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View Full Version : Harbeth Home Theater setup - please advise



jplaurel
10-03-2011, 10:21 PM
I have been reading through some of the past threads here on the HUG and am impressed with the level of discourse here. The general knowledge and signal to noise ratio seems higher here than on many other audio-related forums. With that in mind, I'm turning to this group for advice. Here's the situation:

Like so many others, restricted space means combining my theater and listening room. The front speakers in my system are Martin Logan Summit X with Stage center, Descent i subwoofer and Helos 100 for surrounds and rears. All McIntosh electronics.

While absolutely stunning in the theater application, I find the Summits less desirable for listening to music. Without dredging up a bunch meaningless audiophile adjectives, I just find my Harbeth 7ES-3s in my near field system (also McIntosh electronics) far more enjoyable for a wider range of music. It's not room treatment either. There is something about the tonal quality of certain instruments and especially human voices that I find disturbing and even a little irritating with the Summits. Of course, it's a speaker that is admired and loved by many, but it's not a good fit for me personally.

So, I'm now thinking of switching them out as follows: Harbeth 40.1 for left/right, monitor 30 (or pair of P3ESR) for the center. I have two questions for the group:

1) For a variety of reasons, the room does not lend itself to having P3ESRs as the surrounds. I currently have the Martin Logan Helos 100 in the ceiling, which works very well indeed. (http://www.martinlogan.com/products/helos100) Do you think I will have a problem blending these as the surrounds/rears with the Harbeth speakers in front? Manufacturers talk about timbre matching, but I hear from many people that such matching is most important for the front speakers and isn't that important for the surrounds/rears, since they are used mostly for effects and ambiance.

2) Have you had the chance to hear both Summits and Harbeths in a theater application and how would you compare the two? I am quite sure I will enjoy the Harbeths much more for music as I said earlier, but I am not sure whether this will mean taking a step backwards in terms of my theater audio.

Thank you very much for any insights you can share.