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A.S.
07-02-2006, 11:45 AM
This thread specifically relates to the Monitor 40

Audiophile39
10-02-2006, 01:27 AM
Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has paired the M40 speaker with a Pass amp, such as the x250? Thanks

kevint
10-02-2006, 03:36 AM
I have been using x250 for M40 for a year. The combo sound very dynamic, without comparison, I was quite satifised with the combo. However, when comparing with other Harbeth setup, I found Pass amp lack of some fineness and high range sweetness.

So I changed to MBL 8011S amp, MBL doesn't sound as dynamic and impactful as Pass. But I would say MBL has even better microdyanmics. MBL sounds fineness, sweetness, detail without being aggressive, most important give me back Harbeth's musicality. Pass sounds like a good hifi while MBL sounds more like live music. I'm so happy with the move.

TNIC
25-03-2006, 08:59 PM
The first rule of audio, I learned when I was a boy, was ?Your money is best spent on the speakers.?

My friends and I had apparently decided that this rule was irrelevant. We bought our speakers, and then proceeded to spend thousands on cables, phono cartridges, vibration isolators, silver, gold, ointments, sprays, strange devices and packaged placebos to squeeze less than a few percent improvement in audio quality. In fact, we seemed to be feeding an industry of wonder products (we wondered if we could hear a difference). I spent sessions listening to expensive cables, tubes, connectors and other stuff, during which we argued about whether they actually improved the sound at all. Contrast that with our first listen to the M40, which was so overwhelming it could be measured on the Richter scale!

I listened to the M40 at www.audioconnect.com in New Jersey. We brought boxes of music CDs and our own tube pre-amp and 50 watt tube amp to see if it could drive the M40.

We pumped 50 watts through the M40, and the excellent quality knocked us off our chairs. You can find plenty of detailed descriptions of what the M40 sounds like. To say we liked what we heard would be an understatement. In my case, the 50 watt tube amp sounded outstanding up to ? volume (far beyond my listening levels -- I rarely go beyond 75 DB when listening). We listened to all the music we brought. The demo lasted hours. I wanted the speakers. But some dim memory told me not to propose marriage while hormones are in control.

I came back with another box of CDs. This time I listened on the store?s solid state pre-amp and amp, with many watts of power. To my ear, my tube pre-amp and amp sounded better than the solid state setup, but I like my tube sound. Of course it was the M40 that let me hear the difference. At this point it was raw lust for the M40s.

I heard none of the problem bass some people chatter about on the net. I had to fix problems with high frequencies on other speakers in my listening room. If I had to make some changes to correct my room for bass, I was OK with that. I just liked what I was hearing. From what I heard, there were no problems ? none. John made me an offer I could not refuse and my order was placed with a handshake.

My main problem while I was waiting for delivery was every other speaker I listened to after the M40 suddenly sounded small and boxy. The demo had spoiled me.

It took nine and a half long weeks to receive my M40s. I was worried they would not sound as good in my home as they did in the demo room (a common complaint). It turned out that in my home they sounded just as good as or better than the demo. A few tweaks in positioning and height put the bass where I like it. The tweeter was such an improvement that I was able to remove some of the high frequency room treatments. No further room modifications were needed, other than rearranging some room treatment panels.

There is indeed a thick sound curtain. I can listen with the volume lower since the big size produces higher volume. I am hearing loads of details that other speakers I have owned did not reproduce. In some cases, I?m even hearing instruments I did not know were there before.

The M40 has the power and authority to present the orchestra. It leaves me satisfied where other speakers left me yearning for more bass and less highs. The sound does not get congested or overwhelmed by the constrictions of a small box. These speakers are not a fashion statement, but they truly are ?the best seat in the house.?

Of course, speaker selection is made on personal preference. I have owned and listened to a lot of speakers, electrostatics, boomy shrill towers and lots more. I had wondered if somehow other makers had figured out how to get small cabinets with two 6-inch woofers to sound like a 12-inch woofer. Of course, they can?t, any more than bongo drums can be added together to equal a bass drum. Much of what I am hearing from other speaker makers is attention-grabbing tweeters that jump out at me and then make my ears hurt and ring after a while. Apparently marketing has entered a new dimension where hot air is confused with solid substance?.

The M40 filled my needs better than other speakers I have heard in this price range and more. They agree with my musical taste and finances. I tip my hat (and wallet) to Harbeth for sticking to what works. As a bonus, the M40 also freed the potential of my pre-amp and amp, allowing them to deliver additional quality I did not know they possessed. It is rare to have so many happy surprises in audio.

Two of us went to the demo and both of us ordered the M40. This is clearly the most satisfying audio purchase I have made. It was also my biggest investment. They cost double what I paid for the SHL5, but they provided me a return on investment (enjoyment) that justifies the cost. You could not possibly ignore the sonic improvement if you wanted to. It is so evident, I?m unclear now how I was ever tempted to waste time and money on other high-priced accessory crap.

The M40 has made a good first impression on me and that has lasted. I am happy I woke up from the marketing fog and remembered the first rule of audio I learned: ?Your money is best spent on the speakers.?

dgolly
05-04-2006, 05:25 AM
What are the differences between a new Model 40 and a 6-year old pro version model 40?

Are they essentially the same?

I see that one's industrial paint finish, the other real wood. And the pro version has speakon connectors, but I'm not familiar with those........

Did they use Radial drivers back in 1999 when R Greene did his review?

TNIC
29-04-2006, 10:42 AM
A pair of Sound Anchor Stands arrived for the M40’s. They sound great compared to the stands I was using. I found 18 inches (45.72 cm) to be the correct stand height for my room. At a lower height they produce less detail and more bass, higher and they produce less bass.

Photo of old stand (Lovan 18" on left) next to new stand 18" Sound Anchor on right)
http://www.s91519931.onlinehome.us/soundanchor1.jpg

Each stand weights 80 pounds (36.28 kg)! I had a real work out while moving the stand and the speakers. They are very solid and I lost all fear of the speakers falling with this stand. The top frame of the stand that the speakers rest on are solid steel bars, not tubing. The vertical struts are tubes that are filled with damping material. The bottom “H” section are solid ingots of steel. The stand is completely dead when you tap it. If you like SOLID construction and mass, this is it! They perform well and improved my sound. They should last several life times.

Once I sank the spikes through the carpet into the wood floor – the sound really came alive. I thought these speakers had given me all they had to offer since they arrived but I was wrong. The stands improved the sound noticeably on bass detail.

The Sorbothane blue dots that came with the stands are supporting the speakers on the stands. I have not had a chance to test other means of supporting them on the stand. Recommendations that don’t damage the cabinet are welcome.

http://www.s91519931.onlinehome.us/soundanchor2.jpg

http://www.s91519931.onlinehome.us/soundanchor3.jpg

airdavid
09-05-2006, 11:22 PM
And what about money spent for cdplayer and amp?

David





The first rule of audio, I learned when I was a boy, was ?Your money is best spent on the speakers.?

My friends and I had apparently decided that this rule was irrelevant. We bought our speakers, and then proceeded to spend thousands on cables, phono cartridges, vibration isolators, silver, gold, ointments, sprays, strange devices and packaged placebos to squeeze less than a few percent improvement in audio quality. In fact, we seemed to be feeding an industry of wonder products (we wondered if we could hear a difference). I spent sessions listening to expensive cables, tubes, connectors and other stuff, during which we argued about whether they actually improved the sound at all. Contrast that with our first listen to the M40, which was so overwhelming it could be measured on the Richter scale!

I listened to the M40 at www.audioconnect.com in New Jersey. We brought boxes of music CDs and our own tube pre-amp and 50 watt tube amp to see if it could drive the M40.

We pumped 50 watts through the M40, and the excellent quality knocked us off our chairs. You can find plenty of detailed descriptions of what the M40 sounds like. To say we liked what we heard would be an understatement. In my case, the 50 watt tube amp sounded outstanding up to ? volume (far beyond my listening levels -- I rarely go beyond 75 DB when listening). We listened to all the music we brought. The demo lasted hours. I wanted the speakers. But some dim memory told me not to propose marriage while hormones are in control.

I came back with another box of CDs. This time I listened on the store?s solid state pre-amp and amp, with many watts of power. To my ear, my tube pre-amp and amp sounded better than the solid state setup, but I like my tube sound. Of course it was the M40 that let me hear the difference. At this point it was raw lust for the M40s.

I heard none of the problem bass some people chatter about on the net. I had to fix problems with high frequencies on other speakers in my listening room. If I had to make some changes to correct my room for bass, I was OK with that. I just liked what I was hearing. From what I heard, there were no problems ? none. John made me an offer I could not refuse and my order was placed with a handshake.

My main problem while I was waiting for delivery was every other speaker I listened to after the M40 suddenly sounded small and boxy. The demo had spoiled me.

It took nine and a half long weeks to receive my M40s. I was worried they would not sound as good in my home as they did in the demo room (a common complaint). It turned out that in my home they sounded just as good as or better than the demo. A few tweaks in positioning and height put the bass where I like it. The tweeter was such an improvement that I was able to remove some of the high frequency room treatments. No further room modifications were needed, other than rearranging some room treatment panels.

There is indeed a thick sound curtain. I can listen with the volume lower since the big size produces higher volume. I am hearing loads of details that other speakers I have owned did not reproduce. In some cases, I?m even hearing instruments I did not know were there before.

The M40 has the power and authority to present the orchestra. It leaves me satisfied where other speakers left me yearning for more bass and less highs. The sound does not get congested or overwhelmed by the constrictions of a small box. These speakers are not a fashion statement, but they truly are ?the best seat in the house.?

Of course, speaker selection is made on personal preference. I have owned and listened to a lot of speakers, electrostatics, boomy shrill towers and lots more. I had wondered if somehow other makers had figured out how to get small cabinets with two 6-inch woofers to sound like a 12-inch woofer. Of course, they can?t, any more than bongo drums can be added together to equal a bass drum. Much of what I am hearing from other speaker makers is attention-grabbing tweeters that jump out at me and then make my ears hurt and ring after a while. Apparently marketing has entered a new dimension where hot air is confused with solid substance?.

The M40 filled my needs better than other speakers I have heard in this price range and more. They agree with my musical taste and finances. I tip my hat (and wallet) to Harbeth for sticking to what works. As a bonus, the M40 also freed the potential of my pre-amp and amp, allowing them to deliver additional quality I did not know they possessed. It is rare to have so many happy surprises in audio.

Two of us went to the demo and both of us ordered the M40. This is clearly the most satisfying audio purchase I have made. It was also my biggest investment. They cost double what I paid for the SHL5, but they provided me a return on investment (enjoyment) that justifies the cost. You could not possibly ignore the sonic improvement if you wanted to. It is so evident, I?m unclear now how I was ever tempted to waste time and money on other high-priced accessory crap.

The M40 has made a good first impression on me and that has lasted. I am happy I woke up from the marketing fog and remembered the first rule of audio I learned: ?Your money is best spent on the speakers.?

TNIC
11-05-2006, 03:56 PM
And what about money spent for cdplayer and amp?

David

My short answer is - Try before you buy.

With some analisys funds can be applied to produce the best sound for your budget. I believe I can obtain better sound with $10,000 speakers and a $100 amp than I can with a $10,000 amp and $100 speakers. I may succeed in getting better sound, but in both cases I would be wasting the potential of the better component.

I would be willing to challenge you that I can improve your system sound a great deal more with $1,000 of room treatments than you could with $5,000 of cables. I would be willing to modify the challenge to $10,000 of cables vs the magnitudes of gains you would get buying the M40 and using inexpensive copper cable on the entire system.

Building my system was all about similar decisions. Each time I remove a limiting component the sound improves to the level of the next limiting component. Ideally all components would be up to the same sound reproduction quality. That would provide the perfect return on the investment. A little planning is needed to avoid mismatches.

To try and extract maximum value from my purchases, my first order of funding priorities might be as follows (but not necessarily the order of purchases).

Room treatments – critical path component REG’s articles are required reading www.regonaudio.com
Speakers – The interface to your ears - the ultimate limiter in sound quality
Pre amp – equal to speakers quality. This one is perfect for the M40 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alaapaudio/
Amp – ideally needs to match quality of speakers and pre amp
Amp and pre amp internals – capacitors and tubes
Financial advisor
Marriage counselor
CD/turntable tone arm, cartridge etc.
Divorce lawyer

I was at an audio show this Sunday. I always get the jitters at these things because I am worried I might hear something that sounds better than my system at a similar price point.

My jitters were for nothing. I was again reminded there is no relationship between price and value.

I listened to about 20 systems. Some systems costing 3 times the price of my system and speakers that cost well over twice the price of the M40. None sounded as good as the M40 overall. Some of these gargantuan, status symbol/art objects sound like they were designed by an interior decorator. It seems form has priority over performance.

In a single cabinet one enormous monolith had several side firing woofers (both active and passive), 3 front fire mids and a number of rear fire tweeters. Others had several rear fire woofers. The bass sounded better when you walked behind the speaker than when in front of the speaker in the listening position! A few exhibiters had their speakers jammed in the corner of the room but still produced little bass. All but 3 systems were too high frequency heavy. After a while you begin to think if you are not hearing shrill, something must be missing. But they were very pretty and you could order them in a variety of colors. (I would be happy to send you a link to the photos of all the stuff that does not sound as good as the M40) Those expensive monsters would be a nightmare for my listening room.

