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TSH59
03-03-2010, 11:20 AM
Hello.

My local dealer recently started stocking the Spendor S3/5R and I arranged for a demo of them. They were set up by the dealer with a Naim Nait 5i/CD5i system the same as I use at home. (Except that at home I also use a NAT05 tuner as a prime source too.)

My eventual plan is to purchase a pair of P3ESRs to replace my Naim NSat speakers but I cannot afford to get there except 'incrementally' because of a tight budget. So I thought the Spendor S3/5R might represent a good 'staging post' en route to the Harbeths. The Spendors are thin-wall, sealed box, mini-monitors evolved from the LS3/5A by a company also rooted in the BBC tradition so I assumed they might give me at least a 'flavour' of the P3ESRs.

Sadly I was not 'taken' with their sound. They seemed too polite and warm and soft in all parts of the audible spectrum. From my own NSats I know that I cannot expect massive bass and nor do I desire it. That was not the problem. The problem was vocals and instrumentals (everthing from A capella music to a BBC Drama CD of 'A muder of quality' by John Le Carre and an acoustic recording of Bluegrass). I expected a speaker like the S3/5R to absolutely 'own' the midrange region and display presence, clarity, and realism here especially.

With a lack of UK Harbeth dealers (any at all within a hundred miles or so) the Spendor demo concerned me that buying P3ESRs without listening to them could be an expensive mistake.

Has anyone compared the S3/5Rs with Harbeth P3ESRs? Has anyone also found the S3/5Rs too soft and warm and lacking in clarity in the midrange?

I should add the Spendors used had been out on the shelves for a few weeks and used in demos so were not fresh from the box and they were being demo'ed - appropriately - in a small room at the moderate/reasonable volume levels I tend to enjoy. All the music/voice content was provided from my own CDs and good stands and Naim NACA5 cables were used just like I do at home.

Thanks.

tozen
03-03-2010, 11:42 AM
Hi TSH59, I have never heard the Spendors you are referring to, though I know about them. What I can say is that my P3ESR's are definitely NOT polite or soft. They are very vivid, clear and engaging. Are they warm? To my ears not at all, but I have read enough reviews of hi-fi equipment to know that one man's cold is another man's warm. What they are is very revealing of the recording, which I presume is why they sometimes sound warm to me and at other times really quite cool. They are monitors, but wonderfully musical ones.

harbethpr
03-03-2010, 12:25 PM
What you heard was the soft, blurred focus of the polypropylene cone material. As if a blanket had been thrown over the sound. Smooth - yes! - but oh so veiled! The RADIAL™ cone of the P3ESR is what you crave for. Where abouts are you in the UK?

That the size of the P3/P3ESR/LS3/5a etc. are similar tells you not a jot about their sound.

TSH59
03-03-2010, 01:36 PM
I wrote a big reply but your website told me to log in again. When I did, it 'vanished' all my typed text.

Thanks for your reply.

A.S.
03-03-2010, 02:00 PM
I'm really sorry about that. I did mention here just a few days ago never trust the internet. Please, when building up a big post, cut a copy to your clipboard every few minutes. Then you have a backup. When you are typing a long post, the system thinks that you are inactive and it logs you out. There has to be a time limit (we don't yet know how to reset it) for security reasons.

Even when I make a long posting, and the system thinks I'm inactive, providing that I give the correct user name and password first time it always remembers my typed post, and then accepts it. Doesn't it do that for you?

hifi_dave
03-03-2010, 02:05 PM
Hi TSH59,
The Spendor S3/5R was the very first speaker I played after my move to the country and an unknown demo room. They were brand new and so I gave them a good thrashing for a few days before I finally sat down to listen to them and the room. Disaster !!!

