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Thread: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

  1. #21
    Ted Rook Guest

    Default Re: M40 repair

    Thank you Alan, turns out the damage is much less serious than first appeared and the deal is going ahead, after enjoying M30s for six months I shall soon have what I have always wanted, three way, full range speakers. Thanks again.

    Ted

  2. #22
    macolive Guest

    Default Re: M40 Stands

    Quote Originally Posted by TNIC



    Hi TNIC,

    Your listening room looks quite narrow. Could I ask what the dimensions of your room are?

  3. #23
    TNIC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    My current listening room is

    12 feet wide (3.65 m)
    15 feet long (4.57 m)
    8 feet high (2.43 m)

    The room is constructed of sheet rock/plaster board and I damped it with acoustic foam to control the high frequency area. The M40 is the first tweeter I have had that shines (but does not glare) in this room. I have no problems with bass boom. In fact I love the bass and it is the reason I migrated to the m40 along with the other benefits such as a true 3 way. Having said that ? I can move the M40s 3 inches closer to the walls and it will over load the bass to produce boom. I have control of the sound. Its not a problem for me. Inadequate bass was a problem for me on other speakers. I do have a few CDs (out of hundreds) that will boom in the current position. But that is due to the recording in my opinion. I live in the USA and I am assuming the room construction here is M40 friendly and that may not be the case in other locations since I read so much concern about the bass on the M40. 2 friends of mine also have the M40 and are as happy as I am.

    While at a demo for a CD player I recently heard a speaker that sounds better but it costs about 3 times the price and weighs 245 pounds each (111 kg). It is beyond my audio funding ability!

    The M40 is a dream come true on classical but left me wanting more punch on rock and jazz. I recently added an Esoteric CD player to the system and it provided the punch I was missing. I don?t state this lightly ? the M40 in my setup is producing all the music to meet and exceed my needs, including the live concert feel on jazz and rock. Its not perfect on every piece of music but outstanding overall. The M40 is far more than a speaker for the spoken word in a studio!

    My room size does present limitations. I can easily overload the room if I ramp up the volume (which I do if I have drunk enough green tea or mead). For the best listening I stay within the room volume limitations and let the system/music come to me rather than have it force itself on me with overload. This is a concept that is lost on my impatient audio friends. They would like to come over and judge the system in 5 min. like the finale of a fireworks display.

    For them, more volume is better? even to the point of overload and noise. I wonder if they understand what their ears are capable of. I believe they are used to adding volume to make up for a system deficiencies on other systems.

    I had to make a rule ? no demos less than an hour so I could clean our their ears an allow them to hear music.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    TNIC,
    Looking at the photo of your listening room I can't tell if that is a hard floor under your oriental rug or more carpeting. I ask because I am considering the M40s- I currently have the SHL5s. My floor is tile but with rugs covering much of it. (Alan warns that the M40s on tile is not a good idea. I'm not sure if he means even if it is covered).
    Thanks, Ned
    nedmast2@aol.com

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Alan,

    I've asked TNIC - whose post here shows his room and speaks very enthusiastically about the M40s - what kind of floor he has in his listening room. I currently have and greatly enjoy the SHL5s and am considering auditioning the M40s at my dealer's room. However, my floor is tile (not good for the LF energy of the M40s you say); but it is largely covered by two oriental rugs with mats. Would you still caution against this speaker, with it's greater LF output than the SHL5s?

    With thanks, Ned

  6. #26
    TNIC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hello Ned,

    My M40 joy continues! I live in the second floor apartment of a frame house. That is – wood frame and wood floors. The walls are covered with sheet rock also known as plaster board in my area.

    I have neighbors and we get along fine. I have my listening time but I also know when to listen at quieter volumes. The M40 sounds great even at very low volume. The large size presents a much bigger and more enjoyable area of music.

    The M40s are on 85 pound (each) Sound Anchor stands. The stand spikes are resting on the wood floor through the carpet.

    My friends (2 others) who purchased his M40s around the same time as me – also have wood floors and similar stands. I am sorry but I have no experience with other floors.

    Nothing can replace an actual listen. A true 3 way with a tweeter, 8 inch mid and 12 inch woofer speaks volumes for itself. While the spoken word aspect of the speaker is often cited, you can expect the same amazing quality for music too.

