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Thread: How many Harbeths do you own?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    South of England, UK

    Default How many Harbeths do you own?

    This thread invites users with more than one pair of Harbeth speakers to tell us what they own, which rooms they are in, and their experiences.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?


    I've 3 pairs.
    1st pair - C7ES3 in main music room (11'W x 19'L x 9'H)
    2nd pair - SHL5 in my living room. (17'W x 19'L x 10'H)
    3rd pair - P3ES2 in my small home office/study room (9.5'W x 15'L x 9'H)

    I was listening to SHL5 for 2 years in my main music room before decided to get both the C7ES3 and P3ES2 at the beginning of this year.

    All 3 pairs sound great and allow me to enjoy my music (mainly classical and opera) in my main music room. But my current preference/favourite is the C7ES3 as my main music listening speaker.

    Best regards,

  3. #3
    matthewz Guest

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?

    Dear fellow Harbeth-owners,

    My Compact 7 (the first ed.) has been serving me years of wonderful sound reproduction.... and Yes, one pair of Harbeth just can fulfill my hi-fi needs. =)



  4. #4
    Hu Guest

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?

    Boss and fellow Harbeth-owners,

    Soon my M30 of 30 anniversary edition will arrive, so I own two pairs of M30s.



  5. #5
    shseto Guest

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?

    Our family have 2 pairs of Harbeth at the moment.

    A pair of HL-Compact from the very early 90s in my Dad's living room

    A paif of Compact C7ES-3 in my living room

    No plan to buy or sell any in the near future expect for upgrading to SHL5 when living condition allow (ie. have more space) or when Alan announces that he is not making speakers any more, then i surely will have to stock a pair or two SHL5, wonderful speakers for great music, that I wouldn't want to part with for the rest of my life.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?

    2 pairs of P3s - one in my dad's living room and one in mine,
    the former in teak veneer and the latter in walnut. Been listening
    to these for > 15 years.

    yslee - what are your comments on the difference between the SHL5 and
    C7ES3 ? Why did you swap them in your main listening room?
    Apologies if this is sligthly off topic, I did not want to move this thread.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: How many Harbeths do you own?

    An embarassment of riches, I must admit, as I own two Models. My first pair is a 25th Anniversary Edition of the Compact 7 ES 2's, in the lovely and rare maple finish, mounted on Epos 12 20" open frame stands. These are in a fixed installation with vintage conrad- johnson tubes up front (PV 10A pre amp, MV 75 A1 amp) and also a rather rare GSI modified Dynaco Stereo 70. It uses the now defunct 8417 power tube and is wired for 28 WPC, push-pull triode. This is the best sounding amp in my house, including a pair of Quicksilver Audio V4 monos-now that's saying something. Sources are a Califronia Audio Lab CD player and a Project 1 X-Pression turntable, Sumiko Blue Point Special cartridge.

    I recently aquired my second pair, a 30th Anniversary Edition of the Monitor 30. These are in rosenut, and sit on Foundation 24" open frame stands. I am a professional musician and use these in a variety of systems and settings, often to listen critically to recordings of my own work. I love the portability of these speakers and their utterly neutral and transparent sound. Sometimes they reside in the basement with vintage NAD gear in front, including an original 3020 amp which still sounds quite good, nearly 29 years after I originally purchased it. When I really want to hear it all, I'll park them in front of the Magneplanar MG III A's in my main rig upstairs. Here they are fed by a VPI HW 19 Mk 4, a Well Tempered Arm/Grado Reference Sonata, Njoe Tjoeb CD player, Audible Illusions Modulus 3 A pre-amp and the Quicksilver V 4's. The Excel Tweeter in the 30's rivals the ribbon in the Magneplanars, and overall, I don't have a preference between these two speakers-the 30's are that good!

    Going from the Compact 7's to the Monitor 30's is like moving from Row K to Row C in the same concert hall-same overall sound, but with a different perspective. Each is equally addictive in its own way.

    Alan, many thanks and blessings to you and your entire staff for bringing music to life in my home and providing me with a tool for critical evaluation!


    Bob LaBarca
    State College, PA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default A pair of different sized Harbeths

    I own a pair of early HL Monitors, Serial Numbers 228 A&B, bought secondhand. They have had replacement Audax tweeters and new grilles. These are in my main living room. Also a pair of '93 HL-P3s, also bought secondhand. These have new grilles supplied by Harbeth. The P3s are in my Conservatory.