From the first few notes I thought that I had made a huge mistake in buying a timber-frame house as the sound was dire. There was no bass, no sparkle, no prescence no involvement, no interest. I tried cranking them up a bit but was thwarted by the bass drivers banging on the end stops. What a mistake. So I dragged out the only other speaker I had, the little Rega R1 and breathed a big sigh of relief as the music came back and filled the room. I took no time in packing the Spendors up and sending them back for credit. The Rega is 1/3 the price.

Since then I have got the wonderful Harbeth P3ESR and, believe me, they are on a different planet to the Spendor. We're talking a big sound-stage, amazing deep and tight bass, air, space, sparkle and a mid-band you can reach out and touch. They are huge fun, even for a 'rock' fan like me and I am amazed every time I demo them to customers.

To my mind they are the best mini-monitor there is !!!

If you're anywhere near Saffron Walden you are welcome to come along and hear them.

EricW
03-03-2010, 04:34 PM
If you're looking for "presence, clarity and realism" coupled with an articulate midband, I don't think there's a speaker anywhere to touch the P3ESR for those attributes. That's exactly what they do well.

By all means try to audition, but I wager you'll find that they are nothing at all like the Spendors.

TSH59
03-03-2010, 05:04 PM
That is all very re-assuring Dave. (Thanks Alan. I am now typing everything in notepad first.)

A word or two about how I use my system and the room....

I work from home 90 percent of the time and about 75 percent of my listening is some form of 'radio'. FM radio (Naim NAT05 with roof aerial), Freeview radio (connected with optical digital to a DAC) for BBC R7 and World Service, and BBC iPlayer for convenience. (Also connected to same DAC.) All these 'radio' sources are pretty good quality (even iPlayer is now AAC) so I tend not to distinguish between them. As far as my system is concerned I doubt I will ever need DAB.

Next in priority is stereo sound from DVD replay (connected from the same Panasonic DVD/HDD/Freeview recorder with optical to my DAC). I have no ambition to go 5.1 surround and I am not a fan of 'Boom Crash' SFX style movies anyway. (In two years time we will get FreeviewHD in our area and I will then invest in a Panasonic Blu-Ray/DVD/HDD/FreeviewHD recorder.)

Lastly, I play CDs sometimes (on the Naim CD5i) and my tastes are predominately Reggae, Soul, Funk, Ska, cheesy 1960s/1970s pop compilations, Be-Bop jazz from the 1950s, lighter classical (not huge choral/symphonic) and voice/drama/documentary CDs. No heavy metal or concept/prog or 'club' music.

The room is about 21ft x 14ft (8ft ceiling) with solid carpeted floors. I listen across the width of the room from around 8ft - 9ft distance with the speakers about 6ft apart and about 8 inches from the wall on 60cm Partington Trophy stands.

I rarely listen 'on-axis' especially when working from my desk or tootling on the internet.

I may 'bite the bullet' one day soon and boil down all of my CDs to 256kbps or 320kbps AAC on iTunes and just store the discs away safely and sell the Naim CD5i (to help afford the Harbeths maybe :)) It is not really earning it's keep.

Obviously the FM tuner is on 'shakey' ground because FM may only have just less than 6 years left. Any speculation about 'slippage' on that target is less secure today than before, given the recent BBC announcements of slashing radio stations. (Who knows? They could be equally cavalier and just 'slash' FM on the whim of the DG too!)

So that may get sold very soon whilst there is still some demand for a good NAT05.

So everything (except the Nait 5i amplifier) is 'fluid' right now and even contingent on the BBC's decisions to some extent. This is why it is so attractive an idea to have a pair of loudspeakers that will be an 'anchor' for any future system configuration and will not need to be changed or upgraded for many, many years.

I live on the South Hants coast about 2 hours train journey from the nearest Harbeth stockist at KJ West in London so I fear I might have to order the P3ESRs 'blind' (deaf?) from a dealer and just pray that they will work well in my system and in my room.

EricW
03-03-2010, 06:40 PM
I live on the South Hants coast about 2 hours train journey from the nearest Harbeth stockist at KJ West in London so I fear I might have to order the P3ESRs 'blind' (deaf?) from a dealer and just pray that they will work well in my system and in my room.

