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. #41
    Join Date
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Another idea would be to have a compensation switch for boundary placement (wall and/or on top of cabinet, or both). Chestiness is very easily obtained when the speaker does not compensate for the usual bad placement of the center.

  2. #42
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    To me the most important factor is the height of the speaker, as almost invariably the centre speaker will be placed underneath or above the flat screen TV.

    My friendly seller in Kuala Lumpur initially suggested a C7 as central speaker, but there is no way it will work in my living room, so we finally settled on a pair of P3. But even laying on its side P3 will need to be less than 150mm tall for it to not block my TV. As it stands I will need to raise my TV some 50mm.

    I have no hesitation in buying the P3, as I can always use it for my bed room later. But I am concerned about how the placement will affect the tonal characteristics of the P3 - with one side resting against the TV bench/shelf. I hope it will not cause my TV bench to resonate.

    I am still waiting for the delivery of my speakers. I will see how it goes.

    My opinion is that a center speaker will greatly enhance Harbeth line of products.

  3. #43
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    To elaborate on my previous post, I believe that form factor is very important for a home theater system. Most living spaces simply could not accommodate large speakers.

    While I was choosing between Super HL5 and Compact 7 a couple of days ago, the deciding factor was the size of the speakers, rather than the subtle tonal characteristics between these two speakers.

    Even Compact 7 is really too big to fit into my living rooms with the existing furnitures. I actually think that 5 P3's with a matching sub woofer would make a superb HT system.

    Alan, do you have any plan to develop a sub woofer?

    Cheers,
    Yee

  4. #44
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: Design specification for centre channel

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    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.
    The centre speakers carry more than dialog - depends on the nature of the DVD. I have a few musical DVD, and I found the centre speaker carry the solo instrument(s) or solo singer(s).
    There is one particular set of DVD, "Claudio Abbado: Beethoven - Symphonies 1-9", where the center speaker is a continuation of the FR and FL speakers. I think this is true for all symphonic or choral music. This set of DVD is the one that I find most problematic.

    My current setup is Compact 7ES3 for the front speakers, and a pair of P3ES2 as the center speaker. When I played the Abbado DVD's with 5.1 sound track the centre speaker is noticeably falls short of the of the front speakers in sound quality, to the point that PCM stereo actually sounds better than Dolby 5.1 .

    For music DVD I actually think that the center speaker is MORE important than the front speakers. Harbeth dealer in Kuala Lumpur suggested that I purchase a third piece of Compact 7 as the centre speaker. That would have been ideal if my living room can accommodate it.

    I had my Harbeth speakers for a week now. I am really enjoying every second listening to it.

    Cheers,
    Yee

  5. #45
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Design specification for centre channel

    Welcome to Harbeth.

    I think that the P3ESR with its RADIAL2? cone is going to give you a very close match in tone and timbre to your C7ES3s, which also have RADIAL cones. A centre P3ESR would be much easier to accommodate and considerably less expensive. You'd have no worries about bass either. That's definitely what I'd go for myself.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Malaysia
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    Default Re: Design specification for centre channel

    Quote Originally Posted by yeecn View Post
    My current setup is Compact 7ES3 for the front speakers, and a pair of P3ES2 as the center speaker.
    Do you mean you have 2 centre speakers when you mentioned you have a pair of P3ES2 as centres? Your home theater room must be quite large if that is the case.

  7. #47
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    My living room is not big at all, a typical terrace house lounge. Sam suggested a third piece of C7ES3 very strongly, but there is no way it could fit into my current furniture setup. So I opted for the P3ES2, which only come in pairs.

    The speakers are connected in parallel, with a resistor to bring back up the impedance.

  8. #48
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Using C7ES3 as centre speaker in my opinion is an overkill -too huge for domestic listening rooms. Too many big speakers also affect the aesthetics a bit. P3ES2 would be just nice.

    I am toying around of getting a centre speaker as well but that would wait since I am concentrating more on getting the 2-channel part right first, and I am more or less there. I'm listening to music more these days compared to watching movies. For home theater the subwoofer is more important, especially with movies that have lots of sound effects since Harbeth speakers cannot handle high SPLs. For your case I reckon it wouldn't matter too much since most of your material are music DVD's.

  9. #49
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    I stand the P3's beside the flat screen TV. It was quite a aesthetically pleasing setup.

    As I said, for music listening, the centre speaker is very important. P3 falls short when matched with C7ES3. Most HT system in the market would fall short in this respect. I toyed with the idea of using P3 for all the 5 speakers, as that would give homogeneous all around. Sam was concerned that the insane sound level and explosive dynamics in many movie DVD could fry the limited load capacity of P3.

