-10, 02:38 PM
Just for the record to my OP I have tried

Spendor A5 & A6 - to me nothing special, never really grabbed me
Dynaudio Excite X16 - preffeted them to the above, but nothing mega

I use a Nait XS and CD3.5 with a sonic bliss P/S through Jamo classic 6 floorstanders, the latter being the reason to change

Scott_01
23-02-10, 02:40 PM
OP

This isn't an objective view and it's a bit long too.... Oh well.

I have had a pair of SHL5 for the last 14 months. As I have stated elsewhere they are by some distance the best speakers I have owned. Forgive my inept descriptions.

I previously owned a pair of Revel M22 Performa but following an Amp upgrade (E-212 > E-450) I felt that the speakers were perhaps the limiting factor in my system. Although the Revels had really improved with the extra power. They were decent speakers, powerful and clear sounding, I felt there was still a slight edge to the treble and a 'glassy' quality to the mid range.

I listened to the Kudos C10 (I think) at a dealers, but didn't demo any other speakers at home, maybe I should have but I don't regret it.

The Harbeths won me over within about 5 minutes and they keep doing so. They offer exceptional clarity but manage to do so in a non-fatiguing manner. I'm now confident if there is an edge to treble, it's because it's meant to be there (Primal Scream XTRMINATOR) rather than as an artefact (Aretha Franklin - with the Revels, mostly). The mid range is awesome and the bass goes deep enough for my room.

What don't they do? They aren't 'snappy' or 'tight', although the bass is deep, it needs some controlling IMO (partly the room too obviously). It could also be said that they don't do 'leading edge' or timing, that they are relaxed and / or boring. In my opinion that is because they offer a very transparent view on the system and add a minimum of their own character to the sound you hear. If you want tight snappy rhythms then strap on a pair of nap 140'S and an LP12. Other aspects of the music float my boat so I don't follow that route.

Finally, I have a pair of Grado RS1s and although they used to get a fair bit of use before the Harbs I rarely use them now. The SHL5 are excellent at low levels and I feel give just as much insight with better dynamics.

joff
23-02-10, 02:46 PM
Sounds good - are you enjoying the Harbeths?

Tony.

Absolutely. I never think about the speakers now except about having a good listen to some SHL5's

What did you replace them with Tony?

Tony L
23-02-10, 03:03 PM
What did you replace them with Tony?

An absurdly cheap pair of Monitor Golds (http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/showthread.php?t=59950), which I like very much indeed.

The Harbeth I'd most like to hear is the Monitor 30, same wonderful bass unit as the C7, but a nice high-quality soft dome tweeter in place of the metal one. I'd love to hear the P3ER too, I bet that's a cracker.

Tony.

hifi_dave
23-02-10, 03:10 PM
What you really, really want to hear is the M40.1....:D

martin clark
23-02-10, 03:13 PM
I'd really like to spend some time with the Monitor 40s. I suspect I'd soon start a series of absurd get-rich-quick schemes in order to do the necessary.

Scott_01
23-02-10, 03:16 PM
What you really, really want to hear is the M40.1....:D

Do you have a pair on demo?

hifi_dave
23-02-10, 03:17 PM
Yes I do. I have them all.

Scott_01
23-02-10, 03:27 PM
Well in a 'take up a dealer's time without the means to buy' kind of way that is interesting. :D

I know you have access to lots of nice kit but If you've a quiet slot free some time then I don't suppose you'd fancy hearing what they sound like on the end of an Accuphase E-450?

What partnering equipment have you typically demmed them with so far?

honmanm
23-02-10, 03:31 PM
Harbeths in use - original HL-P3, circa 1992. Wonderful midrange and low colouration. After years of being a panel nut, I still can't believe I've fallen in love with these piddly little boxes.

Mini monitors lend themselves to listening close up (that's what they're designed for) but on the flip side may sound lost in a big room.

P.S. Dave-who-has-them-all, how about an open day or something for PFMers to kick the tyres? It's just curiosity... but given what the P3s can do the big boys must really be something else and the curiosity, she burneth.

ampman
23-02-10, 04:52 PM
I have the compact 7ES2, and am not interested in changing to another speaker brand, except I'd be tempted by 7ES3, SHL5, or even P3ESR depending on future room size.

Luckily, here in Japan, they can be picked up used at reasonable prices from time to time.

As has already been said, not a 5 minute wower, but a grower and a keeper.

AdamWysokinski
23-02-10, 10:15 PM
A pair of Harbeth SHL5 in beautiful tiger ebony here. Sound is beautiful - so clear, so natural.. Absolutely a keeper for me.

hifi_dave
24-02-10, 03:17 AM
Scott and Honmanm,
As a dealer, I feel uncomfortable talking about them here. I'll just say I've tried them all with Quad II, Leak Stereo-20, lots of Naim, EAR 899, Puresound, Rega Brio, Elicit and Osiris, Luxman 505 (?), LFD and the new Croft range. All sounds good.

I am doing a day for some lads from TAOS forum soon.

joel
24-02-10, 04:50 AM
As a dealer, I feel uncomfortable talking about them here. Don't. Think of this as opportunity provision. It's hard to hear this kind of speaker, and giving people the opportunity really does qualify as a service (and can I come over for a listen to the M40.1s when I'm in the UK - *sometime* this year :-)).

hifi_dave
24-02-10, 05:21 AM
Tony has a big fat cane and I'll get it across my knuckles...:o

Just e-mail when you're in town.

Tigerjones
24-02-10, 05:30 AM
If you're looking for a small standmount that is unfussy about placement, gives good bass for their size, with a natural, easy listening sound then the P3-ESRs are a winner. I'm really happy with mine. They are very easy to drive (good results with 8 watts of valve and currently 10 watts of Sugden) and the Rosewood finish is gorgeous. As Tony L said they aren't an instant wower but a real keeper.

Basil
24-02-10, 05:40 AM
What don't they do? They aren't 'snappy' or 'tight',

Scott_01,

Forgive me if I have this all wrong, but what I think you're trying to say is that they don't impose themselves over the music?

hifi_dave, I'd be up for an Harbeth 'open day'

:D

Wiicrackpot
24-02-10, 05:57 AM
A pair of Harbeth SHL5 in beautiful tiger ebony here. Sound is beautiful - so clear, so natural.. Absolutely a keeper for me.

Snap, Coming over from electrostatics, for me end of the search for loudspeakers forever.....well unless the Tannoy dualconcentrics i acquired recently live up to their reputation when i compare them after the works getting done to them.:)

Lordhenley
24-02-10, 09:37 AM
Many thanks for all the comments, seems it was what I half expected that Harbeth are a great speaker and I am looking forward to the demo next week.

In the meantime keep the comments coming, the more the merrier !

avole
24-02-10, 10:07 AM
Harbeth are OK but strictly limited as speakers, plus way overpriced for what they are. Have a listen to some decent Wharfedale 9.1s instead.

AdamWysokinski
24-02-10, 10:12 AM
Harbeth are OK but strictly limited as speakers, plus way overpriced for what they are. Have a listen to some decent Wharfedale 9.1s instead.

