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Feb. 2018
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Goal/Objective set while designing M30.1 vis-a-vis C7ES3?

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  • Goal/Objective set while designing M30.1 vis-a-vis C7ES3?

    Alan,

    I had a wonderful audition of most of the Harbeth models (P3ESR, C7ES-3, SUPER HL5 PLUS and M30.1) and it was a great experience. After two rounds of audition, I opted for M30.1. If you ask me why I went for M30.1, I can list a couple of reasons from a layman's perspective.

    1. Ruled out SUPER HL5 PLUS as it is not suitable for my room size.
    2. Among the other three, I felt M30.1 had better clarity across the frequency spectrum. It was this clarity and super detail revealing character of M30.1 made my life easy in choosing it. In fact I had another round of audition and comparing M30.1 directly with C7ES-3. To my ears, I could hear significant difference in the character of both speakers. To me, M30.1 had superb resolution and clarity.

    As a layman, I have put my thoughts on how M30.1 and C7ES-3 are different in the way they sound. As a designer, you must have set different goals and objectives at the start of designing each and every loud speaker. So before going to the drawing board for designing M30.1, you, as a designer, would have got an idea of what character it should posses and likewise for C7ES-3.

    I am curious to know what your specific idea was and the goal you set before getting into the design of M30.1 versus C7ES-3. If I was comparing M30.1 (PRO) and C7ES-3, I would not have asked this question. The former is for more critical listening in a studio and the latter is for domestic purpose. Since you have M30.1 for domestic as well, I got this curiosity.

    So as a designer, if you can tell the difference between M30.1 and C7ES-3 (not the exact internal design details, but about the way they are intended to sound), it would be an interesting read. Thanks.

  • #2
    Request for clarification

    Originally posted by shan_ned View Post
    1. Ruled out SUPER HL5 PLUS as it is not suitable for my room size.
    Can you please clarify what you meant by "not suitable for my room size"? Is it from the point of view of room aesthetics or from considerations of anticipated acoustical reproduction in your room?

    Comment


    • #3
      Room independence

      Originally posted by witwald View Post
      Can you please clarify what you meant by "not suitable for my room size"? Is it from the point of view of room aesthetics or from considerations of anticipated acoustical reproduction in your room?
      I must say that I too was surprised by the quoted comment. The SHL5plus is supremely room friendly and will work well in even a tiny spare bedroom. The sales success throughout our global network speaks for itself.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #4
        Confirm room friendly

        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        I must say that I too was surprised by the quoted comment. The SHL5plus is supremely room friendly and will work well in even a tiny spare bedroom. The sales success throughout our global network speaks for itself.
        I can confirm that the SHL5+ works extremely well in very small rooms. This is surprising given the size of the cabinet but they do work where many smaller speakers (from other companies) don't.

        The OP might have been concerned by the physical size and appearance in a small room, more than the performance.

        Comment


        • #5
          Superb M30.1 vocals

          Originally posted by witwald View Post
          Can you please clarify what you meant by "not suitable for my room size"? Is it from the point of view of room aesthetics or from considerations of anticipated acoustical reproduction in your room?
          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          I must say that I too was surprised by the quoted comment. The SHL5plus is supremely room friendly and will work well in even a tiny spare bedroom. The sales success throughout our global network speaks for itself.
          I should have been more explicit in my previous post. Any way, here are my reasons on why I felt SHL5plus is not for me.

          1. My listening room dimension - 12' (L) x 10' (W) x 9 (H). My listening room is also my study room as well. So with my room setup, I will find very difficult to place a bigger speaker like SHL5plus. Currently, my room has a pair of speakers whose dimensions are similar to C7ES3/M30.1 and they fit into the room without any constraint.

          2. Secondly, I did have a comparison of SHL5plus with M30.1/C7ES3. To my ears, I found SHL5plus to have more punch and energy than the other two, but I experienced something unique with the way M30.1 performed. I felt as though M30.1 was designed differently from the rest of the crowd. Again, this is my subjective opinion based on what I heard through my own ears. Though SHL5plus had better punch at both ends of the frequency spectrum, its overall character was similar to that of C7ES3. From no where M30.1 came and sounded completely different from the other two and I was also totally impressed with it. It was not that I disliked the other two, but M30.1 was the one for me I felt.

          In fact, M30.1 was so different from the rest that I started getting doubts on whether I was giving a level playing field for all the models during my first round of audition. To get the doubts cleared, I again went for another round of audition. This time, I played a favorite track of mine multiple times across the models. I used to hear that track right from my age of 5 or 6. With that track played every time, my ears felt the uniqueness in M30.1.

