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Deciding between C7ES3 and P3ESR

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  • Deciding between C7ES3 and P3ESR

    Greetings from Oregon, USA. I'm new to the group, and I'm looking to purchase my first pair of Harbeths. Unfortunately, there is no audio store near me that carries them, so it will probably have to be a blind buy. I was hoping to get some feedback from you. The details:

    1. Amp - Exposure 2010s2 - 75wpc.
    2. Listening - CDs and some vinyl
    3. Music preferences - eclectic, but tending toward folk, acoustic, some classic rock.
    4. Current speakers - Focal Chorus 706v bookshelf
    5. Room size - fairly small (approx. 10x15 feet). One speaker is near a corner while the other has an open side of the wall that leads to another room. I will be able to have a max of two feet of space behind and to the side of the speaker.

    So, my dilemma is whether the P3ESR is going to be enough for the room. I like the idea of a smaller footprint (and a smaller price ), but it's a purchase that I hope to live with for many years. I'd welcome any thoughts that you might have.

    Thanks so much for your time.

    Best,
    Scott (a soon-to-be Harbeth owner)

  • #2
    My disaster room - which Harbeths suitable?

    Scott, did you eventually decide?

    I'm looking at the P3 or C7 (I don't feel comfortable spending more than the C7).

    To anybody out there who listens to electronic music (eg Bjork, massive attack) and uses the P3 or C7, how do you feel those models work with that style? Typically I will not be listening very loudly, more volumes for 2 hours of listening that does not compromise my hearing.

    My room is no doubt a disaster for audio, a cathedral ceiling, 15 x 20 feet opening to the hall/stairs and entire upstairs, I do wonder if the P3's will be enough in that situation. I heard both models recently but it is very difficult to imagine how that will translate in my room.
    Getting to know my C7ES3

    Comment


    • #3
      Seamless value

      To both of you: I own both the P3ESRs and the C7-ES3s. Both models are amazing: the best and most naturally sounding speakers within their respective size and price ranges (though I have not heard the M30.1s, which I am sure are wonderful as well).

      The small P3s can play surprisingly deep, however, low notes will not have a realistic punch (of course). The C7s, on the other hand, have surprisingly punchy bass for a 2-way, and maintain the natural presentation of the P3s. In my opinion, the C7 is better than the former version of SHL5 (have not heard the improved Plus version). The C7 represent amazing value for money, even better than the P3. Both look attractive in a living room, but of course; my wife loves the smaller P3s the most.

      The only thing that could be even better for both models is the tweeter. The highest frequencies sound even more natural from the M40.1 (probably also via the M30.1, which have the same soft dome tweeter). I know this is a controversial issue, as the designer is of the (highly qualified) opinion that we cannot hear a tweeter separated from the greater whole (crossover and midrange driver); this is just my subjective impression. Note that my (still subjective) impression is that the tweeter and midrange driver are seamlessly integrated, and the output level is perfectly matched for a ruler flat frequency response, for all Harbeth models that I have listened extensively to.

      Hope you get the point that I love these speakers. I have sold much more expensive speakers and replaced them with these, to my musical satisfaction. When I upgrade, it will be within the Harbeth range.

      Comment


      • #4
        Never fatiguing

        Originally posted by acroyear View Post
        Scott, did you eventually decide?

        I'm looking at the P3 or C7 (I don't feel comfortable spending more than the C7).

        To anybody out there who listens to electronic music (eg Bjork, massive attack) and uses the P3 or C7, how do you feel those models work with that style? Typically I will not be listening very loudly, more volumes for 2 hours of listening that does not compromise my hearing.

        My room is no doubt a disaster for audio, a cathedral ceiling, 15 x 20 feet opening to the hall/stairs and entire upstairs, I do wonder if the P3's will be enough in that situation. I heard both models recently but it is very difficult to imagine how that will translate in my room.
        I have a pair of P3ís in a 12x22 room. I actually listen to a fair amount of electronic music - Bjork, Massive Attack, Radiohead... I found the detail and bass capability in the Harbeths really works great with electronic music. Harbeths are universally known for their vocal capabilities - but on the other end of the spectrum - electronic instruments also come through crystal clear. Electronic bass samples sound electronic, they donít blur into a muddy, quasi-acoustic sound - and the overall sound never gets fatiguing...

