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Thread: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

  1. #81
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    Default Piano black?

    No there are no plans to introduce piano black at this time. If you're interested, we do discuss this from time to time within Harbeth and only last week we reviewed this issue again.

    We concluded that there are three basic concerns ....

    1. Handling. The customer expects (and pays for) a perfect finish. With piano black finish, every microscopic blemish is extremely visible. Even if a plastic bag is brought into contact with the finish, it may leave some tiny scratches. This means that right along our cabinet maker's production line, through packing, transport, delivery to us, our assembly packing, transport to you and finally your opening and handling we would have to be certain that there were no marking or scuffing, no matter how small. We believe that this would require a total rethink of our entire assembly and handling, and this would slow down production at a time when sales are steadily growing. Now is not the right time to put obstacles in the way of smooth production.

    2. The piano blacking process involves typically 10-20 layers of lacquer, and much polishing and sanding between layers. It's a very dirty, slow process. I have visited cabinet making companies doing piano blacking and the working conditions are frankly inhuman. The microscopic lacquer dust and the fumes are choking and I find it totally unacceptable that workers should be subjected to that degradation. Piano blacking is, literally, killing them. We don't want to be part of that commercial game.

    3. These 10-20 coats will definitely stiffen the cabinet walls, and that in turn will undoubtedly change the tonality of the cabinet. That just can't be allowed.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #82
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    Default Re: Piano black?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    No there are no plans to introduce piano black at this time.... The piano blacking process involves typically 10-20 layers of lacquer, and much polishing and sanding between layers. It's a very dirty, slow process. I have visited cabinet making companies doing piano blacking and the working conditions are frankly inhuman. The microscopic lacquer dust and the fumes are choking and I find it totally unacceptable that workers should be subjected to that degradation. Piano blacking is, literally, killing them. We don't want to be part of that commercial game.
    It's good to be involved with a company that is concerned about the health of its workers. Bravo!

    David

  3. #83
    Vlado Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

    Hello Alan,

    I accept and appreciate your judicious answers.

  4. #84
    wkatzir Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

    Hello All-

    I have an interesting question to which I would appreciate any thoughts. I have listened to the Linn Katan's in their "aktiv" mode (which is essentially having them actively bi amplified) and they sounded much, much better then when they were conventionally powered. I am wondering, would the P3es2's benefit from a similar power situation? So, for the sake of argument, which would sound better, powering them using setup A or B? ***Room Size is 13' x 12.5' x 9'h***

    A) QTY 1, Parasound Halo JC2, Pre-Amplifier
    QTY 2, Parasound Halo A23, 125watt x 2ch Amplifiers
    QTY 1, Bryston 10B Crossover, Set to match the crossover points of the P3es2's

    <or>

    B) QTY 1, Parasound Halo JC2, Pre-Amplifier
    QTY 1, Parasound Halo A21, 250watt x 2ch Amplifier

    I was also wondering what the crossover point on the P3es2 is? Any thoughts on these possible setups, or if you have any other recommended setups (without utilizing a tube amp), I would love to hear them.

    Thanks-

    Wes

  5. #85
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    Default Making an active speaker from a passive one

    It's an interesting question, but it's essential to fully understand what you have been listening to. I fear that you are setting yourself up for a disaster.

    You say that the other speakers are 'actively bi amplified'. This implies that instead of a conventional passive network inside the speakers (made from big coils, resistors and capacitors) driven from an external amplifier the new design features a line-level filter arrangement combined with power amplifiers inside (or alongside) the speakers driven directly from a line-level source, such as a CD player's output. We make active Monitor 40's like that, with the line-level electronics , psu and power amplifiers in a 19" case which sits under the speakers so we have some experience of active electronics.

    However, this is just the starting point in what is an extremely complex design process. It is absolutely critical to appreciate that only one function of the crossover network is to divide the signal between the drive units (so that low frequencies are never fed to the tweeter). The other job the crossover has to do is to shape the overall response because - and this is really important to appreciate - real world woofer an tweeter drive units interact with the geometry of the baffle onto which they are mounted and this causes significant boosts in the sound pressure (frequency response) output. Now to the crux of the matter: the speaker designer may or may not correct these output boosts. If the crossover is simple with few components* he cannot do this accurately because a few components can't do the job of many components, so he has to accept a compromise. If (as in our case) we use a more complex crossover we can make relatively fine adjustments. But what is the situation when the entire passive crossover is discarded and replaced with an electronic one? Again, the designer can make choices about the overall frequency response shape, but this time he can if he so chooses make even more subtle adjustments using very small electronic components.