    The HL Monitors give a sense of scale to music, which is somewhat lacking with the P3s. I use a turntable with MC cartridge, radio tuner or Minidisc with the Monitors, and also a CD player sometimes. The P3s are more 'intimate' speakers. Listening to vocals, such as Nat King Cole, gives me a sense of being close to the singer. I use mainly a CD player ( a Naim ) and an occasionally an old AR XA turntable with a MM cartridge . Both Harbeths give me a great deal of musical satisfaction. If I had the money I would probably change the HL Monitors for, perhaps, M30s and the HL-P3s for P3ESRs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Suffolk, UK

    Default Some choices but be careful ...

    My suggestion MGM would be to change the HL's ONLY for the SHL5's if the room allows it (your experiences posted here and there suggest this is fine ). The P3ES's could become ESR's or M30's, if you can find a pair of series 1 versions at a good price (I really don't think there's a huge difference between them, just an 'evolutionary' refinement of what's there, in the same way that M30's build on a well 'warmed up (for the suspensions) pair of LS5/9's, these latter being rather more temperature sensitive in their old age I suggest.

    The way I came to lend out and eventually sell my lovely HL5's (domestic issues and nowt to do with the speakers themselves) is very sad looking back, but since I'm coming round full circle with some inherited, rebilt and much loved Spendor BC2's, which aren't as 'seamless' as any Harbeth, but which have the 'family resemblance' nonetheless, it's inevitable that I'll have some more Harbeths at some point in the future as nothing else for midrange reproduction will quite do ;)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default My multi-system

    I seem to have become a member of the multi-Harbeth owners club as well. Currently loving my P3ESR's in luscious Rosewood in my smaller room that is largely for spinning vinyl and listening to radio with a refurbished Luxman T-12 FM tuner, powered by a SIM Audio 250i this system is controlled, and yet musical. I consider this system more flexible, and the electronics here may soon get switched out. Latest addition is a wonderful new Ortofon Cadenza Red.. it's a beauty !

    My Rosewood SHL5's are powered by some of Blue Circle's top offerings, the fully tubed BC303-DWBB is a fully balanced 2 chassis beastie that has some beautiful sonic skills. The motive force for the SHL5's comes from a BC206-NST. this amp was initially a fully hybrid BC206, but Gilbert had developed a new pre-driver option that removes the tubes and makes it a fully solid state unit (NST= No Small Tubes ! <--- Get it ?)

    The synergy with the tube pre-amp, and solid state power amp, along with the SHL5 is truly a joy, and fully captures both grace and scale in full measure. Sources in this rig are a dedicated music server PC running Jriver18 to a Calyx 24/192 DAC and a Magnum Dynalab MD102"T" tuner.. yes.. I enjoy radio !

    The DAC may soon be switched out in this system, but it will require some some serious homework and trial before I upset the apple cart and mess up the good balance I currently have achieved. The Calyx truly punches above it's weight particularly when running from it's balanced outputs and with the external PSU.

    I also did own a pair of M30's for a couple of years prior to the arrival of the SHL5's and it honestly is a toss up between the 2 models, the M30 was perhaps more "honest", the SHL5 more beguiling in its charms, but my room was large enough to readily support the SHL5 and I've certainly not regretted the swap.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default The fresh Harbeth sound

    I am currently owning a pair of Teak finishing Compact 7 in a delicated room and a pair of Rosewood finishing Super HL5 at living hall. My only wish in this hobby now is to own a pair of M40.1 one day. I am happy and stay put as now.

    My home music playback thru both Harbeths never failed to impress me in this almost 10 yrs of ownership. The music seem forever fresh like mountain air.

    "Bath in Music"
    Harbeth owner since 2004

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    United Kingdom

    Default Twin Harbeths in my home

    I currently own two pairs of Harbeths - P3ESR and M30.1. Both finished in a lovely cherry, and sit on custom made open frame stands.

    I have been using the M30.1 with my Devialet 110 as my main system and the P3ESR as a second system. I have owned P3ESRs before, but returned back to them a couple of times now.

    I have rotated the Harbeths in my main system and have been comparing the P3ESR and M30.1 once again in the same room (4x4mx3.2m)

    Itís had to say which is best suited to my needs. The P3ESR visually blend into the room better but still have ample scale. The M30.1 are a little better on the fine details and sense of realism, but I sometimes have to calm the bass a little with the tone controls. Whilst the M30.1 are probably the better speaker, I do enjoy what mini monitors can do.

    Both are fantastic speakers!

    Has anyone else had the pleasure of owning / comparing both models? Any preferences?

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