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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

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.

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. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral amongst a plethora of available product choices.

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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised sound. 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 offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by 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, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

If faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"


Feb. 2018
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Mini-monitor doubts started by a Spendor demo.

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  • #31
    Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
    Most experts agree that the first rule of a successful business is to keep overheads low .... when the downturn came, they simply couldn't survive ... all good things are worth waiting for.
    It's a temptation with so much unoccupied commercial property on the market to to increase our scale of operation. But we have the luxury of making what we want to make without external pressure from financiers who foresee a vast untapped market if 'only we'd modify our products'. We even tried that strategy with the Xpression!, HHB and NRG speakers returning full circle to our core HL and Monitor series products. No, as hifi_dave says, so many good or great brands have disappeared, changed hands or been absorbed into other networks that we see it as our duty to protect the Harbeth baby. That inevitably means we are risk averse as our crystal ball has clouded over and just doesn't seem to be reliable any more!

    Which British brands are truly still 100% in the British owner's/founder's hands? The reason so many aren't seems to me inextricably linked to irresponsible or overambitious increases in overheads. I've been there, done it, have the t-shirt and I can seen the tell-tale signs in others. And one of the give-aways is a sudden splurge in UK reviews.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    • #32
      Hopefully by now the original poster has heard and ordered his P3 ESR's..... They really are extra-ordinarily good and although seemingly expensive, these are not the sort of products to buy and sell on in a year or three. Rather, and like the best of the BBC "legacy" speakers of decades past, you buy them and keep them for many years, the speakers getting better as the source and amplification have improved.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
        Hopefully by now the original poster has heard and ordered his P3 ESR's...
        Got through to KJW1 eventually and a nice chap called Richard sorted me out with a demo next week! Thanks Richard.

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        • #34
          P3ESR replace Quads

          I auditioned the S3/5 and S3/5R against both the P3ES2 and P3ESR..... Since then, I have been listening to a pair of ESRs.

          The Spendor's are SMOOTH, but overly so and even closed-in compared to the ESR. I had to replace QUAD ESLs and this wasn't going to work with the otherwise well made but introvert Spendors.

          Depending on taste and acoustics a QUAD electrostatic can be one of the most addictive speakers. Thus a midrange master had to be found in order to replace them without losing interest in certain music.

          The Harbeths fit the bill and keep me in the sweetspot, fully immersed in the music as the ESLs once did.

          {Moderator's comment: you are hearing for yourself the additional clarity of Harbeth's engineered bass/mid RADIAL cone plastic versus g.p. polypropylene as used in shampoo-bottles. The molecular structure of the cone material completely defines the microtonal detail.}

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          • #35
            Long may Harbeth survive!

            I have learnt a lot in the last five minutes. I have only just bought my first pair of Harbeths. An old pair ( Serial Numbers 258 A & B ) of HL Monitors and I am so impressed with them.

            I considered buying a pair of P3ESRS, but funds wouldn't stretch. I've dabbled with LS3/5as ( three pairs !) little Spendors ( SA1s) and various small Rogers ( Studio 3s, etc.) All very good speakers, but the HLs have, at last, given me the satisfaction I have been searching for. I work, in a small way, in semi-prof. audio and make my own ( mainly speech ) recordings using high quality mics. etc. The LS3/5as ( and others ) gave me very good results.

            The Harbeth HLs give me that ' the person is in the room' effect. Long may Alan Shaw's philosophy last. MGM .

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            • #36
              Added another pair

              Originally posted by Miles MG View Post
              I have learnt a lot in the last five minutes. I have only just bought my first pair of Harbeths. An old pair ( Serial Numbers 258 A & B ) of HL Monitors and I am so impressed with them.

              I considered buying a pair of P3ESRS, but funds wouldn't stretch. I've dabbled with LS3/5as ( three pairs !) little Spendors ( SA1s) and various small Rogers ( Studio 3s, etc.) All very good speakers, but the HLs have, at last, given me the satisfaction I have been searching for. I work, in a small way, in semi-prof. audio and make my own ( mainly speech ) recordings using high quality mics. etc. The LS3/5as ( and others ) gave me very good results.

              The Harbeth HLs give me that ' the person is in the room' effect. Long may Alan Shaw's philosophy last. MGM .
              Since I wrote the above, I have acquired a pair of HL-P3s. They were without grilles, but Harbeth supplied me with a pair of genuine new ones. On a second system, driven by a Quad 303/ Passive preamp. combination, they have that midrange magic all of the above ( excluding the early HLs ) lacked.

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              • #37
                P3ESR is better still

                Hi Martyn,

                Glad you like the P3's. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESR's easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.

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                • #38
                  P3ESR upgrade?

                  Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
                  Hi Martyn,

                  Glad you like the P3s. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESRs easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.
                  Much as I'd like to, it's finding the money. I suppose I could sell my P3s... They cost me nearly 500, plus the grilles. I don't regret the outlay for one minute, but I would have to find a substantial amount. What does the ESR version retail at ? Martyn.

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                  • #39
                    Just how does the P3ESR do it?

                    Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
                    Hi Martyn,

                    Glad you like the P3's. I can assure you that the ESR version is another leap in midrange clarity again, and makes the ESR's easily as good as some active models I've heard - better in fact because they're so much better behaved yet with no loss of precision.
                    Yes,yes,yes!!!...I was thinking the same thing just an hour ago.. also the bass on these is tighter, much more powerful, and more tuneful than a pair of aktive keilidhs... kinda makes one think.. how the heck is this possible?

                    another thing i noticed is that vibrations are really well controlled, place hands on speaker and there's barely any vibration. Oh and they sure sound great playing at low levels at night, you don't have to play at above whisper levels to get detail, at 83db per watt how is this possible?

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                    • #40
                      Harbeth is something else!

                      Originally posted by Miles MG View Post
                      Much as I'd like to, it's finding the money. I suppose I could sell my P3s... They cost me nearly 500, plus the grilles. I don't regret the outlay for one minute, but I would have to find a substantial amount. What does the ESR version retail at ? Martyn.
                      It's not like me to reply to my own thread, but now having lived with a pair of 'ESRs since Christmas I endorse all that's gone before on this Post.

                      They are THE most realistic loudspeakers I have ever had in my home. Female vocals, in particular, are stunning. Spoken voice ( from the BBC ) is frighteningly real. John Humphreys ( pulling a Politician to pieces ) is almost too much to deal with !

                      Spendors have been spoken of here and I still hold them in great respect having lived with BC1s for over 30 years, but to use the modern parlance the Harbeths are ' something else '.

                      M. Miles.

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