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Thread: M30 + subwoofer or M40.1

  1. #1
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    Default M30 + subwoofer or M40.1

    Hello Dear all,

    I’ve auditioned the M30 and the SHL5 in a quite large room at a Belgium dealer. I’ve listened first the M30 with my electronic ( Avondale gear : grad 1/TPX2 preamp and S100 amp) and was amazed of the unbelievable naturalness of the sound, mids and high were fabulous! And no trace of coloration!

    The only problem is that the M30 is not able to convey all the punch, drive of rock/pop music. The bass region is not really deep and tight. A part of the problem comes from the room which was full of other loudspeakers that surely interact with M30 especially in the LF.

    I try after the SHL5, but was a little bit disappointed, this speakers is less transparent, the mid are not at the same high quality level as the M30. The bass region was better (but it remains a problem) and the sound “fuller”. I try again the M30 after, all their qualities remains but the sound was a little bit shut in.

    My floor is completely “open”, even if I listen in a near field position; my actual speakers (neat petite/gravitas) are not able to “fill” all the room. So I’m nearly sure, in my quite large room (10m X 12m), that the M30 will have some difficulties to “fill” all the space…

    Is the M40.1 close of the M30 sound? Does it give the same fabulous mids with better dynamic and bass? I, unfortunately, don’t have the opportunities to listen to them.
    Is a subwoofer can give to the M30 the extra drive on rock music? Which one to choose?
    Thanks in advance for your advice…

    ben

    Nb: I’m surprise of the price difference between the M30 and M40.1. I thing the M30 has a very good value for money, Is it the same for the M40.1…?

  2. #2
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    Default Consider M30 + two subs v. M40.1

    Quote Originally Posted by Bensim09 View Post
    Is the M40.1 close of the M30 sound? Does it give the same fabulous mids with better dynamic and bass?
    I would say - having heard both - that that's a pretty good summary of what the M40.1 does.

    As for the value question, only you can decide. But if you want a proper comparison, I think you have to look at the cost of two quality subwoofers, not just one, so you have stereo bass, as well as a high-quality electronic crossover so you're not running the M30s full-range (which would defeat the purpose of being able to get extra "drive" on rock music, because you're still ultimately limited by the bass capabilities of the M30s' woofers). Once you add those pieces, you're looking at a more complex system configuration, and a less significant price difference.

    Different strokes for different folks (or "horses for courses" as the English say), but if I had a large enough room and budget, I'd get the Monitor 40.1, no question.

  3. #3
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    Default M40.1, shl5

    If you can really give the M40.1 the space it needs (which means away from walls) and preferably have at least SOME damping at low frequencies in your room, the M40.1 will be a great choice and have LOADS more head room than an M30 run full range, even if it is accompanied by one or two subwoofers. Like Eric said, you need to filter the bass from the M30's and you still have to find very good subwoofers, which will probably drive cost up to the level of a pair of M40.1's.

    Even if it is much more expensive than the other models, I think the M40.1 is still good value for money.

    Regarding the SHL5: I think it is better suited to larger rooms than the M30, but it does have the characteristics you described. I think you can be very satisfied with the SHL5 though if you do not compare it directly with the M30's (which you can't if you own the speakers). If you can stretch it to the M40.1, do it!

    Maybe to help you, our shop (Hilversum, Netherlands) will be doing a show on friday evening 2nd of march and Saturday 3rd of march with ALL the Harbeth models, including the M40.1.

  4. #4
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    Default I'm a C7 & SHL5 owner

    I am both C7 and shl5 happy owner. How i wish i can have the M40.1...Saving very hard now and stil long way to go. If you can just buy it and enjoy your music.
    "Bath in Music"

  5. #5
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    Germany
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    Default My overview

    Hi Ben,

    I had the same "challenge" (my listening room is also open and quite large - 5x9m, my near field position is around 3m from the speakers). Fortunately I had the chance to listen to the whole range of Harbeth speakers at my dealer.

    The M30 are phenomenal, but they aren´t able to fill bigger spaces with music. I also listened to SHL5 and I felt the same as you. The C7 have a different characteristic and are also very nice in near field listening, but too small to fill bigger rooms with music. That´s why I finally went for the M40.1.

  6. #6
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    Default The natural Harbeths

    Thank everybody for your advice.

