Best purchases ever
Just a shameless plug for Harbeth Compact 7's. Absolutely one of my best consumer purchases ever, and THE BEST of all the audio gear I've had come and go over the years. Harbeth's are not come and goers, they are keepers. Listening to now - Jean-Guihem Queyras, Dvorak, Cello Concerto, Harmonia Mundi. I am in audio heaven. Cheers!
I'm a Proac owner and a Harbeth owner wannabe. Very interested to hear your positive comments about the Compact 7s. Tell me something - have you ever owned a similar-sized, ported speaker with which you could compare?
I had the Proac Studio 100 for a while. Their detail and imaging was superb but the boom from their ports ruined the sound for me. My guess after reading various posts of this (most informative) forum is that the ports of Harbeth designs simply augment the bass frequencies, without lessening the quality of bass, however it would be valuable to hear from one with first-hand experience.
Many thanks, Ben.
Ben, if I may interpolate in your conversation with Pencey:
"Tell me something - have you ever owned a similar-sized, ported speaker with which you could compare?",
I have only limited experience of the Compact 7 (I use SHL5s) but I'd say that the Spendor SP2 is a speaker you should also hear. Same BBC heritage, very similar sound to the Compact 7. We bought my son a pair of SP2s for his 21st birthday. A qualified tonnmeister he sees no need to change them after 19 years.
Thank you, David, appreciate it. More saving time required, it seems!
The Studio 100 is crude in comparison and recessed through the mid band.
My best buy so far was probably the Quad 33/303. Bought used in 1987, that combo set a standard in sheer enjoyment of music that has guided all subsequent purchases. After I'd moved on to newer gear, my Mom used them until a few years ago when a channel on the 303 died. I subsequently renewed all the electrolytic capacitors (descovering in the process just how good they must have been when new) and finally sold them last year to enable the purchase of the P3ESRs.
However other highlights in my career as a hi-fi womble were a pair of small Maggies needing repair (£50), and the Rega Kyte stands that the P3ESRs are on (cost of petrol). The latter was a bit of a story, a friend and I collaborated to buy the Kytes with stands on ebay - he wanted Kytes, and I needed stands. Just before leaving to collect, the seller called very apologetically "I was getting them down from the loft, and put my thumb through the driver - I guess they're only good for the tip now". There was an easy answer: "Well I'll take them off your hands"...
I have a weakness for top-class bookshelf speakers so I'd say my best buys would have been the ProAc Response 1 SC back in 1995 (which I still have today), the Spendor SA1s and more recently, the P3ESRs.
All cracking little speakers that possess special qualities which sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.
Linaeum bookshelf speakers with ribbon tweeters! It sounded glorious, especially with a 300B SET powering it! Unfortunately, it was stolen during an office move! How I sorely miss those speakers.
The other 'best' buy was a mint pair of Rogers LS3/5a (15 ohm version) in teak which I still have to this day, occasionally hooked to my amplifier for some pensive nostalgia!
My best is Harbeth and LFD. Just right for my music taste.
"Bath with Music"
My best is Harbeth and Lavardin IS. Truthfully right combination.
AR t/t and QUAD with Harbeth
I bought an AR XA turntable for £25. All it required was a belt, mat and some basic maintenance and lubrication. ( As a little 'extra' I did buy an AR badge for it )
Fitted with a Denon D110 cartridge it works superbly with my Quad 34/303 amp. & the P3ESRs.
McIntosh pre/power and Harbeth SHL5+.
I simply can't fault the combo in my listening room.
Accuphase / Harbeth
Harbeth SHL5 and Accuphase E560
Best buy in 47 years ....
My best buy ever after 47 years buying, sorry, changing, hifi gear, has to be my beautiful rosewood P3ESRs. Exit 'hifi' enter 'music'.
Perfect combination with my other best buy, the Lavardin IT-15. Musical bliss!
My best ever purchase
My best buy in HIFI in 45 years?
Definitely SHL5 plus and electronics Norma Audio: a magic combination! I also enjoyed the Monitor 30.1 but for my room the best is SHL5 plus.
Plenty of power
It could be considered consistent but rather boring repeating that I have SHL5+ powered by Quad 909 Mono 300wpc and P3ESR powered by Quad 909 Stereo 140wpc, so I already have 4 best purchases.
The fact that I have huge power reserves will now allow me to get my next best purchase, from Poland, hand wired dual mono stepped attenuators (64-step/1db) with remote control that can be operated in both dual mono and stereo, for the huge sum of $700, which is about the same as the total component cost, if not a bit of a loss leader.
I will now be able to address the problem that age has diminished hearing in my left ear faster than in my right, no doubt due to having a telephone attached to it for a significant part of the day.
Do not forget to connect it to power amp with as short as possible interconnects :). In my opinion the best if well shielded.
Originally Posted by ssfas
Mine the best buys as regards to preamps are undoubtedly these from Siltech's Sphinx series.
PSU DAC interference?
Deciding on different 'control/power' units gets a little trickier for me.
Originally Posted by ssfas
A power amp plus: traditional ampliying preamp or a DAC with analog volume control or a passive attenuator????
I know DAC/passive provides sufficient voltage to drive most power amplifiers with CD as source but a generally respected non foo audio designer suggests that their amplifying preamp is better than their own volume controlled DAC as it would give better dynamic contrasts because of the preamps larger current from the larger power supply (own words). Trouble is, I am in no position to refute or verify that statement.
Getting to know my C7ES3
Amplifying DAC or ....
That argument beats me: if the signal from the DAC is perfect (as it should be) all a volume control should do is move the signal to the next stage in exactly the same shape, albeit somewhat attenuated.
Originally Posted by acroyear
DIY passive attanuation concepts
The Siltech uses ALPS potentiometers.
A critical component and it seems this version is an audio "standard" - cost inclusive of sales tax about £15 or €20.
When I went from integrated to power amps I needed volume control. Not wanting another audio box, my phono stage had space inside, so I had added:
1. 1 x line input
2. ALPS potentiometer
3. Source switch (line, MM phono, MC phono) - not remote controlled
I have the motorised ALPS - costs £36 - because I'm lazy.
So I turned a phono amp into a phono passive pre-amp. It is silver wired, but all the same the total component cost was probably about £150. I don't really know as 12 months later I have yet to receive a bill.
My DAC plugs in to the line input, which makes for a simple system. It is a passive switch, although my suppler said he could put in the simple valve gain stage that he uses in his active pre-amps. I declined.
So the issue is how critical is the industry standard ALPS potentiometer? I would have got a stepped attenuator put in, but there is no room for it, especially when motorised.
(This is an old model, the new one is 64-step 1db each)
The Khozmo and Hattor are the same guy in Poland - he's been making attenuators for years and puts them in little boxes as passive pre-amps. His cost $100 standard per unit, but you can pay £50 to £1,500 from other suppliers. With a stepped attenuator the signal just goes through two resistors. The ALPS never struck me as being very hi-fi.
With regard to acroyear's comment, I have also read that people consider the pre-amp with gain to be ultra-critical, and they spend £1,000's on them, when I have only ever considered a pre-amp to be a switch with voltage control.
So is the next best purchase going to be a box containing two motorised stepped attenuators, some wires and a few sockets? The direct cost for the unit ($700) is less than the UK component cost as the UK (trade) parts supplier adds 50% for his profit. Or is the £15 ALPS perfectly sufficient?