I wonder if you could find a dealer who would give you 30 days to try them at home, and let you return them if you didn't like them? In your circumstances that seems not unreasonable.

honmanm
03-03-2010, 07:24 PM
I'm pretty sure some dealers would do the equivalent of a home dem... reserve the funds on your credit card, let you try the equipment, and refund you if you return it in good nick.

Not that it's at all likely you'll be asking for a refund once you've heard just how good the rest of your system is.

TSH59
04-03-2010, 10:28 AM
Thanks everyone. Apologies to the kind member who sent me the PM. I have replied twice but cannot see my replies in my 'sent' folder so maybe you will get them and maybe you won't.

I don't think the software here likes me (standard XP Pro/Firefox set-up here) so I will not persevere against the odds. Maybe I am too 'new' to be allowed to reply to PMs. I cannot tell. (The software should make that clear if it is the case and save me a lot of tpying.)

Thanks again for the help.

KT88
04-03-2010, 01:33 PM
Hello TSH

I've purchased two different models of Harbeth, without hearing them beforehand. Just do it-it'll change your whole way of thinking about listening to music.

Blind faith-there's nothing like it!

KT88
USA

EricW
04-03-2010, 05:04 PM
Hello TSH

I've purchased two different models of Harbeth, without hearing them beforehand. ...

KT88
USA


Come to think of it, I've done the same. I just didn't think all those people could be wrong. And they weren't.

There are no guarantees in life, but this is one of the safer bets.

kittykat
04-03-2010, 10:34 PM
Come to think of it, I've done the same. I just didn't think all those people could be wrong. And they weren't.

There are no guarantees in life, but this is one of the safer bets.

This is like an AA's meeting. i feel shy to say this but i also bought the SHL5's without listening. There is no dealer in the country i live. Nada, I knew i wanted a Bbc monitor neutral sound, as im quite familiar with Spendor and Rogers speakers, but i wasn’t prepared for the Harbeth sound.

If I could, in all humbleness, generalise and put speakers on a sliding continuum, to try and explain ourselves out of TSH59’s conundrum of what makes a better speaker from a good one, we might help him (or maybe deepen the dilemma).

The great ones find the middle ground. On the left corner we have the charming ones (of say old Tannoys), slow, old warm sounding, but the bass and drum of some, sound like they were affected by musicians smoking something legal only in Holland. They bottom notes don’t seem to keep up with the rest of the band. The get irritating after a while eg. listen to a Bose lifestyle series appliance and you’ll know what I mean. Some transmission line speakers ive heard seem to be like this as well.

Then on the right corner of the ring, we have the “fast” tight, sounding ones, which almost always wow you on a first listen (some horns are like that). The cabinets are “tight”. They may have what is perceived as “super” resolution, but they get irritating after a while (actually they make me aggressive, no kidding).

Imho, Spendors and Harbeths successfully find a very nice middle ground somewhere in between, but based on your listen, and I do concur with you, in general Spendors (the ones ive heard) are slightly left of centre on the continuum. But I must say though, that there is a certain charm associated with the Spendor softness you mention. The can be unobtrusive and not demand any of your attention unless you give it so. You can leave speakers like that running in the background the whole day, but if you want a serious sit down listen, but also get up to the ironing board to do up a shirt for an important meeting, the Harbeth serves up both those roles for me now.

