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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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New Harbeth P3ESR

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  • Mysterious P3ESR ...

    Well, surely my P3ESR has very stable tonality and "wide" imaging at that point! However, the thing about high crossover point comes from the psychoacoustic theory that humans do not have good perception of notes and melodies above 4-5KHz. So, If all melodies we can feel come from the same driver that must be a good thing, even though it can cause "beaming", as wavelength becomes sorter than the driver's own dimensions.

    In my experience with good wide range drivers that operate this way, I find that I always feel music in a "direct manner". Multi way systems may have lower distortion and better dynamic range but lack that feeling of "direct understanding" of music. So it remains a mystery to me how my P3ESR manage to make me feel music not only in a direct manner but also in a more complete way as I am actually hearing "more" notes, especially at the very critical range from 1-5KHz. So, comparing my alnico fostex fe138 and my P3ESR confirmed that where the former starts to beam, the latter keeps on portraying tone, space and time in a most holistic way. Amazing!

    Comment


    • Re: Mysterious P3ESR ...

      Yes, beaming is exactly the issue. The P3ESR remains a mystery to me too! So many tiny, frustrating details have to fit together like a jig-saw so that the ear is fooled into believing that two drivers in a small box sound like reality.

      How I achieved this alchemy is recorded in detail in my log books .... but when I actually try and think through all the milestones, the project seems so completely overwhelming. Must have been divine inspiration helping me.

      Anyway, now we have perfected the method for making website videos (like here) for 2010 we will be making many more about how we actually design and what factors we have to balance to make a good sound. I hope that you will find them informative - we've received very little feedback so we can only guess that they are self-explanatory.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • Re: Harbeth P3ESR v ESL63?

        A quick follow-up. On Christmas eve one of the guests was a hi-fi loving friend, so before the festivites began we rearranged the living room for hi-fi purposes *only*. We have different tastes, Z likes things leanish, dynamic, and not over-detailed while I prefer a fuller, detailed sound (so if we both like something that means it is pretty neutral).

        We could both hear (different) areas in which the ESL63s were delivering more information that the [previous generation] P3s (me: there's more detail; Z: they start and stop so quickly) but we had to agree that the [previous generation] P3s did a better overall job of reproducing a performance - to my surprise, even on Carlos Kleiber's thrilling rendition of the Beethoven symphony no. 5. It should be noted that neither of us was aware that the sound of the [previous generation] P3s was emanating from a pair of little boxes propped up on bar stools.

        I still suspect that the tables might be turned in a bigger room... but as (a) that is a comparison with [previous generation] P3s and (b) there is no bigger room on the horizon - the P3 is a better fit to our needs.

        The "cherry on the top" is the greater clarity and smoother response promised by the P3ESRs.

        Comment


        • Re: Harbeth P3ESR v ESL63?

          Originally posted by honmanm View Post

          The "cherry on the top" is the greater clarity and smoother response promised by the P3ESRs.
          Oh, not just promised, but delivered. I've owned both - trust me on this. The former P3 was a very fine speaker, but the new P3ESR is something else again. It's just an amazing little box.

          Comment


          • Re: Harbeth P3ESR v ESL63?

            Indeed. The P3ESR was worth every second of the four year technical journey. Even I am truly astonished at what it does. I had assumed many years ago, that the real advantage of the Harbeth RADIAL? cone material would best be shown-ff by the 8" cone, and below that perhaps not so. It was with some considerable trepidation (and secrecy) that we invested in the tooling for the new 5" cone. It was worth every penny as the 5" RADIAL? is just so far ahead of the polypropylene predecessor for clarity.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • Re: P3ESR - update (1) - final woofer and PCB layout

              I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Absolute Sound magazine gave the P3ESR a brief (fantastic) review and listed it in their 2010 products of the year issue.I was under the impression that that Harbeth had not released this little gem for review yet.

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              • Re: P3ESR - update (1) - final woofer and PCB layout

                Originally posted by DrewTurner View Post
                I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Absolute Sound magazine gave the P3ESR a brief (fantastic) review and listed it in their 2010 products of the year issue.I was under the impression that that Harbeth had not released this little gem for review yet.
                oh it could have been the prototype model prior to the launching of the P3esr. it was showcase at the CES hifi show before the product launch too.

                Comment


                • The Absolute Sound 2010 choice ....

                  Well that's news to us here at Harbeth that TAS have been kind enough to review it. I do know that there are a couple of pairs in "Review stock" in the USA, but this is the first we've heard about an actual review. Can you give us any more information - extracts? and who was the reviewer please?

                  Actually, the P3ESR sales situation is now extremely strong. And this week we received the biggest order in our history from one European distributor - the earliest we can produce it with our other order commitments is Sept. 2010, which the customer accepts.

