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Thread: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

  1. #201
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Teuton View Post
    Jeff,

    What did you do with your SHL5 speakers? If they worked so well in your room, why did you move to the M40.1?

    Regards.
    I use three systems for reviewing to have comparators from three different perspectives (small, medium, large), which helps me get an idea of how equipment performs in 3 different rooms and equipment contexts should the need arise.

    I still have my SHL5s, and they aren't going anywhere - like them a lot. They reside in the 'Music Lovers' system that I wrote about for 6Moons, which resides in a small room approximately the same size as the room Alan uses as his listening / loudspeaker development room (3 by 4 meters).

    The M40.1s were intended for the system located in a large room, a room more typical of a living room in North American households. I also like the M40.1s a lot, I'm just having difficulties getting them sorted out in my large listening / living room in regards to their bass.

    The third system is in a medium-large sized bedroom, which gives me a spread of systems in 3 different sized rooms to work with during the review process should the need arise.

    Best,

    Jeff

  2. #202
    Teuton Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quick question Jeff: Have you tried the M40.1 in your other rooms i.e. smaller rooms? If so, how did they perform?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Day View Post
    I use three systems for reviewing to have comparators from three different perspectives (small, medium, large), which helps me get an idea of how equipment performs in 3 different rooms and equipment contexts should the need arise.

    I still have my SHL5s, and they aren't going anywhere - like them a lot. They reside in the 'Music Lovers' system that I wrote about for 6Moons, which resides in a small room approximately the same size as the room Alan uses as his listening / loudspeaker development room (3 by 4 meters).

    The M40.1s were intended for the system located in a large room, a room more typical of a living room in North American households. I also like the M40.1s a lot, I'm just having difficulties getting them sorted out in my large listening / living room in regards to their bass.

    The third system is in a medium-large sized bedroom, which gives me a spread of systems in 3 different sized rooms to work with during the review process should the need arise.

    Best,

    Jeff

  3. #203
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    Default Re: Room tuning - how the pro's do it

    On the subject of rooms, and following Pluto's experiences, here is the M40.1 in use in a pro studio, and working very nicely.

    As I said in my overview here, the problem is not the room size (big or small) but how much of the energy from the speakers is usefully absorbed into the surfaces and how much is left to run amok bouncing around the room interfering with what you want to hear: the direct sound. I suspect that most people enjoy and can certainly live-with a little warmth in the bass; what drives the listener to despair is single notes in the bass that are a consequence of an un, or underdamped room and it's geometry and construction. Pluto's room is ' minimalist' in its acoustic treatment, and would certainly benefit from some treatment - even thick curtains would make a difference - but the bass there is warm and not of especial concern.

    Summary here: pix of studio setup go [ ^ ] up.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #204
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Thought I'd give a short report about using my new 40.1's in an average room.

    After reading some posts about bass problems with the 40.1, I was getting a little nervous about the pair I had on order. I had ordered them on the strength of how wonderful the 3, 5 and 7's are in my room but I hadn't actually had the opportunity to try the 40.1 and I was just taking them on trust, plus a bit of persuasion from Andy at the factory.

    I needn't have worried as right out of the cartons, they are simply stunning in all areas including the bass which is solid and tight with no trace of 'boom' or 'hangover'. They kick and punch like a prize fighter but are clean and pacey. Needless to say, the top and mid are beyond reproach.

    The room isn't large, it's approximately 14 x 22 x 7.2 ft, solid floor, timber frame/plasterboard walls and ceiling. Windows on two walls are curtained and the plasterboard wall behind the speakers is treated with three home made absorbent panels. One side wall is filled floor to ceiling with racks of equipment.

    I haven't done anything special with the mains and the equipment I used today isn't exotic. Stands are custom made by Something Solid. I have so far used an LFD integrated, Rega Elicit, Croft Micro25/Series 7 and a Puresound A30. All work well with the 40.1's and I have spent an enjoyable afternoon dragging out all manner of favourite CD's. Tomorrow I start on the vinyl.

  5. #205
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    Default 17 years with my S-100s

    I 'm coming a bit late in the thread but anyway ... i have Spendor' S-100''s, but plan to replace them with the M40.1. I'm not worried abiout the bass issue as in almost every room, there's a place that allows for a balanced sound. including in the more critical bass area.

