Anybody have any experience with the Harbeth 40.2 speakers regarding room size, placement, power requirements, and of course the subjective stuff, especially regarding comparisons to other speakers in their price range?
I own the 40.2’s, the only flaw I can touch on is their cabinet. I am not a fan of the big box design, but man, they sound VERY good. I do not agree with the statement about loss of any detail in the midrange. They will respond and change depending on what you feed them with.
I’ve got a pair of the 30.1’s and completely agree with dznutz - the Harbeth’s are as close to completely transparent as I’ve heard. I’d also say that we oldsters have a more refined perspective on fine sound than a 21 year old. Music is not binary. I’m not sure Harbeth speakers would be the best reproduction devices for dubstep.
There is the classic BBC dip which literally means it will be quieter in the midrange.
A dip in the 1KHz - 3KHz range does not necessarily mean "loss of details". It just means that the upper mid (such as female voice) will be less forward. "Details" is more intrinsic to the resolution of the equipment and not really related to the frequency response of the speakers. A "BBC dip" only modifies the characteristic of the sound reproduction and not the details.
There are speakers that intentionally emphasize the "BBC region" and high frequencies and sometimes that may be mis-interpreted as "details".
I've been living with a pair of 40.2's for almost a year now in a room which is about 15' x 25' that opens up to the main floor of the home so lots of room to breathe.
I found that pulling the speakers out from the back wall and towards the listening position improved the sound quite a bit - I have roughly a 7' triangle orientation going which seems to work well with the speakers angled towards the listening position.
As a general rule people recommend going with big power with the 40.2's with a few exceptions such as the LFD NCSE which is what I'm running and the Vinnie Rossi amp which is also around 75 a channel. I'd like to try one of the big Hegel amps out, apparently that's what Harbeth have been demoing with at audio shows recently but the LFD is so good I have no desire to try anything else at this time.
I have found that they play much better to all types of music than I had expected they would - for example I listened to my 45rpm copies of Radiohead In Rainbows recently and it was absolutely stellar. Been listening to a lot of jazz recently and they do a great job on that particular genre as well so they are definitely not limited to female vocal and acoustic music. Even the new Billie Eillish album for example sounds really good on this speaker.
Having a bit more time to listen to my system as many people have the past few weeks, the Harbeths are a joy to run morning until night across a wide variety of music. As long as you don't cheap out on the source or the amplification they are real easy to live with.
Besides that, the grilles lasted a day on my Cherry pair of 40.2's - I didn’t notice any major change in sound maybe a bit more top end but barely. They looked butt ugly with the grilles on and they're pretty sexy without IMHO so I'll trade whatever minute loss of sound quality for the visual appeal while I sit and listen.
I'd definitely want to have a listen before buying, I doubt that anyone and everyone will love the 40.2 but for me they may well be a happily ever after purchase.
Thanks all for the information! I have a big open room, with family rm and dining room in one big space. Family rm is about 20 x 26 and is 20 x 40 with the dining room....BUT, and maybe a huge issue, I cant pull the speakers away from front wall more than a foot or so. I’ve got 3 or 4 feet on either side, with an 8 ft separation between existing spkrs, and an 11 foot coughered ceiling in the family room that reduces to 9 ft in the dining room. Bass boom could be an issue...yes?
I think aside from any potential bass boom caused by being only a foot from the wall, I feel that most speakers (aside from those designed to be on or near wall) will never perform anywhere near their potential.
Perhaps a mini monitor could get further out into a room, and use a sub to reinforce low frequencies?
The high end dealer setup I heard had them a good 1/3 of the way into the length of the room with listening position somewhat forward of that maybe about in the middle. That's the only way I've heard them but dealer seemed to know what they were doing. They are good sized and probably benefit from space around them. Soundstage was mostly left to right and slightly behind speaker location but not by much. I enjoyed the audition very much.
I’m 21 years old and hear perfect up to 20khz still. If you can’t hear above 10khz anymore I totally understand your position to disagree with me. Look at how the speakers measure. There is the classic BBC dip which literally means it will be quieter in the midrange.
Rest assured that being 21 does not guarantee pristine hearing. I also did not realize that midrange was considered to be in the range of 10khz+. Quieter also does not necessarily translate to any loss of detail.
I own 40.2 Anniversary model now after recently upgrading from the 40.1 model. I might not need to say this but I am a huge fan of Harbeth speakers. The 40.2 is the best speaker I've ever owned. I haven't compared them to every speaker in their price range, but I'm so satisfied with their sound that I have no desire to shop around. Some excellent speakers I've heard include those by Wilson, Sonus Faber, B&W and Tannoy. All of those sounded excellent to me, but the Harbeths just sounded the most natural and balanced. The best sounding speakers I've ever heard are the Tannoy Westminsters, but those cost a lot more than the 40.2's and are enormous in physical size. Even though I'm an audiophile, I have no desire to put giant speakers in my room. I want my music gear to blend well with my room both in sound and in appearance. Some of the mega speakers just look so alien to me, I don't know how people can tolerate their appearance, even if they sound really good. There's a reason that 40.2's don't often show up on the used market. Once you buy them you never want to get rid of them.
"Natural and balanced". I understand what you mean and I feel a similar way about my Tannoys, but it is a difficult term to quantify. Some loudspeakers gave a tonal balance that is just that much easier to listen to and live with in the long term.
They might not be perfect or anywhere close, but with no striking artificialities, or "trying too hard" unnatural exaggerations, they might attain the minimum amount of 'listener fatigue'. They make you want to listen and return time and time again.
It's a question of a fine balance between being compelling without any constant annoyances. This kind of ability can render a surprising variety of music listenable - which can only be a good thing.
I was going to get the 40.2 harbeth speakers.. but I couldn’t get past the boxy looks.. The 17” width and stands.. just wouldn’t work well in my room.. I was still going to get them based on the sound quality.. I then discovered the Daedalus Audio Athena and bought a pair.. They look stunning and have that non fatiguing sound I was looking for !! You can’t go wrong with the Harbeths.. but there are other choices out there that do just as well..
Food for thought my listening height to my Harbeth 40.2 is below the recommended tweeter level and recently I put a pillow cushion on my eames lounger [sacrilegious] to align height and now the system sounds better still. Not a huge difference but it just gets the balance right.
I have been living with 40.2 Aniversarries for several months. Check my other posts. I am driving them with Simaudio 400M mono blocks, 390 pre-amp, and CD260T in a large room. I would not recommend ANY piece of equipment blindly. What I consider OK you might hate. Yes, Harbeths are WARM - they do not have resolution of Focals, B&Ws, Logans, or Raidho and Wilsons - you can get away with it in the live - open, hardwood floored space BUT once you have cosy - well carpeted and furnished room, 40.2s become chocolate - syrupy with ALL music program. Also, they are very sensitive to the material of which your space is made or - concrete, heavy basement will work much better than condo - style plywood room ( cabinet are lively and will go into resonance at different frequencies if walls are not sturdy enough or acoustically treated). I have heard all Harbeth line in my personal space as well as in other rooms - sounds signature changes drastically from case to case.
Best advice - try to have your dealer arrange the demo in your own room with your own electronics - best way to see if you like them.
depending on the music and how was mastered sitting at tweeter level can make it more or less enjoyable....sure it meant to be at tweeter level all else being equal but the synergy of the rest of the room affects that too.
I found the synergy of moving to a koetsu rosewood platinum cartridge made a profound improvement to how music is portrayed in my system and made it less sensitive to seat position or the mastering of the record....the koetsu just makes music sound right (even if not great mastering)....no product is perfect though as the koetsu is more finicky to records that are poorly pressed or manufactured