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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.

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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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New Harbeth P3ESR

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  • The Harbeth Xtender - what business argument for it?

    The subject of the Harbeth Xtender subwoofer-in-stand that we made for earlier generations of P3ESR has been mentioned as the ultimate add-on, so why not make it for the P3ESR? I've been looking through the server archive and all the technical drawings are safely filed there, so technically we could indeed reactivate this product. The question is - what business case is there for making it. And what are the dangers.

    As commented here as an impartial listening to the P3ESR confirms, as we very well know, that the P3ESR has a remarkably solid bass doubly so considering its tiny proportions. So I'm concerned that making available any sort of Harbeth-branded subwoofer may send the wrong signals to the public that a subwoofer is needed. We know that it isn't, but that may be the impression that such a product introduction may give. And there is plenty of anxiety in the audio market without consciously adding to it.

    Second - the Xtender is at least twice the size of the P3ESR. You can see an earlier P3 + Xtender for sale here - very good pictures which give you an overall impression. The size of the Xtender means that our daily production output, which is directly linked to the physical size of the speaker, will eat into the quantity we can produce per day. That means an overall extension in lead time.

    Next we must consider the tricky and insurmountable problem of veneer matching. We simply cannot guarantee that the veneer colour/grain of the Xtender will (ever) perfectly match that of the P3 which sits atop it. We have three cabinet makers, and if we purchase the Xtender box from one and the P3ESR from another (as will happen) there will be differences in veneer. We, and our dealers, cannot be expected to open sealed cartons and pick-through perfectly good cabinets hunting for a close veneer/colour match.

    This Xtender project is technically trivial - but commercially very fraught indeed. I am nervous about complicating a production system that is already working at maximum efficiency for what would be a very low-margin addition.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • Veneer matching was and will be an insoluble customer problem

      You echo my thoughts completely.

      The P3ESR is a perfectly good speaker as it is and the majority of people buying it will never need more bass, especially as they are often used in relatively small rooms. Therefore, the quantity made will be small.

      Veneer matching will be impossible as I know from some years ago when Monitor Audio and Castle manufactured veneered stands to match their speakers. Reality was, that they never matched the speakers at all and we could never please the customers. We and the manufacturers very soon abandoned the idea.

      IMO, the P3ESR is a wonderful small speaker and there is no shortage of customers for it as it is.

      Comment


      • Xtender in black/grey only?

        maybe making it only available in black or the mid-grey could work, and still look ok with the various veneered P3ERS?

        Comment


        • Non-veneered Xtender ...

          What I'm hearing is that there will likely be no Xtender.

          And that's fine - both Alan's business rationale and hifidave's views make a lot of sense.

          I would quibble with only a couple of points. First, the veneer matching: yes, impossible if you're trying to match wood grain, but if Harbeth does ever release a painted finish (there was some discussion of this on the HUG a few months back), then it becomes a non-issue.

          Second, I don't think that releasing an Xtender would cause too much anxiety or would be perceived as a negative reflection on the bass capabilities of the P3ESR, which any reasonable person has to admit are outstanding - for its size. Also, a P3ESR plus Xtender would give a column-type form factor, which many like.

          I realize this is probably a long way from constituting a good enough reason to produce such a product, however.

          (To add to P.C.'s posting, which I hadn't seen when I posted: I agree that a neutral flat black or grey could work with any veneer. One thing to remember is that many owners will also invest an non-trivial amount of cash on a decent pair of stands, and an Xtender would eliminate the need for stands, making it a more feasible proposition for the consumer.)
          Last edited by EricW; 06-07-2011, 07:29 PM. Reason: Comment on previous posting

          Comment


          • "Graded" P3ESRs - an opportuntiy seized

            First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart for times past when graded speakers have been made available. There is simply no other way my wife and I could have afforded speakers of this quality... well OK maybe 10-15 year old secondhand examples of the P3 genre.

            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
            There are a couple of issues here...