    Spendor S-100's were said by many people to boom in the bass, by others to be nicely tight, yet deep and articulate! Much has to do with room placement in the end, at least that is what i discovered in using them for 17 years in 3 different places with clear but substantial sounding electronics (full YBA1).

    I always follow the placement method of Dave Wilson, that is you have your partner or a friend walk about in the room while talking or singing and look for the most balanced, most un chesty and un shouty voice reproduction. Usually, it gives also the deepest, tightest bass, not to mention the best tone.

    I'm also a bit surprised that you use them backing the long wall.... have you tried them on the shorter wall?

    My 2 cents

  6. #206
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    Default Bass and rubber surround ageing?

    Regarding the speakers you mention (I have a pair) and I think that you'll find that the bass performance greatly depends upon how old they are. If you look at the bass unit surround, if it has a slightly milky 'mould' on the surface then it has chemically changed over the years. In consequence, the surround has hardened and the bass output has reduced. This may or may not suit your listening room! But if, as you say, you have been listening for many years, you will not have noticed this subtle acoustic change over the years. So, when you compare with the M40.1 you will immediately notice more bass because you have become accustomed - I suggest - to rather less bass.

    Of course, your speakers may be from a different batch and/or may not have changed with time, but it's something that you should be aware of.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #207
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Great classic's these S-100's, very musical yet precise and open sounding ... mine don't show any visual sign of ageing on the rubber surrounds though. The doping has gotten somewhat yellowish on the midrange cone, but that's it.

    The rubber surroundings are not that supple to the touch but then again, that's the way i remind them to be from the beginning: certainly not hard but not of the thin and supple type found on other speakers either. Of course, you are still right in mentioning that i couldn't have noticed any change over the years if a change had occured in the bass performance ...

    But in any case, i remember that they tended to be overwhelming in the bass each time when i put them initially in the living room, be it on day one or 12 years after, which was my last moving (3 different homes: rather large rooms of at least acceptable acoustics, but not treated), even well clear of the boundaries and walls ... it took very precise placement following the speach method i described to reach balances, first rate bass in the end.

    Some tweaking helped get the last improvements for precision, bounce, pitch and extension(untightening of the drivers mounting screws followed by retightening them carefully by ear; that is slight finger pressure on the allen key for the tweeter, very slightly on the midrange, and rather tightly for the bass).

  8. #208
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    Default M40.1 and M30 up against the wall .... studio set-up with video

    Here is a short video that Trevor and I made at the Fountain TV studio last month. They make very big TV shows there, an needed a 5.1 system - and eventually - after trying many alternative 'big name' systems, they settled on the M40.1, M30 and M20s.

    Now with all this talk about closeness to the rear wall, I was a bit surprised that they were obliged to mount the speakers so close to the rear wall (the wall is false). Actially, the wall covering is cloth, and behind the cloth thee is some absorption - but not much, and hence, not really effective at low frequencies. But everyone is delighted with the sound which is certainly not too rich.

    The secret is that there is good absorption spread throughout the room - all surfaces are treated.

    You can find the video on the In the Studio page
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  9. #209
    DJLEC Guest

    Default Re: 17 years with my S-100s

    Quote Originally Posted by Haddock View Post
    I 'm coming a bit late in the thread but anyway ... i have Spendor' S-100''s, but plan to replace them with the M40.1. I'm not worried abiout the bass issue as in almost every room, there's a place that allows for a balanced sound. including in the more critical bass area.

    Spendor S-100's were said by many people to boom in the bass, by others to be nicely tight, yet deep and articulate! Much has to do with room placement in the end, at least that is what i discovered in using them for 17 years in 3 different places with clear but substantial sounding electronics (full YBA1).

    I always follow the placement method of Dave Wilson, that is you have your partner or a friend walk about in the room while talking or singing and look for the most balanced, most un chesty and un shouty voice reproduction. Usually, it gives also the deepest, tightest bass, not to mention the best tone.

    I'm also a bit surprised that you use them backing the long wall.... have you tried them on the shorter wall?

    My 2 cents
    I have just replaced my Spendor SP-100's that resided in the same spot as the 40.1's for 10 years

    You can see in my photo album I have them backing the long wall.

