Anyone compare Devore and Harbeth speakers?


Has anyone had the opportunity to hear both? What are the differences in sound signatures?
ooka
I have not compared both but I heard the new Harbeth at RMAF and it was one of the few rooms I wanted to stay in. SS amp and CDP was being used and I do not care for either but I must say it was special.
What new speaker does Harbeth have?
I am a dealer for Harbeth. I believe that the new speaker that Glory was referring to was the 40.1. It is a new and improved Monitor 40. The changes are as follows:
- New Woofer
- New surround on the midrange
- New tweeter
- Redesigned crossover
if its any help, the devore would have a more traditional u.s. high end quality...think fried, joseph audio, etc........the harbeths (bbc bump and all) would sound akin the rogers, spendors, etc. the devore would be the dryer, more detailed from top to bottom...the harbeth, the more forgiving and lush......both are solid products and performers, and both are unfornately pricier new then they should be. buy used.
i heard the devore a few times in seattle area. I agree with some of the findings, that they are detailed, but a bit dry to my taste. Maybe its the electronics that it was paired with. I personally prefer the Harbeth sound over them, but again, it could just be a mismatch with the Devore and naim amplifications.
Thanks for the responses so far. It was interesting that I could not find (on the web, at least) any dealer that carried both lines. It looks like I'll have to do some traveling to really compare for myself.
Just curious, what do people mean when they say "dry"?
"Dry" to me means that the speaker is uninvolving. I had this experience when I owned a Pair of Avalon Opus. They were/are the best imaging speaker; I could pinpoint each player in a well-recorded orchestra recording or Jazz recording. But for the life of me I could not listen to them very long, despite changing the upstream components many times.
When I upgraded/downgraded to the Trenner & Friedl Ellas the sound became more involving, more 'intimate', more listenable. At the same time, the pinpoint imaging that I loved with the Avalons was no longer apparent; the Trenners, no matter how I toe them in, don't image as well. Guess one can't have everything. ;-)
FWIW, Harbeths do much better w/ solid state, they tend to be much too polite/boring w/ tubes.
I think dry has to do with a midrange/voice/string involvement that either speaks to you or is left out in right field. Is recessed a good word? Not sure but if I were king it would be abolished.
So, pair more "involving, forgiving and lush" Harbeths with solid state, and "dry, detailed and pin-point imaging" devores with tubes? Which ones are closer to "neutral," if there is such a thing?
I just heard Devore Gibbon 8 driven by VTL IT-85. I guess it's all in the matching of systems, but I don't agree with the assessment that Devores are dry... just make sure to go tube, I guess, w/ the Devores. I did hear the same speakers driven by Musical Fidelity A5. The sound was serviceable, but weirdly grainy in rock CDs. But KILLER with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."
Also heard the Harbeth 40 at the RNAF and would agree with Glory. One of the better sounds at the show at any price. Only topped by the ESPs.
Where could I audition both relatively easily? I don't know of any dealer that carries both lines. Would I have to travel to New York? (I'm in the South.)
I have listened extensively in my home the Devore Super 8s and Harbeth Monitor 30s.

Both are amongst the best speakers I have heard and both are very different.

Harbeth Monitor 30s have a bigger sound with more body. They also have a superb midrange. Unfortunatley, they lacked the punch in the bass that eventually robs the music of some of its energy. Overall a wonderful speaker.

The Devore Super 8s were very fast and detailed with an image that was unreal. The driver coherence is unmatched in my opinion - the sound seems to be coming from a single driver. They lacked the body of the Harbeths and sounded lean by comparison. The Super 8s are very fussy about their positioning / angle etc. When they are not positioned correctly they can sound a bit shut in and trebly. When they are positioned correctly they are spectacular. The Super 8s are not for background music unfortunately. When they are on you sit down and listen - you just cant ignore their musical delivery. As a result I found myself glued on my chair for hours each tine listening to the musical experience.

Ultimately, if i had to chose I would go for the Super 8s. Currently I am waiting to listen to the Devore Nine's that are supposed to have the magic of the Super 8s with extra body.
Caspermao, I heard the MF A5 with Gallos and big, chocolaty Paradigms at my local dealership, and the sound was grainy in the extreme, so I don't think it's the DeVores.

Actually, I was susprised to hear someone say that the DeVores didn't match well with Naim gear, as I've been hearing the opposite. Besides, the un-named dealership in Seattle is widely held to be one of the more conscientious in the country when it comes to getting things matched right, and apparently they went out of their way to match the DeVores with the Naim stuff (all of this is second-hand info, I've never been there myself).
If you like the Devore 8's and want more body give the Verity Tamino a listen. I went from the Super 8 to the Tamino and am happy I did. Never heard Harbeth so can't compare.

Good luck.
I've heard Super 8s with Naim stuff at that Seattle dealer twice. The first time was with the entry-level stuff and I thought the sound was delightful. The second time was the Big Naim rig playing vinyl and it was really outstanding.

A friend has them set up with Shindo gear and they really shine in his rig too.
The Devore Super 8s were very fast and detailed with an image that was unreal. The driver coherence is unmatched in my opinion - the sound seems to be coming from a single driver. They lacked the body of the Harbeths and sounded lean by comparison. The Super 8s are very fussy about their positioning / angle etc. When they are not positioned correctly they can sound a bit shut in and trebly. When they are positioned correctly they are spectacular. The Super 8s are not for background music unfortunately. When they are on you sit down and listen - you just cant ignore their musical delivery. As a result I found myself glued on my chair for hours each tine listening to the musical experience.

This description exactly reflects my experience with the Devore Super 8 (I know this thread is a bit older, but I thought it may be worth adding my experience anyway). I had the pleasure to have a friend's Super 8 for a week in my Shindo system and loved the evenhanded and balanced nature of the Devores. Coming from single drivers this is one of the few speakers that had a similar coherence as what I am used to with my Abbys. John has indeed achieved something special with his crossovers and drivers here. The Devore's could be easily overlooked in an audition, especially if their placement and toe-in is off. if everything is set right they completely disappear, the bass is textured and extended, and they nicely open up.

We listened to the Super 8s for a few evenings and each time the Super 8 drew us deeper and deeper into the music with their natural, detailed, and balanced presentation.
Restock, the DeVores you heard have been happy in their new home. Only pair of speakers I own now. When I listen to them (which is not much lately) I find myself rather amazed that they're slated for "2nd system" duties. (And this is the 2nd pair I've owned.)

Lately, I've been driving them with 2W Wright 45 monoblocks, and except for the best in dynamics, the pairing stunningly good. Never have I heard bass with more accurate articulation, for one thing.

There must be some serious magic in this crossover. There are only a handful of two-ways in the world, IME, that are absolutely, completely coherent, truly sounding like a point-source, and this is one of them. (The only other speaker I know that does it as well, perhaps even better, is the Audio Note AN/E.)
Paul, I completely agree - I haven't heard a multi driver speakers that is as coherent and integrates the two drivers as perfectly as the Super 8. Also, I did notice the outstanding articulate bass as well.

Well, if the slight shout of the Fostex driver gets to me, the Devores are certainly one of the very few speakers I'll consider. I am glad I got to listen to them in my system.

Still have to listen to the Audio Notes someday ;)
I am in the professional music space and have used very precise sounding ATC products. With that said, I do like smooth sounding speakers. Both Harbeth and DeVore Fidelity are amongst the best of these in the market.

Harbeth is the classic English BBC sound. Vocals, piano and guitar sound wonderful. Lush with artists like Joni Mitchell.

DeVore excels in smooth bass and drums. Percussion junkies should apply here. I have heard everything from Stevie Wonder to Stevie Ray Vaughn play well on these.

Harbeth are inefficient and therefore work well with English solid state products like Exposure, NAIM and LFD.
LFD is a particularly strong pairing.

DeVore are efficient and match well with SET amps. Japanese and European amps like Almarro, Unico Research, Shindo and Audio Note will all pair well with these. American tube products like McIntosh products sound wonderful on these.