I have tried various Audio Research amps (pre and power) with the Harbeth 7ES II's and they worked beautifully. I really think that all Harbeth's perform well with any amp (tube or SS) provided they have sufficent power.
I think you would be happy with this combination.
Harbeth are delicious sounding! You are in for a treat.
I have the Harbeth HL-5's and they sound spectacular. Seems like when I upgrade, they also rise to the occassion.
Have tried Harbeth with Cary,McIntosh and Bruce Moore with great results.
If you are into heavier rock, you may prefer the M30 over the 5s and 7s. You won't be disappointed with any of these speakers, truly musical.
Heard the 40.1 at RMAF and felt is bested many of the mega buck speakers. But it seems to need a very big room.
I have owned Thiels for many years and using a pairs of 3.6 now. I am thinking of moving to a new direction as I am getting tired of listening only to good recordings. Some recordings sounded terrible on Thiels. I listened to Harbeth once and I thought it is more musical and natural than my Thiels. Will I loose out by changing?
the audio research and harbeths will go well.
Go for the SHL5s although the M30s are also quite nice.
The Harbeths for that matter will go with most amps.
You know, the thing is, I really love the Harbeths but if you haven't heard a lot of comparisons then your upgrade bug talks to you. "Wonder how those Thiels would sound" "Wonder how those B@W's would sound" It's definately an affliction!!!!! Wish there was a speaker borrowing company like the cable company.
any product that makes one listen more is worthy
The Harbeth is more "natural" and "musical" and will be enjoyable on a wider range of recrodings. You don't find many Harbeth owners unhappy with their speakers. I would love to have a room big enough for the M40s, but the HL5s are proabably perfect for most normal size rooms (12x18 or 20). Will you loose out? Doubtful you'll feel that way - though the HL5 proabably don't go as deep as the Thiel. A more "musical" and "natural" option while maintaining the phase coherency and time alignment you are use to (these type of speakers seem to soundstage differently) are a pair of the Vandersteen 3A Sig, which will indeed be as full-range as what you are accustomed to, and very frequyently matched up with 100 watt Audio Research amps. Add a pair of 2Wq subwoofers and you have one hell of a good speaker system.
I was having a problem similar to yours (reported in other threads)...I was using Vandersteen 3A sigs, which are very nice speakers, but they tell you everything that is wrong with the recording, and I just became terribly fatigued by it. I bought some Harbeth M30's and was greatly relieved. The midrange was much richer than the Vandersteens, which, because I listen to a fair bit of classical music, was quite wonderful. And voices...uhmm, very lovely. However, they are monitor speakers, and are, themselves fairly revealing. I eventually switched to Compact 7's, which are probably a bit more pleasant all around--BUT, I would read the series of reviews of 4 of the Harbeth speakers by Paul Szabady w/ Stereo Times online. In the end, he preferred the HL5, and I think that's probably the way to go.
As it happens, I used an ARC VT100 mkiii with both pairs of Harbeths. It was a fine combination.
As always, if you can try beforehand, do. But I think it is rather rare that someone doesn't like the HL5's. I should add that, with the M30's and the C7's, I concluded that I liked having a modest subwoofer. (I just use a single Essex.) I don't think you'd need that with the HL5's
I do think the HL5 is a wonderful, easy-to-listen to speaker, but I'm very suprised to hear you had listener fatigue with the Vandersteen, not a typical reaction IMHO, but that's what you heard, so can't argue with that.
Out of curiosity, how close to the rear wall can the HL5 or 7ES3 go? I'd like to start another system in a very small room - 12x13.5ft and because of how it is all laid out the back of the speakers will need to be about 6-8inches from the rear wall. I know that is less than ideal, but I'm not after imaging at all in this room. However, I do want purity of tone, harmonics etc. Will this mess that up?
6-8 inches at the back would be super close. I have mine around 5 feet away from the rear wall.
A meter would be ok, but even at that distance, it might be boomy.
Pubul57 - I think the Vandersteen 3A sigs are very good for certain things, and can be tempered depending upon what's running them. I get listener's fatigue all too easily, and I think most equipment sounds too bright. I went to the RMAF and, frankly, liked very little of what I heard. My ears seem to have some kind of sensitivity in the high frequency range. Plus, I listen to a lot of orchestral music, which is often not really that well-recorded. Massed strings are awfully hard to record, and are often miked too closely, so that if what you want is a Carnegie Hall type sound, you're in trouble. That's a lot of my problem.
I hear you regarding massed strings. I heard a very expensive setup with vinyl and the highs were just shrill to my ears. Thank god it was vinyl.
It is so hard to go wrong with Harbeth with any quality amp choice; I prefer SS with mine. an ARC amp would be a great choice. Eweedhome and I seem to be cut from the same cloth. I too found the M30 a little to much after a while and I much prefered the C7 es3 (plus, they are less espensive). Later, I got a sub to go with them, and I am really enjoying what I am hearing; I listen to a lot of classical and the full range I get now with the sub is a tone of fun. Smiles and goosebumps everytime :)
I picked up a pair of the HL-5s off A'gon about 6 weeks ago and couldn't be happier. I am running them with a Primaluna Dialogue 2 with SED Winged C EL34s; talk about rich/lush midrange. While they perform very well on the low end, I still like a tad more at the bottom, so I paired them up with my Martin Logan Grotto. After tweaking the settings, I have been able to successfully integrate the two (to my ears) and haven't looked back since. I feel like I have a system now that gives me non-fatiguing imaging along with the fullness of a floor standing speaker without breaking the bank.
Great to see so many happy Harbeth users. E-mailed Andy of Harbeth (UK) but the sale price he gave me was too high! I will have to lookout for a used pair in the future.... Anyone compaired HL-5 to the new HL-5S?? Thanks.