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STEREOPHILE review of P3ESR

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  • STEREOPHILE review of P3ESR

    August issue of S'phile has its editor John Atkinson reviewing (along with providing his measurements of) the P3ESR.

    I'll just quote its last paragraph:

    "I love the Harbeth P3ESR. I think it's the best iteration yet from any manufacturer of the BBC LS3/5A minimonitor concept."

  • #2
    P3ESR review

    Thanks s.a.b

    “5 inch plastic cones?”, initially referring to the Radial woofer… imo felt the article glossed over the most important design aspects and innovations of the product. Think if the reviewer paid more attention to cause and effect, he might have been able to explain why the Harbeths are the “best reiteration”. Unfortunately it seems for a lot of them, when a concept gets harder than “lift the cables off the floor” or “insufficient bits”, it all gets a bit too much.

    Ive read better and less wishy washy write ups, however brief, of the P3ESR here at HUG. The graphs are interesting though, especially the in-room ones, but you would think that the furnishings of this guy’s room would have changed between the previous measurement made years ago and now to form any meaningful comparison. In any case what would make the guy’s room so similar to any one else’s that his in-room measurement be so important?

    {Moderator's comment: we had no contact from, with, during or after the review with the magazine (unfortunately). The review was organised by Harbeth USA not Harbeth UK. They neither had any contact.}

    Comment


    • #3
      RADIAL™ cone and Stereophile review

      [QUOTE=kittykat;10412]Thanks s.a.b

      “5 inch plastic cones?”, initially referring to the Radial woofer… imo felt the article glossed over the most important design aspects and innovations of the product. Think if the reviewer paid more attention to cause and effect, he might have been able to explain why the Harbeths are the “best reiteration”.
      QUOTE]


      When I first read the above comment on the Stereophile review by John Atkinson, I was left with the impression that the significance of the Radial driver was not mentioned. Now that I've picked up the August 2010 edition and read the review, indeed it notes that:

      "The most important change is the use of Harbeth's proprietary and patented Radial2 material for the woofer cone. Used by Harbeth in its more expensive designs, Radial2 is said to be a thermally stable, low-mass, low-energy-storage composite polymer that offers more clarity and better low-level resolution than polypropylene."

      It is hardly fair to insinuate that the reviewer ignored the contribution of driver material to the sound he praised.

      -paul-

      Comment


      • #4
        Independence of reviewers

        Originally posted by kittykat View Post

        {Moderator's comment: we had no contact from, with, during or after the review with the magazine (unfortunately). The review was organised by Harbeth USA not Harbeth UK. They neither had any contact.}
        I'm a bit curious as to why it would be unfortunate that Harbeth and Stereophile had no contact. I can see the benefit of contact in ensuring that the reviewer has all necessary information regarding product. However, from Stereophile's (and their readers') perspective, could this not have compromised the apparent objectivity of the review?

        I haven't read the review yet, but it seems to be extremely favourable. That being so, is it not better even for Harbeth that the review appear to be entirely objective, that is, not affected by any possible accusation that the reviewer has been biased or unduly favourable because of personal contact with company representatives?

        Obviously, this question applies not only to Harbeth but to any audio product reviewed in an audio magazine or similar publication.

        {Moderators comment: your point is noted and theoretical but you cannot make sense of our quoted comment unless you read the review and the subsequent follow-up.}

        Comment


        • #5
          Comments after reading the review

          Originally posted by pranderos View Post
          It is hardly fair to insinuate...
          -paul-
          Hi Paul

          The article imo didn’t make the real connection and lacks depth. Parroting off marketing spiel to attribute improvement is real enough for some, and something anyone can do. It’s not very helpful for a serious consumer. For some it may answer the question “why” but the why does really go beyond that. i hear the word “composite polymers” all the time and they are not very helpful when they claim to do this or that, especially when the core connection between cause and the result is almost never bridged or explained. The “5 inch plastic cone” comment somewhere in the first few paragraphs told me, rightly or wrongly, this guy lacked depth, in reviewing this pair of speakers at least.

          Do we believe “5 9” Ofc cables are better because we are told, like in similar situation above, or because we made a real attempt to find out?

          And should consumers be buying just because some guy praised it? What if he didn’t praise it?