          So what is that uniqueness I felt ? It is simple - With M30.1 playing in the background, I felt a veil, which was existing before, was removed completely. I immensely felt very happy and excited to hear the superb clarity especially with the vocals. So it is this which made me so curious to know if the designer had a different idea for M30.1 from the rest of the crowd. I would also like to state that I had no opportunity to audition M40.1.

          Comment


          • #6
            All good at low levels

            Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
            I can confirm that the SHL5+ works extremely well in very small rooms. This is surprising given the size of the cabinet but they do work where many smaller speakers (from other companies) don't.

            The OP might have been concerned by the physical size and appearance in a small room, more than the performance.
            Thanks for your thoughts. In fact I was surprised how good all the Harbeth speakers, including SHL5plus, performed at low sound levels. They exceeded my expectations on that front.

            As you pointed out, I was concerned by the sheer physical size of SHL5plus in a small room like mine. Placement of such big speakers in my room is next to impossible.

            Comment


            • #7
              Larger speakers in smaller rooms

              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              I must say that I too was surprised by the quoted comment. The SHL5plus is supremely room friendly and will work well in even a tiny spare bedroom. The sales success throughout our global network speaks for itself.
              Hi Alan,

              In my previous couple of posts, I have clarified on why I felt SHL5plus is not suitable for my room. Adding more to it, I have no other way other than placing the speakers along the short wall (10 feet) of my room. With my existing speakers (of size similar to M30.1), they are 2 feet away from the rear wall and 1.5 feet from the side wall. So the distance between two speakers is left with around 5 feet only.

              Behind the speakers, I have a small AV rack (along the rear wall) for housing the amp and other electronics. I felt having a bigger one like SHL5plus might force me to push the speakers more towards the corners. If I read correctly, they general recommendation/suggestion for placing the Harbeth speakers is keeping them away from the room corner for more free breathing space. Having said that, I opted for the small M30.1 (also due to its unique sonic qualities)

              While I wait for my new M30.1 to arrive, my curiosity to know more about it has increased.

              1. As I said before, I felt M30.1 to be completely different from the rest of the crowd (P3ESR/C7ES3/HL5plus). I am not sure if I am the only guy who felt this. Anyway, I want to know about it from you directly. So if can let us know how you, as a designer, wanted M30.1 to sound like, that would be great. I am sure you had an idea (during the pre-design phase) on the overall character you wanted to impart for M30.1.

              2. The other question is in relation to the stuff I have written in the first paragraph of this post. It is about having big Harbeth speakers in a small room. When the recommendation is for having free breathing space for the speaker, you also tell that how good HL5plus is for a smaller room. So I started searching for some discussion around this subject and I found a very good post on the same topic. Here is that post :-

              http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/s...2105#post22105

              The above post has raised a very good question and I would very much appreciate if you can share your thoughts on that.

              Finally, let me appreciate and thank you for your dedication and time in sharing your knowledge in this forum. I see other designers seldom talk freely with layman like me. My best wishes to you Alan !!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Historical perspective

                The most important thing is that you are satisfied in a world of dissatisfaction, anxiety, misery and turbulence. My opinions count for little or nothing. And thanks for picking Harbeth, and for the kind words!

                All I can add is that the SHL5plus introduced last year was a comprehensive ground-up redesign of a fifteen year old original design (of the SuperHL5, the original HL5 goes right back some 25 years). As time passes, either by accident (usually, in my case) or design (I'm not that bright) new tricks and techniques become apparent and I weave those into product development that's underway.

                In the case of the SHL5, there had been a general awareness that it tended to be a little warm in small rooms (many people loved that actually, esp. on classical music), but wishing to make the SHL5plus a more universal fit to today's smaller rooms and bias away from classical music, I adjusted the overall balance. All of that thinking was laid out here on HUG and I'm sure that you've read it.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #9
                  M30.1 > SHL5plus journey

                  Interesting that you heard similarities between the SHL5 Plus and the 7CES3 ? Strangely enough, despite their significant difference in size , I found the wonderful tonal expressiveness, timbre and agility of my SHL5 Plus was more of a kindred spirit with it's little brother the P3ESR. Similar in sound, just more of it.

                  Only goes to show , it's all subjective. We all interpret what we hear differently. I actually found the SHL5 Plus much easier to integrate in my rather small room then my previous 30'1's, which I had to sell after falling in love with the new SHL5 Plus.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Subtle SHL5 - 5plus

                    I have to add that as an owner of the previous shl5, the tonal warmth is a subtle thing, not a night and day change.

