HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. 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 electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon 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, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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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.