For me, my music and my room there are no limits for SHL5. They represent one of the very best speakers and are priced very reasonably (in terms of sound quality, build quality, technological advancement of the Radial drivers, etc.), especially comparing to other speakers of similar sound quality.

jlw2000
24-02-10, 10:12 AM
I had some P3ESR's for awhile. They sound beautiful. IF positioned properly. The problem for me was that the speakers were for living room use, and intended for bookshelf placement. They didn't sound right (at all) on the shelves, so I moved them to stands, but still out of the way into the room corners. Again, not right. I wasn't getting much of a stereo image, as I found the speakers need to be fairly close together. Plus they don't like being near the wall.

So I pulled them out, and closer together. On stands. In my living room. Once everything was sounding perfect (and truly beautiful) I had a pair of $2k speakers in the middle of my living room. That wasn't going to work. Not for reasons of decor, or traffic flow, or safety (kids).

So I found a nice pair of Rega R1's, which perform beautifully right there on the bookshelf. As God intended bookshelf speakers to be used. Not as beautiful as the Harbeths when ideally positioned, but better than the harbeth when on the shelf. Typical Rega. No fuss.

The point of my long windedness.... for the smaller speakers at least, depends on your room.

vln
24-02-10, 12:49 PM
Without wanting to spoil the party, I am one of the people who "moved on from Harbeth".

Let me quickly add that they are great speakers, and the speakers I am replacing them with are slightly more than twice as expensive - in other words, if you want to better you Harbeth, you really need to spend a lot of money (IMO - Tony L might disagree).

I wanted a speaker which is floorstanding and goes deeper than any Harbeth (except the M40, which, however, is way out my price range), and I found the Dynaudio Contour S 3.4, which, if all goes well, arrives coming Saturday. Why floorstanding? I always found the stands had a big influence on the sound - sometimes bad, sometimes good, sometimes just different - I am glad that with floorstanding speakers, this factor is now out of the equation.

Furthermore, with room correction I am now able to have speakers going down low without the problems usually associated with (lots of) bass in not so big / not so perfect rooms.

In comparison, the Dynaudios had more bass (hardly surprising), they sounded smoother and more detailed - but as mentioned before, they cost more than twice as much than the Harbeths, so yes, I can (and should) expect a better performance; however the law of diminishing returns also holds true for speakers (but probably to a lesser degree than for mains cables :)), and I probably won't ever be spending more on conventional passive speakers than what I have spent for the Dynaudios.

In closing, the Harbeths are great speakers, and I if I hadn't discovered the whole room correction thing, I probably would have held on to them, or perhaps considered SHL5s - however here in Switzerland, I think Harbeth don't even have a distributor, which would make auditions very difficult - in the end, you always have to work with what you can realistically audition and buy. What is the point if someone on a forum tells you about the best speakers in the world, but they are only being sold in 2 shops in Outer Mongolia?



Samuel.



PS:
Alan Shaw is a great guy to deal with and he has certainly the right attitude towards HiFi

Scott_01
24-02-10, 12:54 PM
Scott and Honmanm,
As a dealer, I feel uncomfortable talking about them here. I'll just say I've tried them all with Quad II, Leak Stereo-20, lots of Naim, EAR 899, Puresound, Rega Brio, Elicit and Osiris, Luxman 505 (?), LFD and the new Croft range. All sounds good.

I am doing a day for some lads from TAOS forum soon.

No worries Dave, I'm sure they will have a good day. My Crimson Mono's sounded better than I'd heard before but didn't give the detail or tone that the accuphase does.

What don't they do? They aren't 'snappy' or 'tight',
Scott_01,

Forgive me if I have this all wrong, but what I think you're trying to say is that they don't impose themselves over the music?

hifi_dave, I'd be up for an Harbeth 'open day'

Yes that's what I meant, I did say I was inept didn't I? :D

honmanm
24-02-10, 03:03 PM
Have just been listening to a pair of P3ESRs (first serious listen to them). Quite different from 1st gen P3s, a more balanced sound and there doesn't seem to be a "presence" bump (almost a pity, I'm a sucker for emotional midrange).

Resolving power of the P3ESRs is really remarkable, try some complex music where backing instrumentalists are doing their own thing very creatively.

And so far they are getting along pretty well with the two £100 amps that I've tried.

FWIW they are on Rega Kyte stands.

agentsmith
24-02-10, 05:59 PM
Without wanting to spoil the party, I am one of the people who "moved on from Harbeth".

You did not mention which Harbeth you are moving from.

I have a pair of Harbeth Monitor 30s. I was thinking of moving to the more Dynaudio Confidence C1 which I think is quite a bit more expensive. I went over to a friend's place for a 2 hour listening session.

While the Dynaudio is definitely more HiFi with more highs and lows and image like a champ, I preferred my Harbeths and decided not to proceed with the change. My friend did have top of the line Accuphase room equalization but even with different settings I find the C1 too "HiFi" for my taste, and may get a little tiring compared to the Harbeths.

hockman
24-02-10, 07:30 PM
What you really, really want to hear is the M40.1....:D

These are great speakers and frankly not that expensive given that they are full range, and in comparison to hi end "audiophile" speakers.

An friend drives them with a tubed Leben integrated and also alternatively with a variety of cheap old solid state amps (although for some reason they never seem to get along with the Rega Elicit). They never fail to sound musical, i.e. communicate the musical message well.

They will definitely be on my short, short list of speakers to audition if I were in the market for new speakers (even taking into account I am currently using Naim DBLs). I kinda like the pro version.

OTOH while I like the HL7s, I wouldn't be able to live with the HL5s which I thought were a bit laid back and slow.

vln
25-02-10, 12:08 PM
You did not mention which Harbeth you are moving from.

The Compact 7 ES-2.

I have a pair of Harbeth Monitor 30s. I was thinking of moving to the more Dynaudio Confidence C1 which I think is quite a bit more expensive. I went over to a friend's place for a 2 hour listening session.

While the Dynaudio is definitely more HiFi with more highs and lows and image like a champ, I preferred my Harbeths and decided not to proceed with the change. My friend did have top of the line Accuphase room equalization but even with different settings I find the C1 too "HiFi" for my taste, and may get a little tiring compared to the Harbeths.

Funnily enough, when I compared the Harbeth P3 with some Dynaudio Audience 52 Special Edition at home many years ago, I preferred the Harbeth due to pretty much the reasons you mentioned.

However I wonder if today my preference would still be the same: these days I simply fail to see anything wrong with "more HiFi with more highs and lows and image like a champ" - if it's on the CD, I want to hear it - high fidelity in the original sense of the word. Room acoustics / room correction plays a very big role in this IME.

Regarding the C1, I agree that they are viciously expensive and that they had better be *very* good for what they cost! (I never heard them) Did you compare the Harbeth side by side with the Dyns at your friend's place? If not, then the comparison might be a bit of a stretch, with two different rooms, two different systems and one system with room-EQ and the other without.

You never know, with room EQ the Harbeth might end up sounding "more HiFi with more highs and lows and image like a champ" ;) - mine certainly do, and as I have written above, to me this is not (or: no longer) a bad thing, but actually how it should be.

BTW, why did your friend need room equalization for such a small speaker?



Samuel.

agentsmith
25-02-10, 05:53 PM
We did not compare side by side. But I could tell the different characters of the two speakers quite clearly. I usually prefer extended listening of as opposed to A/B tests.

Quality wise I figured if I moved from the M30s to the C1 it would have been a lateral move. In terms of sonic character the C1 is definitely the more exciting speakers. In my experience, living with a set up is very different than auditioning it. Not sure if I could articulate this properly, the C1 is like marrying a pretty girl, the high maintenance type. The Harbeth is more like a partner who does not give you surprises.