    @Ericw: The solution to add subwoofer doesn’t seem a good idea as it may compromise the superb quality of the M30. The M30 doesn’t lack dynamic on classical and acoustic music. It’s even better in this area than my actual neat.gravitas. Only on hard “kicking” rock band I feel some problems but I think I can live with it.

    @garmtz: My room is not actually damped. I have actually no bass issue with my room. The problem is flutter echo and the sound is “bright” not bass heavy. I’ve bought some “melanine” foam to help to reduce this problem. I will install it soon.

    At present, my left speaker is very far from the side wall (6m), the right one is 1,5 m. How far would I have to place the M40.1 from the rear wall? Now my neat are about 70 cm from the rear wall.

    Thank for invite me to your show, but it’s nearly at 230km from my home...It will no be easy to be there next week. I will see…

    Just to be clear, this week I will try other loudspeakers from audio physic (virgo25) and Proac. I’ve already heard the virgo V (not a well known loudspeaker). It has detail and spacious sound with a good dynamic, it’s very good. I think it’s the closest Harbeth competitor. Proac seem a good choice too but …never heard it.

    My passion is music and… mountain bike. I’m 42, I just want to buy a loudspeaker for the rest of my life even it’s the M40.1 is not cheap and not very WAF, if it suits my taste I will buy it.

    20 years ago, I bought naim audio electronic. I love their “over” lively sound and perfect timing but it was “too much”. Avondale is less impressive but more natural and the transparency is at the top. It’s more “real”.

    Neat petite is lively too but when I heard Harbeth loudspeakers my NEW conviction is that the pleasure to listen to the music is not impressive praat, dynamic but pure naturel tone and transparent loudspeaker like Harbeth does.

  7. #7
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    Default MAP250 power?

    Be ware that I think even an NAP250 is unable to do full justice to the dynamic range of an M40.1. Are you sure your S100 can cope with it?

    {Moderator's comment: What is the power rating of these amps, and what is the Harbeth power spec for the M401.?}

  8. #8
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    Default M40.1 doesn't need big amp ...

    The s100 has 70w (8 ohm) and inside it's double mono lay out with 2 big transformers...

    I compare it with LFD signature integrated amp and even if thé LFD is really good, the S100 has better dynamic and give me more pleasure. Avondale s100 with M30 is really wonderful.

    it's of course not the best amp in the world, but some say in this forum that the M40.1 doesn't need huge power but a good amp.

    i am sure that a nap300 is certainly a better choice, but i think it's better to have M40.1 with avondale amp than a M30 with a nap300...

  9. #9
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    Default NAP amps

    The NAP 250 provides 80 wpc continuous and with the M40.1 can reach ear bleeding levels in my 5 x 8 mtr room. The NAP 300 is 90 wpc continuous but the extra 10 wpc is irrelevant, it's the sound you are buying with this amp.

    I would rather have the M40.1 with a Rega Brio R than the M30 with a NAP 300, excellent though those speakers are.

  10. #10
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    Default Amp overkill? Marry the room to the amp to the speakers.

    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    The NAP 250 provides 80 wpc continuous and with the M40.1 can reach ear bleeding levels in my 5 x 8 mtr room. The NAP 300 is 90 wpc continuous but the extra 10 wpc is irrelevant, it's the sound you are buying with this amp.
    Well, We have the M40.1 set up in a room abou 10 x 6 x 3,6 m and the NAP 250 was struggling to control the speakers. Our VTL MB-185's or Linn Klimax Solos did not have any problems though...

    I would rather have the M40.1 with a Rega Brio R than the M30 with a NAP 300, excellent though those speakers are.
    It's a comparison that only makes sense looking at the room the speakers will be used in. I would NEVER recommend an M40.1 in a room that is too small and/or underdamped. Furthermore, I don't like the musical result of an underpowered speaker, so I might even prefer an M30+NAP300. But in general, I do agree that a NAP300 is total overkill for an M30 and I am certain that a Brio will not be capable enough to drive an m40.1 properly, but I have never tried it.

  11. #11
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    Default Shortlist

    Hello dear all,

    More than 10 years ago, i bought my neat petit3 gravitas ( Well Know for its difficult load and bad efficiency), and at this time, i use it with naim nap 90. This was underpowered amp, i change it and bought nap180. It was better but i had the same feeling, the bass was slow and not Well defined. I thought i need more power so i was looking for nap135 but decide to buy a mana acoustic rack and mana acoustic sound base to put under the neat and it was schoked of the improvement.
    During the next 10 years i enjoy listening to the music without the need to change something. Tokay, i doesn't understand how this mana acoustics rack work, but it's really work and this is the best upgrade i ever made and i'm sûre that more power full amp world never give me the same satisfaction...

