Amp for Harbeth P3ESR

I am looking for an amp synergy with Harbeths.

With one qualification. I was looking for an amp with a high-pass filter of some kind with use of a sub-woofer as to open the mid-range of the harbeth's a little and to extend the bass and improve impact.
Most of the amps suggested for the Harbeth sound are very minimalistic. (certainly the lfd which is my number one choice). How could I use a subwoofer in such a setup as described to open the midrange?

The one option I have found is the Naim Uniti but alas it is out of my price range and they hardly ever come up used on here.

Sam, why do you think using a sub is going to open the midrange? (whatever that means) It's fine already. Perhaps you're needing a source or gear change?
As far as the amplifier and cd player are concerned, the Uniti essentially combines the Nait 5i and CD5i. It has other functions of course, but that's the core.
Well, having heard the phenomenon a few times before with monitor audio, phase audio, and (especially a dramatic difference with) B&W. Taking the bass load off the mid-range cone on small bookshelf speakers opens the mid-range and adds sound-stage and airiness in there. And I get the bonus of plenty punchy, textured, and tuneful bass. :)

I hear Naim gear is a good match for Harbeth gear. I certainly like PRaT and dynamics as well as musical yet uncolored sound. But I need a chance to hear Naim gear hooked up to my Harbeth P3s.

I was looking for other brands that have synergy with Harbeth and have an easy way to setup a high-pass and sub-woofer.
Unless there is something I am not understanding about sub-woofer set up?


PS. I am not driving my Harbeth P3ESRs with anything right now. They are fresh from the dealership in South Florida.
Either a Naim Nait XS or the new, soon to appear, Naim UnitiQute would be a good match for less money than the Uniti.

The Qute is basically a Uniti without a CD player and a little less power.
Have to agree with Chashas1,the midrange is fine.
Actually-IT'S OUTSTANDING! Also, for a speaker of its size
the lower end aint bad either. Spend your funds on a quality amp and source. Something around 50/100 watts will work well. They are easy to drive.
Visit the Harbeth users website and get some ideas what others are using. Set them up correctly and you'll under
stand why there is so much interest in Harbeth speakers.
There still in the box and you are already looking to tweek them? What did your dealer demo them with?
Something steered you to these P3ESRs.
Designer A.Shaw knows a little about how to build great speakers,he's been at it awhile! Don't try to fix something that's not broke.
Also,there is no "phenomenon" about well built and correctly
designed speakers.
Take a deep breath.Get yourself a good clean amp,maybe a
better CD player, some cables and relax.
Once set-up you too will have an ear to ear grin and be spending way too much time rediscovering you music collection.
So you are saying go strait for the lfd? That was my other choice. Or a Creek?

I need sources too, all I have is an Audio Mirror D-1 and a Yamaha disk changer as a transport. I really would like a tuner. The uniti seems perfect if not a gamble with whether I enjoy the naim sound or not. If I were to go naim I would most likely need to get a naim source for synergy anyways.
Don't go straight to anything.
Jumping in without first listening can be a costly mistake.
Also, are you sure you like/understand what is refered to as "British Sound" gear?
There is a ton of real quality stuff on A'gon all the time
with a lot in Fla. Try to buy gear that is easy to resell if it's not to your liking.
Currently I'm using ML28/ML27.5 electronics with a Cary
CDP-1 player with my P3ESRs.
(bought preowned right here)
They sound full and very detailed.
Got some idea about your budget?
As for a tuner- Google "tuner forums".No need to spend too much on that.
I will try to demo as many amps as I can before I buy. I have given myself till next spring to listen and make decisions. It will be a shame letting these speakers just sit for a time, though I have some Beyer T1s to keep me company ;).

My budget is right now $900 but will grow as I collect more from my summer job. I am shooting for a little under $1500 for the amp and will worry about my source after that. Though I am interested in the Uniti and then adding a subwoofer later. Maybe a castle classic sub to keep it british?

I am just going to enjoy the journey while I can. I am also considering selling my headphone setup to free up funds, the whole point of this foray into speakers is to get a better alternative to headphones. Though they may have to stay. I can't say much now as I have not heard the Harbeths with more than a single amp but I do know enough to say they have a sort of magic that I was looking for.

The Harbeth forum heavily favors the british sound and british amps to power the harbeths. Maybe this is what I am looking for? As I certainly enjoy the Harbeth sound signature (which is decidedly British).
My Hi-fi guru - dertubemaster says I can't go wrong with a naim 5i -> P3ESR combo. (he also lists a source I can't recall off the top of my head). Maybe the XS is the solution (can I get one used for $1500 BY NEXT SPRING)?

