New C7 in India
I received my speakers via UPS at home in India yesterday. I started emailing Andy Sinden early in May about obtaining these, because Harbeth doesn't yet have distribution in India. Andy offered to ship me a pair direct, and has followed that up with prompt and courteous attention to all that needed to be done to allow the speakers land safe at home, ready to sing. The work that Andy and his team have done has been excellent so far and up to the standards of the site, the user group, and, I expect to confirm soon, the speakers themselves. Andy, many thanks for a job done very well!
I still have to get stands made, and having moved to a bigger house, also have to do some work to tame the room acoustics down from being somewhat bright just now, so further feedback will have to wait till then. My listening for the past few years has been on a Quad 909 driven system, with Quad 11Ls and Spendor S3/5 SEs and I am looking forward to see how the Harbeths deal with a larger room. Which was my primary reason to buy them, I have been quite satisfied with my old speakers in the earlier smaller rooms. I got in to the hi fi hobby in 2002, and did the usual buying and selling activity, but settled down to my current system in 2007, having realised that I wasn't paying enough attention to what matters, the music. Would I have not moved house, I would have continued with my set up. The only change I made to it in recent times was using an Ipod with all my CDs transferred to it, as a source. Now that I have, it is hard to live without the convenience it provides along with features such as playlists and the like.
Visits to the forum here have been good to reconfirm that the reordering of my priorities makes sense, and members have also helped a great deal in the selection of the C7. I thought the P3 would not give me enough more for the larger room.
I did try one of the pair last night, just to get a taste of the cherry....it was sitting on the floor and I connected it to the amp, and played an old favorite, Bag's Groove. I did not expect much and at the beginning there wasn't much different, but when Milt Jackson jumped in with the vibraphone - it was already clear that the Harbeth was special. With the speaker on the floor, and sitting a few feet right in front of it, the sound to my ears was already out of the speaker box, hovering a foot or so above it, and very real.
To me now, it is all about the midband. I think too that at my age - 52 - and getting older, the very high frequencies won't be heard anyway! And just enough bass to allow the bass guitar to be heard anchoring the set is good enough for me. For close miked vocals too, the midband is critical. My other taste in music is Indian classical, and the system needs for that to be handled well are also just the same. One of wiser things I did was to hold on to my Quad 909 and that amp too is a mid band champion. I guess when the Harbeths are properly positioned in a furnished room...I can't wait, but interior decorators march to a different drummer!
Thanks once again, to all at Harbeth UK.
With the stands ready except for the castors to be added today, the speaker pair is now in place, connected to the system. I happened to have a handful of vibrapods in a drawer, they came in handy in keeping the top of the stand table and speaker cabinet apart, to save the speaker veneer. They also do a good job of making sure that the speakers don't slide around on the stands. And apart from adding an inch to the height of the speaker, I doubt they do anything acoustically. There are 5 under each box. I hope the vinyl won't react with the veneer!
Speakers are sounding fine, but I still have some room acoustics to attend to. Having heard a lot of music out of small Spendors and Quads, these sound more open and clean, with more depth to the bass lines. I don't have too many more superlatives to add, but that is also perhaps because I am listening to them in the light of day, and it is too soon for a tipple. And perhaps I need a carpet or two.
Caution, Vibrapods can leave a black mark over time. I have used playing cards between Vibrapods and wood surfaces, but any thin paper will work.
Vibrapod caution appreciated
Thank you for that, and playing cards sound easy. Of course if all of us were not obsessive about this, a small black mark or two on the bottom of the box isn't that a big a deal!
A first picture is attached, the sound is fine, but the stands aren't the stablest on the castors. I don't think that it makes a difference sonically, the little wobble, and the castors allow me to push the speakers into the corner out of harms/dogs' way, so it is very convenient.
As I said, they are sounding better than the smaller sealed box that preceded it, but I have to get the room seen to first.
Just a suggestion, you can solve the "little wobble" simply by loosening the castor wheel lock nut and adjust the stud.
Originally Posted by Jmohd
I tried fixing this yesterday and it isn't fully gone. None of my wheels have locks, and there is a metal rod, attached at one end to a metal plate that is attached to the bottom of the stand. The other end of the rod is a kind of ball/socket joint, with the socket being in the wheel below. And it is in the ball/socket joint that there is a little vertical play in some wheels. It is this play that seems to cause the wobble, to my eyes. I also suspect that the play allows for good contact with floors with some imperfections, so it might be a design feature. I can live with the wobble in exchange for the convenience of being able to move the stands out of the way, while being able to have the speakers into the room and away from the walls while listening to music. But if there is any fix anyone knows, I would be glad to hear of it.