    Last week-end I've listened to avalon,BW, dynaudio, audio physics virgo and the focus audio fp88se. The focus audio is very very good. So my choice Will be between M40.1 and focus audio...

    {Moderator's comment: we are a forum run by the Harbeth company. We do not feel comfortable with mentioning other speaker brands here as we are obviously biased solely towards Harbeth. For independent advice you should seek opinions elsewhere.}

  12. #12
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    Default A very odd dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Bensim09 View Post
    ...my choice Will be between M40.1 and focus audio...
    Given that the M40.1 is quietly acknowledged by many as one of the very best loudspeakers currently available - regardless of price - I find this an odd dilemma.

  13. #13
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    New Zealand
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    Default I have all Harbeths on demo

    Hi Ben
    I have all the Harbeth speakers you have mentioned here for my audio demonstrations. In my large demo room ( 7.5 meters W x 10.5 meters L x 2.450 meter H) I use the Harbeth Monitor 40.1 matched with a pair of LFD DPA mono blocks (rated at 90 watts a channel into 8 ohm) and this combination is truly wonderful.

    I would highly recommend the Harbeth 40.1 speakers if you like the sonic presentation of the Harbeth Monitor 30 but require more bass output. I went from the Harbeth Monitor 30 to the Monitor 40.1 in this room and the difference was huge, the added bass depth adds a ease to the sound plus also the bass punch you are looking for in the music.

    In the right size room the Harbeth Monitor 30 are magnificent but there are "Horses for Courses" and loudspeakers are just the same when room size and low bass frequencies come into play.

  14. #14
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    Default M30 + sub or M40.1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Hi Ben
    I have all the Harbeth speakers you have mentioned here for my audio demonstrations. In my large demo room ( 7.5 meters W x 10.5 meters L x 2.450 meter H) I use the Harbeth Monitor 40.1 matched with a pair of LFD DPA mono blocks (rated at 90 watts a channel into 8 ohm) and this combination is truly wonderful.

    I would highly recommend the Harbeth 40.1 speakers if you like the sonic presentation of the Harbeth Monitor 30 but require more bass output. I went from the Harbeth Monitor 30 to the Monitor 40.1 in this room and the difference was huge, the added bass depth adds a ease to the sound plus also the bass punch you are looking for in the music.

    In the right size room the Harbeth Monitor 30 are magnificent but there are "Horses for Courses" and loudspeakers are just the same when room size and low bass frequencies come into play.
    I really do enjoy my Harbeth M30s, but they sounded a bit 'thin' in my system/room until I added a modest subwoofer. It's quite amazing how much difference a seemingly tiny amount of bass extension can make in the 'reality' of the presentation. In a way, it may be the way to go if you like the M30/M40 sound, because I have heard that the M40 is a bit tricky to set up in some rooms, especially smaller ones. Clearly, the M40s are marvellous speakers, but with an M30 and a proper subwoofer, you get a sound that is quite marvellous, and very much in the mode of the M40, for a lot less cash.

    Another option is the compact 7es. In my opinion, it does not equal the uncanny low level detail and low distortion of the M30, yet it sounds 'bigger' and is quite satisfying without the need for a subwoofer.

  15. #15
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    Default Sub with M30 = complete!

    Quote Originally Posted by bgiliberti View Post
    I really do enjoy my Harbeth M30s, but they sounded a bit 'thin' in my system/room until I added a modest subwoofer. It's quite amazing how much difference a seemingly tiny amount of bass extension can make in the 'reality' of the presentation. In a way, it may be the way to go if you like the M30/M40 sound, because I have heard that the M40 is a bit tricky to set up in some rooms, especially smaller ones. Clearly, the M40s are marvellous speakers, but with an M30 and a proper subwoofer, you get a sound that is quite marvellous, and very much in the mode of the M40, for a lot less cash.
    Could not agree more... I also use a small Velodyne DD10 subwoofer and it makes the M30 sound much, much more expensive and complete.

  16. #16
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    Default Can't wait for M30.1!

    Well the choice is made... I've bought the m30.1 after listening it again against the shl5. Both are truly fantastic. Difficult choice but the m30.1 is just so perfect, natural...
    Now i'm waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting... Nearly 2 month :-(

    Please Alan do something for a new Harbeth belgian fan...

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