Stephen PG
05-03-2010, 02:48 PM
The only downside to Harbeth ownership that I can see is lots of late, and I mean very late nights. Once again, I was up until way past 4am playing "just one more" :¬)

David Schalkwyk
29-03-2010, 02:10 AM
I have actually compared the Spendors to the Harbeths, in a manner of speaking, although it was some years ago. A new agent for Spendor delivered the 3/5as for me to try in my system when I was looking for some mini monitors influenced by the BBC. I tried them out for about a week, but was very disappointed. (I was wanting to replace some middle-of-the-road Martin Logan hybrid electrostatics. Why? I loved their transparency but couldn't bear the missmatch between bass and electrostatic drivers any more, so I decided to do without bass.) The Spendors were lack-lustre: slow, soft, uninvolving. I took a gamble (goodness knows what prompted me to do it after the experience with the Spendors) and ordered a pair of the pre-radial HP3s directly from Alan. They were wonderful--better than the MLs, I thought, and that was without the new Radial drivers: they had presence, punch, dynamics, clarity and musicality--everything lacking in the Spendors. So don't let a poor experience with the Spendors put you off, especially now that the HP3Rs are available.

David

hifi_dave
29-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Hi David,
Your description of the Spendor fills in the gaps from my description, post no.6. I was very disappointed to say the least, especially as I had read some glowing reviews raising my expectations. Boring sums it up.

I dem'd Harbeth to a customer just last week who, the previoius day, had heard the Spendors. He was knocked out and ordered a pair of P3ESR. Job done !!!

David

TSH59
29-03-2010, 09:28 PM
Nice to have it confirmed again that i was not the only one who found the S3/5Rs too warm and soft. Seems to be a pattern emerging. I still find it quite shocking that the Spendors managed to pull off this trick on the end of a Naim CD5i/Nait 5i system!

At the moment I am still enjoying my N-Sats (at least the S3/5Rs served to give me a new respect for the N-Sats, which was not the intention but a positive outcome nonetheless) but I still want to explore the 'limits' of a small infinite-baffle box. I don't mean volume limits or dynamic limits or bass limits. No. My 'quest' is for the best I can get - affordably - in terms of presence and 'thereness' and immediacy (goodness I am bad at this! I will never be a reviewer). Imagine listening - as I do - to the BBC Drama CDs of the recent 'Complete George Smiley' series. One of the adaptations is 'A Murder of quality' and stars Simon Russell-Beale and Geoffrey Palmer. There are a number of conversations between their two characters in different acoustic environments like Smiley's flat and Fielding's study (with coal fire spitting in the background) and this is all faithfully portrayed on my Naim NSats in way that is profoundly different to the old Rega R3s I had until before last Christmas. It became so much more 'intimate' as if you were almost really 'there' with the protagonists.

I now want a speaker that will refine this difference further and take the 'almost' out of the last sentence from my previous paragraph.

You see, for me it is not all about 'slam' and cavernous bass and 'fireworks' but the suspension of disbelief. Closing the eyes and finding (with a good recording) that some clever so-and-so had worked out how to make the size of my living room shrink and expand from a study to a pub to the open air to the inside of George Smiley's Rover 2000 to...... etc (hopefully you get it even if from my lame attempt to explain what I mean). It is not just a matter of a 'holographic' image, because that in itself can just manifest itself as a hifi artifact that gives the game away by distracting attention to itself. It is simply being there in the same way you are 'there' with a good book or 'there' with good acting and the artifice or technology just disappears.

jferreir
30-03-2010, 05:27 AM
At the moment I am still enjoying my N-Sats (at least the S3/5Rs served to give me a new respect for the N-Sats, which was not the intention but a positive outcome nonetheless) but I still want to explore the 'limits' of a small infinite-baffle box. I don't mean volume limits or dynamic limits or bass limits. No. My 'quest' is for the best I can get - affordably - in terms of presence and 'thereness' and immediacy (goodness I am bad at this! I will never be a reviewer).

You see, for me it is not all about 'slam' and cavernous bass and 'fireworks' but the suspension of disbelief. Closing the eyes and finding (with a good recording) that some clever so-and-so had worked out how to make the size of my living room shrink and expand from a study to a pub [...] It is simply being there in the same way you are 'there' with a good book or 'there' with good acting and the artifice or technology just disappears.As someone equally inept at using hi-fi adjectives, I can really appreciate your down-to-earth description!

