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Thread: Great bass from Compact 7ES3

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default Great bass from Compact 7ES3

    I have owned the C7ES3 for 6 months now and I am still amazed at how great the Harbeths are. This is the only speakers that I know of t hat I can listen to it the whole day without fatigue.

    However, the most surprising thing about the C7 is how much bass (quality bass) that it manages to put out. I always struggle with getting enough bass in my room and found that the listening position and room treatment had a lot to do with it. In the past, I needed to sit at the right spot (to avoid bass trough etc) to get enough bass. The only time I got satifactory bass was with the Audio Physics Virgo and I sat very close to the back wall (as the manufacturer suggests). But with the C7, I seem to be able to get plenty of good quality bass regardless of where I sit in the room, to the extend that I can get rid of the two big DIY bass trap. Of course, it still makes some different, but not like the previous set-ups where I get almost no bass in some locations.

    I always thought that the location of peak and trough are determined by the room and no matter what speakers you put in the room (may be except dipoles etc), you still have the same limitation. But this does not seem to be the case for the C7. Is there any reason why?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2010
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    Quebec, Canada
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    Hi Champion,

    I sold my Audio Physic Virgo III about one month ago. Soon, I will have a pair of Harbeth SHL5. I always found that the Virgo III had a precise bass but when I listen to the SHL5, I found that the bass is more natural and with a better sense of "loudness". I think that it's due to the larger woofer and the cabinet resonance.

    I heard the Harbeth C7ES3 three times , a truly lovely speaker. On my side, I'll go with the SHL5 for the supertweeter. He gives more realism on the cymbal. As I play drum, I notice that the sound of cymbal with the SHL5 is amazing. Only the ribbon had made me fell this before.

    Sebastien

  3. #3
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    Mar 2008
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    I am also getting great bass from the C7ES3.

  4. #4
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    Thing is, with the Harbeth range (excluding the P3ESR) you have a relatively large driver in a relatively large box. Most speakers have squitty little mid-range drivers masquerading as bass units in pencil shaped cabinets and these need all the help thay can get to produce a semblance of bass. This means that they need to be fairly close to room boundaries to boost the bass. Harbeth speakers produce good, natural bass as they are and will do this anywhere in the room.

  5. #5
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    That makes sense, but a few of the other speakers I have are floorstanding such as Genesis 8300F, Audio Physics Virgo, DIY Pi 3 with 12" woofers. So I was a bit puzzled.

  6. #6
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    The only one of the three you mention that I know is the Audio Physics and that hasn't got particularly good bass but I was referring to the majority of commercial speakers now available. Most of these have small 'bass' drivers in aesthetically pleasing but ineffectual small cabinets. To get good bass there is only one way and that is a large driver in a large box and Harbeth have got it right.

  7. #7
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    Singapore
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    The only one of the three you mention that I know is the Audio Physics and that hasn't got particularly good bass but I was referring to the majority of commercial speakers now available. Most of these have small 'bass' drivers in aesthetically pleasing but ineffectual small cabinets. To get good bass there is only one way and that is a large driver in a large box and Harbeth have got it right.
    The Audio Physic Virgo in particular, has very wierd bass IMHO. Lacks tunefulness & pitch & worse of all does not sound 'integrated' with the rest of the frequency spectrum. This i suspect is due to the side firing bass drivers. Most of the spks i heard that has side firing bass drivers don't sound seamless IMO.

  8. #8
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    Yes, you're correct. I have heard and used several speakers with sideways firing bass drivers and the only ones which have worked (for me) are the Rega RS series. With the sideways firing bass driver, the bass usually appears to be disjointed, arriving after the event and lacking punch. I bought a large JM speaker a few years ago based on the results I got with the smaller stand mount speaker and it was a disaster with waffly, indistinct bass. I think it's better to have light bass than late bass.

  9. #9
    AlanBstone Guest

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    Auditioned the Virgos and found the sound including the bass was over dynamic. Too much for real.
    I now have the 7ES-3's. What a wonderful 'musical' speaker. The bass may be lacking a tad but I prefer that. Too often deeper bass smears the midrange and that is where the magic of most recordings lies. A pure sound is a less fatiguing sound. I do not want to be listening and every so often think "Aw what a bass" or "Wow that treble". Live music doesn't have that effect does it. These are my first and hopefully last Harbeth speakers. After over 40 years of searching for the holy grail I have at last arrived.

  10. #10
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    Singapore
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBstone View Post
    Auditioned the Virgos and found the sound including the bass was over dynamic. Too much for real.
    I now have the 7ES-3's. What a wonderful 'musical' speaker. The bass may be lacking a tad but I prefer that. Too often deeper bass smears the midrange and that is where the magic of most recordings lies. A pure sound is a less fatiguing sound. I do not want to be listening and every so often think "Aw what a bass" or "Wow that treble". Live music doesn't have that effect does it. These are my first and hopefully last Harbeth speakers. After over 40 years of searching for the holy grail I have at last arrived.
    Yes you are right! But the majority of audiophiles, esp those with deep pockets prefer the type of sound with high "wow" factor. That's why all the so called high end American, French, Swedish, italian & Danish speakers (often with 6 figure price tags) sound so overblown, artificial & unmusical. I have listened to so many of these speakers & very often, the owners of such speakers are only interested in listening to sound effects or artifacts rather than pure music. They would often say listen to the bass, the highs or soundstage or whatever.....but they fail to realise that they are not listening to music at all....only artifacts. And somehow, seems to me that recordings of boosted or bloated bass from chinese/japanese drums or glass shattering or whatever artificial sound effects are only meant to be played on these hyper high end speakers to impress on a short demo but has no musical connotations at all. And often, most people would fall for such demos & end up buying such recordings to play on their super expensive speakers. I remenber asking a friend of mine whether he ever gets tired of listening to sound effects (as opposed to music) everyday....

    Btw, congrats on having acquired a pair of 7ES3. These are easily more musical than any of those so called high end spks.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2010
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    USA
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    I recently upgraded from a REL T2, to a REL B3 that I use with my C7ES3 in a 12x12 room. I was always aware of the T2, but the B3 integrates so beautifully that it disappears.The 7ES3 is wonderful alone, with the REL B3 the magic happens!

  12. #12
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    I too like the bass quality in the 7ES-3. I really respect the direction that was taken to not try to make C7 something it isn't. Far too often monitor type speakers try to make up for lack of bass, with heavy mid-bass. The Harbeth does what it can, accurately, and stops there. This (IMO) indicates that full concentration was put into making the best of what was realistically attainable, instead of focusing on "work-arounds." This explains the incredible linearity and cohesiveness of the Harbeth "sound."

    Outstanding.

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