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I'm enjoying my new P3s (ES2) tremendously, and good as the 3Rs undoubtedly are, I've decided to wait awhile before upgrading. Partly it's deferred pleasure -- nothing more fun than waiting on a new arrival -- but partly it's that I'm finding the ES2s very satisfying with the modest kit I'm using them with, and I'm not sure how much more I'll enjoy a more detailed/refined speaker at this point, with two toddlers rampaging about.
Looking forward to hearing more impressions, however, and delighted in the meantime to be owning an audio classic. I figure it'll be a few years before the 3R gets that title...
I'm enjoying my new P3s (ES2) tremendously... I'm finding the ES2s very satisfying with the modest kit I'm using them with ...and delighted in the meantime to be owning an audio classic.
Very good attitude to hi-fi and music and life! You've invested in the P3ES2 so why shouldn't you enjoy that investment to the full? The P3ES2 is still selling, and will continue to be available for some time as the Monitor 20.
For about five months now we have been open and honest about the eventual introduction of the P3ESR. This has given customers the choice to buy the P3ES2 or wait for the P3ESR. In fact, the P3ES2 is selling steadily: it has it's fans and its built to last.
I have been extremely cautious about the entire design process of the P3ESR because of the P3ES2's reputation in the market over these past nineteen years. But to move it up to RADIAL has been a very long term ambition - now achieved.
I think it would be far easier to comment on what actually is the same between P3ES-2 and P3ESR. The only components part that is identical between these generations is the grille. Everything else is new or modified.
As you note, the P3ES-2 uses a SEAS woofer, the P3ESR has one designed and built at Harbeth (just like all our other woofers, with our unique RADIAL cone). The tweeter is a derivative of the type used in the ES-2 but with a different protection grille (similar now to M40.1's hex tweeter grille protection).
The cabinet is very different: the P3ESR's back panel is held-in by screws (like the bigger Harbeths) and the internal damping (bitumen equivalent) is increased in size compared with the P3ESR. I've mentioned that the P3ESR has a pair of connectors, and the P3ES-2 is bi-wireable with four.
The crossover - the most critical sub-system in any quality loudspeaker (far, far more than you could ever imagine) is a total, comprehensive, ground-up redesign to match the 5" RADIAL driver. The new woofer has completely different electrical characteristics to the SEAS unit (new has higher impedance) and every component on the crossover has been changed. In fact, I've been able to beef-up the crossover components by using 'little brother' versions of those first successfully introduced on the M40.1's crossover. This means that the fibreglass crossover board itself has been increased in size by about 25% compared with the P3ES-2.
You can see the design process of the PCB and how I adopted components from the M40.1 crossover here.
As to your very reasonable question "Are there any issues in ES2 that you intend to address with ESR?" Well, the design is totally finalised and necessary parts are arriving from our suppliers right now. I can assure you that I wouldn't have invested man-years in the P3ESR just for the fun of the chase. I have applied a rather novel approach to the crossover design (novel for me that is) and it's allowed me to achieve a great frequency response, higher impedance and flat room response with incredible imaging. P3ESR sounds just like the bigger Harbeths but is a fraction of the size.
As I write this note I am enjoying my SHL5. I have the 30th Anniversary Edition speakers. While I have owned many loudspeakers in my life, I have never been so utterly and completely impressed. So impressed in fact that very shortly after i received them I ordered a pair of the new P3ESR.
Is there any chance that you may offer these speakers as a 30th Anniversary product ? Is there perhaps a chance that it may be offered as an upgrade option ? I can tell you without hesitation, that for me, it was money very well spent.
I will spare everyone from all the superlatives, adjectives, and amusing descriptives. You sir should receive a humanitarian award for outstanding achievement in modern musical design.
I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for bringing music to life, making it real, and surpassing every expectation.
Are these new P3ESRs suitable as rear speakers for a home theatre/surround sound set-up? In my case, they will have to be wall-mounted by way of brackets on the back wall quite high up - perhaps 1/2 foot to 1 foot between the top of the speakers and my ceiling (in any case, they will be much higher than my ear level when I am in a sitting position). And if this is workable, would it be advisable to position them tilting in and firing at an angle towards my sitting position or to just mount them parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the back wall?
On a not unrelated matter, are you working on a centre speaker?
Yes, the P3ESR would make an excellent choice for a natural-sounding high quality rear speaker system. I can imagine for multi-channel DVD-audio they would sound wonderful.
Centre speaker: that's an interesting idea. I've started a new sub-thread here and I'd really like some guidance from you (all) as to features and most important, cabinet size. In the days of CRT TV, the sets were so big that evan a large centre channel box sitting under the set was dwarfed by the TV. But now, with these skimpy thin TVs I'm not sure how big the centre channel can be, or where it is placed. Under the TV? Standing on what?
With the dominance of the flat panel tv screens, I'd be inclined to wall-mount a centre speaker, just above the screen, or perhaps below for people who like the screen up high. Ideally, the wall bracket should have some range of tilt capability; i.e. so you can point down at the listener if it is well above ear height. Such brackets for smaller monitor speakers are certainly available already. Next the size of the cabinet has to be considered, and whether you will have the cabinet on its side as is typical for centre speakers, in which case a dedicated wall mount might be needed. Personally, I'd be happy with the P3 size, but the market may want something bigger.
...I'd be inclined to wall-mount a centre speaker, just above the screen, or perhaps below ... I'd be happy with the P3 size, but the market may want something bigger.
Now that really does surprise me. You'd want or accept a speaker bigger than the P3 for a centre channel but you say that you'd probably mount the TV on the wall? Sticking out 250mm or so from the wall? I just don't see that as market viable. Surely the centre channel will have to be as thin (or almost as thin) as the panel TV itself? I'm having great difficulty imagining a wife tolerating a centre channel speaker protruding off the wall and into the room*.
It is absolutely vital that we determine the dimensions of this centre channel speaker.
* It's our 30th anniversary tomorrow and I think I have a fair idea about the WAF of such a solution.
Now that really does surprise me. You'd want or accept a speaker bigger than the P3 for a centre channel but you say that you'd probably mount the TV on the wall? Sticking out 250mm or so from the wall? I just don't see that as market viable. Surely the centre channel will have to be as thin (or almost as thin) as the panel TV itself? I'm having great difficulty imagining a wife tolerating a centre channel speaker protruding off the wall and into the room*....
Mr. Shaw, I can only speak for the WAF in my own household, that is challenge enough. But in my den, where I was picturing this application, I am accorded a certain leeway. Since my side speakers (P3ES2s) are already on stands about 40 cm out from the wall, I have no conceptual difficulty with a centre speaker mounted anywhere up to a comparable distance from the wall.
Personally, I'd prefer a speaker box comparable in volume to the P3; I simply thought many who own larger Harbeths would be inclined to want your larger woofer, or perhaps two, in their centre. I would not be looking for a thin speaker; if you can get sound as good as a P3 out of a flattened speaker, more power to you Sir.
In the interests of transparency, I don't have a flat panel TV yet; I'm still watching my antique picture tube model, so the screen itself is also a good 40 cm out from the wall, the TV on a stand. I'd rather get a nice centre speaker first, but when I get around to acquiring a flat panel, I wouldn't necessarily look to mounting it nearly flush to the wall. Many do I suppose, but even flat panels are still mounted on suitable stands or cabinets.
Perhaps all of this is too idiosyncratic to help you much with your market testing....
Re: P3ESR - update (1) - final woofer and PCB layout
Hello to all,
I heard from my Harbeth dealer that there was a review conducted by a magazine between the stirling broadcast & the P3ESR recently, and the conclusion was that P3ESR edged out the stirlings. Any confirmation on it? And if so, what were the actual details of the outcome? Cheers!