Out of 20 exhibitors 85% sounded worse and 15% (3 exhibitors) came close to sounding as good as the M40, but not equal the M40 overall. Those 3 speakers cost double and triple the price of the M40. As you may have guessed I hold the M40 in high regard, and the more comparisons I do the higher my regard.

danrubin
11-05-2006, 06:58 PM
TNIC: How would you characterize the sonic differences between the Super HL5 (which I own) and the Monitor 40 (which I have never heard)?

Thanks.
-Dan

TNIC
13-05-2006, 04:52 PM
TNIC: How would you characterize the sonic differences between the Super HL5 (which I own) and the Monitor 40 (which I have never heard)?

Thanks.
-Dan

Are you wondering if the SHL5 performs like the M40 or are you thinking about acquiring an M40 and want to know if it is worth the difference? Or some other reason?

Both speakers are top performers in their tiers. We would be comparing 2 different tiers and speakers designed for 2 different purposes. That is not valid criteria for a comparison. I ride bicycles and would not compare my mountain bike with my road bike even though both are at the top of their tier.

The Bob Neill does some comparisons in his review of the M30
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0302/harbeth30.htm


The SHL5 sets a high standard and shares some commonality with the flagship. But to put it bluntly, At twice the price, and twice the size, the M40 does everything the SHL5 does much better, and it performs better because of many other factors in addition to size. And I doubt we would expect or accept anything less. Does that put the SHL5 in bad odor? Defiantly not. All the speakers in the line have their purpose. Thank goodness we have choices. Unfortunately I don’t have the room or money to put the M40 in every room in the home. But I do have other choices in the production line.

The majority of audiophiles I meet seem to be searching for better sound for two reasons.
1) They are dissatisfied, often bitter, with what they purchased and are hearing and want to correct that.
2) They like what they are hearing and want more of it.

I bought the SHL5 because I like the sound. In fact I liked the sound so much I started craving as much of that goodness as I could possibly get. So a great big double dose of the Harbeth sound was exactly what I was searching for. The M40 delivered it. Finding true satisfaction in audio is rare. I was/am very happy I found it. The M40 pleasure does not fade as it does with so many other purchases. My friend describes the M40 as “British polite with balls”.

If you are still feel the need for specific comparisons you can contact me via email to set up a phone call where we can have a dialog. I love discussing audio. We could cover more in 10 minutes on the phone than we could with 3 months of writing I suggest the phone for expediency not to hide lurking dissatisfaction.

The M40 is referred to as the flagship of the Harbeth line. Webster’s definition of the flagship is - "the finest, largest, or most important one of a series". I suspect Webster is an M40 owner.

TNic

A.S.
18-05-2006, 09:30 AM
... We would be comparing 2 different tiers and speakers designed for 2 different purposes. That is not valid criteria for a comparison.Please remember that the intentions, application and primary users of these two speakers are very different. The SHL5 is the 6th generation of the original Harbeth HL Monitor (launched in 1977) which was quickly taken-up by domestic customers as an excellent all-rounder, equally at home in the studio or house.

What was specifically in my mind, and on my agenda when designing the M40 was a replacement - literally a drop-in replacement as I have said before - for the BBC LS5/8. I'd always had a curiosity about the 5/8, since it was a large and imposing box, rather untypical of the width/height proportions of the BBC legacy speakers, and with only two drive units when its (Harwood designed) predecessor, the LS5/5 was a three way system. The LS5/5's development story was written up and published in Wireless World, a consumer magazine, over three months in the late 1960's - and I had scrutinised those articles in great detail over the years. In fact, they alone fixed my fascination and curiosity with loudspeakers 'in the BBC way of doing things'.

So, the lingering question in my mind was (and to some extent still is) 'why, when Harwood laid out so clearly in the public domain the reason for making the LS5/5 a three way, was all that thinking reversed or ignored - what could the possible justification be for making the 5/8 a big, fat two way?'. Fortunately, the BBC's Equipment Disposal Department had a pair or 5/8's available for purchase, I bought them, and brought them back to Harbeth for a thorough acoustic, electrical and mechanical evaluation. To say I was surprised is an understatement. The bass output was astonishingly powerful, as indeed was the sensitivity due to the active electronics and the huge magnet on the bass unit.

But, the measured frequency response, with its sucked-out middle and jacked-up top looked very odd; totally different to that glorious specimen written about in the BBC's own Design Report. So odd that I made contact with Harwood, prepared as much evidence as I could, and visited him at home with both my measurement curves and the BBC's Design Report, which in fact he had and which shows the frequency response as basically a flat line. Harwood's comments transcribed by my secretary were that after studying my photographs and curves he said ".... what you have here is not the speaker I was involved in prototyping. I barely recognise it". He further commented, with incredulity, that 'the diffraction slot and narrower baffle both aided the dispersion of the 12" woofer off-axis in the midband/upper midband ... to deliberately widen the baffle and remove the diffraction slot seemed highly counter-intuitive ....'.

In other words, someone involved at production engineering stage in the design process (presumably in the BBC) had, according to Harwood, made significant adjustments to not only the prototype cabinets as he had them when he retired from the BBC but also to the overall shape of the frequency response, attributed to components in the bass/mid filters within the Quad amps. Maybe his memory was playing tricks on him regarding the cabinet proportions, but the frequency response differences were a matter of measurement, and fact.

Concerning the overall response shape - dished in the middle - this was am enigma and I spent many hours chasing clues and contacts in the BBC. Eventually I made contact with a design engineer on the periphery of the 5/8 design who, upon investigation, agreed with my conclusion that a mistake was made in the transposition of circuit components from the master prototype to the production models and/or the characteristics of the 12" bass/mid driver had significantly altered as production commenced - and this was not taken into account by reworking the baffle-step correction circuit. Hence, this circuit which over-compensates, and sucks out the middle. Either way we will never know: in a large organisation policy right or wrong very quickly becomes established and is not questioned, just duplicated.

Whilst the 5/8 with its relaxed, distant midband is not especially unpleasant to listen to, its midband colouration is high, certainly by the standards of any RADIAL Harbeth and the briefest side by side comparison of a real voice on the M40 v. 5/8 would leave you in not the slightest doubt: whilst the chest and top of the voice on the 5/8 are credible, the articulation in the midband is not natural. I was (and am) so confident that this can be demonstrated with ease that several years ago when launching the M40 I gave a demonstration of the M40 side by side the 5/8 to no less than the Institute of Broadcast Sound, using my own voice, pre-recorded. You would not take on such a challenge unless you were very confident of your facts. I was, and I am. This was written-up in the IBS's Journal at the time.

From an entirely pragmatic marketing position I knew that if a BBC user had seen 5/8's at the corner of his vision for twenty years or more then to change the aspect ratio would be unwelcome, so that fixed the shape/size. I reversed the curious 5/8 decision to make the M40 a three way (just like the 5/5) and reset the basic frequency response as a flat line, adopting the 5/8's tailored response at the bottom end. This means that, just like the 5/8, the M40 is designed to be used in well-lagged environments where the walls and floor can absorb the considerable LF output. Avoid at all costs sprung floors, hard tiled floors or basements/garages underneath - the M40 was not designed to work in those spaces. It is a thoroughbred studio monitor.

As we have operated a trade-in scheme with the BBC for several years (new-for-old, helps with their WEEE disposal problems) we have taken-in many 5/8's directly from working studios as complete kits with the modified Quad amps and replaced them with Monitor 40s. I believe that we know more about these speakers than anyone outside the BBC - and possibly inside. Almost certainly Harbeth has the largest collection of 5/8's outside the BBC anywhere in the world. We have measured them and can report with certainty that accurate pairing of them is not possible (a long-time complaint in the BBC) and that the shape of the dish in the midband frequency response is variable - by several dB's across theoretically matched specimens - which has the hallmark of a manufacturer struggling to retain QC over a design or component parts that are inherently variable, and may well age rather badly.

The M40 solved all these problems at a stroke, and when you consider that much or even most BBC originated Radio drama (let alone a substantial amount of BBC-produced TV) is made on M40's I think we can confidently say that the 40's are truly an upgrade in keeping with the BBC's traditions and accepted as just that.

Although the 5/8 was not perfect by any means, its colourations are realtively low-Q and hence benign and tolerable if you sit at the sweet spot. Whilst it left the listener clutching for a midband clarity (on voice) that was not to be had, it was not markedly fatiguing. This was probably the consequence of the rather gentle crossover filters plus the big, soft polypropylene 12" unit which in itself introduced off-axis problems. I could live with the 5/8 - although I'd be missing a great deal of detail in the music - but I could never, ever live with certain other speakers that have found their way into broadcast monitoring and are exceedingly fatiguing. Impressive though on first listening: but after an hour ......

I hope that this all helps explain the position. This has taken me down memory lane again.

shseto
19-05-2006, 12:26 PM
what a great story from Alan.

thx.

A.S.
22-05-2006, 07:49 PM
I thank you very much for your kind thought. It took a long time to pull it together, after checking my notes etc.. Thanks again.

Sridhar Mahadevan
13-06-2006, 10:54 PM
I've been following some of AS posts on measurement with interest. I have tried three ways of measuring the in-room response of my M40s (1st generation model with the ports at the bottom and the bass driver with a slot).

1. Option 1: Use the infamous Radio Shack meter with the "C" weighted position, and use the 1khz - 20 hz warble tones in the Stereophile test CD.

2. Option 2: Use a RTA frequency analyzer provided by the Behringer 2496 Ultracurve, with the ECM 8000 RTA measurement mike.

3. Option 3: Use the sweep tone provided by the Velodyne DD-12 subwoofer connected to the ECM 8000 (the Velodyne has a video output that shows the sweep tone output).

As you would imagine, the three approaches give different results. Option 1 shows the most irregular response (fairly high peaks at 60, 100 ,160 -- classic room mode effects).

Option 2 (the pink noise test) gives a much smoother response, still elevated in the bass, but smoothly decreasing from the bass to the treble. It is actually quite instructive to measure the M40 about a meter out -- the flatness of response is quite remarkable.

Option3 (the Velodyne swept tone) gives the smoothest response, but only measures from 20-200 Hz. The response fluctuates a lot depending on where the mike is placed, and it is fun to see the wild swings in real time as you move the mike around.

Which approach is to be trusted the most? I should add to no one's surprise that despite all the frequency response deviations (real or not), the M40s make wonderful music.

- Sridhar

P.S. My room is quite large (30' long, 17' wide, with a high ceiling of around 14' which is sloped from 10' near the walls). Standard furnishings -- carpeted floor, two sofas and two chairs, no other room treatments.

danrubin
14-06-2006, 04:36 AM
I would guess that Options 2 and 3 are the better measurements. How much different are they from one another in the 20-200 Hz range?

Do you use the Velodyne with the M40s? How well do they work together?

Sridhar Mahadevan
17-06-2006, 04:34 PM
The Velodyne fills in the bottom octave (20-40Hz), but I can't say I'm very impressed by its performance. The measurement device that it comes with is certainly useful, since it produces a sweep tone from 20-200 Hz that gives a useful indication of bass dips and bumps in your room.

With the Harbeth 40, I think the Velodyne does not add much to the sound (most recordings have very little information below 40 hz). With the smaller Harbeths, e.g. the 30, it might provide a bigger impact.

- Sridhar

danrubin
17-06-2006, 11:01 PM
You say you are not very impressed with its performance. Is this because the Harbeths go low enough and there is not much for the Velodne to do, or do you think the Velodyne is inferior in some way?

I am asking because I am thinking of trying a sub with my SHL5's and the Velodynes are attractive because of their automatic room adjustment features.

Sridhar Mahadevan
21-06-2006, 04:13 AM
In my room, the M40s generate plenty of bass (too much, in fact), although they
do roll off fairly sharply below 40 hz (as per design). I had originally assumed that the Velodyne could be used in a fairly narrow window from 20-40Hz with a fairly steep crossover at 40 Hz. This is how I have set it up.

My general impression is that on most music, I can barely tell the difference between having the Velodyne on and off. On 0.1% of my music collection (e.g, organ music), having the Velodyne does make a difference in that the windows rattle, but musically, I can't say they add much to the sound.

I am generally not impressed with the DD series, although the room equalizer is a nice idea. My first DD-12 unit went bad in a year or so, and had to be sent back to Velodyne. The revised unit is back and functioning, although the automatic turn-on works rather poorly (it almost never comes on, unless there is substantial bass content at hgh levels).

Given the rather high price of the DD-12, I would save the money and use it to buy a better front end (or electronics).

- Sridhar

Ted Rook
08-07-2006, 12:25 AM
Hi Alan, I'd be grateful for your opinion regarding repair of an M40. It does not belong to me, yet, I still have my M30s and I'm very happy with them. I am in the process of negotiating the purchase of a pair of used M40s that are only a few years old and were in perfect condition. Now there is an interuption because one cabinet has been damaged in a fall, there is damage to the grille and cabinetry. My attitude is that besides cabinet repairs the drivers require replacement because of the high probablility of magnets having shifted in the fall (downstairs). My concern is in obtaining factory support for a replacement set of drivers to match the original set and match the other one of the pair. There is also the possibility that a grille replacement would be needed. Before I can go ahead with the purchase I would like to have an assurance that parts would be available. Obviously a serial number would be provided and we would deal through Fidelis. How does this look to you?

copy to Fidelis AV

A.S.
10-07-2006, 10:11 AM
Hello Ted.

Forgive me for sounding negative but I strongly urge you not to proceed with the driver replacement. Cabinet repairs, locally, and a replacement grille would be an economic solution. The magnets are guled together using extremely strong two-part adhesives and it would take much more than a small drop to budge them - once they are jigged and glued they are set for ever.