        I

        Comment


        • #5
          SHL5+ on rock music

          Originally posted by cornelius View Post
          I have a pair of P3ís in a 12x22 room. I actually listen to a fair amount of electronic music - Bjork, Massive Attack, Radiohead... I found the detail and bass capability in the Harbeths really works great with electronic music. Harbeths are universally known for their vocal capabilities - but on the other end of the spectrum - electronic instruments also come through crystal clear. Electronic bass samples sound electronic, they donít blur into a muddy, quasi-acoustic sound - and the overall sound never gets fatiguing... I
          I used Massive Attack:Mezzanine at my hifiDave SHL5+ demo and it was the only music that I thought did not work well. 100th Window is not that great either. They don't do the full deep thing for me. I like Bjork (and all things Icelandic) and Vespertine is a real favourite of mine. I find Harbeth excel with Bjork because of the midrange, including the much more challenging and heavier album Bastards. Radiohead is much more intimate on record that the shattering live experience and, to my surprise, the SHL5+ does it justice.

          I'm currently listening to proper electronica, Tonto's Expanding Head Band:Zero Time. This goes very low in places and the SHL5+ do it well, pretty low and detailed, not bloated. There is no thumping bass, they are not that kind of speaker, but on electronica as mentioned and things like Boards of Canada and Subodnik, they go low and detailed enough for my liking.

          I've got P3's upstairs, but have not put them through their paces in this regard as I don't actually want a desktop speaker to go very low.

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps C7

            oes77 and Cornelius, thanks for those insights.

            I'm probably thinking the C7 just because I'm willing to spend the extra, I'm assuming the larger box does make less of a compromise than the p3, as capable as it is.
            Getting to know my C7ES3

            Comment


            • #7
              The physics of woofers ....

              Originally posted by acroyear View Post
              oes77 and Cornelius, thanks for those insights. I'm probably thinking the C7 just because I'm willing to spend the extra, I'm assuming the larger box does make less of a compromise than the p3, as capable as it is.
              Well, think of this for a moment: imagine the woofer as a motorbike piston.

              P3: 5" piston: Surface area, pi x r2 = 3.142 x (2.52 = 6.25) = 19.6 square inches

              C7 etc.: 8" piston: Surface area, pi x r2 = 3.142 x (42 = 16) = 50.2 square inches

              The surface area of the woofer, the piston, the sound generating element in the C7/M30/SHL5 is over 2.5x bigger than the P3's. That means that ignoring all other factors, the bigger diameter woofer is going to have to work less hard to pump the same volume of air. Now you see (hear) the magic of the Harley Davidson: big pistons. If you are just pottering around town musically, at a moderate volume with undemanding music, there may be little practical difference between the moped and Harley, but out on the open road, throttle open, then the difference becomes more apparent. So the key is to decide upon the basis of how hard you drive your music, how far away you sit, how dynamic the music and how much LF energy there is in that music.

              If you are a fan of playing south American pan pipes, music with low dynamics and no bass, played at a natural level then either would be entirely suited. As indeed would be even smaller speakers (perhaps).

              Note: The above areas are approximate only for illustrative purposes.
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #8
                My tates

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                Well, think of this for a moment: imagine the woofer as a motorbike piston.

                P3: 5" piston: Surface area, pi x r2 = 3.142 x (2.52 = 6.25) = 19.6 square inches

                C7 etc.: 8" piston: Surface area, pi x r2 = 3.142 x (42 = 16) = 50.2 square inches

                The surface area of the woofer, the piston, the sound generating element in the C7/M30/SHL5 is over 2.5x bigger than the P3's. That means that ignoring all other factors, the bigger diameter woofer is going to have to work less hard to pump the same volume of air. Now you see (hear) the magic of the Harley Davidson: big pistons. If you are just pottering around town musically, at a moderate volume with undemanding music, there may be little practical difference between the moped and Harley, but out on the open road, throttle open, then the difference becomes more apparent. So the key is to decide upon the basis of how hard you drive your music, how far away you sit, how dynamic the music and how much LF energy there is in that music.