Do speakers, and in particular, these ones, have a break in process for the moving parts to settle in to an extent that improves their voice? Or is that in the mind as well?
Nice job on the stands.
Perhaps rotate all caster wheels outward diagonally as this is usually the best for stability, then you may be able to rotate one caster to bring stand level. Also consider using a piece of Vinyl floor covering about 14" sq. under the casters as this will be a bit more forgiving,(hardness wise) and should help with resonance from the hard tile floor.
Also worth trying are Bumpons from 3M...http://www.3m.com/us/mfg_industrial/.../ps_index.html
on the stand top,(say 18 mm dia. x 2mm high) as these will be high in friction content and just may be better than the Vibrapods.
Thanks, Noel. I have realised that if I move the casters around once the speakers are in the listening place, I am able to get the stands to have zero wobble. Easy enough to do each time I move the speakers out too. And the vibrapods happened to be lying around. I have inserted visiting cards between them and the speakers at the 4 corners where the pods sit on the stands, to prevent the vinyl from marking the veneers, so they might also be helping to increase the friction. The speakers don't move laterally on the stands, the stands move on the wheels before they come close to doing that, I imagine. Hopefully, the vibrapods are doing what they are supposed to be doing to reduce resonance, and the stand itself is made out of solid wood. Hopefully too, there isn't much resonance left at the point where the wheels meet the hard tiled floor.
Originally Posted by skylan
Now that I have some carpet on the floor, and a whisky by my side, the boxes have started doing the vanishing trick. Kind of Blue isn't the best jazz record in the world, but it does give a good test for the speaker voicing, and the Harbeths are the best I have heard thus far. My home layout dictates speaker placement to a great extent, and behind the speakers are french windows that are either a glass surface when closed, or a gaping opening out into a terrace when they are open. I am told that this will leave me with imaging problems, and perhaps that is true, and I may never get the holographic effect. But one has to also live at home, and not alone, and that dictates some compromises.
The thing that keeps coming to mind listening to the speakers are words such as clean, open, unstressed. I only made a change from my little Spendors because I guessed that they would not be able to cope with a much larger room. The C7s seem to be unfazed.
On a slightly different note - I have the album in three formats. LP, SACD, and lossless on an ipod. I can't see anything missing/different from using the ipod as a source, feeding the DAC on the SACD player. Probably my ears are uneducated or no longer young enough to do so. And the convenience of the ipod is unmatched.
Another picture of the set up, with the soundstage/image stealing french windows behind the drapes. I am able to have the speakers stand in front of them by 3-4 feet. Is there anything else I could be doing about them from a room acoustics point of view?
Acoustics and speaker placement
The room seems fairly large. If the drapes are heavy, that should help. I would suggest you move the speakers closer to the seating position. Start at about 8', keeping the distance between speakers in proportion as you move them closer or further from the seating position. Something closer to near field may help to compensate for room deficits. Office supply stores sell tiny colored adhesive dotes to color code files, etc. These are helpful to mark speaker placement on the floor. If you are moving speakers frequently, it makes set up easy.
Typical of houses in India, I see you have a stone mosaic floor, which is quite reflective. Some additional rugs will help dampen the high frequencies. When I moved my Monitor 40s from my large carpeted family room to my smaller wood floored living room, the sound changed dramatically. Next to the speaker itself, the room has the biggest influence on the sound.
I remember reading a great article by Peter Walker, the Quadfather, on listening rooms and their influence on the sound. Much of what we hear is not the direct sound, but reflections. The shiny floor in your house is acting like a mirror, causing many reflections.
Yes, I realise that - But I also have to live in a house with three dogs, and the rugs such as they are already, are hell to clean! So, one does what one can, and leave it to the brain to filter out the heard reflections, I guess.
Originally Posted by Mahas
What I also am able to do when it is late at night, and it is just me and a glass of the finest, is to sit on the bench, which allows me to be in more of a near field environment, before the sound has bounced around too much. And at those times is when I get the best music, a soundstage that stretches across in front of me, and clean open sound. There isn't so much of a verticality to the soundstage, maybe the reflections are responsible.
The reason for the upgrade was because I thought the much larger room could use the extra bass that the larger C7s could provide, and maybe the SHL 5's would be even better, but there again, one has to the optimize on the other constraint - the budget.
Kumar, This is true! The Vibrapods do indeed leave a mark on the surface, hence you could use a thin paper/card which will solve the problem. Otherwise you could use Blu-Tack too, so that the speakers do not move.
Originally Posted by Drdennis