            1) There is the issue of 'leakage'. That is, the world is full of bargain hunters. And whilst many of these are sincere end users on limited budgets who would truly appreciate a pair of Harbeths normally out of reach there are plenty of others who would see it is an opportunity to sell-on and make a profit.
            This is very true... despite our speakers being "graded" the workmanship is outstanding. Having sold my old Quad 33/303 towards the cost of the speakers, when they arrived I took them to a friend's for a try-out. He's a retired cabinet maker and it was obvious that he gave them a good looking over with a professional eye. At the time he remarked that the cherry veneer changes colour with age and indeed after 15 months the original veneer discolouration has diminished to a point where it cannot be spotted without knowing where it was in the first place.

            2) and this is very interesting to me, is that whenever we have made a few of the not-so-seriously-imperfect examples available as 'charity speakers' the uptake has been almost nil and we've ended up scrapping them anyway.
            There are probably many community radio stations who would benefit greatly from the graded speakers - but the problem would be getting the word out (maybe via organisations like Radio Worldwide that help people set up community stations?) and also the problem of timing supply and demand. The need is certainly there - not long ago the technician at RW was busy repairing a Spendor BC1.

            But doing any kind of special "Community Radio Edition" would probably be hugely disruptive to your production processes!

            Comment


            • Xtender - a minority product that could be disruptive?

              What was the original reason for halting production?

              I personally have a feeling that business-wise it would not be the best idea to manufacture the xtender. This would be a product that would only benefit P3ESR users, and only a smaller part of those users would probably end up buying xtenders. So this would mean production on a smaller scale than usual, but still expensive and time consuming to produce, and it would slow down production of other products. It would be a nice product, but perhaps it wouldn't be cost/effective to manufacture.

              Comment


              • Why did the original Xtender stop production (mid/late 90s)?

                Originally posted by TimVG View Post
                What was the original reason for halting production (of the Xtender)?
                Can't accurately recall. I guess that it did not pull its weight financially.

                Comment


                • I adore my P3ESRs

                  I've had my P3ESR a few weeks now and concur with Hi Fi Dave that these speakers are perfect as they are. The bass in my 12 x 12 foot room is absolutely spot on. I seem to be able to play them louder than my previous (larger) speakers as the bass would just become to 'boomy' (I'm sure there's a hi-fi term for this !).

                  I adore them and can't imagine ever changing them. Just FYI I sit them on two beautiful 200 x 200mm sections of planed oak.

                  Comment


                  • P3ESR as near fileds .... and Harbeth Malaysia ....

                    Bought my P3ESR pair from Sam (Tropical Audio, KL). Am already an owner of a Super 5 for 3 years (still enjoying them btw). Was clear that I wanted a Harbeth sound for near field use in my workstation serving computer based music sent thru DAC into int amp.

                    My previous Naim Credos were good for what they're worth BUT I really wanted the Harbeth richness in mid freq and vocals. Well, needless to say, upon a quick audition, I brought home my P3ESR in Cherry.

                    For 2 days since, I am enjoying my music in every way. New found clarity and richness never found in the Naim. And the P3's have all the bass they need for near field work - never missed them...maybe am enjoying the mids too much to notice! haha

                    Am definitely a happy camper. Very impressed by the magic to be found in such a small cabinet. I heard the M30 at Sam's and am also smitten. Soon I believe, but what would I do with the Super 5? A happy problem no less

                    BTW, Sam's a swell guy! Alan should be happy that he's got a great reseller in Malaysia in Sam

                    Last edited by grunt72; 15-08-2011, 03:54 PM. Reason: added picture

                    Comment


                    • X-ray vision?

                      Congrats on the P3's! It is amazing how you don't miss the low frequencies! I don't know how Alan does it...

                      BTW, while looking at your new speaker, I feel like I have Superman's x-ray vision...

                      Comment


                      • lius;15380]Congrats on the P3's! It is amazing how you don't miss the low frequencies! I don't know how Alan does it...

                        BTW, while looking at your new speaker, I feel like I have Superman's x-ray vision...[/QUOTE]

                        I feel the same way,x-ray man,what the
                        I should put some more pics of my Harbeth's SE Rosewood.

                        Comment


                        • Has anyone compared (I mean audition) the P3ESR along with the M20? How are they differentiated in terms of sound and applications ?