    I did two listening session and brought all my significant music along, from Beethoven to Alanis. One of my favorite rock test CDs is Cream Live at Albert Hall. Its just Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. On other speakers Jack’s bass sounded “not equal” in presentation when compared to Eric. On the M40 all 3 are in the spot light and equally balanced. You can hear the bass and lead in tremendous detail as they play (Sleepy Time and Stormy Monday). With my other speakers the bass did not have the same gravitas as the other musicians on the Trout Quintet. With the M40 they are all playing on an equal level. Balance pretty much sums up the sound for me. If your missing the double bass in your classical and/or your tweeter sounds a bit bright (and it’s not your room) you might want to have a listen (and why not anyway?) You will recognize what you have been missing immediately.

    I also took all my “problem music” to see how it sounded. In your case it is especially reasonable to negotoate a listen at your location. If you were purchasing a car you would expect a test drive. Good luck and please do keep us posted!

    If you feel a phone call would be more productive - email me. I live in the New York City area.


  7. #27
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hi TNIC,

    Thanks for your comprehensive reply to my question. Ultimately, of course, I must listen to the M40s. I've been in touch with the dealer (he lives about 1 1/2 hours north of me) and will make the trip when he's ready. As of now he only has about 2 hours playing time on the speakers (he seems very impressed - he's carried the other Harbeth models, but I think these are the first M40s he's had) and wants to have at least 50 hours playing time before he auditions them with customers (I don't think Alan would think that much time is necessary, but he is a very diligent dealer who is serious about considering his customers' needs and desires. And he wants to fully know the components he carries. To this end, he also wants to try various electronics with them). So, perhaps within a few weeks I'll get to hear them. To be honest, I've not found the bass wanting on the SHL5s - or the treble, for that matter. I do listen almost exclusively to 'classical', including contemporary composers. But then, until I listened to a stand-alone DAC, I didn't miss anything from my CD player, either. So, as you say, it sometimes is only after you've heard another component that you can know what you are - or aren't - missing from your own. And just how important that aspect is to your listening satisfaction. I'll let you know how all this works out. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent: on the one hand everyone who talks about the M40s does so in the most enthusiatically positive terms. On the other hand, the SHL5s have been a real revelation to me in terms of musicality. After about 5 months, they still enchant me with their presentation. I don't want to be fickle - or greedy, for that matter.

    Best, Ned

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hi TNIC,

    I'm going to be able to hear the M40s this weekend, and it's possible I may want to get them. I'm curious to know what height your Sound Anchor stands are that the M40s are sitting on. Mine for the SHL5s are almost 17", and I'm not sure whether I'll need to go higher or lower if I do indeed get the M40s.

    Thanks, Ned

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hello again TNIC,

    Please disregard my last question about stand height; I just went back to your earlier posts where I see that you mentioned you're using 18" Sound Anchors.
    I'm really looking forward to hearing - and perhaps owning - the M40s.

    Ned

  10. #30
    TNIC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    My Sound Anchor stands are 17? high. The spikes add to that height. From the carpet to the bottom of the speaker is about 18 inches.

    I would think your stands would be a good place to trial the M40s. You can add height with wood or books. Be careful of course. That is what I did. You can experiment from there and decide what is right for you. I found in my room raising the M40 reduced bass noticeably but reduced desirable resolution a tiny bit. (tweeter a few inches above ear height. Lowering the M40 increased the bass (eventually) to the point it was muddy.

    But that?s my room. My friend has his M40s at 14 inches and they sound good in his room at that height. A little testing will bear fruit.

    As with all things in my word personal preference has a lot to do with your end choice. Believe me when I tell you no one complains about the sound of my system!

    As we already agreed ? there is no substitute for listen at your dealer and (if you can negotiate it) at your room! I remain a great admirer of the M40. They provide unending pleasure and satisfaction for the music lover. Lasting satisfaction is a rare commodity in audio and many other places. I look forward to your report.




  11. #31
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Thanks, TNIC -

    Yes, my Sound Anchor stands are 17". Certainly it makes sense to try them to see how they work out and - as you say - try inserting something (indeed, carefully!) - between the stand and speaker to see what effect additional height has. All comments on the M40s that I've read have been so positive that I fully expect I'll like them also - especially since I've been so happy with the SHL5s. I'll post my reaction.

    Ned

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Alan,

    I am currently using the SHL5s, but am considering the M40s. Can you tell me what - if any - significant differences exist between driving an 8 ohm speaker (the SHL5s) as opposed to a 4 ohm speaker (the M40s)? Is one 'easier' to drive than the other?

