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Thread: Harbeth HL Compact 7ES-3 specific

  1. #241
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    Default Good amps need not be expensive

    It's not 'a waste of money' to buy a good amplifier but good amplifiers needn't be expensive.

    {Moderator's comment: "Good amps" will also be better engineered using better components and may well have a longer useful life. 'Quality' above the most basic level costs money and one way or another you have to pay.}

  2. #242
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    Default Good amps = eye candy?

    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    It's not 'a waste of money' to buy a good amplifier but good amplifiers needn't be expensive.

    {Moderator's comment: "Good amps" will also be better engineered using better components and may well have a longer useful life. 'Quality' above the most basic level costs money and one way or another you have to pay.}
    On the other hand, beyond a certain level, all that one is paying for is brand name and eye candy, is what I have come to realize. For a speaker of the driving load of the C7, what would be the current price point in GBP which would deliver the necessary quality of amplified current to one speaker pair and have a long life of say, 10 years? Assuming that one is looking for a solid state amplifier, without any other additions such as a phone input or a DAC, my guess would be around 500 GBP. Is that a fair assessment?

  3. #243
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    Default Big room, quiet listening

    Thanks for responding George....What kind of music do you listen to ? Also at what volume level of the amp is it too loud for you to listen to?
    I listen to rock mainly, 80s pop, and a little bit of everything else (jazz, classical, etc). My room is fairly big (18.5 feet wide, 21 feet long) and it opens up into a small kitchen and hallway so I got a lot of space to fill. With that kind of space to fill in mind, turning up the volume knob more than halfway would be too loud for me (i.e. > 90dB at the listening location). I generally enjoy listening at quieter levels though.

  4. #244
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    Default Rega Brio R

    IMO, the 'giant killer' at 480 is the newly introduced Rega Brio R, which includes an excellent internal MM phono stage. It sounds excellent through all the Harbeth range and is a very neat looking, 55 wpc, well put together amp, which sounds better than some 3K amps I won't mention !!!

  5. #245
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    Default Harman Kardon HK990

    Quote Originally Posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    On the other hand, beyond a certain level, all that one is paying for is brand name and eye candy, is what I have come to realize. For a speaker of the driving load of the C7, what would be the current price point in GBP which would deliver the necessary quality of amplified current to one speaker pair and have a long life of say, 10 years? Assuming that one is looking for a solid state amplifier, without any other additions such as a phone input or a DAC, my guess would be around 500 GBP. Is that a fair assessment?
    I would raise that limit a bit. I have a Compact 7 being driven by a Harman Kardon HK990 with a Rega DAC and fono stage. If you want an all in one package you can get just the HK990, about GBP1000 or less, and it has MM/MC stage, dual AD1955 DACs, balanced input, 2 subwoofer outs and a very conservative 150wpc at 8 ohms, doubling to 300wpc at 4 ohms. You can't find a better amp for the money and the features.

  6. #246
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    Default < GBP 500 amps 'good enough'?

    Quote Originally Posted by muypogi View Post
    I would raise that limit a bit. I have a Compact 7 being driven by a Harman Kardon HK990 with a Rega DAC and fono stage. If you want an all in one package you can get just the HK990, about GBP1000 or less, and it has MM/MC stage, dual AD1955 DACs, balanced input, 2 subwoofer outs and a very conservative 150wpc at 8 ohms, doubling to 300wpc at 4 ohms. You can't find a better amp for the money and the features.
    I don't know that amp, but HK makes good products generally, so I am sure it is a great amp. I had asked the question to set a benchmark guidance price level at which "good enough" quality amplification is available. And to allow for an apples to apples comparison it then becomes necessary to look at a device that does just pure 2 channel amplification of line level inputs to a level necessary to drive the C7 load successfully.

    To be honest, I think that even budget ss amplifiers from brands such as NAD/Cambridge/Rotel and many others, that cost less than 500 GBP, are good enough. The money saved can then be spent on acoustics, music, or other things that matter to each person, depending on individual priorities.
    Of course if one also needs a phono stage, or a built in DAC, that would mean a higher spend.

  7. #247
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    Default Tweetr grille removal - illogical and warranty cancelling

    Is it just the camera angles, or does the picture of the C7-ES3 (in the photograph linked to below) look like it has a different tweeter? Doesn't look like there's a tweeter grill. If they removed the grill, then the balance would be off since the grill has a small "disc" in the centre that's integral to the sound of the speaker. Unless (I'm drooling already) it has the Seas Excel tweeter used in the M40.1! A prototype for Harbeth's upcoming 35th Anniversary in 2012?

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/h...151lfd151stein

    {Moderator's comment: someone has, without our consent or knowledge, removed the protective grille from the C7ES2 (or 3?) tweeter. Surely a crazy action. Not only is the diaphragm now open to tiny fingers the HF response *has been reduced*. This makes no sense to us at all.

    DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE TWEETER GRILLE. THE TELL-TALE EVIDENCE WILL TOTALLY NULLIFY YOUR WARRANTY. REMOVING THE GRILLE WILL DEGRADE PERFORMANCE NOT INCREASE IT - FACT.}

  8. #248
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    Default Spare parts and corporate policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Is it just the camera angles, or does the picture of the C7-ES3 (in the photograph linked to below) look like it has a different tweeter? ...
    I am speechless. To reiterate what has long ago been said here .... a speaker manufacturer either sees his spare part operation as a vital part of his business model, contributing significantly to the bottom line profit or he sees it as a time consuming activity which by use of better design/materials/suppliers/testing can be virtually eliminated. It's as basic as a matter of respect for the customer and an appreciation of human nature.

    Our view is that tweeter diaphragms will attract curious fingers especially at a public exhibition. I've even found myself stroking naked tweeter domes... but I implore you PLEASE do not be so daft as to put your Harbeth speakers at risk by peeling-off the protective tweeter grille. The grille is there for a reason - to save you much money and stress because spare parts are expensive and take time to deliver.


    We will establish the back-story on this but I can assure you that nobody in the Harbeth organisation will have removed these grilles. And if they have, we'll that's the end of the road.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  9. #249
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    Default Illustration of effect on higher frequencies of removing grille ....

    One thing to point out .... it may be counter-intuitive to you but if you remove the grille the tweeter's HF response will not increase in output, it will droop as you can see from the attached.

    Note, the with-grille red line is normalised to 0dB to highlight the contrast between with and without grille to show the relative difference.

    >
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #250
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    Default Supergrille on/off and it's effects?

    Perhaps someone wanted to 'soften up' the system's character and chose this mod as the way to do so... A drastic measure.

    Not only does the metal grille protect the fragile dome (the aluminium membrane is incredibly thin), it also holds a transparent dot in front of the dome. This enhances dispersion but also increases the relative HF level - which will have been taken into account during design. The same dot can be found behind the protective grille of P3's, including the ESR model.

    This mod will therefore have altered the lateral dispersion. The metal grilles are part of the design. When removed the overall balance chosen by the designer will be lost.

    In fact the cloth-covered Supergrille was also part of the design considerations and if I am correct, Mr. Shaw has pointed out before that using Harbeths with Supergrilles attached will give the smoothest freq. response.

    -Mr. Shaw, may I ask by how much the HF and/or upper mids will be damped if the Supergrilles are in place?

    I have a feeling the Supergrille cloth helps to get a more coherent presentation.

  11. #251
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    Default DIY speaker improvements - no

    Being a new C7-ES3 owner (and 32 years of other speakers), I have never touched my speakers with the exception of a soft dusting cloth. I've never removed grilles either. It's beyond me why someone would chose to alter a speaker that's design is based on possibly many years of R&D and huge sums of money.

  12. #252
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    Default C7ES-3 - 4 ohm or 8 ohm on amp

    Hello all. Do most C7 owners prefer the 4 ohm or 8 ohm of their amplifiers? I've been using 8 ohm and it sounds fine to me. Is there any reason to believe it would be somehow better using the 4 ohm connection?

  13. #253
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    Default 8 or 4 ohm ....

    Currently I use the 4 ohm taps, as I find that the music sounds a bit better, but then again it may be all psycoacoustics...

    george

  14. #254
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    Default No firm advice

    The various amps sound slightly different when using 4 or 8 ohm taps but it is amplifier dependant, so no firm advice can be given.

    All I would suggest is that you suck it and see.

  15. #255
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    Default C7ES-3 Binding Posts hole size?

    The web site states 4 mm binding posts on the C7. Is that the diameter of the hole for bare wire? I bought Audioquest Rockefeller cables with spades at the speaker end and the spades were too small to fit the posts. The spades are rated for 1/4" & 5/16" posts. It's not the end of the world as I replaced the ends with bananas. Just wondered if anyone else is using spade connectors or if anyone has run into this?

  16. #256
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    Default Spade connectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jr View Post
    The web site states 4 mm binding posts on the C7. Is that the diameter of the hole for bare wire? I bought Audioquest Rockefeller cables with spades at the speaker end and the spades were too small to fit the posts. The spades are rated for 1/4" & 5/16" posts. It's not the end of the world as I replaced the ends with bananas. Just wondered if anyone else is using spade connectors or if anyone has run into this?
    Hi Don Jr, 4 mm is the banana hole diameter size, I use a 9mm gapped spade to match with the Harbeth speaker terminals.

  17. #257
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    Default My first truly great speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    I have the highest respect for the BC1 and its designers and a good specimen still performs well if not fully to the original published specification. I owned BC1s for many years and these are my personal feelings about them. As we review the history of the BBC's speaker project and we should remember that the BC1 was the product of a particular time, to meet a very specific BBC need. It was luck indeed that the BC1 'leaked out' into the domestic market. In contract, the Harbeth Compact 7ES3 is a modern speaker designed in the 96k digital era with wide application in modern listening environments, wide musical tastes and with high resolution to get the best from modern equipment, ultra-quiet sources and wide dynamic recordings.