My friend’s listening room is really small. Despite its size, the C1 does require some room to sing. He is a great believer in equalization, he figures people pay thousands for minute differences in cables and tweaks, which could easily be reproduced with the Accuphase EQ at the flick of a switch.

I have to admit he does have a point there. The Accuphase EQ is of very high quality, and could save you a lot of equipment change if you could live with the concept.

dzeikei
26-02-10, 05:48 PM
I have ordered a pair of maple Compact 7ES-3's and here's some of my impressions of these speakers. Have heard them with Cyrus, Ayre and Exposure front end, all sounded great but slightly different. Harbeths will sound good with any good front end but I would recommend fast amplifier with good grip. My choice is Exposure as these two sound great together. I'm sure they will work well with the amps like Naim or E.A.R. too or anything similar.

I demoed these speakers at home with my Exposure set up which was 3010s cd, 23/28 amps and P9 as vinyl front end. I listen to a wide variety of music and everything sounded great with these speakers. No matter what kind of music I was playing through them or how good was the recording quality, everything just sounded really good. Some have said that they are not fast enough and that they don't rock but I dont agree at all. They actually do rock if the front end is able to do that and my amps sure have that ability. I've heard that C7's are supposed to be tighter in the bass department compared to SHL5's and if you listen to metal or anything that need really fast bass I'd suggest you to try C7's. They go low enough in the room at least for my tastes.

The most impressive thing with these speakers is the amount of information they give the listener without any fatique. The midrange is marvelous, the bottom end is fast and tuneful and the treble is really good too even if it is metal dome. These speakers just sound right and natural. Instruments sound lifelike with the Harbeths and it's really easy to follow every instrument in the mix. They sounded really quite good at low volume levels too. I have to say they are one of the best speakers I've ever heard regardless the price. As I said I've ordered a pair and will hopefully receive it soon. I can recommend these to anyone in search for new speakers even if the budget is much higher as the list price for these speakers. They really are that good IMO.

AdamWysokinski
26-02-10, 10:21 PM
I can recommend these to anyone in search for new speakers even if the budget is much higher as the list price for these speakers. They really are that good IMO.

That's the point. One may say that Harbeths are expensive (well, they aren't cheap :) ), but if we consider that to find a better (or equally good) speakers you should pay eg. twice as much, their price is more than adequate.

Lordhenley
27-02-10, 01:23 AM
It really sounds that these speakers are very good, I have a demo next week and will feedback my findings

Thanks for all the comments

jimb0
02-03-10, 07:47 AM
Mine arrived today; a quick listen (I'm working, honest!). Listened to a couple of songs from Nick Drake's Pink Moon through the ATC SCM7s and then popped the little Harbeths on he stands.

First impressions are _excellent_. First thing I noticed is that the treble is clearly more controlled: sibilant sounds are less forward and peaky. Secondly was a clearer impression of depth/presence etc.

Much more listening ahead!

Stoke
02-03-10, 08:13 AM
Jimbo, what harbethmodel do you have? Looking foward for more listening impressions. Borrowed the p3es2 once and loved it. Especially at low volumes. Qurious about the shl5, hard to get a demo in Stockholm though :(

sunshine
02-03-10, 08:37 AM
Mine arrived today; a quick listen (I'm working, honest!). Listened to a couple of songs from Nick Drake's Pink Moon through the ATC SCM7s and then popped the little Harbeths on he stands.
!


Hi,

I supposed you're comparing SCM7 to P3ESR? If yes, this will be interesting, please share more of your experience.

Thanks

Martyn Miles
02-03-10, 10:23 AM
Well as the title says, would love hear what people gave to say about them, I am demoing a pair of PS3ER next week and am quite excited but on the other hand could be disapointed in my quest for new speakers.

Kindest regards I have great affection for Harbeth's speakers, especially the smaller ones. I have always loved Spendors, but having now sold my pair of BC1s that I owned for 33 years (!) I've moved to LS3/5as. Perhaps I should have tried the PS3ER... Martyn .

Lordhenley
02-03-10, 11:17 AM
Looking forward to what Jimbo has to say after he has given them a good listen.

My demo all being well is tomorrow, quite excited. If for ever reason the demo falls through, one of the guys at the Bakeoff at Scalford Hall this weekend has a pair rigged up with some Naim gear, since Im going over there this should give me a taste as to what they are about. FWIW there is also someone with the SHL5 but he does not use Naim gear but still looking forward to hearing them all the same

dzeikei
02-03-10, 11:23 AM
Try the Compact 7's too if possible! They are great speakers :).

Lordhenley
02-03-10, 11:39 AM
Try the Compact 7's too if possible! They are great speakers :).

The guy in the shop said he would put a pair of compact 7's on as well :D

hifi_dave
02-03-10, 02:30 PM
Try the Compact 7's too if possible! They are great speakers :).

Don't forget the M30.

Lordhenley
04-03-10, 01:00 PM
Well to quote you all, I am no HiFi writer or reviewer, but I listened to the PS3ER and these can play music, maybe in the room in the shop, which was quite big and open, they were possibly undersized for the room, however I did not listen the compact 7's as these are quite big speakers, the picture on the web site does not give this impression. What I did try was the M30, wow, wow, wow, these are stunning and I mean stunning, when we swopped over from the 3R to the M30 the first I noticed is that they sound louder and fuller at the same volume level on the amp, there is no distortion and all the instruments and voices sound incredible, the music is just awesome, which is what it is all about. This is not a massive speaker and sits on a smaller sized stand, it measures 460H x 277W x 285Dmm.

I have just put this to the top of my list, its more than I wanted to pay, but in the long run it would be worth it.

The only reservation I have is that my room is alot smaller than the shop (10.5ft x 10.5ft), I am pretty sure they will perform in there, its just if they will look right in there, if you get my gist !

All in all though the Harbeths are a wonderful speaker, you can see why people say things like they disappear, and more so you dont see many pairs for sale secondhand

Cheers

LH

Lordhenley
04-03-10, 01:17 PM
The link to a review I posted in another thread is listed here in case anyone is interested, seems to give a good impression of what they are all about and may have answered my own question about the M30 in a smaller room. The room in the shop was quite big to be honest, and Im pretty sure the 3R would do for me, but I am tempted with the M30 !

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0302/harbeth30.htm

hifi_dave
04-03-10, 02:53 PM
Every speaker in the Harbeth range appears to work well in smaller rooms. Alan Shaw carries out his listening and final 'tweaking' in his own small room.

dancause
04-03-10, 07:40 PM
I use compact 7es2 in a room your size and they are wonderful. I use to have them well in the room but found that they were better closer to the wall (12-16 inches). YMMV.

This is the first bit of kit I found myself never wanting to change. The avondale stuff did the same when it came along... ;-)

Andrew B.
05-03-10, 12:40 AM
The link to a review I posted in another thread is listed here in case anyone is interested, seems to give a good impression of what they are all about and may have answered my own question about the M30 in a smaller room. The room in the shop was quite big to be honest, and Im pretty sure the 3R would do for me, but I am tempted with the M30 !

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0302/harbeth30.htm

This is a wise quote from that review:
"Small loudspeakers succeed, when they do, by lowering our expectations and then exceeding them."

hifi_dave
05-03-10, 02:21 AM
Not all small speakers do that. I know plenty which lower your expectations and do nothing to raise them !!!

