Harbeth Compact 7's

Hi Gents, (Ladies too), Rlmm here.

Recently acquired a nice pair of Harbeth Compact 7's and I'm trying to decide on some gear to drive them properly. I have tried several things I already own, mostly low powered tube and SS amps/preamps. Not real happy so far with the results, but I know these speakers are capable of great things. Based on my experience so far, they seem to want and need some real juice behind them, probably SS power. I know some are using tube gear with good success but my instincts tell me good ss may be needed to get the bass response and impact I am looking for. Odly enough my old Quad 303 amp colecting dust offered up some pretty good impact, just a little dated in some ways. This probably confirms my feelings regrding the need for SS and hefty power supply, which the Quad is known for. I also need some help with the correct size stands for these too. Any and all help is appreciated. BTW, room size is aprox-12x15x8 Thanks as always for your time.
Rlmm - I like the way the sound with my Odyssee Stratos Dual Mono (180 wpc), and they also sounded really good with a Plinius 102. From what I've read you are right, they are generally favored with SS amps over 150 wpc. Good luck and tell us what you come up with.

You are correct in your assumptions regarding the SS amps to be used with the speakers. They will sound good with a good tube amp but they really blossum with a good SS amp. I have owned these speakers for a year and a half now, and I have been using ARC D-130's with great success.

I am in the process of going to the new ARC 150.2 to acquire a little more power; however any good SS amp will serve very nicely. While I havn't tried it I understand that the Plinus line of amps works real well with these speakers.

Whatever your choice enjoy these wonderful speakers, as they are truly great speakers.

All the best.


any quality ss amp of 100 watts or more/ or any good push/pull tube design of 75 watts will drive the sevens.....the more power though, the better.
Thanks for your advice so far on the 7's. I had actually forgotten about the Stratos, might be a good choice. I'm not that familiar with the Plinius line at all, however I have heard good things regarding the line in general. What preamps are you using with these SS amps. Think a nice tube pre would be a good choice or should I stay with a SS pre as well ? Everybody that has commented so far seems to support the fact that more power is better. Not so much for volume levels but I suspect for overall control, headroom, dynamics, that sort of thing. The 7's do seem to have great speed and pitch. I'm really surprised at their ability to play in a not so big room without getting out of hand. I did notice however on some bass extremes the 7's can exhibit (at least in my room with current gear) some odd kind of vibration in the drivers on a couple of odd bass notes or lower frequency drums at a little higher volume. This may well be because of not nearly enough power for good control over the drivers, etc. Any thoughts on that ? Could also just be the recording perhaps.
Found out that little vibration I was hearing was actually a loose spike/nut on the bottom of the speaker stand. Turns out the spike and nut were vibrating slightly with deeper bass and low frequency information. Pays to check these things a little closer, Duh.

You may want to consider the Naim electronics for your Compact 7s. This combo is often recommended and used in the UK and my setup has provided some good tunes for the past several years. Depending on your budget, the new 150/112 would be a minimum starting point with the 200/202 a very nice match indeed. Best of luck.
Hi. I have a new pair of C7s mated to a 15 year-old McIntosh MAC4300 receiver. SS, 100 w/ch. Perfect match, for all the reasons that you list in your post, especially because it provides the bass response that the speakers need.

While my MAC was out getting its routine 5-year service in Binghamton, I hooked them up to a 25 year-old Marantz 2225. Even 25 watts drove them beautifully. These are fabulous speakers that will make anything sound great.

As for stands, I have them on 24" Sound Anchor four-posts. Frankly, I hate the looks of the stands, but they do the job better than anything else I auditioned. Tellig's review in Stereophile said mount them on cheaper, sand-fillables, but I disagree.

I agree with the poster who said that Naim components make a good match with the C7s. I auditioned them on Naim, CJ and VAC amps.

I have recently purchased a NAIM NAIT 5i for my Compact 7s.

Since your room is relatively small (mine is 12x12x9) I can endorse this combination even with the 50 watt/channel amp section. I'm preferring this to my previous Audio Refinement Complete integrated. I felt that Harbeth got me out of the upgrade cycle; I can see myself living with the 7 for many years. I have the same satisfaction so far with the NAIM 5i. (I'm also quite happy with the NAT 05 tuner)
A Harbeth dealer in the UK used to recommend Densen B-100. 60wpc into 8Ohms, 120wpc into 4Ohms.

I've never heard the compact 7s but I own the B-100 and it's a wonderful little amp ... Naim Nait like drive but with better transparency and sweeter treble.

Glad you found the source of the low-end vibration. However, it seems that the C7s are indeed vulberable to some mild buzz at very low bass extremes, at high volume. I wa playing one of Stereophile's reference CDs the other day, and on a Stanley Clarke track the lowest registers of the acoustic bass caused some buzz-type vibration. Never heard it under any other circumstances, and it disappeared when I backed my amp off a bit. I guess $2500 speakers have to have a least a few limitations. Even so, I love 'em.