Disclaimer:

Before I offer my comments, I should probably warn you that I'm relatively new to the hi-fi game. You can view that in one of two ways:

(1) I don't know what I'm talking about (true, to an extent)
(2) I have not yet been contaminated with excessive hi-fi BS

Anyway, I currently have the P3ESR paired with the Naim Nait 5i/CD5i combo that you mentioned. Although I can't claim to listen to BBC Drama, my requirements were/are very similar to yours. I tend to value a natural, organic presentation that is highly musical. Like yourself, I think the best systems are the ones that allow you to feel the music - ones that actually take you to the concert/venue (or, rather, take the concert/venue to you). Being relatively young has also given me a great appreciation for affordability!

Given your requirements, I really do think the P3ESR would be an excellent fit. What surprised me most about the P3ESRs were their ability to realistically reproduce vocals. Seriously. It's almost uncanny how realistic they sound. They are so good, in fact, I really can't imagine any other speaker sounding better (at least not in the same price range). Next, the P3ESRs perform admirably with a variety of musical genres - I've tried everything from folk to rock and I've never been disappointed. At first, I thought the bass was a bit underwhelming, but with sufficient burn-in time, the P3ESRs really come into their own. I know AS may disagree with the burn-in period, but I definitely noticed a difference after a month of use. Although the P3ESRs are amazing in their own right, there really is something special about the Naim/Harbeth combo. I have yet to hear any comparably priced system that comes close to achieving this quality of sound.

Finally, if that's not enough to convince you, consider the 'affordability factor'. Yes, Harbeths are rather expensive up front (be honest!), but they do retain a remarkably high resale value - not that you would want to sell them. Also, I find that most Harbeth owners remain Harbeth owners. In this respect, try to think of it as an investment.

To put the point more forcefully, I willingly ate rice/pasta, almost exclusively, for a full month in order to afford the P3ESRs. I would have to be mad to do that for mediocre speakers (but only half-mad for truly exceptional speakers). I hope this alleviated some of your worries, but again, take it with a grain of salt.

Do let us know how everything turns out!

harbethpr
30-03-2010, 12:20 PM
To put the point more forcefully, I willingly ate rice/pasta, almost exclusively, for a full month in order to afford the P3ESRs.We hare at Harbeth were shocked to read the level of commitment you showed and just wanted to say "thank you" and welcome to the Harbeth family.

TSH59
01-04-2010, 06:17 PM
Slight setback today.

I am trying to arrange a demo of some P3ESRs in London in a couple of weeks time. KJ West One are listed (by Harbeth) as a dealer and I could conveniently combine a nice day out in london with a demo. That was the plan.

I tried calling KJW1 on both of their two telephone numbers on a few occasions throughout business hours today, but both numbers were constantly engaged all day. Combined with the 'holes' in their not very well updated website I am wondering if they are still operating.

Maybe the KJW1 website is out-of-date (along with the contact numbers) or maybe they were actually busy on the phone all day.

I have found out that there is a dealer in Guildford (en route to London from my place) who list Harbeth speakers, but they don't list P3ESRs and I cannot find them on the Harbeth website as an official UK dealer so I think I will leave them alone rather than take any chances.

A.S.
01-04-2010, 08:45 PM
KJ are most definitely alive - or they certainly were a day or two ago when I overheard them place another order. The currently active dealers are listed on the Harbeth website.

I'm not sure whether it is good news or not - I think in these difficult economic times that it must be read as such - but our order book is now 100% full to mid March 2011. Some customers have orders far beyond that. Now, I've said that we have - and will - keep a capacity in reserve for UK sales which are entirely unplanned, ad hoc and impossible to predict by model or veneer. But even that has now crept out to about four weeks turnaround. The upturn in the UK market this past year has been most remarkable. But we have decided, to protect our existing dealers and minimise overall lead times that we will not take-on as formal dealers any new UK outlets. So please don't expect to see any expansion of the dealer base. Those we have are generating an order level that we can just cope with in reasonable response time and we very much appreciate their hard work and customer service.

hifi_dave
01-04-2010, 09:01 PM
and thank you Alan, Andy and the team for such great speakers. If the speakers weren't so good, we wouldn't be able to sell them.

