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Soundbyte
31-10-2006, 03:40 AM
Hi All,
I am wondering does anyone know if the new Compact 7 ES3 is release for sale in the market? Does anyone have pictures or information of this new Harbeth? What are the difference from the older C7ES2?

Thanks...

A.S.
31-10-2006, 08:02 AM
Info on the new model will be released as soon as we have caught up with the back orders, especially for Japan where it has been a big hit. It is a ground-up redesign, the most significant difference being a completely new crossover.

Soundbyte
31-10-2006, 02:23 PM
wow... thanks Alan. I assume it is the same size as the old Compact 7ES2... is it still allow users to biwire? If possible, please post some pictures.

Cheers.

A.S.
31-10-2006, 04:40 PM
Same size. When introduced to Japan my description was "a brush-up of a much loved Harbeth". However, the Japanese market decided that I was being a bit too modest, as explained in a recent 8-page review in Japan.

Regarding terminals: no, the bi-wire option has been removed. It is equipped with a single pair. So that puts a neat conclusion to the 'should I/shouldn't I biwire' debate. This is not the place to launch the speaker - please give us a week or two to do the launch through the main website.

As for the design of the C7ES-3, I have always had a soft-spot for the Compact ... at times during the development I had a screen-cam and microphone running so as I tweaked and tuned the crossover in my simulator, I talked the screen-cam viewer why and what I was doing. I also had a time-lapse camera operating in my "anechoic space" at the Farm so you could see the raw acoustic data being captured as I moved the measuring microphone around the speaker. I can't imagine anyone would be that interested in the fine details of the design, but someone 50 years from now may be mildly curious!

pete7013
01-11-2006, 02:27 AM
Alan,

Greetings. I believe I'm one of the first customers to have received the delivery of the new C7ES-3 here in Hong Kong. In fact this is the first Harbeth I have ever owned. And I'm enjoying every minute of it. I've had speakers from Acoustic Research, Rogers, ProAcs in the past. And the C7ES-3 is the one I'm most happy with so far. I currently have them sitted on 20 inches metal stands, and they don't just sound good but also look great with those beautiful cherry veneers. Crafmanship is excellent. I've told myself that I've finally found the speakers I'll hang to life. Well done Alan! Cheers. Peter.

manos
01-11-2006, 06:34 AM
Hi from samos-greece,
I'm the happy owner of the brand new harbeth compact 7es-3 since the 11th of september.I must be one of the first or the first to have this fine loudspeaker to this part of Europe. In the past i lived with speakers from the german brand ''CANTON'' and until recently with my old ''APOGEE'' Stage. The new 7's must be one of the most MUSICAL speakers around. The next question after such a fantastic speaker must be once again: 2 or 3 ways speakers? Sorry monitor 40 users! Alan,congratulations!

Manos

Frihed89
02-11-2006, 02:08 PM
I have only auditioned the Compact 7 twice and with different amps, so when i listened to the new version (i think) set up at RMAF with a totally different system, i am not sure i could tell the difference, except that: (drum roll, please), i thought it sounded closer to the Monitor 30 than was my previous experience.

The dealer from Colordao did an excellent job, even though some might fault him for his choice of amps and digital source. It didn't matter. Harbeth had some of the best-sounding speakers at RMAF. The general trend at RMAF was to turn up the volume and play thumpty-thump, snap-crackle-and-pop "music" until your nasal or ear cavities imploded. Neal Van Berg played a wide variety of blues, jazz, classical and rock through the M-40s, M-30s, C-7s and HLPP3s (that's all i heard) at moderate volumes. It was a room where you could ease back, slide down into the drectors chairs, close your eyes and it sounded just like listening to a Sunday afternoon BBC broadcast in your parlor at Epping (NH or UK?) in the early 80s.

I enjoyed it.

airdavid
06-11-2006, 12:45 PM
for the C7-es3 owners:
pictures are wellcome !!!
Thank you!

Alan,
any news about Monitor 30 improvements?

Regards,
David

Jeff Stake
06-11-2006, 02:25 PM
Has it been indicated that Monitor 30 improvements are in the offing?

airdavid
06-11-2006, 05:12 PM
Not ( yet), I think, Jeff......

Jeff Stake
06-11-2006, 07:51 PM
Thanks Airdavid. But why the "yet"?

A.S.
06-11-2006, 08:21 PM
Re: C7ES3 ... photo shoot now complete. Expect details by the end of the week on the main site.

BTW: what is the comment about M30? I can assure you that I'm the last to hear of "improvements". I have a completely full R&D workload (so much so that I am grounded here in the UK for the winter) without phantom redesigns about which I know nothing whatsoever. Nor, for that matter, would I know where to start such a journey.

airdavid
06-11-2006, 11:06 PM
So, Alan, no update planning for M 30 ?

regards
David

A.S.
07-11-2006, 08:53 AM
As I just said, clearly and unambiguously, there are NO plans to do anything whatsoever to the M30. It's a great speaker, selling well.

I would however like to make one point absolutely clear. We are a business that has ambitions, visions and self-awareness. We also have competitors. This M30 non-issue smacks of mischief, source unknown. I am not here to justify, illuminate, deny or defend what we may or may not be considering in the R&D lab as you'll appreciate that in a competitive environment that would be very foolish.

So, if on the rare occasion that I rise to the bait (and I will redouble my efforts to resist doing so) you can take a face value exactly what I say. I am not able to be drawn on product development plans.

Clark Williams
07-11-2006, 06:35 PM
Alan,

Dude...don't take the bait...the M30 is fine as it is...nothing wrong with it...full stop.

It ain't broke..so don't fix it..

Just go make some speakers...I'm gonna need some to sell.

Clark

airdavid
07-11-2006, 11:17 PM
thank you,
but it's just out of curiosity as I'm an Happy M 30 owner....

regards,
David

Naimeo
08-11-2006, 02:26 AM
Just bought a ES3 last Fri. I've heard both the ES2 & an older C7 model. The highs are more airy & delicate - a bit more towards the HL5.

I'm new to Harbeth and has never heard one until a few weeks ago...so please take my description from the perspective of someone new to the "sound".

Although it sounded impressive on a Rega Mira3, changing to a more powerful 100W amp made the sound more effortless & bass slightly more defined.

Like the older models I've tried, it's tolerant of non-audiophile recordings.

For lack of a better description all the C7s i've heard sounds "organic", and the ES3 even more so.

This speaker sounds almost alive - the presence of the singer's body, the piano key after key strike and the sound board of a strummed guitar leaves little to the imagination - not in a emphasized and etched manner like some "high definition" speakers though.

An incredible piece of engineering!

airdavid
08-11-2006, 09:25 AM
what's your Primare amp and what your source, Naimeo?

David

Naimeo
08-11-2006, 05:06 PM
I30 & Pioneer DV989.

Take note that proper isolation tweaks on both and using the "Direct" button on the 989 makes a lot of difference.

Speaker cable is just a generic multistrand from Rega.

Vangelis
13-11-2006, 04:58 AM
Alan mentioned that his new Compact 7ES3 is a "ground-up redesign". Obviously this redesign reflects new ideas. So, the natural question must be: is this new Compact a better speaker than the SHL5? Anyone heard them both?

A.S.
13-11-2006, 09:05 AM
For the first picture of the new Compact 7ES3, please go to the top of the Harbeth homepage here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk

I don't think you can make simple comparisons across the model range. The SHL5 is quite a bit bigger and can not fairly be compared with a smaller one: each does things slightly differently; there is not one 'best' solution - it depends upon taste, preferences, budget available and room size.

A.S.
21-11-2006, 01:21 PM
We have now added detail of the new ES-3 model to the Harbeth website. We have good stocks of parts and are able to take your orders now!

sonofcolin
21-11-2006, 07:13 PM
We have now added detail of the new ES-3 model to the Harbeth website. We have good stocks of parts and are able to take your orders now!

Hi Alan,

I have just read the marketing brief for new ES-3 on the main website and as an ES-2 owner I am intrigued as to the difference in presentation (as I'm sure many others are too). I hope you can indulge me for a few moments with questions about the new design:

1. Is the radial driver completely different or is it just the surround?
2. The tweeter grill now has an 'unobstructed' view of the listening area. Does that mean the ES-2's grilles are obstructed and should I be removing them for an 'unobstructed' view (I am semi joking here)?
3. You state that the crossover is the most important change. How much of the sum of the parts is this responsible for the change in presentation (I know it isn't possible to get a quantitative assessment)?
4. Have you swapped your ES-2's for ES-3's?
5. Should I swap mine?!
6. Can you describe the major difference in presentation from your perspective?
7. Do you have any plots of frequency response comparisons between ES-2 and ES-3?

A.S.
21-11-2006, 08:14 PM
OK, I'd like to reply, and hopefully to give an overview that will not lead to lots of needless fears and worries amongst our many users. So here goes:

We are, of course, a commercial business, and we track the sales of individual models with an eye to increasing our overall sales and market share. In this modern world this includes a sensitivity to product life cycles, consumer expectations, manufacturing costs and the march of technology. For example, the software tools we have perfected now are streets ahead of those of ten years ago and dramatically cut the graft of design. They are not any sort of substitute for listening though, but they do allow more time to be spent on that listening and less scratching about in buckets of components looking for the ideal values at 2am.

One overriding comment I would make is that we are acutely aware of our pedigree and we do not take needless risks in product development. The entire HL Compact/Compact 7 family is extremely important to me and close to my heart; it put Harbeth on the road to success. In fact, as I started to unpick the question (as one does every few years) 'just what is it about model xyz that makes it as good as it is' I concluded that any improvements in the Compact 7 would be organic, detail, incremental. The 7ES-2 is a great speaker, but the ES-3 is a tiny bit better. To say that the ES-3 is such a step forward that it's not recognisable as a traditional Harbeth is not credible - and simply not true. But what our customers say is another matter: they seem to really like it.

To answer your questions -

1. Is the radial driver completely different or is it just the surround?

The surround is the biggest change. Don't underestimate the key role that the surround plays though - it has a huge acoustic effect.

2. The tweeter grill now has an 'unobstructed' view of the listening area. Does that mean the ES-2's grilles are obstructed and should I be removing them for an 'unobstructed' view (I am semi joking here)?

My dear chap, you really should know better than to ask such a question! DO NOT CONTEMPLATE REMOVING THE ES-2 GRILLE.

3. You state that the crossover is the most important change. How much of the sum of the parts is this responsible for the change in presentation (I know it isn't possible to get a quantitative assessment)?

The energy disposition is smoother, the phase alignment is better (the crossover frequency is slightly lower, this helps).

4. Have you swapped your ES-2's for ES-3's?

Um. Having sweated for six months on the C7ES-3 day and night what do you think?!

5. Should I swap mine?!

The C7ES-2 is great speaker, as are all Compact 7's. If you have the resources to change your speakers then we'd gladly take your order! Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the music.

6. Can you describe the major difference in presentation from your perspective?

A little more open, a little more up-front, a little more sparkle, a little more air, and much easier to use on shorter stands (the ones that the wives like), a flatter frequency response and an overall involving presentation.

7. Do you have any plots of frequency response comparisons between ES-2 and ES-3?

We don't publish frequency response plots. They convey nothing whatsoever about the sound quality, only sound quantity.

I hope that this will suffice at this time.

sonofcolin
21-11-2006, 09:03 PM
Thanks Alan. I have put my screwdrivers away!

Sephiam
24-11-2006, 02:54 AM
I listened to the 7-3 a few weeks ago (just perfect), purchased, and will receive shipment (hopefully) tomorrow.

When I audtioned them, I thought they were "too high" on 20" stands (before I read anything from A.S. et al.). I decided that I will fiddle with the height on makeshift props and work from there. More to come.

Dave

Arlequen
25-11-2006, 02:12 PM
Hello Alan ,

I'm Curio Allocchio from Brescia (Italy)
I'm happy to see you're fine and still on the way to produce masterpieces

Long time passed but I'm still a proud owner of Compact 7ES2
I can say to be one of your best C7ES tester :-) because my loudspeakers work not less than 6/8 hours every day since year 2000 and never had one problem
I have the satellite decoder into the preamp so we don't use tv speakers but your HL C7ES so they work so many hours every day .. apart when I listen my Hi-Fi and those are additional working hours :-)
Unbeliveable .. no one problem! My compliments Alan
I have lost userID and password of my old subscription into this group .. so I had to subcribe with this nickname .. and here I'm now!
I'm following since two days your debatings about the new babe C7ES3 .. and I already called our Italian importer Hi-Fi United but they didn't know you have released this new jewel :-( it would be better if you call them and send the new C7ES3 cos I want to buy a pair as soon as possible

I'm happy to see you and so many nice users .. well let's go! :-)

Here thank to the only digital I appreciate , the Digicam , one pic about my listening room and my loved C7ES2

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Arlequen/Stereo/etichetta.jpg


http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Arlequen/Stereo/1024.jpg

hificafe
26-11-2006, 08:29 PM
Hello,

I'm also very eager to get HL Compact7ES-3. Hope that distributor for Slovenia will have them on stock very soon.

BR,
Sasa

airdavid
29-11-2006, 10:06 AM
Nice Picture, Curio !!!

ciao,
david

Celadus
02-12-2006, 04:41 AM
Ciao Curio,

Thnak you, I've received your private message, I'm glad another italian in our group.
Nice photo but where's the projector? Is that a TV?
...Just kidding!
BTW I've a Sanyo PLV-Z5 projector, a fantastic value for money like the C7, in my system with an HTPC fitted with Lynxstudio L22 professional sound card, Accuphase E-307 amp and of course Harbeth monitor I've never wished a center channel, sub or surround speakers to enjoy a great Home Cinema experience!

Alastair MM
03-12-2006, 06:45 PM
Hi Alan ,
can you elaborate on the changes at low frequencies ? Are they primarily a result of the port alteration or did the new surround provide low frequency improvements ( which in turn required or allowed a change in the porting ) ?

Alastair

Arlequen
05-12-2006, 10:27 PM
Nice Picture, Curio !!!ciao, david

Thanks David & Celadus
Nice pic sure .. cos I use my loved Fuji S6500FD :-) .. but what can I say about those horrible light yellow cables sleeping on that nice parquet!? Zero W.A.F :-( but they are so good for the C7ES!

Best wishes to Every One

Curio

hificafe
09-12-2006, 05:42 PM
Hello,

if anyone know in which finishes are avaiable this new 7ES-3 model:

cherry, eucalyptus, .... ?

Regs,
Sasa

A.S.
09-12-2006, 05:57 PM
Yes: cherry, eucalyptus and to special order Tiger Ebony and Rosenut. That reminds me: I'll be making a thread here about the inevitable variations in colour and features in what is, after all, a completely natural material.

hificafe
09-12-2006, 06:20 PM
Yes: cherry, eucalyptus and to special order Tiger Ebony and Rosenut. That reminds me: I'll be making a thread here about the inevitable variations in colour and features in what is, after all, a completely natural material.


Thanks Alan,

I've meet today in Ljubljana with Mr. Peter Mezek from Pear Audio to confirm my order for 7ES-3, only what was missing is finish choice.

Well I will wait for your thread to see what is available, but I'm pretty sure that I will take eucalyptus.

BR,
Sasa

A.S.
09-12-2006, 09:08 PM
Sasa: Peter is an excellent man who thoroughly understands us at a philosophical and practical level and is highly respected in the industry. I'm sure that you will have a great time together.

Eucalyptus is definitely a special case. Unlike cherry, which is sourced and applied by our cabinet maker, Harbeth directly select, buy and pay for eucalyptus veneer and arrange it's importation and then issue to the cabinet maker. It gives us just that bit more control.

We had a call from the Eucalyptus Marketing Board (of Australia?) a few months ago who asked 'is it really true that you are using our wood for your speaker cabinets?'. Seems it's a one-off!

Celadus
12-12-2006, 12:01 AM
Hi Alan,

is it possible to order the Teak veneer in Italy? It's my favourite. I'd like a darker color than Cherry or Eucalyptus.

Thanks

Arlequen
12-12-2006, 08:01 PM
Hi Alan,

is it possible to order the Teak veneer in Italy?

By the moment .. Celadus .. the Hi-Fi United our Italian dealer for Harbeth products doesn't know the existence of this new Alan baby
I called them last week e quasi manco ricordavano cosa erano le Harbeth
So it would be interesting to know where we can buy this new C7ES3

Curio

Celadus
13-12-2006, 04:26 AM
Ciao Curio,

I've called Hi-Fi United and tomorrow they will tell me if they have the new model (ho degli agganci se ti interessano posso averle a prezzo scontato).
However I think they can't have the Teak version if Alan has not shipped it yet.

Curio, do you like the Teak veneer?

Alan, can you build a couple of C7ES3 in Teak and ship it to Hi-Fi United?

Thanks

Lorenzo

A.S.
13-12-2006, 10:20 AM
Regarding teak: this is a discontinued veneer. It was being taken by Harbeth Japan but they have now switched to cherry.

If we have a pair of teak C7ES2 cabinets in stock we could convert to C7ES3 but this would take time, hence cost more, and the upper two binding post holes would be blanked off (C7ES2 is biwire, C7ES3 is not).

You need to dicuss the whole cost situation with HiFi United first please.

Arlequen
13-12-2006, 01:09 PM
Thank you Alan!
Celadus .. I like dark wood and I guess Teak is yellow
Best wood I had on loudspeakers was the Boobinga Root on my B&W Silver Signature .. lovable in my living room!
Also Bird Eye Maple is another loveble speakers wood

Curio

A.S.
13-12-2006, 02:59 PM
No problem. Teak is an orangy-yellow. Cherry is more of an orange-pink.

If you want really dark-dark then I suggest Tiger Ebony - like dark chocolate with interesting stripes but *very expensive* and to special order only.

Arlequen
13-12-2006, 03:07 PM
Tiger Ebony - like dark chocolate with interesting stripes but *very expensive* and to special order only.

Uhmmm ... sounds "eccitante" (exciting other than stimulating) but Alan could you specify ??? for those two words "very expencive"?

:-))

Thanks Alan!

ps: the pic show you because I prefer dark wood instead the normal cherry or the terry ble teak .. and this preference is due to the parquet color

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Arlequen/Stereo/1024.jpg

Celadus
14-12-2006, 01:15 AM
Ciao Alan,

if "Tiger Ebony" is darker than Teak then it should fit my taste, can you post a pic of the veneer and tell us how much more expensive it is?
Thanks

Lorenzo

Arlequen
31-12-2006, 01:41 PM
Happy New Year 2007 from Italy .. to Alan and the whole Harbeth Group!