Joe Hutch
05-03-10, 02:50 AM
Not all small speakers do that. I know plenty which lower your expectations and do nothing to raise them !!!

Which reminds me of Ambrose Bierce's definition of 'piano' in The Devil's Dictionary:

'A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by depressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.'

TheDecameron
05-03-10, 02:58 AM
Anyone here have experience of the HL-K6es?

honmanm
05-03-10, 03:01 AM
Hearing the P3s at Scalford hall should give you the info you need to make the decision. One thing to bear in mind is, you may not have a small room forever but speakers that are honest, accurate, *and* connect with your emotions will be a long-term cure for upgraditis.

That is, until you find a nice little radiogram (http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/showthread.php?t=59950&highlight=radiogram)".

However from what you've written, it looks like you'll end up with the M30s.

Basil
05-03-10, 05:08 AM
The only downside to Harbeth ownership that I can see is lots of late, and I mean very late nights. Once again, I was up until way past 4am playing "just one more"

:)

dzeikei
05-03-10, 05:11 AM
The only downside to Harbeth ownership that I can see is lots of late, and I mean very late nights. Once again, I was up until way past 4am playing "just one more"

:)
I know that feeling :). It was exactly the same thing here when I had C7's on loan.

Lordhenley
05-03-10, 07:43 AM
Great stuff as usual guys, I spoke to Harbeth today and they said I should really try the compact 7's. If anyone within a 50 mile radius of the west midlands has some and wouldnt mind me coming to hear them then much appreciated.

Cheers

hifi_dave
05-03-10, 09:47 AM
Saffron Walden any use ?

Basil
05-03-10, 09:53 AM
Saffron Walden any use ?

Easy tiger, step away from the cash register!

;) ;)

hifi_dave
05-03-10, 09:58 AM
I thought I'd sneak it in while no one notices.

Lordhenley
05-03-10, 11:07 AM
Saffron Walden any use ?

150+ miles away, maybe but i cant get there for quite a few weeks

joff
05-03-10, 12:11 PM
Got some C7es here in Northants if its any use

Lordhenley
05-03-10, 12:42 PM
Got some C7es here in Northants if its any use

Thats kind of you, I will send you a PM

jimb0
06-03-10, 08:59 AM
After a few days listening to the P3ESRs I can report that I am very, very pleased.

My main impression is that the are _really_ open and dynamic. For such small speakers they are remarkably unboxy and expansive. I'm currently listening to a lovely pressing of Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section; it sounds incredibly coherent and all the spatial clues and placement are spot-on.

Not-really-an-audiophile confession: importantly they are also pretty forgiving on lower quality source material.

I think the difference between listenable and unlistenable on e.g. lower bitrate mp3 is probably treble. The ATCs were merciless on this front which is unsurprising given their studio antecedents. I listened to one of my favourite recent DayTrotter sessions, Justin Townes Earle (http://www.daytrotter.com/dt/justin-townes-earle-concert/20030305-3737647.html) (Steve Earle's kid) doing his thing. It would have been earstabbing through the ATCs but while betraying most of the usual attributes of low quality mp3 (making system sound like big transistor radio) it was quite listenable.

After a phase of buying and selling things last year and ending up with a thoroughly mis-matched system I feel that simplifying back to Nait 5i + Harbeth has resulted in a system that plays music again. I shall manfully resist the urge to upgrade vinyl front end now...

P.S full marks to Radlett Audio/hifi_dave. A pleasure to deal with. I must make the trip across North Essex to come and see the rest of the Harbeth brood at some point.

dsg
06-03-10, 12:09 PM
Thanks for the write-up jimb0. I don't get to hear a lot of hi-fi equipment apart from my own but I heard some Harbeths at the hi-fi show in September 2009. The sound was impressive. I don't know what model they were but they stood out as being very different to most hi-fi speakers. What struck me was that the speakers seemed extremely revealing particularly in the midrange; they sounded good even at relatively low levels; it didn't seem to matter that I was sitting closer than I would normally sit to my speakers at home, and off-centre. What a refreshing change to have some speakers that sound good in "real" listening conditions (for me that means low volume (children asleep upstairs) in a smallish (3.5x3.5m) room).

I currently use Royd Abbots on the end of a Roksan / Naim system but Harbeths would be high on my short list when it's time to upgrade. The Royds are excellent but probably a bit too big for the room. I think I would like the P3ESRs from what I've read about them but there are no dealers local to me unfortunately...

Damian

timeout
06-03-10, 07:36 PM
Thanks for the write-up jimb0. I don't get to hear a lot of hi-fi equipment apart from my own but I heard some Harbeths at the hi-fi show in September 2009. The sound was impressive. I don't know what model they were but they stood out as being very different to most hi-fi speakers. What struck me was that the speakers seemed extremely revealing particularly in the midrange; they sounded good even at relatively low levels; it didn't seem to matter that I was sitting closer than I would normally sit to my speakers at home, and off-centre. What a refreshing change to have some speakers that sound good in "real" listening conditions (for me that means low volume (children asleep upstairs) in a smallish (3.5x3.5m) room).

I currently use Royd Abbots on the end of a Roksan / Naim system but Harbeths would be high on my short list when it's time to upgrade. The Royds are excellent but probably a bit too big for the room. I think I would like the P3ESRs from what I've read about them but there are no dealers local to me unfortunately...

Damian

having own-ed one, i would advise that you do a demo before committing to it. however great the P3ESR is, it is still a miniature speakers. you aren't likely to get the full-bodied of the music during playback, especially the bass . it is only nice for computer desktop or near field listening. for a little more money, go for the C7ES3 or SHL5; they are great for low volume listening. it will get better at higher volume.

joecrow
06-03-10, 09:53 PM
HLS 5 user here
Moved from Sonus Faber Minuettos to Spendor SP1 then to Harbeths, when I unpacked them I wondered if I was going to hear a thousand pound difference or be dissapointed, I was more than happy.

My one regret is that I did not buy these speakers sooner as I could have saved money I spent upgrading my amps and preamp, these speakers are not amplifier dependent and work well with any well built /designed amp valve or solid state. Urers have been looking for a synergy between harbeths and a certain brand of amps but there isnt one, they are designed to work well with a range of amplification

I have found that other speakers that sound fantastic on first listen eg dynaudio get tireing in a longer session.

Harbeths can be had second hand in the usa at very reasonable prices.
just dont expect to be bowled over by the looks.
this has got my ears salivating, if you know what I mean, so im off for a session

TheDecameron
07-03-10, 11:34 AM
Joe,
enjoyed your post- yes the HL5 does indeed look like an SP1! How would you characterise the difference between them?

joecrow
07-03-10, 06:58 PM
With eyes shut and getting a mate to plug them in the Harbeths sounded like a much larger more expensive speaker, possibly because the volume was not high ( set the they volume at the same level with a meter ) more detail clarity and more emotion ( trinity sessions from Coyboy Junkies and Eva Cassidy Live at blues alley) Also do bass better than the sp1 deeper and more resonant and tighter, no subs needed here:)

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 12:56 AM
Joe, thanks for this. Its important not to let preconceptions (in my case -HL5 is an SP1 lookalike...) rule one's buying decisions. I got quite cynical about speakers- ie. how can another MDF box with two conventional drivers realy be the great leap forward its made out to be? Harbeth really seem to be able to squeeze fresh magic out of a traditional recipe. I suppose its called good engineering and workmanship and that's always worth paying for. ;)

sq225917
08-03-10, 02:42 AM
They aren't MDF for a start, Harbeth use ply, and use it as a sound box rather than attempt to damp it to nothing.