    With thanks, Ned

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Allan,

    If I may follow up my previous question about the M40's impedance with another about room environment for the M40: In your summary of the development of the M40 - and history of the LS5/8 - you mentioned avoiding tile floors for the M40. I'm now wondering if my room is indeed unsuitable for the M40. It is an aproximatley 22'x15'x9 space constructed of concrete-block and stucco, with a plaster-board ceiling and a cement slab floor covered with tiles, which in turn are covered (about two-thirds) with rugs. Not being familiar with the term "well-lagged", I'm not sure how my environment conforms - or doesn't - with this type of construction.

    With thanks again, Ned Mast

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hello Allan,

    My questions concerning the impedance of the M40, and about it's behavior in my concrete-block constructed room were posed before my dealer offered me a home trial of the M40. All concerns have been laid to rest; they sound quite wonderful in my room. My amplifier has selectable impedance settings, so I can set it at 4 ohms and it seems to be quite happy driving the M40. While I have several days left on my trial period, it's clear that this pair of M40s has found a home here. This is my second Harbeth speaker, and I would guess my last. It does everything I've ever hoped a speaker would.

    With Thanks, Ned Mast

  15. #35
    airdavid Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Hi Tnic,
    what are your amp for your Monitor 40?
    Bye

    David

    Quote Originally Posted by TNIC
    My current listening room is

    12 feet wide (3.65 m)
    15 feet long (4.57 m)
    8 feet high (2.43 m)

    The room is constructed of sheet rock/plaster board and I damped it with acoustic foam to control the high frequency area. The M40 is the first tweeter I have had that shines (but does not glare) in this room. I have no problems with bass boom. In fact I love the bass and it is the reason I migrated to the m40 along with the other benefits such as a true 3 way. Having said that ? I can move the M40s 3 inches closer to the walls and it will over load the bass to produce boom. I have control of the sound. Its not a problem for me. Inadequate bass was a problem for me on other speakers. I do have a few CDs (out of hundreds) that will boom in the current position. But that is due to the recording in my opinion. I live in the USA and I am assuming the room construction here is M40 friendly and that may not be the case in other locations since I read so much concern about the bass on the M40. 2 friends of mine also have the M40 and are as happy as I am.

    While at a demo for a CD player I recently heard a speaker that sounds better but it costs about 3 times the price and weighs 245 pounds each (111 kg). It is beyond my audio funding ability!

    The M40 is a dream come true on classical but left me wanting more punch on rock and jazz. I recently added an Esoteric CD player to the system and it provided the punch I was missing. I don?t state this lightly ? the M40 in my setup is producing all the music to meet and exceed my needs, including the live concert feel on jazz and rock. Its not perfect on every piece of music but outstanding overall. The M40 is far more than a speaker for the spoken word in a studio!

    My room size does present limitations. I can easily overload the room if I ramp up the volume (which I do if I have drunk enough green tea or mead). For the best listening I stay within the room volume limitations and let the system/music come to me rather than have it force itself on me with overload. This is a concept that is lost on my impatient audio friends. They would like to come over and judge the system in 5 min. like the finale of a fireworks display.

    For them, more volume is better? even to the point of overload and noise. I wonder if they understand what their ears are capable of. I believe they are used to adding volume to make up for a system deficiencies on other systems.

    I had to make a rule ? no demos less than an hour so I could clean our their ears an allow them to hear music.

  16. #36
    TNIC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    My impression is you might be searching for the perfect amp for your speakers?
    Please let me know when you find it and how you went about the selection.

    I found good sound can be obtained from tubes or solid state (and so can bad sound). Tubes do offer me the additional flexibility of modifying the sound (without a soldering iron) by switching the tubes. A JJ Tesla EL34 sounds more focused on the middle an upper range frequencies on my system/room. A Svetlana EL34 Winged C sounds far more full range on my system/room. I observed a similar ability to tweak the sound on the pre amp tubes.

    My amplifier is a 1990s vintage amp made in France (50 watts per channel) My friends/advisors urged me to buy this amp because of the transformers inside the amp. They (my friends) learned how the components in an amp vary the sound by using a prototype amp. The parts are clipped together (not soldered). A ?breadboard? setup we call it here. This allowed them to swap a capacitors transformers and other parts to learn how each component effects the end sound. They stressed that transformers and capacitors aare important components in the amp that effect sound in a noticeable way. They felt this amp was a smart buy because of the Partridge transformers in it. Everything else inside the amp could be swapped if need be. But not the Partridge transformers.

    Once I obtained the amp we fixed a potential problem, and made other improvements. I had each change done in steps so I could compare the differences in sound using my favorite test recordings.

