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I have been looking into Harbeth speakers lately and am struck at how similar in size and driver complement they are. I am writing currently regarding the C7ES3, Monitor 30.1 and Super HL5 +.
All three of these speakers use a 200mm bass/mid unit and a 25mm ferro fluid cooled tweeter, which I assume are the same drivers. Bass is rated at 45 Hs for the C7ES3, 50 Hz for the Monitor 30.1 and 40 Hz for the Super HL5+, which, I assume is accounted for partly in the deeper bass being found in the larger cabinets. I do realise that the Super HL5+ adds a super tweeter, but all three are rated at +/-3 dB at 20kHz, so I'm not sure what difference the super tweeter makes. (I believe this speaker is a current version of the Spendor BC-1? Kept in the lineup because of that connection?
A dealer told me they all sound noticeably different, so, I would appreciate learning from those experienced with these models, what the sonic differences are?
I owned the C7ES3 for a couple of years before getting the M30.1 and I've had the latter for almost 5 years now.
While they are broadly similar in voicing, the m30.1 is a different level for refinement and rich inner detailing. Both are vey good with acoustic music but the extra $'s for the m30 is well worth it IMO.
Haven't heard the SHL5+ so can't comment on that model, but for symphonic music the extra extension may well be worth considering.
I'm using a sub with my m30.1's, so that gives me a lot of adjustment and deeper extension than the SHL5+.
The latest m30.2 looks gorgeous in the silver eucalyptus veneer:
The HL5 series is sort of like the Spendor BC1(which is closer to the BBC LS3/6) in format But it's probably kept in the line because it is the descendent of the very first Harbeth speaker(the HL1) designed by Dudley Harwood who worked in the BBC speaker department and worked on many of the BBC monitors. He is credited with the switch from bextrene woofers to polypropylene woofers and the 1st Harbeth speaker was the 1st commercial speaker to use the material. Harwood left the BBC to produce it.
A super tweeter is often used, not to extend frequency response but to improve high frequency dispersion a bit since it is usually smaller than the woofer.
hello, if I remember correctly there is a Harbeth forum. If it is still there on their web site have a look at the postings. I have the Compact 7 ES-3 waiting to be built into a secondary system for my bedroom. I've rather enjoyed them in my main system but have since upgraded.
If you want to hear my review of the Compact 7 ES-3 there should be a review here at this link below I produced:
I read your review and appreciate your sending me a link to it.
I noticed in particular the phrase "decent bass," which I take to mean, at least in part the low frequency limitations of a 200mm driver in a medium-sized cabinet.
I listen to a lot of acoustic music, vocals and opera, where I believe Harbeths would excell, but I also listen to a lot of Late Romantic symphonic music (Mahler, Bruckner and so on) where huge forces are involved, playing at great volume with much bass content, and I wonder how a speaker this small would fare with such music?
I might add that I do not listen at traumatizing levels that would likely overtax such a speaker physically.
May I ask to what did you upgrade your main system?
Bass performance was the reason I upgraded to Anthony Gallo Nucleus Reference 3.5. Properly setup I get down to somewhere around 22hz when I power the secondary voice coil on the woofers with a separate sub amp.
I enjoy noise music, so I prefer low frequency bass response and very loud listening levels.
Evaluate the speakers performance at their printed specifications. I see you use B&W, why not consider floor standing options with your added preference of symphony? The other music preferences you mentioned would be a glorious match with the Harbeths
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