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 03:14 AM
They aren't MDF for a start, Harbeth use ply, and use it as a sound box rather than attempt to damp it to nothing.do they use ply on all their speakers?

hifi_dave
08-03-10, 03:27 AM
They all use 'ply' cabinets and have screwed in back and front baffle. The idea being that all cabinet materials resonate, even when they are damped but the undamped ply resonates at low frequencies well away from the very important mid-band. The extra colouration from the cabinet at low frequencies isn't as audible as it would be in the mid-band.

All the range now employ Harbeth made bass/mid drivers employing their own Radial-2 cone material.

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 03:36 AM
What Harbeths could these be?
I am sitting 10 ft away from Harbeth monitors and they are made of MDF and have glued in, not screwed baffles.

answers on a postcard...

Basil
08-03-10, 04:05 AM
Very old ones?

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 04:08 AM
Very old ones?


no, from 2000.

Coda II
08-03-10, 04:10 AM
do they have purple bass drivers?

Martyn Miles
08-03-10, 04:41 AM
If you look on 'Basic Facts' on Harbeth's home page it spells it out... Drivers, cabinets, amplifiers, stands etc. etc. Along with a lot of sensible information, including cables ! Martyn .

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 05:29 AM
do they have purple bass drivers?

no they are not the budget Xpressions, they are pukka Harbeth monitors, Radial cones, tweeter as HLP3, though these are a rvery much arer model.Very fine too.

honmanm
08-03-10, 05:57 AM
Ported or sealed cabinet? Sounds very intersting indeed.

For a while there I thought you might referring to the "NRG" range but those aren't supposed to be monitors and have paper cones... BTW has anyone listened to any of the NRG range... for a long time I wondered whether that would be a non-wallet-melting way in to the Harbeth sound.

If only there was a way for them to make the "BBC monitor" designs at lower cost - but the carpentry and in-house drivers can't be cheap.... and those are the two factors that set them apart.

wirbeltier
08-03-10, 06:25 AM
Hi!
Anyone can tell me the difference (sound-wise) between the old HL5 and the new SHL5? A huge leap or not?

Best
Klaus

hifi_dave
08-03-10, 06:35 AM
Big improvement, mainly due to the Radial-2 cone of the main driver. Lower colouration, greater prescence, faster etc.

Basil
08-03-10, 06:40 AM
I don't think the SHL5 uses the newer RADIAL-2 cone, there was some confusion on the Harbeth site after they updated it.

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=superhl5&model=Super%20HL5

wirbeltier
08-03-10, 06:45 AM
I don't think the SHL5 uses the newer RADIAL-2 cone, there was some confusion on the Harbeth site after they updated it.

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=superhl5&model=Super%20HL5

...thats what they say:
'Retaining the same classic 'two cubic foot' proportions as the BBC LS3/6 monitor (actually a little wider), the exclusive Harbeth-made 200mm RADIAL™ cone bass/mid driver produces....'

Its not Radial-2, but Radial anyway. The HL5 has polypropylene cone then?

hifi_dave
08-03-10, 06:58 AM
Just to confuse things, the SHL5-3 has a Radial cone as do all the others including the mid driver of the M40.1. The Radial-2 refers to a slightly different surround shape and this applies to the P3ESR and the M40.1 only. The material remains the same - Radial.

Joe P
08-03-10, 07:20 AM
The local hi-fi dood is thinking of carrying Harbeth and will be bringing in some models this week to have a listen.

I know this because I was in his shop briefly on Saturday to buy a record and while there he mentioned that he's thinking of carrying Harbeth and will be bringing in some models this week to have a listen. (See above.)

Any in particular I should listen to? I'm not looking to change speakers, but I'm curious to hear a Harbeth model or two.

Joe

Basil
08-03-10, 07:22 AM
I'm not looking to change speakers

Joe


You will be...

;)

Joe P
08-03-10, 07:28 AM
Baz,

To an even bigger Tannoy?

Joe

* I bought this record, my first Berlioz LP (http://www.soundstagedirect.com/sir-eugene-goossens-berlioz-symphonie-fantastique-200-gram-vinyl-lp.shtml). (I'm trying to branch out from my comfort zone -- Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Beatles,...)

Basil
08-03-10, 07:35 AM
Apparently, Cpt Picard was keen on Berlioz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VwAln8rkvk

Thicky Riker thought it was Bizet!

P.S

If you like Vivaldi, you'll love these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vivaldi-Six-Double-Concertos-Antonio/dp/B0000040XJ/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1268063374&sr=1-8

Joe P
08-03-10, 07:42 AM
Baz,

Can your Harbeths make isolinear optical chips shake like that?

Joe

Martyn Miles
08-03-10, 07:42 AM
Just to 'go back', what was Harbeth's first speaker under Dudley Harwood's tutelage ? BBC inspired, no doubt... Martyn .

Basil
08-03-10, 07:49 AM
Baz,

Can your Harbeths make isolinear optical chips shake like that?

Joe

They would if I had any, I have to wedge the sliding glass doors in the hatch to the kitchen to stop them joining in!

I guess computers are a tad more rugged in the 24th century?

dave
08-03-10, 08:06 AM
Baz,

To an even bigger Tannoy?

Joe

* I bought this record, my first Berlioz LP (http://www.soundstagedirect.com/sir-eugene-goossens-berlioz-symphonie-fantastique-200-gram-vinyl-lp.shtml). (I'm trying to branch out from my comfort zone -- Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Beatles,...)

Joe -try getting your groove thang on with some olivier messiaen, elliot carter or edgar varese.

dave

Tony L
08-03-10, 08:13 AM
Varese is great, I have his complete works (which ain't a huge amount)! I've seen Ionisation live too.

Tony.

dave
08-03-10, 08:21 AM
Ionisation live...awesome!

Be glad you don't live in Dixie. Unconventional live music here would be considered Lynyrd Skynyrd (unconventional solely due to the 6th grade cheerleader form of substituting the letter "y" for as many vowels as possible)

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 10:54 AM
Ported or sealed cabinet? Sounds very intersting indeed.

For a while there I thought you might referring to the "NRG" range but those aren't supposed to be monitors and have paper cones... BTW has anyone listened to any of the NRG range... for a long time I wondered whether that would be a non-wallet-melting way in to the Harbeth sound.

If only there was a way for them to make the "BBC monitor" designs at lower cost - but the carpentry and in-house drivers can't be cheap.... and those are the two factors that set them apart.
Ported- nearest current model looks to be the M.30. And to reprise previous clues- Radial cone, HLP3 tweeter, MDF, glued baffle...

Am I going to have to put you lot out of your misery then?

TheDecameron
08-03-10, 10:57 AM
Ionisation live...awesome!

Be glad you don't live in Dixie. Unconventional live music here would be considered Lynyrd Skynyrd (unconventional solely due to the 6th grade cheerleader form of substituting the letter "y" for as many vowels as possible)


Dave, would Varese get Tony nailed to a firey cross in N.C?

dave
08-03-10, 01:41 PM
Dang tootin' right!