    I am not interested in an improvement that does not provide a substantial improvement in sound quality. Silver wire, expensive connectors etc made virtually no difference in the sound. In my case I found capacitors do have a substantial effect on sound quality of the amp. But you need to find a capacitor you like. Many people like Auri caps. They did not work well for me In my system. Black Gate capacitors provided my system with a sound I love.

    I have not observed capacitor break in on the Harbeth speakers I have owned. But I have observed capacitor break in on my amp and pre amp. Some might disagree, but it took me 200 hours to break in the capacitors on my amp and pre amp (each done at different times). In the amp, the capacitors sound dry and brittle (screechy) in the beginning but mellow down to the sweet, uncolored, full range sound with breakin. That?s my experience and I would challenge those who say its my ears that broke in!

    You can find plenty written on Black Gate capacitors and other brands and how they effect your sound (includnig break in).

    In my opinion $300 worth of capacitors in the amp and pre amp did more for my system than.$5,000 of cable could possibly do. Of course the better your speakers are the better you will be able to hear the difference. But that should not be a problem for us since we already have great speakers. Listening on the SHL5s and the M40s the differences in capacitors in the amp and pre amp were obvious. These wonderful speakers allowed me to imake improvements based on what they revealed.

    Like friends, pets and mates, it is better for me to judge amps by what is inside than what the outside looks like. I would prefer an advertisement that listed all the parts that are inside rather than a photo of a stunning woman, holding a Champaign glass with a cityscape background. Looking at the sturdy construction of the M40 crossover I can see a lot of craftsmenship and care went into it. Its "done right".

    It would be interesting (to me) if at some point Allen can provide a few words about the capacitors in the Harbeths and if he hears any differences from one capacitor to another.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    TNIC,

    Some weeks ago I asked you some questions regarding the M40s, as I was considering trading in my SHL5s on a pair. I have since done this, and could not be happier. What you wrote about your experience with amplifiers is interesting, and I would not consider questioning what you hear. My experience has been a bit different. Before I traded the SHL5s, a friend brought over his vintage McIntosh 275 (tube 75watt/channel) for me to try, saying it would be a step up from my solid state amp (170 watt/channel). I spent some hours for two days over a weekend going back and forth between the two amplifiers; but each time I thought I heard something in the music with one amp that I hadn't with the other, going back to the other proved me wrong. Obviously, the vintage tube amp must sound different from the modern solid state; but the differences were so subtle that I couldn't identify them - they were insignificant, and I consequently had no basis on sonics alone to choose one over the other. Considering other factors such as weight, maintenance, and the heat produced by tubes, I would naturally pick the solid state amp. On the other hand, putting a stand alone DAC in my system was immediately apparent sonically, and a significant improvement. My point is, as revealing as the Harbeth speakers are, I do think that if one provides them with enough clean power (and 50 watts should be enough) they will sound wonderful. And far more important than the amplifier is the quality of the CD player or DAC (assuming digital playback). From my perspective, with the M40s and a good DAC, the only audio considerations left are finding good recordings!

    Ned

  18. #38
    TNIC Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Me describing the sonic advantage a superior audio product when compared to the sound of a lesser audio product would be about as productive as me trying to describe the taste of a ripe peach. A lot of words and nothing you could sink your teeth into.

    My confusing comments were concerning the the amp I am using and how I came to own it. Solid state and tubes (valves) are both good. I am not recommending tubes over solid state. I happened to end up on tubes because my friends/advisors helped me find a good fit. I had a choice, trust marketing hype or these entertaining fellows who build their own equipment and seem to enjoy a 400 volt shock. One thing I could do was listen to their work and compare it to name brands. For me hearing is believing.

    Certainly you have reached a level in audio that would make almost anyone happy. I floated the Mac 275 as a possible choice for me in my discussions. Mac advertising did reach some cells in my medulla oblongata. But my friends/advisors, flatly stated with fists slaming on the table, in no uncertain terms, they could produce superior sound than the 275 (and other amps) for the same money or less. This ignited a memorable "discussion" with lots of colorful language concerning audio snobbery, marketing psychology and pitchmanship vs. performance and years of electronics experience. The entire argument was fueled with Lurgoshall mead. My friends said their approach of amp/transformers, plus changing the capacitors and other internal components would outperform the challengers OR they would gouge their own eyes out with a hot soldering iron!

    Fortunately they succeeded in providing the promised level of improvement and still have their sight (in case you were wondering). I appreciate this approach to sonic improvements by using good existing equipment and improving the internal components to a level that exceeds a more expensive amp or pre amp. It is our belief that we live in a time when things are well designed and then built out of crapy components to increase profit (Harbeths can certainly be excluded from that generalization).