We have never been involved in such a complicated operation at a distance, and I can readily imagine the cost and complexity quickly getting out of hand.

Ted Rook
16-07-2006, 12:39 AM
Thank you Alan, turns out the damage is much less serious than first appeared and the deal is going ahead, after enjoying M30s for six months I shall soon have what I have always wanted, three way, full range speakers. Thanks again.

Ted

macolive
16-07-2006, 02:11 AM
http://www.s91519931.onlinehome.us/soundanchor2.jpg

http://www.s91519931.onlinehome.us/soundanchor3.jpg

Hi TNIC,

Your listening room looks quite narrow. Could I ask what the dimensions of your room are?

TNIC
18-07-2006, 05:25 AM
My current listening room is

12 feet wide (3.65 m)
15 feet long (4.57 m)
8 feet high (2.43 m)

The room is constructed of sheet rock/plaster board and I damped it with acoustic foam to control the high frequency area. The M40 is the first tweeter I have had that shines (but does not glare) in this room. I have no problems with bass boom. In fact I love the bass and it is the reason I migrated to the m40 along with the other benefits such as a true 3 way. Having said that ? I can move the M40s 3 inches closer to the walls and it will over load the bass to produce boom. I have control of the sound. Its not a problem for me. Inadequate bass was a problem for me on other speakers. I do have a few CDs (out of hundreds) that will boom in the current position. But that is due to the recording in my opinion. I live in the USA and I am assuming the room construction here is M40 friendly and that may not be the case in other locations since I read so much concern about the bass on the M40. 2 friends of mine also have the M40 and are as happy as I am.

While at a demo for a CD player I recently heard a speaker that sounds better but it costs about 3 times the price and weighs 245 pounds each (111 kg). It is beyond my audio funding ability!

The M40 is a dream come true on classical but left me wanting more punch on rock and jazz. I recently added an Esoteric CD player to the system and it provided the punch I was missing. I don?t state this lightly ? the M40 in my setup is producing all the music to meet and exceed my needs, including the live concert feel on jazz and rock. Its not perfect on every piece of music but outstanding overall. The M40 is far more than a speaker for the spoken word in a studio!

My room size does present limitations. I can easily overload the room if I ramp up the volume (which I do if I have drunk enough green tea or mead). For the best listening I stay within the room volume limitations and let the system/music come to me rather than have it force itself on me with overload. This is a concept that is lost on my impatient audio friends. They would like to come over and judge the system in 5 min. like the finale of a fireworks display.

For them, more volume is better? even to the point of overload and noise. I wonder if they understand what their ears are capable of. I believe they are used to adding volume to make up for a system deficiencies on other systems.

I had to make a rule ? no demos less than an hour so I could clean our their ears an allow them to hear music.

Ned Mast
04-08-2006, 12:14 AM
TNIC,
Looking at the photo of your listening room I can't tell if that is a hard floor under your oriental rug or more carpeting. I ask because I am considering the M40s- I currently have the SHL5s. My floor is tile but with rugs covering much of it. (Alan warns that the M40s on tile is not a good idea. I'm not sure if he means even if it is covered).
Thanks, Ned
nedmast2@aol.com

Ned Mast
04-08-2006, 12:26 AM
Alan,

I've asked TNIC - whose post here shows his room and speaks very enthusiastically about the M40s - what kind of floor he has in his listening room. I currently have and greatly enjoy the SHL5s and am considering auditioning the M40s at my dealer's room. However, my floor is tile (not good for the LF energy of the M40s you say); but it is largely covered by two oriental rugs with mats. Would you still caution against this speaker, with it's greater LF output than the SHL5s?

With thanks, Ned

TNIC
04-08-2006, 01:04 PM
Hello Ned,

My M40 joy continues! I live in the second floor apartment of a frame house. That is – wood frame and wood floors. The walls are covered with sheet rock also known as plaster board in my area.

I have neighbors and we get along fine. I have my listening time but I also know when to listen at quieter volumes. The M40 sounds great even at very low volume. The large size presents a much bigger and more enjoyable area of music.

The M40s are on 85 pound (each) Sound Anchor stands. The stand spikes are resting on the wood floor through the carpet.

My friends (2 others) who purchased his M40s around the same time as me – also have wood floors and similar stands. I am sorry but I have no experience with other floors.

Nothing can replace an actual listen. A true 3 way with a tweeter, 8 inch mid and 12 inch woofer speaks volumes for itself. While the spoken word aspect of the speaker is often cited, you can expect the same amazing quality for music too.

I did two listening session and brought all my significant music along, from Beethoven to Alanis. One of my favorite rock test CDs is Cream Live at Albert Hall. Its just Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. On other speakers Jack’s bass sounded “not equal” in presentation when compared to Eric. On the M40 all 3 are in the spot light and equally balanced. You can hear the bass and lead in tremendous detail as they play (Sleepy Time and Stormy Monday). With my other speakers the bass did not have the same gravitas as the other musicians on the Trout Quintet. With the M40 they are all playing on an equal level. Balance pretty much sums up the sound for me. If your missing the double bass in your classical and/or your tweeter sounds a bit bright (and it’s not your room) you might want to have a listen (and why not anyway?) You will recognize what you have been missing immediately.

I also took all my “problem music” to see how it sounded. In your case it is especially reasonable to negotoate a listen at your location. If you were purchasing a car you would expect a test drive. Good luck and please do keep us posted!

If you feel a phone call would be more productive - email me. I live in the New York City area.

Ned Mast
04-08-2006, 07:43 PM
Hi TNIC,

Thanks for your comprehensive reply to my question. Ultimately, of course, I must listen to the M40s. I've been in touch with the dealer (he lives about 1 1/2 hours north of me) and will make the trip when he's ready. As of now he only has about 2 hours playing time on the speakers (he seems very impressed - he's carried the other Harbeth models, but I think these are the first M40s he's had) and wants to have at least 50 hours playing time before he auditions them with customers (I don't think Alan would think that much time is necessary, but he is a very diligent dealer who is serious about considering his customers' needs and desires. And he wants to fully know the components he carries. To this end, he also wants to try various electronics with them). So, perhaps within a few weeks I'll get to hear them. To be honest, I've not found the bass wanting on the SHL5s - or the treble, for that matter. I do listen almost exclusively to 'classical', including contemporary composers. But then, until I listened to a stand-alone DAC, I didn't miss anything from my CD player, either. So, as you say, it sometimes is only after you've heard another component that you can know what you are - or aren't - missing from your own. And just how important that aspect is to your listening satisfaction. I'll let you know how all this works out. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent: on the one hand everyone who talks about the M40s does so in the most enthusiatically positive terms. On the other hand, the SHL5s have been a real revelation to me in terms of musicality. After about 5 months, they still enchant me with their presentation. I don't want to be fickle - or greedy, for that matter.

Best, Ned

Ned Mast
17-08-2006, 05:35 PM
Hi TNIC,

I'm going to be able to hear the M40s this weekend, and it's possible I may want to get them. I'm curious to know what height your Sound Anchor stands are that the M40s are sitting on. Mine for the SHL5s are almost 17", and I'm not sure whether I'll need to go higher or lower if I do indeed get the M40s.

Thanks, Ned

Ned Mast
17-08-2006, 11:51 PM
Hello again TNIC,

Please disregard my last question about stand height; I just went back to your earlier posts where I see that you mentioned you're using 18" Sound Anchors.
I'm really looking forward to hearing - and perhaps owning - the M40s.

Ned

TNIC
18-08-2006, 12:09 AM
My Sound Anchor stands are 17? high. The spikes add to that height. From the carpet to the bottom of the speaker is about 18 inches.

I would think your stands would be a good place to trial the M40s. You can add height with wood or books. Be careful of course. That is what I did. You can experiment from there and decide what is right for you. I found in my room raising the M40 reduced bass noticeably but reduced desirable resolution a tiny bit. (tweeter a few inches above ear height. Lowering the M40 increased the bass (eventually) to the point it was muddy.

But that?s my room. My friend has his M40s at 14 inches and they sound good in his room at that height. A little testing will bear fruit.

As with all things in my word personal preference has a lot to do with your end choice. Believe me when I tell you no one complains about the sound of my system!

As we already agreed ? there is no substitute for listen at your dealer and (if you can negotiate it) at your room! I remain a great admirer of the M40. They provide unending pleasure and satisfaction for the music lover. Lasting satisfaction is a rare commodity in audio and many other places. I look forward to your report.

Ned Mast
18-08-2006, 03:09 AM
Thanks, TNIC -

Yes, my Sound Anchor stands are 17". Certainly it makes sense to try them to see how they work out and - as you say - try inserting something (indeed, carefully!) - between the stand and speaker to see what effect additional height has. All comments on the M40s that I've read have been so positive that I fully expect I'll like them also - especially since I've been so happy with the SHL5s. I'll post my reaction.

Ned

Ned Mast
23-08-2006, 05:41 PM
Alan,

I am currently using the SHL5s, but am considering the M40s. Can you tell me what - if any - significant differences exist between driving an 8 ohm speaker (the SHL5s) as opposed to a 4 ohm speaker (the M40s)? Is one 'easier' to drive than the other?

With thanks, Ned

Ned Mast
24-08-2006, 04:37 PM
Allan,

If I may follow up my previous question about the M40's impedance with another about room environment for the M40: In your summary of the development of the M40 - and history of the LS5/8 - you mentioned avoiding tile floors for the M40. I'm now wondering if my room is indeed unsuitable for the M40. It is an aproximatley 22'x15'x9 space constructed of concrete-block and stucco, with a plaster-board ceiling and a cement slab floor covered with tiles, which in turn are covered (about two-thirds) with rugs. Not being familiar with the term "well-lagged", I'm not sure how my environment conforms - or doesn't - with this type of construction.

With thanks again, Ned Mast

Ned Mast
28-08-2006, 09:26 PM
Hello Allan,

My questions concerning the impedance of the M40, and about it's behavior in my concrete-block constructed room were posed before my dealer offered me a home trial of the M40. All concerns have been laid to rest; they sound quite wonderful in my room. My amplifier has selectable impedance settings, so I can set it at 4 ohms and it seems to be quite happy driving the M40. While I have several days left on my trial period, it's clear that this pair of M40s has found a home here. This is my second Harbeth speaker, and I would guess my last. It does everything I've ever hoped a speaker would.

With Thanks, Ned Mast

airdavid
06-09-2006, 01:41 AM
Hi Tnic,
what are your amp for your Monitor 40?
Bye

David


My current listening room is

12 feet wide (3.65 m)
15 feet long (4.57 m)
8 feet high (2.43 m)

The room is constructed of sheet rock/plaster board and I damped it with acoustic foam to control the high frequency area. The M40 is the first tweeter I have had that shines (but does not glare) in this room. I have no problems with bass boom. In fact I love the bass and it is the reason I migrated to the m40 along with the other benefits such as a true 3 way. Having said that ? I can move the M40s 3 inches closer to the walls and it will over load the bass to produce boom. I have control of the sound. Its not a problem for me. Inadequate bass was a problem for me on other speakers. I do have a few CDs (out of hundreds) that will boom in the current position. But that is due to the recording in my opinion. I live in the USA and I am assuming the room construction here is M40 friendly and that may not be the case in other locations since I read so much concern about the bass on the M40. 2 friends of mine also have the M40 and are as happy as I am.

While at a demo for a CD player I recently heard a speaker that sounds better but it costs about 3 times the price and weighs 245 pounds each (111 kg). It is beyond my audio funding ability!

The M40 is a dream come true on classical but left me wanting more punch on rock and jazz. I recently added an Esoteric CD player to the system and it provided the punch I was missing. I don?t state this lightly ? the M40 in my setup is producing all the music to meet and exceed my needs, including the live concert feel on jazz and rock. Its not perfect on every piece of music but outstanding overall. The M40 is far more than a speaker for the spoken word in a studio!

My room size does present limitations. I can easily overload the room if I ramp up the volume (which I do if I have drunk enough green tea or mead). For the best listening I stay within the room volume limitations and let the system/music come to me rather than have it force itself on me with overload. This is a concept that is lost on my impatient audio friends. They would like to come over and judge the system in 5 min. like the finale of a fireworks display.

For them, more volume is better? even to the point of overload and noise. I wonder if they understand what their ears are capable of. I believe they are used to adding volume to make up for a system deficiencies on other systems.

I had to make a rule ? no demos less than an hour so I could clean our their ears an allow them to hear music.

TNIC
15-09-2006, 10:42 PM
My impression is you might be searching for the perfect amp for your speakers?
Please let me know when you find it and how you went about the selection.

I found good sound can be obtained from tubes or solid state (and so can bad sound). Tubes do offer me the additional flexibility of modifying the sound (without a soldering iron) by switching the tubes. A JJ Tesla EL34 sounds more focused on the middle an upper range frequencies on my system/room. A Svetlana EL34 Winged C sounds far more full range on my system/room. I observed a similar ability to tweak the sound on the pre amp tubes.

My amplifier is a 1990s vintage amp made in France (50 watts per channel) My friends/advisors urged me to buy this amp because of the transformers inside the amp. They (my friends) learned how the components in an amp vary the sound by using a prototype amp. The parts are clipped together (not soldered). A ?breadboard? setup we call it here. This allowed them to swap a capacitors transformers and other parts to learn how each component effects the end sound. They stressed that transformers and capacitors aare important components in the amp that effect sound in a noticeable way. They felt this amp was a smart buy because of the Partridge transformers in it. Everything else inside the amp could be swapped if need be. But not the Partridge transformers.