EricW
01-04-2010, 09:48 PM
...

I'm not sure whether it is good news or not - I think in these difficult economic times that it must be read as such - but our order book is now 100% full to mid March 2011. Some customers have orders far beyond that. Now, I've said that we have - and will - keep a capacity in reserve for UK sales which are entirely unplanned, ad hoc and impossible to predict by model or veneer. But even that has now crept out to about four weeks turnaround. The upturn in the UK market this past year has been most remarkable. ...

I think this is fantastic news but it doesn't altogether surprise me. I've said it before, but I think one consequence of the economic upheavals of the past couple of years is that people have become focused not only on spending less, but also spending smarter, and that means among other things getting off the merry-go-round and investing in real longterm quality. That is Harbeth to a T.

My only question (and I know the past history, and therefore the reluctance to overcommit), is there ever any point at which Harbeth decides to "bite the bullet" and invest in more capacity? Or perhaps take on a licencee? Or have a separate facility e.g. for driver manufacturing, to increase capacity? Having a one-year order book is mighty impressive, but surely there's got to be a point at which you're comfortable that the market will absorb a bit more production. Or are the risks simply too great?

TSH59
01-04-2010, 09:53 PM
Given the nature of the Radial technology, the finite amount of raw material to make it, and the painstaking 'recipe' and production of Radial, then having a 'licensee' could be disastrous (even assuming it was remotely possible.)

From what I understand the Radial raw material production is an unrepeatable process (due to some of the ingredients being impossible to ever make again.) When it's gone, its gone. In Alan's position I would never let the stuff go out to someone 'outside' the Harbeth team. (More likely to mess it up).

EricW
01-04-2010, 09:57 PM
Given the nature of the Radial technology, the finite amount of raw material to make it, and the painstaking 'recipe' and production of Radial, then having a 'licensee' could be disastrous (even assuming it was remotely possible.)

Well, wouldn't that depend on what they were doing? Back in the day, there were a number of producers of the LS/35a, for example, and they all seemed to be capable of assembling them to a reasonable standard.

Besides, almost anything could be disastrous. Implementation is everything.

TSH59
01-04-2010, 10:02 PM
Eric, who wants a 'reasonable' standard?

A.S.
01-04-2010, 10:24 PM
This is a very interesting (to me) thread and you've raised some interesting questions and observations.

We have, as noted, been at this commercial point before exactly twenty years ago (as I discussed here recently) and I'm extremely reluctant to double-guess the next twist of the economic cycle. After all, if governments couldn't have foreseen the economic turbulence that touches every one of us as citizens and taxpayers, I think that it's remarkably arrogant of me to sit down and map out our future, and hence our overhead structure. It's overheads that kills businesses - many perfectly good, respected audio brands have closed or changed hands because the overheads (and/or director's remunerations) have been disproportionate for what is most definitely a non-essential product as all hi-fi is.

Today I arranged a sack of the RADIAL™ cone material to the moulder and reminded him that we cannot waste even a single gramme. Even the chap who actually does the moulding on the shop floor is acutely aware of the value of the base material - any cones that he lifts from the injection mould tool that are slightly misshapen or otherwise unusable are ground down and added back into the hopper. That's yet another advantage of injection moulding the RADIAL™ cones; the traditional vacuum forming process, when cones are made from thin sheet (called film), means that any dud cones are completely useless and have to be scrapped because the moulded film cannot be reused.

