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

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Feb. 2018
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Will P3ESR's outperform my LinnTukans

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  • Will P3ESR's outperform my LinnTukans

    Hi, I'm new to Harbeth and need some advice please. I have an all Linn system (LP12/Ittok/Kairn/LK100/Tukan) with single Tellurium blue speaker cable. We moved house a few years back and I can no longer get my speakers back close to a rear wall because of furniture constraints and a chimney breast in the way.

    The room is 4m by 2.8m (measured into the chimney breast recesses) and my speakers are appx 6ft apart either side of the chimney breast with the rear wall of the recesses just under 2 ft behind them. There is a bookshelf in the right recess so this speaker is about 6 inches in front of this bookshelf. The left recess has more open shelving with my HIfi and cd's on it.

    I listen from a sofa hard up against the rear wall, facing the chimney, and listen roughly 6ft away from the front baffles across the room (as opposed to down the long length). I listen to a whole wide range of music from classical, jazz, all manner of 80's music and some synth such as OMD, but not heavy head banging stuff. I also listen to just music and have no TV running through the system. The speakers don't sound bad by any means but I do wonder if I would benefit from a speaker that does not rely on the rear wall for bass re-enforcement and can work out into a room and generate its own bass.

    I also notice on rare tracks that if there is a deep, almost sub, bass that for some reason this kind of bass arrives later than the rest of the music and makes the music really irritating to list to. I can't get anywhere to audition the P3ESR's so I'm wondering if any of the folk on this forum have ever compared the two and whether people think that changing to the Harbeths will given an improvement over the Linns given my room set up.

    I'm also thinking that as the Harbeths are not ported then this might solve the issue of the late bass. Many thanks, Jonathan

  • #2
    What Harbeths do best

    I actually did a Tukan v Harbeth a couple of months ago. The Tukans were flat, lifeless, rough and thin through the vital mid band. The Harbeths did what Harbeths do and that is to provide a natural, uncoloured and believable sound, far more listenable than the Tukans and enjoyable for long periods.

    I am constantly surprised at just how 'big' the little P3ESR sounds. I have often done AB's against far larger, floor stand speakers and the P3ESR doesn't lose out in the bass region and of course, it scores in the lifelike mid.

    Whereabouts are you? Must be a Harbeth stockist within striking distance.

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    • #3
      Late bass?

      Thank you for you prompt reply Dave. I live in Sidmouth, Devon, so I believe my nearest stockist is Penzance, Cornwall. Unfortunately Gulliford Hi-fi in Exeter (Linn, Naim etc ) don't stock Harbeth which is a great shame.

      I've read so many rave reviews about the P3ESR's and I really feel they will be a good step up for me and more suited to my current listening room set up. Your comments just re-enforce this. I just need to save my pennies but in the meantime a colleague is going to lend me his XX in the New Year for a listen so this should be a good test too.

      Does anyone else have any thoughts about the 'late bass', what might cause it and am I likely to get this with the P3ESR's? It has been suggested to me that the T just can't deal with really low bass having a smallish driver and the late delivery is a sign of them struggling, I am concerned that the P3ESR's which are an almost identical size might have the same issue?

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      • #4
        P3ESRs should handle sub-bass better than Linn Tukans

        Originally posted by Jonathan View Post
        I also notice on rare tracks that if there is a deep, almost sub, bass that for some reason this kind of bass arrives later than the rest of the music and makes the music really irritating to list to. I can't get anywhere to audition the P3ESR's so I'm wondering if any of the folk on this forum have ever compared the two and whether people think that changing to the Harbeths will given an improvement over the Linns given my room set up.
        The Linn Tukan is a vented enclosure, and the bass response is quoted as being 3 dB at 70 Hz, with a sensitivity of 87 dB. The P3ESR is a sealed enclosure with a quoted 3 dB point of 75 Hz in the bass, with a sensitivity of 83 dB. The enclosure sizes of these two loudspeakers are very similar, so the difference in sensitivity is just part of the tradeoff in getting a sealed enclosure of that size to reproduce a respectable amount of bass. As a result of its 2nd-order (12 dB/octave) rather than 4th-order (24 dB/octave) roll-off rate, the in-room low-frequency extension of of the P3ESR should be greater than that of the Tukan.

        Being a vented enclosure, the Tukan's woofer will oscillate quite wildly when fed significant low-frequency signals below its nominal low-frequency cut-off. This large cone excursion produces no bass, but may cause harmonic distortion that becomes quite audible. With sub-bass frequencies in the music that you listen to, this could be a real problem, with the Tukan's design just not being up to the task. I'd suggest that any vented-box loudspeaker with a low-frequency cut-off greater than 50 Hz or so will likely have significant problems with sub-bass frequencies. Maybe there is some kind of nonlinearity in the low-frequency response of the Tukans that is causing sub-bass to "arrive later than the rest of the music".

        Being a sealed enclosure design, I think that the P3ESRs will be much better in handling sub-bass frequencies. You still won't get a lot of response out of them below about 50 Hz or so, but what does come out should be relatively linear, as long as they are not being pushed to go really loud.

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        • #5
          Low level performance

          Fantastic news, thanks everyone for their help here. I'm a complete novice as regards frequency response and sensitivity but it does sound like again the P3ESR's will be an overall improvement over the Tukans.

          We live in a terrace so I can't play the music loud anyway and from what I have read the P3ESR's perform incredibly well at low volume. I look forward to owning a pair.

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          • #6
            Far better buy

            No "late" or slow bass with the P3ESR. Even though they are tiny, the bass and scale is quite astonishing and they are far more natural than the Tukan.

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