Once I obtained the amp we fixed a potential problem, and made other improvements. I had each change done in steps so I could compare the differences in sound using my favorite test recordings.

I am not interested in an improvement that does not provide a substantial improvement in sound quality. Silver wire, expensive connectors etc made virtually no difference in the sound. In my case I found capacitors do have a substantial effect on sound quality of the amp. But you need to find a capacitor you like. Many people like Auri caps. They did not work well for me In my system. Black Gate capacitors provided my system with a sound I love.

I have not observed capacitor break in on the Harbeth speakers I have owned. But I have observed capacitor break in on my amp and pre amp. Some might disagree, but it took me 200 hours to break in the capacitors on my amp and pre amp (each done at different times). In the amp, the capacitors sound dry and brittle (screechy) in the beginning but mellow down to the sweet, uncolored, full range sound with breakin. That?s my experience and I would challenge those who say its my ears that broke in!

You can find plenty written on Black Gate capacitors and other brands and how they effect your sound (includnig break in).

In my opinion $300 worth of capacitors in the amp and pre amp did more for my system than.$5,000 of cable could possibly do. Of course the better your speakers are the better you will be able to hear the difference. But that should not be a problem for us since we already have great speakers. Listening on the SHL5s and the M40s the differences in capacitors in the amp and pre amp were obvious. These wonderful speakers allowed me to imake improvements based on what they revealed.

Like friends, pets and mates, it is better for me to judge amps by what is inside than what the outside looks like. I would prefer an advertisement that listed all the parts that are inside rather than a photo of a stunning woman, holding a Champaign glass with a cityscape background. Looking at the sturdy construction of the M40 crossover I can see a lot of craftsmenship and care went into it. Its "done right".

It would be interesting (to me) if at some point Allen can provide a few words about the capacitors in the Harbeths and if he hears any differences from one capacitor to another.

Ned Mast
16-09-2006, 02:48 AM
TNIC,

Some weeks ago I asked you some questions regarding the M40s, as I was considering trading in my SHL5s on a pair. I have since done this, and could not be happier. What you wrote about your experience with amplifiers is interesting, and I would not consider questioning what you hear. My experience has been a bit different. Before I traded the SHL5s, a friend brought over his vintage McIntosh 275 (tube 75watt/channel) for me to try, saying it would be a step up from my solid state amp (170 watt/channel). I spent some hours for two days over a weekend going back and forth between the two amplifiers; but each time I thought I heard something in the music with one amp that I hadn't with the other, going back to the other proved me wrong. Obviously, the vintage tube amp must sound different from the modern solid state; but the differences were so subtle that I couldn't identify them - they were insignificant, and I consequently had no basis on sonics alone to choose one over the other. Considering other factors such as weight, maintenance, and the heat produced by tubes, I would naturally pick the solid state amp. On the other hand, putting a stand alone DAC in my system was immediately apparent sonically, and a significant improvement. My point is, as revealing as the Harbeth speakers are, I do think that if one provides them with enough clean power (and 50 watts should be enough) they will sound wonderful. And far more important than the amplifier is the quality of the CD player or DAC (assuming digital playback). From my perspective, with the M40s and a good DAC, the only audio considerations left are finding good recordings!

Ned

TNIC
19-09-2006, 12:40 AM
Me describing the sonic advantage a superior audio product when compared to the sound of a lesser audio product would be about as productive as me trying to describe the taste of a ripe peach. A lot of words and nothing you could sink your teeth into.

My confusing comments were concerning the the amp I am using and how I came to own it. Solid state and tubes (valves) are both good. I am not recommending tubes over solid state. I happened to end up on tubes because my friends/advisors helped me find a good fit. I had a choice, trust marketing hype or these entertaining fellows who build their own equipment and seem to enjoy a 400 volt shock. One thing I could do was listen to their work and compare it to name brands. For me hearing is believing.

Certainly you have reached a level in audio that would make almost anyone happy. I floated the Mac 275 as a possible choice for me in my discussions. Mac advertising did reach some cells in my medulla oblongata. But my friends/advisors, flatly stated with fists slaming on the table, in no uncertain terms, they could produce superior sound than the 275 (and other amps) for the same money or less. This ignited a memorable "discussion" with lots of colorful language concerning audio snobbery, marketing psychology and pitchmanship vs. performance and years of electronics experience. The entire argument was fueled with Lurgoshall mead. My friends said their approach of amp/transformers, plus changing the capacitors and other internal components would outperform the challengers OR they would gouge their own eyes out with a hot soldering iron!

Fortunately they succeeded in providing the promised level of improvement and still have their sight (in case you were wondering). I appreciate this approach to sonic improvements by using good existing equipment and improving the internal components to a level that exceeds a more expensive amp or pre amp. It is our belief that we live in a time when things are well designed and then built out of crapy components to increase profit (Harbeths can certainly be excluded from that generalization).

I was guided/pushed/carried/forced through this process by subject matter experts, I might have accepted the amp in its stock condition. But with a few improvements the amp had far more to give at a reasonable cost. This approach is for those obsessed with audio improvements. Prior to this adventure, my electronic audio improvements ended at the point I placed the credit card in the merchants hands. My last audio improvements ended in a friends basement with the smell of solder. One of these friends purchased his M40s when I did.

After we purchased our M40s, had the pre amp built and the amp tweaked we wondered if we might have missed other better opportunities at the same price. Even though we continue to blow away all of our friends speakers in side by side comparisons. There are a lot of heavily advertised choices out there that had us wondering. To settle this in May of 06 my friend and I went to an audio show. The link below shows what we listened to at the show. There were all sorts of designs. Ported cabinets, closed cabinets, open baffle, transmission line, single driver, electrostatic, and on and on. In my opinion the single biggest problem of all these systems was the speakers! I found we could spend tripple what we spent for the M40s and would have something that sounded almost as good...

There are cabinets with drivers coming out of the side, top, rear, bottom and places you can't imagine. They were photographed in bewilderment of how that many drivers and such fine furniture like cabinets could sound so lacking. My friend shook his head and offered me these words of wisdom "never trust a driver you can not see". I came away from that show with great relief that my choice was the M40s. I knew they were good but I did not realize just how good they are. Don?t get me wrong, the hardware in the photos sounds OK and is very sexy to look at. But it is just plain outperformed by the M40s. Nothing in the M40 price range came close. My equipment is not as visually sexy as the items in the photos, and did not cost as much, but it sure sounds better.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?Uc=cvdyy6p.axgf88g9&Uy=bsxqud&Upost_signin=Slideshow

Ned Mast
19-09-2006, 06:22 PM
TNIC,

I loved reading the saga of your acquiring and tweaking your amplifier; certainly when you have speakers as revealing as the M40s, you want the best signal you can get feeding them. As exotic as the components at the show (your slides) looked, I can well believe that you remain happy that you acquired the M40s. For me, the main problem with them is that I often find it difficult to give up listening when I really should be going to bed! I'll sit down to listen to one CD and end up listening to two or three - or more. Because of what I perceive to be their tonal accuracy, musical instruments - and voice - have that live quality which eludes most speakers (in my opinion).

Recently I was listening at a friend/dealer's house to some back-horn loaded cabinets; in each cabinet were two 15" Tannoy (vintage) drivers. They put out a lot of sound, but not with the tonal accuracy of the Harbeths. As someone put it on REG's forum the other day, the only way the M40s are leaving is if they're 'pulled from my dead, cold fingers'. My sentiments, also.

Ned

Casaross
26-09-2006, 06:03 PM
Boom in the room!

Where to start? I need help getting the best from M40's.

More, more, more! I own a pair of SHL5's and have achieved very good results with them. Always wanting more of a good thing, a pair of M40's came up for sale locally and I greedily snatched them up.

Luring the M40's into my Evil Lair. Last night, far too late, I set up the speakers for the first time and achieved a sub-optimal result. The bass was overpowering on most recordings, most noticeably on analog versus CD. (For reference, I have a pair of Verity Parsifal Encore speakers that are quite full range, though I augment the lowest octave with a Martin Logan Depth powered subwoofer.) My room measures 12 feet in width, 22 feet in length and 9 feet in height.

Standing Tall. The M40's came with Sound Anchor stands of approximately 12" height - and over 65 pounds weight. They are solid! Sitting on the stands, my M40's look gigantic!

In Their Place. I have set the speakers approximately 2.5 feet from the side walls and 6 feet from the room's front wall to the rear surface of the speaker cabinet.

Would You Trust the Swiss? I drive the M40's with a pair of Nagra VPA amplifiers - approximately 55 watts of push-pull power from 845 direct heated triode tubes.

Help! Given the "boom in the room" can anyone provide guidance in setting up the M40's beyond that help provided in the standard Harbeth user's guide?

How should I start to work on this problem? While that guide is useful so far as it goes, a speaker of this size provides challenges that other Harbeths do not.

English to US Translation. Having read Alan's excellent posts on building his listening room, I am unsure what "Rockwool" is. Is this just insulation for houses? I know that I can get bags of fiberglass insulation. Is that the same?

Thanks to everyone for any help that you can provide.

A.S.
26-09-2006, 06:24 PM
OK there are a number of issues here. First of all, you can not take a speaker like the M40 and plop it down into any and all rooms and expect it to work optimally. Just to remind you: it was designed as a specialist workhorse for use in treated BBC studios where there are no bass problems at all.

I think there is an unfortunate combination of room and speaker's bottom end. It happens. It happened to me in my new listening room (written up here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=154 (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=154%29)). Yes, Rockwool is similar to but not the same as fibreglass: both are used for lagging building walls. They are pretty much interchangeable. Rockwool is non-irritant though.

What I would do is this: remove the grilles and completely stuff the ports. A pair of socks one inside the other in one, either or both ports will do the trick. This will dramatically reduce the vent outputs. That is by far the most effective workaround. If that works, then make some prettier furniture foam bungs and job done.

Ned Mast
26-09-2006, 06:42 PM
Casaross,

A.S. obviously knows these speakers better than anyone, so I would follow his advice to the letter. I'm a bit surprised, however, that he didn't comment on the height of your stands. 12" is very close to the floor to have the M40s sitting. I had 17" Sound Anchor stands for my SHL5s and put risers on them to get my M40s about 21" off the floor. This improved the bass reproduction, I believe. At any rate, room positioning is very important, so keep trying different configurations and ultimately you will be richly rewarded!

Ned

A.S.
26-09-2006, 08:28 PM
... 12" is very close to the floor to have the M40s sittingYes, sorry, I missed this point. 12" is extremely low but of course, as with everything in life, compromise is necessary.

Reducing the port efficiency is the primary workaround and can be tested for free. Adjusting the stand height is of secondary effect. Here is a picture M40 on studio stands I designed. They lift the bottom about 970mm from the floor. The M40A rack-amp is mounted into the stand below the speaker. This works well.

Ron Herbster
26-09-2006, 08:43 PM
Casaross,
I agree with Ned that you need to get the 40s anywhere from 20" to 23" off the floor and try a little less toe in. I currently have 20" Skylan stands and I know that Noel Nolan is currently working on a 23-24" stand for the 40s with a tiltable base which could better assimilate BBC positioning. Get in touch with Noel as he is a wealth of knowledge concerning bases for the Harbeths and a great guy to know. He has been a tremendous help to me with the 5s and 40s.

Casaross
26-09-2006, 08:47 PM
Hi Alan and Ned,

Thanks to both of you for your responses. I did not expect to plop the M40's into the room and to have them magically optimize. I did, however, expect that some of the Harbeth group faithful would be able to guide me once I began to try to work these speakers into the best configuration. As usual, Alan suggested a trick that may well work and impose minimal expense. As for Ned's point on the stand height, I can easily make the stands go a bit higher just by installing the spikes. After that, I may be able to layer some wood blocks but want to take care not to send my significant investment tumbling, literally, to the floor.

Thanks again for your help. I will go to my drawer and withdraw my most suitable bass-damping socks. (All my high frequency attenuation socks are in the wash!)

Scott

A.S.
26-09-2006, 09:41 PM
... I can easily make the stands go a bit higher just by installing the spikes. After that, I may be able to layer some wood blocks...Noted. Now I've read here and there about making very small (by which I mean, say, an inch or so) height adjustments and I'd very much like to save you the hassle - there is almost no chance that such a small change would effect the very low frequencies. The reason is that the wavelengths are so long (about 30 feet) that in proportion, an inch or so is utterly insignificant unless, by some weird fluke, you hit some sort of sweet spot. But that would be luck indeed.

That leaves two options then, and this would apply to all speakers in all environments: put less energy into the room (attend to the port/ports) or absorb the energy from the port (room damping). Can we know something about the walls, floor, ceiling construction and who or what is below you? Not a double garage I hope. If you bang the walls with your fists, do they boom? Is that low frequency signature sonically related to the problems you have with music?

Could you confirm the ownership history of these speakers?

Casaross
27-09-2006, 12:13 AM
Hi Alan,

My room is in the basement of my home, so the floor is poured concrete covered by a pad and carpet. One side wall and the back wall of the room are foundation walls with studs 12" on center for greater stability in holding up the gypsum board. The ceiling and side wall shared with the remainder of the basement are a double layer of gypsum board to give the wall greater mass and resistance to movement. Again, this wall has studs 12" on center and an additional course of fire stops to add structural rigidity.

The wall behind the listening seat has three large cabinets with records in them - massively heavy.