Part of the boom (but only part) has been the success of the P3ESR. It was obvious to me as the most severe critic of what we produce that this was going to be a rip-roaring success, based on the actual product performance and without the oxygen of publicity. To my slight disappointment, back last spring when the design was finished, I made our key export customers aware of the impending launch and urged them to place early, adequate and sustained orders to be sure they had the stock to meet the demand. Some did. Some waited. Some didn't react. And now, entirely predictably, there are significant differences in availability of the P3ESR across the globe. We are "order takers", not "order getters", and it is not and never has been our role to twist orders out of customers. We are entirely reactive to orders arriving and leave being our distributors alone to proactively manage their local markets about which they are in intimate contact. This surely must be the best way to run a business - the orders we have reflect what our distributors truly believe that they can sell without a molecule of sales pressure from us. We don't have a sales operation - we have a production department who very gratefully receive sales orders daily from our team of dealers.

As one of our overseas distributors told me on the phone this week Harbeth is in a completely different class of commercial operation to any brand he has ever dealt with - no pressure, no hassle, no cajoling, no targets. We just save our energy for making the product and doing our very best to deliver a quality, long lasting product on time.

hifi_dave
01-04-2010, 10:41 PM
A 'reasonable standard' about sums it up. Have you compared the various brands of LS3/5A ? They weren't all of the same quality. IMO

hifi_dave
01-04-2010, 10:50 PM
I think Alan is wise not to over-stretch his resources. Most experts agree that the first rule of a successful business is to keep overheads low. I have seen many Hi-Fi companies over the years, disappear when they stepped up production, took on larger premises and employed more staff. Then when the downturn came, they simply couldn't survive.

None of my customers complain about waiting for a pair of Harbeth speakers. All good things are worth waiting for.

A.S.
02-04-2010, 11:28 AM
Most experts agree that the first rule of a successful business is to keep overheads low .... when the downturn came, they simply couldn't survive ... all good things are worth waiting for.It's a temptation with so much unoccupied commercial property on the market to to increase our scale of operation. But we have the luxury of making what we want to make without external pressure from financiers who foresee a vast untapped market if 'only we'd modify our products'. We even tried that strategy with the Xpression!, HHB and NRG speakers returning full circle to our core HL and Monitor series products. No, as hifi_dave says, so many good or great brands have disappeared, changed hands or been absorbed into other networks that we see it as our duty to protect the Harbeth baby. That inevitably means we are risk averse as our crystal ball has clouded over and just doesn't seem to be reliable any more!

Which British brands are truly still 100% in the British owner's/founder's hands? The reason so many aren't seems to me inextricably linked to irresponsible or overambitious increases in overheads. I've been there, done it, have the t-shirt and I can seen the tell-tale signs in others. And one of the give-aways is a sudden splurge in UK reviews.

DSRANCE
06-04-2010, 12:12 AM
Hopefully by now the original poster has heard and ordered his P3 ESR's..... They really are extra-ordinarily good and although seemingly expensive, these are not the sort of products to buy and sell on in a year or three. Rather, and like the best of the BBC "legacy" speakers of decades past, you buy them and keep them for many years, the speakers getting better as the source and amplification have improved.

TSH59
06-04-2010, 05:37 PM
Hopefully by now the original poster has heard and ordered his P3 ESR's... Got through to KJW1 eventually and a nice chap called Richard sorted me out with a demo next week! Thanks Richard.

Spindrift
01-12-2011, 05:50 PM
I auditioned the S3/5 and S3/5R against both the P3ES2 and P3ESR..... Since then, I have been listening to a pair of ESRs.

The Spendor's are SMOOTH, but overly so and even closed-in compared to the ESR. I had to replace QUAD ESLs and this wasn't going to work with the otherwise well made but introvert Spendors.

Depending on taste and acoustics a QUAD electrostatic can be one of the most addictive speakers. Thus a midrange master had to be found in order to replace them without losing interest in certain music.

The Harbeths fit the bill and keep me in the sweetspot, fully immersed in the music as the ESLs once did.

