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Thread: Harbeth M30 ---> M30.1

  1. #1
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    Smile Harbeth M30 ---> M30.1

    Well, now that the official word is out about new M30.1, and some cursory info is trickling out about what has changed (Radial2 vs:Radial for the main driver, crossover updates, tweeter change) One thing that isn't clear, is if there is any change to the cabinet sizing (if there is, it looks to be minimal ??) and if the 30.1 will be a single wire vs: the older bi-wire option on the M30.

    Will the 35th Anniversary editions be like other "special edition" offerings in that they will benefit from upgraded internal wiring, and have the Anniversary badge on the rear ?
    Sonically, just what will the 30.1 bring to the table ? As Alan has pointed out that given the 15 year old original M30 rather surprised him when he put it through the redesign process, I (and I'm sure other M30 owners) are curious what he was able to add to the DNA of the original design.

    Also, as a final thought,.. will there be an option to upgrade current 30's to the 30.1 status ? or is simply just not a cost effective option. As an M30 owner, I'm certainly curious about getting more details.

  2. #2
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    Post M30.1 thoughts - RADIAL2 means a better speaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double D View Post
    Well, now that the official word is out about new M30.1, and some cursory info is trickling out about what has changed (Radial2 vs:Radial for the main driver, crossover updates, tweeter change) One thing that isn't clear, is if there is any change to the cabinet sizing (if there is, it looks to be minimal ??) and if the 30.1 will be a single wire vs: the older bi-wire option on the M30.

    Will the 35th Anniversary editions be like other "special edition" offerings in that they will benefit from upgraded internal wiring, and have the Anniversary badge on the rear ?
    Sonically, just what will the 30.1 bring to the table ? As Alan has pointed out that given the 15 year old original M30 rather surprised him when he put it through the redesign process, I (and I'm sure other M30 owners) are curious what he was able to add to the DNA of the original design.

    Also, as a final thought,.. will there be an option to upgrade current 30's to the 30.1 status ? or is simply just not a cost effective option. As an M30 owner, I'm certainly curious about getting more details.
    The latest newsletter states that the new M30.1 will be single-wire only (yay!). Also I think the M30 always had the same tweeter as the M40/M40.1 loudspeaker?

    I imagine the new speaker will be significantly better - why build a replacement otherwise? RADIAL2 will make a big difference and I'm sure that with the latest computer modelling, Alan will have produced an even better-measuring frequency response. I hope to hear a demo later this year. If they fit my room - I'm buying a pair!

  3. #3
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    Default Huge improvements are not possible

    Woah down there

    "Significantly better" is a bit of a misleading comment in my opinion where Harbeths are concerned, since very old models are still excellent and competitive with much of what's out there these days..

    What we should find is a basically similar sound presentation, possibly a little clearer throughout the frequency range, but I doubt the difference would be huge. In the same way, the direct ancestor of the M30, the "BBC LS5/9", is still a worthy workhorse of a monitor, even today, just fussier in use due to the upper mid occasionally being a bit more projected, whereas the M30 is as sweet as a nut and better integrated in this region.

    So, to conclude, don't expect "huge" changes, because it really isn't necessary to this design. I should hope that the clarity and "seamlessness" will be further refined along with power handling perhaps?

  4. #4
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    Post Evolutionary not revolutionary improvements for the M30.1?

    Quote Originally Posted by DSRANCE View Post
    Woah down there

    "Significantly better" is a bit of a misleading comment in my opinion where Harbeths are concerned, since very old models are still excellent and competitive with much of what's out there these days..

    What we should find is a basically similar sound presentation, possibly a little clearer throughout the frequency range, but I doubt the difference would be huge. In the same way, the direct ancestor of the M30, the "BBC LS5/9", is still a worthy workhorse of a monitor, even today, just fussier in use due to the upper mid occasionally being a bit more projected, whereas the M30 is as sweet as a nut and better integrated in this region.

    So, to conclude, don't expect "huge" changes, because it really isn't necessary to this design. I should hope that the clarity and "seamlessness" will be further refined along with power handling perhaps?
    I take your point - steady with the hyperbole.

    But the improvements you suggest would still make the M30.1 better to a significant extent, as opposed to 'insignificant improvements'.

    Evolutionary, not revolutionary progress?

  5. #5
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    Default M30.1

    I look forward to developing discussion, and to hearing them one day.

    Note for Harbeth team: There is a webpage error here

    http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.ph...0.1%20domestic

    The plus and minus before the 3dB of the frequency specs are not displaying correctly in Chrome or Internet Explorer.

    {Moderator's comment: thanks but we do not know why the is not correct. It is on the look-at list.}

  6. #6
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    Default M30.1 quest after other Harbeths

    I'm keen to hear them. I owned the M30 last year, partnered with Naim. I also had the Compact 7 and P3esr, and couldn't quite find the perfect balance. I found the M30 lacked detail, but the mid-range was excellent. The C7 had too much bass and were visually very big in my room, so they went first.

    Then trying the P3esr against the M30, I settled on the M30.... Then the P3..... Then the M30....And so on...... But eventually I kept the little P3 as they sounded a little more lively, and filled the room well. They retained the excellent mids, and the bass is impressive too. Above all, they are really nice to listen to! There are aspects to the M30 that I do miss now I have sold them on, but ultimately they weren't right for me, I was constantly seeking more detail and clarity. Saying that, they were fine when I added more volume, and sounded nicely balanced.

    I wonder if the new M30.1 would address my issues. The descriptions hints that they might, so I will give them a demo in the near future. Any experience from others would be great to hear.

  7. #7
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    Default Free-field speakers in small rooms?

    Though I have the SHL5 and P3esr. I couldn't narrow which is more me too. as my stereo setup is going to move to a smaller room; I on the road to speaker selection again. my new room is small 3m by 3m,; and not sure will the P3 fits in.

    SHL5 might be too big and they need space around them else they are awful. they boom like hell. given space around them, they are so wonderful equipment, they provide me with immense pleasure while listening to music; all sorts of genre.

    P3esr presentation scale is small to my liking; they also need space around them and they boom too. with P3, i can't really play loud and slam hard as I find them struggling. i have alternate between SHL5 and P3esr, i couldnt accustom to P3 presentation

    hence, i would love to try out C7, M30 but the price is too much to stomach. I wish we can have a good dealer that can let us try out the speaker in our room for a limited time at a nominal fees

  8. #8
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    Default Symbols

    hopefully fixed - all symbols updated. Thanks for pointing this out.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

  9. #9
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    Default Are amps designed to add 'something'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Novak View Post
    I'm keen to hear them. I owned the M30 last year, partnered with Naim. I also had the Compact 7 and P3esr, and couldn't quite find the perfect balance. I found the M30 lacked detail, but the mid-range was excellent. The C7 had too much bass and were visually very big in my room, so they went first.

    I wonder if the new M30.1 would address my issues. The descriptions hints that they might, so I will give them a demo in the near future. Any experience from others would be great to hear.
    Change the Naim for something a little more neutral. The bass will come more in proper proportion, being a bit less punchy/pungent and the treble will open right up, removing the grain and "deadness," balancing the midrange a little more naturally. I don't mean to be controversial here, but some amps are "designed" to add something of their own to the signal fed them I find, and others just don't This applies to other speakers too, but I'm thinking of the 30's here, having done some amp comparisons recently with these...

    By the way, many audiophool style amps measure all over the place and seem to have rather higher distortions of various types - enough to be audible. Conversely, better designed products are often seen to sound "safe" and "bland" because they don't colour the sonics with their own "flavour" - in my opinion of course...

  10. #10
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    Default M30.1 finish?

    What wood finish will be available for M30.1? Thanks

    {Moderator's comment: please consult the on-line catalogue which is up to date. Bottom of home page, here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/library/halebro/index.html }

  11. #11
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    Post M30.1 uses a better tweeter than the P3ESR?

    Last week a visitor said he thought the cymbals in a jazz track didn't quite sound right through my P3ESRs. There are many factors involved and it's more likely that the curtains behind the speakers being open and the valve poweramps not fully warmed before playing music had more of an effect than something the P3 was doing. But it got me thinking...

    I've been very interested in the new Monitor 30.1 as a potential upgrade on my P3s. I think they'll fit in my room and I'll probably go to see David Wren at Radlett Audio later this year for a demo. I expect they'll give me deeper bass response and a better representation of scale on orchestral works, but one thing that particularly interests me is that the M30.1 uses the same tweeter as the M40.1 which I understand is more expensive and 'better' than the tweeter used in the P3ESR.

    What tangible benefits can I expect from a 'better' tweeter? More detail and cleaner reproduction of cymbals? More even frequency response? I know I need to go to a demo, but can I have some hints first please?

  12. #12
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    Default Deconstructing various Harbeths

    Usually when I see an updated version of a product I own, I assume a somewhat greenish hue and immediately start inquiring about upgrades. While, I am curious about the RADIAL 2 driver and the new X-over, I think I can rest quite happily with my 30th Anniversary M30's. I don't know what Harbeth has worked out with SEAS in terms of tweeters. The ones in the M30/40 are Excel series. I believe them to be a E0006-06 T25CF, but with a very nice, and quite sturdy, metal grille covering them. This is a very nice feature for listening without the covers with kids around.

    To my knowledge SEAS does not offer this tweeter to the public; at least I've never seen it for sale. The tweeter on the M30.1 closely resembles a SEAS 27TDFNC/GW from the Prestige line which is a step below Excel. The recommended frequency range for this tweeter starts at 2500 Hz rather than the 2000 Hz for the Excel. I don't know if this reflects a change in crossover frequency or not, but it could. The M30 shares crossovers with the C7, does anyone know if the 30.1's crossover is exclusive to this model?

  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Diminish View Post
    Usually when I see an updated version of a product I own, I assume a somewhat greenish hue and immediately start inquiring about upgrades. While, I am curious about the RADIAL 2 driver and the new X-over, I think I can rest quite happily with my 30th Anniversary M30's. I don't know what Harbeth has worked out with SEAS in terms of tweeters. The ones in the M30/40 are Excel series. I believe them to be a E0006-06 T25CF, but with a very nice, and quite sturdy, metal grille covering them. This is a very nice feature for listening without the covers with kids around.

    To my knowledge SEAS does not offer this tweeter to the public; at least I've never seen it for sale. The tweeter on the M30.1 closely resembles a SEAS 27TDFNC/GW from the Prestige line which is a step below Excel. The recommended frequency range for this tweeter starts at 2500 Hz rather than the 2000 Hz for the Excel. I don't know if this reflects a change in crossover frequency or not, but it could. The M30 shares crossovers with the C7, does anyone know if the 30.1's crossover is exclusive to this model?
    I'm sorry to say that your imagination has got the better of you. You are wrong on every count!

    1. The M40/30 tweeters are not the model you list
    2. The M40.1/M30.1 tweeters are not the model you list, nor are they from the cheaper SEAS Prestige series, they are, and have always been, from the top-of-the-line Excel series. It was only the recent introduction of a Prestige unit into another UK speaker design recently that alerted us to the existence of the Prestige line - but we're quite happy to pay for and receive the Excel quality.
    3. The precise apertures and colour of the protective grille on several SEAS tweeters used by Harbeth is exclusive to Harbeth. SEAS send us the grilles in the natural metal state, a local powder-coating company a few miles from Harbeth powder-coat them by hand, we then send them back to SEAS in Norway and they fit to the tweeters and send the complete assembly to us
    4. The M30/M30.1/C7ES3 most certainly do not 'share a crossover' - I just cannot imagine where this notion came from - the crossovers are designed for the speaker and are not interchangeable (wish they were, would make development and inventory control so much easier)
    5. SEAS make dozens, perhaps hundreds of variants of their tweeters. Most of the detailed adjustments are buried inside the tweeter and would be undetectable to the layman. None are announced on their web site.

