C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?
There is indeed something seriously wrong with your system. Overall warmth and clean, clear vocals and a sweet un-hifi like top end (i.e flat) are the outstanding features of the C7ES3. As you may know, I do not have hi-fi at home (for various reasons) and that means that months (or even years) can pass before I have the chance to hear production-Harbeths again. I am always listening to development Harbeths, but once production has commenced, I don't need to listen again. My job is complete to the best of my ability. Occasionally I do hear production-Harbeths at a Hi-Fi show, in a customer's house, at a hi-fi dealers store.
So, when I was at the Montreal show just a few weeks ago, it was an ideal opportunity to reacquaint myself with Harbeths afresh. I can not recognise the Compact from your description. You would expect the bigger RADIAL-coned Compact 7ES3 to be warmer and more involving than the smaller P3, and that is absolutely true, it is: but of course the C7 is much more expensive (and bigger).
OK so how do we go about resolving this? First of all, please be sure that you have Registered these speakers on the Harbeth web site then we can have a look at their history - this is important. Did you buy them new in sealed cartons? Do you still have the P3s available so you can do a real side-by-side and not rely on your memory?
Second, can we see a photo of your listening room please to see where the speakers are and on what types of stands.
Third: have you tried another amplifier? I can not really believe that you are experiencing an amplifier issue - but you may be. Finally - what does your Dealer say?
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK