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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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Limited Edition - P3ESR 40th anniversary model in olive wood

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  • Limited Edition - P3ESR 40th anniversary model in olive wood

    Good morning HUG

    I'm delighted to announce third release in our 40th anniversary series; the P3ESR in olive wood.

    This model will include the added features of our 40th anniversary series including; the latest WBT-nextgen binding posts, British-made audio grade poly capacitors, and our 40th anniversary ultra-pure OFC internal cable. Each speaker will also include the Harbeth 40th Anniversary limited edition front and back badges and metallic black and gold anniversary grille badge.

    We will demo this model at next month's Sound & Vision show in Bristol, UK, 23rd-25th February. Find us in rooms 232 and 234 at the show.

    The M40.2 will also available in olive wood.
    P3ESR 40th anniversary model in olive wood WBT-nextgen binding posts 40th anniversary grille badge P3ESR 40th anniversary front badge
    Emma Smith
    Brand Manager
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    May I be the first one to say Well Done!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you!
      Emma Smith
      Brand Manager
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #4
        Video recommendation for buying P3ESR (in USA)...

        For Alan Harbeth, I mean Shaw:

        https://youtu.be/zg5J3j_ANDU

        Comment


        • #5
          How lovely! Thank you for sharing it.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #6
            Following what has been said by the designer about SHL5+ anniversary edition, may I ask if there is any appreciable sonic advantage in the P3ESR anniversary edition with respect to the standard one?

            P.S. Kudos for the veneer choice: olive trees, Minerva's gift to humans, are nearly worshipped here in Sicily... my grandfather regarded his olive trees more than some people!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nessuno View Post
              Following what has been said by the designer about SHL5+ anniversary edition, may I ask if there is any appreciable sonic advantage in the P3ESR anniversary edition with respect to the standard one?

              P.S. Kudos for the veneer choice: olive trees, Minerva's gift to humans, are nearly worshipped here in Sicily... my grandfather regarded his olive trees more than some people!
              Appreciable is for the listener to decide. Objectively, yes.

              Wonderful to hear about Olive wood. My late grandfather, Cdr. William Cameron Shaw OBE was deeply involved in the organisation and maintenance of the naval landing fleet in the Sicily campaign in WW2. One day I'll make it to Sicily to see what he saw.

              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nessuno View Post
                Following what has been said by the designer about SHL5+ anniversary edition, may I ask if there is any appreciable sonic advantage in the P3ESR anniversary edition with respect to the standard one?

                P.S. Kudos for the veneer choice: olive trees, Minerva's gift to humans, are nearly worshipped here in Sicily... my grandfather regarded his olive trees more than some people!
                I'll let you know in a few days when my pair arrives..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                  Appreciable is for the listener to decide. Objectively, yes.
                  Good, now looking forward to know what hifi_dave's experienced ears will have to say.

                  Wonderful to hear about Olive wood. My late grandfather, Cdr. William Cameron Shaw OBE was deeply involved in the organisation and maintenance of the naval landing fleet in the Sicily campaign in WW2. One day I'll make it to Sicily to see what he saw.
                  Yes, do come: you'll find much more than olive trees...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A great review here:
                    https://www.stereophile.com/content/...on-loudspeaker

                    Besides saying not is the most natural small speaker ever, in one or two regards he favours the Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a. That speaker is unique in seeking 'only' to be the most exact replica possible of the original BBC LS3/5a. It has the original driver, there coating apparently applied with a 2" building brush. So the comparison is to the original LS3/5a rather than any of the other licensed variants.

                    Of course the P3ESR is not a replica, to the contrary the cone has progressed to an injection moulded polymer with its transcendent performance. Was the original LS3/5a really that good?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In fact, if you look at the curves published in Stereophile of the P3ESR (original standard version) and the Falcon LS3/5A you find that the P3ESR does not have the dramatic non-flat peak at 1kHz and also does not have the artificially boosted presence and tweeter ranges (at least 3dB above the all-flat P3ESR response).

                      You can see the situation here. (Image)

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	P3ERS v. 35.jpg Views:	1 Size:	113.9 KB ID:	77740 As with all Stereophile measurements, a procedureal matter presents an elevated bass in the measurement curves. Without hearing the speaker, the trained eye can say that the 3/5a will sound very considerably brighter and have a characteristic 'pinched' nasality due to the peak at 1kHz.. This was commented in the Stereophile review.
                      In addition, the P3ESR has a lovely smooth HF response. Taken together this comprehensively proves the superiority of the P3ESR as a naturally balanced trancducer without latent coloration (i.e no nasty resonant peaks such as at 1kHz) and must mean a more satisfying, true-to-life listening experience. There can be no other objective opinion.