    You are, in honesty, wasting your time scouring the SEAS website for information about the specialist tweeter variants that they make for us. OEM contract designs - like the ones we use - are never published.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  14. #14
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    Default Casual comments and neurosis reactivated

    Quote Originally Posted by GregD View Post
    Last week a visitor said he thought the cymbals in a jazz track didn't quite sound right through my P3ESRs. There are many factors involved and it's more likely that the curtains behind the speakers being open and the valve poweramps not fully warmed before playing music had more of an effect than something the P3 was doing. But it got me thinking...

    I've been very interested in the new Monitor 30.1 as a potential upgrade on my P3s. I think they'll fit in my room and I'll probably go to see David Wren at Radlet Audio later this year for a demo. I expect they'll give me deeper bass response and a better representation of scale on orchestral works, but one thing that particularly interests me is that the M30.1 uses the same tweeter as the M40.1 which I understand is more expensive and 'better' than the tweeter used in the P3ESR.

    What tangible benefits can I expect from a 'better' tweeter? More detail and cleaner reproduction of cymbals? More even frequency response? I know I need to go to a demo, but can I have some hints first please?
    Whoa there! You are on a very slippery slope. I thought that you'd escaped from the mental torture of being pulled towards this audio gear or that. Your friend is wrong, or at least he is one in about ten thousand users, and the first I'm aware of.

    Let's apply a little logic please before you start throwing hard earned cash at a needless upgrade to much larger speakers.

    1. Everyone's hearing and tastes are different
    2. You can only judge reproduced sound after considering the entire recording/reproduction chain, from microphones through to room acoustics to your own ears
    3. Most microphones have significant non-flatness in the cymbal region - we've covered that in depth here and also here and also here - more here. I draw your particular attention to the frequency plots of well regarded mics which show significant boost/non-flatness around 10kHz - cymbal region attached to this post here.
    4. To record the cymbal/high hat the microphone must be placed quite close to the instrument which is unnatural and not what you would hear live
    5. We know that 'mastering' intentionally compresses and equalises the recorded sound to make it more exciting and sellable - to hell with fidelity

    Taken together, it is just downright irresponsible for a third party to pass meaningful comment without a forensic consideration of the entire audio chain. The starting point - indeed the only point worthy of consideration - is to replay a recording which you have confidence in, covering the frequency band of interest and to then conclude 'well, it sound right on my reference recording, so regardless of how it sounds on other recordings, as far as I am concerned, it IS right'.

    Did you play speech? That really does illuminate any issues at the top end. If you didn't then you have deprived yourself of the very best reference for top-end performance.

    Kindly advice: Do not play your hi-fi to your friends: listening to music is a private matter and your friend's opinions should be of no interest and weight. Would you invite your friends to observe and comment on your love making? And even if you did (!) can you imagine any good resulting from their observations and comments? Of course not.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  15. #15
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    Default Misguided friends

    I have lost count of the numerous 'expert friends' who have come along for demos and added nothing but confusion and doubt. For some reason, it's very rare for the 'friend' to come up with anything positive.

    I know nothing of this particular situation but you are very welcome here Greg, when ever you are ready, to hear the M30.1.

  16. #16
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    Post Thank you Alan and Dave

    In hindsight it was pretty ridiculous for my visitor to make such a judgement. He is an experienced HiFi enthusiast of several decades and possesses a very costly system and attends many live concerts but...

    1) He had never been in my listening room so was totally unfamiliar with the acoustics

    2) The large window behind the speakers was causing reflections because the curtains were open

    3) He'd never heard the recording I was playing (which was a live jazz club recording)

    4) He'd just driven for two hours so his hearing would be unreliable

    5) The valve amps had not settled down - big 845 triodes take a long time to settle down

    So to point the finger at the P3ESR is totally unreasonable and I thought so myself at the time.

    However, I was already interested in the M30.1 and I suppose his comment didn't help matters. The new speaker may offer me some improvements but my favourite Sinatra recordings already almost bring him back to life via the P3ESR, so perhaps the benefits lie elsewhere? I did not use speech at the time he came round - it was a recording he picked out to see what it was like...