I have a wool rug suspended on one side wall and a diffraction device to catch the first reflection on the other wall - roughly equalizing the reflectivity of each side wall.

Behind the speakers is a bass trap of unknown provenance and a couple of Michael Green acoustic treatments that catch higher frequency slap echoes but do little to the bass.

These are the general characteristics of the room. It is not badly configured for other speakers I have used there but I am sure that it can use more work.

Thanks so very much for your help. I appreciate it immensely.

kevint
27-09-2006, 03:20 AM
Maybe I’m lucky, I use 12” height stand for M40 without any bass problem. My room size is similar to Casaross.
I suggest if your M40 is a brand new pair, perhaps give them more time to run-in, the bass unit need time to sound relax. I remember my brand new pair sounded boomy and congested at first day of installation, after a month or so intensive usage, the problem was gone.

Casaross
27-09-2006, 04:38 AM
Progress...

I spent a lot of time this evening trying to improve the sound of my M40's. Following Alan's suggestion, I put rags into my M40 ports and that toned down some of the boominess. I also moved the speakers back in the room toward the front wall, away from the middle of the room. I followed the advice on the Cardas website under "Insights" regarding set up. In that article, Cardas recommends that the front speaker baffle come out from the front wall .447 x room width. They also recommend that the front center of the speaker baffle come out from the side wall .276 x room width.

I violated the distance from side walls recommendation by placing the speakers about 29" from the side walls but 5'7" from the front wall. This meant that my M40's were 92" apart from tweeter to tweeter. This combination of distances seemed to offer a good compromise of soundstage width and depth, while staying less boomy.

I also moved a couple of very large pillows into the room and that helped a very small bit.

Finally, I wired my speakers to the 4 ohm taps and biwired to the low and mid posts.

Frankly, my sound tonight was much better than last night. I have, however, changed so many things tonight that I cannot with any assurance say what made the major differences and what made the minor differences. I think that the port stuffing was the biggest difference. Suffice it to say, however, that I sat and enjoyed music tonight. Last night, not so.

For the next go round, I may put the Sound Anchor stands spikes in to more firmly anchor the speakers to the concrete floor beneath the carpet in my listening room. Perhaps that will damp their resonant qualities a bit, too.

As always, I am grateful for any recommendations that fellow M40 users have experienced in getting the best from these wonderful speakers. As Alan said, these cannot just be "plopped" down in a room and expected to sound their best. Rather, this is a project to be undertaken over the course of weeks or months. Even knowing that, however, I sometimes have difficulty being as patient as I should be.

Casaross
27-09-2006, 05:15 PM
M40 placement and rationale.

Side wall and front wall positioning. In trying the Cardas recommended speaker placement, I placed my M40's at a distance from the side wall (.276 x room width from side wall to center of front speaker baffle) that comes close to the placement recommended in the Harbeth User's Guide (.75 meters from side wall to side edge of M40). The Cardas website, however, calls for the front baffle to be .447 x room width from the front wall of the room. The Harbeth User Guide calls for approximately 1 meter's distance from the rear surface of the speaker to the wall - a difference between Cardas and Harbeth of about 10 inches.

Rationale; Application to Different Harbeth Models. Cardas explains his approach according to "Golden Ratios" that apparently have worked well in a number of applications. Are there particular explanations for why the Harbeth placement works better for the Harbeth speakers? Also, do the various Harbeth speaker models differ in ideal placement? For instance, does the M40 require some variation from the HL P3 due to the more robust bass output?

Science and art for the non-scientist and non-artist. My own experimentation leaves me thinking that there is some science that can be applied to each room placement and acoustic treatment situation but that there is also a bit of art. Any guidance that Alan or other M40 users can provide will help as I am neither scientist nor artist!

markus sauer
29-09-2006, 12:22 PM
I've read here and there about making very small (by which I mean, say, an inch or so) height adjustments and I'd very much like to save you the hassle - there is almost no chance that such a small change would effect the very low frequencies. The reason is that the wavelengths are so long (about 30 feet) that in proportion, an inch or so is utterly insignificant unless, by some weird fluke, you hit some sort of sweet spot. But that would be luck indeed.

Hi Alan,

may I ask you to expand a bit further on that? I agree that boundary reinforcement is boundary reinforcement, and that it doesn't matter much whether you get it form the florr or a wall, but I always thought the stand height had to be adjusted so that you could listen on the design axis of a speaker, i.e. at the most linear point of integrartion between the drivers.

Your post seems to indicate that stand height dosn't matter much with the M40. Do I understand this correctly?

A.S.
29-09-2006, 02:06 PM
I did say "at very low frequencies". You are taking about driver integration issues in the mid/upper frequencies. That is a completely different issue.

markus sauer
30-09-2006, 11:49 AM
Thanks for pointing this out (note to self: pay attention!).

A.S.
30-09-2006, 01:50 PM
No problem. Actually, as I typed my original comment I should have italicised it as I had a sneaking suspicion that I'd be picked up on it - and was!

Groovetracer
31-10-2006, 10:30 PM
Alan, I am using 2 completely different amps to power my M40's because I find the tube amp offers beautiful tone but lacks control, whereas the SS amp offers better control in the lower frequencies.
If the M40 is amplified below 200hz with a solid state amplifier and above 200hz with a tube amp, what tap should the speaker cable be connected to at the tube amp terminals, 4ohm or 8ohm, for optimal performance?
I realize matching the gain of 2 different amps in the process is critical.

A.S.
31-10-2006, 10:47 PM
The gain and the phase must be checked or you are doomed. Are you sure about the phase? I've touched on this before here: some brands are (or were) phase inverting: QUAD is just one example: phase inverting QUAD preamps driving phase inverting QUAD power amps = a reverse of a reverse so the amplifier chain is altogether in-phase.

I'd go for 4 ohm on the bass/mid and 8 on the HF.

Groovetracer
01-11-2006, 01:45 AM
The gain and the phase must be checked or you are doomed. Are you sure about the phase? I've touched on this before here: some brands are (or were) phase inverting: QUAD is just one example: phase inverting QUAD preamps driving phase inverting QUAD power amps = a reverse of a reverse so the amplifier chain is altogether in-phase.

I'd go for 4 ohm on the bass/mid and 8 on the HF.

Thanks Alan, no phase inversion on this tube amp. BTW, I should mention I own the domestic version of the M40.

Regarding choice of 4ohm or 8ohm tap, I am powering the mid and tweeter with the tube amp so what tap do you suggest I use for this configuration?

The 12" driver alone is powered with the solid state amp.

A.S.
01-11-2006, 09:43 AM
I suggest .... bass alone 4 ohm, midrange/tweeter on 6 or 8 ohm.

By the way ... word of caution: This bi-amping arrangement I have not tried. As I've said before, the M40s bass crossover expects to be loaded by the midrange crossover (and vice versa) from the same amp source. You are in uncharted territory!

Groovetracer
01-11-2006, 10:59 PM
As I've said before, the M40s bass crossover expects to be loaded by the midrange crossover (and vice versa) from the same amp source. You are in uncharted territory!

Thank you very much for responding Alan. Last weekend I listened for a few hours with the M40's bi-amped and heard no issues, in fact the reason I did this was to see if the bottom end could be better controlled and it was. There is no substitute for solid state power, although I still prefer the M40 with tube amplification even if the low bass is a little loose.
Do you think I should go back to a single amp source? IOW, Could I damage the crossover or speaker through biamping with 2 completely different amps?
I apologize in advance for the repetitive nature of my questions.

tmallin
23-01-2007, 10:15 PM
What a long, strange trip it's been for me and my M40s, stand-wise.

Let me stress that for those who value the midrange and high frequency tonal truth, beauty, and natural detail which allow the most realistic vocal reproduction available--which have always been the very core of Harbeth's strongest suits--I suggest trying the Skylan stands if you are not already using them. In my case, at least, they have added considerable potency to my M40s' magic.

When I first bought my Monitor 40s a couple of years ago, my dealer offered me two options for stands. One was the Skylan.

The other, the one I chose, were a pair of custom-made one-off stands which were about 14" high and made of fiberglass with Delrin end caps and aluminum spikes. The stands supported the speakers only at about a two-inch-square area near each of the four corners and were otherwise open to the floor. I used felt pads as an interface between the tops of the stands and the speakers. I thus chose stands that were maximally open below the speaker to avoid any extra reinforcement of the bass from a solid stand structure. It was only after I bought the M40s that I became aware that Harbeth was touting the Skylans as their "recommended" stands. And now I finally hear why.

I did not go straight to Skylans from the custom stands I had, however. Along the way I tried homemade stands using plastic Supreme Crates and dairy crates purchased from The Container Store, with and without casters, either a single height or a double stack. As I experimented with stand materials, speaker/stand interfaces, and stand/floor interfaces, I soon learned that taller-than-14" stands really sounded better, at least in my system/room. A stack of two plastic dairy crates on casters, yielding a 23.5" stand, sounded really good--better than my original custom stands--for only about $30 each.

When I got serious about tall stands, I initially went with a pair of 22" Sound Anchor four-posters. These just did not work well at all at first in my system. After much tinkering, I finally arrived at an arrangement which allowed the Sound Anchors to perform a bit better with the M40s than the plastic crates did. The saga of my battle with the Sound Anchors can be found at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/regsaudioforum/message/516 (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/regsaudioforum/message/516)

I used that arrangement for several months before taking a Linkwitz Orion detour for a number of months. Then, as a result of my own desire to return the M40s to my listening room, and at the urging of Noel Nolan of Skylan, who had read one of my comments hinting at this desire in regsaudioforum, I decided to try the M40s on a pair of Skylan stands.

Mounting my Harbeth M40s on Skylan stands seems to result in a significant improvement from the best sound I was getting from the M40s before. The naturalness of the midrange and highs have been further enhanced in important ways.

I really don't think I'm imagining that the Skylan stands are making a change for the yet better in the M40s or that I'm just reacting to certain things I've missed about the M40 presentation during my tenure with the Orions. When I first heard the M40s on the Sound Anchor stands, my first impression was extreme disappointment compared to the naturalness I had previously achieved with the M40s on makeshift plastic dairy crate stands or custom-built low sand-filled fiberglass stands. The sound was bright and gritty and lacked any semblance of the midrange magic I knew the speakers could produce. I had to work hard to get the Sound Anchors to allow the measure of M40 magic I'd previously experienced to come through.

This time, from the first moments of play, the M40s sounded wonderful. So much natural clarity and midrange detail. Such sweet yet subjectively more extended highs. If you love natural tonality and detail, especially in voices, the M40s are at the very top of the heap of what I've heard. But of course you knew that already. And the imaging and staging, areas where I thought the Orions surely bettered the M40s, were rock solid, expansive, and immersive, fully the equal of the Orions' presentation.

I believe the Skylan stands allow the M40s to both report more truthfully on differences among recordings in the mids and highs and still allow the music to remain more enjoyable. In other words, the Skylan stands further enhance the M40s' remarkable combination of mid/high truth and beauty.

Above the low bass, the M40s seem to be able to play louder cleanly now than before, and the sense of dynamic freedom (uncorking loud transients) is also better. And now the Harbeths are cleaner and more transparent, in the sense of natural presentation of small sonic details without false brightness.

These changes were evident from the first listen to the replaced M40s. I did not have to struggle to get the Skylan stands to perform at least as well as makeshift plastic dairy crate stands the way I had to with the Sound Anchors. The Sound Anchors come with their metal legs pre-filled with damping materials. With the Skyans, you add your own damping materials. I've filled each of the four pillars of each stand all the way to the top with sand. I'd estimate that this requires about 80 pounds of sand. That is what Noel Nolan at Skylan recommends for these stands with M40s. I'm just using the standard little rubber (neoprene?) bumpers that come with the stands as a speaker-to-stand interface. I'm using four of these little Skylan rubber bumpers per stand, one positioned over each sand-filled pillar. Using my tap-and-listen test, these spots are the deadest spots on the top plate of the stand.

The stands have no effect on the measured peak I got around 60 Hz in my room with these speakers positioned as they are with other stands. The peak is still measurably there to the same extent as before. Subjectively, however, it seems a bit reduced, but with the speakers and listening position as they are now, I still need to shave off bass with the 60 and 80 Hz sliders to restore naturalness to the midbass.

When so adjusted, the bottom octave of the M40s is still lacking both subjectively and in objective measurements, but much less so than with prior stands in this position in the room. Compared to 1 kHz, the low bass is -2 dB at 40 Hz, and -12 dB at 31.5, 25, and 20 Hz. So, the M40s still don't have much extreme bottom, but, otherwise, on the Skylan stands they are providing the best overall sound I've yet heard from them in this room.

I intend to try spiking the stands and try some of the other stand-to-speaker interfaces Noel provided with the stands. I may also try re-orienting the speakers to fire into the short (width) dimension of the room. This could allow me to position the Harbeths in positions more supportive of the low bass while still placing the listening position in the near field, the way I like it.

Hu
24-01-2007, 01:45 AM
Thank you very much for your post, Tom!

