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Thread: Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

  1. #441
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Germany
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    6

    Default Bonnec Timpano and Bonnec Alto

    Ive just purchased from the used market a pair of bonnec Timpano and Alto (Preamplifier and Amplifier). These are fantastic performers with my Monitor 30. Especially the phonosection of the Timpano is really impressive. The M30 sounded good before (with my Cyrus II + PSX), but now the package is magic!

  2. #442
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    Dec 2009
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    Default From iPod to Harbeth

    My daughter and son-in-law, like many young folks, have their entire music collection on their computers and ipods. Some fraction of their music comes from iTunes, downloaded at the default Apple compression settings; the rest is copied from CDs. Two questions: I'm thinking of suggesting that they purchase a pair of P3ESR's for their apartment, but (1) what would be a reasonably priced way for them to run their music (on the ipod or Mac) through their Harbeths and (2) can some listeners hear the difference between Apple compressed music files and music on a CD, when excellent speakers are being used?

    Bruce

  3. #443
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Canada
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    Default Music on computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Euler View Post
    My daughter and son-in-law, like many young folks, have their entire music collection on their computers and ipods. Some fraction of their music comes from iTunes, downloaded at the default Apple compression settings; the rest is copied from CDs. Two questions: I'm thinking of suggesting that they purchase a pair of P3ESR's for their apartment, but (1) what would be a reasonably priced way for them to run their music (on the ipod or Mac) through their Harbeths and (2) can some listeners hear the difference between Apple compressed music files and music on a CD, when excellent speakers are being used?

    Bruce
    Bruce:

    As someone who does the same (i.e. has put his entire music collection on a Mac using iTunes), let me weigh in.

    First, if you download from iTunes you are stuck with their default compression setting, which is now 256 kbps using the AAC system (it used to be 128, but they upgraded it a year or two ago). But if you're copying off CDs, you don't have to use compression (or data reduction, to be more precise): you can encode in WAV or AIFF, which are uncompressed, or in Apple Lossless, which reduces file size by about half but does not discard any of the data on the CD. If you choose any of the lossless formats, the sound quality off your computer can be every bit as good as off a CD player - the bits are the same - as long as you're using a quality external DAC (it's a different story if you use the computer's line out, because then you're running an analog signal through the computer's audio circuitry, which isn't the best thing to do). You can also compress your CDs if you want to, but there's no reason to do so unless you're short of hard drive space.

    As for the "compressed" files, well, there's a lot of online talk about the point at which AAC compression becomes "transparent" (if it ever does). I've done listening tests myself (unscientifically) and my feeling is that the old standard of 128 kpbs was inadequate if sound quality is important to you, 256 is pretty good, and 320 - the highest setting, which gives file sizes about half the size of an Apple Lossless file - is only barely distinguishable from a Lossless file: on some tracks, I can pick out the difference, on others I can't. 256 is also quite good. To my ears, a lot depends on what type of music it is and how it's produced, as well - electronic music seems to suffer the least, for some reason.

    To answer your specific question, I would say that 256 kbps AAC provides sufficient sound quality that a good pair of speakers is still worthwhile. But at least rip the CDs losslessly, if at all possible. And get a good USB DAC to plug the computer into - there are good ones out there that aren't terribly expensive, and will dramatically improve sound quality over the computer's line output. After that, it's like any other component: plug the DAC's output to a good amplifier, run the amp into a pair of Harbeths, and you're off and running.

    Eric

  4. #444
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    Sep 2010
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    Philippines
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    Default

    I would add the Luxman 505u to this list as one of the best synergy with a harbeth Compact 7. Super super musical!

  5. #445
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    Mar 2006
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    USA
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    Default

    My 100 watt Nagra PSA ' Pyramid' amp drives my Harbeth M30s beautifully!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #446
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    May 2010
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    Default

    Exemplar Denon 3910 > Manley Jumbo Shrimp > Manley Lab Series 100 Mono Blocks >
    HL-P3ES-2 30th Anniversary in Eucalyptus

    Lot's of tubes. I am really enjoying the setup.

  7. #447
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    Oct 2010
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    USA
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    Default

    Sonneteer Alabaster with my P3ESR's, sounds outstanding!

  8. #448
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    Feb 2006
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    USA
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    Post # 435 from kittykat. Excellent post!!! Well stated!! Like you said textbook!!
    Great List!!

  9. #449
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    Apr 2010
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    UK
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    I have previously had my SHL5's controlled by Marantz PM11S1, Leema Tucana MKI, Graaf GM50 but have now for the past 6 months settled on a Pathos Classis MKII which to my ears is perfection, I have absolutely no intention of changing.

  10. #450
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    Oct 2010
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    USA
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    Due to service problems I no longer have my Sonneteer and can only afford a budget amp for P3ESR's. Right after I bought my Harbeth's, kind of a bummer to now have to run them with a budget amp for the foreseeable future. All I can afford at present is an NAD C326BEE. It will arrive this coming Monday, wish me luck.

