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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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Which model is perfect for me?

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  • Which model is perfect for me?

    Hello Everyone,

    I joined here recently because I would like to exchange some thoughts about choosing speaker and its installation, so I hope someone here can assist me.

    I have Magnepan MG-20 speakers from 1998 until now, and they sound superb in some way, the good things they fill the room completely (no need 5.1 channels), fantastic resolution and natural sound, but too big for my bedroom, and im getting strong HF (strain!). If im not mistaking; the planner relay (some degree) on background reflection, sometimes I noticed the sound im getting a bit smear or generated upon back wall reflection (Bose 901?). Also I have large glass window behind one speaker and that channel always sounded weak. I always hear-good things about Harbeth but never have a chance listen to them, so I would like to know what the difference I will get and can produce good bass and resolution as MG-20?

    And what the perfect model for bedroom size and gear I have?

    My bedroom size:
    In feet : 23L, 11.5W, 8.5H.
    In meter : 7L, 3.5W, 2.6H.

    My systems:
    Two Krell amps: full power balance 200 watt, and KAV-500 each channel 100 watt.
    Pro-ject 9.1 turntables, Tascam tape cassette, Arcam DVD player and FMJ Tuner, VHS, Krell: KPS 20 IL CD player.
    Interconnect and speaker cable: Transparent.

    Music listening: Film score (star wars) and Orchestral mostly, pop music, and movies.

    Sound type I really like is: warm, very analog, emotional, natural both: resolution and smoothness.

    Anyone care to answer.

    Many thanks to all for help.


  • #2
    Re: Which model is perfect for me?

    IMHO... Maggies give you the illusion of being there, Harbeths tell you what was going on in the recording studio.

    Maggies need some power before they sing, so can be overpowering in a small room. The small Harbeth's don't have that big sound, but will do just fine in your room (similar size to our living room).

    A few months ago I had an enforced transition from SMGas (which I've used since 1988) to borrowed P3s thanks due to a small-person induced accident. The Harbeths were a pleasant surprise as, on the right kind of stand (not necessarily expensive), they are free of boxy colourations. They are to some extent omnidirectional radiators so positioning rules do matter.

    I still love panels but living where we do now, a speaker designed for smaller spaces is more appropriate. In an ideal world I'd have both.


    • #3
      Re: Which model is perfect for me?

      Hello, Mogadam

      As a fellow Magneplanar owner, I feel like I can shed some light on this. I have a pair of MG III A's, which I believe use the same ribbon tweeters as your MG 20's. With that in mind, I think you'd be spoiled for anything but the Monitor 30's (which I also own) or Monitor 40's in the Harbeth line-you're going to want that Excel tweeter!

      Given the type of music you listen to, you'll probably want to go with the Monitor 40 for the sheer "size" of sound and the bass response that you're used to with the MG 20's. The Monitor 30's might work in a room your size, but you will likely notice the missing bass. That extra octave of bass is expensive though-5K for Monitor 30's vs. 13K for Monitor 40's.

      You should probably listen to the SHL5's (also 5K) as well. They'll get you most of the bass, but the highs will not be in the same league as the MG 20 ribbons. In my room it's about a toss up between the MG III A ribbons and the Excel tweeters in the Monitor 30's.

      Good Hunting, I hope this is helpful.

      Bob LaBarca
      State College, PA


      • #4
        Re: Which model is perfect for me?

        Originally posted by honmanm View Post
        IMHO... Maggies give you the illusion of being there, Harbeths tell you what was going on in the recording studio.
        I gues you were saying M series abt this. IMHO, HL series do not. M is analyse the music, HL is playing the music. Personal perspective vary, I just try to share another thought.

        "Bath with Music"


        • #5
          Re: Which model is perfect for me?

          Thank you all for wonderful information, im happy to share some good thoughts and experience with you all.

          I can imagine getting same sound as MG-20 from small size speaker is probably impossible, but getting close enough is enough I think. What really matter that I can hear all frequencies correctly with my room size. Like I said earlier, MG-20 has almost perfect sound, as a matter of fact I never heard warm or perfect HF like it ever, but I think im unable to hear all frequencies correctly because need a bigger room and clear back/side-wall, which I don?t have.

          From what I understand here, the HL5 have better bass than M30, but M30 yield better HF? And is M30 having very weak bass comparing to other speakers? For example how the bass will sound with Come Together for Beatles?


          • #6
            Re: Which model is perfect for me?

