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Harbeth P3ESR alternative?

Discussion in 'audio' started by marcin375, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. marcin375

    marcin375 Member

    The budget is more or less the P3ESR price. The more I'm reading I'm slowly starting to think that I would miss the harbeth strengths. I also love how these speakers looks. What about ATC scm7 mk3 (why these grilles looks so ugly?) or Proac tablette 10?
    montanari likes this.
  2. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    The ATC is simply not as good as the Harbeth. It’s less resolved and can’t do timbre properly. It does go loud though and it needs to be loud(er) to come to life. S/h values tell the story.
    marcin375 likes this.
  3. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    I own P3ESRs and Rogers LS3/5As. To my ears the P3ESRs have a slightly smoother top end (driven by Jadis valve amps). That doesn't mean I think the LS3/5As are harsh, but I'm wondering if they might give you that bit of extra hf bight you want. Otherwise their characteristics are very similar, as you'd expect given their common heritage. The only downside with the LS3/5As for me is that they can sound a bit congested at high volumes compared to the HLP3ESRs, but if you listen at moderate levels that wouldn't be an issue. Having said that, I had a pair of Stirling LS3/5A V2s on long term loan which I thought were excellent and not at all constricted, but otherwise tonally identical to originals.
  4. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Mike, setting aside s/h prices and the ‘aura’ surrounding the LS3/5a, which would you choose as your regular speaker, Harbeth or 3/5a?
  5. badger748

    badger748 pfm Member

    Yeah of course it's all subjective here. For vocals, I dont think I have ever had a better speaker than the Falcon's.
  6. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I would tend to concur with your findings.

    I, too, had some Stirling V2s for a while and concluded that if I hadn’t got the Harbeth P3s I
    could live with the Stirlings.

    Some people dismiss the V2, wanting ‘the real thing’ instead.
    You can pick up V2s at reasonable prices, much less than old Chartwell or Rogers ‘3/5as...
  7. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Dec, I've settled for the Harbeths as my regular speakers. Overall, I simply prefer them to the LS3/5as.

    However, like Martyn, I could have lived with the Stirling V2s which I also preferred to the Rogers originals.

    Having said all that, it's quite possible my 1980s vintage Rogers have drifted off spec, while the Harbeths are about four years old and the Stirlings were brand new (I was running them in for a friend while he moved house) so perhaps not a completely fair comparison.

    None are bad speakers, and are all excellent near field monitors. From a strictly practical point of view I guess a pair of Stirlings or Harbeths are the safer bet, particularly if buying used. And like Martyn says, the Stirlings can be picked up quite reasonably s/h.
  8. ampedup

    ampedup Lost in audio

    Has anybody listened to the current Spendor Classic 3/5 (A1) alongside either the P3 or the Stirling V2? They seem to be well regarded by some reviewers and perhaps a step up from the previous S3/5R2.
  9. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I really don't "get" this shoe box size speakers thing.... By the time you have a good rigid stand under them they are just as visually dominant and space taking as a big 'un that can do loud, do scale and do bass... Now that many titchy speakers cost "how much!!??" the argument that a big 'un won't do the same mid accuracy/low colouration is pretty redundant. There's all sorts of secondhand speakers from the 80's and 90's of decent size and bass extension that will thrash any minimonitor and in some cases you could buy 2-3 pairs of the big 'uns for the price of one pair of new shoe boxes... or one pair of really amazing big speakers that you'll never out grow...
  10. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Couldn't disagree more, sorry Jez but there's some things big speakers just can't do, unless of course budget isn't a consideration.
  11. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Ah well we'll have to disagree 101% then:) I can't think of anything a small speaker does better than a good big speaker and can think of loads of things a big 'un can do but a little 'un can't. I'll take a set of £400 1970 Spendor BC1's over any minimonitor, no matter how expensive! For more there's Spendor SP1 or SP1/2 and the likes of Yam NS1000M's are well within the cost of many shoe boxes... no contest!
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    If you want to listen in the nearfield buy a nearfield monitor, if you don’t, don’t. It really is that simple!
    Old Shatterhand likes this.
  13. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Agreed, in absolute terms minis cant compete. However, if you have limited space or want near field listening, they’re ideal within their limitations. Big speakers in too small a room are a bit of a disaster..
  14. montanari

    montanari Active Member

    I would go for proac 1sc,much more complete than p3esr, That are wonderful especially in the mids and treble department but miss a lot in the bass so perfect just with jazz and few quiet genres
  15. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    I do most of my listening in my study, which isn't a big room. I've had bigger speakers in here before but small standmounters work much better (I'm also experimenting with supporting those with a sub, with good results so far).
  16. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    My own search for small room speakers has ended (so far!) with Wilson Benesch Square Ones and I've been impressed with them. I've never actually heard Harbeth P3ESR's though - so can't compare them!
    montanari likes this.
  17. fatmarley

    fatmarley Registered User

    Only if you're sat too close for the drivers to integrate properly. And as for low frequency response - a big speaker wont necessarily have too much bass for a small room. You could build a massive speaker with the same low frequency response as a Linn Kan.
  18. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    I agree completely that if you want loud and big bass then big speakers are the only option. Thankfully I want neither.

    I've heard loads of big speakers that can rattle windows and shake your fillings out with bass, but sound crap doing it. If that's what you want you can get a couple of Cerwin Vega disco speakers that can do that for beer money!
  19. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I'm not talking about gut wrenching bass Cerwin Vega disco speakers or anything of the sort though! More BBC type quality monitor speakers. Even S/H ATC50's or similar would be in reach for the cost of some new shoe boxes!

    My living room is not a large one and my KEF R105.3's were like a pair of coffins, stood a metre out from all walls, and sounded superb in this fairly near field environment...

    If you need speakers for a tiny box room study or some such then granted that minimonitors are about all you can use but when I see LS3/5A type things on tall girder stands in an average size living room I'm kinda scratching my head and thinking "why?":)
    Snufkin likes this.
  20. RichardA

    RichardA pfm Member

    I have never tried the ESR version of the Harbeths but I did have the HLP3 ES2 (I think that was the reference !!!) for several years.

    My experience was similar to the OP - really lovely on some material but a bit polite on other stuff. In the end I moved to bigger speakers which gave me more (rather than swapping to alternative minis with a different balance of virtues).

    That said, I do believe that sometimes you can get a very sympathetic pairing of amp and speakers that helps redress some of the niggles. In the case of my version of the small harbeths I had them going with DNM amps (the PA3S power amp in particular) that gave a cracking sound. Punchy and exciting without being bright. They don’t pop up often though and can be pricey.

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