                If you are a fan of playing south American pan pipes, music with low dynamics and no bass, played at a natural level then either would be entirely suited. As indeed would be even smaller speakers (perhaps).

                Note: The above areas are approximate only for illustrative purposes.
                As I'm more likely to play Portishead than pan pipes (though I would play pan pipes too!) the C7 seems a sensible choice, at least with the C7 I could also play all that other music that doesn't necessarily require the bigger drove unit!
                Getting to know my C7ES3

                Comment


                • #9
                  More to music than thumping bass

                  Originally posted by ssfas View Post
                  I used Massive Attack:Mezzanine at my hifiDave SHL5+ demo and it was the only music that I thought did not work well. 100th Window is not that great either. They don't do the full deep thing for me. I like Bjork (and all things Icelandic) and Vespertine is a real favourite of mine. I find Harbeth excel with Bjork because of the midrange, including the much more challenging and heavier album Bastards. Radiohead is much more intimate on record that the shattering live experience and, to my surprise, the SHL5+ does it justice.

                  I'm currently listening to proper electronica, Tonto's Expanding Head Band:Zero Time. This goes very low in places and the SHL5+ do it well, pretty low and detailed, not bloated. There is no thumping bass, they are not that kind of speaker, but on electronica as mentioned and things like Boards of Canada and Subodnik, they go low and detailed enough for my liking.

                  I've got P3's upstairs, but have not put them through their paces in this regard as I don't actually want a desktop speaker to go very low.
                  Though I like the deeper bass on electronic music I don't feel it has to be a primary consideration at home, I do not need a thumping bass (if I need that I can hook up the cerwin vegas briefly! They are good for the occasional big effect movie but the voices sound unnatural for eg)

                  My current rega juras bass is more than enough and with Bjorks 'headphones' on Telegram that deep pulse fills the room plenty, I imagine the C7's could manage something at least equal and that will be enough, I look forward to the improvements to every other aspect. I imagine the Harbeths good at creating the shifting 'images' of electronic music, I find my current speakers thin in the midrange, no doubt that will be much improved.
                  Getting to know my C7ES3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Massive Attack on P3ESRs...

                    Which Jura's are they? Early ones need a cheap bath sponge cut in half and each half placed sideways in each port. This improves bass no end and allows the fine mids to come through. The tingly treble is another matter though, but we had techniques to help ;) Jura 2's had no bass in comparison and the balance is polar opposite to Harbeths of any model.

                    By the way, Hifi Dave's first demo pair of P3ESR's coped very nicely with Massive Attack thank you :lol: In fact, I was absolutely stunned just how good they were, as no 5" bass driver is really going to cope that well.

                    I'm a big EM fan as well and was delighted to finally find the two T.O.N.T.O albums were properly (re)mastered by Malcolm Cecil for CD and the music on these albums has never sounded better IMO. The UK vinyl of the first album has severe tape-azimuth issues - I know this because I bought it when I had a mono Hacker record player. A later US vinyl re-issue in different sleeve sounded far better, but still not as convincing as the CD re-issue from a very few years ago.

                    I'm not sure if I've subjected my dear friend hifi dave to Redshift yet (He's had enough of Tangerine Dream to last several lifetimes :lol. Now, I wonder if he'll allow me back to visit over the Christmas holidays????????????

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Welcome

                      You are always welcome here.

                      Not sure about Redshift, though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        C7 owner and electronica fan

                        Originally posted by acroyear View Post
                        To anybody out there who listens to electronic music (eg Bjork, massive attack) and uses the P3 or C7, how do you feel those models work with that style? Typically I will not be listening very loudly, more volumes for 2 hours of listening that does not compromise my hearing.
                        I was in a similar situation, I auditioned the three smaller Harbeth models at the dealer, whilst auditioning only the C7s at home.

