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In my experience, your amp will not have enough drive for the Harbeth's. See if you can find a used pair of Daedalus Audio speakers--maybe the Athena or call Lou and see what he can do on a pair of Muse Studio's. Either will rival the 30.1 in the midrange and better them elsewhere AND they will love your 20 watt Quad.
freediver, we sell the little Quad amp and it is really fantastic howerver, you will definatly have some problems pushing less efficient speakers, however with that said the room size if pretty small and if you are close to the speakers you should be able to get to a decent volume level.
The Harbeths are a safe bet as they are very musical, the Living Voice speakers are very efficient we have heard them at shows and they didn't impress us.
Verity speakers are excellent they image very well and are very well balanced they will sound in our opinion the best with the little Quad amp which may make the sound a bit too tubey with the Harbeths.
Hope this helps.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I auditioned the LIVING VOICE AVATARS at a dealer
They were driven by CROFT separates [tubes], a DENSEN cdp, and cabled with an all top LFD cable array.
Lovely..... engaging ......full stop.
caution ...... the LVAs are finicky and perform at their best with a careful matching of associated equipment.
(1) The CROFT, DENSEN and LFD were a very significant step up upstream with a large multiple step up in both cost and build with an implied performance upgrade in lockstep, when compared to your QUAD
(2) I wouldn’t get influenced by their higher efficiency alone.
(3) If you can’t audition them personally then it’s a BIG roll of the dice (emphasis added ) with your current QUAD and your unspecified source and listening room acoustic warts.
FWIW .... I would not buy them blind .
"End Game" and "can't audition" don't belong in the post, especially if your are tied to a 15w amp. If you change the equation to "best guess" and "for a while or longer" then you are in a different situation. If you can't audition, buy used so you can think of it as an extended home demo, with option to flip at minimal loss if you decide to.
Speaker and amp pairings are critical, with 15w I wouldn't suggest risking it on anything tougher to drive than near 8ohms across the spectrum and >93db sensitivity. I agree, although the Harbeths are lovely, your amp is not a good match. Cheers,
These speakers would all qualify for end game for me. Anything more expensive might/could be worth it if I had that kind of budget (maybe when I’m retired in 40 years) but I still feel that kind of money would be better spent on a balanced system with carefully selected electronic components.
What do you guys think?
Law of diminishing returns?
If you really are in the grip of upgraditis, why not see if Fritz will take the Carbon's back in part exchange for some Carrera BE's. Those are superb, and they will play very well with your little Quad.
While the Quad might drive the Harbeths, they really come alive with something a good deal more powerful, like a big Rogers tube integrated.
I’ve been living with some Living Voice Avatar 2’s upgraded to the current drivers for about 2 years now. They are very finicky to placement and really cannot be stuck too close to the back wall, side wall or in a corner to far. But if you have the room for them they are worth every penny as they do have an outstanding soundstage in width and depth. If they get to close to the walls the bass does get a little reinforcement but you loose too much in the sound staging IMO.
Your Quad amps will be perfect for them as well. I’ve been driving mine with a 300b SET at 8wch with very good results in a condo, so no rock parties. I’d really say they could use a little more in a larger room. your 15wpc will be great. Kevin Scott voices them with 20wpc Kondo Japan Amps.
I’ve heard the Harbeths in Sound Hounds here in Victoria and they are very similar in many ways. I agree you need more power for them then you have.
The LV’s are very musical and none fatiguing. they are detailed and very involving. they do well in the bass with very good speed and bass note separation, well down to 35hz anyway. They are a speaker to listen to music through not to listen to your audio system if that makes sense. The LV’s will also show the differences in different equipment quite easily and only get better with better equipment.
I’ve also had the opportunity to deal with Living Voice - Definitive Audio for a driver issue (that’s why I upgraded) when I poked a hole in one by mistake moving something. Lynn Scott offered to upgrade the drivers to the current model at the same price as the NOS driver or just the NOS driver. Of course I had to buy 4 instead of 1 when I upgraded. She sent them to me next day and they arrived three days later from the UK. Very good people to deal with if I do say so.
If you want more information message me.
Harbeth need power regardless what owners or dealer say.
The only way i was able to see what harbeth 30.1 do was powering them with Hegel H30. The C7es3 they are more efficient that can be drive with Luxamn class A etc.
The 40.2 i am powering them with luxman 900u monos.
Harbeth need power period, otherwise roll off sound will follow you.
Enjoy the music
I believe I am experiencing the low power affect on the fritz Carbon 7SE’s...The sound driven from the VA-One is sublime EXCEPT at really low listening levels they sound flat compared to the LSA-1..It doesn’t take a huge movement in volume but they do need a touch of volume..
Wish I was brave enough to try a pair of Omega Alnico Monitors..
15 watts means you need an efficient speaker. The Harbeth is a great speaker but out of the question.
Devore Fidelity makes a speaker (O96) that sounds more suited. It gets great reviews and comments and at 96 dB is really going to be a lot more satisfying.
Little amps like the Quad often sound great, but you need efficiency to really unlock their potential. An inefficient speaker won't allow the amp to shine as it will be working too hard.
I'm a fan/owner of Living Voice speakers, finding them to present a big soundstage with relaxed sound, small footprint & good efficiency (94db.).
The Avatar is probably the best value in the line. "Keepers" as they are rarely seen for sale.
-There is a need for more efficient speakers as audiophiles return to smaller wattage, point-to-point, tube amps for affordable, reliable, quality music with rich harmonics. I hope speaker designers are "listening".