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Room size small. Which Harbeth? Off the merry go round

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  • Room size small. Which Harbeth? Off the merry go round

    Okay I think I want to buy a pair of Harbeth speakers. I have Dynaudio X12's, Dynaudio Contour 1.1's, KEF LS50's, Klipsch Heresy II's and I need to get off this merry go round. My problem is my room. It is 9 feet by 11 feet. 8 feet ceilings.

    I have Primaluna separates pre and power amp approximately 40 watts per channeling a Luxman 505 U integrated amp. I like my Dynaudio 12's the best but the get a little congested when too much is going on. I think I need a bigger speaker with a fuller sound. The KEF are just too bright or brittle on some things.

    I need recommendations for the best speaker for my room. I want a speaker that can handle more instruments but sounds great at low volumes. The Dynaudio really does good when they are above a certain volume but no so good at a lower volume. In other words I want a speaker that will fill the room but not have overwhelming bass in my room. I like jazz, acoustic and some progressive jazz, rock and vocals. Any help would be much appreciated. I cannot try these in my room first.

  • #2
    Being realistic about room size

    You have a lot of expensive gear, and a tiny room. The first thing you need to realize and accept is that the room is too small to reproduce the full frequency and dynamic range of music, especially of symphonic music and the like. Accept those limitations, and you have taken your first step.

    The second step is to realize that much of your electronics is of the hyper expensive kind that will not sound better, and possibly worse, than mainstream gear like a 2x100 watt amplifier from the likes of Yamaha, Pioneer etc. Having said that, it is what you have, and the challenge is to pick the best and ditch the rest. Your 2x40 watt amplification is a bit anaemic, even for a small room. Precisely such lack of power may be responsible for a shrill and congested sound. My P3ESRs are rather happy with the 2x100 watt that is driving them in my study. Read the contributions here on Hug on the sonics of amplifiers, the disadvantages of valves, and the need for power. So I would pick your 2x100 watt Luxman.

    As for the speakers, I don't think anything bigger than the Harbeth P3ESR will sound right - any speaker with more bass output will give boomy bass from room modes. In that size category, I don't think there is anything better than the little Harbeth. They do not need to be as far away from the walls as some others do, but they like some distance if you want to avoid bass boost.

    But before all this, I would recommend that you take some in room measurements with REW. The room is probably your biggest problem, not the gear.

    Comment


    • #3
      Any

      Any of the Harbeths will give you a natural, balanced sound even at very low volume levels - one of the selling points I often demonstrate to my customers. So, any of them will do that for you.

      My recommendation would be either the P3ESR or the M30.1 for your room. The larger models should work there but might look a bit 'large' in that space. Are you able to borrow and try in your room ?

      Comment


      • #4
        M30.1 would seem to be suitable

        The Dynaudio X12 loudspeakers (12 litre enclosure) are very compact. I can expect that their small bass-mid driver has to work quite hard to get to higher listening levels, even in a small room.

        I'd say that the Harbeth M30.1 loudspeaker (33 litre enclosure) would probably be a good match for your needs. They sound a lot more natural with vocals than do loudspeakers such as the KEF LS50. The LS50s that I heard had a somewhat aggressive sound balance to them, with an artificial clarity to their reproduction. They were a bit thin-sounding, which was especially noticeable when listening at higher sound pressure levels. This seems to match in with your own personal observations regarding the LS50s.

        I note that you have a Luxman 505U integrated amp. This is rated at 100 WRMS, which is plenty of power. Keep in mind that the 505U also has bass and treble controls. This will enable you to adjust the low-frequency balance to suit your personal taste, while still taking advantage of the M30.1's inherent bass extension.

        The other option is the Harbeth P3ESR loudspeakers (10 litre enclosure). These are a sealed enclosure, so their bass response won't be as extended as that of the X12 or the M30.1 loudspeakers. If you are happy with the bass extension of your X12s, then maybe the M30.1 will be a better overall match for your needs. If the M30.1 is a bit more powerful sounding in the bass in your room than you would like, then the Luxman's bass control can be put to good use.

        Comment


        • #5
          Try M30.1

          If there's any way the OP could manage the 30.1, I'd urge he gives them a very serious listen. The bass is taut yet 'tuneful' and a little more extended than the smaller P3ESR I find and there's 'life' and a seamless 'open-mouthed' quality to it (with absolutely no screech, quack or tizziness either) as befits a top quality smallish monitor.