    I was guided/pushed/carried/forced through this process by subject matter experts, I might have accepted the amp in its stock condition. But with a few improvements the amp had far more to give at a reasonable cost. This approach is for those obsessed with audio improvements. Prior to this adventure, my electronic audio improvements ended at the point I placed the credit card in the merchants hands. My last audio improvements ended in a friends basement with the smell of solder. One of these friends purchased his M40s when I did.

    After we purchased our M40s, had the pre amp built and the amp tweaked we wondered if we might have missed other better opportunities at the same price. Even though we continue to blow away all of our friends speakers in side by side comparisons. There are a lot of heavily advertised choices out there that had us wondering. To settle this in May of 06 my friend and I went to an audio show. The link below shows what we listened to at the show. There were all sorts of designs. Ported cabinets, closed cabinets, open baffle, transmission line, single driver, electrostatic, and on and on. In my opinion the single biggest problem of all these systems was the speakers! I found we could spend tripple what we spent for the M40s and would have something that sounded almost as good...

    There are cabinets with drivers coming out of the side, top, rear, bottom and places you can't imagine. They were photographed in bewilderment of how that many drivers and such fine furniture like cabinets could sound so lacking. My friend shook his head and offered me these words of wisdom "never trust a driver you can not see". I came away from that show with great relief that my choice was the M40s. I knew they were good but I did not realize just how good they are. Don?t get me wrong, the hardware in the photos sounds OK and is very sexy to look at. But it is just plain outperformed by the M40s. Nothing in the M40 price range came close. My equipment is not as visually sexy as the items in the photos, and did not cost as much, but it sure sounds better.


    http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...gnin=Slideshow
    Last edited by TNIC; 19-09-2006 at 01:35 AM. Reason: I spell worse than I write.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    TNIC,

    I loved reading the saga of your acquiring and tweaking your amplifier; certainly when you have speakers as revealing as the M40s, you want the best signal you can get feeding them. As exotic as the components at the show (your slides) looked, I can well believe that you remain happy that you acquired the M40s. For me, the main problem with them is that I often find it difficult to give up listening when I really should be going to bed! I'll sit down to listen to one CD and end up listening to two or three - or more. Because of what I perceive to be their tonal accuracy, musical instruments - and voice - have that live quality which eludes most speakers (in my opinion).

    Recently I was listening at a friend/dealer's house to some back-horn loaded cabinets; in each cabinet were two 15" Tannoy (vintage) drivers. They put out a lot of sound, but not with the tonal accuracy of the Harbeths. As someone put it on REG's forum the other day, the only way the M40s are leaving is if they're 'pulled from my dead, cold fingers'. My sentiments, also.

    Ned

  20. #40
    Casaross Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Boom in the room!

    Where to start? I need help getting the best from M40's.

    More, more, more! I own a pair of SHL5's and have achieved very good results with them. Always wanting more of a good thing, a pair of M40's came up for sale locally and I greedily snatched them up.

    Luring the M40's into my Evil Lair. Last night, far too late, I set up the speakers for the first time and achieved a sub-optimal result. The bass was overpowering on most recordings, most noticeably on analog versus CD. (For reference, I have a pair of Verity Parsifal Encore speakers that are quite full range, though I augment the lowest octave with a Martin Logan Depth powered subwoofer.) My room measures 12 feet in width, 22 feet in length and 9 feet in height.

    Standing Tall. The M40's came with Sound Anchor stands of approximately 12" height - and over 65 pounds weight. They are solid! Sitting on the stands, my M40's look gigantic!

    In Their Place. I have set the speakers approximately 2.5 feet from the side walls and 6 feet from the room's front wall to the rear surface of the speaker cabinet.

    Would You Trust the Swiss? I drive the M40's with a pair of Nagra VPA amplifiers - approximately 55 watts of push-pull power from 845 direct heated triode tubes.

    Help! Given the "boom in the room" can anyone provide guidance in setting up the M40's beyond that help provided in the standard Harbeth user's guide?

    How should I start to work on this problem? While that guide is useful so far as it goes, a speaker of this size provides challenges that other Harbeths do not.

    English to US Translation. Having read Alan's excellent posts on building his listening room, I am unsure what "Rockwool" is. Is this just insulation for houses? I know that I can get bags of fiberglass insulation. Is that the same?

    Thanks to everyone for any help that you can provide.

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