    PS - Took forever to save for the P3's and then this...yikes. Also never received any info on removing the grilles until after I came to this wonderful website...however it was too late and the grilles are ruined. Doggone distributor wants to charge $120 for grilles...guess I'll do without them as well. Not a good day.

  11. #451
    honmanm Guest

    Default

    Bummer indeed... but I think that NAD might well surprise you... it has enough grunt for the P3ESRs, well made & from a reputable manufacturer - and TBH it's not what I'd call a cheap amp. Let us know what you think when it arrives.

    Maybe you'll be able to re-cover the grilles if Harbeth are able to tell you what kind of material to use. It's probably worth while, IMO the P3ESRs are "right" grilles-on.

  12. #452
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    Apr 2010
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    USA
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    I agree with honmanm. NAD amps give you a lot for your money. I have owned one, and listened to several, and I have always been impressed with their performance.

  13. #453
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    Oct 2010
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    USA
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    Thanks for the replies. I do want to replace the grilles...not recover them as I want them to be original. These are heirloom quality speakers to me and I want them to be right. I will definitely let you know how the amp works out. Thanks again for the replies. I apologize if I sidetracked the thread.

  14. #454
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    Feb 2010
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    Quebec, Canada
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    Actually, Yamaha's A-S2000 gets good reviews. One of our local hi-fi critic tested it and was very impress. He said that this amplifier plays in the range of $5000 amplifiers. The A-S2000 is less than half this price: $2199 at my local dealer. Plus, it has tone control, phono stage and headphone socket.

    I'm wondering if anyone had the chance to give this Yamaha a try with a pair of Harbeth.

    It will probably be one of my holiday listening session. I'll come back on this.

    Sebastien

  15. #455
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    Australia
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    Sebastien, the As2000 also has a loudness control and not to forget the moving coil preamp. Im convinced, based on past experience, that Yamaha makes non fussy or finicky amplifiers which are simply plug, play and enjoy (like Harbeths?). It is a serious electronic item not for those who have amp fetish or amp-ile envy.

  16. #456
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    ....I'm wondering if anyone had the chance to give this Yamaha a try with a pair of Harbeth....
    I have an A-S2000 for the last two months with my SHL5's, replacing a Krell KAV300i. The amp is very good in any aspect, more quiet, more transparent, you can see (and hear) your money well spent on it.
    It is built like a tank and is fully protected -and so are the connected speakers to it-

    Quote Originally Posted by kittykat View Post
    Sebastien, the As2000 also has a loudness control ....
    It doesn't have a loudness control, it has bass, treble and balance. They don't affect the signal when in "0" position (I can hear a slight click from a relay when I turn them and the sound stops for a moment. The same happens when I set them back to "0"). That's nice, I don't have to push a "Direct" or a "Tone Defeat" button to engage them.

    Sebastien,
    is it possible to give us a link of the test you mentioned?

  17. #457
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    Feb 2010
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    Quebec, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takis View Post
    ...Sebastien,
    is it possible to give us a link of the test you mentioned?
    The comments from that guy are in French on a local HIFI website here in Quebec. Let me check later what I can do to translate this.

    Sebastien

  18. #458
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    Oct 2009
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    Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takis View Post
    It doesn't have a loudness control,
    Sorry, my mistake Takis, Thanks for pointing out. i was drooling over the AS700 last week and thought all their amps had one. Australian hifi tested the AS2000 here...

    http://www.avhub.com.au/index.php/Pr...amplifier.html

    More importantly, they measured it (downloadable pdf) and it is pretty awesome performance wise. The AS 700 was also tested (and measured) and it is here

    http://www.avhub.com.au/index.php/Pr...amplifier.html

    The AS700 is also pretty awesome for what they ask for. Think Yamaha has just also launched the 500 and 300, and is one of the few mega electronic companies which still tell who actually designed these amplifiers.

  19. #459
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    Oct 2010
    Location
    USA
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    Update to my earlier post. I was able to keep my Sonneteer amp and I can not adequately express how well the Alabaster and P3's work together. Never heard better in my home. Cheers!

  20. #460
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
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    288

    Default Yamaha A-S2000 review summary

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    The comments from that guy are in French on a local HIFI website here in Quebec. Let me check later what I can do to translate this.
    I read back his words. Here is the essence of his comment that I translate on my own.

    He said that he tried the Yamaha A-S2000 amplifier with a pair of Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation speakers ($25,000) and Yamaha CD-S2000 cd player and the results were astonishing. He used the balanced input and good cables. In his mind, this amplifier can be combine with high end products. It is a hifi product at low price. At around $2000, the author declares that you get an amplifier that plays like someo of them in the $5000-7000 range.

    He concluded, that this amplifier represent an incredible value at that price and that with its global quality, its balance and musicality, its great construction, its nice look, it is "de facto" a classic that we will talk for a long time.

    Sebastien

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