          I love it to bits, as I've said a few times now... ;) It will reproduce what's going on further back in the chain, as well as recording and production differences of course, but not necessarily in a negative way as the old LS5/9 could on occasion.


          I could be totally wrong, but I believe the Prima Luna valve amps *as a breed,* have amongst the highest output impedances out there these days, one model measuring several ohms I remember. If you like the sonic tone controls as added by this arrangement, then I cannot say anything, but it's my personal view that these products are not really High Fidelity grade for this one speaker-altering reason alone - sorry... and it's with any passively driven speaker with a crossover network that will suffer...

          Luxman's are very expensive now, and that's about all I can really say these days, the build generally being superb all through the decades. I doubt they're made in large quantities and this almost certainly contributes to why they cost so much in comparison with other gear from far larger conglomerates...

          Comment


          • #6
            Credibility?

            Thanks for the info. Good points. However saying my Luxman might sound worse than a Pioneer or Yamaha makes me question the rest of your info.

            I know the room is the main problem but using inferior gear does not sound like the solution from my point of view.

            Comment


            • #7
              M30.1s

              Good advice. I will check into the 30.1's.

              Comment


              • #8
                Troubling technical performance (which drives sonics)

                Originally posted by SMA73099 View Post
                Thanks for the info. Good points. However saying my Luxman might sound worse than a Pioneer or Yamaha makes me question the rest of your info.

                I know the room is the main problem but using inferior gear does not sound like the solution from my point of view.
                Your Luxman is a fine amplifier (I grew up with a hefty Luxman receiver in my parents' home, and I love the build quality), even if unnecessarily pricey (don't underestimate the Yamaha and Pioneer quality - it really is not inferior gear). It will serve you well.

                The Primaluna, however, is not a neutral amplifier at all. Just look at the measurements in Stereophile (and ignore the commercially driven listening 'test' prose). Frequency response under simulated real speaker load is all over the place, and even under constant impedance load it is not nearly flat. Distortion figures are similarly troubling. These are aberrations that will be clearly audible, just as the compression from insufficient power.

                There was a reason valves were abandoned.
                If you are curious about amplifiers, just read the extensive information here on HUG. But you could also just ignore it, and use the Luxman. Enjoy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just enjoy

                  Originally posted by SMA73099 View Post
                  Thanks for the info. Good points. However saying my Luxman might sound worse than a Pioneer or Yamaha makes me question the rest of your info.

                  I know the room is the main problem but using inferior gear does not sound like the solution from my point of view.
                  Take no notice of such negative comments. You have the amp and enjoy it, you just need to choose the Harbeth which suits you best and then enjoy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by willem View Post
                    Your Luxman is a fine amplifier (I grew up with a hefty Luxman receiver in my parents' home, and I love the build quality), even if unnecessarily pricey (don't underestimate the Yamaha and Pioneer quality - it really is not inferior gear). It will serve you well.

                    The Primaluna, however, is not a neutral amplifier at all. Just look at the measurements in Stereophile (and ignore the commercially driven listening 'test' prose). Frequency response under simulated real speaker load is all over the place, and even under constant impedance load it is not nearly flat. Distortion figures are similarly troubling. These are aberrations that will be clearly audible, just as the compression from insufficient power.

                    There was a reason valves were abandoned.
                    If you are curious about amplifiers, just read the extensive information here on HUG. But you could also just ignore it, and use the Luxman. Enjoy.
                    Willem,
                    You need to reign in your continual criticism of people's choice, just because you don't get agree with them.

                    It's a free world and if people choose a valve amp or an expensive CD player, then that is their choice and good for them. Continual negative comments and sniping at their choice are doing the HUG no good at all and are driving away people who might have liked to post here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Free choice?

                      Originally posted by willem View Post
                      Your Luxman is a fine amplifier (I grew up with a hefty Luxman receiver in my parents' home, and I love the build quality), even if unnecessarily pricey (don't underestimate the Yamaha and Pioneer quality - it really is not inferior gear). It will serve you well.