John Geisen
27-01-2007, 06:56 PM
Hi Tom,

Great post. I think Noel is sincerely interested in providing the best possible support for Harbeth speakers. However, you mentioned that you were using the little black rubber bumpers between your M40's and the Skylan stands. I have a customer with SHL5 speakers set up similarly in south Florida (humidity?). After his SHL5's were on the Skyan's for a couple of months he needed to remove them from the stands. The rubber bumper (neoprene?) was stuck to the bottom of the speaker. As a result it lifted the veneer of the cherry finish in one of the four spots where the speaker was sitting. My first though was that this must be unique. As a Harbeth dealer, I am routinely moving speakers and stands so I have never had such an experience. However, I did have a stack of six albums sitting on top of the some Skylan 24" stands for about a month. When I went to move the albums two of the bumpers stuck to the back of the bottom album cover damaging it. The other two did not cause any damage. I have come to the conclusion that the little black bumpers can be dangerous and choose not use them. This is not meant in any way to disparage Skyan stands or Noel. I think he makes a great product. It is only meant to caution you (and others) from thinking your speakers are safe resting on the little black rubber pads for a lengthy period of time.

John Geisen

Don Leman
28-01-2007, 01:20 AM
I have not had any problem with the pads on Skylan stands sticking to any of the Harbeth speakers. Perhaps it is related to your climate in Florida.

A.S.
28-01-2007, 10:35 AM
We have specifically mentioned in the User Guide that accompanies our speakers http://www.harbeth.co.uk/library/userguidance/pdf/userguidance.pdf .... to repeat ...

be VERY careful about using these materials as they will bond to the veneer which will de-laminate when you try and remove the speaker from the stand after some months. Hot conditions make this even more of a problem. The tell-tale signs of this are unmistakeable and obviously our Warranty does not cover this.

I hestitate to say how much BlueTak you can use without risk of damage, but I would guess that it can't be more than about half a small pea size at each point of contact.

I am aware of another material called WhiteTak which is non-greasy which may be a better choice but I have not tried it.

Myron
15-03-2007, 02:00 PM
Has anyone pertenered the SHL5 with four legs Soundanchors? I am interested because
i am waiting for them to come next week. Any answer is wellcomed...

Ned Mast
15-03-2007, 11:16 PM
Myron,

I partnered my SHL5s with the three posted Sound Anchors, and I can't imagine the four posted version will not mate at least as well. I was very happy with the combination. I used some stick-on "bumpers" I picked up at the hardware store between the speakers and the stands and between the stands and the floor (mine were sitting on a tile floor just off the carpet). There is the view that metal stands can ring from energy transmitted from the speaker; I didn't notice this, but you can listen for it and if you have any sense of it, use more isolation between the speaker and stand.

Congratulations on the SHL5s - a most wonderful speaker!

Ned

ptcl99
16-03-2007, 03:24 AM
I used to have 21” 4-post Sound Anchors, Compact 7 ES2, and non-sticking Big Fat Black Dots by Herbie’s Audio as interface. With some RPG sound treatment, the sound staging was grand with excellent focus. Imagine going to a store and listening to the revered MBL111 in an MBL system, coming home, and feeling not one bit underwhelmed except for the bass weight. I already achieved the voluptuous sound staging so touted of SHL5.

I now use 17.75” 4-post Sound Anchors with new SHL5 and Big Fat Black Dots. The music making ability is nothing less than marvelous. The expensive Sound Anchors do provide fine definitions. Unfortunately, one SHL5 bottom may not be perfectly level. After trying two pairs of stands, I concluded that one speaker had movement when the dots were at 4 corners. I had to settle for a triangular arrangement with felt pads over the two back posts to protect speaker veneer. My experience shows that toe-in may also play an important role. I thought initially 12 degree toe-in would increase image focus. On some CD’s (such as the 1st track on Closer Than They Appear by Sara K on Chesky), I found left and right plucked string instruments to come straight out of the speakers. I could readily localize the speakers. I reset toe-in to 8 degrees and did away with the anomaly without degradation of center image.

I reckon SHL5 to be really lovely for all sorts of music. 50% more expensive Dynaudio Confidence C1’s also have pure human voice, but not close in bass definition/richness. The one model I may concede to outperformance and it better for the price is the equally laid back Sonus Faber Amati Anniversario for cool $27,000 USD. They are dynamic, equally life-like, and can remarkably disappear for floor standers. I have some curiosity about Still Point Resonance Dampers as a replacement for Herbie’s products. However, I am hesitant to take a leap of faith based on a “glorious” review for the prohibitive price. With some care in setup, your SHL5 and Sound Anchors can be truly outstanding.

A.S.
29-03-2007, 10:57 AM
Link to another thread discussing this and recommending not to:

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=1730#post1730

Groovetracer
07-04-2007, 08:44 PM
Alan, I have heard rumours flying that the M40 is not being manufactured due to raw material for the woofer being unobtainable. Is this true?

A.S.
07-04-2007, 09:36 PM
The rumour is not quite correct. There is nothing unusual about the materials used in the woofer. The situation is actually this:

Those nice people at Vifa ceased production of the M40s woofer some time ago. It would have been considerate if they had deemed us important enough to ask if we would like to make a final buy. They didn't. We have some stocks which we have reserved mainly for M40s going into the BBC, so the domestic hifi version is in short supply at the moment.

Derek and I have designed a Harbeth-made 12" woofer that does the job, Derek having much more experience in 12" design from the ground up than I do. We have jointly agreed every step of the design which does not need to be RADIAL because it is only covering the very lowest frequencies, but does need a good stiff cone, which it has. Together we've prototyped five or six experimental generations of this unit with various combinations of cone/surround, magnet and voice coil and now we are extremely pleased with one particular set of parameters which we have settled upon. Soon we will release the new unit. From the outside you will have to look very closely to see the difference, this being a key decision on my design brief.

In fact, this unfortunate supply strangulation has ultimately done us a great favour.

Groovetracer
07-04-2007, 09:53 PM
No. The M40 is our flagship.

Those nice people at Vifa ceased production of the M40s woofer some time ago. It would have been considerate if they had deemed us important enough to ask if we would like to make a final buy. They didn't. We have some stocks which we have reserved mainly for M40s going into the BBC, so the domestic hifi version is in short supply at the moment.

Derek and I have designed a Harbeth-made 12" woofer that does the job, Derek having much more experience in 12" design from the ground up than I do. We have jointly agreed every step of the design which does not need to be RADIAL because it is only covering the very lowest frequencies, but does need a good stiff cone, which it has. Together we've prototyped five or six experimental generations of this unit with various combinations of cone/surround, magnet and voicecoil and now we are extremely pleased with one particular set of parameters which we have settled upon. Soon we will release the new unit. From the outside you will have to look very closely to see the difference, this being a key decision on my design brief.

In fact, this unfortunate supply strangulation has ultimately done us a great favour.
Thanks for the detailed response Alan.

A.S.
07-04-2007, 10:18 PM
Here are some pictures of the Harbeth-designed driver.

Ned Mast
29-04-2007, 07:21 PM
Alan, I have my M40s sitting on stools the tops of which are 14 inches square. Using four 2 1/2 inch square blocks - one at each corner of the stool - means that the M40s are supported about one inch in from the front and backs of the cabinets and about 1 1/2 inches in from the sides of the cabinets. Do you view this is a problem? If so, I could construct something to support the speakers closer to their outside edges.

Thanks, Ned

A.S.
29-04-2007, 07:51 PM
Ned,

You are worrying far too much about this. Even I wouldn't be concerned to this level of detail and I can't pretend otherwise. The Yellow Pages makes a great support I've found, which means, in essence, anything goes!

Actually, by coincidence I've just spent the afternoon out in the sunshine with some cardboard tubes, a stethoscope, an oscillator a cheap speaker, a Slinky and a skipping rope just to refresh my memory about cabinet resonances/standing waves etc. etc. etc.. The theory is fine but fitting it precisely to the actuality is much more challenging - impossible in fact. Still, it was nice to get outside!

Ned Mast
30-04-2007, 01:54 AM
Thanks, Alan -

I'm reassured. The sound didn't concern me - as soon as I got them high enough off the floor, the M40s sang beautifully. I just wondered if there was any structural reason to have the weight supported closer to the strong vertical sides.
I won't worry, but will simply enjoy the music.

Ned

A.S.
30-04-2007, 09:51 AM
...I won't worry, but will simply enjoy the music. NedThat's the idea! The truth is that the mechanics of the cabinet is so extremely complicated that I don't think anyone comprehensively understands what is going on in micro-detail - least of all me. So, for me to give you an authoritative statement that you must/must not do this or that would be irresponsible. If it works and sounds good for you that it must be OK!

A.S.
08-05-2007, 12:03 PM
As you may be aware, last year VIFA terminated the supply of our 12" (305mm) woofers without notice or explanation. We scoured the world for these and found enough to keep production running until the end of 2006. Derek and I set in motion an immediate plan to design our own 12" woofer which involves many detailed steps. This proves the point that our own Harbeth-made drivers give 100% security of supply and the precise performance we need but does demand a substantial engineering input upfront.

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

Just as an example of the issues that need to be addressed here are a few:

1. Check stock of M40 cabinets at Harbeth and then attempt to source a 12" chassis that will fit existing cabinet stock. Done.

2. Design the metalwork for the magnet system, have metalwork made. Done.

3. Design or find a suitable cone of the correct height, stiffness, weight and diameter and neck opening that will suit chassis in (1) above. Done.

4. Identify a source of suitably powerful ferrite magnet rings. Arrange and test samples. Done.

5. Design a voice coil of the correct resistance and dimensions to suit (2) and (3) above. Await for supplier to tool-up, as with all custom made parts. Done.

6. Design or find a suitable rubber cone surround to suit (1) and (3) above. Done.

7. Design or find a suitable dust cap to suit (3) ensuring cosmetic similarity with existing M40 VIFA woofer. Done.

8. Bring together and glue (1) - (7) above in various experimental combinations. Done.

9. Measure Thiele-Small parameters for all prototypes and tabulate results. Done.

10. Run software simulator of various prototypes when used in a cabinet of M40 dimensions; adjust tuning as necessary. Verify results by acoustic measurement of actual drivers in M40 cabinet. Done.

11. Select most promising 12" prototype for further refinement. When convinced mount 'final' driver in M40 cabinet. Done.

12. Take M40 outside on warm windless day and measure under quasi-anechoic conditions. Underway.

Covered here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=250
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We are now at this stage. I am currently optimising the M40s midrange driver by making detail adjustments and soon will be marrying the optimised 12" with the optimised midrange. Then, again outside, I will capture the entire acoustic measurements for all three drivers without a crossover but in the M40 cabinet and feed into the crossover simulator. Only then can system intergration work begin i.e. the crossover design and relative drive unit balance.

There is still some work to be undertaken but the bulk of the core engineering is completed. I apologise that this has taken rather a long time and for those of you who have been waiting to take delivery of your M40s but we are working as fast as we can. Our goal, as always, is complete perfection.

Attached: two pictures of the Harbeth designed and made M40 woofer undergoing magnetic strength evaluation and prototype assembly at the Harbeth UK factory. Also, a picture of the 'redband' (codeword) M40 midrange driver being adjusted according to my request.

>

Will
08-05-2007, 04:38 PM
This is great news Alan! I aspire to owning a pair of M40's one day.

For the longest time I was deciding between Quads and M40's to eventually replace my C7's but a couple of recent Quad auditions made me realize that the Radial driver in my C7's have spoiled me for all other speakers!

The bad news is that the price of the M40 seems to be climbing faster than I'm able to save for them!!!

A.S.
08-05-2007, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Some days I'm almost paralysed with indecision just in case I make a mistake so fine are the arguments and judgments at this level of precision.

I have not heard the electrostatics that you mention myself but I have discussed their public demonstration with someone I greatly respect. Under, I suppose non-ideal conditions with unknown electronics, they were described to me as 'exceedingly bright' (i.e. boosted output and/or ringy in the higher frequencies) which to my mind would make them a dramatic contrast with their previous generations.

Could this have been something to do with the electronics or the system setup? Possibly. Could this have been the result of deliberately tweaking them for a new market, a new audience where the brightness would be attractive? Maybe. Could it be that, just as RADIAL defines the (non) sonic signature of Harbeth, a new diaphragm film has been used and that is unfortunately imparting some of its inherent sonic thumb print on the perceived sound? Or could it just have been a bad listening day? Maybe all or any of the above! Or maybe my friend is just wrong.

This is not the place to critique competitor speakers especially such unique ones with such an illustrious pedigree but I wonder if this reflects on what society at large thinks of as a 'reference sound'. I stress, I have not heard them.

A.S.
08-05-2007, 09:08 PM
As a P.S. I have just recalled helping out at Harbeth's exhibition room several years ago in some far off country.

As you may know, I do not have hi-fi at home: if I did it would be impossible for me to be objective and I would be seduced by my own creation - a very slippery slope indeed. So it's always a treat to hear speakers - any speakers - in unfamiliar surroundings and to learn something new.

Anyway - the point is that in a nearby (hotel bedroom) room along the corridor an electrostatic speaker was on demonstration, and as the doors were kept open their sales people visited our room and we theirs. I'd pop in for a few minutes every couple of hours and heard quite a selection of music over the three days.

Even applying maximum objectivity and self honesty it was a shock (a pleasant one, but still a shock to me) was how astonishingly good the Super HL5 was in every way. It was cleaner, clearer, more true-to-life, better bass, sweeter and drove the room better. Above all, the SHL5 had no sonic signature, nothing at all that said 'this is a man made box'. Nobody was more surprised (and delighted) than me since I had read so much about electrostats but not really listened to one.

Why surprised? Well, one reads so much wonderful theory about how electrostatics have such thin diaphragms that can trace the music etc. etc. and I'm sure that is all true, but does that necessarily mean that all electrostatics are great speakers? No it doesn't. The downside of the light, taut diaphragm is that it definitely has a Cling Film-like twang that, to my ears, is ever present and so evidently man-made. It could never be the signature of an instrument or voice since no instrument or human voice is generated by wobbling a large sheet in the air.