    Most of my DVD are actually movies. Good music DVDs are much harder to come by. But there are very few movies that you want to watch more than once, whereas a good piece of music you would play it tens or hundred of times it its lifetime.

    Sound system is primarily for music listening. The repeated listening puts a big expectation on the sound system. Movie sound effects is much less demanding in comparison. Must people would be happy with a RM1200 (USD400) HT in a box system from Korea of Japan.

    The growing number of music DVDs and musicals (e.g. The phantom of the Opera) with 5.1 surround sound track is making it very difficult to put together a proper sound system. Finding matching speakers is difficult enough. It is even more difficult to put together a proper DVD player, processor, amplifier setup for 5.1/7.1 sound.

    For now, I am enjoying good music with my humble Denon AVR 1909. Changing the speakers alone has already made a heaven of different to my music enjoyment. This is a tribute to Harbeth. It will sing beautifully with any reasonable electronics.

  10. #50
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    Default Using P3ESR for centre channel - and listening safely

    With respect, your dealer is not talking from a position of personal hands-on experience with the P3ESR. There are none in your country at this time - not one piece. We had an overseas journalist visiting us yesterday, curious about the P3ESR. He asked me if I'd mind that he reported that his listening session started with me playing my Eminem rap disc .... very loud and with a huge amount of bass. One P3ESR (or if you like, two pieces) I'm confident would make a great centre channel solution.

    Hence, as the designer, I stand by my recommendation and I suggest you audition the P3ESR for yourself. It is a significantly different animal to the P3ES2. If you are playing at levels that would strain the P3ESR then you are listening too loud for your long term safety. You are in command of the volume control and however tempting, you must take personal responsibility for your hearing.

    What is considered a safe listening level?


    - Averaged over a 24 hour cycle, 70dB (surprisingly quiet) is considered safe
    - As anyone whose attended a party will know, listening to loud music induces physiological changes in the body above 90dB(A) here

    (extract ... Acute exposure to maximal sound pressure levels above 90 dB(A) has the potential to cause inner ear hearing loss and to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system into increasing the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. We found an increase of noradrenaline in persons exposed to habitual work noise. [Figure - 1] shows the differences of noradrenaline (NA) in 14 workers who were exposed to noise levels of Leq = 95 - 102 dB(A), when working for one day without ear protectors and Leq = 82 -99 dB(A) and for one day with ear protectors... )

    - many other research studies which (I recall) suggest that the peak loudness should not exceed about 85dB.

    As mentioned before, thanks to our broadcast studio heritage in the BBC, all Harbeth speakers are uniquely and intentionally designed to sound right at low, safe listening levels of the sort experienced in a BBC control room and, coincidentally, in a normal home with sensible users even late at night. This is the exact opposite usage philosophy of most commercial speakers which are designed to come alive when they and their listener's ears are 'hammered'.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  11. #51
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Thanks Alan for the quick reply.

    To be fair, my dealer was referring to P3ES2. He is a very genuine guy, and I believe that he was keen to have his customers enjoy the fuller sound of C7ES3. For my listening level, I am absolutely sure than even P3ES2 is more than sufficient for me, except that our dealer will not sell me one of a pair. I am convinced that 5 pieces of P3ESR would make a perfectly good HT system for those facing space constraints. I am keenly awaiting for the arrival of P3ESR to have an audition.

    Ryder, since you are looking for a centre speaker, are you interested to share a pair with me? I am very keen to get a better sound matching for my 5.1 speakers, as well as taking the P3ES2 to my bedroom.

    Yes, Harbeth really shines when played in low level. I do quite a bit of late night listening. It was a real delight for me that every note and every detail come through beautifully even at the lowest listening level.

    Yee

  12. #52
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    Default A single P3ESR as a centre channel ...

    Quote Originally Posted by yeecn View Post
    Ryder, since you are looking for a centre speaker, are you interested to share a pair with me?
    Now this is a very interesting idea that you've given me! I've spoken to Production about the issue you raise and they say that, providing we offer only one colour finish, they would be willing to offer a single P3ESR as a centre channel. In time, when I design a specific centre channel based on the P3ESR (and I have not started on it yet) we could offer that as well.

    So, Production want to offer this single P3 in just one colour/veneer. We could go for a matt grey paint finish like the M20/30/40, or a matt black paint finish or, say, black ash. What do you think? The price would be about 60% of the P3ESR pair price, supplied in a custom-made single carton.