                      I'm sorry to say that whilst interpretation of frequency response charts may not be a skill widely shared with audiophiles any more than studying a musical score can play music in the mind of a non-musician, significant deviations from a flat response has been known for the best part of a century to attribute a particular sonic character to the loudspeaker. Some, I suppose, may find their TV colour control cranked-up to be attractive, but it isn't objectively right to have skin-tone bright orange.
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        In fact, if you look at the curves published in Stereophile of the P3ESR (original standard version) and the Falcon LS3/5A you find that the P3ESR does not have the dramatic non-flat peak at 1kHz and also does not have the artificially boosted presence and tweeter ranges (at least 3dB above the all-flat P3ESR response).

                        You can see the situation here. (Image)

                        Click image for larger version Name:	P3ERS v. 35.jpg Views:	1 Size:	113.9 KB ID:	77740 As with all Stereophile measurements, a procedureal matter presents an elevated bass in the measurement curves. Without hearing the speaker, the trained eye can say that the 3/5a will sound very considerably brighter and have a characteristic 'pinched' nasality due to the peak at 1kHz.. This was commented in the Stereophile review.
                        In addition, the P3ESR has a lovely smooth HF response. Taken together this comprehensively proves the superiority of the P3ESR as a naturally balanced trancducer without latent coloration (i.e no nasty resonant peaks such as at 1kHz) and must mean a more satisfying, true-to-life listening experience. There can be no other objective opinion.

                        I'm sorry to say that whilst interpretation of frequency response charts may not be a skill widely shared with audiophiles any more than studying a musical score can play music in the mind of a non-musician, significant deviations from a flat response has been known for the best part of a century to attribute a particular sonic character to the loudspeaker. Some, I suppose, may find their TV colour control cranked-up to be attractive, but it isn't objectively right to have skin-tone bright orange.
                        it is always the case that TV wall displays in shops (big box electronic and regular big stores) have settings (deliberate/out of box) that give a wildly unrealistic image, but people love it, no doubt the exact same happens with audio, it is easy to be fooled unless you are being deliberately critical.

                        My spouse upon seeing those images will always say 'wow, that looks amazing' and yet it is entirely unnatural. When I set my TV values I will use a well filmed programme that shows the familiar grey hills of the north of England under cloud, I can adjust the settings to that which to my eyes looks the most realistic I can manage and leave it at that, it is the 'human voice' equivalent for the TV, at least for me. What is troublesome about TV images is that there are also multiple settings in the disc players that can be adjusted making for some very difficult balancing.
                        Getting to know my C7ES3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another very odd thing is that the BBC LS3/5a was never designed to have a peak at around 1kHz, as I have demonstrated before. That horrible peak was a consequence of ageing in the doped bextrene cone and its rubber surround. Indeed, factually, the BBC skimmed off the flattest 3/5as for themselves on incoming QC and the retail trade took the remainder. See my video.

                          The very reason that I designed the P3 way back in 1990 was because, having bought a first generation Rogers3/5a in about 1987, I was horrified by the huge peak in the response at around 1.3kHz. It completely destroyed the balance of the speaker as I recalled it in use at our local BBC radio station where I'd worked with it in the mid 70s. Every first generation 3/5a I've measured - and we've had lots of them traded in by the BBC for P3/Monitor 20s - all have this ghastly 1kHz peak, the worst example had grown to +11dB above the average. Yes, that's right - 11dB.

                          Nothing can be done to reverse what is chemical breakdown in the cone/surround, so why anyone would wish to emulate that defect in a reinterpretation of a fine classic speaker is beyond me.

                          From the original 1976 BBC design report: No evidence at all of the 1kHz peak because time had not taken its tole. Were this speaker to be remeasured in, say, ten years, the1kHz peak would have grow in amplitude into a disctinctive boost in sound output in that narrow frequency band.

                          Click image for larger version  Name:	BBC rep.jpg Views:	1 Size:	24.7 KB ID:	77746

                          As you can see, the P3ESR curve is even smoother than this reference sample LS3/5a, and that the use of a modern tweeter in the P3ESR allowed me to design-out the nasty boost in tweeter output around 20kHz eveidenced in even this very early 'golden reference' 3/5a.