    So, what I'm saying is that you are most probably not comparing like-with-like when you audition a passive network against an active one. You are in danger of drawing the conclusion that active is better than passive when in fact, what you are hearing is a different spectral balance only due to the designer having more tricks to manipulate the frequency response in the active circuit.

    So, what sort of voltage-curve should you deliver to the drive units from the output of the active filter/amp solution or indeed the passive network? I've covered this here. Note that the voltage drive is very definitely not flat. If you can emulate the curves shown in the last two graphs then you have a fighting chance that your active solution will work.

    * I have never understood how simple crossovers have had such a following because they are so exceedingly designer-unfriendly. In the hands of the marketing boys though, these simple two or three component 'first order' crossover networks have a cult status. But they inevitably mean that the speaker's frequency response cannot be flat and the best the designer can hope for is a bodged overall response.. Some folks like that sound though.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #86
    wkatzir Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

    Alan-

    Thank you for the response and I will read your report on crossovers the next chance I get.

    The Linn's that I listened to utilize a unique system that bypasses the speakers crossover network for crossovers on board the Linn amplifiers when in an "aktiv" setup. The reason for my question is that I am currently looking for a preamplifier and amplifier to power my P3es2's, and I was wondering if the overall sound would benefit from doing something similar without bypassing the speakers on board crossover network. I guess it would be better just to ask, what preamp / amp combination's have been found to mate best with the P3's (and this question goes to all)?

    Thanks Again-

    Wes

  7. #87
    honmanm Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

    HL-P3 amp matching and fair value.

    Last weekend I helped a friend assess the hi-fi collection of his late uncle. The gem of the collection appears to be a pair of HL-P3s, bought in 1992.

    I'm normally a panel speaker guy, but as my elderly maggies (SMGa) need a bit of attention I've borrowed the P3s - and was delighted to find the same sort of not-impressive-but-rewarding sound values.

    Temptation is setting in... but sensitivity, impedance, and bank account levels are low.
    (a) Can I realistically expect our Quad 303 to cope with these?
    (b) What would be the fair value of the P3s (not sure if it is OK to ask here - if not please ignore)?

    The musical menu is mostly music is jazz, classical, Brazilian bossa nova & light samba.
    Speakers are boxed but one of them has a big horizontal scratch on its side.

  8. #88
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    Default Re: Harbeth HL-P3ES2 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by honmanm View Post
    HL-P3 amp matching and fair value.

    Temptation is setting in... but sensitivity, impedance, and bank account levels are low.
    (a) Can I realistically expect our Quad 303 to cope with these?
    (b) What would be the fair value of the P3s (not sure if it is OK to ask here - if not please ignore)?

    The musical menu is mostly music is jazz, classical, Brazilian bossa nova & light samba.
    Speakers are boxed but one of them has a big horizontal scratch on its side.
    The Quad 303 will be fine with the P3, unless you are in a very big room, listen from quite far from the speaker or prefer to listen loudly (or any combination of the above). Cannot help you with the price.

  9. #89
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    Default Bought new/boxed/unopened P3ES-2's

    Hi, had a nice story about my stereoset and my new P3ES-2's, Eucalytus, 30th Anniversary.
    Posting didn't work (not logged in?), forgot to copy, thus sorry, but this is it. :-( :-(

  10. #90
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    Default P3ES2s sound great

    My sytem consists(ed) of Cyrus electronics, RegaTT, GrahamSlee phonoamp, DNM SolidCore cable and JMReynaud Emeraude speakers (big floorstanders with transmissionline).
    I must add that I also did use all Furutech powerstuff (oh yes expensive) from wallsocket to 6x extensionblock to all electronics.
    All sounded pretty fine in the end, so ready we were...........................;-)

    But in december I am going to move to an appartment(not small) and yes > neighbours and WAF! Thus I decided to go simpler, smaller, with less connections all around, but .... also to keep the soundbalance and -quality at a highest possible level.