                  As mentioned before - if your distributor has applied some forward thinking and planned regular orders ex-Harbeth then the length of the order pipeline is of no consequence to you; you should be able to buy Harbeth with little or no waiting.
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • Re: The Absolute Sound 2010 choice ....

                    This might shed some light:

                    http://www.avguide.com/forums/harbet...till-available

                    It looks as if the review/award was for the previous P3. Alan, you may not like their assumption that the P3ESR entailed only a 'slight' revision! My own P3ESRs are arriving this coming week. Can't wait...

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                    • Re: New Harbeth P3ESR

                      Yes, I remember reading Robert Harley's comment when it was first posted and thinking "Hmm: doesn't he feel comfortable in opining on the sound of a speaker he's never heard!" Must be nice to be able to be that authoritative without even having to listen to the product in question.

                      My view is that the P3ESRs are much more than a "slight" revision of the P3-ES-2, but that's been covered elsewhere on these forums so I won't go on about it.

                      Comment


                      • When is a 'slight upgrade' a complete redesign?

                        ... when I've invested four years in the ground-up redesign of the P3ESR from the P3ES2! Actually, it's been mentioned in this thread here before that the P3ESR is a re-look at the concept of the mini-monitor, and not a brush-up. As soon as you change a bass unit (there is nothing at all in common between the bass unit of the P3ES2 and P3ESR apart from the approximate size), you will have different electrical and acoustic parameters .... that implies a totally different crossover ....
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • Re: New Harbeth P3ESR

                          I've realized today that the TAS best of 2010 review of the P3ESR I spoke about recently on this site, is actually just a previous review of the old P3 by Paul Seydor.The heading of the review(pg.30) has just been changed to P3ESR.Sorry for the confusion.

                          Comment


                          • P3ESR-ified

                            They have arrived... and after a few days with the P3ESRs I'm still at a loss for things to say about them. I had expected a characterful mini-monitor in the mould of the [previous generation] HL-P3, obviously more refined... but the P3ESRs are category-defying. It is very hard to say that this, that or the other aspect of the sound is attributable to the speaker.

                            They disappear like panels and don't sound at all boxy, don't have any noticeable emphasis (or dips) through the frequency spectrum. Bass I can't comment on as it is something I've never given a critical listen to - panel nuts usually can't be too fussy about bass.

                            As you promised, the P3ESRs are very amplifier friendly and they make even cheap amplifiers seem stupidly good. My pact with Mrs Honman that enabled the purchase of the P3ESRs meant parting with the Quad 33 and 303, so I have been using low-powered integrated amplifiers (a friend has a soft spot for British amps of the 1980s). A 25Wpc NVA amplifier that I bought as a stop-gap (100) - and which is rather shrill with the [previous generation] HL-P3s - does very nicely indeed.

                            My only complaint is that it is hard to tell how loud the system is playing...

                            For reference the room is about 2.7mx5m, speakers about halfway along and playing lengthwise, on Rega Kyte stands.

                            Comment


                            • Hi,

                              Well, I joined the club -- my P3ESRs arrive shortly. I was lucky enough to pick up a pair in maple and am looking forward to hearing them in my Bryston/Sugden system, where they'll replace the ES2s. Will report once they arrive, once I manage to squeeze in a few minutes of listening between toddler care...

                              best,

                              o

                              Comment


                              • P3ESR - "oh wow!"

                                "Oh wow!" is my involuntary exclamation if something really impresses or startles me. I don't say it very often. I've blurted it out twice when listening to Harbeth speakers. The first time was a couple of years ago when I first went to audition the SHL5's. I brought along a disc of a Bach piano sonata. It is so hard for speakers to to any sort of justice to solo piano. How many people actually sit and listen to solo piano music? Normally it's just a mangled mess of a piano. Anyway, after the first few notes my eyes popped open and "oh wow" fell from my lips. I was amazed at the life-like tone and timbre.

                                Fast forward to last week and I had just put the P3ESR's into the system in place of the SHL5's. At the moment I have the luxury of swapping them in and out, enjoying both for different reasons. I so happen to put on another Bach piano sonata. The same thing happened. I listened to a few notes and an involuntary "oh wow" came out. And that was after having had the SHL5's in the system! The more I have listened to the P3ESR's the more I have been struck by the purity of the instrumental timbre. I wanted to register it here because I think most of the praise so far has been for the bass or the surprising scale. In those respects it is impressive, no question, but what really impresses me the most is its purity. Quite wonderful. If I could role the strengths of the P3ESR and the SHL5 into one speaker I would have my perfect speaker. Yes, I know, I'm sure it exists and it's called the 40.1!

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