                    My days of satisfaction run into months of not changing anything, putting on long forgotten Cds and rediscovering the artistry of the musicians, wondering if I can trade out any more expensive components for cheaper ones (no) and marvelling at the ease with which I can improve the sound of my speakers by moving them 10 cm closer or further away from a wall, or sitting up straighter.

                    Interestingly, my most valued characteristic of the speakers is that I can be way off axis, reclining on my sofa and still enjoy the music.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      M30 Intimacy

                      Originally posted by shan_ned View Post
                      .....
                      1. As I said before, I felt M30.1 to be completely different from the rest of the crowd (P3ESR/C7ES3/HL5plus). I am not sure if I am the only guy who felt this. ...
                      You are definitely not the only guy...They definitely strike me that way too. (I own the original M30.) The M30 has a very special intimacy and closeness, unique not just among the various Harbeths, but among all other speakers I have heard.

                      That said, they are clearly of the same great family as the other Harbeths, all of which I could live happily with the rest of my born days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Harbeth story

                        All my current-model Harbeth listening has been at Hifi Dave's place, where his listening room is reasonable by UK standards, but perhaps small by the standards of other countries (Alan, please confirm?). The M30.1 has been a favourite of mine and a truly worthy development on the LS5/9 model, which tends to sound a bit rough and treble-ragged in comparison (on decent gear in Dave's room, the well discussed 5/9 'suckout' seemed to me to be heard more as a slight shift in spatial perspective, rather than an obvious failing in its response).

                        However, the SHL5 was a rather 'larger' sound here, the extra bass warmth and extension NEVER getting in the way of the midrange. To me, the 'Plus' version of the SHL5 is more like a 'bigger' M30.1 and currently, I think I'm the only Harbeth listener in the world who has doubts about it as it's almost 'too' taut at lower frequencies ;) - Politically, I'm going to maintain this stance for a while until the promised SHL5's land in my sitting room, displace the old BC2's and become part of the family - I'm getting quite excited by the prospect and don't care at all that they're not the very latest model - so there...!

                        Just to finish off by saying again and again how Harbeth product generations EVOLVE, so that even though the latest model is the best that the designer can do at that time, it doesn't mean that earlier versions are automatically rubbish in comparison. I could happily live with HL III's for example (polypropylene cone be damned - the III was more consistent than I remember the I and II being) and did (and still could) live happily with HL5's until odd-shaped rooms and marriage declared otherwise at the time, especially knowing what I do about them. The original P3 remains a lovely little thing and FAR clearer in the midrange than later LS3/5A's were, even Harbeth 3/5A's (I remember Alan's comparison as if it was yesterday) and I'm sure original Compacts would be fine as well, although it's decades since I last heard a pair...

                        Oh, and I haven't mentioned the M40.1 yet - silly reviewer used the wrong amps I'm sure, as in all the times I've heard them, they've had a lovely bass quality with no issues whatsoever - and yes, I do accept that the 40.2 has been substantially tweaked to present a better load and again, tauten things up a bit more. Doesn't stop me still loving the '.1' version though...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A universal sound?

                          First time poster, greetings all!

                          I have been looking to purchase new speakers for about a year, and the Harbeth 30.1 and super HL 5+ models have been on the top of my list. Something in this thread, however, has spurred a renewal of my questioning of the voicing of the Harbeths. Again, speaking here from love not criticism but is the approach to these speakers pointed away from classical music lovers?

                          I am interested in music, not speakers. In and of itself, I have no interest in speakers; what I want is a long-term relationship with transducers that bring great classical music (and jazz) into my home. I also admire the BBC sound of which I have some but not much experience. There has been some suggestion (to me, not in the media) that perhaps Stirling speakers are both truer to the BBC sound model; and more suited for my musical tastes. I find most speakers today to be too dry; to sharp and all together fatiguing.

                          The reason I love Harbeths from several auditions is that they have this almost creepy way of bringing me to the concert hall or church (St. Paul's for even song for instance). I don't get to travel much for health reasons, and I want to have more and more music in my home. The music I love is classical primarily, and opera and sacred music. I hope in becoming more "universal" they are not becoming more; well, sorry, standard fare; ordinary and rock-centered. To me that is dry, analytical, sharp and all together much too exciting (read as scary).

                          Maybe my user name should have been music fogey

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Entirely natural

                            Harbeth are definitely not "dry, analytical, sharp". They have a natural presentation which is very noticeable when you do comparisons against the majority of modern speakers. They should suit you well.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Agreed

                              Dave:

                              Agreed wholeheartedly.

                              Comment

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