Curio

Andreas Molitor
03-01-2007, 06:58 PM
Alan, after enjoying living with and listening to a pair of Spendor BC 1's for almost three decades, I am now thinking of buying the new Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3. I hope this will bring me a step forward. I am using a Lua 6060 RC Diva tube amplifier and a Lua Cantilena CD player. My listening room is fairly small, 4x4 meters approx. Could you, from your point of view, say a few words about similarities and differences in performance between the BC 1 and the new Harbeth Compact 7? To me, both philosophies sound very similar and listening to my BC 1 at home and to a pair of ES-2 at my favourite dealer did not produce major differences (but this is hard to compare because listening circumstances were far from being identical). Maybe you understand that an investment of ? 3000 is worth to be thoroughly considered. Thanks for your attention.
Best regards,
Andreas

A.S.
04-01-2007, 09:08 AM
Could you, from your point of view, say a few words about similarities and differences in performance between the BC 1 and the new Harbeth Compact 7? To me, both philosophies sound very similar ... I have the highest respect for the BC1 and its designers and a good specimen still performs well if not fully to the original published specification. I owned BC1s for many years and these are my personal feelings about them. As we review the history of the BBC's speaker project and we should remember that the BC1 was the product of a particular time, to meet a very specific BBC need. It was luck indeed that the BC1 'leaked out' into the domestic market. In contract, the Harbeth Compact 7ES3 is a modern speaker designed in the 96k digital era with wide application in modern listening environments, wide musical tastes and with high resolution to get the best from modern equipment, ultra-quiet sources and wide dynamic recordings.

As I see it, the BC1 was designed in the (hissy pre-Dolby) analogue mid-60s for near-field operation in smaller BBC control rooms where the sound engineer could reach out and touch the speakers. This implies that the listening level was low. In turn, according to the way that the human ear operates, listening at a low level implies that the bass frequencies are subjectively reproduced at a lower level than ideal. The designers were aware of this issue and to some extent compensated for this in the design. However, the BC1 was not designed for far-field listening at higher sound pressure levels where self-evidently it 'runs out of steam' in the bass register. Remember - in the mid 1960's when the BBC were developing the LS3/4 (which became the BC1) rock/pop music was in its infancy and the elitist BBC did its very best to ignore it; there was no Radio 1; the Light Programme served up 'popular entertainment' comprising big bands, folk, jazz and classical music. This pre-pop era was one of soft bass and low sound pressure levels, a much less demanding duty for the loudspeaker to perform. I myself burned-out two or three BC1 bass units on pop music and I was not playing that loud!

The 'BC' name refers to Bextrene Cone, a first generation plastic (polystyrene actually) and this material has well-documented sonic colourations, typically of a 'quacky' or beaky sound. During the plastic research phase the BBC discovered that if PVA (wood glue of a particular type) was generously painted onto the front and back of the cone by hand, these colourations could be tamed - but - at the cost of somewhat increased cone mass (PVA is heavy) which pressurises the bass unit's loudness/mass/excursion/colouration/hangover/efficiency issues. As you can see, taming the colouration leads to other spin-off problems.

In time, the BBC concluded that Polypropylene (second generation cone plastic) was a better material being far lighter than bextrene and not (they said) needing the PVA dope treatment. At that point - 1977 - Harbeth was founded by the BBC's Head of Speaker design (Dudley Harwood) and the polypropylene- based HL monitor was born with an undoped PP cone. Harwood held the patent on PP cones under a deal with the BBC who had by that point decided to replace their BC1 stock with new BBC-designed speakers (LS5/8, LS5/9) which could play much louder and with lower colouration and by about 1988 apparently all BC1s had been decommissioned. The BC2 with its 1.5" voice coil was designed to offer a lounder/more efficient BC1 but this trade-off changed the overall acoustic signature. Speaker design is all about compromises.

By about 1983, Harwood/Harbeth was made aware of a new, third generation cone material candidate being investigated by Audax, France, and convinced by the performance, he decided to dispose of his PP patent (now seemingly owned by Sony via many changes of hands), abandon PP and started production of the HL Mk4 with the bought-in Audax TPX cone. At that point I became involved with Harbeth. I had used BC1s (and the PP-based SP1s) daily for about 10 years and I knew their sound very well but the new TPX cones were a revelation. I liked their clean, transparent sound so much that, well, I bought Harbeth and gave up my day job at NEC Corp..

Now, the Harbeth HL Compact 7ES3 uses a fourth generation cone material we call RADIAL (Research And Development Into Advanced Loudspeakers) and which was developed in collaboration with British Governments funding. We manufacture the RADIAL woofers in-house here at Harbeth. Unlike all the previous materials mentioned, our RADIAL is injection moulded in our own (expensive) tool because it is a compound of granules, not a general-purpose sheet material bought on a roll from a plastic company as bextrene or PP. It is engineered for its acoustic properties and every cone is just like every other. The cost is high but so is the performance.

What does this translate into? Well, the inner-clarity of the C7ES3 is really astonishing as you would expect for a 4th generation material and it is as if a thin veil has been removed from the speaker: the balance will be instantly familiar to you as the 'BBC balance' but you'll enjoy hearing micro-details that were absorbed (as heat) in the earlier materials. The bass handling, maximum spl, extended HF and cosmetics are all enhanced too and the frequency response is flatter.

Hope this helps.

Sephiam
05-01-2007, 03:19 AM
Hello, all-

I'm about 3 weeks into 7ES-3 ownership, paired with my McIntosh equipment (MA6900, MC201, MR85) and I could not be happier! I was a little bit afraid of lacking bass presentation and mid's overshadowing highs - no concern at all! Speakers are placed on custom 18" wood stands (incorporated 10# of deadload sand) and the height seems right. I have a fairly live room (12' x 16' x 7.5') with wood floors over a basement. Have actually decoupled with sorbothane and Vibropods with very good success. Anyway, I'm listening to music now after 20+ years of boom boom boom.

Sephiam

Andreas Molitor
05-01-2007, 10:01 AM
Alan,

thank you so much for your detailed answer which absolutely meets my latest practical experience. My dealer gave me a pair of 7 ES-2 for listening at home and so I had the opportunity to compare them to my BC 1. What you say is perfectly true. A Bach cantata, played at low volume level, reveals some differences, to be honest, but they are on the "micro-level": the Harbeth brings a bit more clarity and easiness, the music is being "unchained" from the speaker. This small gap between the two speakers grows to a canyon after switching to Jazz (Jan Akkerman Live At Montreux 1978) and Rock music (Ryan Adams, Van Morrison). The more I moved the volume knob to, let's say, eleven o' clock, the more the Spendors got into trouble. Congratulations! After almost 30 years I will have to say Goodbye to my BC 1's. They're like a an old car, a real Oldie, wonderful in its time, but not the right vehicle to be driven at 120 mph on the left (in Britain right) lane of a motorway. What will I do? I will return the 7 ES-2 to my dealer tomorrow. And tell him to order a pair of ES-3. For the next 30 years. This is my "project continuity and renewal".

Best regards,

Andreas

A.S.
09-02-2007, 10:26 PM
My colleague here, Derek Hughes, whose father designed the BC1 has corrected my earlier comment that the LS3/4 begat the BC1. It's a rather amusing story: Derek says the BBCs need for a compact monitor speaker in the late mid/late 1960's created a bit of a dilemma for the top brass. Derek's father, Spencer, a serving staff member of a public corporation could not be selling speakers to his employer - that was not the done thing. Called to a meeting at Broadcasting House in London (around 1967?) it was politely suggested that Derek's mother be nominated the director of his start-up manufacturing company neatly avoiding the conflict of interest between his father and the BBC. In time he retired from the BBc and devoted all his time to manufacturing.

As for the name, it seems that 'BC' was not as I said 'Bextrene cone' but 'Bextrene Celestion' referring to the HF1300 tweeter.

Also, it seems that once the BBC were buying the BC1, they applied the BC1's bass/mid unit to the LS3/4 design.

Hope that's completely correct now Derek - not that you were concerned but out of respect I thought I'd set the record straight. Facts are facts.

Sephiam
20-03-2007, 01:14 AM
Not to simply reply to myself, but the review in the April/May issue of The Absolute Sound is very complimentary, to say the least.

hificafe
20-03-2007, 10:16 PM
FYI - finally loudspeakers in eucalyptus finsh arrived in my home in Belgrade :-)))

Regs,
Sasa

www.hificafe.net


P.S. Sephiam, can I get on my e-mail address scanned copy of AS review that you've mentioned in your last post?

Sephiam
22-03-2007, 01:34 AM
Sasa-

Sorry I don't have a scanner, but the review should be available at The Absolute Sound website after the next issue. Or, you can purchase it online.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/

Are others as impressed with the 7es3 as I am? Coupled with what source and power? Set up (stands, placement, cables)? Music? Mr. Shaw, what feedback are you receiving from your distribution network?

Sephiam

A.S.
22-03-2007, 07:29 AM
Thank you for your report. I have purchased ther review online - it is, as you say, very flattering.

Good reviews are important to the user to give an external third-party objectivity to our products but they do not drive the design or marketing process, nor should they. I have given 100% of myself over many months or years to a design and when I commit to production I am truly convinced that even given an infinite amount of extra time, I could not improve the design with the tools, materials or knowledge available at that point.

So, the arbiter of the entire process is you, the end user. I measure how effective we have been by the order book - which in the case of the C7ES3 runs into 2008 - nine months ahead. That validates the design.

hificafe
22-03-2007, 02:41 PM
Before I've made final decision to order 7ES-3 model, I've spent more than 20 hours listening 7ES-2 in Pear Audio shop in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Peter Mezek is distributor in that region).

As my previous experience is mostly "based" on Scan Speak and/or Vifa sound, in 7ES I've heard something that I've defintely didn't hear before in that price class.

Now, with Audio Analogue Maestro Settanta int. amp, Denon DCD 3560 CD player (fully upgraded), Analysis Plus (interc.) and Chord cables (speakers) and Shunyata 6 filter, want to believe that listening to the music will reach much higher level of satisfaction than before, for a long period of time.

Regs,
Sasa

Ned Mast
22-03-2007, 06:28 PM
For those with access to the magazine The Absolute Sound, check out Paul Seydor's review of the HL Compact 7ES-3 in the April/May 2007 issue (#171). A totally positive review, with special mention of the speaker's "beauty of truthful timbre." In mentioning this, I think he hits upon a main strength of all of the Harbeth speakers!

hificafe
24-03-2007, 10:42 AM
Question for Alan as well for all other who can provide some "best practice": are there any recommendations and/or required "warm-up" period of time for a new speakers ?

Regs,
Sasa

mznn
20-04-2007, 02:47 PM
Hi,
Just bought my first Harbeth C7ES3 yesterday, very happy with the sound even though I'm using fairly old and cheap amp. One small comment, my pair (cherry) seems to be using ES2 cabinet ( top binding post is blanked off with screws, website picture of ES3 doesn't show this ) or maybe I just got an early production pair, serial no is C7 274 R/L. Wonder if any ES3 owner have the same thing? thanks

A.S.
20-04-2007, 11:28 PM
You have one of the first production pairs, as also sold to (and reviewed by) our many friends in Japan - so you are in good company!

Bill C
09-06-2007, 02:21 PM
Hi,
The Harbeth web site states that the 7ES3 are 6ohm. Which taps are recommended for best performance, the 4 or 8? My amp is a 75w tube amp if that makes a difference. Thank you.

A.S.
09-06-2007, 07:21 PM
In truth I don't suppose it will make much sonic difference whether you chose the 4 ohm or 8 ohm tap since the speaker's 6 ohm load falls mid way between.

The rule of thumb is that the source impedance (the tube amplifier's output setting) should, in theory, be lower or the same as the speaker's impedance. In that case, the 4 ohm tap would meet that rule.

However, this is a really fine argument: you may prefer the sound (in the bass) on the 8 ohm setting. What matters is what sound best to you, not the grand theory. Either way, no damage will be done to the speaker or the amplifier.

Bill C
09-06-2007, 10:07 PM
Thanks Alan. I'll just give them both a try.

Bill C
09-06-2007, 10:33 PM
Is there a recommended stand height for the 7ES3 with regard to bass performance? My ears are about 34" off the floor if that is a factor. Thanks,
Bill

A.S.
09-06-2007, 10:52 PM
Actually, at low frequencies the wavelength of sound is long. At 68Hz for example, the wavelength is 5m (about 15 feet)! What that means is that at low frequencies it really doesn't matter about an inch or two up and down on the stand height.

Notice that I said at low frequencies. The situation is very different in the mid to upper frequencies. For example, let's compare the situation at 68Hz where an inch or two made no difference to a frequency fifty times higher - say, 3400Hz, slap bang in the middle of the crossover range between woofer and tweeter. Now, if the wavelength is (approx.) 5m at 68Hz, at fifty times that frequency ( that's 3400Hz) it will only be one fiftieth of 5m which I calculate as 10cms. - about 4 inches.

So, I think this leads to an observation: at low frequencies the stand height (give or take a few inches) has a negligible effect - but at mid/upper frequencies small changes of an inch or two doesn't 'do' anything to the speaker itself - what it does do is to reposition the listener's ears below/on/above the design reference axis: just that inch or two will make the difference.

In the special case of the Compact 7ES-3 I found a way (in the crossover design) to integrate the drive units over an unusually wide vertical arc - which means that in the case of the C7ES-3 the stand height is less critical. But - if you are a perfectionist you should try to put your ears on axis (level with) or just a bit below the tweeter: that's where my B&K measuring mic was during the design measurement cycle. Picture attached from which I hope you can just about see the mic and tweeter in-line.

I apologise if the environment at The Old Dairy doesn't look high-tech but it did the job when it wasn't possible to get outside into the Bluebell woods. In the background you can see a stack of reference speakers - the test equipment is on the Mk1 trolley on the left. (Somewhere I have a stop-frame video of the entire test process.)

Bill C
09-06-2007, 11:34 PM
Thank you very much Alan. Your explanation clarifies things for me. Should the speakers be angled directly toward the ears as well? Or should they be slightly off axis? Thanks,
Bill

hificafe
17-07-2007, 07:21 PM
Hello all,

if any of you have had experience with 7ES-2 or 7ES-3 connected to "power amps" or integrated SE amp with 2A3 tubes in output stage (declared power 2 x 4 W)?

I've did it yesterday very carefully and couldn't imagine if it will work at all (but with latino, bossanova and similar genres which I've played until now, it sounds very musically)

Regs,
Sasa


http://www.imageshock.eu/?img=DSCN2874.jpg

d55124
25-07-2007, 09:37 PM
I just picked up a pair of C7ES3 Anniversary models - with my setup (McIntosh SS), the 8 ohm taps provided noticeable more bass energy than the 4 ohm taps. I prefer the 4 ohm taps.

d55124
30-07-2007, 10:18 PM
Hi - wondering about the break-in characteristics of the C7 ES-3. Anyone have suggestions as too how long they take to break-in and what the changes over time might be?

thanks!

keithwwk
01-08-2007, 10:25 AM
After owning my C7 and drive them very well, sound like heaven with my Marantz PM17 mkII KI 60watters and even my pretty old PM66 KI 60watters amp and a even cheap AVR5300 multipurpose home theater amp...I really wonder why there are so many people still suffer from play mega bucks few hundred watters drive big tower or mega bucks small speakers and busy with room treatment and also cable matching and in the end blame the CD/SACD recording...

Ned Mast
01-08-2007, 04:00 PM
Hi Keithwwk,

I can agree with all you say with the exception of room treatment. As fine as all Harbeth speakers are, they - and almost all speakers - will benefit from room treatment and/or DSP. Reflections and room modes will inevitably effect the sound of a system. Controlling them as much as practical is, I think, always worthwhile.

Harbie
03-08-2007, 08:28 PM
Hi folks

I am very interested in buying the new Compact 7. My problem is that i could not place the speaker in free space. I have to place it in a bookshelf. The are only a view inches on the back (3.3 inch), 1.25 inch left/right and 6 inch above.

The bookshelf is based on a very massive wood construction up from the floor in about 13.8 inch height. The cabinet of the bookshelf for the speaker is 31.5 x 13.2 x 15.4 (h x w x d). So I am able to place the speaker on the right height, but here is less free space around.

If it helps it is possible to put the speaker 3 inches out of the top and left/right surrounded bookshelf on the massive wood bookshelf base.

Have anybody experiences with bookshelf position of the Compact 7? I would be very happy about any reply, because I like the Harbeth sound (could we say sound for a harbeth?), but I am not sure if they will work in my bookshelf position.

Thanks in advance.

A.S.
03-08-2007, 10:43 PM
Hello. Speaking theoretically, the close proximity of the rear wall will trap the sound at low frequencies and reflect them back to your listening position. Hence, you will hear more bass.

However, you may like more bass (!) and/or you may have become used to the extra bass with your previous speakers used in that situation (!) or you may find that a little bass-cut using the tone controls on your amp brings you back to neutrality. Tone controls are there to help out in tricky room situations and in my opinion, all good amplifiers should have some sort of control to make the most of difficult rooms. The craze to delete tone controls from amps that got a grip in the 80's is totally incomprehensible to me - unless you listen in an anechoic chamber.

Of course, I'm giving you the theory - even I break my own 'rules' by using my P3ES2s on a deep window ledge behind my desk simply out of convenience. There is an extra richness but it's not unpleasant. I would imagine that the same situation would apply to your Compact 7ES3.

Harbie
03-08-2007, 11:31 PM
Hi Alan

Thank you for the quick reply. I use actually (and for the last 18 years!) very small speakers called "Audioplan Kontrapunkt". They are comparable in size and used drivers with your P3ES2, but I think the P3ES2 has a little more bass.

This speakers don?t produce to much bass in this situation (of course, they have less in general), the 7ES3 would probably do. But I think, the only way to check this, is to catch a pair 7ES3 on a harbeth dealer for a demo at home.

After 18 year good, but "small" sound I would like a high quality speaker with more "body" in the sound, so thats why I won?t use the P3ES2 (which is probably better than my previous speaker, but still "small" sound).

A.S.
04-08-2007, 08:33 AM
As I commented, the presence of a wall in close proximity to any speaker will boost the bass.

Now, another craze that seems to have gripped the industry (and a certain consumer) is the drive for greater efficiency - or specifically, the marketing department's desire to quote the largest number for sensitivity. According to this mad line of reasoning, '99dB must be better than 95dB'. The easiest and cheapest way to achieve this is to fit the bass unit with an oversized magnet. Unfortunately, whilst this does increase the loudness (sensitivity) in the middle frequencies (and keeps the marketing boys happy) it will over-damp the bass which means .... less bass.

In this situation, the weak bass can be somewhat improved by bringing the speaker close to the wall, using the wall to boost the bass end. Then the marketing people have a win-win situation: a loud loudspeaker that can/must conveniently be used near a wall or on a shelf and not out in the room.

lofey
09-08-2007, 04:53 PM
Hello,

I use my DIY SE2A3 (6SL7 driver, first as SRPP driver, then changed to cathode follower configuration) to drive a pair of 7ES-2 in a 10' x 21' living room.

Just didn't imagine it could be an ideal match, but the result is far better than expected.
The tonal purity is astonishing. The sound-stage is realistic, tone is airy and sweet. There's even some bass, while light, it's tangible and lively. The dynamic range is surely limited for a 3.5W amplifier. One has to be "emotionally competent" about listening volume when using a flea-powered amp to drive modern speakers like the 7ES-2. But I found listening in a quiet late night setting magical and enjoying.

