Dynaudio Confidence 5 vs Harbeth

Hi All,

Looking at changing my my C5 out to the Harbeth range. For those that know the C5 it has a great mid range, in fact the overal presentaion is very good, just a hard speaker to drive. It has been compared to the temptation in the way of sound. It is a lot nicer speaker than any of the current confidence range by far.

Anyone done a side my side comparison with the C5 and the Harbeths or heard both? Would love to hear your thoughts. I can't hear the harbeths (as no distributor in my country) so I'm taking a wild guess here.

I found the Proac (Tablette Ref 8 Sig) to quite frankly sound harsh in the mids / highs compared to the C5 which were silky smooth. We are talking two diferent prices here. The Dyns cost over twice the value of the Harbeths when I brought them. So am I expecting to much from the Harbeths?

Obviously looking at improving the sound. Mainly into vocals and going to harbeth I can afford to change to a lot smaller amp. Presently using 220W of OTL to drive the Dyns and they do a great job of it (dont go past 12 o'clock) on the pre amp.

Thanks all for your input.
Pdreher went from Dynaudio to Harbeth. You might want to check with him on his findings. Good luck.
I've heard Harbeths and C-2's and C-4's but not C-5's. However I'm willing to wager all the Dynaudios are pretty different sounding from Harbeth. I really think you should attempt to hear the Harbeths before committing. And yes your amps are complete overkill. I have found Harbeths to be easy to drive. I was using an 85 WPC tube amp on Super HL-5's with excellent results.
Since you prefer the Confidence 5 over the current Confidence range of speakers, I wager you like a sound that has more meat on the bones with less top-end detail. Hence I am not surprised you have found the Proac Tablette Ref 8 Sigs to sound harsh and bright since most Proacs are thin-sounding in the midrange with extended top-end.

I have not listened to the Confidence 5 but heard the C1 and C4. Harbeth speakers are not as analytical as the Dynaudios, sound more organic from midrange to the top and possess lower levels of listening fatigue. If you listen mainly to vocals and favor the usage of low-powered amps, the Harbeth makes an excellent proposition.

Although price is predominantly the factor in establishing the quality of equipment in that gears which are priced higher *should* sound better than the cheaper ones, there can be some good and cheaper gears that outperform their higher-priced equivalents. If you are worried the cheaper Harbeths may not sound any better than the more costly Dynaudio Confidence 5, think again. Pdreher moved from the latest C4's to the Harbeth.

Good luck.
Thanks Ryder,

You described the Proacs spot on, way to much in the extended top end. It drove me from the room.

I will give this more thought. As I mentioned I would be buying these on the "blind" as no one has them in Australia (for whatever reason).

I'm over in the US in about 3 months, might have to visit some hifi shops while I'm there to see if I can find them.

Hi Che13,

No problem. I have owned the Proac Tablette 50 Signatures and similarly they lasted less than 2 months in my system due to their leanness and lack of body. No doubt the Proacs possess excellent pin-point imaging but their lean sound and treble cause a high-listening fatigue as my ears couldn't tolerate the piercing treble in extended listening sessions. Most folks who use Proac bookshelves compensate the brightness with the warmth of tube amps. The floorstanders don't sound as lean as the added bass gives a more fuller sound.

Good luck in auditioning some Harbeth speakers when you are in the US.
IMO, just because 1 guy sold his C4s and bought Harbeths doesnt make it a good move..The Dynaudio Confidence line is in another league to the Harbeth 40.1s and its siblings.I would strongly suggest listening to them for a long time before moving in a backward direction..Oh ,I much prefer the C4s to the older C5s you have..Easier to drive & better tweeters..Just my take.
Agreed that everything is IMO. In this hobby everything is subjective as the listener's musical preference will take precedence over anything else. The Dynaudio Confidence may be in another league for one and the Harbeth to another. I have listened to the Dynaudio C4s at hifi shows driven by equipment that can buy a nice house and I preferred the sound of the Harbeth. Not to say the Harbeths are in another league. It is more appropriate to say the Harbeth house sound suits my listening preferences more than the Dynaudios.
I would say that most listeners who like or own Harbeths would not like Dynaudios....I certainly don't. And yes, I've heard a good deal of the line. :)
Ryder hit the nail on the head when he said:
"In this hobby everything is subjective as the listener's musical preference will take precedence over anything else. The Dynaudio Confidence may be in another league for one and the Harbeth to another."

From what I have read, the C-5's have a fine reputation. What don't you like about them other than being difficult to drive?

In my case, I tired of the C-4's inability to sound good at low to moderate volume levels, and they were not as musically involving as I would have liked. The M-40.1's driven by a moderately powered Mac tube amp have delivered in those areas my C-4's did not.