Coda II
10-03-10, 04:45 AM
Back up thread a bit there was a question about the older SHL5; I've just gone back one step further to a pair of HL1 Mk4 and though I couldn't say how they compare to current Harbs, in the context of '20 odd year old speakers that one way or another have BBC DNA and can be had for under GBP 250' (Rogers LS7t, KefKit3, JR149 are the ones I've had here) first impressions are that they are very, very good indeed.
The reasons for the move from bextrene to polypropelene become immediately apparent; whether the jump to RADIAL is as big I'll have to wait a while to find out I guess.

AdamWysokinski
10-03-10, 04:51 AM
My previous speakers (Spendor 3/5) had polypropelene membranes. While being quite good, I must admit that switching to Radial drivers was really a breathtaking experience.

Coda II
10-03-10, 09:02 AM
Slightly nerdy but: apparently the mk4 saw the move from polypropelene to TPX (produced by Audax) for the bass/mid.

honmanm
10-03-10, 09:26 AM
The reasons for the move from bextrene to polypropelene become immediately apparent; whether the jump to RADIAL is as big I'll have to wait a while to find out I guess.

It is a big jump, at least comparing current Harbeth mini monitors to the original P3s (polypropylene mid-bass). Mid-range clarity is remarkable, and they have chosen to make the whole speaker more full-range and less cuddly.

TheDecameron
10-03-10, 09:41 AM
My previous speakers (Spendor 3/5) had polypropelene membranes. While being quite good, I must admit that switching to Radial drivers was really a breathtaking experience.
if you went from an S3/5 to an SHL5 then it might be more than cone material that made the differnce. ;)

AdamWysokinski
10-03-10, 10:02 AM
if you went from an S3/5 to an SHL5 then it might be more than cone material that made the differnce. ;)

Undoubtedly :D

honmanm
11-03-10, 01:10 AM
So Mr. Decameron, what are the super-rare Harbeths you mentioned a few days ago...?

TheDecameron
11-03-10, 02:15 AM
HL-K6ES, special order.

...so where were the Harbeth experts then? I posted plenty of clues. :rolleyes:

dougmon
11-03-10, 03:37 AM
HL-K6ES, special order.

...so where were the Harbeth experts then? I posted plenty of clues. :rolleyes:

They were probably busy listening to music. :D

honmanm
11-03-10, 04:21 AM
HL-K6ES, special order.

Not much info out there, but there is an old page on archive.org (using the link http://www.harbeth.com/hl_k6es2.htm, circa 2000). The HL-K6ES look very nice indeed, probably exactly what the OP is looking for.

TheDecameron
11-03-10, 01:32 PM
very good review online from The Gramophone.

http://66.102.9.132/search?q=cache:BKrn3W_HR6AJ:www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page/November%25201996/184/792321/Harbeth%2BHLK6+harbeth+hl-k6+gramophone&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

Kei
13-03-10, 08:26 PM
They aren't MDF for a start, Harbeth use ply, and use it as a sound box rather than attempt to damp it to nothing.

Are you sure about this? AS used to say he preferred mdf due to better consistency.

hifi_dave
14-03-10, 01:54 AM
They use ply.

sq225917
14-03-10, 01:57 AM
About as sure as i could be if they devoted several paragraphs on their website to their unique 'lossy damped ply construction', oh they did.... ;-)

joel
14-03-10, 04:45 AM
Quote from Gramophone:
"the extra-thick 15mm front baffle is married to top, bottom and side MDF panels"
SideshowBob had a pair of these a few years ago, at about the same time TonyL and myself were running C7s.

sideshowbob
14-03-10, 05:27 AM
I did. They were splendid. C7s are splendider though.

Alan Shaw really doesn't like K6s at all, even though he designed them.

sq225917
14-03-10, 05:32 AM
Indeed, on closer inspection it seems the Birch ply cabinets stopped with the last LS35A's that they made. So about 15 years ago.

Lordhenley
18-04-10, 01:26 PM
Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to a pair of PS3ER's in my living room thanks to a chap from Sth Wales.

The speakers were compared to my Jamo Concert 8's through a NaitXS, Dacmagic and Sony DVD player as the transport.

The 3Rs are a nice speaker but needed to be turned up to about 11 on the dial to get anything from them, in comparison my 8's at this level is quite loud. The sound the 3Rs give off are less spacious and less open, kind of flat in comparison, there was also less 3D soundstage and the vocals were less to the front and not so tall.

I almost brought a pair of 3Rs without a home test and to be honest glad I did not they just did not have the sound I am used too, my advice with Harbeths is try at home before you buy. My friend was impressed with the Nait XS and is considering buying one for his room, also I'm going to take my Jamos to his house fir a comparison in his room.

All in all a good and enjoyable / cost saving afternoon

zekezebra
19-04-10, 02:09 AM
It's easy to get swept along when everyone is so enthusiastic about Harbeth. I recently went for a demonstration of Super HL5's together with an LFD Silver Signature and frankly this was not a sound that I could live with. Agreed, it was totally relaxing and I guess you could listen for prolonged periods but for me it sounded like everything was slowed down. Great for smokey room jazz but for rock they were a non-starter.

The point is though that I tried to convince myself that if I bought this set up I would get used to it but top marks to the dealer (Soundcenter Belgium) he agreed the Harbeth sound was not for everyone and had no problem demonstarting alternatives including the Esoteric MG-20's which are superb!

dzeikei
19-04-10, 02:37 AM
Not heard the LFD amp and SHL5's just briefly but at least with the C7's you need punchy and upfront sounding front end to get 'em rocking, I'd use Exposure or Naim.

sq225917
19-04-10, 03:12 AM
Think the HL5's are pretty transparent to whatever you throw at them.

ryder
19-04-10, 03:21 AM
The Naim amps made my SHL5's rock like they never did before. The LFD is equally good with Harbeth. Harbeth speakers can match with MANY good amps out there and will shine further with couple of outstanding amps.

iTz
19-04-10, 03:21 AM
The beauty of C7's is their performance at low to mid listening levels. Living in an innercity flat it is possible to enjoy ones music collection without reverting to headphones.

Tony L
19-04-10, 03:23 AM
It's easy to get swept along when everyone is so enthusiastic about Harbeth. I recently went for a demonstration of Super HL5's together with an LFD Silver Signature and frankly this was not a sound that I could live with. Agreed, it was totally relaxing and I guess you could listen for prolonged periods but for me it sounded like everything was slowed down. Great for smokey room jazz but for rock they were a non-starter.

I found I needed some time to acclimatise myself, I may well have thought the same as you on a quick A B dem, but I hate that as an audition process anyway. I bought my old Compact 7s second hand to flip at a profit after a month - I was curious to revisit the 'BBC sound'. I kept them for 6 years as by the end of the month there was simply no going back.

I've not heard the little P3 so I've no comment there, but the bigger ones are really nice IMO, they just get right out of the way. If I ever felt the need to return to a stand-mount speaker I have a feeling it would be a Harbeth Monitor 30.

Tony.

rockadelic
19-04-10, 08:53 AM
The Naim amps made my SHL5's rock like they never did before. The LFD is equally good with Harbeth. Harbeth speakers can match with MANY good amps out there and will shine further with couple of outstanding amps.