                          {Moderator's comment: you would be auditioning two generations of Harbeth mini-monitors of which the latest is the P3ESR.}

                          Comment


                          • Bass - and overall balance

                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            The subject of the Harbeth Xtender subwoofer-in-stand that we made for earlier generations of P3ESR has been mentioned as the ultimate add-on, so why not make it for the P3ESR? I've been looking through the server archive and all the technical drawings are safely filed there, so technically we could indeed reactivate this product. The question is - what business case is there for making it. And what are the dangers.

                            As commented here as an impartial listening to the P3ESR confirms, as we very well know, that the P3ESR has a remarkably solid bass doubly so considering its tiny proportions. So I'm concerned that making available any sort of Harbeth-branded subwoofer may send the wrong signals to the public that a subwoofer is needed. We know that it isn't, but that may be the impression that such a product introduction may give. And there is plenty of anxiety in the audio market without consciously adding to it.

                            Second - the Xtender is at least twice the size of the P3ESR. You can see an earlier P3 + Xtender for sale here - very good pictures which give you an overall impression. The size of the Xtender means that our daily production output, which is directly linked to the physical size of the speaker, will eat into the quantity we can produce per day. That means an overall extension in lead time.

                            Next we must consider the tricky and insurmountable problem of veneer matching. We simply cannot guarantee that the veneer colour/grain of the Xtender will (ever) perfectly match that of the P3 which sits atop it. We have three cabinet makers, and if we purchase the Xtender box from one and the P3ESR from another (as will happen) there will be differences in veneer. We, and our dealers, cannot be expected to open sealed cartons and pick-through perfectly good cabinets hunting for a close veneer/colour match.

                            This Xtender project is technically trivial - but commercially very fraught indeed. I am nervous about complicating a production system that is already working at maximum efficiency for what would be a very low-margin addition.
                            Hi Alan,

                            I read briefly about the comments regarding the bass perfromance of the P3ESR. I have two concerns; 1) I usually listen at quite low levels and due to that reason find the bass of similar sized (well known) speakers anaemic. When I cranked up the volume {of the other similarly sized speakers} the higher frequencies becomes unbearably bright and vocals seem to shout at me. 2) The other concern is whether what I had expereinced was a speaker / amp mismatch. I own a 100 watts Class D PS Audio Trio pre/pwr. Speaker wires are the Kimber 4TCs. Any advise is most appreciated.

                            {Moderator's comment: Iassume that as we have indicated above {...} your comments are about another speaker, not the P3ESR. Correct? Can you give us a little more info about what that other speaker is perhaps be country of origin, number of drive units and the philosophy behind the design ... a 'BBC philosophy' or not?}

                            Comment


                            • Beware of Class D?

                              They're UK made 'BBC philospohy" type as well - sealed box, same number of drivers, varied wall thickness..... I forgot to mention they sounded lovely when driven by Sudgen amp at the shop.

                              My room is about 12 ft x 20 ft, speakers firing across the shorter end - not very well damped; hard floors, light curtains, 2 settee with glass coffee table top & glass shelf display cabinet .... Read somewhere that says "Beware of Class D amplifiers and their interaction with speakers". Thanks.

                              {Moderator's comment: yes our experience with Class D whilst initially impressive can be rather hard on the ear. You mention that your pleasure degrades as the volume increases with your current speakers. This surely can only be then increasing distortion (of various types) either in the drive units, crossover and amp/source since your ears and room are constant. If the drive units do not perfectly blend through the crossover region (e.g. crossover too high or low for the drive units latent abilities) then this can give a hardness which is extremely fatiguing.}

                              Comment


                              • Yes, and I bought P3ESR

                                Originally posted by engjoo View Post
                                Has anyone compared (I mean audition) the P3ESR along with the M20? How are they differentiated in terms of sound and applications ?
                                Hello.

                                Recently heard both the Mon20 & the P3ESR at Harbeth's Dealer in KL, MY.
                                The Mo.20 had a more nasal and "flat earth" (shades of Naim?) presentation while the P3ESR managed to project a more layered soundstage. The P3ESR seemed to be able to throw a fair bit more bass than the Mon20 as well.

                                Needless to say, ended up bringing home a pair of the P3ESR in gorgeous rosewood finish.

                                Happy listening.

                                Comment

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