    I've added a poll to this thread with some colour choices that we could conceivably offer. Please vote once only! We will offer only one colour choice for this speaker.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  13. #53
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Matt black paint would work. It will match most flat panel TV. But it is a mismatch with my wood veneer C7.

    I think Harbeth will need a more coherent strategy to enter the Home Theater market. Color matched set of speakers, for example 5 P3ESR, or 2 C7ES3 + 3 P3ESR would make an excellent home theater offering.

    Another consideration is that the KL distributor did a fantastic job in keeping his price down, but he depends on bulk order discount from Harbeth. So your 60% pricing point may not translate directly.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    yeecn, I thought you already bought a pair of P3's to be used as centre speaker from Sam? Although I am toying around the idea of getting a centre channel and will eventually end up with one in due time, I won't be getting one too soon since I have spent more than RM16k in a span of 3 months. Frankly speaking I am currently stretched to the limit without any buffer left. Sorry to disappoint. Anyway I will keep your plan in mind.

  15. #55
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Guys: we'll handle the business strategy this end. There are many factors to consider. If you input your colour suggestions that would help us to consider an procurement, logistics and supply strategy.

    The starting point has to be "can we spilt matched pairs of cabinets". If the cabinets are not veneered, then that's not an issue is it.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  16. #56
    SGCSG1 Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Well, this is a concern. I just today ordered my P3ESR's and am getting Rosewood (since that's all available). Although I'm told the first shipment is sold out and I'll be waiting a few months and maybe more finishes will be available then.

    I'm hoping there will be a center channel available someday and I will certainly purchase one.

    Black is the only color that goes with everything. The center channel goes under (or over) the screen, so it doesn't really matter if it matches the left/right's or not. But I don't want it to CLASH with my main speakers. Black won't clash with Rosewood. Or cherry. Or eucalyptus.

    But cherry will definately clash with Rosewood or eucalyptus.

    Most of us have stereo speakers and some sort of cabinet for our gear and for the tv to sit on. The cabinet, not being made my Harbeth, is obviously a different color than the speakers. No problem - two colors look nice together. Rosewood speakers and maple cabinet - nice contrast. Rosewood speakers, maple cabinet, CHERRY center channel....three colors is just too busy.

    If this decision is close to being made and the decision is 'cherry' I'd like to know so I can get my main speakers in cherry as well!

  17. #57
    wes1s Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by yeecn View Post
    To me the most important factor is the height of the speaker, as almost invariably the centre speaker will be placed underneath or above the flat screen TV.

    I absolutely agree that height is the primary consideration for a centre channel speaker. I would say no taller than 20cm. Any taller and it would obstruct most TVs placed on TV consoles. At least that's how my current centre speaker is positioned. I also have a low sofa, so the TV is positioned not too far off the ground accordingly, which further limits the height available for speaker positioning.

    I also prefer to listen to 5 channel music without a subwoofer, as the tonality of the sub seems very distinct from that of the speakers, despite tuning the phase and running room correction (yes, room treatment is on the way). The lowest octaves of a piano sounds discombobulated with the subwoofer in the system with a crossover of 80Hz for the centre channel. So, any centre channel speaker, at least for me, should be capable of reaching down to at least 60Hz so that I won't need to run the subwoofer to hear the A1 octave on a piano.

  18. #58
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    With a GOOD subwoofer, integration is perfect. Please be aware that the quality of the subwoofer is as important as that of the main speakers. Bad integration is most of the time caused by bad placement, distortion from the subwoofer and wrong settings, IMHO.

    About the finish of the center: I think it would be wise to have the same finishes as other Harbeth models. That will certainly be the best option cosmetically I think.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker - availability?

    Just to clarify that I am monitoring and gathering your most useful feedback, so please keep it flowing.

    Please don't pester your dealer with questions about availability, price and finish. I have not even drawn-up a design specification for this product so it is not designed yet! It will not be available until 2010 at the earliest!

    In the meantime, the P3ESR - made in various finishes including black ash - is definitely in production and makes a great centre channel.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #60
    SGCSG1 Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker - availability?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Just to clarify that I am monitoring and gathering your most useful feedback, so please keep it flowing.

    Please don't pester your dealer with questions about availability, price and finish. I have not even drawn-up a design specification for this product so it is not designed yet! It will not be available until 2010 at the earliest!

    In the meantime, the P3ESR - made in various finishes including black ash - is definitely in production and makes a great centre channel.
    Based on my experience with PMC's centers (they make a 'horizontal' version of their smaller monitors, with the same drivers) I would think a single P3ESR in a similar configuration would make an outstanding center.

    Its' nice to know a Harbeth center is 'in the pipeline', regardless of how long it takes. We can wait. :)

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