    Room was designed by ASC for the Tube Traps both ways and for practicality it was easier to place the speakers on the long wall. What you do not see in the pictures is a 50" Plasma on the back short wall opposite the fireplace end.

    http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/album.php?albumid=16


    David

  10. #210
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    Default S100 to Harbeth upgrade

    Very nice .... i've ordered the M40.1 s very recently and should get them by the end of november.

    What are your first impressions of the Harbeths, coming after SP-100's?

  11. #211
    DJLEC Guest

    Default S100 to Harbeth upgrade

    The first reaction you will feel is why did I wait so long to replace the Spendor's. I cannot speak audiophile terms but this Harbeth post sums it up perfectly:

    "The M40.1 is as clean as a whistle, with tight, deep, punchy bass that only appears when it's needed. Unlike a lot of large speakers it doesn't constantly drone and boom, just gives you a kick when called for. Naturally, the mid and top are as good as it gets. IMO, these are one of the very best speakers available and should be on every enthusiast's short-list".

    I have long coveted Harbeth's but the budget was not there. I first heard the 40 at a dealer friend who bought them and whose ears I trust. He used DSP for the bass problem in his home. I was struck by how similar the 40's looked to the Spendor SP-100. I was very close to asking him for a deal on a pair but I waited instead. Am I ever glad I did. My hat is off to Alan Shaw for all of his hard work on the 40.1. Again, these were out of my budget but a pair appeared on a used site citing minimal use so without blinking I bought them sight unheard. Art Dudley's review in Stereophile helped things along also but the skirmish that occured between John Atkinson and Alan Shaw did not deter me.

    I have long believed that you treat the room first as you can see in my pictures. What you see in the pictures for the ASC Tube Traps was a lot of work. When I immigrated from Canada to California I carted 4 Tube Traps with me. I met a person through a local ad that had 66 for sale. My wife and I recovered many that you see in the pictures. There is no bass problem here and I should note that in the back corners of the pictures you can see a small subwoofer. I used two REL Storm III's to augment the bass of the Spendors to good effect.

    With the 40.1 I knew that I could remove the subwoofers, relegate them to home theater duties, and use the 40.1 full range. This did not disappoint.

    One thing that really struck me with the 40.1 is how much easier they are to drive compared to the Spendor SP-100. I can tell by the volume control on my pre-amp and playing very familiar recordings. Although I received a great deal on mine my first reaction after a day was the 40.1 was worth every penny on full list price here in the USA. They are that good and you will be thrilled.


    Quote Originally Posted by Haddock View Post
    Very nice .... i've ordered the M40.1 s very recently and should get them by the end of november.

    What are your first impressions of the Harbeths, coming after SP-100's?

  12. #212
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    Default S100 to Harbeth upgrade

    Thank you for the comments ... i'm not surprised you waited so long to replace the Spendor's, as i took me 15 years now to decide to go for the Harbeth M40.1's, my Spendor S-100 still sounding so good, so musically involving, that they put to shame most hi end speakers i have listened recently. I guess the Spendor S-100's were not Component of the year in Japan, Diapason d'or in France, and Dudley's reference speakers for so long for no reason, while even Martin Colloms thought they had hidden depths.

    I should receive my Harbeth M40.1's today or tomorrow, and i'm thrilled but also a bit scared as i can not really imagine how they could be better still than my S-100's, which by the way i found easy to drive (they look like your SP100's but are they exactly the same?).

    I switched to the Harbeth because i saved up for the eventual replacement of my Spendor's, still sounding great but they won't live forever and there are also some signs of ageing ....

  13. #213
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    Default S100 to Harbeth upgrade

    I have a pair of Spendor S100's and have directly compared them to Harbeth speakers. To me, and I mean this in the kindest way, the S100 seems less alive than Harbeth speakers. Dynamics seem more limited, etc. The comparison only took a short time, so perhaps I jumped to conclusion but I have not wanted to return to the S100's since.

    John

  14. #214
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    Default Coloration and a personal journey

    Quote Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
    ...To me, and I mean this in the kindest way, the S100 seems less alive than Harbeth speakers. Dynamics seem more limited, etc. The comparison only took a short time
    I think what you are referring to is that difficult-to-grasp concept of loudspeaker coloration.