I found the 2A3 amp superb in vocals, jazz and light classics. Don't expect Jimi Hendrix jumping into your living room though.

Lofey

salm
31-08-2007, 04:32 PM
Hello,
I'm the proud owner of a pair of C7ES3 that I bought on the used market a few months ago. They are used with the Sound Anchor 4-post stands. I use McIntosh C45 pre and MC402 power amp to drive the speakers. I have to say, the tiger ebony finish is quite striking. Before asking my few questions I'd like to relate an incident when a 13 year old friend of my son was visiting and heard the C7s. This boy comes from a musical family, he plays drums, his dad plays bass, and his sister (15years old) plays flute and has already performed at Carnegie Hall. Suffice to say he probably has a good ear for how musical instruments sound in their natural environment. His response to the C7 was "Wow, the bass is so nice and resonant, full like it's supposed to be." From a 13 yo! In addition to the bass response I also love the midrange accuracy and detail. This speaker is so natural and non-fatiguing. Great job on the design of these speakers Alan!

Anyway, a few questions:

I am looking at getting new speaker cables and was wondering if you have any feelings one way or the other about using banana connections at the speaker rather than spades?

Is it ok to tilt the speakers (stands actually) a few degrees to help lift the tweeter a bit higher and angle the wave upward slightly? I think my listening position may be a little high and the tweeter not quite at ear level as recommended.

Thank you in advance,
Sal

zenith
10-09-2007, 10:05 AM
Is there an upgrade from one speaker to the other ? If so what are the costs ? What is the main differences between the old and the new speaker.
I presume that the new version was not made becuse the other was obsolete but that the designer viewed the new speaker as an improvement.

If so what areas of improvement have been made and is there any value in looking to upgrade to the new model ?

Regards

Zenith

oferab
23-09-2007, 04:38 PM
Very intersting question, I would also like to know the answer
I have the Harbeth 7es2

Ofer

A.S.
23-09-2007, 05:43 PM
I think the differences between the C7ES2 and C7ES3 have been documented here or on the main Harbeth web site ....

They are:

C7ES3 has ....

1. A new woofer
2. A new tweeter
3. A new crossover
4. Revisions to the cabinet damping arrangement that would be difficult to retro-fit to ES2 cabinets
5. Longer ports
6. Single wire, not bi-wire terminals

A Compact 7ES3 is the sum of all these parts and any lesser combination is not, technically a Compact 7ES3. At this time, and especially because of item 4 above, there is no upgrade path and we do not want to have a half-way situation between C7ES2 and 3 whereby 1, 2, 3, and 5 are upgraded but not item 4 (the cabinet).

Furthermore, there are two other factors to consider. After detailed discussions with our Accounts dept. who have carried out a full costing of this possibility, it is self-evident that upgrading is not cost effective for the user because it is so time consuming in the factory which is working at 100% already. The economic argument presented to me is that not only would the user have to pay for the necessary parts detailed above, but the labour time for fitting and testing them and towards the 'opportunity cost' of diverting precious production line resources. Our order book already extends to November 2008 (14 months ahead) and is completely full for 4 months ahead. Every man hour is needed on the production line.

As for our ISO9001 status, it is completely prohibited for us to pass out of our control upgrade parts to be fitted by users without them having approved/calibrated test equipment and demonstrable assembly and QC processes.

As for why I invested 9 months in the redesign, I did it because I accumulated over several years detailed ideas as that led me to improve an already great and much enjoyed speaker. No parts are obsolete from the Compact 7ES2. At this level of performance it is attention to ever more minute detail that is the future for Harbeth, not sweeping changes.

On the commercial side, I see that our like-for-like sales of the C7ES3 v. C7ES2 are 3 times greater.

mznn
23-09-2007, 07:55 PM
Hi Alan,

In view of item (4) description does my 7ES3 (s/n C7 274) which utilised the ES2 cabinet does not have the revised cabinet damping arrangement? Not that it really matters though cause it really sound superb even with 10W budget Trends Audio amp driving it!.
Thanks.

A.S.
25-09-2007, 08:19 AM
Your cabinets were converted (by me actually) to C7ES3 type during production as was the case for the very first production run, over a year ago.

oferab
02-10-2007, 01:11 PM
Thanks for your answer

Dinho
07-10-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi,

Despite I do not have a Herbeth's Loudspeaker (for now), is a pleasure change information about this "legend" in HiFi.

Now we have an "dealer" in Brazil: GREAT NEWS!!!

My power is an Single Ended Cary CAD 300SE Signature (an 300B tube based) and, how is characteristic that kind of device, with lower power output. In my system "only" 15Wrms/channel.

My listen room is small (3mx3m).

Has somebody experience with the 7ES-3 with lower power output?

Thanks and I apologise about my poor English and I hope that somebody can understand me (laughs...)

Dinho

dgroove
07-10-2007, 04:58 PM
Hello,
I have had tremedous success running a Shindo Montille (15 watts EL 84) into Compact 7ES-3. In light of your room size, I doubt you'll encounter any issues. My room is 10 1/2' by 15'.

Dinho
08-10-2007, 12:01 AM
dgroove,

Thanks for return.

Dinho.

robinje
26-12-2007, 09:51 PM
I have ordered a pair of Compact 7ES-3's and I need to determine if my existing speaker cables will work with the speakers when they arrive. The ends of the cables are terminated with spades having an 8mm gap between the "forks" of each spade. Will these fit the Harbeth terminals properly?

Sorry if this has been covered before, but I found nothing when I did a forum search. Thanks!

Don Leman
27-12-2007, 12:57 AM
I recall it being stated the post diameter is 8.3 mm. However I don't believe the post can be round. I too have spades with a 8.0mm gap. They do not fit if I try an connect them with the "U" oriented up or down. They do however fit nicely if connected horizonally. If you have flexible speaker cables this could work for you too.

Don
West Coast Audio

robinje
27-12-2007, 01:31 AM
I recall it being stated the post diameter is 8.3 mm. However I don't believe the post can be round. I too have spades with a 8.0mm gap. They do not fit if I try an connect them with the "U" oriented up or down. They do however fit nicely if connected horizonally. If you have flexible speaker cables this could work for you too.

Don
West Coast Audio
It seems odd that the posts would not be round. But if it works for you, it will likely work for me! Thanks for the info.

Jim

Don Leman
27-12-2007, 02:58 AM
Jim,

There is a hole through the middle of the post to accomodate hook up with bare wire. The hole is vertical and because of this would remove some of the post material at the top and bottom explaining the reason why the spades fit horizontally.

Don
West Coast Audio

A.S.
27-12-2007, 12:32 PM
I've put an answer to this particular thread here as it applies not only to the HL Compact 7ES3 but to Harbeth binging posts generally: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=2570#post2570

dpoly
20-02-2008, 11:51 AM
Hello,

I am a new member in the usergroup (location Athens, Greece) willing to buy a pair of the C7ES-3 speakers. I am not a native English speaker, so I apologize for any language errors.

I have contacted some people owning the specific model in order to have some comments on how they perform and I get as an answer that their performance depends heavily on the stands used. More specifically, I have been told that the bass reproduction is very much dependent on the stand material and the speaker height. The problem is that they get either booming or dry bass.

Some other persons told me that the rectangular where the speaker will be based on the stand has to be empty inside, so as the speaker will be rest only on the four corners of this rectangle. This helps the speaker to perform as it was designed (without resonances).

Therefore, I would like to ask you if you have experienced similar problems.

A.S.
20-02-2008, 06:13 PM
I am very please that you joined the Harbeth User Group. Welcome. You are able to get the facts directly from us here at the factory in the UK.

Stands: whoever provided you with such 'information' has a vivid imagination. I makes me annoyed to think that this sort of misinformation is being handed out by self-appointed experts especially when the result is confusion of would-be customers. So, as the designer, in my opinion here are the facts ....

1. The construction of the stand has 0.1% influence on the sound quality.
2. You can use a pile of bricks, books, or plant-pot stands (like the IKEA ones mentioned here before).
3. Whether the speakers make a point contact with the stand using spikes, rubber feet, BluTak or similar has 0.0001% effect on sound quality.

When I am designing Harbeth speakers I can assure you that I pay no attention at all to the construction of the stand. But I do take care over stand height. In the case of the C7ES-3 the entire design was undertaken on the Ikea plant-pot stands.

Check the facts. Enjoy the music. Don't be nervous!

eelekim
21-02-2008, 03:41 AM
Hi Alan,

What about the effects of stand materials? Although I've never tried different stands with the same construction but with different materials like wood, metal and concrete, I've heard from those "self-appointed experts" that materials make audible effects.

mike

A.S.
21-02-2008, 07:30 AM
In that case you should ignore what the designer says, and listen to the experts as their advice and opinions must be of superior value.

You will note though that I never, ever give advice that involves the needless expense of money. For me, since I became interested in hi-fi as a boy, the real kick is to get the most sound for the least expenditure and then to get on with enjoying the music. The music is supreme. As I said, the IKEA plant pot stands (about $14 each) are good enough for me to enjoy the music and to actually design the speaker. They were just the right height which is the critical thing, not the material from which the stand is made.

As an example, the excellent Noel at Skylan sell stands made of filled plastic. They look great, they are very elegant, reasonably priced and easy to ship around the world at low freight cost. I guess that more Harbeth users globally use those stands than any other type - and we only hear praise about their sound and appearance.

Of course - my opinion is only one of many. The difference is that I have no commercial interest in stands - or cables.

David Schalkwyk
22-02-2008, 11:37 AM
One of the members of the group asked me earlier for some advice on the Harbeth HP3-2ES loudspeakers, following my enthusiastic comments over the past two years.

Let me say at once that I regard the P3 as a superb ?speaker. They astonish everyone who hears them with their weight, clarity, and musicality: and that in a large room of about 20 x 15 feet and 9 feet high, driven by a 1960s Sugden solid-state class-A amp of about 18 watts. I?ve been very happy with them since I ordered them (without hearing them first!) from Alan two years ago to replace my Martin Logan Aerius i electrostatics. They didn?t have the last bit of clarity in the mid-range of the MLs, but were much better balanced and integrated, and were much easier on the eye. I play classical music (including large choral and symphonic works) and jazz.

I happened to have had some Spendor 3/5s on demo when they arrived. The Spendors sounded veiled, coloured and recessed compared to the P3s. I've heard nothing better in this size. But ?they don?t have RADIAL drivers and that fact kept worrying at me. Could there be something better?

I?ve been so intrigued by Alan and others? comments on the superiority of the RADIAL driver that I have finally got (again, without hearing them first) a pair of Compact 7 ES-3s. If I thought (and still think) the P3s are good, the C-7s are in a different class. What?s the difference?

It?s clear that the two ?speakers belong to the same family: they have the same kind of weight, the same sort of sound, the same type of clarity and musicality. But the C-7 simply offers much, much more information, and if that word is too "cold", they offer much more pleasure.

This is especially clear on piano recordings. Pianos are very complex things: each note is accompanied by a myriad of micro-tones and overtones related to the weight of the hammer on the strings, the soundboard, the room acoustic and the pedalling. A good loudspeaker will give you an inkling of all this?a great ?speaker, like the C7, resolves these transients, reverberations, and dying acoustics not quite like the real thing, but sufficiently well to give one the strong illusion of the real thing. (I have a baby grand in my living-room, and I?ve tried to match its sound to the C-7s: there was no contest with the P3s, whereas with the C-7s it?s not a totally crazy idea, provided one plays softly. My wife, who is contemptuous of hi-fi coming anywhere close to the reproduction of live music was surprised by this near match.)

The same is true of other instruments, but it?s not quite as obvious. One?s sense of the special acoustic of an orchestra or jazz ensemble or string quartet is immensely enhanced, as is the sense of the expression with which the instrument is played. Its interaction with other instruments, instead of being a blurred suggestion, is absolutely articulate and clear.

All this renders the emotional impact of the music much more immediately. It also means that one can play the music at low volumes and retain that impact, rather than keep turning it up in a vain attempt to force involvement from the ?speakers. What one usually gets when one turns the volume up to hear harmonics, timbre and space is usually a hardening, not a broadening or deepening, of the sound; and this hardness gets worse as one desperately tries to get more out of the system by turning up the volume even further. With the C-7s this doesn?t happen. They are absolutely satisfying speakers.

Presumably, what I?m finally hearing is the RADIAL difference, which is radical. It's also utterly enchanting. Now I'm imagining what a RADIAL P3 would be like?

BTW: in relation to the discussion of stands for the C7s, I've been trying out different things, precisely to achieve the right height that Alan mentions in his post. I can confirm absolutely what he says (but if you don't believe him, why should you believe me?) I started off on with some metal stands: too high. Then some sturdy coffee tables: too low. So in desperation I put a volume of my Shorter Oxford Dictionary under each 'speaker to raise them about 4", thinking that a book would be absolutely the worst thing to use.

Guess what? They improved with the extra height and the books don't seem to have detracted in any way from the performance. So I'd believe Alan when he says you could use a pile of books if you want to. Perhaps we should all stop reading Hi-Fi magazines and start listening.

David

Will
22-02-2008, 05:26 PM
.... Perhaps we should all stop reading Hi-Fi magazines and start listening.
David

Agree completely!

Lately I've been guilty of doing more Hi-Fi reading than music listening. And I got it in my head that I wanted to trade my C7-ES2 for a non-Harbeth speaker. Had the deal all setup. Then I decided to listen to my Harbeth's for one last time. Listened to a couple of favorite CD's... And you know what? I couldn't bring myself to do it. I've decided that even though I will most likely buy different speakers one day, I will always keep a pair of Harbeths as well.

Now, I wonder if I should upgrade to the new ES3... hmmm :)

A.S.
23-02-2008, 01:32 PM
One thing to be very much aware of is that the 'Harbeth sound' is very easy-on-the-ears. Technically, I'd describe it as 'low-Q' or 'low intensity' - a curtain that hangs in space, and is very unique. Almost every other loudspeaker I've heard over the years is more 'exciting', more intense and as a result very fatiguing. I've covered my experiences here. (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=designersnotebookdetail&id=6)

--------------------

I've been trying to think of a way of explaining 'coloration', intensity and the consequent fatigue. In the supermarket I had an idea .... You know that you can self-select donuts or fresh fruit into those very thin (and sometimes difficult to open) polythene plastic bags that you tear off from a roll? When I get home I can't resist trapping the air inside the empty bag and then bursting it - you get a nice soft pop. Clearly an impulsive sound, but with a low-Q, just like the Harbeth sound . Now, conversely, trap the air in a crisp packet and burst it and you get a high-Q explosive sound. Same volume of air. Same hand clap energy to burst it, but an unmistakeably harder sound.

Remember when your children were small how you'd invite their friends round for a party? Remember how fatiguing it was when they were all whooping and shouting, just having fun? Those young voices also have a high-Q, both high pitch and intense, attention demanding (thanks to evolution). Imagine them discovering the fun that can be had from bursting plastic bags. Can you hear in your mind the cocopheny of sound of ten crisp packets being popped versus ten polythene bags? I know which I'd rather let them loose with!

Will
23-02-2008, 05:54 PM
Remember? I'm still living it now with a 2 and a 5 year old daughter! :)

My 2 year old can pop my ears with her screams of laughter,

I really ike your analogy though.

pranderos
23-02-2008, 10:49 PM
David,
A very informative account of your experience. Having heard and loved the P3, I'm struggling with the purchase decision between P3 and C7. I haven't yet been able to hear the C7, and may not have the chance before selection. Your post sets out the considerations nicely, thanks.

-Paul-

kmchow98
25-02-2008, 09:45 AM
Perhaps Alan can help me out.

I don't have to opportunity to demo a C7ES3 at home. A rather lively room, marble floor with carpet, curtains, cushions etc.. The room is 13.5x17.5 ft and I intend to place the long wall. My problem is that the speakers need to be close to the wall and I know that increases the bass and messes up the midrange.

I worry that it will get worse because I sometimes play loud (bass boom?). So I would like to know what is the minimum acceptable distance before the midrange and bass starts screwing up..... is 8-10inches OK?

It is a lot of money to pay, so I want to be careful. It will be driven by a Nait 5i.

David Schalkwyk
27-02-2008, 07:46 PM
As usual, Alan has come up with not one, but two, wonderfully evocative ways of thinking about the nature of sound, reproduction and the place of Harbeth in the middle. The underwater cricket-ball is brilliant; and so are the two different popping packets, which give respectively high and low-Q sounds. I concur completely that Harbeths are low-Q, and marvellous for being so. But I'm troubled by a question:

Let's imagine that we make our two different pops: the satisfying low-Q one with the polythene plastic bag, and then the irritating loud, high-Q one with the crisp packet. We record both, and we play them through a pair of loudspeakers. How do we capture most accurately the DIFFERENCE between the sounds? With a low-Q speaker, or a high-Q one; or one somewhere in between?

This leads me to a further observation to add to my earlier comments about the differences between the P3s and C7s. I was always startled by the P3s' reproduction of percussive sounds, especially on jazz drums. They are immensely immediate and present, catching the leading transients of drums with disconcerting energy. This was so apparent that at times I'd feel there was a slight mismatch between the reproduction of drums, say, and piano or saxaphone. Compared to the P3s, the C7s don't have that startling, impressive, but slightly jarring reproduction of percussion, but they do reproduce the other instruments with greater ease, naturalness and richness. In short, they're better balanced. Do we see a degree of difference between the Q factors of the two speakers at work here? And is this due to the different Q factors of the RADIAL drivers?

Cheers

David

A.S.
27-02-2008, 09:53 PM
...How do we capture most accurately the DIFFERENCE between the sounds? With a low-Q speaker, or a high-Q one; or one somewhere in between?Ah, now that's the sort of question than makes me call out to my wife (now in bed, at the end of her long day) that I won't be long as I settle down to the computer to concoct an answer!

Ok, so we're clear that the bursting of the bags produces a difference in intensity of sound - and also of tone too. Now, before we can record those sounds we need to think through the process of recording to be sure we can draw valid conclusions on playback. First then, the choice of microphone. Most microphones are a little 'ringy' somewhere in the treble region - and that's deliberate and very much promoted by the mic sellers (and recording artists/producers) as 'sensational clarity' ... 'super clean' etc. etc.. In our terms, we'd say those mics were highish-Q, especially in the upper frequencies. If you want a low-Q mic you probably have to look backwards in time a bit to the very microphone designed by Dudley Harwood (our founder) when he was at the BBC. It's a ribbon, and unlike a modern capacitor microphone, it has just a strip of corrugated kitchen foil hanging limply in a very strong magnetic field. Yes, it is fragile and easily damaged, especially by wind. Modern mics have a plastic diaphragm pulled very tight and then welded under tension to the capsule case .... and, almost inevitable that tautness is their downfall - it causes peaks in the treble response. But they are very tough and durable. And produce a much higher output voltage than the ribbons. And they are less hissy too. You get an idea of microphone construction here (http://books.google.com/books?id=w8kXMVKOsY0C&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=4038+microphone&source=web&ots=nnhfBCCWVk&sig=S_1rj8rpzE40CNkwwuHPifQKtFM#PPA56,M1) (suggest p56). On page 63 you can see that a capacitor microphone is inherently peaky and entirely relies on some sort of internal damping to bring that peak down to an acceptable flatness. How well this actually works depends on such minute mechanical details of construction that only a few experts really understand how and why. (Such as B&K (http://www.bksv.com/3032.asp))

So, we'll take care over the selection of the mic. How about the room in which we record the bag popping? If the room is acoustically hard, like my kitchen or bathroom, then the reflections of the explosion off all the hard surfaces is going to greatly colour the sound picked up by the mic. So we really should go outside ..... but we will have to take great care to use our ribbon mic on a windless day. Finally, playback on the speakers. As we don't want the speakers to impart resonances (always associated with high-Q) we need our trusty low-Q Harbeths.