    As I see it, the BC1 was designed in the (hissy pre-Dolby) analogue mid-60s for near-field operation in smaller BBC control rooms where the sound engineer could reach out and touch the speakers. This implies that the listening level was low. In turn, according to the way that the human ear operates, listening at a low level implies that the bass frequencies are subjectively reproduced at a lower level than ideal. The designers were aware of this issue and to some extent compensated for this in the design. However, the BC1 was not designed for far-field listening at higher sound pressure levels where self-evidently it 'runs out of steam' in the bass register. Remember - in the mid 1960's when the BBC were developing the LS3/4 (which became the BC1) rock/pop music was in its infancy and the elitist BBC did its very best to ignore it; there was no Radio 1; the Light Programme served up 'popular entertainment' comprising big bands, folk, jazz and classical music. This pre-pop era was one of soft bass and low sound pressure levels, a much less demanding duty for the loudspeaker to perform. I myself burned-out two or three BC1 bass units on pop music and I was not playing that loud!

    The 'BC' name refers to Bextrene Cone, a first generation plastic (polystyrene actually) and this material has well-documented sonic colourations, typically of a 'quacky' or beaky sound. During the plastic research phase the BBC discovered that if PVA (wood glue of a particular type) was generously painted onto the front and back of the cone by hand, these colourations could be tamed - but - at the cost of somewhat increased cone mass (PVA is heavy) which pressurises the bass unit's loudness/mass/excursion/colouration/hangover/efficiency issues. As you can see, taming the colouration leads to other spin-off problems.

    In time, the BBC concluded that Polypropylene (second generation cone plastic) was a better material being far lighter than bextrene and not (they said) needing the PVA dope treatment. At that point - 1977 - Harbeth was founded by the BBC's Head of Speaker design (Dudley Harwood) and the polypropylene- based HL monitor was born with an undoped PP cone. Harwood held the patent on PP cones under a deal with the BBC who had by that point decided to replace their BC1 stock with new BBC-designed speakers (LS5/8, LS5/9) which could play much louder and with lower colouration and by about 1988 apparently all BC1s had been decommissioned. The BC2 with its 1.5" voice coil was designed to offer a lounder/more efficient BC1 but this trade-off changed the overall acoustic signature. Speaker design is all about compromises.

    By about 1983, Harwood/Harbeth was made aware of a new, third generation cone material candidate being investigated by Audax, France, and convinced by the performance, he decided to dispose of his PP patent (now seemingly owned by Sony via many changes of hands), abandon PP and started production of the HL Mk4 with the bought-in Audax TPX cone. At that point I became involved with Harbeth. I had used BC1s (and the PP-based SP1s) daily for about 10 years and I knew their sound very well but the new TPX cones were a revelation. I liked their clean, transparent sound so much that, well, I bought Harbeth and gave up my day job at NEC Corp..

    Now, the Harbeth HL Compact 7ES3 uses a fourth generation cone material we call RADIAL (Research And Development Into Advanced Loudspeakers) and which was developed in collaboration with British Governments funding. We manufacture the RADIAL woofers in-house here at Harbeth. Unlike all the previous materials mentioned, our RADIAL is injection moulded in our own (expensive) tool because it is a compound of granules, not a general-purpose sheet material bought on a roll from a plastic company as bextrene or PP. It is engineered for its acoustic properties and every cone is just like every other. The cost is high but so is the performance.

    What does this translate into? Well, the inner-clarity of the C7ES3 is really astonishing as you would expect for a 4th generation material and it is as if a thin veil has been removed from the speaker: the balance will be instantly familiar to you as the 'BBC balance' but you'll enjoy hearing micro-details that were absorbed (as heat) in the earlier materials. The bass handling, maximum spl, extended HF and cosmetics are all enhanced too and the frequency response is flatter.

    Hope this helps.
    To add to Alan's post, a personal experience. I owned BC1s for over 30 years and would agree, more or less, to what has been written. At low level, playing classical or folk music, the BC1 performed well. I never ran them at high levels. If rock type music was played, at highish levels the speakers could sound stressed. That is the only way I can describe it.

    Due to a house change, the Spendors were bass heavy in my new room and no amount of positioning could alleviate it. After trying various small speakers, including LS3/5as, I bought a pair of early HL Monitors. To me, they have the BBC-like characteristics of midrange and top, but the bass end is much less heavy . They have been a very good replacement for the BC1s.

    With ref. to the reproduction of micro details in the music, as I also own a pair of P3ESRs on another system I know exactly what Alan means. I will always have great respect for my BC1s. They were the first truly great speakers I owned
    Last edited by Miles MG; 07-10-2014 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Change letter. 'of ' to 'or'

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