{Moderator's comment: you are hearing for yourself the additional clarity of Harbeth's engineered bass/mid RADIAL cone plastic versus g.p. polypropylene as used in shampoo-bottles. The molecular structure of the cone material completely defines the microtonal detail.}

Miles MG
22-02-2012, 08:12 AM
I have learnt a lot in the last five minutes. I have only just bought my first pair of Harbeths. An old pair ( Serial Numbers 258 A & B ) of HL Monitors and I am so impressed with them.

I considered buying a pair of P3ESRS, but funds wouldn't stretch. I've dabbled with LS3/5as ( three pairs !) little Spendors ( SA1s) and various small Rogers ( Studio 3s, etc.) All very good speakers, but the HLs have, at last, given me the satisfaction I have been searching for. I work, in a small way, in semi-prof. audio and make my own ( mainly speech ) recordings using high quality mics. etc. The LS3/5as ( and others ) gave me very good results.

The Harbeth HLs give me that ' the person is in the room' effect. Long may Alan Shaw's philosophy last. MGM .

Miles MG
22-07-2013, 08:25 AM
I have learnt a lot in the last five minutes. I have only just bought my first pair of Harbeths. An old pair ( Serial Numbers 258 A & B ) of HL Monitors and I am so impressed with them.

I considered buying a pair of P3ESRS, but funds wouldn't stretch. I've dabbled with LS3/5as ( three pairs !) little Spendors ( SA1s) and various small Rogers ( Studio 3s, etc.) All very good speakers, but the HLs have, at last, given me the satisfaction I have been searching for. I work, in a small way, in semi-prof. audio and make my own ( mainly speech ) recordings using high quality mics. etc. The LS3/5as ( and others ) gave me very good results.

The Harbeth HLs give me that ' the person is in the room' effect. Long may Alan Shaw's philosophy last. MGM .

Since I wrote the above, I have acquired a pair of HL-P3s. They were without grilles, but Harbeth supplied me with a pair of genuine new ones. On a second system, driven by a Quad 303/ Passive preamp. combination, they have that midrange magic all of the above ( excluding the early HLs ) lacked.

DSRANCE
22-07-2013, 05:36 PM
Hi Martyn,

Glad you like the P3's. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESR's easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.

Miles MG
22-07-2013, 08:58 PM
Hi Martyn,

Glad you like the P3s. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESRs easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.
Much as I'd like to, it's finding the money. I suppose I could sell my P3s... They cost me nearly £500, plus the grilles. I don't regret the outlay for one minute, but I would have to find a substantial amount. What does the ESR version retail at ? Martyn.

Johnny
22-07-2013, 09:04 PM
Hi Martyn,

Glad you like the P3's. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESR's easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.

Yes,yes,yes!!!...I was thinking the same thing just an hour ago.. also the bass on these is tighter, much more powerful, and more tuneful than a pair of aktive keilidhs... kinda makes one think.. how the heck is this possible?

another thing i noticed is that vibrations are really well controlled, place hands on speaker and there's barely any vibration. Oh and they sure sound great playing at low levels at night, you don't have to play at above whisper levels to get detail, at 83db per watt how is this possible?

Miles MG
11-02-2014, 11:15 AM
Much as I'd like to, it's finding the money. I suppose I could sell my P3s... They cost me nearly £500, plus the grilles. I don't regret the outlay for one minute, but I would have to find a substantial amount. What does the ESR version retail at ? Martyn.

It's not like me to reply to my own thread, but now having lived with a pair of 'ESRs since Christmas I endorse all that's gone before on this Post.

They are THE most realistic loudspeakers I have ever had in my home. Female vocals, in particular, are stunning. Spoken voice ( from the BBC ) is frighteningly real. John Humphreys ( pulling a Politician to pieces ) is almost too much to deal with !

Spendors have been spoken of here and I still hold them in great respect having lived with BC1s for over 30 years, but to use the modern parlance the Harbeths are ' something else '.

M. Miles.