                          The romantic nonsense that is talked about the 3/5a is truly astonishing.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            In fact, if you look at the curves published in Stereophile of the P3ESR (original standard version) and the Falcon LS3/5A you find that the P3ESR does not have the dramatic non-flat peak at 1kHz and also does not have the artificially boosted presence and tweeter ranges (at least 3dB above the all-flat P3ESR response).

                            You can see the situation here. (Image)

                            Click image for larger version Name:	P3ERS v. 35.jpg Views:	1 Size:	113.9 KB ID:	77740 As with all Stereophile measurements, a procedureal matter presents an elevated bass in the measurement curves. Without hearing the speaker, the trained eye can say that the 3/5a will sound very considerably brighter and have a characteristic 'pinched' nasality due to the peak at 1kHz.. This was commented in the Stereophile review.
                            In addition, the P3ESR has a lovely smooth HF response. Taken together this comprehensively proves the superiority of the P3ESR as a naturally balanced trancducer without latent coloration (i.e no nasty resonant peaks such as at 1kHz) and must mean a more satisfying, true-to-life listening experience. There can be no other objective opinion.

                            I'm sorry to say that whilst interpretation of frequency response charts may not be a skill widely shared with audiophiles any more than studying a musical score can play music in the mind of a non-musician, significant deviations from a flat response has been known for the best part of a century to attribute a particular sonic character to the loudspeaker. Some, I suppose, may find their TV colour control cranked-up to be attractive, but it isn't objectively right to have skin-tone bright orange.
                            Thank you very much for that explanation and about the 1Khz peak referred to. I am more concerned that the P3ESR I'm listening to now should be upgraded. The reviewer first says he can't hear the difference with 40th AE and then he implies the regular version is broken. That's how they are sometimes.

                            On a corollary issue, we got some Huawei phones earlier in the year. They are fitted with triple Leica cameras and can store RAW data files, but the processed jpeg images are massively sharpened and over-saturated so that they can be posted to social media with little if any post-processing. That's what research told them people want, just as they want compressed sound for their phones. The head man at Leica (who is ex-audio industry) tells me (and he is correct on everything) the art of photo post-processing is to retain naturalness. The same should be said of recording engineers. When the speakers start shaping the sound thing have I think gone wrong. Purists of the world unite!

                            I think the reviewer sums up you comment when he says "Every time I put the P3ESRs back in my system after listening to another speaker, I think: Damn! These things sound so . . . right!"

                            I'm having fun with some rebuilt-as-new ESL-63's at the moment. They've temporarily displaced the SHL5+ 40th AE, but what they show is what amazingly accurate tone and timbre the SHL5+ 40th AE can produce from a box. I've heard some really shockingly bad speakers recently. ESL's do period instruments and percussion in unparalleled fashion, and the decay is scary, but cello suites are too dark even with the ESL speakers 4 feet out, whereas SHL5+ 40th AE can be 1 foot from the wall no problem with some toe-in. I'm not even trying any rock music with the ESL. I've ordered some acoustic panels and it will be interesting to see if they have any effect on the SHL5+ 40th AE. ESL piano and stand-up bass is closer to the sound from M40.2, but you have to keep the power down to fairly modest levels. Vocals through SHL5+ 40th AE and the ESL are almost indistinguishable in tone, only imaging is different.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A 11dB peak slap in the upper midrange seems 'broken' to me and if the driver wears out over time then it's not much of an investment.

                              There is of course a collectors' market and romance does sell. Vintage is OK if it has a purpose. I bought a reissued vintage (1955) camera lens in 2017 as it has merits, but buying 1960s lenses on the basis of romantic notions will disappoint when you find they have fungus in them and scratched glass. Vintage camera will have seals that have turned to dust, just as with some vintage speaker surrounds. My son has a vintage integrated amplifier. It's been refurbished and the total cost has been about 375. There is now a reissue to the same specification, costing 2,000. I do wonder if anyone has been stupid enough to buy one. Maybe they are hooked up to a pair of Falcons.

                              People buy things for different reasons. I won't get camera kit that can't go in my winter coat pocket, likewise a new winter coat has to have camera-size pockets! I'm sure some people buy audio equipment based on the colour. In the 1980s the number of dials and switches added kudos, now it's the opposite.

                              Still waiting for the active bluetooth P3ESR - maybe save for the 50th AE !

                              {Moderator's comment: Nice product idea, but not in 2019!}

                              Comment

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