            Hello again, moqadam

            Actually, the Monitor 30 has deceptively good bass response, just not as deep as MG 20 or Monitor 40. The 30's have bass response into the 30 hz range, but it's extremely rolled off. You sense the bass, but you don't feel it. When I listen to the Monitor 30's I know that the bottom octave isn't there, but I don't miss it, if you understand my meaning. I would never characterize the 30's bass as "weak".

            Hopefully, you can get your hands on each Harbeth model and try it in your new listening space before you buy. Perhaps that's not possible, but it would certainly be the way to go.

            You really can't go wrong with these speakers!



            • #7
              Re: Which model is perfect for me?

              Hi moqadam,

              IMO, the high presentation of shl5 and M30 is difference. Shl5 high is more obvious than m30 but both high are extended, relax and airly. It direct comparison, comments can be either Shl5 is right and the m30 is dark/no sparkle or the m30 is right and the shl5 is bright/hot. Depend on which type of the high listener prefer...Neither one bass is better than each other, due to the bigger box of SHL5, its bass quantity is more than M30. Both give quality bass that can let listener sense, hear and feel, shl5 do let you feel and hear more bass in some musics. Overall, the shl5 is looser, livelier and the M30 is tighter, more serious.

              For your room size, do not forget the equally excellence, but cheaper, the C7ES3. Some prefer it than shl5 and m30.

              "Bath with Music"


              • #8
                Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                I definitely vote for the M30's. I think you would find all it's attributes perfect.



                • #9
                  Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                  Yes i do agree with KT88 that you've got to try to listen to each & every model in the Harbeth stable to determine which rocks your boat. And as usual, every Harbeth is handcrafted to very high standards in terms of technical, physical & musical aspects. Its very difficult not to get enticed, seduced, involved & be totally consumed by the music with Harbeths.


                  • #10
                    Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                    Thank you very much to all for wonderful insight.

                    Unfortunately, we don’t have dealer close to our area, that’s why I have to make blind purchase, but I get perfect picture regarding the bass in M30, and should be fine with me.

                    I can see most serious listeners vote for M30, I don’t want to be too critical about small details, but for the sake of knowledge; some times I feel 2-way design is exactly what been said about M30! In other word sounded simpler and better?

                    I haven’t listen to any 2-way since 1984 and these comments from the past, but since then I always listen to 3-way just because the dealers always recommend them, but I never make good comparison to be sure. To me the 3-ways have fine details and great depth, but sounded thinner, make instruments bit far and slow dynamic, seems the signal chewed a bit by 3-way crossover? While the 2-ways and with large instruments recording (orchestral or band), seems the instruments struggle between each other, and less depth, but still yield attractive sound; faster, more natural, very touchy and emotional.

                    Am right with these comments? Would that be the case with Harbeth between M30 and HL5?


                    • #11
                      Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                      Hi again mogadam,

                      There are many serious listeners in HUG here or in other location worldwide vote for either SHL5, C7, P3 or M40.1 or have more than 1 pair of Harbeth as well. . So that really can not tell you which Harbeth is better but tell you Harbeth is really one of the best :P

                      I am not sure for other brand 3 way design. What you said abt the 3 way signature or character is definitely not happen on the SHL5..Is a 3 way design involve a bass, a mid and a high driver? Shl5 still using RADIAL as its mid/bass driver....I never known shl5 is a 3 ways speakers..I wonder if I am wrong now..

                      "Bath with Music"


                      • #12
                        Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                        I believe that with a small speaker you will miss the scale, weight and warmth of your Maggies, so my recommendation would be for the SHL5 or the M40.1 if your budget is up to it.

                        Excellent though the smaller speakers are, they don't have the body and prescence of the SHL5 and certainly nothing like the M40.1, both of which should sound wonderful in your room.


                        • #13
                          Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                          As I said here today, you just cannot fail to enjoy the C7ES3. A truly universal speaker for all rooms, all music. It's good value for money too.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK


                          • #14
                            Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                            Hi Keithwwk,

                            I said 3-way upon reading the spec ?3-way reflex?. I looked again now and appeared to me the Bass and mid are not separated but in one 200mm! You are correct. Thank you very much anyway brining this up.



                            • #15
                              Re: Which model is perfect for me?

                              Hello Alan,

                              Im glad I see your input on this issue and quite helpful, and thank you all.

                              I would think from great comments here that whichever model I go should perform great, but just for beforehand preparation, I understand Harbeth need at least far from back/side wall about 2-3 feet, now since my place have other furniture, how the sound would be if I place speakers very close to the wall (less than 1 feet), and in the corner?

                              Do the absorbent solve the sound problem perfectly!