Remind me to tell you of my experience in Japan when I was invited to be one of the first visitors to the new Stereo Sound listening room an couple of years ago! Again .... the wonderful SHL5.

A.S.
07-08-2007, 11:12 PM
I have not been able to give my full attention to the User Group for several weeks. This is because of my commitment to the final stages of the design of the new Monitor 40. Now that I have virtually finished, I would like to take a short holiday. After I return, I will listen again and if I am completely satisfied, we can set a production start date for as early as possible.

This project has been underway for over a year and has ranged through every single aspect of the design. The original objective was quite narrow; to replace the abruptly discontinued VIFA bass unit with a Harbeth designed, Harbeth made woofer. However, as the months progressed, I became deeper and deeper involved with the minute details of the design, and this led to numerous small improvements. So the bass unit is completely new - a 12" first for Harbeth and the midrange driver is a new version featuring a 9 ohm voice coil to keep the system impedance nice and high: a very easy load indeed.

Unfortunately, the changes are so extensive that there is no practical upgrade path from the original model.

You may be interested in my reasoning behind the overall system balance of the new M40.1. I believe that in the 10 years since production commenced we have filled most of the professional installations that demand a true-BBC monitor. Also, most BBC installations are Active, and this allows great flexibility in tuning the speaker to the studio acoustics which is not possible with the passive version as used at home. This has resulted in some users deciding to invest in room-EQ systems when I would like to save them the cost, trouble and inconvenience by making the M40 even more universally usable in ordinary rooms.

The working life of a Harbeth is 15-20 years (or more) so the best potential for sales growth for the M40 is the domestic non-studio market; that is, ordinary rooms in your homes. With this in mind, I have decided that as the Active version offers whatever adjustments the pro user demands, I should concentrate on making the new M40 100% domestic friendly. That means, in the same size classic-BBC three-way box as the previous model ...

1. A tighter, dryer bass thanks to the cast-chassis plastic-coned Harbeth-designed and made 12" woofer (compared to the pressed chassis, paper coned VIFA unit)
2. Higher electrical resistance (and easier load)
3. Even smoother frequency response by attending to micro-details in the response,
4. Better on and above-axis response integration so less height critical due to complete redesign of the crossover (which uses less components)
5. New 8" RADIAL midrange driver with 9 ohm voice coil and long-throw high-flux magnet

and ....

6. Overall system is noticeably more sensitive. About 4dB more sensitive than the original model so nearly the same sensitivity as the C7ES3. That's an astonishing increase in efficiency.

Needless to say, it sounds 100% true to the Harbeth philosophy. What astonishes me is just how huge and unconstrained the sound stage is: as if the sound stage curves around the speakers and along the side walls. It must be related to the extremely well integrated responses.

We have many back orders to complete so please order soon if you expect delivery in 2007. More details to follow: look out for the August 07 News & Views newsletter with pictures of the (grey box, pro-cabinet) prototype being tested recently by Derek and myself in the BBC anechoic chamber. Normal domestic veneers are and remain Cherry and Eucalyptus. Picture of my prototype crossover - fewer components than the original model. I will try and make time to design a new PCB on my laptop.

Am I allowed a short holiday now - please?!

>

Peter Jacobsen
11-08-2007, 01:55 PM
Hi Alan,

since you're in the process of re-designing the M40, have you considered reversing the positions of the tweeter and the mid on the domestic model? This would bring the tweeter down about 8 inches, thereby allowing listeners to raise the entire speaker to get rid of those bass reflections we've been hearing about.

I understand that changing the position of the units will (slightly) alter the sound, but this might be alleviated through design of the crossover.

After all, people don't sit on a high chair at home like the professionals do in a studio (at least I don't).

On a related note, how would turning the entire speaker upside down affect the sound?

Enjoy your holiday,

Peter, Shanghai

Will
14-08-2007, 06:49 AM
Thanks for keeping us updated Alan... sounds very promising. I can't wait to audition it.

Enjoy your well-deserved vacation!

A.S.
14-08-2007, 11:00 PM
Hello Peter,

You raise interesting points. Actually, now that my ears have rested I will start listening again to the prototype M40.1 (provisional name) tomorrow, and if I am still satisfied with the listening we will commit to production. As for the measurable in-room technical performance, this simply can not be bettered: the M40.1 measures as an astonishingly flat line in my quite ordinary listening room at the Cottage (described here before). So, I think - subject to a final listening test - that we can say that the design is now complete.

Every step of the path has been documented painstakingly in my Log Book complete with graphs, hand written notes, calculations, cut-and-pasted printouts and photographs and extends to over a hundred pages which, in time, I will share with you. Not only have I been acutely aware of the importance of doing a good job but of leaving a documented trail as I go in keeping with the legendary status that has followed the Mobitor 40 and of which even I, the original designer, am in awe of.

Now, you asked a couple of questions. To answer them:

Q1. Reversing the position of the tweeter and woofer?

A1: I considered this and quickly dismissed it again for the very same reason as when deciding on the original M40 layout some ten years ago. Forgive me if I make the point again: a good speaker should mimic what we hear in nature. I mean by this that as we walk about in our ordinary lives we are exposed to sound. Evolution has programmed us such that low sounds (like growling) make us instinctively look downwards to identify predators, and of course, dogs. Conversely, high pitched sounds are associated with height - bells and specifically birds in flight and in trees. If we place the tweeter at the top of the cabinet this natural order is maintained, but if we move the tweeter to the middle of the cabinet these is some subconscious stress - some confusion - as to the size and vector of the sound. This may or may not be noticeable on-axis at the sweet spot but it will be exacerbated off-axis. We can not assume that any of our listeners are sitting rigidly at the sweet spot! So, I strongly believe that the tweeter should be at the top of the cabinet.

Q2: Raise the speaker upwards by 8" (200mm) or so ....

A2: As we say in the User Guide, the Harbeth owner has a duty of care to members of his family to mount his speakers so that they can not topple over and injure anyone or damage the speakers. I do not think that it would be wise to put the heavy M40 on very tall stands unless they are of 'studio' industrial strength and the speakers screwed or strapped to them as they are in the studio. If they fall over off inappropriate stands they could seriously injure a child or animal.

Actually, the point that you make in Q1 and Q2 are at odds with each other. If the tweeter is at the top (as it is in the M40) then this allows you to use a low stand - ideal from the consideration of stability and safety.

Q3: Reflections from the floor ...

A3: As for bass reflections from the floor which are an inevitable part of listening to any speaker in any real domestic room - believe me you can not eliminate these unless you listen in an anechoic chamber. Fortunately, the ear is remarkably tolerant of these reflections which typically fall in the 150-300Hz region.

In the M40.1 design I have carefully adjusted the optimum crossover frequency of the bass to midrange unit to take into account the floor bounce.

Eric Pitschmann
16-08-2007, 04:44 PM
Dear Alan,

Thanks for shedding some light on the redesign of the M40. As one who ordered a pair earlier this year, I'm very excited to see that the new version will soon become reality! I hope you don't mind a few additional questions:

1) Since it appears you've taken the floor bounce into the equation in the M40.1, is there a specific stand height (or range of height) that you would consider to be optimum in most rooms?

2) In the 7ES3, the surround on the RADIAL driver was changed. Was this also done for the M40.1?

3) I noticed in the prototype that the tweeter guard was missing. Will the guards be left off in the production version as well? Leaving them off may be OK in a domestic environment, where the speakers will be more stationary, provided owners leave the grills on as instructed.

Eric

A.S.
16-08-2007, 07:06 PM
Hello Eric,

To answer:

1) This is an interesting question, because it follows the new design approach which I 'pioneered' with the Compact 7ES3 and clearly has been a great sonic (and commercial) success. Basically: the designer has to pick some point on the baffle from top to bottom which he considers to be his 'reference axis'. There is no textbook rule as to where this should be - it could even be near the bottom - and indeed that would be an ideal place to set it if the listener habitually lay on the floor (in a state of inebriation of stupefaction perhaps?). Normally though the reference axis will be in the upper half of the baffle, typically just below, on or just above the middle of the tweeter's dome. There are a number of factors to be taken into account before deciding where to chalk-mark the baffle; one concerns the best phase-match between the midrange and tweeter. Another concerns the likely position of the listener's ears when sitting in a normal chair.

In the studio - and I've measured this many times over the years - the listener's ears are always about 124cms above the floor when sitting at the mixing desk in a good roller chair with proper posture to avoid RSI and back problems. This rule does not apply at home - the domestic listener is sitting much lower - probably slouching in a soft chair so what may be the best design reference axis in-studio may not be suitable for home use. One advantage the studio user has though is that he can rake the speakers downwards, and we've made metal stands to do exactly that.

Now, in the case of the C7ES3 and again with the M40.1, I've been using a new version of my crossover/time alignment simulator which is about 10 times faster than the previous generation. That extra speed allows the calculation of electrical network components for the best possible integration on the reference axis to be made very quickly: not in itself a big deal. What I can do now though is to use the processing power to explore millions of other component/circuit possibilities to engineer as wide a vertical listening arc as possible on and above the reference axis that knits together the mid and HF driver's phase-tracking.

What this means in practice - and the C7ES3 proves this - is that the speaker is remarkably unfussy about stand height. You can listen just below, on or (10-15cms) above the reference axis and the driver integration is seamless. The same applies to the M40.1 so you can probably get great results (depending upon your ear height of course) in stands from, say, 12 - 20 inches. But I can't give you a rule that will apply in all rooms because I don't know about your ears, your chair or your seating posture!

2) Yes: the M40.1 uses the same surround as the new C7ES3's driver.

3) Currently the tweeter guards are off. I am advised that despite the risk from little fingers - and the substantial costs involved in replacing tweeters at the user's expense - that certain users seek what they consider to be the ultimate performance. My fear is that unprotected, there will be a risk of customer-damage. We will have to (reluctantly) draw a line at the point of manufacture and pass the duty of responsibility to the user as these tweeters are extremely expensive.

Eric Pitschmann
17-08-2007, 05:19 AM
Alan,
Thank you for the very detailed reply - good news on all three counts! Personally, I would prefer the tweeter guards off, but never attempted this with my M30's.

Will
17-08-2007, 06:22 AM
A.S. wrote :

"We will have to (reluctantly) draw a line at the point of manufacture and pass the duty of responsibility to the user as these tweeters are extremely expensive."

Please excuse my ignorance, but I don't understand the sentence. Does it mean the grills will be on, off, or easily removable?

Personally, I'd prefer the safety and peace-of-mind of having grills. The new, more "transparent" grill in the C7-ES3 would seem ideal to me.

A.S.
17-08-2007, 10:37 AM
What it means is this ....

"As users have requested that the tweeter's protective grille be removed the user must be aware that deletion of the grille at the manufacturing stage may result in user damage. The Harbeth factory can not be held responsible for the consequences of misuse by users".

At this final stage of the M40.1 development, the tweeter grilles have been deleted from old-stock M40 tweeters and the frequency response adjusted in the crossover network.

A.S.
17-08-2007, 10:51 AM
Personally, I would prefer the tweeter guards off, but never attempted this with my M30's.Noted. Please do not attempt to remove the tweeter guards from existing M30 or M40 speakers.

The magnetic field is very strong and it is almost impossible to prevent the half-off, half-on grille being pulled by the magnetic field into contact with the diaphragm. This would be a very expensive mistake for the user as even the slightest crease of the delicate diaphragm will disturb the tweeter's performance.

kevint
17-08-2007, 11:09 AM
Dear Alan,

Will M40.1 replace tri-wire with single-wire connector like C7ES3?

Also please reconsider the possibility of offering existing M40 users upgrade service to M40.1, I really don't want to sell my beloved M40. But having learnt there is an improved version, especially with better home friendliness, it is really hard to resist the temptation of upgrade.

Kevin

A.S.
17-08-2007, 12:23 PM
Will M40.1 replace tri-wire with single-wire connector like C7ES3?
Also please reconsider the possibility of offering existing M40 users upgrade service to M40.1 Kevin My plan is to fit the M40.1 with one pair (red, black) of connectors. This is simple, and it allows me to design the network with complete confidence about the electrical load as seen by the amplifier.

Upgrade: this really is not financially viable. Not only is there the logistics of returning the speakers to us (you will need fresh cartons, caps etc.) there is the risk of damage in transit, and the time and effort here to dissassemble and then reassemble. I guess that you'd end up with a bill for 75% of a new pair and the worry about transit damage to/from us.

As for upgrade kits, our priority is to restrict the availability of the Harbeth-made drive units and to prevent those drivers removed from original M40 being used elsewhere.

markus sauer
17-08-2007, 02:20 PM
Remind me to tell you of my experience in Japan when I was invited to be one of the first visitors to the new Stereo Sound listening room an couple of years ago! Again .... the wonderful SHL5.

After your return from your well-deserved holidays, would you please be so kind and share that anecdote with us?

Also, can the Monitor 40 domestic be ordered in grey paint? I like that colour and actually prefer to have a technical object like a loudspeaker look like an industrial item instead of a piece of furniture. But I don't like the transport handles that one sees on the pro version.

A.S.
17-08-2007, 02:23 PM
The new, more "transparent" grill in the C7-ES3 would seem ideal to me.Will: we have discussed in the office this morning your suggestion of using the hex grille from the C7ES3 on the M40.1. It's a very good idea and would simultaneously solve the issues of maximum acoustic transparency and protection from 'little fingers'.