    First moves were made by selling my speakers and all Furutechstuff in 1 sale, about 3 weeks ago. Already had my eye on Harbeth, decided to go VERY small and a few days later I bought these P3's.

    Heard both ESR's and ES2's, but the combination of sound/costs made me choose for the ES2's. I personally found the ES2's (but IMO!!) somewhat more realistic sounding at the end of expensive Naim equipment!

    No stands ATM, so in a large bookshelfrack for the time being.

    Ordered some 6x"Naim"extensionblock from MusicLine(Naim disributer Germany) and also a standard Naim powerlead (I read a lot about different sounding standard powerleads from Naim and Linn) I fooled around with the freebee powerleads from Cyrus, Naims and others I already had at home. Found a good combination with the right sound ATM and I am happy so far with the results.

    Now from Cyrus pre/power/psx to integrated or combi >>> Naim?????????Arcam(withMM)?????

    Any way I am glad about the ES2's going out of the way >> always sounding NOT there? Grtz Han

  11. #91
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    Default P3(ESR) sitting on a table? OK or not?

    Hello!

    Im new to this forum and do not even own a Harbeth speaker yet.

    But I plan to use a P3 in my new living-room stereo setup. It is a rather big room (45m) but i intend to use the speakers in a corner mainly nearfield.
    My problem is that i will have to put them onto a table. Will that be (I know its not ideal) a big issue even if you consider the nearfield-use and rather low listening-level?

    In my bureau I use an LS3/5a in a rather similiar way and it works fine for me.

    (I guess I have a wooden ear, as we say in Germany. For example the coloured LS3/5a sound quite natural to me...)

  12. #92
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    Default My current set-up

    As nobody answered until now I try to make my issue more interesting by using some photos of the mentioned setting.

    Right now there is something like a test-setup using a Yamaha Pianocraft mini-stereo and Dynaudio Contour 1.1 speakers. Later there will be a vintage Sansui 9090db receiver (really great sounding and looking machine) and some cd-player as well as vinyl.

    One photo makes an impression of the room as a whole and two show the beforementioned corner. The Dynaudios so far sound ok for background but lack lots of detail when listening carefully.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #93
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    Default P3ESR placement suggestions

    The P3ESR should be fine, but I would try and do the following:

    1. Raise the height so the tweeter is level with your ear.
    2. Move them forward to the front edge of the bookcase
    3. Reposition the wicker thing behind the listening position
    4. Try and damp the left wall at the first reflection point
    5. Locate your listening position at the midpoint between the two speakers

  14. #94
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    Default Listening at home ....

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    1. The tweeters are quite perfectly at the same height, so this should be fine.
    2. I usually do that for intensive listening. Surprisingly (I guess because of the really low listening-level, which is clearly below the usual tv-watching-level !) with not much difference.
    3. & 4. I even thought this wicker-thing could act as a living-room friendly help for the first reflection. After experimentation: Also not much influence on the sound. On the pictures it seems nearer to the speakers than it really is.
    5. I do that when I really listen.
    I believe that it is mainly because of the really low volumes and the extreme near-field (1,5m) that the room and the placing did not make a big difference. Is it true that the room-influence ist not only based on the frequencies, but also on the volumes used???
    What I need from the speakers is much more resolution at my listening levels! I will try the Sansui in the next days and see if the amp muffles the sound as well.

    PS
    I have to say that I also have a dedicated listening-room with Quad electrostatics and Atmasphere OTL tube-amplification. So there is no need to make it absolutely perfect up in the living room. (right now I dream about trying the SHL5 in that room and make it acoustically perfect using room treatment an such). Unfortunately, because of a big house-reconstruction, this room now serves as something like a storage room with fridge, freezer and loads of cardboards and so on. And listening to music while working in the bureau [study] is not the same...

  15. #95
    honmanm Guest

    Default Low listening levels

    In my setup the P3ESRs do not work as well at low listening levels as the early (1992) HL-P3s that were my introduction to Harbeth (I suspect this is due to the flatter frequency response of the P3ESRs). On the other hand the P3ESRs may compare surprisingly well with your electrostatics.

