Harbeth optimised for typical domestic replay levels ...
This article does not seem to quote his in-room listening level (he refers to an earlier article) but he must have been listening extremely loud for those sorts of powers to be drawn from the amplifier - even for transients. The listening experience must have been painful - and potentially dangerous. Regarding Harbeth speakers, we here know from personal experience that as little as 5-10W is necessary to make beautiful music at home and that 100W or so provides a hugely loud sonic experience.
Originally Posted by David Schalkwyk
And now a vitally important point: Let's be quite clear about levels: anyone who has experienced a real, live concert knows that (even) orchestral music can be very loud. So loud that it would be both antisocial and dangerous for the hearing to fold the orchestra into the confined listening space of our normal living rooms. We are not kidding ourselves that we are actually, measurably, 'listening at concert hall sound pressures' at home - thank goodness!
What sets a Harbeth apart from conventional speakers is that the design is optimised for listening at home in our 4m x 3m room - similar in size to a BBC control room. Although the BBC engineers go to the other side of the glass where the orchestra playing much, much louder, the balance of a 'BBC monitor' is such that back in the control those speakers playing far below actual concert level sound natural and correctly balanced. A Harbeth is a bonsai tree is to the real thing: a perfect scaled-down rendition of the real thing complete in every detail. That is a very different design philosophy to conventional 'hi-fi' speakers which only seem to sound correctly balanced when hammered.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK