These are very different speakers. I have had the C1 and the C7, and enjoyed them both. The C-1 is more detailed and energetic, whereas the C7 is more musical and a tad laid-back. Personally, I prefer the C7, and have held onto them.
If you don't listen to this gear before you buy it, you'll probably make some big mistakes. Also, it looks like you are just piecing all this together and not really considering the entire system and how everything will work together.
I like (and own) some of the equipment you're considering. I own the Harbeth SHL5s and they're wonderful and well-suited to your room. Probably won't need the REL sub (although I do have a T9 and, well, it helps). I power them through my Luxman 505-ux and it's great too--very synergistic, better than the Ayre AX-7e I tried. Luxman does make a great CD/SACD player but I might point you to a different option--the Line Magnetic 515 CD player and DAC. I just ordered the LM 502CA DAC since I'm NOT a big CD listener--I prefer ripping my CDs and playing them through my Bryston BDP1 into a DAC for both convenience and sound quality. I do own an Oppo BDP 105 and it's a fine transport--heck it's a good player! I have been dealing with Tim at Tone of Audio in San Francisco. I suggest you call him and tell him what you're considering. He carries many of the products you like and he's very upright and candid.
Thanks for your responses! Peter S, I especially appreciate your response since you have listened to both the Dyn and the Harbeth -- what electronics did you use? what kind of music do you like? I very much understand your comparison. I've found the Dyn as having a certain kind of emotional intimacy (at least with Naim) that I'm not sure Harbeth, despite the beauty they show can convey -- Peter what do you think?
Zd -- Of course I have and will listen -- the challenge is that all the equipment that interest me can't be heard in one location at the same time. I am considering the entire system Naim and Luxman are prime Harbeth candidates and Naim is at least for Dyn.
Austinbob. I know Tim quite well. Thanks for that suggestion. I don't have the time to rip my cds -- I have thousands of them. Knowing that and being most interested in sound quality, would you suggest using the Oppo and hooking it up with the luxman DAC or simply getting the luxman CD player -- I think I'm going to stick with all Luxman if I go Luxman for one component.
I would highly recommend contacting Tim at 'Tone of music' because synergy is so much of what you need to consider. Tim's a great and honest guy, and he will help steer you in the right direction. He's certainly helped me with my system, and I am enjoying music all the more.
I have owned the Dynaudio C1 and also several pairs of Harbeths. One comment I will make is that Dynaudio need a fair bit of power (more than either Harbeth and especially DeVore) and tend to not really come alive until you turn them up a bit. Over time, I found the excellent C1 "neutral" to a fault; I got bored. YMMV.
If I had the bucks, I would have bought the Luxman DA-06. List is $5000, probably find it for $4000. The DA-200 is a fine DAC as well I'm sure (never heard it). And the D-05 and 06 CD players are reported to be superb as well. But...damn it's a lot of money to spend on a CD player! I understand that source is everything, but digital playback seems to be improving and changing monthly. I currently use an NAD-M51 and either feed it with my Bryston BDP-1 or my Oppo. The neat trick there is that the Oppo can output HDMI to the NAD so I can play SACD and DVDA as well through the NAD. And it sounds great. I'm trying the Line Magnetic DAC with the hop that it will be even better and by that I mean more liquid, holographic, less fatiguing sense of digitalness (the hardness or glare that certain recordings seem to have). Will it be more accurate or simply more forgiving? Don't know, but I'm seeking to replicate the best of analog in the digital domain--that's the holy grail! And, by the way, while I didn't own C1s, my previous speakers were the Contour 1.4s, no slouches. However, I did feel the Harbeth SHL5s were a major upgrade, not minor. And I like the fact the Luxman--a relatively inexpensive integrated--mates so well with them. Before the Ayre, I had Bryson 4BSST2 and the BP-26, very powerful and accurate and I don't miss them with the Luxman--high praise. The Harbeths are not as demanding of power as the Dynaudios, but they do like a little juice, don't be misled by the Harbeth "any quality 50-watt amp will suffice." And the Luxman does have a decent phono stage, quality remote, and even, gasp, a loudness control that is very nice with low volume listening.
Dynaudio, while great speakers lean towards a more analytical sound to my ears. If you're using words like "liquid" & "tone" I think Harbeth and Devore may better tick that box. I traded away my C1's (along with all of my solid state gear) as I found myself listening to my equipment instead of the music. I now run Devore O/96's with a Luxman DA-06 into Shindo Pre & amp and couldn't be happier. But as always go listen as YMMV.
I own the P3's and I think they would be a great fit for your
size room. A simple two way sealed is the way to go. You
might be surprised when you hear the bass on them and you
just might forgo the sub.
For those who may subscribe to Devore Orangutans, the O96 with SET is the captivating concoction. Devore has showed 93s, 96s, Naim and SETs at shows. I would listen to that before investing in any other combination.
Thanks for all your responses -- they are very interesting and helpful. Respect but not love for Dynaudio. Several questions and comments if I can impose on you nice people again. We have two supporters of Tim at Tone of Music. He is a nice and knowlegeable guy.
On the Luxman Dac vs Cd player, if I am playing cds, will the sound be the same on a Luxman cd player vs the same priced Luxman Dac with an Oppo as a transport?
Mcslipp -- I would only go for the O/93 both from a cost and aesthetics standpoint and probably with all Luxman -- what do you think? And did you ever audition Harbeth as part of your audition process? To my ears, the Orangutans are very beautiful, but rather passive and not very vibrant -- not very exciting if listening to the Temptations rather than Bill Evans (who I love).
One musical recommendation to all if you haven't heard her live or on recording -- check out Cecile Mcloren Salvant -- she is amazing.
Very true statements about the Dynaudios singing best with lots of power. I heard them with Gamut monoblocks (sounded great) and I played them with Classe Omega monoblocks. Right now I'm playing the Harbeth C7's with a Luxman 505, and it's an excellent combination. I plan on selling the Luxman though, only because it's a bedroom system and I have a small bedroom with not enough night table space to keep the Luxman. In any case, I'm mostly listening to classical at night, and I find that the Harbeths provide plenty of emotional intimacy.
I didn't look at Harbeth only because they aren't quite sensitive enough to be driven by my low watt tube amp, though I've seen it done. (I am considering a smaller pair for my office setup.) The O/93's share the same tweeters and a very similar woofer as the O/96 and will be more alike than different. I've certainly fallen for that vintage Japanese tube sound of Shindo, Kondo, etc.. I'd put Luxman in that same camp. Heck they've been at it a good deal longer at 90+ years. As to the CD vs. DAC I'd wager it's a toss up though I might give a slight node to the CD as it shares the same "guts" and you don't need extra cables, cords and space.
But now I am thinking more of the Luxman integrated (more liquid and with tone control and phono amp) 505ux or 550 with the Devore
if you go with luxman integrated in the future you can try some sets of hi-end heaphones.It might blow all theses speakers that kind of combination.I saw it have headphone jack.
McSlipp, do you find some vibrancy in the Devores or is the appeal the beauty/warmth. Can you enjoy Motown music on the Orangutans?
Yes, the appeal for me is the beauty/warmth as you say. I was rock'n out to some Jackson 5 last night and wasn't missing a thing. Not sure if that helps at all, but...
Thanks. What solid state did you use with the Dyns? I think Sim Audio makes for a smooth but dry sound but Naim or Luxman warm it up? Did you get the Devores at In Living Stereo in NY -- they are huge Shindo people.
Mcslipp--would love to hear your system! Sounds wonderful. I think the Luxman 505-ux is a very good match with Harbeths although I have heard the Line Magnetic tube integrateds perform very well with them--I was pleasantly surprised because of the 86db sensitivity of the Harbeths is not particularly high and a 22-watt tube amp sounded just fine! I would have bought the Luxman DA-06 but a little dear--I did get the Line Magnetic DAC and it's pretty special too.
I agree with those who note these are very different speakers. I don't know the Harbeth, but I was underwhelmed by an audition of the C1, and I really like the Devores (and still somewhat regret not buying the RMAF show samples a couple of years back). If "liquid" is your bag, I doubt that is the C1; whatever they do to get some thump out of that tiny box, the result, IMO, is not smooth (lots of people really like them though, this thread notwithstanding).
On 093 v. 096, I'm pretty neutral, and would probably be content to let cost decide.
John D. is a really nice guy by the way, which I care about in buying gear.
As for the digital, I'd get those CDs on some kind of server, and not look back! :)
I have heard and owned many dynaudios and Harbeths. I have also owned naim. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. If you want the best of both and some more, look at the Tannoy Prestige speakers. Especially the Sterling and Turnberry to start with. They are more dynamic than Dynaudios, more liquid than Harbeths and tonality more believable than either. By the way, they are easier to drive than either Dyns or Harbeth too.