  16. #96
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    Default

    I believe there is some confusion regarding the rooms.
    The P3 are intended for the living-room (nearfield an low levels)

    The room in the cellar (dedicated to music) is the one with the electrostatic and as well the one which now acts as a storage room. I think I will try the SHL5 against the ESL57 one day because, alltough i like the quads, they do not have enough headroom to work with a lot of music (which maybe should be playd loud or has deep synthetic bass for example)

    I am surprised about your feelings that early P3s may work better at low listening levels than the newer ones with Radial cones. I thought that one of the strengths of this material should be a better resolution than polypropylene (as used in former generations P3 i guess). I also guess that low volume needs the best possible resolution for the music to retain intact.

    {Moderator's comment: this is just one single user's opinion with unquantified variables.}

  17. #97
    honmanm Guest

    Default

    No confusion, actually... just that a comparison of P3ESR and ESL57 would be very interesting.

    As the moderator has noted, the comparison I've made was 18-year old HL-P3s against new-out-the-box P3ESRs, and as discussed elsewhere the most likely way in which the HL-P3s have deteriorated is the surround of the midbass unit, which does feel stiffer and "dry". (the HL-P3s belonged to my friend's deceased uncle, and were kept in an "Aladdin's cave" of hi-fi about 2m x 3m in size, containing enough gear for 4 complete systems (including speakers!!) but all wired together - so probably a pretty well heated environment!).

    By the way the HL-P3s were wall mounted on pivots at around head height, and as my friend's uncle was pretty deaf (retired jet engine mechanic - perhaps not the wisest career choice for someone who loves classical music) it could be that this arrangement was a form of DIY Harbeth headphones.

    Whether by ageing or design, those particular speakers present a vivid central image and the "forward" presentation is pretty much as described by Mr Shaw in this Tech Talk (though much less extreme and without any element of fatigue):
    In this design, the phantom image in the middle of the sound stage is pulled out of the plane of the speakers towards the listener. This may be the result of a deliberate design decision and/or from latent colouration in the drivers and/or from peaks in the frequency response. Consequently, as vocals are normally presented centre-stage, the listener's attention is now riveted to the overly-vivid phantom image to the detriment of a smooth left-right spread across the sound stage.
    A tell-tale confirmation of this over-intensity is that as the overall replay volume is reduced, the phantom image barely decreases in strength
    By contrast the P3ESRs are very neutral but in our living room I found it more difficult to achieve a well defined central image with small-scale music, especially at low volumes (careful positioning was needed). It would have been really interesting to hear the HL-P3s when new...

  18. #98
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    Default Vintage Sansui 9090 receiver!

    Further testing gave me the result that for the purpose my old speakers are ok for me when fired by the Vintage Sansui 9090 Receiver.

    Because of the unbelievable miracles that old machine does I am looking forward in trying it with some SHL5s in my main listening room. I suggest trying that receiver for everyone, its the best sounding amp I ever encountered. I mean: regardless of price (and including tubes as well).
    I am sure that, if combined with something like an SHL5 and in a well treated room it is must be something like audio-heaven.

    The journey once again continues. I wish my listening room would not act as storage room (for ca two more months). I will then try Harbeth with the Sansui and post something about my experiences.

  19. #99
    honmanm Guest

    Default P3ESR + new amp

    Quote Originally Posted by honmanm View Post
    By contrast the P3ESRs are very neutral but in our living room I found it more difficult to achieve a well defined central image ....
    Just an update - after a change of amplifier, the system has become a lot less sensitive to positioning & with much better defined image. Listening levels are still probably a bit more than Mrs H's would ideally like...

    {Moderator's comment: Neither I nor Alan can understand at all your comments about central imaging. What defines the P3ESR is its astonishing, rock-solid, vivid central imaging and that should be even more totally obvious at the higher listening levels that you say you are playing at. Something is not right somewhere we feel. I wonder what speaker you were using before and became acclimatised to?}

  20. #100
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    Default P3ESR - rock solid central imaging

    {Moderator's comment: ... What defines the P3ESR is its astonishing, rock-solid, vivid central imaging .... }[/QUOTE]

    I have to agree with this - the P3ESRs image superbly.

    They do have some bass and loudness limitations, due to their size, but within those constraints they're hard to fault, really.

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