I'm not saying you should make the switch... but for me, it was the right decision.
I'm sure there are many hungry wolves waiting to grab your C-5. By the way, the C1 is superb when I heard it recently - simply spellbinding.
IMO, im not really sure why you would want to jump ship and buy or even consider Harbeths.The C1s with a nice sub at 1/2 the price will out perform the 40.1s which are slow,extremely colored , rolled of highs ,very inefficient etc etc.Where as Dynaudio is the complete opposite.So I would agree with the above poster and try a listen to the C1s.Again, just my opinion
as a former C5 owner, I have owned more than 1 pair of C5, I will caution your move.

I don't need to tell you about C5 strength, but I wonder if you have squeezed out the last bit of C5 strength yet. what are you using for amp? C5 are hard to drive, but if you feed them with high current amps, they sing very nicely.

I have owned some ProAc (D15 & R3.8), have heard some Harbeth, they are very different from most of Dynaudio and even further from C5. among them, I prefer C5 over others but my love for tube forced me to sell the C5. I am happier with tube + other speakers, I found C5 performance can be reproduced or better by other speakers in similar price point.
Hi Semi,

I'm driving the C5 with 220A of calls A tubes per channel.

They really sing well with this much power, but I'm looking at down sizing to a smaller speaker due to my small room. maybe the C1 would be a better option.

Che13 - what is the size of your room?
Pdreher, 13.5'x13.5'x9'.
Hi Ryder,

Remeasured last night, 14ft by 14ft.

Still small but they go OK in this room. Need to add sound proofing down the track.

Yes, in a room that size, I'd be looking at monitors with a subwoofer.
You have C5s in a 14 square room,LOL!...No speaker will perform in that room.I suggest Bose and save your money for a room addition
Toetap... your skills of diplomacy are as subtle as a battering ram. Suggest you try decaf.
The truth stings like a bit** sometimes...We all know or should know a square room is death to acoustics..A 14' square room with those speakers is just flat insaine!!No point tiptoeing around the truth.
As unpleasant as it sounds, toetapfactor is right about fitting any quality speakers in a square room.

C5 works well close to the back wall, you might want to play with speaker placement more or go as far out as having them firing diagonally. If nothing worked, I do suggest you try Usher BE-718 which is front ported, very detail and sweet, and has very good bass for the size.
Thanks all for your input...I don't mind the bluntness...best to get straight to the point. Just bloody hard here to get any speakers to audtion at home. And hearing speakers in the shop is nothing like at home as we all know.

Yep thinking of downsizing but it will be hard to let go of my pride and joy :(

The truth is there are speakers who can sound great in a room of that size...I had gallo 3.1 in even a bit smaller room 14 by 11 I think, and they sounded great.
Oh I get it, this one is square...
Any issue with the Confidence C5 is setup and room. The myth of power is a myth, I use the McIntosh MC402 with no issues. Yes the speakers take some current to roll, but I seen tough speaker loads on and amps and the C5 loading is not really that tough on a well made amp.

This speaker is not lean at all, 12-18" from the front wall, and 24 inches from the side of even less. Make sure the speaker is level.

I've heard so many speakers and yet the C5 has been with me from 2004 when I purchased one of the last pairs made by Dynaudio.

Everytime I want to sell them I get scared stiff to do so. They are just that good and balanced. You never see these on the used market much and that tells you something right there.

By the way these speakers can go low in room, I hit 35Hz and lower with no problem. Like any good speaker you have to take the time and set them up proper, this is a sealed design so they can go much closer to the front wall and they were designed that way.

In fact Mike at Dyna told me when I purchased them 6-12" from the front wall and facing straight out and that is from the rep!
i have owned and heard a few dynas myself. Great speakers provided they are driven with good power, otherwise, it can sound hard.
However, i still much prefer the overall musicality of the harbeth.
They might not be as revealing as the dynas but they are a beautiful musical tranducer.
They are also less fussy on gear matching... they sound fuller on the midrange, but not as refined sounding as the dynas on the top.
Bass on the harbeths are not as tight as the dynas.
However, the harbeths just somehow charm you with musicality.
Dynas will give you truth, harbeths will give you beauty.
Choose your poison as in the end, it boils down to musical preference.
Why limit yourself...check out all speakers if indeed you are committed to buying something new. I like Maggies and Vandersteens which I would recommend you put on your listening list, however, I would listen to them all if I were you.
For someone considering a Dynaudio to Harbeth switch and also challenged to be able to audition, it might be worth taking a look at what is available from OHM Acoustics for in home audition at www.ohmspeakers.com. OHM has some vintage models that remind me of Harbeth for much less when available refurbed with latest drivers. Also I find the Walsh line and general OHM sound not unlike Dynaudio (I own both) although teh omni Walsh driver design delivers music much differently than conventional box designs or even planars.