Incidentally - I was at the BBC anechoic chamber recently and took along and measured some 'modern' speakers not of our manufacture. I truly didn't appreciate how wonderfully low-Q and easy-on-the-ears our Harbeths are until I measured these others. The peaks in the response around the crossover region put these 'hot selling' 'must have' speakers in the super high-Q category and explain at a stroke why I cannot bear to listen to them or more than a minute or two. I hesitate to publish the frequency response curves because you probably wouldn't believe that any consumer (or professional) with normal hearing could buy them (and live with them) and the manufacturer would certainly recognise the tell-tale high-Q peaks in the response. Quite a shock I must say.

David Schalkwyk
03-03-2008, 04:35 PM
Finally, playback on the speakers. As we don't want the speakers to impart resonances (always associated with high-Q) we need our trusty low-Q Harbeths.... The peaks in the response around the crossover region put these 'hot selling' 'must have' speakers in the super high-Q category and explain at a stroke why I cannot bear to listen to them or more than a minute or two. I hesitate to publish the frequency response curves because you probably wouldn't believe that any consumer (or professional) with normal hearing could buy them (and live with them) and the manufacturer would certainly recognise the tell-tale high-Q peaks in the response. Quite a shock I must say.

Thanks, Alan. You've established what I was angling at: whether preference for low or high Q was a matter of subjectively liking this rather than that, or accuracy of reproduction. So a low-Q 'speaker (and mic!) will reproduce a high-Q sound more accurately... That's interesting and counter-intuitive for the lay person. Surely, one would think, if I want to hear the brash resonances of a rock band, I need a speaker that is also brashly resonant. (I know there's a different thread on this.)

As to why people would want massively high-Q 'speakers, this intuition, propogated time and time again by the hi-fi press in their distinctions between a 'speaker's capacity to "rock" or not, is probably one reason. The other is more difficult to express, and may be conveyed by a story of what has happened to alcohol levels in wine over the past 30 years.

Thirty years ago, red wines (say, claret from Bordeaux) had alcohol levels of between 11 and 12.5%. With the influx of new world wines from hotter climates and a desire for more obvious fruit and softer tannins that make a wine drinkable soon after it is made, alcohol levels have increased to between 14.5 and 15.5%. That's close to port!

So the wine is now supposedly easier on the palate, it's softer and juicier. Only it's not. The added alcohol actually makes the wine more difficult to drink with food (the main aim of drinking wine), it makes it more difficult to drink more of it, and it finally deadens the palatte, not to speak of adding a whole unit per glass in the calculations of whether it is safe to drive home or not. And yet heavier alcoholic wines are what customers appear to want, despite their detrimental affects at every level except possibly a bit more rasperry flavour. Even clarets now contain 13-14% alcohol, and it's becomming impossible to get an Australian or South African Shiraz at less than 15%. I had a rose for lunch the other day that had 16% alcohol.

We seem to have a strange drive to convince ourselves that what we want or like is in fact what is horrible or bad for us. Go figure, as they say in the US. I've been wanting to establish a low-alcohol pressure group for wines. Perhaps they should give free membership to the low-Q club for 'speakers.

Cheers

David

A.S.
04-03-2008, 01:39 PM
...We seem to have a strange drive to convince ourselves that what we want or like is in fact what is horrible or bad for us. Before I comment I should just clarify one point .... when we say 'high-Q' or 'low-Q' this is a technical term relating to an electrical or mechanical systems behaviour at and around resonance frequencies. It should not be casually assumed that the subjective acoustic Sound Quality is necessarily bad with a high-Q speaker and necessarily good with a low-Q speaker. What we've been talking about is the intensity, the 'shrillness', the incisiveness of high-Q speakers. If you were tasked with designing a PA system for, say, the evacuation of an underground railway station, high-Q speaker with their punchy, attention-grabbing sound would be absolutely ideal and our trusty BBC-monitor low-Q sound so soft and relaxed that lives could be at risk. So, the speaker and the application have to be matched.

More general comment following your interesting notes on wine ..... (I didn't realise alcohol levels had increased, but then I am the sad, marginalised individual who likes Piesporter which you can rarely if ever find in restaurants or bars these days it is so far out of vogue...)

Two of the quirks of evolution that have brought us to the top of the food chain are curiosity and boredom. Curiosity about the environment (and people) around us and the boredom from repetition: we do like the buzz of things and people a-new. However, we are now being tantalised by a constant stream of tasty new goods, foods, clothes, music and sexy exciting people with one consequence: our nervous systems have withered through over-stimulation. Generation after generation we need more of a high just to get the juices going and we're hooked on this process. Just to think how one hundred years ago the Victorians could get a real high from a musical soiree around the piano with a few conservatively dressed friends!

David Schalkwyk
04-03-2008, 03:22 PM
(I didn't realise alcohol levels had increased, but then I am the sad, marginalised individual who likes Piesporter which you can rarely if ever find in restaurants or bars these days it is so far out of vogue...)

One of the good things about German Riesling is that they've always had very low alcohol levels. In part that's because there's not enough sun to ripen them properly (i.e. produce lots of sugar in the berry), so they tend to be softer and sweeter, but with enough crisp acidity to balance the sugars. They sometimes have alcohol levels as low as 10.5%, and the really sweet ones can go down as low as 9%. These wines don't rock, but they're wonderfully rich, subtle, and give immense amounts of pleasure, just like Harbeths!

David

David Schalkwyk
04-03-2008, 09:40 PM
It should not be casually assumed that the subjective acoustic Sound Quality is necessarily bad with a high-Q speaker and necessarily good with a low-Q speaker. What we've been talking about is the intensity, the 'shrillness', the incisiveness of high-Q speakers.

Getting back onto sound (or music) and away from wine, I can see the point that one would want different kinds of sound quality for different purposes. My original question was whether it would be better to have a low or high-Q speaker for the purpose of reproducing most accurately the difference between the explosion caused by crisp packet and the polythene bag. And Alan suggested that one would want low-Q speakers for this. That suggests that there is something objectively right about low-Q speakers for accurate reproduction (which is different from inducing people to evacuate a building). Or am I missing something here?

David

Arlequen
10-03-2008, 09:12 AM
Hello Alan and hello Guys!

So .. anyone already listened the new series HL C7 series 3? And what is the difference from the previous (series 2) version? I missed you all just the time Alan presented the latest release of HL C7ES 3 and by the moment I haven't listened the new production

Arlequen
17-03-2008, 09:57 PM
Hello Alan and hello guys

Now the new C7ES is well known .. could someone compare this new serie to the previosu one?
Where is better? ..

best regards

Curio

A.S.
18-03-2008, 06:32 PM
I realise that your question was about sound but here is what I said earlier (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=1475#post1475)in this thread.

Arlequen
28-03-2008, 05:34 PM
Ops! .. I got it Alan!
I didn't notice you already replied at this question
Btw I read around the net a very good review of the C7ESIII with a sonic parallel to the older II
I 'll try to sell mine and buy the new ES III or maybe I 'll think about the Super SHL5

Best regards ,

Curio

hificafe
02-04-2008, 08:07 AM
Hello all,

last week I've bought Bewitch A30 (also known as Puresound A30) pure class A design with two valve rectifiers and a choke smoothed power supply. It uses Electro Harmonix 6550 output valves in an ultra-linear push pull design producing 30 watt / 8 ohm per channel (the output stage can also be switched to triode operation if preferred).

I wold like to ask you what is your experience with PP and Harbeth 7ES-3 (which I have) and/or 7ES-2?


Regs from Belgrade,
Sasa

A.S.
21-04-2008, 05:57 PM
I thought I'd lost these video files from 2006 but recently as I've been archiving years of family videos onto hard disk* and I've rediscovered them on an old hard disk.

In the spring of 2006 I was developing what was to be the Compact 7ES3. All the critical listening of the the C7ES3, and crossover adjustment and in-room measurement was was undertaken in my 'study' i.e. a spare bedroom of 3m x 3m (I've just checked the dimensions) at home.

As I've mentioned before, it is much more challenging to design a speaker to sound natural and believable when the listener sits really close to it because nearfield listening seems to amplify dispersion, frequency response and colouration issues etc.. And, of course, in the nearfield, the environment local to the speaker has a great influence on sound. So, if a speaker can be made to sound great in the nearfield it's my experience that it will sound glorious when listened further away. But, I have so often observed, conventional speakers often sound acceptable in the farfield but extremely hard in the nearfield, which is not good for normal home listening in smaller rooms. I suspect that most speaker designers have the luxury of a huge well damped listening room at their facility and design accordingly in the farfield. But as our customers (and professional users) are likely to use the speakers in quite small rooms in the nearfield, I think our approach is more appropriate to the real-world user.

You will notice that I made no effort to clear the room of clutter. The left wall is a bank of hard reflective equipment and CDs. Yes, this did disturb the image a little (there is a door just to the right of the right side speaker which I kept open to disturb and counterbalance the right side image too). I'm sure you'll agree that this room is an acoustic nightmare with sound splattering off all those surfaces! And the speakers are very close to the rear wall and a heating radiator. But the unwelcome acoustic magnified every issue, which one by one over the months I solved so it actually helped. I have attached a picture of the set-up and I've highlighted points of interest. As you will always see in pictures of my work environment, my audio analysis equipment is always at hand - it is so important not to trust your ears but to use the equipment to keep your 'ears' on the ground - and to curb ones emotional attachment to the new creation. It is vital not to be seduced by the product you are designing and to maintain an objective detachment - measuring equipment guarantees that!

It would seem that I have several hours of 'spy cam' footage with sound, illustrating step by step how I listened, adjusted, measured and honed the design. They represent just one of many long and typical days during the C7ES3 design process going around the same measure, listen, tweak loop endlessly. Once we can transfer the video to a suitable web-based format and edit it down, we will make it available on line. I hope that it will help de-mystify the design process and show how we work in the real world, and hence are a little dismissive of money wasted in needless system tweaks. Speaker design is not complex but it is tiring trying to balance what your eyes (computer screen) and ears tell you is 'right'.

* After making various comparisons of hard disk performance, I have concluded that SATA is significantly faster than both USB2 and (surprisingly) Firewire400 and with a low processor overhead.

>

digiphobe
17-05-2008, 05:16 AM
I recently posted a short review (favourable) in AudioAsylum in regards to the Compact 7's. There are those that actually question the retail price of the C7; imagine that. Although admittadly costly, I find that they're one of the few audio products that actually keep me listening, as opposed to boring, or offending.

Gan CK
17-05-2008, 08:29 AM
I recently posted a short review (favourable) in AudioAsylum in regards to the Compact 7's. There are those that actually question the retail price of the C7; imagine that. Although admittadly costly, I find that they're one of the few audio products that actually keep me listening, as apposed to boring, or offending.

Sad to say, many so called audiophiles don't really listen to music. They are only interested in listening to exaggerated 'bang' & artificial 'wow' elements in music. Things such as correct timbre, tonality, emotion & artistry of music are deemed as unimportant. Just as somebody from this Usergroup has highlighted before, many high end loudspeaker manufacturers don't place any emphasis on correct timbre & tonality as their design criteria. But, if timbre or tonality is not correct, how can music sound like they are supposed to in the first place.

As far as i know, Harbeth is the only loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to use the human voice as their reference in voicing their loudspeakers & there is absolute logical sense to do that. After listening to & having owned countless speakers, i totally agree with Harbeth's claim that they make the world's most natural sounding loudspeakers. Probably i'll add in to say that Harbeth also makes the most correct & musical sounding loudspeakers. Period! Value? What value are we talking about when music sounds this natural & correct with virtually no peers from any other loudspeakers at any price? To me, its priceless.

I know that's a very strong statement to make but that's really how i feel.

A.S.
17-05-2008, 08:46 AM
The issue of 'best value for money' is a complex one and can not be measured scientifically. When I was starting out here at Harbeth I was hugely influenced by the book 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_and_the_Art_of_Motorcycle_Maintenance) which explores the philosophical meaning of the word 'quality' and our concept of 'value'. In short, it said that products (and even people) sometimes had this inherent 'quality' which is how many observers would rate the product but that it was in fact impossible to pin down the precise definition of this 'quality' even though it was the widely held view. I guess that you either get it or you don't. I am not - as I've said many times - an audiophile nor do I believe that we are of much interest to audiophiles. Music lovers, yes, very much so.

From my side a product that demonstrates the mysterious 'quality' and hence offers great value is where self-evidently it has been designed and made in a way that is not usual or normal for that class of product, which may be expensive or difficult to make, has unusually tight control over tolerances and materials and which perhaps above all, is built to last.

As an example of an unusual construction technique that features in Harbeth speakers (and adds tremendously to the difficulty of making the cabinets and their cost) have a look at the attached front-and-back shots of the M40/M40.1 cabinet. The front and back are made as completely separate pieces, not glued in place but each held with 14 screw with just the right tension to control potential resonance. Who else would use such an expensive assembly technique these days unless they really cared about quality? It certainly pushes up the retail price.

From what we hear so often, when a music lover has gravitated to Harbeth that's the end of the process of fiddling around with speakers. It's a done deal as they say. That, to me, is the real value for the consumer and makes his Harbeths long term, the cheapest speakers he'll ever buy.

Gan CK
17-05-2008, 09:03 AM
From what we hear so often, when a music lover has gravitated to Harbeth that's the end of the process of fiddling around with speakers. It's a done deal as they say. That, to me, is the real value for the consumer and makes his Harbeths long term, the cheapest speakers he'll ever buy.

Absolutely no doubt about that Alan! :)

digiphobe
17-05-2008, 06:04 PM
Yes Gan, timbre and tonality are big ones for me also. Most of the previous loudspeakers that I've owned tended to sound either "lean" or "threadbare", lacking in richness and warmth, but not so with the Compact 7s' which seem to reproduce the body of the music much better.

digiphobe
17-05-2008, 06:30 PM
Thanks Alan. One other aspect of value for me, is that I no longer have to engage the willing suspension of disbelief switch. It's easier to accept that what I'm hearing is a reasonable facsimile of the artist's initial intent.
"The cheapest speakers you'll ever buy" - that could be the new sales slogan.

Shutterbox
18-05-2008, 07:31 AM
..the M40/M40.1 cabinet. The front and back are made as completely separate pieces, not glued in place but each held with 14 screw with just the right tension to control potential resonance....

Alan,

So the torque applied to the screws does affect the resonance, and thus the sound of a cabinet, and eventually the sound of a set of speakers? Is there a tight QC on this process so that all cabinet, belonging to a same model, will have a tight tolerance as far as screw torque is concerned?

If this QC does exist, is it also applied to other models too?

A.S.
18-05-2008, 09:55 AM
There is no need to be concerned about finding a specific torque setting. "Fairly tight" is perfectly good enough and probably preferred to "exceedingly tight". In fact, it is better if each screw is at a very slightly different torque (as they will be, ex-Harbeth due to minute differences in the density of the wooden bearers) as this will randomise any resonance control benefits. That's a good thing.

The point is not to worry about this but to draw the comparison with what other manufacturers offer - namely rigidly pinned and/or glued baffles and/or backs. Before you audition a speaker it pays to have a close look at the construction method, specifically is the back and/or baffle rigidly glued in and approximately how thick are the side walls likely to be. If the box is rigid - the vast majority are - then that implies a certain type of system sound which to my taste can often sound rather cold.

Never forget that just as with a stringed instrument (violin, cello even piano) the speaker box is a critical part of the perceived sound.

Thanos
18-05-2008, 12:51 PM
Sad to say, many so called audiophiles don't really listen to music. They are only interested in listening to exaggerated 'bang' & artificial 'wow' elements in music. Things such as correct timbre, tonality, emotion & artistry of music are deemed as unimportant. Just as somebody from this Usergroup has highlighted before, many high end loudspeaker manufacturers don't place any emphasis on correct timbre & tonality as their design criteria. But, if timbre or tonality is not correct, how can music sound like they are supposed to in the first place.

As far as i know, Harbeth is the only loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to use the human voice as their reference in voicing their loudspeakers & there is absolute logical sense to do that. After listening to & having owned countless speakers, i totally agree with Harbeth's claim that they make the world's most natural sounding loudspeakers. Probably i'll add in to say that Harbeth also makes the most correct & musical sounding loudspeakers. Period! Value? What value are we talking about when music sounds this natural & correct with virtually no peers from any other loudspeakers at any price? To me, its priceless.

I know that's a very strong statement to make but that's really how i feel.

Hi everybody,
now, here is a very simple reference test on how Harbeths ( HSL5s) are voiced, just to justify how important is the above issue:

I did try my new HSL5s, back in 2003, with the Mad Scene from Donizzetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" (Il dolce suono...) interpreted from Maria Callas, within the issue of the well known EMI complete opera with libretto. This -very long- aria is considered to be "the horror for the worlwide sopranos..." No need to explain why... and I adore it...
I've done this test again with quite some other speaker pairs, more than 7-8 times, I remember.
Now, with Harbeths, was the only and last time that I noticed three things:

1. The tweeters did not "shout", "scream" or "cling", at all, even in very high volume setting.
2.The instantaneous passes from tweeters to mid-woofers and vice-versa, a very delicate point of the X-overs, was seamless indeed. Single point of sound radiation, I'd say... The soprano's voice has -when contrasting/accompanying the piccolo- a tremendous instant variation between the highs and the lows, quiet or loud, between lets say 1,5khz and somewhere around 4-5,5khz. Especially from Callas, you can imagine what I say...
3. I did feel the aria, I did concentrate on what was happening...

So, according to Harbeth's and Alan's philosophy, that's the point. Voicing, Voicing, Voicing!
And, he has done it. Speakers that speak to us, not just play... Priceless, indeed...