          Please don’t get me wrong. I actually went the other way around, which I believe many will do, after they listen to RADIAL cones. The real difference is its just not any polymer or that it’s just better than polyprop or bextrene etc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Reviewers at arm's length

            We said that it was 'unfortunate' that reviwers generally do not welcome, seek or permit overt contact during the review process. Some do but then they put themselves at risk of being "nobbled" they may say.

            The core issue is that we the deisgners/makers are often the last folk to read the review. Sometimes even if there had been a proof-reading stage by the time we see the proof we're told 'its too late to change anything ... this is just for your files'. I think I remember this is what happened this time. So our opportunity to resolve any questions, issues, specification misunderstandings or even correct the product name is nil. I recall that the proof showed the product name incorrectly in the headline. P3.ESR or something? Did it go to print like that?

            'Unfortunately' means that we can't correct mistakes like that. Which means a subsequent search-engine search may not find the review. Which means why bother to run the review at all? This slight disengagement between manufacturer and reviewer doesn't ultimately help the industry and confuses the reader. But we know that reviewers are busy people and that writing reviews is to them a business. All business activity has a time/cost equation.

            As we understand it to be there is a follow-up in the next edition of Stereophile (which we have proof read) which was not instigated by us and we are rather appreciative of. Proper comment is not possible until that is taken together with the review in my view. Let's avoid theoretical discussion of reviews and stick to comment on the facts as read.

            Comment


            • #7
              Manufacturer's right to correct

              I do think manufacturers should have the right to correct a matter of fact before a review goes to press.

              Comment


              • #8
                P3ESR - Stereophile

                Originally posted by EricW View Post
                seems to be extremely favourable.
                Yes it was very favourable, other than a technical hitch of unknown cause which was left open for interpretation (to me anyway) at the end.

                Speakers up to 9,10 times more expensive and heavier than the P3ESR were mentioned in the article. The implicit suggestion (to me) that the P3ESR’s can stand up to (or better) them says something about the speakers. Congratulations to everyone at Harbeth.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So do we think we should have a right to correct matters of fact!

                  Reminds me of a review a few years ago where the price of the SHl5 was printed incorrectly. Can you believe that? or was it the dimension. Maybe that was another one. But the phone calls to the office you just wouldn't believe about this "newer, bigger/cheaper SHL5". It took months to reassure callers. Printing actual facts correctly is so very important. Those callers seemed to want to believe the reviewer rather than Harbeth, the maker.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    UK reviews .... and factul errors

                    Reviews, especially in the GB mags, are often littered with factual mistakes, spelling mistakes and poor grammar. It is unprofessional and makes me cringe !!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I believe manufacturers may write comments that will be published in the next article. In the case of contact with the manufacturer, their policy is to contact the distributor of overseas products. In this case Fidelis.

                      {Moderator's comments: that's the theoretical position.}

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        factual errors in reviews

                        It should perhaps be noted here that as a regular feature, Stereophile has a 'Manufacturers' Comments' section where manufacturers are given chance for an afterword on reviews of their products, including of course, the opportunity to correct factual errors.

                        {Moderator's comments: by then the damage is done. Who reads the 'comments' section?}

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          factual accuracy

                          Point noted. Obviously, factual accuracy is important and the manufacturer should be contacted at least to make sure there are no factual errors in the review. This makes sense and would appear to be in everyone's interest: the reader and the manufacturer, but also the magazine and the reviewer, who maintain their credibility.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pranderos View Post
                            It should perhaps be noted here that as a regular feature, Stereophile has a 'Manufacturers' Comments' section where manufacturers are given chance for an afterword on reviews of their products, including of course, the opportunity to correct factual errors.

                            {Moderator's comments: by then the damage is done. Who reads the 'comments' section?}
                            I always read the comments section, but I may not be the norm.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Reading review follow-ups?

                              Originally posted by Will View Post
                              I always read the comments section, but I may not be the norm.
                              I always read them as well. Sometimes they can be as interesting if not more so than the actual review. For example, Alan Shaw's extended dialogue with John Atkinson over speaker measurement techniques following Art Dudley's Harbeth Monitor 40.1 review in Stereophile (another highly favourable review, by the way).

                              Comment

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