                      The Primaluna, however, is not a neutral amplifier at all. Just look at the measurements in Stereophile (and ignore the commercially driven listening 'test' prose). Frequency response under simulated real speaker load is all over the place, and even under constant impedance load it is not nearly flat. Distortion figures are similarly troubling. These are aberrations that will be clearly audible, just as the compression from insufficient power.

                      There was a reason valves were abandoned.
                      If you are curious about amplifiers, just read the extensive information here on HUG. But you could also just ignore it, and use the Luxman. Enjoy.
                      Hello Willem,

                      Who are you that you always blame the decisions of free people? Who are you that you always do "tube-bashing"? This are also engineers which are knowing what they do. Just one example: Take Tim de Paravicini from EAR-Yoshino. He developed and built his first amp at age of 13. Now he is roundabout 70. He has also a Studio-Range. He builts Solid-State, Tube-Amps, excellent CD-Player and speakers. He can develope also Microphones, mixing consoles and tape-recorders. Do you think he is silly??

                      When he developes a tube-ampflifier, he is doing it for fun?? David Gilmour from Pink Floyd brings his Tape-Recorder to Tim to service it... Tim worked for several named companies like quad and also LUXMAN until he founded his own company. i think there are not more than 10 other engineers with his reputation.

                      So please think before you write, and let the people choose for themselves. It would be nice...

                      take care
                      Michael

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just enjoy

                        I think the Prima Luna will struggle with progressive jazz, fine with vocals and OK with rock. I heard one with 90dB speakers, may struggle a little with Harbeth, but should be OK. I used a similar power valve amplifier for a while with Harbeth.

                        Prima Luna are a sensible company, manufacturing in China to keep costs down with their own staff on site to maintain quality control.

                        I used Contour 1.1's for about 13 years - wall mounted to keep out of the way of children - and they are superb small speakers, I really regret selling them. Difficult to compare, but happy with P3ESR of similar size and they are certainly good at low volume, a Harbeth trait.

                        I suspect you will be better off with a Harbeth model with the 8" driver, i.e. not P3ESR that has a 5" driver, due to the better sensitivity and lower and better controlled bass for jazz and rock.

                        Get the speakers and enjoy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          SHL5+ for the long run

                          hi, i was amazed how clean and controlled my c7's sounds in the small bedroom (9m2).

                          ok, playing really loud was a problem (i guess with all speakers) but at normal listening volume i my experience the sound was controlled. so, if you can afford it i would also consider the HL5+. these speaker could last a lifetime which probably cannot be said about your specific room .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Small rooms can handle larger speakers

                            Originally posted by martin1305 View Post
                            hi, i was amazed how clean and controlled my c7's sounds in the small bedroom (9m2).
                            I am not at all surprised that you enjoyed the sound produced by the Compact 7ES-3 class of loudspeakers (43 litre enclosure volume) in your small room. I've listened to even larger speakers (80 litre enclosure volume) in a similar sized room and been pleased with results. However, I think that "bad" sounding speakers will sound "bad" in just about any room. I prefer the sound of larger speakers than smaller ones.

                            ok, playing really loud was a problem (i guess with all speakers) but at normal listening volume i my experience the sound was controlled.
                            Playing really loud might end up producing a bit of flutter echo. In a small room, the various room surfaces (walls, ceiling and floor) are quite close to each other, so the initial sound reflections are going to be quite strong, as well as occurring with similar timing. Subsequent reflections will also be quite strong. These effects will tend to colour the sound.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Amps

                              This is my Primaluna Dialog 5 specs.
                              I don't see anything about output being several ohms.
                              I am using KT12o's right now so maybe extra wattage.
                              Specifications

                              Output: 42 watts x 2 ultra-linear, 21 watts x 2 triode
                              Freq. Response: 10Hz-100kHz +/- 3dB
                              THD: Less than 0.25% at 1 watt / 2% at full power
                              S/N Ratio: 84 dB
                              Input Sensitivity: 880mV
                              Power Consumption: 232 watts
                              Dimensions: 15.2 " x 8.3 " x 16" (WxHxD)
                              Weight: 63.8 lbs
                              Inputs: 1 pair RCA
                              Outputs: 4 and 8 Ohm speaker taps
                              Tube Compliment: 2 - 12AX7, 2 - 12AU7, 4 - KT88

                              I might get rid of it.
                              Thanks for any help.

                              Comment

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