Cheers from Athens,
Thanos

Gan CK
18-05-2008, 04:59 PM
Hi everybody,
now, here is a very simple reference test on how Harbeths ( HSL5s) are voiced, just to justify how important is the above issue:

I did try my new HSL5s, back in 2003, with the Mad Scene from Donizzetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" (Il dolce suono...) interpreted from Maria Callas, within the issue of the well known EMI complete opera with libretto. This -very long- aria is considered to be "the horror for the worlwide sopranos..." No need to explain why... and I adore it...
I've done this test again with quite some other speaker pairs, more than 7-8 times, I remember.
Now, with Harbeths, was the only and last time that I noticed three things:

1. The tweeters did not "shout", "scream" or "cling", at all, even in very high volume setting.
2.The instantaneous passes from tweeters to mid-woofers and vice-versa, a very delicate point of the X-overs, was seamless indeed. Single point of sound radiation, I'd say... The soprano's voice has -when contrasting/accompanying the piccolo- a tremendous instant variation between the highs and the lows, quiet or loud, between lets say 1,5khz and somewhere around 4-5,5khz. Especially from Callas, you can imagine what I say...
3. I did feel the aria, I did concentrate on what was happening...

So, according to Harbeth's and Alan's philosophy, that's the point. Voicing, Voicing, Voicing!
And, he has done it. Speakers that speak to us, not just play... Priceless, indeed...

Cheers from Athens,
Thanos

Hi Thanos, thks for sharing the above observation with us here. Though i am not technically inclined, but your above tests prove once again that Harbeth is peerless when it comes to natural & correct voicing. A friend of mine who is also a Harbeth user once told me that Harbeth don't just reproduce sound but convey the full emotion, spirit & soul of the music....which is exactly like what u mentioned above, speakers that speak to us, not just play. To me, this is the ultimate level of music reproduction that any loudspeaker can achieve, let alone a box one like Harbeth. :)

denjo
18-05-2008, 05:25 PM
Hi Thanos & Gan

I like to think of my Harbeth SHL5 as a musical instrument, no different from a high quality acoustic guitar or a Stradivarius violin, which uses the wooden speaker enclosure as an acoustic device to project the music, thus giving a natural, unforced sound with correct timbre, tonal accuracy and decay of notes. I think the word "emotion" is appropriate as listening to my Harbeths is a truly emotional experience that allows me to connect intimately to the music, the ambience and atmosphere. The speakers simply disappear, and in so doing, present a more believable "live" performance and the feeling of "being there" with the singer and musicians. I have never been so absorbed with and in the music.

It makes me forget audiophile jargon and simply invites me to enjoy the music!

Best Regards
Dennis

Soundbyte
19-05-2008, 04:58 AM
Hi Thanos & Gan

I like to think of my Harbeth SHL5 as a musical instrument, no different from a high quality acoustic guitar or a Stradivarius violin, which uses the wooden speaker enclosure as an acoustic device to project the music, thus giving a natural, unforced sound with correct timbre, tonal accuracy and decay of notes. I think the word "emotion" is appropriate as listening to my Harbeths is a truly emotional experience that allows me to connect intimately to the music, the ambience and atmosphere. The speakers simply disappear, and in so doing, present a more believable "live" performance and the feeling of "being there" with the singer and musicians. I have never been so absorbed with and in the music.

It makes me forget audiophile jargon and simply invites me to enjoy the music!

Best Regards
Dennis

Dennis,
Well said! Harbeth allows me to focus on on my music and stop my itch for trying out new speakers. Lately we have been attending some live symphony and Harbeth is very very close to reproducing the tone purity & musicality of the violin - is just the dynamics of live music is hard to recreate... one possibility is my room.... Probably have to make dead quiet!

Cheers.

skinhead
19-05-2008, 06:11 AM
I noticed that apart from LS3/5a (including Harbeth's LS3/5a of course) Harbeth is the only speakers which resale price has gone up. Bot an old P3 at Sg$650 6 years back. Current resale price is close to Sg$1k! Speaks very much of their sound quality!

A.S.
19-05-2008, 08:42 AM
Actually, the UK retail price has been held for 3.5 years now. I'm afraid that this can not continue for too much longer as after a long period of relative cost stability, all costs are on the march upwards now. In particular, the cost of cabinets has dramatically increased as our cabinet maker has re-costed our entire product line. The SHL5 cabinet, for example, now cost us 27% more than it did in November last year - and we can't absorb that for much longer. In addition, as at today, diesel fuel, necessary for all transport of materials to us, is also about 25% more expensive than at the end of last year.

To open out the subject a little, there has been a steady contraction of UK hi-fi manufacturing over the years. The days of UK hi-fi manufacturing run by hobbyists with little or no financial understanding and control are long over. Big and well respected names have closed down or been acquired by overseas investors who have installed appropriate management systems. It is said that very few (UK) speaker manufacturers have or are making profits or are conventionally viable by the criterion that non-hi-fi businesses are measured, probably connected to rising costs and the unwillingness to pass them on.

Our view is that Harbeth is a conventional business structured for the very long term and that however unpalatable price rises are, we cannot and must not drift into being 'busy fools'. We must protect our entire customer base by being here, alive and vibrant if/when spare parts are ever needed. Hence financial control and micro-management is a strong function within Harbeth UK and yes, sadly, from time to time that does mean prices will rise as costs do. But you can be absolutely sure that you are not paying one penny towards needless costs such as company cars, leased equipment and boards of directors - we don't have any of these.

So, if you are contemplating purchasing, please be aware of this situation.

Shutterbox
19-05-2008, 05:10 PM
Actually, the UK retail price has been held for 3.5 years now. I'm afraid that this can not continue for too much longer as after a long period of relative cost stability, all costs are on the march upwards now. In particular, the cost of cabinets has dramatically increased as our cabinet maker has re-costed our entire product line. The SHL5 cabinet, for example, now cost us 27% more than it did in November last year - and we can't absorb that for much longer. In addition, as at today, diesel fuel, necessary for all transport of materials to us, is also about 25% more expensive than at the end of last year.

To open out the subject a little, there has been a steady contraction of UK hi-fi manufacturing over the years. The days of UK hi-fi manufacturing run by hobbyists with little or no financial understanding and control are long over. Big and well respected names have closed down or been acquired by overseas investors who have installed appropriate management systems. It is said that very few (UK) speaker manufacturers have or are making profits or are conventionally viable by the criterion that non-hi-fi businesses are measured, probably connected to rising costs and the unwillingness to pass them on.

Our view is that Harbeth is a conventional business structured for the very long term and that however unpalatable price rises are, we cannot and must not drift into being 'busy fools'. We must protect our entire customer base by being here, alive and vibrant if/when spare parts are ever needed. Hence financial control and micro-management is a strong function within Harbeth UK and yes, sadly, from time to time that does mean prices will rise as costs do. But you can be absolutely sure that you are not paying one penny towards needless costs such as company cars, leased equipment and boards of directors - we don't have any of these.

So, if you are contemplating purchasing, please be aware of this situation.

Very assuring to hear this Alan.

Now I can know that the pennies that I will save will at least buy me a M40.1, if not a .2 or .3 (really depends on how much and how long I can save :) )

A.S.
19-05-2008, 07:36 PM
When I wrote my previous message here at the start of today, I didn't know what would hit us as the day progressed. We've been advised by email that our UK cabinet maker (owned by overseas people) has more cost increases to pass our way. In particular, concerning the Tiger Ebony cabinet, we have been told that with immediate effect, we must pay +57% more. Clearly this is impossible as we can not expect our customers to pay this. So, aside from a few remaining pairs in stock, we have no option but to discontinue Tiger Ebony.

I think that the time is rapidly approaching whereby we have to seriously examine all other cabinet sources in Europe and further afield to stabilise cost increases. If we select and manage our suppliers according to the ISO9001 system we use internally, do you care where we source our cabinets? I'm told that we are the only UK speaker manufacturer that uses only UK-made cabinets - everyone else here buys from a range of overseas suppliers and have done for years. Our single-source, UK-only cabinets policy has been a key reason why we are more vulnerable to cost increases than other UK speaker manufacturers.

It's my job to manage quality, delivery, veneer range and to satisfy you, our customers. But we just can not optimise all factors at an affordable price unless we review this whole supply situation. It's really frustrating.

Ned Mast
19-05-2008, 07:59 PM
Alan,
I think it is admirable that you've been purchasing your cabinets in the U.K. Having said that, however, as a customer I've never been overly concerned about from where the materials of audio products I buy are sourced. I' m concerned about the quality I'm getting for the price I'm paying. To remain competitive within your industry, I believe that you have to make the decision of where to buy your cabinets, materials, or whatever, based upon where you can find the quality you require at a cost that is reasonable. I'm sure that you would not willingly compromise quality, and assume that you have prices in mind for your various speakers beyond which you feel you would not be competitive in the marketplace. For us Harbeth users, audio is a love; for you - while it must be a love, too - it is also a business, and we want you to succeed and be there as long as we are!

digiphobe
20-05-2008, 12:47 AM
For the past decade of so, I've had this strange attraction to Brit gear for its particular sound quality, and its cult like status within the hi-fi word. For me, I expect the gear to be designed, and manufactured by British folk, because they seem to take pride in thier work. When Exposure announced it was being whored out to the far east, I lost interest in paying any "real" money for that product.
Stick to your guns Alan; perhaps a compromise could be reached with your local cabinate supplier?

JR

Gan CK
20-05-2008, 01:32 AM
For the past decade of so, I've had this strange attraction to Brit gear for its particular sound quality, and its cult like status within the hi-fi word. For me, I expect the gear to be designed, and manufactured by British folk, because they seem to take pride in thier work. When Exposure announced it was being whored out to the far east, I lost interest in paying any "real" money for that product.
Stick to your guns Alan; perhaps a compromise could be reached with your local cabinate supplier?

JR

I've always been a big fan of Brit hifi stuff since early 80s & have always felt they are just inherently superior musically. Currently, products like Harbeth & LFD has merely strengthen my faith that brit stuff still lead the pack indeed!

Will
20-05-2008, 04:20 AM
Alan, to answer your question... I do not care where you source your cabinets from as long as it passes your stringent QC.

Thanos
20-05-2008, 08:18 AM
... In particular, the cost of cabinets has dramatically increased as our cabinet maker has re-costed our entire product line. The SHL5 cabinet, for example, now cost us 27% more than it did in November last year - and we can't absorb that for much longer. In addition, as at today, diesel fuel, necessary for all transport of materials to us, is also about 25% more expensive than at the end of last year....

Hi Alan,

I shall make a comment regarding your awareness of pricing your products, and it will not be a praise, it's just the truth...

If you will consider -by overviewing your advising policy on purchasing goods- what an average person on this planet has to pay, in order to achieve that natural sound we enjoy for so many years now, from other brands (now of course made mainly in China), you'll get to laugh (or cry) realising that your needed increase in manufacturing cost will hardly be a segment, comparing with new really "antagonistic" speaker pair prices...

So, Ok, you might worry about keeping prices where they should be ok for this real world... But, if we try some other "exotic" solutions, the difference we'd pay for them, would be possibly enough to build a whole new music library... I mean hundreds of new cds... And, I guess, most/all friends in this site, are indeed music fans. They have chosen once their speakers, so the rest of the current/future money savings will go on buying music.

This, as said in the past again, is exactly the Harbeth philosophy and achievement: Speakers that perfectly serve music itself, for the common pocket of the common man. Isn't that a very important issue and achievement?

Thanos

A.S.
20-05-2008, 08:26 AM
"Common pocket of the common man" - that is exactly who we want to continue to serve. But we just cannot convince our key supplier that we are not able or willing to pass-on cost after cost. Nor can we continue to absorb them. Our suppliers are running a business for profit and why should they be interested in our bleating? They must do what they think best for their business short term. We must do what we think best for our customers long term.

As MDF and the veneer itself are (presumably) imported to the UK, that implies that high UK costs are primarily because of high wages, transport, taxes and general overheads. I assume that offshore cabinet makers draw from the same global suppliers of MDF* and veneer (at the same QC level) as the UK cabinet maker, but their cost control reflects the lower overheads of production outside the UK. Of course, we read the writing on the wall at least two years ago and have not been idle. We can not - and will not -just sit back and do nothing.

Thanks to our trendy government these past 11 years, the UK has been transformed into one of the most expensive business environments on the planet (fully anticipated by the more conservative business community who read the hype of 'Cool Brittania' as an excuse for inefficiency and cost increase) as anyone who has bought a cup of tea at Heathrow airport (about USD 6) will testify. And - surprise surprise - general inflation is now on the way up just at the time of the credit crunch.

* As far as I know, MDF is not made in the UK but imported from huge global corporations.

vaughn3d
20-05-2008, 02:47 PM
How refreshing, a manufacturer that talks openly with his customers about the challenges he faces. From my perspective, any business that continues to absorb costs without passing them on to the consumer is of no use to anyone because they will soon be out of business.

The issue of price/value in hifi has always been of interest to me. My friends often can't believe that I've spent several thousand $ on speakers, when those same people think nothing of spending $40,000 on a BMW...and given the robust second hand market for Harbeth, I believe they remain a great investment regardless of the upfront cost.

booze999
28-06-2008, 11:50 PM
Hi,
Can you say that a Compact 7ES3 30th aniv edition is an upgrade from a HP3ES2 30th aniv edtion? or just go up the ladder and get the HLP5?

regards

A.S.
29-06-2008, 09:08 AM
Reply may be of help from P3 user who upgraded to C7ES3 (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=3036#post3036)

booze999
29-06-2008, 11:37 PM
Reply may be of help from P3 user who upgraded to C7ES3 (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=3036#post3036)

Hi,
Thanks for the reply! i hope i could get an answer from your point of view!
regards,
ed

A.S.
30-06-2008, 09:59 AM
Well it is really simple! The P3 is a great speaker, and of course it is very small. If you have the space and the budget for the larger Harbeth (C7ES3) then that would be an excellent investment for you.

booze999
30-06-2008, 02:04 PM
Well it is really simple! The P3 is a great speaker, and of course it is very small. If you have the space and the budget for the larger Harbeth (C7ES3) then that would be an excellent investment for you.


Got it! ill place my order with our dealer here!
regards,
ed

A.S.
30-06-2008, 08:03 PM
Thank you.

You have a truly excellent dealer in the Philippines and I'm sure that you will be very well looked after by them.

booze999
30-06-2008, 11:26 PM
Thank you.

You have a truly excellent dealer in the Philippines and I'm sure that you will be very well looked after by them.

I know! thanks again...
regards,
ed

booze999
20-07-2008, 03:13 AM
Thank you.

You have a truly excellent dealer in the Philippines and I'm sure that you will be very well looked after by them.

My Pair arrived yesterday! im so happy with it! Thanks to our dealer her in the PH.
regards

Gan CK
20-07-2008, 06:52 AM
My Pair arrived yesterday! im so happy with it! Thanks to our dealer her in the PH.
regards

Hi Booze999, congrats on having purchased the C7ES-3. I am sure you'll be very satisfied with them & will grow to love them as time goes by. Btw, do share some pictures of your setup with us if you can. We have a thread specially for this. Meanwhile, enjoy the music.

booze999
21-07-2008, 10:10 AM
Hi Booze999, congrats on having purchased the C7ES-3. I am sure you'll be very satisfied with them & will grow to love them as time goes by. Btw, do share some pictures of your setup with us if you can. We have a thread specially for this. Meanwhile, enjoy the music.

Hi Gan CK,
Pictures with temporary stands! They still sing very good even with these chairs!
i just want to share with you! hahahhaa


http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/blackrock888/DSC00787-1.jpg
regards,
ed

Gan CK
21-07-2008, 11:14 AM
Hi Gan CK,
Pictures with temporary stands! They still sing very good even with these chairs!
i just want to share with you! hahahhaa


http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/blackrock888/DSC00787-1.jpg
regards,
ed


Wow....mount the C7s on proper stands & i am sure they will sound even better. :)

P.C.
21-07-2008, 02:41 PM
Maybe you should try these stands. Reminds me a little of what your using already!

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=3493#poststop

booze999
23-07-2008, 09:12 AM
Wow....mount the C7s on proper stands & i am sure they will sound even better. :)

ill post stands when they are done! these folding chairs are only temporary but at least they are made of really hard and heavy wood...hahahhaa
regards

Rabbit
24-11-2008, 03:17 AM
I just picked up my NEW C7ES3's (I had a demo pair from the dealer before.) Wah hey! They're so new that you can still smell the wood finish up close.

This may be a lucky sign: I have pair 999L/R.

I am, even as I type this, breaking them in using the radical method I outlined in the "Break-in (burn-in) and bi-wiring - fantasy?" thread.

Hopping about happily,
Rabbit

A.S.
24-11-2008, 08:10 AM
...I am, even as I type this, breaking them in using the radical method I outlined in the "Break-in (burn-in) and bi-wiring - fantasy?" thread.Your original thread is here (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=372&highlight=burn-in) - regardless of the general advice you may have garnered in that thread, my advice was and is something like this ....

You do not need to aggressively burn-in you Harbeth speakers. You do not need to use 'burn-in CDs', music or noise at high signal levels or any other strange methodology or the result could be burn-out, which is not covered by the Warranty and is absolutely identifiable as such. As I said before, burning-in as far as Harbeth is concerned is a non-issue. All you need is gentle use. Nothing radical is my advice.

Sadly, we do have one customer who is so wedded to the idea of periodic burning-in that he regularly burns-out drive units. He freely admits that he can't resist using a commercial 'burn-in' CD at a high level for hours. Every time he needs a new driver (not covered by Warranty) we strongly recommend that he desists in this needless waste of his money but to no avail. As I've commented before, in my opinion the whole 'burn-in' mythology has very little indeed to do with the physics or mechanics of loudspeakers and rather a lot to do with your ears and acclimatisation to a new sonic experience.

To put this acclimatisation issue into understandable human terms ... you know when you see a girl across the room and she looks unusual, different from the average girl. Your senses are hovering on a knife-edge; you just can't quickly decide if her non-conformity enhances or detracts from your perceptions of what constitutes a pretty girl. All you can do is observe her some more from different angles, as she interacts with other people until, little by little a final opinion about her builds in your mind. This is what we call the acclimatisation phase.

It's exactly the same process when listening to new loudspeakers. You play different music and see how the speakers interact with your brain and your preconceptions. Unfamiliar sensory experience that does not trigger an immediate electrical analysis in your brain that indicate 'good ' or 'bad', 'danger' or 'safe' need more mental processing time. Once you have become acquainted with the girl (or the speakers) you no longer need to constantly ask yourself 'is she pretty' (or do I like what I hear) you just accept her - or the speakers - for what they are. The acclimatisation phase is complete. And in my experience, that's what burning-in a speaker is all about.

timleety
25-11-2008, 02:36 AM
Wow....mount the C7s on proper stands & i am sure they will sound even better. :)

I read somewhere that a Harbeth owner sat his SHL5s on plastic stools and he/she was really happy with the sound...maybe the wooden chairs aren't so bad after all!

Gan CK
25-11-2008, 05:13 AM
I read somewhere that a Harbeth owner sat his SHL5s on plastic stools and he/she was really happy with the sound...maybe the wooden chairs aren't so bad after all!