He's right, I too had SHL5 driven by naim and it was the best pair of speakers I had owned till I upgraded to the 40.1. In a couple of months, I will use the SHL5 again in my second system. Harbeth will remain one of the best speakers I have auditioned in their respective price class. Let's hope they do not move all production operations to China....

Lordhenley
19-04-10, 11:28 AM
I did try the Monitor 30 in the shop a while back and they were way better than the 3r's however they were physically to big for my room, these were powered by a Krell amp which did not do all that much for me.

I like speakers that kind of sparkle if you get my gist ad the Harbeths dont do that, its a shame as I had my heart set on a pair of them after reading so much about them, it goes to show that reading aint th same as listening as I guess we have all found out in the past, some the hardway some the easy way.

LH

hifi_dave
19-04-10, 12:02 PM
Nowadays, far too many speakers 'sparkle' and tizz and ring and spit, they seem to be getting brighter and harder every month. Harbeths aren't like that - they are smooth and easy going but with plenty of air, and great detail and insight. They just grow on you.

One of the great things Harbeths do is vocals. The mid has such prescence and solidity, putting the singer right there in the room. I guess this is the 'BBC sound' that few others manage.

louballoo
19-04-10, 12:20 PM
Nowadays, far too many speakers 'sparkle' and tizz and ring and spit, they seem to be getting brighter and harder every month. Harbeths aren't like that - they are smooth and easy going but with plenty of air, and great detail and insight. They just grow on you.

One of the great things Harbeths do is vocals. The mid has such prescence and solidity, putting the singer right there in the room. I guess this is the 'BBC sound' that few others manage.

Hello HiFi

What a write up! You make me want to dig deep and get a pair of HL5's!

Do you think I'll be happy selling my Nautilus 805's and getting the Harbeths. If you are uncomfortable dispensing advise in public, just send me a private messaage.

Thanks

Louballoo

hifi_dave
19-04-10, 12:45 PM
I'd better step back. I got carried away there..:)

Joe P
19-04-10, 12:49 PM
Dave,

You're like Ashley with a goatee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_twin#The_goatee) the way you promote what you sell. :-)

Joe

Joe Hutch
19-04-10, 12:53 PM
Not heard the LFD amp and SHL5's just briefly but at least with the C7's you need punchy and upfront sounding front end to get 'em rocking, I'd use Exposure or Naim.

That (Exposure) is what I use with my PS3ER's. Fine on rock as far as I'm concerned, and the volume never needs to go past 9 o'clock.

hifi_dave
19-04-10, 12:53 PM
No Goatee or facial hair of any description..:confused:

Joe P
19-04-10, 12:55 PM
Dave,

I just meant that you're the complete opposite -- the anti-salesman.

Joe

hifi_dave
19-04-10, 01:07 PM
The reason that I never made a fortune is that I am not a salesman. I can only sell what I believe in and that's why I sometimes get over enthusiastic.
Apologies all round.

Joe P
19-04-10, 01:15 PM
Dave,

You're hardly the pushy sales type, so no need to apologize.

Joe

DSJR
19-04-10, 01:27 PM
The first combination I heard at HiFi daves was the £1500 LFD integrated driving 40.1's. The Croft 25 pre and 7 power was far, far better to my ears, making the former amp sound rather bleached out and clinical in tone...

Jamo Concert 8's were beautifully made, but at the time we in the shop found they had a classic "porty" bass with a "sparkle" up top to balance it. Highly effective, but too "HiFi" to be monitor grade - apologies.

Compared to many speakers discussed here, Harbeths may not be the required "thing," as their sweetness and "civilty" may not be to everyone's taste, but I still feel they're some of the best passive speakers I've heard for lengthy listening sessions. I await the up and coming comparison of HLS5 with Monitor 30 with much interest.....

Coda II
20-04-10, 05:16 AM
The first combination I heard at HiFi daves was the £1500 LFD integrated driving 40.1's. The Croft 25 pre and 7 power was far, far better to my ears, making the former amp sound rather bleached out and clinical in tone...


Would you (or anyone else who cares to comment) say that there were parallels between Croft and Harbeth - or more particularly between Glenn Croft and Alan Shaw - in their approach to reproducing music in the home?

Having had a Micro 25 here for a couple of weeks a while back and now a pair of early Harbs it seems to me that they both have the 'initially un-impressive but ultimately very musically rewarding' thing about them.

AS has written about the intentionally slightly diffuse sound that he aims for as being more natural, more like the way we experience the sound of real instruments and voices and my (limited) experience of Croft amplification suggests that he takes a similar line in not over-propelling the sound.

Martyn Miles
01-12-12, 10:27 AM
I have great affection for Harbeth's speakers, especially the smaller ones. I have always loved Spendors, but having now sold my pair of BC1s that I owned for 33 years (!) I've moved to LS3/5as. Perhaps I should have tried the PS3ER... Martyn .

So, time moves on and my LS3/5as have moved on. I bought a pair of early Harbeth HL Monitors. Superb. A little later a pair HL-P3s. Equally superb... My various LS3/5as were good, no doubt, but these Harbeths are keepers.

TheDecameron
01-12-12, 11:02 AM
There are lots of great speakers out there. Some will use more advanced materials technology to get their sound, like Wilson Benesch or B&W but Alan Shaw and one or two other Brits seem to be able to use simple ingredients and really produce something special, beyond the sum of its parts. That for me is the essence of engineering.

Martyn Miles
02-12-12, 02:09 AM
There are lots of great speakers out there. Some will use more advanced materials technology to get their sound, like Wilson Benesch or B&W, but Alan Shaw and one or two other Brits seem to be able to use simple ingredients and really produce something special, beyond the sum of its parts. That for me is the essence of engineering.

Quite. Some of these modern speakers may have 'the sound', ( whatever that is...) but aesthetically are unacceptable to me and, I suspect, many others. Floorstanders ( which appear popular these days ) such as Elacs, Dalis, JBLs, etc. are, to my eyes, ugly. The £140,000 'The Sonus Faber' may sound good, (Then it ought to at that price! ) but I find its looks unacceptable. Give me a modest wooden cabinet and understated grille, such as a Harbeth and Spendor model. Perhaps its because I'm old and don't like flashy modern things, but if it has the quality and is acceptable in my home that's what I'll buy... Martyn Miles .

anuenlil
02-12-12, 03:47 AM
I owned both the C7ES3 and the P3ESR, simultaneously. Both are extremely accomplished speakers which one could be very happy with. Nevertheless, I have sold both pairs. Why? Silly yet simple: I managed to like them, but never to love them. There was always a sense that I was listening at least as much to the speakers as I was listening to the music. At least the newer Harbeths, to me, are a bit too self-consciously clean and embrace a 'listen to me'-attitude (qualities which are also uncannily important to their creator). Accordingly, I have replaced the C7ES3's with my old love, the Proac Response Two (not the new model), and the P3ESR's with a pair of Spendor S3/5R's. Both, to me, are more enjoyable when it comes to letting the music take over. Having said that, let it be clear that I would never advise anybody against buying Harbeths.

Martyn Miles
02-12-12, 06:29 AM
I owned both the C7ES3 and the P3ESR, simultaneously. Both are extremely accomplished speakers which one could be very happy with. Nevertheless, I have sold both pairs. Why? Silly yet simple: I managed to like them, but never to love them. There was always a sense that I was listening at least as much to the speakers as I was listening to the music. At least the newer Harbeths, to me, are a bit too self-consciously clean and embrace a 'listen to me'-attitude (qualities which are also uncannily important to their creator). Accordingly, I have replaced the C7ES3's with my old love, the Proac Response Two (not the new model), and the P3ESR's with a pair of Spendor S3/5R's. Both, to me, are more enjoyable when it comes to letting the music take over. Having said that, let it be clear that I would never advise anybody against buying Harbeths.