If I am going to use a subwoofer I really do want the highpass filter as I have heard real differences from using one.

I have beautiful speakers and I guess I will just have to sit on them.

Any thoughts?

Sam, can't have a journey without getting em out of the box! kind of like going to Paris without boarding the plane.....

so enjoy that great Harbeth sound. I guess they do indeed sound like a box speaker...
Yeah, I guess I'd go for an interim amp (and source?) and enjoy the new speakers now. If you go used, you could sell later without taking much of a loss. A Rega Brio and Apollo would set you back around 900 used, and I bet they'd sound nice with the Harbeths.
I think I am going with a virtue amp for an interim amp. Any objections? I will be ordering one tommorrow I think.
Sam, an inexpensive solution with very little risk might be the new Wadia Powerdac 151. It is a small integrated with built in dac which lists for $1,195. It accepts only digital sources though and no pre-amp outs. I have not personally heard one but have a friend who was blown away at the sound quality for the money. I ordered one as I will be completely redoing my main system. I have no expectations but I will report back. At that price if you get a fair portion of the Wadia sound, it could be the sleeper hit of the year. I had a Peachtree Decco at one time which was also really good value.

Good luck, buying in this pricerange poses little financial risk,

Sam, you are on the right track in your desire to high pass the small Harbeth. Doing so will improve the clarity and dynamics of the small woofer by reducing distortion.

I don't think you'll find many integrated amps (there are a few receivers) with builtin bass management. The solution is to either choose a subwoofer with builtin bass management or buy an external bass management controller like the NHT X2. Either way the integrated amp will have to have *both* preamp out and amp in jacks (like NAD and Bryston) so that the integrated can be treated as separates.

The other obvious choice is to buy separates.
"Either way the integrated amp will have to have *both* preamp out and amp in jacks (like NAD and Bryston) so that the integrated can be treated as separates."

Some of the Naim integrateds also do what Bob stated. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
The Wadia was a horrible parring with the Harbeths. I demoed them at my local hi-fi shop.


I have narrowed things down some to:

Naim XS or LFD Zero Mk III


Sam, you're good either way....
The Naim XS has a remote control and I thought a better build quality than the LFD.

Both amps are very popular with Harbeth owners. There is a new version of the LFD coming out you may want to wait for and audition.

Good luck......
The Bryston B60 is a phenominal integrated amp (I own one), and can fit your budget used. Impeccable build quality and customer support. It sounds very good with Harbeths to my ears.

If you don't mind tubes or not having a remote, the Manley Stingray is a tough integrated to beat. Newer models have a sub out (not sure about management). It's got a great sense of groove (as do many mentioned here) and hypothetically should pair up well with your Harbeths.
I just purchased a Creek Destiny. I hope it sounds phenomenal.
Class A stereophile! (though I am a skeptic about stereophile, it is still worth taking note)

Thanks everyone,

It has pre-out and power-in and hope to use a sub woofer for both High and Low pass.
The only possible concern I would have about the Destiny is that in passive mode the output impedance of the preamp outs would vary with the volume control. JA's measurements didn't comment on this, but I would use the active mode when connecting a subwoofer just to be safe.
The Destiny is an excellent integrated, Sam. For some reason, it's one that I forget about. Should sound great with your speakers!
Really, the LFD is by far the best amp with Harbeth. An LFD with Harbeths, without the subwoofer is better than a Harbeth with any other amp with a subwoofer. In most cases, a sub is just going to confuse things, actually bring down the performance of the Harbeths. If you really need more bass, get the Harbeth Compact 7 es3. These are my favorite Harbeths.
Gene Rubin
Yikes. the creek may be a great amp, but the synergy between the compact 7's and the LFD III is amazing. No sub needed, and it's very hard to do better anywhere near it's price. I know I tried. I finally went down the SET route, but mostly out of curiosity.
Gene, don't you need a disclaimer? I will try out the LFD and perhaps update my system in a year or two.
Hi Sam, Gene doesn't need a disclaimer! Everybody knows Gene. (besides, it does say generubinaudio)
The LFD is quoted on the Harbeth website as not having enough bass weight for the P3ESR. I personally think my amp the Creek Destiny is a good match.
Just a quick note, where on the Harbeth website did you read such a thing? If it's on the HUG forum, then you need to read with a critical eye. Statements of HUG members do not necessarily reflect Harbeth's official position. Much like Audiogon, the opinions expressed are just that - subjective opinions.

As far as I know, the owner/designer of Harbeth (Alan Shaw) is fairly indifferent to amplifier pairing. He is of the opinion that any decent amplifier manufactured after 1980 will be sufficient to drive his speakers. This is just his opinion, of course, and it could very well be mistaken. My point is simply that Harbeth does not endorse any particular brand of amplifier, consistent with their almost minimalist philosophy toward high fidelity audio.

If I may make a suggestion: Perhaps it's best not to seek validation for your purchase. Instead, just sit back and enjoy the music. After all, you will never find a single product with a unanimous recommendation - even Harbeth has its critics!
Awesome speakers!
These speakers can go with anything from tubes to solid state.
Leben 12 watter tube, CJ MV60, LFD Zero III , Primaluna and most anything under the sun sounds very good to these speakers.
In the end, boils down to what you would prefer ?
Many choices really !!
Even the Peachtree idecco sounds very good with them.
Good luck-ymmv
Another vote for Nait XS. I don't plan on adding a subwoofer to my P3esr's/Nait XS combo (the sound as it is in my apartment living room is perfect) but the XS does have a subwoofer output. A few of these have come up on the 'gon at good prices, but suggest even at retail the XS is a bargain for the performance.
I think the Naim Nait 5i is perfect! I'll tell you why.

Haven't written much in the past but I think its about time because of the P3ESR/Nait 5i combo. Got the AV bug and couldn't afford to do both 2 channel and AV. Mistake, I missed 2 channel right away. Was very happy for years with a great older Tukan/Majik/Perpetual Technologies DAC/K400/Chord Cobra 3 system. I work all the time on my computer and this was perfect for my smaller room, lower volumes and sometimes higher. I didn't know good it was until it was gone.

With the P3ESR's, feel like I've stepped up 5 notches. Wow!!! This is the best thing I've ever had. No, the P3ESR don't have the bass of the Definitive Technology Mythos ST they just replaced but what fluid natural mid-range. Most natural, fluid, un-fatiguing sound ever. I think the Nait 5i really did end the tube versus solid state debate as one reviewer said but this amp still has really drive without the maintenance issues. This is the system I'm just going to forget about for a very long time. It's going to be around a lot longer then the Tukan/Majik system. Only thing I now want to try is Naim DAC or a the new Rega DAC along with a logitech touch. Also, try some different stands that fit the speakers a bit better.

Current system (Harbeth P3ESR SE, NACA5 (banana to bare), Naim 5i, Cambridge Audio Dacmagic, Chord Cobra 3. Lossless music streaming from an Apple TV.

Let me know if you have any recommendations. Yes, maybe one of the newer Naim integrateds will have more punch but I think it works perfectly. Its not the speaker to blast. I also like the idea of being able to upgrade the DAC at any time and not having it integrated within the amp.

Maybe someone that went from a 5i to an XS/Supernait can tell you what they encountered. Thanks for letting me rable :)

Owned the Naim XS-2; w/ Flatcap XS and drove the P3ESR SE's happily. An amazing combination.

Detailed but not analytical; and surprisingly able to reach good low frequency reproduction without embarrassing itself. Plenty of PRAT as detailed above.

Purchased the LFD LE Mk IV- and sold the Naim the very next day. It's that good. Again, I was very happy and could easily have lived with the Naim combo; but enjoyed the LFD a touch better.
Ive considered the LFD but cant listen to it in my city. Same goes for the Luxman 505u. I have heard the Ayre ax7e and it mates very well with my c7es3's. Might do an in home demo in October. Currently running. Rogue Cronus Magnum which I will be keeping.
These are great speakers,but they are limited in dynamic response. Also for the comment about adding a subwoofer to these will not affect the midrange is incorrect. Any loudspeaker that is operated through a high pass filter will have a different midrange response. Since the Harbeths are a small two way, this is definitely true. Whether this change is better or worse is the opinion of whoever is listening.

Going back to the P3ESRs and this time around, got me a LFD IV. LFD is on the way. Any DSD DAC recomendations for this combo? Already have a CAPs server with a firewire card so I'm tempted to get another Mytek 192. Other thought was just to do vinyl for and wait for RMAF 2014.

Other thing I'm wondering is if an LFD phono would be better then my Phonomena II on a pro-ject 5.1.
Not a fan of the Phonomena so I'm guessing the LFD is better... but you should really invest in a high quality phono preamp as soon as you budget allows. It could make a huge difference with the P3s because they are capable of such sweet sound.