Yes many moons ago, i had my SHL-5 on plastic stools & they sounded pretty good indeed....only thing was that the stool was not high enough so i had somebody to do a pair of open frame metal stands which opened up the sound of the SHL-5 even further.

Rabbit
25-11-2008, 06:34 AM
Your original thread is here (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=372&highlight=burn-in) - regardless of the general advice you may have garnered in that thread, my advice was and is something like this [....]


Alan, in my post to the 'burn-in' thread, my jokey, 'radical' solution for speaker acclimatisation was to play music through them!

Cheers,
Rabbit

p.s. I really like the lighter cherry (almost blonde) finish of my brand-new C7s; serial # 999R/L(!) Very classic-looking, handsome speakers. FYI, they sounded great right out the box. A final purchase on my hi-fi journey.

p.p.s. I like non-conformist girls.

A.S.
25-11-2008, 08:13 AM
In my post to the 'burn-in' thread, my 'radical' solution for speaker acclimatisation was to play music through them.Thanks - that's clear, playing music at a normal level is all you need to do. It distresses us at the factory when we've all worked hard as a team to produce beautiful speakers to hear of the occasional mishap during needless 'burn-in' which became an avoidable burn-out.

And yes, I absolutely agree about selecting the unusual. Inherent, intrinsic quality is rarely on the top surface and like diamonds needs digging out.

mikeyaya
29-11-2008, 03:07 AM
Can I use the 7es3 on 24 inch stands ? Is this to high ? I like to listen with the tweeter a bit higher than ear level.

tricka
22-12-2008, 07:05 AM
Deleted as a bad idea

canU.K.
12-01-2009, 11:49 PM
Can I use the 7es3 on 24 inch stands ? Is this to high ? I like to listen with the tweeter a bit higher than ear level.

I had mine on 24" Targets and the difference when i placed them on 18" Skylans was night and day.Read Toneaudio magazines review.He tried them on 24s and found a big improvement when he used 19s. Plus the speakers looked awful on the 24s,the Skylan 4 post has a base that perfectly matches the compact 7s dimensions and the stands can be custom ordered from Skylan so maybe a 20" would be great for you.Noel Nolan of Skylan has Habeths speakers and he knows what he's doing..Great service and affordable.

Teuton
28-08-2009, 08:53 AM
Are any C7 users utilizing tube amplification with their speakers?

hifi_dave
28-08-2009, 09:59 AM
I have used vintage Quad II, EAR 899, Puresound A30 and various Croft including their new hybrid with the 7ES-3. All worked just fine with no problems at all.

John Geisen
29-08-2009, 06:13 PM
Regarding tubes and Harbeth speakers; I'm a dealer for Manley Labs and Audio Note and both work just fine on the Harbeth line.

John Geisen

Hagto
10-10-2009, 06:53 AM
I had a pair of HL-5 loudspeakers.
I were very satisfied with them, but then I heard some friends spoke about how good the Living Voice speakers were. Some months ago I sold the HL-5 speakers and bought myself a pair of Living Voice OBX-R2, and after a while a pair of IBX-R2. They were indeed good speakers. But after some time I did miss my Harbeth HL-5.

One week ago I sold my Living Voice speakers and bought myself a pair of Harbeths again. The Norwegian importer did only have the C7ES3 in stock, so I bought a pair of those. You can see a picture of them in my Harbeththread, page 9, here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=543

I have to say that they are wonderful speakers. I have lived with them now for one week, and I must admit that I love Harbeth speakers!

In September they had a big show in Norway. Harbeth had some of the best sound on the show. They played with the C7ES3, and amps from Audiovalve. Here are two pictures from the show:

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g264/Hagto/HarbethHorten2Medium.jpg

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g264/Hagto/AudiovalveMedium.jpg

Hagto
10-10-2009, 07:02 AM
Two more pictures from the show:

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g264/Hagto/HarbethHortenMedium.jpg



http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g264/Hagto/horten109Medium.jpg

eelekim
21-12-2009, 04:52 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNehSo0wJQc&feature=player_embedded

Supersnake
22-12-2009, 09:05 AM
I have a pair of P3ES-R sitting atop my computer desk and raised to a height where the tweeters are at my ear level. I am sitting in front of and in between the speakers. The speakers are placed 3 feet apart and toed in pointing to my ears. If I extend my arms and finger tips outward at a 35 degree angle from my body I can touch the speakers - that distance is 34 inches.

That near field placement creates a nice sweet spot for me while I sit at my desk.



QUESTION: I received an offer to trade up my P3ES-R to the C7ES-3. Would the C7ES3 be okay at this placement 34 inches from my ears?




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro (PC card)
LFD Zero III amp
P3ESR
Chord/LFD cables, interconnects

A.S.
22-12-2009, 10:00 AM
QUESTION: I received an offer to trade up my P3ES-R to the C7ES-3. Would the C7ES3 be okay at this placement 34 inches from my ears?Of course, they will work perfectly and the sound stage will be huge, but because the C7ES3 are so much bigger, they will dominate your vision. Have you considered this?

hifi_dave
22-12-2009, 10:06 AM
I'm certain they would sound fine but will they leave you any room on your desk to work from ???

Supersnake
22-12-2009, 04:49 PM
Of course, they will work perfectly and the sound stage will be huge...


Wonderful, that what I was hoping to read!

P3ESR-2 Frequency Response 75Hz - 20kHz and a 110mm mid/bass
C7ES3 Frequency Response 46Hz - 20kHz and a 200mm mid/bass


...but because the C7ES3 are so much bigger, they will dominate your vision. Have you considered this?
Yes, I have considered that they will be significantly larger. However, I can place them in a manner that won't block vision of my PC monitor, which was my chief concern.


I'm certain they would sound fine but will they leave you any room on your desk to work from ???Good question. However, my desk will only serve to be used as a music listening and PC surfing station so I am okay with that concern.

QUESTION:
I can also place the C7ES3 on stands to the right and left of my computer desk and have them 5 feet apart (instead of 3 feet apart) and toed in pointing to my ears with me sitting in between the speakers. The toe in angle will of course be slightly different. Hopefully that too will be okay?


.

A.S.
22-12-2009, 04:59 PM
QUESTION: I can also place the C7ES3 on stands to the right and left of my computer desk and have them 5 feet apart (instead of 3 feet apart) and toed in pointing to my ears with me sitting in between the speakers. The toe in angle will of course be slightly different. Hopefully that too will be okay?Personally I have found that this rule-of-thumb gives me the best overall sound stage depth an width, regardless of speaker model, amplifier, room, stands music or any other factor. This is just my opinion. It may not suit you! What matters is what's right for you.

"I prefer to arrange the speakers so that if they are about 2 units of length apart, then I sit and listen 3 units of length away from them". That's my personal preference.

The units could be feet or metres.

Supersnake
24-12-2009, 12:04 PM
Thank you Alan for specifying the relative distances of those axes.

QUESTION: Now I need to know what the measured distance is from the base of the C7ES3 speaker to its tweeter.

Thank you.

A.S.
24-12-2009, 02:19 PM
Tweeter height from the bottom - it's a good question. I've asked our website guru to add another field to the speaker database so that this useful info can be added to all speaker specifications.

A.S.
24-12-2009, 03:15 PM
OK, I've got a number for you. From the bottom of the baffle the middle of the tweeter is 431.5mm. To that you have to add the cabinet wall thickness (bottom panel) at about 9mm in the baffle-lip area. So I calculate that from the bottom outside the tweeter is about 440mm up. Hope that helps.

Remember, your ear does not have to be exactly on tweeter axis. Do not fret about getting this point exactly in line with your ears. During the design process I am concerned to have as wide a vertical and lateral listening window as possible. I do not want or expect Harbeth users to have their head in a vice like Alex in Clockwork Orange.

FYI, CAD drawings are essential to make sure everything fits together properly. You may be able to see that Derek (D.H.) was responsible for this one; he's much faster and better than me at CAD drawing.

>

Supersnake
24-12-2009, 08:36 PM
OK, I've got a number for you. From the bottom of the baffle the middle of the tweeter is 431.5mm. To that you have to add the cabinet wall thickness (bottom panel) at about 9mm in the baffle-lip area. So I calculate that from the bottom outside the tweeter is about 440mm up. Hope that helps.

Indeed it does help, thank you for your prompt response! It's good fortune for me that the C7ES3 tweeter height is about 17.32 inches (440 mm). My desk has a standardized 29 inch high desktop. Placing the speakers on that desk will raise the tweeter to an approximate height of 46.32 inches (29.0 + 17.32). When I sit in my desk chair my ear height is 45 inches. This means no need for me to purchase speaker stands.

Am also happy to read that you have asked your website guru to include tweeter height for all your speaker specifications. This will help those who are seeking a speaker stand.


Remember, your ear does not have to be exactly on tweeter axis. Do not fret about getting this point exactly in line with your ears. During the design process I am concerned to have as wide a vertical and lateral listening window as possibleAm glad to learn this and have to confess that I would be one of those who would otherwise fret had I not known this.


I do not want or expect Harbeth users to have their head in a vice like Alex in Clockwork Orange.Great example, I recall that image well.


FYI, CAD drawings are essential to make sure everything fits together properly. You may be able to see that Derek (D.H.) was responsible for this one; he's much faster and better than me at CAD drawing. And this dear readers is one further example of how we plebeians are made to feel like patricians when we receive service and help from Alan and his associates. Thank you Alan and thank you Derek for your prompt and knowledgeable help!

Alex! Fetch my recording of Beethoven's 9th, it's time to be joyous!

eelekim
25-12-2009, 07:11 AM
Anyone use the Harbeth HSS-7C (http://shop.avac.co.jp/graudio/img/goods/L/hss7c.jpg) stand for C7ES-3? Is it good?

spacefrien
11-06-2010, 07:11 AM
Just wanted to share with you that i've ordered a demoex pair of Harbeth Compact 7es3 in Tiger Ebony from my dealer. I am going to use them with my Naim Nait 5i.

I've actually never heard Harbeth, and am very excited to hear the combination. My closest Harbethdealer is almost 400 miles away and it's hard to make the time when you work 6 days a week. But i have read so many good things about the combination that i have high hopes.

My current speakers are Neat Motive 2's, which i also like very much, but in my room they tend to sound a bit thin and harsh when played higher than low volume.

tobes
16-06-2010, 01:15 PM
I've recently upgraded from C7ES-2's to C7ES-3's and I'm thrilled with the sound of the ES3's....though I loved the sound of the ES-2's before hearing the 3's.
The balance is definitely different with the ES3's more clarity and presence with a tighter, punchier bass (that also sounds like it goes a bit deeper, though the specs are the same). The ES-3's sound more truthful and realistic, there's a natural excitement and presence to music. In typical Harbeth fashion, you can listen for hours on end.

Thanks to Andy for his help purchasing the speakers.....and Alan Shaw for designing a great speaker.

Some pics of my new Harbeths:

http://web.aanet.com.au/tobes/c7es3.jpg

http://web.aanet.com.au/tobes/room14.jpg

keithwwk
16-06-2010, 02:35 PM
Hi tobes,
Wonderful setup and lovely photos here and in your system details pages. The cart photos are very nice.

tobes
17-06-2010, 02:28 AM
Thanks Keith,

Lighting is everything in photography, the cart photos are best because of the turntable is in front of the large window - and the small object can be front lit effectively with my low watt reading lamp.
It's impossible to get a nice looking photo using flash (with my panasonic TZ7 point and shoot camera anyway).

Cheers, Paul

Gan CK
17-06-2010, 08:51 AM
Hi Tobes, is your C7 finished in Eucalyptus?

keithwwk
17-06-2010, 11:20 AM
Hi Tobes, is your C7 finished in Eucalyptus?

I am not Paul but I believe it is...:) very uniform grain right?

tobes
17-06-2010, 04:53 PM
Hi Tobes, is your C7 finished in Eucalyptus?

Yes, the finish is Eucalyptus. BTW, that photo above is in the strong light from the nearby window + overhead light and doesn't do the finish justice IMO.

Veneers vary with the batches I believe, for comparison here are some photos of my ES2's eucalyptus finish, overall the ES3 finish is a bit more interesting, though it's hard to tell from the photo above. Note how different the ES2 veneer looks with the two different lighting conditions below (top photo lit with halogen light overhead + natural light, bottom photo is natural light only):

http://web.aanet.com.au/tobes/c7sale/c7-1.jpg
http://web.aanet.com.au/tobes/c7sale/c7-5.jpg

keithwwk
18-06-2010, 01:25 AM
Hi Paul,
nice photos again. Potential buyer who interested in Eucalyptus finishing should take a look on your photos.

Gan CK
18-06-2010, 09:26 AM
Hi Tobes, thks for the confirmation. Wow your C7ES2 looks as if its brand new. Very well maintained indeed. Btw, you seem to like Eucalyptus alot since your new C7ES3 is also the same finish. :}

tobes
19-06-2010, 08:41 AM
Thanks Gan.
Those pics were taken for the sale of the ES-2's, wish I could have kept both sets of speakers - but I could not justify it. They were as good as new, the buyer got a bargain.
Yes, I like the eucalyptus finish best out of the 3 standard finishes....and I could substitute the ES-3's without my 'significant other' being any the wiser!

spacefrien
24-06-2010, 10:23 PM
My new Harbeth Compact 7es-3 in Tiger Ebony finally found their way home today.

Compared to my old Neat Motive 2's these are in a whole other ballpark. Even when not yet fully broken-in and still housing right on the floor they sound absolutely magic. They are driven by a Naim Nait 5i which takes very good care of them. But eventually i'm thinking of replacing the amplifier. Maybe. Now I just want to listen, listen, listen...

spacefrien
26-06-2010, 10:41 AM
And for the record. After a couple of hours more music playing. I am absolutely stunned. God almighty. All the music comes alive. This is what it is supposed to sound like.

glenw2011
24-10-2010, 09:27 PM
I thought I'd share my experience of the first month or so of enjoying my new speakers. They have displaced another popular English speaker manufacturer's bookshelf model and I was surprised by the changes.

There was no 'earth shattering moment' - just a certain rightness about the sound. The previous speakers were incredibly detailed and leaning a bit towards the spitty in the treble area.

I no longer listen to loud music. It's just not necessary. At very modest volume these speakers fill the room (it's not a small room) and are very satisfying. With my old speakers I would always turn up the volume a bit when a song I particularly liked came on. This wasn't good for my ears or my neighbors peace. Now I have no urge at all to muck around with volume. That just gets set (quite low) and I just listen to the music and it's great!

I listen to FLAC files streamed from my PC to a Squeezebox Touch, then Naim DAC, 122x, and 150x amplifiers. Couldn't be happier with the result - now just enjoying the music!

bc8436
15-11-2010, 11:45 PM
I'm new to the forums here and currently in the market for a new pair of bookshelf speakers. I'm drawn towards the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 speakers, having read some fantastic reviews of them but was wondering if they are good speakers for movies? It seems like most of the users here mostly listen to music on their systems, but for me it's about a 50/50 split between movies and music. I imagine the Compact 7s would be great for dialogue-heavy movies, but what about action flicks? Currently, I own a pair of PSB Imagine Bs powered by an Outlaw Audio RR2150.

Thanks for any input. The nearest Harbeth dealer is a good 1.5 hours away and I'd like to know if they are suitable for my needs before venturing out for a demo.

tobes
16-11-2010, 10:23 AM
I've had C7 stereo speakers integrated into my HT system for about 6 years (ES2's now ES3's). As you surmise, they are superb with dialogue and music.

Personally I don't really care much for bombastic sound effects - I don't even have a subwoofer - and I've found the C7's to provide perfectly adequate foundation by themselves (driven by a 175W Plinius amp).
I'm hardly a typical HT user though, I don't even use a centre channel (I think it would compromise the purity of the Harbeths).

For the record - I've recently changed to a lower output 50W tube amp and I'm yet to assess how this effects the C7's grunt in movies.

Bottom line, unless you listen at stupid levels, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the C7's in a HT setup. I suspect you'll find yourself revelling in the truthfulness and quality of the sound.

hifi_dave
16-11-2010, 11:17 AM
The suitability of the Compact 7ES-3 in a 'Home Cinema' system depends on the volume levels used. If the volume is sensible eg. loud but not nose-bleeding, you will have no trouble at all and will be able to appreciate the Harbeth sound with music.

Unfortunately, some 'Home Cinema' systems are used at mind bending volume levels and this would require speakers to suit. Don't get me wrong, the Harbeths will go very loud on music but special effects and subsonic bass is a killer.

I find that more and more people are ditching the full surround sound for 2.1, where a pair of speakers are used, augmented by a sub-woof for cinema effects.

Gan CK
17-11-2010, 04:56 AM
I sometimes watch movies on SHL-5 & at moderate volume, they are more than sufficient. I don't really find it necessary to use a subwoofer as the bass has adequate grunt & depth. Watching classical concerts on DVD can be very satisfying on the SHL-5 as well.

bc8436
17-11-2010, 01:48 PM
Thanks for all the input. My media room is rather small, so I never find the urge to really turn up the volume.

I'm going to be running the speakers through the Outlaw Audio RR2150 amp (100W/channel). In my current setup, I have a subwoofer to give me that extra "oomph" during action sequences and when I'm listening to more bass-heavy music such as R&B. So I can always use that with the Harbeths if I desire a bit more bass for movies.

I'll definitely find time to take the drive and give the Harbeths a listen and report back.

hifi_dave
17-11-2010, 04:16 PM
With music and 99% of film output, the Compact 7's have more than adequate bass. It's just when the Dinosaurs stomp around or WW3 takes off that you might need the assistance of a 'good' sub woofer.

timber715
04-01-2011, 05:00 PM
does anyone have the measurements for the stand buttons for the compact 7 speaker? where they are located? I am making a stand for this model since I have one coming soon, I just need to know where to put the spikes or ball bearings...

timber715
06-01-2011, 02:46 AM
I sure hope someone can post the center location of speakers rubber footing in relation to its bottom corners... can't finish my build until I am sure of the specifications...
cheers all.

timber715
06-01-2011, 05:21 AM
Searching I found that there really is no specific placement for the footing or blu-tak, so I guess I can continue the build.

BAS-H
06-01-2011, 11:49 AM
There certainly isn't on my P3s.

A.S.
06-01-2011, 01:37 PM
... I am making a stand for this model since I have one coming soon, I just need to know where to put the spikes or ball bearings...Honestly, I think you are seeking a degree of precision which is way beyond a functionally perfect solution.

Whatever you may have read about cabinet vibrations in or near the cabinet corners (etc. etc.) will be old wives tales, dressed up as scientific fact. Trust me - you can put your couplers (spikes, ball bearings, rubber) wherever you like it will make zero sonic difference. If you want a worthwhile difference then blow your nose, sneeze or cough.

I strongly caution about using BluTak unless you use a really tiny amount - say 3-4 times bigger than a grain of rice. Otherwise you probably will rip the veneer off when you attempt to lift-off the cabinet. The suction effect of the BluTak under compression is so great that the veneer/cabinet joint will fail before the BluTak gives way. As Noel at Skylan recommends, the best way to remove the speaker from a BluTak'd stand is by twisting the speaker left and right to break the BluTak/cabinet bond by tearing the BluTak molecules apart by sheer action.

timber715
06-01-2011, 04:20 PM
Thank you Alan, I first though that the c7es-3 had round dots at the bottom, hence the question. but I saw a picture wherein the bottom was revealed bare. I really have no intention on putting blu-tak and never used the product, and since I don't want any damage on the speakers whatsoever I have revised to use puck type couplers with a smallish contact point. and being a woodworker, I love wood and understand the craftsmanship that goes into building these speaker boxes, and I wouldn't want any blemish on them.

One question Alan, I know you don't really advise spending on high-end stands, but since I am making my own, what do you think about giving the bottom portion of the speaker room to resonate?
well improvement (hoping) or none, it will be aesthetically be pleasing and should match my rack...

BAS-H
06-01-2011, 05:25 PM
Hi Timber,

I took delivery of some new stands yesterday. I took some before and after pics. Tomorrow I'll post my thoughts and pics on the Stands (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forumdisplay.php?34-Stands-and-mounting-discussion) sub forum - you may find it relevant to your question.

Regards, Ben

A.S.
06-01-2011, 05:56 PM
...One question Alan, I know you don't really advise spending on high-end stands, but since I am making my own, what do you think about giving the bottom portion of the speaker room to resonate? ...As we showed in this thread about room acoustics (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?318-Adjusting-Room-sound-using-material-damping-methods-%28not-DSP%29&p=12498#post12498), the entire room is in resonance. Why worry about one tiny interface point (between the speaker and the stands) when you have about 50m2 of room surface area to contend with? When I design the speakers I just plonk them down on a nice slippery surface - no cones, no BluTak, no spikes, no ball bearings .... nothing. Seems to work wouldn't you say?

The two essential points are ....

1) The height of or more accurately, the axis of the tweeter relative to your ear and
2) The cosmetics, that is, what you prefer in your room

The other factors, I'm just not personally bothered by. A pile of bricks would make effective but ugly stands.

In short, please don't worry about these details - they'll give you a headache and not improve fidelity even 0.001%. Spend the time/money/effort on improving the room's acoustics - that's a far better investment in higher fidelity.

timber715
07-01-2011, 04:22 AM
Thank you Alan for your insights, they are quite important to me... I am doing my best and slowly attending to room acoustics in preparation to the C7. I have built several diffusers and about to start a pair of bass traps after the stands (shown in the picture is my current room set-up). Tthe stands will be 20" high like you specified which fits the bill for my chair giving me ear level to the tweeters. So far I am very happy with it, but I am certain the C7 will be much better...
http://i865.photobucket.com/albums/ab219/timber3715/IMG_0730.jpg

As you can see, it really isn't a dedicated audio room, but I am making changes for the speakers to have maximum separation (by making another desk to replace what is on the left side of the picture and moving it towards the back, so everything is temporary at this time. I am no expert, but I have been reading and learning on what could work with what I have. Plus there are friends that help out.
cheers

ummaya
01-03-2011, 02:09 PM
That's it, three weeks after having auditioned the C7E-S3I at the Israeli importer's place I finally auditioned the C7 yesterday afternoon at my place with my own gear and decided that these will be my next speakers. By the end of Mach the C7 will be part of my system.

We started the audition by listening some pieces of music with my present speakers, the Linn Sara for about fifteen minutes so I would not have to rely too much on memory; not as good or as accurate as with a switch-over comparator but better than nothing. Then the audition of the C7 started...

Right at the beginning, when the C7 started to sing, and for a certain amount of time, I experienced exactly the same phenomenon that I experienced several weeks ago when the audition at the importer's place started: a disappointment and this time even a bigger one than during the first audition. The music coming out of the C7 sounded a bit weak, so flat and boring that I found it hard to believe that these were the same speakers I listened to several weeks ago. I did not say a single word and continued to listen but after about ten minutes, I guess that the importer knew what my feelings were because he looked at me, smiled and said: "it's OK, wait, do not worry and go on listening". Slowly after maybe more than thirty minutes the sound became richer and richer. I went back to listen to the same pieces of music that sounded boring when the audition started and they all sounded fantastic now. Two other hours of listening persuaded me that the C7 were the right speakers for me. I missed them as soon as I went back after the audition, to listen to music with the Saras.

Surprising is that the C7 seems much more sensible to the volume of different recordings than the Saras: while listening music with the Linn Saras I have almost not need to reset the volume knob but with the C7 I had to adjust it very often because it sounded according different recording or maybe styles of music, whether too loud or whether too mute; I do not see that as a negative point at all, the contrary. I think that I will need a remote control for the volume. Now, I have several questions:

1. Speaker cables.

There are different and opposing opinions about speakers cables. From "use anything you have available" ,"it does not matter, any decent copper wire will do a great job" and to "cables and interconnects are critical to the sound of your system: do not ruin your $10000 system with cheap $10 meter speaker cables". Some call $100 meter cables, snake oil and exotic and other call $4 meter cables exotic. The importer of Harbeth recommended me some Straight Wire Virtuoso speaker cables (that he imports of course) for $1000. What is your opinion on the speaker cables issue?

2. Speaker stands

The non official Harbeth's opinion on speakers stands is "the construction of the stand has 0.1% influence on the sound quality", "the right height is the critical thing, not the material from which the stand is made, a pile of bricks or Ikea $15 plant-pot stands would make effective stands" but on the other hand Alan Shaw himself and many Harbeth owners seem to have a very high opinion about the Skylan $200 - $450 speaker stands. Do they do with Harbeth speakers, from a sound/musical quality point of view, a better job than the $15 Ikea plant pot stands? I am quite confused!


3. One thing that surprised me very much during the audition at home, is the volume at which I have to set the Naim's volume knob: for the last 27 years, with the Linn Saras I am used to set the Naim's volume knob, most of the time between 9 o'clock and 10 o'clock and that is enough 99% of the time. With the C7 I had to set the knob at 10 o'clock minimum to make them start singing, 11 o'clock most of the time and sometime even to 12 o'clock. True, when they sing they sing much better than the Saras ever did but since the C7 are easier speakers to drive than the Saras then why do I need to set the volume dial higher? I am missing something?


4. How many hours do the speakers have to work until they do not need any more warm up period to sing as the know to sing?

Gan CK
01-03-2011, 04:21 PM
Hi Ummaya, Harbeths don't present music in a forceful, intense & exaggerated manner that's why they may sound a tad dull & even boring in a direct AB comparison with others spks. For the same reason, they don't always stand out in a hifi show especially when there are plenty of other spks blasting away with impressive but artificial sonic fireworks. It takes some patience (as you've found out) to allow their strengths to appear.

Now, on the topic of cables, just use whatever you have right now. Harbeths are definitely not fussy in that aspect. For stands, as long as they are stable, don't wobble & bring the tweeter to your listening position, you are fine. Of course if you want to try stands such as Skylan or Sound Anchor, by all means. I personally feel that Harbeth sounds best on lightweight open frame metal stands. Others prefer heavy mass loaded ones. The choice is yours. Alan designed the mighty M40.1 on Ikea Lack tables. Your 3rd question is a tad tricky. Based on my fading memory, the Saras are rather pinched, forward & bright speakers, much like the Isobariks & the Kans.

Contrast that to the well balanced, tonally correct & less shouty C7s, you may well find that you can turn up the volume higher without feeling that its overbearing. Because the C7s are more balanced & less in your face, it may lead to a perception that it is softer. Finally, there is no minimum number of hours that the C7s need to sing at its best. Its just your ears acclimatising to the more balanced, richer, beautiful & natural sound of the C7s.

cornelius
01-03-2011, 05:05 PM
Congrats on your new C7's. Have a look at this info:

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?373-Basic-facts-about-Harbeths-at-home

ummaya
01-03-2011, 09:20 PM
Congrats on your new C7's

A bit too soon for the congratulations :-)
Thanks anyway.

BAS-H
02-03-2011, 10:53 AM
Hi ummaya.

You appear to be in exactly the same place on the audio journey that I was a couple of years ago, when I bought my Harbeth speakers. After that, my audio journey ended and I am delighted with what I have.

Gan CK summed up your questions very well in my opinion. Here are my own thoughts to add.

1. I've never had a budget to experiment with different speaker cables, so cannot offer anything in addition to Gan CK. I'm in the 'cables are not a significant issue in the audio chain' crowd. Use whatever you have.

2. I did have the opportunity to compare two sets of stands that placed the speakers at the same height and in the same position. One cheap and horribly insecure, the other expensive, nicely secure but sonically no different to my ears. If they're secure, the right height and fit with your décor and budget, they'll be fine.

3. My experience mirrors yours. My P3 ES2s replaced Proac Studio 100s. The P3s needed a higher volume setting for a given sound pressure level. This is due to one or a combination of two things, efficiency and impedance. The magnitude of either doesn't equate to being 'better' or easier to drive. Ease of driving refers to the impedance curve. In summary, your Harbeths may be less efficient or of higher average impedance than your Saras. This doesn't matter to sound quality if your amplifier's power is sufficiently high.

Another point - don't rely on manufacturers' figures for efficiency or impedance. They are too inconsistent across different manufacturers to allow for valid comparisons.

4. In my experience, none. Ditto players and amplifiers. I don't believe there is such a thing as audio component running-in or warm-up time. Once I had the opportunity to compare a brand new CD player and an ex-demo unit of the same model. They sounded the same. If anything in the audio chain experiences warm-up effects, then it's your ears or your brain.

I hope these ramblings enable you to enjoy your Harbeths, uninhibited. Buying Harbeths was the greatest music-enhancing purchase I ever made.

ummaya
02-03-2011, 06:44 PM
I've never had a budget to experiment with different speaker cables, so cannot offer anything in addition to Gan CK. I'm in the 'cables are not a significant issue in the audio chain' crowd. Use whatever you have

I have never participated in a blind test of speaker cables so I can only believe or not believe that $1000 cables give better results than $30 cables. As far as I understand, speaker cables do not transmit sound but only carry an electric signal and this has no audible effect on what I hear from the speakers.

I admit that when the Harbeth dealer proposed the $1000 speaker cables I had some doubt for a few seconds (after all, maybe I am wrong and I won't be able to enjoy the $3000 Harbeth because of the cheap cables ?) According to him the C7 + my system will sound OK with cheap cables but the $1000 Straight Wire Virtuoso cables (which by the way are not the best he sells but are what he called an acceptable compromise ) will make a dramatic difference, bring my system to a new level and do justice to my new C7. Since during the audition at my home cheap cable were used to my entire satisfaction I will go the way of cheap speaker cables + if the recommendation of Alan Shaw, the designer of the C7, is to use cheap standard cables, it is enough for me.


Now, on the topic of cables, just use whatever you have right now

My daughter will take the Saras + the cables + the stands so I will have to get new cables and stands for the C7. I am looking the the cheapest speaker cable available; maybe the Qed 42/79 Strand will be OK ( $96 for 6 meters and the 8 bananas) but until I get the C7 I will look for a cheaper deal.


This is due to one or a combination of two things, efficiency and impedance. The magnitude of either doesn't equate to being 'better' or easier to drive. Ease of driving refers to the impedance curve. In summary, your Harbeths may be less efficient or of higher average impedance than your Saras. This doesn't matter to sound quality if your amplifier's power is sufficiently high

This was more or less my guess; thank you for the explanation.

{Moderator's comment: About fancy cables. To be fair to Alan who does not want to take bread and water off any ones table least of all a dealers, he merely says that he designs with std. cable. He leaves the decision whether to invest in cables to you the user. Our minds are (wrongly?) closed but yours should remain open until you reach your own personal point of understanding. When you do, stick to it.}

A.S.
02-03-2011, 09:49 PM
3. One thing that surprised me very much during the audition at home, is the volume at which I have to set the Naim's volume knob: for the last 27 years, with the Linn Saras I am used to set the Naim's volume knob, most of the time between 9 o'clock and 10 o'clock and that is enough 99% of the time. With the C7 I had to set the knob at 10 o'clock minimum to make them start singing, 11 o'clock most of the time and sometime even to 12 o'clock. True, when they sing they sing much better than the Saras ever did but since the C7 are easier speakers to drive than the Saras then why do I need to set the volume dial higher? I am missing something?Just a quick note on this. There is strong circumstantial evidence to say that a designer's all-out pursuit of efficiency (to make a louder loudspeaker, to keep the marketing boys happy) is likely to have a very marked consequence for the resulting sound.

The issue is this: a speaker cone is alive with sound when it is playing music. Unfortunately, its bell-like shape means that just like a bell, there is a propensity for it to ring at some frequencies. That ringing, or coloration, is definitely not what the musicians intended - it's an unfortunate consequence of any mechanical system set into vibration. An everyday example of mechanical oscillation is that the surface undulation of a road may cause your car to sympathetically vibrate and if your shock absorbers are worn out, this oscillation may become chronic, even dangerous. Those shocks are providing mechanical damping, and that damping is critical to preventing the speaker cone 'taking-off' and ringing like a bell.

Take a close look at the seemingly humble cone surround, one of the most critical parts of a loudspeaker. Is it a soft pliable material with good damping? Is it a hard rubber? Or treated paper or cloth? Each one will have a sonic signature. In our (BBC) view, we want the cone to stop dead after the musicians note, so our cone surrounds are made from a special rubber compound, in our own tool, to exactly match the RADIAL cone's characteristics. And yes, higher damping inevitably means a heavier surround ... and a heavier surround means .... lower efficiency. But as with all speaker design matters, there are design priorities. As our priority is a clean sound we just cannot give any priority to efficiency. With a fixed magnetic power, the efficiency will turn out to be whatever it turns out to be. It's as simple as that.

Picture attached of the marvellous little 5" RADIAL2™ bass/midrange driver from the P3ESR. Assembled at Harbeth UK from piece parts just like the 8" unit used in the C7ES3/M30/SHL5/M40.1.

I cannot stress this point enough - you cannot and will not achive the Harbeth tonal clarity from any other drive-unit technology. If clarity and naturalness is what you seek, you have only one path open to you.

>

PS. A sure sign of a really advanced speaker cone: can you see your face reflected in it? An optical mirror reflects virtually all the light that falls on it. Ditto a sonic mirror. Conventional speaker cones are optically non-reflective and acoustically too.

STHLS5
03-03-2011, 02:03 AM
..
3. One thing that surprised me very much during the audition at home, is the volume at which I have to set the Naim's volume knob: for the last 27 years, with the Linn Saras I am used to set the Naim's volume knob, most of the time between 9 o'clock and 10 o'clock and that is enough 99% of the time. With the C7 I had to set the knob at 10 o'clock minimum to make them start singing, 11 o'clock most of the time and sometime even to 12 o'clock. True, when they sing they sing much better than the Saras ever did but since the C7 are easier speakers to drive than the Saras then why do I need to set the volume dial higher? I am missing something?
..

Your Linn Sara is 27 year's old. The surround and the coils may have been worn out so much that it moves very easily with little power compared to the brand new C7. Linn Sara's efficiency was measured to be 86dB at two and a half meters. I believe C7 efficiency was measured at 1 meter. This may be an indication that the Sara is more efficient.

Just for the record, nominal impedance of Sara is 4ohm.

ST

ummaya
03-03-2011, 06:49 AM
Alan who does not want to take bread and water off any ones table least of all a dealers, he merely says that he designs with std. cable. He leaves the decision whether to invest in cables to you the user

The truth is that the Harbeth's dealer himself suggested that if I am not sure about which cable to get then it would better if I first buy the cheapest decent cables available in audio shops, enjoy my new C7 and get used to how my system sound with these cables. Later I could test the cables he proposed with my system and see for myself if I can find an audible difference.

Right now, about issue of the expensive versus cheap speaker cables or audible differences with different cables I have only my own unproven belief and unbelief, a bit of skepticism and above all my lack of personal experience. I am open to test my beliefs any time and transform them unto a proven fact that different cables make an real audible difference and can enhance in my listening experience. If several months from now as the dealer suggested I test his cables and find that they make a clear, easy to listen difference and a substantial improvement worth paying for, I may certainly consider to invest in such cables.



... our priority is a clean sound

This was very much crystal clear during the audition of the C7 ! Thank you very much for designing such amazing speakers and for your useful explanation about the lower efficiency issue.

AlanBstone
28-03-2011, 04:31 PM
I've owned many speakers in my long 'career' in hifi. The C7ES-3's I've had since Feb 1st have been a revelation. 'Balanced and Natural' are the key for me. They have taken a little time to become accustomed to their unassuming nature but well worth the wait.

I too find that I can listen at higher levels as no area of the sound is 'obvious' i.e. beautifully balanced. Having said that listening at low levels is still very beautiful.

I hope you enjoy your new purchase as much as I.
Mazeltov!!

ummaya
28-03-2011, 07:27 PM
I hope you enjoy your new purchase as much as I.
Mazeltov!!

Thanks AlanBstone, I hope you enjoy yours as much as I already enjoy mine !

I received them last Thursday evening and I have been away from home during the weekend but I loved what I heard during the too few hours I have listen to the music with them. That's not a surprise since I have auditioned them twice and decided that they will be my next speakers. I am still beginning to really discover them but one thing is already crystal clear; they are a much more important upgrade than I thought they would be.

I will write several lines once I'll experience them more. My biggest difficulty right now is to listen to how they sound and stop trying to remember how such and such piece of music sounded with the Saras.

Gan CK
29-03-2011, 05:31 AM
Hi Ummaya, just sit back, relax & enjoy the beautiful music that your new C7 makes & in no time, you'll forget about the Saras.

AlanBstone
29-03-2011, 04:11 PM
I will write several lines once I'll experience them more. My biggest difficulty right now is to listen to how they sound and stop trying to remember how such and such piece of music sounded with the Saras.

That is only natural. It isn't YOU doing the comparison it is your EARS and AUDIO MEMORY. Don't forget they require a bit of time to burn in.....and your brain to burn in to the new sound. Think of them as a musical instrument.

As my signature is on another forum

Harbeth is for life - yours and the music

A.S.
29-03-2011, 04:32 PM
I really can understand the tricks that ones audio memory can play on you. But the core issue is that audio reproduction at home is nothing more than an illusion. Whilst you listen you (hopefully) allow yourself to be drawn into an enjoyable trance, overriding the logical part of your brain which says 'these performers just can't be here in front of me, in my room!'.

INHO to begin to make any sort of credible comparison between two speakers that create an entirely different listening experience - especially if you have been seduced by one for 27 years! - you'd need a whole vocabulary of words to describe to yourself, and then others, just what you are hearing. How the colours in the new dream differ from those of the old one. And that's the sort of self-taught vocabulary that a speaker designer develops over a working lifetime. You are really going to struggle to shorten that learning curve to days and weeks. I just wouldn't strain yourself: both are wrong; both are right. Neither is reality - both create an illusion. You know what we hold dear and the target of neutrality that we aim for because we've spelled it out for 30+ years. Other brands doubtless would have entirely different and equally valid objectives for their target users. But if the broadcast/monitoring market is not their business you would expect a significantly different 'take' to ours. Plus of course, bought-in drive units perform up to their potential and no more.