    A speaker can be smooth and well integrated, can have a well controlled on and off axis response, can go loud, no obvious bands of excessive energy, have acceptable efficiency but despite all these positives, can sound foggy. Since all loudspeaker listening is a substitute for the real thing, many casual listeners can accept the veiling of a conventional loudspeaker provided that the nothing nasty jumps-out from the overall presentation.

    The mental anxiety and the need to change to a Harbeth commences when the listener hears a speaker where the conventional veiling or fog has been removed and then switches back to the conventional speaker*. That's when he appreciates for the first, shocking time what has been buried under the fog that he's tolerated for years or decades. But there is no going back - once the listener has experienced more clarity, higher resolution and absence of masking (from the Harbeth RADIAL? cone compared to conventional speaker cones) he has to have it.

    Which is why once a listener finally gravitates to Harbeth, there is no upgrade path except to another Harbeth model. This gravitation is a personal journey which can take thirty or more years depending upon many factors and cannot be hurried. You have to hear the absence of coloration to be able to make the metal contrast with a normal, colored speaker. You have to replace your spectacles when an eye-test reveals how accustomed you've becomed to slightly blurred vision. We can't hurry that process, nor should we. That's why word of mouth is the most effective communication channel for our customers.

    *The shock of borrowing and hearing a pair of the early Harbeth Mk4s is the reason I'm here today. Having been used to the smooth but lacklustre sound of another speaker the shock of hearing what I had been missing led me to understand all about Dudley Harwood's concepts and hence, to taking-over the Harbeth company in 1986.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  15. #215
    DJLEC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    We look forward to your reaction when the M40.1's are settled in their new home.


    Quote Originally Posted by Haddock View Post
    I should receive my Harbeth M40.1's today or tomorrow, and i'm thrilled but also a bit scared as i can not really imagine how they could be better still than my S-100's, which by the way i found easy to drive (they look like your SP100's but are they exactly the same?).

    I switched to the Harbeth because i saved up for the eventual replacement of my Spendor's, still sounding great but they won't live forever and there are also some signs of ageing ....

  16. #216
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    Default M40.1 - opening the cartons, warming up.

    When they arrive - and I think they'll be on your doorstep tomorrow - do carefully inspect the cartons upon arrival and be sure to sign the driver's log with your signature and the word "Unexamined" right next to it. Far better - if the driver will wait - is to open the cartons should there be anything suspicious (such as a puncture hole) and then, get him to record your findings. Again, if in doubt take photos because this strengthens our argument with them in the case of a dispute. Of course, this is all very rare but best to be prepared.

    The M40.1 are very heavy. You should sit the speaker carton on the short end and carefully remove the tape and staples, remove the extra polystyrene protection from the long panels and slide the speaker still in its blue packing caps out of the carton. As the weight far exceeds the European handling limit you really should ask for the assistance of another person beyond this point as you will find manhandling one M40.1 on its own very difficult and potentially dangerous.

    Finally, once they are in position, leave them to warm-up to room temperature over an hour or two and then they're ready to go. As with all Harbeths we really don't think that there is any 'run-in' period, other than stabilising the temperature.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #217
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    Default Monitor 40.1 have arrived!

    Hello,

    i set up the M40.1's yesterday evening . As i shall receive my Skylan stands next week only, i put them on my dedicated Spendor S-100 wood stands, which were turned by 90 degrees, as they have the same depth as the Harbeth's width (430 mm). They are just 3 or 4 inches to high, but otherwise the match is good .... i listened to my favorite cd's until very late into the night, i was so drawn into the music. For the sake of being complete, let me mention that i use a complete YBA 1 eletronics and cables system , and also EAR acute cd with nos Siemens tubes plus LFD zero integrated).

    So, the king is dead (Spendor S-100), long live the king (Harbeth M40.1)!

    I don't intend to be disrespectful, quite the contrary, when i write that my first impression was "these sound just like my Spendor's, just as lively, engaging with great timbre and tonality, but more refined, revealing and even less colored". It's a bit like 2 bottles of the same great wine, but one comes from a better vintage ...

    It believe that it is a feat to improve on the S-100's without losing their musical magic and their engaging way with music, making the musicians intentions and play obvious and so enjoyable ... none of the speakers i auditioned at length this year to replace eventually my ageing S-100's came close (BW 802, Wilson Watt/Puppy, Avalon Eidolon, Kef 207 ...), except perhaps the Quad 2905, but somewhat thin and sterile sounding, and the Sonus Faber Amati Homage, but then again, it was less coherent, balanced and neutral than the Harbeth.

    Here, out of the box, on less than perfect stands and with no tweaking, the music is there in all it's glory, and the sonics are as good as it gets. It's bit artificial to chop the sound/music in categories, as the whole is more important than the parts but the highs are delicate, refined and have tremendous harmonic richness and impact. Cymbals and harpsichord are gorgeous, there's no unwanted sibilance on female voices.

    The mids are just fabulous and i understand why Harbeth is so proud of its RADIAL unit: there's a tremendous resolution that's so warm and real, not in your face, not artificial but deeply rooted in the sound and in the music. Medium and high piano notes, voices, sax, flute have a resolution, texture and harmonic richness that is simply unbelievable.

    The combination of tweeter and mid unit make up for perfection in the attack, decay, fundamentals, and gives a tremendous harmonic richness, tone and natural timbre and texture, just like real instruments and voices. The music and the instruments have the rawness of live reproduction (trumpets and sax have a rich raspiness, piano has the right attack, fundamentals and decay, with perfect timbre and tonality), just like the S-100's, but with more refinement, balance, resolution, richness and not the barest trace of coloration. Spatial reproduction is on par with the Spendor, that is exceptionaly natural in its perspectives ...

    Bass level is well balanced, it reaches a bit deeper than the S-100's, is a bit more powerful and weighty, not too damped which is a good thing, but not quite as precise, tight, tuneful, plain, tender and textured at the same time .... it seems a bit slower, with a bit less clarity and pitch rightness, less overtones and richness. That big unit needs probably more time to unfold its strengths but the quality of bass of the S-100 is also reference standard as well in my opinion.

    So, you can imagine that i'm as happy as can be, and my wife had the exact same impressions right away.

    We thank Mr Shaw and Harbeth for allowing these speakers to be available to the music lover!

  18. #218
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Haddok,

    Wow!!... I'm glad that you and wife are very happy. It's good to know that your wife also share the love for music... wish that all our wife do.

    Please post pictures of your set-up and thanks for sharing.

  19. #219
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    Default My M40.1s - day two report

    I'll post some pictures when i have sorted out how to transfer the pictures to the message attachement ...

    While at work yesterday, i let my system play the whole day on the repeat mode at moderate volume. I was again drawn into music for the best part of the night. My wife is just as enthusiastic about it and it's the first time this happens. Music and sound is even better than what i reported "out of the box", after a long transport with speakers resting on their side in their packaging. It was now even more detailed, coherent, lively and the bass improved notably. There is now a sort of juicyness, fruitness to the timbres when required, and brass is even more raspy, with delicious bite and body at the same time...

    Listening to some lieder was breathtaking, as if the artists were in the room! Just the right proportions between piano and singer, with a great interplay, perfect timbre and tonality on both piano and voice. Had some Barri?re cello and double bass ... very expressive and quick, with the right amount of attack, body and wood quality to these instruments ... the music bounces!

    Carreras's voice in Ariel Ramirez' Misa Creola brought tears to my eyes and vocals in general are absolutely fabulous in their naturalness and expressivity. The decay and atmosphere on gregorian and madrigals make you think you're there ... then i hit Coltrane's Ole and Transition, just fabulous as well ... the trumpet coming out suddenly, blaring, almost crying in Ole's first part is to die for.

    Some of Elvis's gospel numbers made me think i was in heaven or he was alive again ... unbelievable. Same with Jimmy Jones, the great bass singer from the Harmonizing Four singing Motherless Child and Go down Moses ... wow. I will have to listen to the Statesmen and the Blackwood Brothers this evening...

    I ended with some Mingus and Ricardo del Fra's walking bass playing ... perfect body and resonance from the instrument, with a "plain" bass quality added to the special texture.

    I can't wait to get back home and listen to music again tonight, as i have the impression to somehow rediscover my favourite music.

  20. #220
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    Default Re: My M40.1s - day two report

    Quote Originally Posted by Haddock View Post
    ... very expressive and quick, with the right amount of attack, body and wood quality to these instruments ....

    Wow..I am not alone...I always emphasize to friend the wood quality from Harbeth you had mentioned... I call it "wooden timbre"....that give the exellent presence feeling of the performance..

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