    Did I mention he uses a digital S/PDIF cable costing 4500 between transport and DAC. Probably says it all! Rest assured I would NEVER stoop so low Alan, not any more!

  17. #17
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    Default Bravo that man!

    Quote Originally Posted by GregD View Post
    In hindsight it was pretty ridiculous for my visitor to make such a judgement .... Did I mention he uses a digital S/PDIF cable costing 4500 between transport and DAC. Probably says it all! Rest assured I would NEVER stoop so low Alan, not any more!
    The industry desperately needs more, many more like him with big, fat, open wallets. To think: his one act of magnanimity in purchasing such a cable has kept dozens of people with a roof over their heads and a full stomach in a supply line reaching right around the world for months.

    Be content with what you have. Life is extremely short. Whatever hand you have been dealt, make the most of it and if there is a little over, infinitely more satisfaction and benefit can be gained by passing over what resources we don't need to other less fortunate.

    If you have the inclination, at your own pace, in your own time, by all means go and audition the M30.1s. Whether or not you go for them is not important. What is is meeting-up with a decent fellow like David Wren at Radlet Audio who will make you feel most welcome and at home with zero pressure. All you need to take are a few favourite CDs and a packet of your favourite biscuits to share and you'll have a a wonderful time. I know, because I called in on him recently and was most at ease. That's how hi-fi used to be demonstrated and sold. Seems that it still is.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  18. #18
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    Default Commonality in parts?

    Sorry, it was not my intent to spread misinformation. This certainly won't be the first time that I've been wrong. As you stated, my information was coming from the SEAS website which would not offer anything about OEM and proprietary designs. I had no idea that final production was so involved for the M30/40 tweeters! If you're wondering where the comment about the shared crossover came from; the circuit board for the M30 crossover says "M30 C7". I took this to mean that, at least the board, was common to both models.

  19. #19
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    Default Designing PCBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Diminish View Post
    If you're wondering where the comment about the shared crossover came from; the circuit board for the M30 crossover says "M30 C7". I took this to mean that, at least the board, was common to both models.
    Absolutely correct: the blank circuit board is common but every single component is different. Using a 'universal' blank PCB makes very good economic sense regarding economies of scale but with one offsetting downside.

    When designing a universal PCB, one has to consider every possible future combination of components that could, conceivably, be used in a two way loudspeaker crossover circuit that ends up inside a Harbeth speaker. Different designers would have (radically) different circuit arrangements - known as circuit topography - and hence a circuit board (let alone the components) in even another British speaker would be remarkably dissimilar to that found in a Harbeth. You would probably be amazed how dissimilar. As the years pass, speaker designers (I assume, this is my experience) become familiar with the circuit tricks which measure well, sound good and use the minimum number of components and hence, lowest cost and greatest reliability. If, as we do, make our own woofers, we can do some of the crossing-over function in the woofer itself, but if you buy-in cheap-jack woofers from outside, then you are at the mercy of a third party, and you may need to consider compensating componentry in the crossover. So, unless there is some radicaly new technology introduced in the next few years, it's likely that those ciruit topographies I have had sucess with will resurface, albeit with different component values, and hence it makes sense to design a catch-all universal PCB layout. I am most unlikely to branch-off into any new crossover design theory. What we have works, and has no signature sound, and that is really rather special.

    The downside is that such a universal board will, in any one speaker design, be somewhat under-populated; not all component positions will be filled. That means it will be physically larger than it need be (at a minimum) and slightly more expensive for that unused area. However, the design cost (my time, expensive) need not be reinvested in designing pcb after pcb with an objective to minimise size and shave every pence off unit cost. My time is better spent doing other tasks.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #20
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    Default Economies of scale and inconvenience of manufacturing

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Absolutely correct: the blank circuit board is common but every single component is different. Using a 'universal' blank PCB makes very good economic sense regarding economies of scale but with one offsetting downside . . .
    Now that does surprise me. I would have thought it would have been quite cheap to commission printed boards in small batches.

    I am also surprised that the tweeter pepper pots shuttle back and forth in manufacture. The coating must be quite special if it has to be done locally.

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