I've just made an experiment to see if I can fit the hex protective grille to a stock M40 tweeter: almost, but not quite. That means we will either have to tool-up to make a hex-grille specifically for the M40 (with potential for stock mix-up with the C7ES3's grille) or we have to redesign the M40 tweeter faceplate to take the C7ES3 grille. Either way, I feel much more comfortable with the tweeter protected.

Thank you for an elegantly simple and eminently practicable solution.

Groovetracer
18-08-2007, 02:23 AM
Alan, There's speculation/rumour that the new M40 will cost more in the USA than current pricing. Can you comment on this at this time?

Will
18-08-2007, 05:17 AM
Thank you for an elegantly simple and eminently practicable solution.

You are very welcome!

A.S.
18-08-2007, 10:40 AM
Here is a close-up of the hex grille. This photo is from the C7ES3. As you can see the grille is almost all air.

A.S.
19-08-2007, 11:27 AM
I'm now at the final stage of approving for production the new M40.1 (provisional name). I have played many different types of music from my collection - and I've run out of ideas. Perhaps you can suggest what music/tracks/artists you would use if you were auditioning the M40.1 at home or by appointment at a dealers. I would like to be sure that I've thought of everything!

My opinion thus far is that listening to music on these speakers at home is most alike inviting the musicians around for a private performance. But that always has been the uniqueness of the Monitor 40.

ronaldg
19-08-2007, 02:52 PM
The album "Naked Songs" by Rickie Lee Jones is an exceptional live album in both fidelity and musical quality. The crowd noises are also very realistic and give you the sense that you are there.

Regards,
Ron

TNIC
19-08-2007, 03:54 PM
I found the following 2 tracks exercise the M40 and benefit from the full size presentation. Both tracks are high quality recordings, well balanced not over emphasized in any way, yet they capture and release every zero and one of the performance (at least my CD player does) in great detail - but are not offensive. These are red book CDs (not SACD etc).

The M40s really blossom with these recordings (in my opinion). I have not heard the other tracks on these recordings. I am usually so happy listening to these two recordings I can stop there and enjoy the rest of the day fully satisfied.

Sample 1 – Full track is 8 plus min (8 well spent min) and includes soft delicate as well as raucous lively sections. The entire orchestra gets a chance to shine together and as individuals. The M40s present every instrument clearly. On my systems you sound like your not too far behind the conductor enjoying fully balanced mostly direct sound.
Sample 1- http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop-up/B00000463C001003/ref=mu_sam_wma_001_003

CD 1 http://www.amazon.com/Smetana-Short-Orchestral-Pieces-Bedrich/dp/B00000463C/ref=sr_1_2/105-0070675-5778064?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1187529568&sr=1-2


Sample 2 - Full track is over 7 min long min (7 well spent min I might add) and includes soft delicate and raucous lively sections. The entire orchestra gets a chance to shine together and as individuals and the M40s allow you to pick out ever instrument clearly. On my systems you sound like your not too far behind the conductor enjoying fully balanced mostly direct sound.
Sample 2 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop-up/B0000015AG001002/ref=mu_sam_wma_001_002/105-0070675-5778064

CD 2 http://www.amazon.com/Ports-Call-Hugo-Alfven/dp/B0000015AG/ref=sr_1_1/105-0070675-5778064?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1187529843&sr=1-1

These tracks (particularly Finlandia) often leave my guests, and me speechless. For some of us they touch something deeper inside than our ear drums. Your listening experience and preferences in music may be different of course.

A.S.
19-08-2007, 11:06 PM
Thank you for your suggestions. It led me to the idea of creating my own personal 'sample CD' by ripping tracks from my CD collection.

I had a tremendous shock when I played them back - new thread created ....

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=2124

kevint
21-08-2007, 10:09 AM
Just found the following news. A job well done by Alan & Harbeth again! Alan, suggest to include more details how did British Library evaluate Harbeth in the coming newsletter.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/news/

"The British Library, with over three million recordings, moved its sound archive technical services into a new premises earlier this year and chose Harbeth for their loudspeakers. The custom-designed studios and transfer channels are a core feature of the new building, with each of the studios is named after pioneers of audio engineering that include Alan Blumlein (inventor of stereo), Thomas Edison, and Alec Reeves (the man behind Pulse Code Modulation which led to the digital sound revolution). The full range of Harbeth's handmade professional series of loudspeakers has been deployed, from the diminutive Monitor 20s, the near-field Monitor 30s, and the top-of-the-range Monitor 40s. "We chose Harbeth", explains operations manager Nigel Bewley, "because we deliberately didn't want speakers which would 'flatter' the sound. It is vital, in the work we do, to hear the clicks, crackles and other artifacts of a recording." The new studio will be used for archiving of the nation's sound collections."

Also available at:

http://prosoundnewseurope.com/pdf/psne_download/2007/06/PSNE_June07_P06-16_RPM.pdf

A.S.
27-08-2007, 04:34 PM
A nice sunny Saturday afternoon - what better than to make some nearly final measurements of the prototype M40.1 outside to verify the in-room measurements and computer simulations.

To save the inconvenience (and danger!) of clambering up and down the step ladder with a hot soldering iron, the crossover has been wired out on extension cables and sits on the table. The reason for the side panels on the cabinet is simply because this is the grey pro cabinet that has been used (more immune to knocks and bumps ) and the metal handel cut-outs have been blocked-off.

Note: all acoustic measurements are made with the grille on since the frequency response is flattest - thanks to Harbeth's unique SuperGrille technology.

Minutes after this picture was taken, the master prototype M40.1 nearly toppled off the stand ..... I just managed to catch it. And guess what - as I was grappling with it above shoulder height and wondering exactly how I was going to safely get it to the ground .... the mobile phone in my pocket started to ring to tell me my youngest son David (19) was at the railway station awaiting collection. How one must suffer for ones art!

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

PS. Since this session, I found a way to simplify the crossover by 6 components and to increase overall sensitivity by 1dB or so by restructuring the crossover section that drives the bass unit.

>

darkmatter
03-09-2007, 07:10 PM
What stands are members mounting their Monitor 40 speakers on?

In particular and in a domestic situation what; material, configuration and height of speaker stand is in use by their owners?

Thanks

Simon

Ned Mast
03-09-2007, 09:44 PM
For my M40s I'm using 24" wooden stools, purchased at Target (chain store) for $17 each. The top is 14 inches square, a bit smaller than the base of the M40s, but no problem They are stained with a cherry wood color, so they match the M40s cherry wood finish. They're made for sitting on, so they're adequately strong. And being wood, they don't ten to resonate as metal might unless damped. With some of Noel Nolan's (of Skylan Stands) 'isolators' between the spealers and stands ( putting them close to 25 inches from the floor ) - which I find an effective height in my room - there is little transmission of sound from the speakers to the stands. So, for an inexpensive solution to the stand question, these work well. That being said, if I wanted stands that fit the M40s perfectly and looked like they're made for the purpose, I would look into Noel Nolan's Skylan stands. They're plastic but substantial and can be more easily moved about than heavy metal stands. Many Harbeth owners use them, and from what I've read, are very happy with them (the Skylans).

Good luck with your M40s - absolutely wonderful speakers!

Ned

Ron Herbster
04-09-2007, 12:57 AM
I am using Skylan stands with my M40s and am very satisfied with the results. I would suggest you get in touch with Noel Nolan of Skylan as he is extemely knowledgeable and very willing to answer any of your questions. He is also one of the best guys you'll ever meet in this business.
I think you will find that stand height will be dependent on your sitting position and room environment but I would not consider anything below 18" or above 24".
Enjoy your M40s as they are wonderful speakers and best of luck with your stand search.

Hu
04-09-2007, 02:04 AM
I would go to Skylan for my M30, I wonder if they need to be filled with sands?

Bill C
05-09-2007, 03:27 AM
I also use the wooden stools from Target for my M30's. They look pretty good and should hold up ok if they are not moved around too much. Not terribly well made, but adequate for the price. If you go this route, check to make sure they do not wobble. Many of the ones I checked were not level on the floor. A very cheap alternative to pricy audio stands.

A.S.
11-09-2007, 11:09 AM
I have been told that there is some discussion on the internet (somewhere) about the tweeter grilles on the Monitor 40 which is along the lines that 'Harbeth who must know that the metal grilles impair the HF resolution persist in having them fitted'.

Well now, let's look at the facts. In the past 10 years or so, I can not recall a field failure of an M40 tweeter. That's an excellent record. It has saved you, our customers a great deal of inconvenience, anxiety and cost and has saved us the time we would have had to spend selecting, testing, packing and despatching spares let alone the discussions as to who should pay for the replacement and transport charges. I am not in the slightest interested that other 'high end' speakers have their tweeter diaphragms exposed - those products probably do not sell into the broadacast market (as we do) where equipment is moved between studios according to workload and bookings. There is nothing worse for a sound engineer than 'going live' when the red transmission light turns on only to discover that his monitor tweeter is crushed and defective.

Many companies see their spare parts operation as making a valuable contribution to their bottom line i.e their total profit. We don't. We do not have a 'spares department'. In fact, the ideal situation for us is that our customers never need spares because we are so busy making speaker systems that we could never recover the true cost of taking staff off that important duty and diverting them to the preparation of spares. So, we go the extra mile in QC Assurance at the point of manufacture to minimise the risk that spares will be needed by testing, testing and testing again.

Any suggestion that the M40 (or M30) tweeter grilles should be removed must consider the whole situation not just the personal interests of one or two dedicated audiophiles perhaps living alone without children.

I stress again: do not attempt to remove the M40/M30 tweeter grilles or it will be a very expensive exercise for you. We will have to charge according to the true time involved in preparing and despatching replacements.

As for the upcoming M40.1, thanks to user feedback here, we have an excellent solution in fitting the C7ES3 grille to the M40.1 tweeter unit - see other threads here.

A.S.
12-09-2007, 01:24 PM
... I stress again: do not attempt to remove the M40/M30 tweeter grilles or it will be a very expensive exercise for you. We will have to charge according to the true time involved in preparing and despatching replacements. I should also make it clear - as I hear there are some users who insist on removing the tweeter grilles - that should they do so, they have invalidated the Warranty as the speakers would no longer be 'as manufactured'.

Whilst I fully appreciate that a dedicated audiophile may believe that modifications to the manufactured product may squeeze the last drops of performance, we have good reasons for the speakers being made and supplied to a standard, proven formulae in which we have confidence.

Please do not ask Harbeth UK or any of Harbeth's Distributors for information on how to remove tweeter grilles (or any other tweaks) because we/they are not able to comment on non-approved modifications.

Thank you for your understanding.

kwingylee
14-10-2007, 04:16 PM
Comrades:

I have had my first exposure to the Monitor 40.1 pre-production model at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival in Denver, Colorado October 13, 2007. I visited the Fidelis room, which featured the 40.1s, and the rest of the classic Harbeth line.

Set up in a smallest hotel room and about 3' from the front wall, the M40.1s sounded marvelous. Driven by a 23W solid state amplifier, I noticed improvements in the bass. Its subjectively more detail and tighter than my M40s at home (driven by a 250W class A amplifier). Granted the volume level is not as loud as I played at home and the music selection is on the "less than dynamic side", the improvements come through for me.

I heard many great speakers at this show. There are some that are more dramatic and more exciting to listen to and a greater sense of scale for certain music. However, I always end up in the Harbeth room to get recalibrated. The M40.1s sounded very balance and very close to the room corrected sound from the adjacent Lyndorf room.

Now that I have been "exposed", I just wish Alan would reconsider his decision to make an upgrade kit available to folks with the know-how to make the changes in a DIY fashion.

Ned Mast
14-10-2007, 08:24 PM
While I appreciate Kwingylee's posting about the new M40.1, I would be more impressed with a comparison between it and the M40 were they each heard in the same room, in the same position, and with the same music. And also within the same time-frame (same day/same hour). I find auditory memory a tricky and unreliable thing, music being the extremely complex thing that it is.

That being said, thanks for your thoughts, Kwingylee. You may be absolutely right in your conclusions. I fully expect the M40.1 to be a wonderful speaker.

Ned

kwingylee
15-10-2007, 08:20 AM
Ned:

I wished I could have done that but realistically, the best people to do what you have suggested is probably Alan and his dealers. I feel fortunate enough just to actually hear a pair of 40.1s.

My comments were not intended to be scientific. Having said that, I have owned my M40s for a few years and believed I have sufficient familiarity with the way they sound to recognize the differences.

Ned Mast
15-10-2007, 07:53 PM
Kwingylee,

I think you must be among the first customers to hear the new M40.1. I don't think the dealer from whom I bought my M40s will have a pair for some time. I look forward to hearing them there eventually, but his room is significantly different from mine, so that comparisons are a bit difficult. Add to that that I've gotten used to the sound using DSP room-correction, and I wonder how much I'll be able to tell from hearing them there. But I certainly have no reason to doubt that they'll be at least the wonderful speaker that the M40 already is.

Thanks again for posting your impressions.

Ned

A.S.
27-12-2007, 11:15 PM
Following a user request here is the impedance curve of the Monitor 40 - not the Monitor 40.1.

(To follow)

>

Groovetracer
31-12-2007, 08:29 PM
Hi Alan, Do you have this information available for the Monitor 40?

A.S.
31-12-2007, 10:28 PM
Here is the comparison between the Monitor 40 and the new Monitor 40.1 system impedance curves. Remember! This is indicative of the electrical situation only - it does not say anything about the acoustic frequency response!