View Poll Results: What colour for a centre channel speaker cabinet?

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  • Painted matt grey (like M20/30/40), no wood grain

    3 4.92%
  • Painted matt black, no wood grain

    16 26.23%
  • Painted matt "silver" or similar, no wood grain

    0 0%
  • Black ash veneer with wood grain

    15 24.59%
  • Cherry veneer with wood grain

    27 44.26%
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Thread: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

  1. #1
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    Default A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    This thread concerns the design of a centre channel speaker suitable for use as the dialogue channel in home video (home theatre, AV) and alternative suitable Harbeth speakers.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #2
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    Default Design specification for centre channel

    Quote Originally Posted by redryder View Post
    ...I've been recommended to find a center speaker with matching timbre and characteristics...
    I'm not sure who has recommended you, but are you absolutely sure that you need a physical centre channel and that you can not generate a centre sonically from your front P3s in 'phantom' mode?

    I realise that the centre channel is important as it carries most of the dialogue (I'm told) but I think you are absolutely correct when you identify that you should aim to match the sonic characteristics of the P3s. This will not be easy: most (all?) contemporary speakers, including centre channel speakers, seem far to colored or aggressive for my taste so be careful.

    Perhaps I should consider designing a Harbeth centre channel speaker. The starting point would be size and shape; once I have that, I can see what drive units could be fitted. If you'd like to make any suggestions - hand sketches with dimensions are ideal - then feel free to fax me or scan and email me and I'll give it serious consideration. The size/style is really critical as a first step; that's where the design process must start. Leave me to worry about the internals.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Many of us already know...Today TV is getting thinner...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Design specification for centre channel

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ...Perhaps I should consider designing a Harbeth centre channel speaker. The starting point would be size and shape; once I have that, I can see what drive units could be fitted...

    Alan;
    Perhaps this might be a good opportunity to reconsider the relative merits of inserting the Radial driver into a new P3 Centre and renovated P3 monitor. Would it add appreciably to the 'truth of timbre' in an already excellent monitor? Particularly if the centre channel is largely dedicated to voice...

    regards,
    -paul-

  5. #5
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    Default Harbeth floor standing speaker

    Alan,

    would like to take the opportunity to ask about any update on the floor standing speakers project.

  6. #6
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    Default Harbeth development plans and secrecy ....

    This thread is specifically about a centre channel speaker project for the future. Let's not confuse things by taking the subject off in another direction.

    I'm sure that you'll understand that my specific product development plans can not be aired here in public. We are, fundamentally, a commercial business and to protect our long term (and hence yours) be must assume that this forum is studied by others in the industry. Our plans should not drive their plans.

    What I can say is that I'm extremely busy at the moment drawing to a conclusion an investigation that started in 2005 and was interrupted for 18 months by the Monitor 40.1 project. And no, it's not a floor stander. Please understand that this really is all I can say at the moment, but please do keep your ideas flowing; they are all carefully considered even though on a case by case basis I cannot comment on them specifically for commercial reasons.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #7
    avrookie Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Dear Alan,

    I have just bought a pair of M30 and I really enjoy the natural music produced by these newbies! Besides listening to music, I also have a separate system for watching movie and I'm thinking of using the M30 as the front speakers for my 5.1 set-up. (in fact would it be an issue to use them for movie? As long as I don't turn the volume too high, it won't be damaged right?).

    It would be a good news if there is a Harbeth centre speaker to match, be honest its very difficult to buy a centre speaker produced by other brand which could match the quality of Harbeth speakers. Also for cosmetic reason, a matching centre speaker would be the best solution for a 5.1 system.

    Perhaps with 2 Radial cones and 1 Tweeter at the middle??

    Thanks!

    avrookie

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Yes, that's a logical combination of drivers for a centre channel. I have a general interest in designing such a speaker (although I'm not sure how big the market would be). However, I'm working flat-out on other projects at the moment.

    Incidentally, we're shipping to the BBC today a single M30 plus two M20 to convert one of their stereo installations to surround sound.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Are Harbeth speakers available as single units to create surround applications?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    They can be but under specific circumstances. We do not like to "split a matched pair" of cabinets because who would buy the remaining unwanted single cabinet? So, in the rare instance where one cabinet of a pair has some minor cosmetic blemish, we *may* be able to scrap that one and sell its partner. But obviously, this is rare and applies to the standard veneers - cherry and eucalyptus.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    How would someone in the US learn of the availbility of the single unit ?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Perhaps post a message on Audiogon to find another person who is also looking for a Harbeth center channel, then team up and buy a pair and split them...tricky logistics but it may be easier than sourcing one speaker on it's own.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    As a center channel or just for stereo music what is the diffenence between the P3es2 or the new montitor and the Model 20 speaker. I own and enjoy a pair of Model 30's which might be better match as a center channel the model 20's or the p3es2 or the new model
    Joe hartmann

  14. #14
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    Default A specification for a Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Following a question here, I'd be very interested to dicusee with you a provisional specification for this centre channel speaker concept.

    As I said "I'd really like some guidance from you (all) as to features and most important, cabinet size. In the days of CRT TV, the sets were so big that evan a large centre channel box sitting under the set was dwarfed by the TV. But now, with these skimpy thin TVs I'm not sure how big the centre channel can be, or where it is placed. Under the TV? Standing on what?"

    So - over to you. How big, what configuration - I'v very interested to hear your ideas.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  15. #15
    Shutterbox Guest

    Default Re: A specification for a Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Following a question here, I'd be very interested to dicusee with you a provisional specification for this centre channel speaker concept.

    As I said "I'd really like some guidance from you (all) as to features and most important, cabinet size. In the days of CRT TV, the sets were so big that evan a large centre channel box sitting under the set was dwarfed by the TV. But now, with these skimpy thin TVs I'm not sure how big the centre channel can be, or where it is placed. Under the TV? Standing on what?"

    So - over to you. How big, what configuration - I'v very interested to hear your ideas.
    I think people here would be more concerned how good a centre channel that you make will sound rather than how big it will look! If you think 2 x 5" RADIAL + 1 tweet will work, I'm sure no one will have complains!! (except maybe the price)

    Well if you wish something as a reference, perhaps centre channel speakers that you see in the british mag "What hi-fi" can be a guide as to what are possible dimensions?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: A specification for a Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Thanks for the feedback. Putting on my marketing hat, I have to say that I don't start on the design of any new project unless I'm completely certain of the specification; there has to be a market for it. Leave all problems of sonics to me: what I want to know first hand is what cabinet size do you potential users consider acceptable and will actually pay for? Or perhaps more to the point, in the current absence of a Harbeth centre channel, what centre channel solution have you actually gone out and bought?

    Do you have a CRT or flatscreen TV? Where do you place the centre channel? Is your TV on the wall?

    Once I'm completely certain about the size, I can consider the whole project.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #17
    Shutterbox Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    *putting my shopping hat on*

    If there is intention to go into HomeTheatre, I think most people would look into having the front/centre/right channels displaying very close, if not exactly the same sonic signature.

    I now use a 42" plasma TV and to HT enthusiats, that seems to be the min size to start out with. And I will have the centre speakers placed on a below the TV, possibly on a rack. A size of ~160 x 480 x 270mm would be acceptable to me

    If I were to buy a HT audio system based on Harbeth designs, I probably would get a pair of C7s for L/R, and for the centre channel, I'd have to look for something that sounds as close to the sound of C7 as possible (a task which could be quite challenging).
    For low and impactful bass, I would have to search for a good Subwoofer.
    As for the rear speakers, I do not mind sacrificing sound quality a little because they are more for surround effects and therefore I probably will buy speakers of lesser make, if I can't afford a M20/P3

    I will select C7 because while being a good pair of speakers(from what I gathered), it is priced lower than the SHL5 and M30/40(.1) and that gives me the budget to look for centre speakers and subwoofer.

    Not sure if my thinking process as a shopper will help you.

    *PS: not sure why buy my post in construction seemed to be posted after I refresh the screen!! So I'm editing the my original post.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Thanks again, but as I said, please leave all sonic issues to me. That's my job.

    I just want to know about most acceptable cabinet size. That's the starting point for the entire design. Not sonic performance or any other factor. Just size and mounting.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  19. #19
    Vlado Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post

    ....Just size and mounting.
    Hi Alan,

    The most logical dimensions for me are: (hxwxd) 610 x 188 x 198 mm - two P3ESR fitted with a wall mout thing...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    We are a dealer of Harbeth speakers and sell a lot of home theater systems (about 80% of our total sales, which is quite unique in the Netherlands for a hifi shop). In fact, we have a demo room equipped with 5x HL-P3ES2, which sounds incredible. The 3 front speakers are hidden behind an acoustically transparent screen (Screen Research), so we can place them on the perfect height and upright.

    As a suggestion for the size of the cabinet, I would take the P3 as a starting point, keeping it's internal volume, but putting it on its side, making the cabinet a bit wider and less high (so it will be able to fit under a TV more easily). It is very tempting to then duplicate the woofer on both sides of the tweeter, but I will leave that design choice with the designer... ;) It will than be more difficult to drive (halving of impedance), but a bit more efficient? The center speaker does not need to be able to play very low, because good bass management will take care of any low bass and reroute it to larger front speakers or a subwoofer.

    But why not make the P3 available as a single unit? It is very useable in it's own right as a center speaker as it is.

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