easier to drive specifically Harbeth v Vandersteen


I'm in an NY apartment, I have Vandersteen 2CE speakers driven with a YBA Integre with 50W. I know the Vandersteen's are fairly easy to drive and you can use tubes including Music Reference RM-10 at 35W. I listen to jazz, female vocalist stuff.

Now you have the Harbeth Compact 7, which I've been interested in, fits apartment living better. They have the same efficiency as my Vandersteens. Are they better with lower powered amps. I always here how you should have 100W SS amps for my Vandersteens for them to come alive but the Harbeth's do quite well with an LFD integrated, what gives?
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If you haven't already made a firm decision on what you want to do, I have another option you may want to consider. Instead of getting different speakers, I would get a different amp. The 2's are a much better speaker all around (just my opinion of course). They can do things that the Harbeth can't. Your YBA is a great amp but I don't think its the best match for your speakers. I would look into an Ayre 7 integrated. There is an incredible synergy with the 2 brands. The effect on SQ will be huge. The Ayre can take advantage of what your speakers have to offer in ways that the YBA can't.

I don't have the Ayre 7 myself, but I do have Vandersteen 2's and 3's and power them with Ayre V5's. I know first hand that its a great match. If you have any specific questions, post and I will try to answer them as best I can.
And oddly enough the Ayre, which is a great integrated, is a match made in hell for the Harbeth C7es3. I've never heard the LFD but in my experience with the Harbeth C7 they sound the best with tubes that have a good amount of power, or powerful SS amps. I love my C7's and can give you one word of advice. Don't look to the HUG for useful advice on what amp to pair with Harbeths. Unless of course you listen at extremely low volume levels. Harbeths can really sing but they like more power than most people are willing to admit. I can't imagine connecting a 25 watt amp to these speakers and the 60 watts of the Ayre is not enough.
Since I live in a small 1 bedroom apartment, folks living above, below and on each side I can't crank it too often, so power was never an issue. I guess I'm more concerned with finding a full sound/low volume speaker. I have a few amp/pre amp combos up to 200W/channel from my house owning days that can give me what I want with the Vandersteens but they're not for an apartment setting.

I thought the Ayre integrated was best with balanced inputs. I use a media server for digital and I have an older SOTA table for records.
I agree with Donjr, above, in that the Harbeth's love power. While they sound good with any good amp, I really like them teamed with a good SS amp, with more than adequate power, for best results. This just seems to get the amps out of the way and let the speakers do their thing.

Regards,
AEW
I moved from Harbeth SHL5 to Vandersteen 2C Signatures to use with my Zero LE Mk3.1 and then latterly to a Zero Le M4.0 and these days it is all I want and I am content. However, for a level of 'engagement' that will occur at a lower SPL than the LE Mk4.0 then the NCSE Signature is the finest I have heard to date. Meanwhile the Vandersteen 7 speakers are the finest cone-drive speakers I have ever heard anywhere and at any price. Regards. HP
If you like we can discuss the advantages of a Harbeth C7 vs the older
Vandersteen C2.
With the understanding that in a smaller NYC apartment enjoying the full range of the music at lower volumes will not be a virtue the Vandersteen will afford you. The Harbeth is much richer through the midrange at low volumes. Next considering your specific listening preferences and room acoustics can help narrow your choice.
Harbeths excel at jazz, strings and classical or folk and are less capable
at heavy rock and saturated volume levels.
They are not particularly sensitive but do not require large amounts of current to bring to life.
In your circumstances they will surpass the Vandy's for listening pleasure at lower volumes and the even the Harbeth P3esr would.
"09-28-14: Fidelisav
If you like we can discuss the advantages of a Harbeth C7 vs the older
Vandersteen C2.
With the understanding that in a smaller NYC apartment enjoying the full range of the music at lower volumes will not be a virtue the Vandersteen will afford you. The Harbeth is much richer through the midrange at low volumes. Next considering your specific listening preferences and room acoustics can help narrow your choice.
Harbeths excel at jazz, strings and classical or folk and are less capable
at heavy rock and saturated volume levels.
They are not particularly sensitive but do not require large amounts of current to bring to life.
In your circumstances they will surpass the Vandy's for listening pleasure at lower volumes and the even the Harbeth P3esr would."

I'm a big Vandersteen fan, but if you are in a situation as described above, there may be some logic to getting a different speaker. I live in NY myself so I can appreciate the circumstances. A lot of the buildings are pre war, making them very difficult for a good audio system. Another speaker that works very well for this type of setting is ProAc. I know several people that use the 1sc and are very happy with them. Also, the small DeVore's are a good speaker to work with.
I'm a big Vandy fan too... But I chose Harbeths a few years ago (NYC apt) because they sound excellent at low volumes - which helps with neighbors...
++ Harbeth. Imaging and midband are fantastic.