                        I am now the happy owner of a pair of C7s and am currently listening to Jon Hopkins's Immunity.. It's marvellous.

                        I really liked the P3s but I missed the bottom end. On the C7s it seems so natural and balanced over the frequency range; without bias or compromise if you will.

                        My room isn't huge either, the speakers are placed at least 0.5m from the nearest wall and I am sat around 2m (perpendicular) from them.

                        In short, I couldn't be happier with my decision.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Stuffing ports

                          Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
                          Which Jura's are they? Early ones need a cheap bath sponge cut in half and each half placed sideways in each port. This improves bass no end and allows the fine mids to come through. The tingly treble is another matter though, but we had techniques to help ;) Jura 2's had no bass in comparison and the balance is polar opposite to Harbeths of any model.

                          By the way, Hifi Dave's first demo pair of P3ESR's coped very nicely with Massive Attack thank you :lol: In fact, I was absolutely stunned just how good they were, as no 5" bass driver is really going to cope that well.

                          I'm a big EM fan as well and was delighted to finally find the two T.O.N.T.O albums were properly (re)mastered by Malcolm Cecil for CD and the music on these albums has never sounded better IMO. The UK vinyl of the first album has severe tape-azimuth issues - I know this because I bought it when I had a mono Hacker record player. A later US vinyl re-issue in different sleeve sounded far better, but still not as convincing as the CD re-issue from a very few years ago.

                          I'm not sure if I've subjected my dear friend hifi dave to Redshift yet (He's had enough of Tangerine Dream to last several lifetimes :lol. Now, I wonder if he'll allow me back to visit over the Christmas holidays????????????
                          I think mine are the first Juras, I have never tried the ports with foam, I can always give that a go, they are being used for 2 channel films now.
                          Getting to know my C7ES3

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            More mature purchase decisions

                            Originally posted by mattw View Post
                            I was in a similar situation, I auditioned the three smaller Harbeth models at the dealer, whilst auditioning only the C7s at home.

                            I am now the happy owner of a pair of C7s and am currently listening to Jon Hopkins's Immunity.. It's marvellous.

                            I really liked the P3s but I missed the bottom end. On the C7s it seems so natural and balanced over the frequency range; without bias or compromise if you will.

                            My room isn't huge either, the speakers are placed at least 0.5m from the nearest wall and I am sat around 2m (perpendicular) from them.

                            In short, I couldn't be happier with my decision.
                            My gut reaction is for the C7's, the large open plan house has the audio in the middle of the main room, I rarely sit and listen in front of the system, the nearest to that is when I am on the computer in the next 'room' and there's a bit of a wall in the way! I like to fill the house with music as I go about my business. I am not in the habit of buying equipment or upgraditis so this purchase has to be the right one, I might as well spend the extra $1500 or so for the 7's and I will never feel I should have got the 'next model up' simply because the 30 (for eg) is way outside my comfort range, the investment would have me half terrified of letting anybody else near the volume control and that is not the idea!

                            This purchase has me rethinking my audio entirely, I'm trading in my amp against the speakers (a decent powered unit but without features) and whilst I take a loss I can finally take my time and look at amps with the features I want.
                            Getting to know my C7ES3

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My demo

                              I did finally get a good demo of the C7's.

                              My reaction to them was interesting, I did not get an initial 'wow' factor on my electronic music. I definitely found the lower fatigue very nice, they played plenty loud if required, I also found that the midrange sounds took on a rounder, more physical presence, my older R---- seem a bit flat by comparison, the overall sound seemed 'slower' however, but it definitely involved me, and even with just casual listening over the days I had them I would be taken aback by textures and little sections of music just popping out and surprising me.

                              I can see how these are for the long term, playing disc after disc. I am ready to be very cautious of loudspeakers that 'wow' me initially but get fatiguing very fast.
                              Getting to know my C7ES3

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