A nice, balanced, comment...

Jodet
02-12-12, 01:57 PM
I owned both the C7ES3 and the P3ESR, simultaneously. Both are extremely accomplished speakers which one could be very happy with. Nevertheless, I have sold both pairs. Why? Silly yet simple: I managed to like them, but never to love them. There was always a sense that I was listening at least as much to the speakers as I was listening to the music. At least the newer Harbeths, to me, are a bit too self-consciously clean and embrace a 'listen to me'-attitude (qualities which are also uncannily important to their creator). Accordingly, I have replaced the C7ES3's with my old love, the Proac Response Two (not the new model), and the P3ESR's with a pair of Spendor S3/5R's. Both, to me, are more enjoyable when it comes to letting the music take over. Having said that, let it be clear that I would never advise anybody against buying Harbeths.

S3/5E over P3ESR?

You might be the only person in the world who would make that choice.

Ozi2
02-12-12, 04:04 PM
S3/5E over P3ESR?

You might be the only person in the world who would make that choice.

Hm, I understand what you want to say , but I am not sure that he is the only one. I sold P3ESR and bought ProAc Response One SC. Why? For similar reason. P3ESR have so much good things to show, but I always felt that it hold so much behind it. Also, impression that I always listen to speakers with them distract me to much from total enjoyment. So, I rather enjoy them partially from time to time when timbre is important, but not dynamic. I hope I should find in bigger Harbeths what is missing in small Harbeth, so at the moment I have 7ES-3 at home demo which although it have something, it is very slow and weak from my subjective point of view. Tone is good, but when it's busy material, it sounds like someone has sucked life out of it. Before 7, I heard new M30.1 which has been my first candidate on the list, but these are really typical Harbeths and for me although bigger, they are not so good like P3ESR, but then again, this is all subjective. I cannot ignore so laid back character and I cannot accept cliche that Harbeth is right and everything else is wrong and sound in a forceful way. I do respect Harbeth designer and everything he do, but somehow I believe that with Harbeth speakers I listen tones and not music as a whole, so I am not surprised they are much more popular in Asia. For me it is like owning a car which can go 25km/h max. and trying to convince myself that anything faster doesn' t have sense.
It's a pitty as I found some qualities in Harbeths, but still not enough for me.

Cheers

ryder
02-12-12, 04:28 PM
Hm, I understand what you want to say , but I am not sure that he is the only one. I sold P3ESR and bought ProAc Response One SC. Why? For similar reason. P3ESR have so much good things to show, but I always felt that it hold so much behind it. Also, impression that I always listen to speakers with them distract me to much from total enjoyment. So, I rather enjoy them partially from time to time when timbre is important, but not dynamic. I hope I should find in bigger Harbeths what is missing in small Harbeth, so at the moment I have 7ES-3 at home demo which although it have something, it is very slow and weak from my subjective point of view. Tone is good, but when it's busy material, it sounds like someone has sucked life out of it. Before 7, I heard new M30.1 which has been my first candidate on the list, but these are really typical Harbeths and for me although bigger, they are not so good like P3ESR, but then again, this is all subjective. I cannot ignore so laid back character and I cannot accept cliche that Harbeth is right and everything else is wrong and sound in a forceful way. I do respect Harbeth designer and everything he do, but somehow I believe that with Harbeth speakers I listen tones and not music as a whole, so I am not surprised they are much more popular in Asia. For me it is like owning a car which can go 25km/h max. and trying to convince myself that anything faster doesn' t have sense.
It's a pitty as I found some qualities in Harbeths, but still not enough for me.

Cheers

The Spendor S3/5 is on the other side of the spectrum, more laidback, softer and smoother in the extremes, less lively and slightly more muffled/rolled off in the treble than the Harbeth P3. The Harbeth is more crisp, leaner and vibrant. So if one finds the Harbeth P3 to sound dull, the Spendors may exhibit more of the character.

The Harbeth is somewhere in the middle, between the Spendor and Proac 1SC.

Singslinger
02-12-12, 07:04 PM
S3/5E over P3ESR?

You might be the only person in the world who would make that choice.

No he isn't. I'm another who prefers the Spendors to the Harbeths.

I also prefer the ProAc Tablette Anniversary to the P3ESR. It's a close thing though, since Harbeth make very good speakers. But to my ears, Spendor and ProAc are a tad more musical and therefore more enjoyable.

Best advice is to listen in your own system before buying.

gassor
03-12-12, 02:12 AM
Harbeths are keepers.


I remember saying the same thing to a polar bear when we talked about hi-fi. He said I was mad, 'Harbeths don't work in the zoo, man'.


Painful even for me.

Elephantears
03-12-12, 02:23 AM
Ozi2, I don't recognise what you are saying about the 7's. Can you give us some context; what amplifier, size of room, and what music sounds lacking in dynamics?

bob atherton
03-12-12, 02:23 AM
Will the P3ESR work tight against a wall like Kans?

Ozi2
03-12-12, 07:22 AM
Ozi2, I don't recognise what you are saying about the 7's. Can you give us some context; what amplifier, size of room, and what music sounds lacking in dynamics?

Hi, Nait XS, 5 x 4,5m room, various music from classical to Van Der Graff rock. Vocals are also to shy so everything loose sense. I am not talking about comparation with Naim SL2 edge, but I am talking about natural flow and presence of the music as a whole. Also, I found model 7 metal tweeter integration with midbass driver not so good. P3 is from my point of view much much more correct (this is the right word) speaker than anything else in Harbeth range. Model 7 is somehow unfinished sounded and the fact that is ported add some barrel like sonic signature.
I think it is fair to say that this is all matter of taste and it is only important what float your boat.

Re P3 close to wall postion, I would not reccomend it as back wall would even more load bass which is by default not so focused and to radical so sometimes sound compressed.
Just to add some orientation point, I still didn't met Kan II and Epos 14 beaters.

JADISMAN
03-12-12, 08:11 AM
Some interesting views here, some of which echo my own experinces. I like Harbeths and have owned HLP3-ESRs, C7s and M30s. I never really got on with the C7s. In my room and with my kit (Jadis Orchestra and DA 30 integrated valve amps) the bass always sounded loose and boomy. Having said that, I suspect the problem was my room not the speakers, but I much preferred the M30s and P3s both of which I kept. I find the P3s work fine about 2ft away from side walls and 1.5ft from rear walls. The M30s need a bit more breathing space.

Elephantears
03-12-12, 10:45 AM
Obviously the bass is room related. The range gives you a nice range of options from the 40's. SHL5's are the baritones, C7's are the tenors in the range and M30's are the alto's.

Martyn Miles
03-12-12, 12:08 PM
My P3s work well about 18 inches from a rear wall. They image very well in that position. My larger HLs give a sense of scale the little '3s cannot, but I love music through either pairs. Given a live recording ( Moody Blues at the Albert Hall ) the HLs are the best. They do need 'room to breathe' though. For an more intimate recording ( female vocal with guitar, for instance ) the P3s are wonderful...