The really challenging task, even for someone who works on loudspeakers as a designer, is teasing out level differences from coloration or quality differences when listening. They may in fact have the same sort of sonic signature. But the designer can play around with the levels, up or down, but he's really stumped by latent coloration issues. Even an experienced listener may mistake one for the other. I recall that during the design of one speaker I just could not decide what was troubling me. Eventually, after throwing every sort of music and speech I could think of at the design, I began to home-in on a problem in a certain sonic band. And once my audio palate was sensitised to this issue I could hear it every time, after just a few seconds of exposure. So it was a real issue in a specific audio band for sure. But was it something to do with the loudness in that band? Too loud or, believe it or not, too quiet? Or was it a quality issue due to some mechanical resonance perhaps deep within the drive unit(s)? This tail-chasing went on for several days until I conceived a way of isolating one issue from another: I hooked up a very fine-band digital graphic equaliser and applied massive boost in and around the problematic band until the sonic issue was painful to listen to. Then, when I'd narrowed down the problem to a very precise and well defined frequency band I sucked out the energy. My reasoning was that if the issue significantly audibly diminished then it must be a level inbalance - if the effect was still troubling then a coloration problem. In fact, it was a level issue and reworking the crossover in that region (actually to fill an energy hole - the audibility problem was not too much but too little energy) solved the problem.

I'm fairly sure that I video'd this whole graphic boost session and it's in the archive - I'll look for it.

So, in short, if I sometimes struggle to separate-out the wheat from the chaff and I'm paid to do it, what chance have you!?

P.S. We've talked many times about making instantaneous A-B speaker comparisons using a relay change-over arrangement. It is the best solution to exploring differences between speakers because we humans are fairly good at side-by-side comparisons but almost useless at absolute comparisons over a period of time. Has anyone's wife bought a dress, shoes or handbag only to find when home the colour doesn't exactly match some pre-existing item of clothing? And yet, in the store they were certain that the shade was exactly correct!

P.P.S. Just to remind newer readers that we've looked at speaker comparisons before here (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=designersnotebookdetail&id=6) and explanation of the different 'projection' of sound you'll typically hear in a hifi store. And video here (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=designersnotebookdetail&id=14) and here (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=designersnotebookdetail&id=13), how I use an instantaneous foot-operated switch over when comparing and the listening process [Sorry! I can't remember which video showed that - anyone remind me?] . The video has sound: can you here the difference in tonality between the A and B speakers?

ummaya
29-03-2011, 08:31 PM
Hi Ummaya, just sit back, relax & enjoy the beautiful music that your new C7 makes & in no time, you'll forget about the Saras.

The music coming out the C7 is indeed beautiful. The Saras...well, as AlanBstone said that's not ME thinking about them but my audio memory, but it seems that this happens less and less.


. ..and your brain to burn in to the new sound.

That's a wonderful process.



Whilst you listen you (hopefully) allow yourself to be drawn into an enjoyable trance, overriding the logical part of your brain which says 'these performers just can't be here in front of me, in my room!'.

I close my eyes, let myself to be drawn into an enjoyable trance and after several minutes the C7 disappear and it seems like the performers are in my living room playing only for me.


You are really going to struggle to shorten that learning curve to days and weeks.

The truth is that I do not struggle to shorten the learning curve; I do not look forward, do not try to achieve anything but simply tremendously enjoy the learning process.

sweetsound
09-04-2011, 07:10 AM
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5189/5601916401_143550d548_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrylimlee/5601916401/)
Hi-Fi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrylimlee/5601916401/) by jerrylimlee (http://www.flickr.com/people/jerrylimlee/), on Flickr

Harbeth C7-ES3 Speakers, Luxman L-505U integrated amps,Rega Saturn cd player, Rega P3-24 turn Table w/PSU, Benz Micro Cartridge ACE, Phono pre-amp Graham Slee ERA Gold 5, Auditorium 23 speaker cable,Vodoo power cable (Mirage for amps,Mojo for cd), and Purist Audio inter connect.

hifi_dave
09-04-2011, 09:10 PM
It's not often we see hi-fi systems in a Greek temple and very nice it looks too.

Drdennis
10-04-2011, 12:54 PM
Is that a can of beer on the Rega?

hifi_dave
10-04-2011, 04:16 PM
I believe that is the Furikiwi stray impulse soakaway and re-generator non abrasive top notch gizmo. It's made from re-cycled nuclear submarines and costs a mere £2599 for the family size. No CD player should be without one !!!

Takis
10-04-2011, 09:01 PM
A bottle of a good wine does a better job!

Gan CK
11-04-2011, 03:16 AM
Aids in getting more intoxicated with the music.

sweetsound
11-04-2011, 09:41 AM
Is that a can of beer on the Rega?

No Sir, it's a can of meat sauce, just put it their to add weight to the front end of the cd player. With 3 symposium rollerblock series 2 under the cd plus the vodoo power cable, the rear end of the cd has more weight. That's why the meatsauce can. thanks for looking.

{Moderator's comment: ............. }

kittykat
11-04-2011, 10:57 AM
sweet set-up sweetsound. the luxman looks like it could benefit with a bit of ventilation, or is the cd player used to weigh it down as well. :-)

timber715
11-04-2011, 06:25 PM
No Sir, it's a can of meat sauce, just put it their to add weight to the front end of the cd player. With 3 symposium rollerblock series 2 under the cd plus the vodoo power cable, the rear end of the cd has more weight. That's why the meatsauce can. thanks for looking.

{Moderator's comment: ............. }

that ought to put more meat into the music :D sorry can't help it

sweetsound
12-04-2011, 01:13 AM
Hehehe, nice one

Hesson11
13-04-2011, 12:57 PM
Hello all. I'm new here and am learning quite a bit. But one thing I'm still unsure of is listening distance for the Compact 7ES-3. In his "Stereophile" review, Sam Tellig wrote, "In my listening room, I found that the Compact 7ES-3s didn't like to be positioned in the nearfield. Give them at least 8 feet (2.4 meters) from your ears; anything nearer and the treble might be localized at the tweeters."

I'm wondering whether most of you feel this is a good guideline? Or would a slightly closer distance be okay? I see that the Harbeth user guide recommends 3 to 4 meters for a distance of 2.5 meters between the speakers, but I'm not sure whether anything closer would be acceptable. I'm still a prospective (but eager) Harbeth owner and am trying to gather information. Thank you very much.
-Bob

{Moderator's comment: welcome. I'm sure this has been covered several times with pictures of the actual tiny room the C7ES3 was designed in .... links anyone?}

STHLS5
14-04-2011, 03:08 AM
Hi Bob,

I am using SHL5 and my sitting position is much nearer than 2.4 meter. There are several videos hidden buried somewhere in Alan 's 2200 over posts where you can see even M40.1 placed quite near compared to its size. Please see Compact 7 development stage picture in http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?265-Which-is-most-suitable-for-my-room post number 6. Notice how small the room is.

ST

Takis
14-04-2011, 08:22 AM
Welcome Bob.

Listening position less than 3 meters from the speakers is ok. You have to put the speakers closer to each other also.

Look here:
http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?1049-7ES-3-or-even-SHL5-on-a-large-Desk-for-nearfield-or-1.2m-away

Hesson11
14-04-2011, 08:49 PM
Thank you for the replies and the welcome. I appreciate it.
-bob

macroaudio
21-04-2011, 06:39 AM
Looking forward to picking up my new Rosewood C7's on Friday.......

macroaudio
10-05-2011, 05:37 AM
A week with the C7's now and have been rediscovering so many of my old CD's. The balance and dynamics are incredible with a soundstage and seat within the recording session that extends way beyond anything I have had before.

opus111
05-07-2011, 07:06 PM
I am listening to my new C7 in the beautiful maple finish. Actually they are my second pair of Harbeth speakers - last year I got a pair of P3 in maple.
I am driving the C7 with a KingRex digital amplifier with the additional PSU - it sounds marvellous! You really do not need plenty of watts to drive your Harbeths in reasonable volumes.

The difference between the P3 and the C7 is that the C7 has more air around the instruments. You can here exactly what kind of recording venue was used.

I am deeply impressed.

Thank you, Mr. Shaw. A job that could not have been done better.

Kumar Kane
06-07-2011, 01:56 AM
I am listening to my new C7 in the beautiful maple finish. Actually they are my second pair of Harbeth speakers - last year I got a pair of P3 in maple. I am driving the C7 with a KingRex digital amplifier with the additional PSU - it sounds marvellous! You really do not need plenty of watts to drive your Harbeths in reasonable volumes.

The difference between the P3 and the C7 is that the C7 has more air around the instruments. You can here exactly what kind of recording venue was used.

I am deeply impressed.

Thank you, Mr. Shaw. A job that could not have been done better.

My sentiments exactly, a month into the ownership experience. The speakers just sound a lot more relaxed, compared to the earlier (Spendor) S3/5s, which are themselves very good speakers.

The other thing I notice is they sound quite good even from poor positions. I have mine on wheels to be able to roll them out of the way, along the walls. Played from there, the bass is stronger, but the midrange isn't muddied. I have decided to leave them there for parties when critical listening isn't happening anyway, and from out of the way they provide great support for the party. And I don't have to worry about anyone falling over them or bringing them down.

A recent discovery is the world of internet radio stations, accessed via a ipod touch/airport express optical out connection to the DAC - brilliant, and a vast treasure at the fingertips. And as close to hi fi sound as my ears can make out, through the Harbeths.

mbauer
20-07-2011, 06:57 PM
Hello All,

I have been trying to figure out whether the C7ES3 has a metal tweeter and I have received contradictory information. Can anyone say definitively?

I am currently auditioning Monitor 30s but I am wondering if I should consider the C7ES3.

Thanks.


Martin Bauer

{Moderator's comment: yes, all Compacts right back to the original of 1988 use an aluminium dome tweeter, made by SEAS of Norway. Moderation is not automatic and need human input here when we have time available and depending who is on duty. Please allow 24 hours.}

Gan CK
21-07-2011, 03:11 AM
Hi Bauer,

As far as i know, the C7ES3 uses a SEAS aluminium tweeter from the prestige range whereas the M30 uses another SEAS soft dome tweeter from the Excel range. Both tweeters are very refined, sweet & smooth with totally no trace of sibilance, glare or harshness whatsoever. In fact, the other 2 SEAS aluminium tweeters employed on the SHL-5 & P3ESR are also very sweet, naturally extended & sophisticated. Have a listen to both the C7ES3 & M30. They both have their own charm.

{Moderator's comment: remember you never hear a tweeter *alone*. You always hear it through a crossover (and in combination with a woofer through its crossover). You cannot make any truly valid judgement about a tweeter's native abilities/performance unless you bypass the crossover which as a consumer you can't do.}

Gan CK
21-07-2011, 08:59 AM
Yes thanks to Mr Moderator for pointing that out to me.

Indeed, one cannot judge a tweeter's quality by listening to it in isolation. And for that, i would like to once again applaud Alan for his ingenious design on crossovers to ensure a totally seamless transition from the outstanding Radial driver to the tweeter or in the case of the M40.1, from the Harbeth 12" bass driver to the SEAS excel tweeter.

panditr
04-08-2011, 10:29 AM
I recently heard the MA 7000 at Singapore driving a JM Lab 806 Cobalt bookshelf speaker and the sound was superb considering the speaker was only $1350 SGD MRP....

Is anybody using McIntosh amplifiers - especially solid state ones with the Compact 7 or other Harbeths and if yes, would you recommend McIntosh or is it a waste of money to spend on expensive amplifiers per Alan Shaw???

george_k
05-08-2011, 12:55 PM
MA6900 + C7ES3's here and I'm very happy with the sound.

panditr
09-08-2011, 09:11 PM
Thanks for responding George....What kind of music do you listen to ? Also at what volume level of the amp is it too loud for you to listen to?

hifi_dave
10-08-2011, 11:26 AM
It's not 'a waste of money' to buy a good amplifier but good amplifiers needn't be expensive.

{Moderator's comment: "Good amps" will also be better engineered using better components and may well have a longer useful life. 'Quality' above the most basic level costs money and one way or another you have to pay.}

Kumar Kane
11-08-2011, 02:21 AM
It's not 'a waste of money' to buy a good amplifier but good amplifiers needn't be expensive.

{Moderator's comment: "Good amps" will also be better engineered using better components and may well have a longer useful life. 'Quality' above the most basic level costs money and one way or another you have to pay.}

On the other hand, beyond a certain level, all that one is paying for is brand name and eye candy, is what I have come to realize. For a speaker of the driving load of the C7, what would be the current price point in GBP which would deliver the necessary quality of amplified current to one speaker pair and have a long life of say, 10 years? Assuming that one is looking for a solid state amplifier, without any other additions such as a phone input or a DAC, my guess would be around 500 GBP. Is that a fair assessment?

george_k
11-08-2011, 04:33 AM
Thanks for responding George....What kind of music do you listen to ? Also at what volume level of the amp is it too loud for you to listen to?

I listen to rock mainly, 80s pop, and a little bit of everything else (jazz, classical, etc). My room is fairly big (18.5 feet wide, 21 feet long) and it opens up into a small kitchen and hallway so I got a lot of space to fill. With that kind of space to fill in mind, turning up the volume knob more than halfway would be too loud for me (i.e. > 90dB at the listening location). I generally enjoy listening at quieter levels though.

hifi_dave
11-08-2011, 09:48 AM
IMO, the 'giant killer' at £480 is the newly introduced Rega Brio R, which includes an excellent internal MM phono stage. It sounds excellent through all the Harbeth range and is a very neat looking, 55 wpc, well put together amp, which sounds better than some £3K amps I won't mention !!!

muypogi
11-08-2011, 02:05 PM
On the other hand, beyond a certain level, all that one is paying for is brand name and eye candy, is what I have come to realize. For a speaker of the driving load of the C7, what would be the current price point in GBP which would deliver the necessary quality of amplified current to one speaker pair and have a long life of say, 10 years? Assuming that one is looking for a solid state amplifier, without any other additions such as a phone input or a DAC, my guess would be around 500 GBP. Is that a fair assessment?

I would raise that limit a bit. I have a Compact 7 being driven by a Harman Kardon HK990 with a Rega DAC and fono stage. If you want an all in one package you can get just the HK990, about GBP1000 or less, and it has MM/MC stage, dual AD1955 DACs, balanced input, 2 subwoofer outs and a very conservative 150wpc at 8 ohms, doubling to 300wpc at 4 ohms. You can't find a better amp for the money and the features.

Kumar Kane
11-08-2011, 05:25 PM
I would raise that limit a bit. I have a Compact 7 being driven by a Harman Kardon HK990 with a Rega DAC and fono stage. If you want an all in one package you can get just the HK990, about GBP1000 or less, and it has MM/MC stage, dual AD1955 DACs, balanced input, 2 subwoofer outs and a very conservative 150wpc at 8 ohms, doubling to 300wpc at 4 ohms. You can't find a better amp for the money and the features.
I don't know that amp, but HK makes good products generally, so I am sure it is a great amp. I had asked the question to set a benchmark guidance price level at which "good enough" quality amplification is available. And to allow for an apples to apples comparison it then becomes necessary to look at a device that does just pure 2 channel amplification of line level inputs to a level necessary to drive the C7 load successfully.

To be honest, I think that even budget ss amplifiers from brands such as NAD/Cambridge/Rotel and many others, that cost less than 500 GBP, are good enough. The money saved can then be spent on acoustics, music, or other things that matter to each person, depending on individual priorities.
Of course if one also needs a phono stage, or a built in DAC, that would mean a higher spend.

Will
20-10-2011, 04:02 AM
Is it just the camera angles, or does the picture of the C7-ES3 (in the photograph linked to below) look like it has a different tweeter? Doesn't look like there's a tweeter grill. If they removed the grill, then the balance would be off since the grill has a small "disc" in the centre that's integral to the sound of the speaker. Unless (I'm drooling already) it has the Seas Excel tweeter used in the M40.1! A prototype for Harbeth's upcoming 35th Anniversary in 2012?

http://www.stereophile.com/content/harbeth151lfd151stein

{Moderator's comment: someone has, without our consent or knowledge, removed the protective grille from the C7ES2 (or 3?) tweeter. Surely a crazy action. Not only is the diaphragm now open to tiny fingers the HF response *has been reduced*. This makes no sense to us at all.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE TWEETER GRILLE. THE TELL-TALE EVIDENCE WILL TOTALLY NULLIFY YOUR WARRANTY. REMOVING THE GRILLE WILL DEGRADE PERFORMANCE NOT INCREASE IT - FACT.}

A.S.
20-10-2011, 09:14 AM
Is it just the camera angles, or does the picture of the C7-ES3 (in the photograph linked to below) look like it has a different tweeter? ...I am speechless. To reiterate what has long ago been said here .... a speaker manufacturer either sees his spare part operation as a vital part of his business model, contributing significantly to the bottom line profit or he sees it as a time consuming activity which by use of better design/materials/suppliers/testing can be virtually eliminated. It's as basic as a matter of respect for the customer and an appreciation of human nature.

Our view is that tweeter diaphragms will attract curious fingers especially at a public exhibition. I've even found myself stroking naked tweeter domes... but I implore you PLEASE do not be so daft as to put your Harbeth speakers at risk by peeling-off the protective tweeter grille. The grille is there for a reason - to save you much money and stress because spare parts are expensive and take time to deliver.


We will establish the back-story on this but I can assure you that nobody in the Harbeth organisation will have removed these grilles. And if they have, we'll that's the end of the road.

A.S.
20-10-2011, 09:51 AM
One thing to point out .... it may be counter-intuitive to you but if you remove the grille the tweeter's HF response will not increase in output, it will droop as you can see from the attached.

Note, the with-grille red line is normalised to 0dB to highlight the contrast between with and without grille to show the relative difference.

>

Spindrift
20-10-2011, 06:42 PM
Perhaps someone wanted to 'soften up' the system's character and chose this mod as the way to do so... A drastic measure.

Not only does the metal grille protect the fragile dome (the aluminium membrane is incredibly thin), it also holds a transparent dot in front of the dome. This enhances dispersion but also increases the relative HF level - which will have been taken into account during design. The same dot can be found behind the protective grille of P3's, including the ESR model.

This mod will therefore have altered the lateral dispersion. The metal grilles are part of the design. When removed the overall balance chosen by the designer will be lost.

In fact the cloth-covered Supergrille was also part of the design considerations and if I am correct, Mr. Shaw has pointed out before that using Harbeths with Supergrilles attached will give the smoothest freq. response.

-Mr. Shaw, may I ask by how much the HF and/or upper mids will be damped if the Supergrilles are in place?

I have a feeling the Supergrille cloth helps to get a more coherent presentation.