HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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P3ESR or M20

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  • P3ESR or M20

    Can I know what are the sonic and application differences between the P3ESR and M20? Why should a customer buy one and not the other?

  • #2
    Reality of M20 aka P3ES2 (NOT P3ESR)

    Hi engjoo,

    The Monitor 20 is in fact a P3 ES2 fitted with a professional Speakon inlet and grey paint, i.e.: the BBC version of the P3 ES2.

    The current Monitor 20 Domestic is the same as above but in civilian outfit (with wood-veneer options); it is the new name for the P3 ES2 *NOT* P3ESR. Repeat *NOT* P3ESR.

    Why one over the other; this one can only decide by auditioning them side by side.

    The P3ESR is Alan Shaw's latest view on the classic P3, in which he invested a great deal of time and effort (see the video clips on the Harbeth main site and the detailed info on the HUG). So ESR is Alan's current 'best he can do' in terms of a Baby Beeb mini-monitor, while the P3 ES2/M20 is still a rightfully esteemed, very musical loudspeaker.


    • #3
      P3ESR with RADIAL cone

      Most will choose the newer P3ESR > has the famous "RADIAL" cone, is a new design and expected to sound better (spec. bass).

      The M20 is the same as the old P3ES-2, with bought-in lo-mid speakers (I think Seas)

      After I heard both P3's in the same setup for ~half an hour, I decided to choose for the P3ES-2(= M20). What helped the choice for the ES-2's was the specially offered retailprice ;-) GoodLuck


      • #4
        P3ESR, the speaker to choose.

        The P3ESR is the latest version of this mini-monitor, designed to replace the LS3/5A. The P3ESR uses the Radial-2 cone material and I believe, a different tweeter to the M20.

        The Radial-2 driver is superior in sound and performance to the previous (conventional woofer based P3ES2) model and makes the P3ESR, the speaker to choose.


        • #5
          P3ESR - top of any mini-monitor wish list

          Whilst pointing out that the current Monitor 20 is equal to the old P3ES2, I forgot to mention the most important technical/mechanical advances of the P3ESR in my previous post;

          -a unique, P3ESR dedicated (thus very costly) RADIAL mid/LF unit
          -a new custom SEAS (Norway) HF unit with more open -and better looking- honeycomb grille
          -a completely new and ELCO-free crossover (see capacitor thread on HUG)
          -last but not AT ALL least: a 'lossy' cabinet back, attached with screws like all big Harbeths (the P3ES2/M20 back is glued to the cabinet).

          After auditioning the P3ES2 and P3ESR next to a mint 11 Ohm early '90s pair of LS3/5a last year, the ESR now resides in our livingroom and the museum-condition LS3/5a's have left the building... I felt no need to hang on to them any more.

          The P3ESR deserves to be at the top of any 'super mini-monitor' wishlist.
          Last edited by Spindrift; 20-08-2011, 04:19 AM. Reason: image added


          • #6
            Thanks for the insights. I will have to do some auditioning in the near future. Just by looking at the website, I wasn't able to tell how are they differentiated in terms of market positioning.


            • #7
              I'd also like to add my thanks to all you contributors. I've wondered about the differences between these two speakers myself.