I'm also interested in how they compare to the "Chario Academy 1"
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This has been a question of great interest to me, as an owner of the M-30's who is thrilled with the mid's, but wouldn't mind a bit more warmth. (This is a question that has come up before on this forum by the way, but without much response.)
So, let me report first that I recently found a very good comparison of the two speakers contained in a review of the Monitor 30's in Stereo Times from January 07. It's not the easiest review to find for some reason...I think the easiest way to find it is to look for the directory of Stereo Times on-line and go from there. The very interesting conclusion of the reviewer is, in short, that the M-30's are notably less forgiving than the HL5's (and the smaller P3's): "While the [HL5's] also revealed the limitations of gear [and source material], they tended to work around the flaws and to maximize the gear's good points. Not so the 30's: flaws were never glossed over." I found this particularly interesting because, after nearly a year with the M30's, I have come to a similar conclusion--as good as they are, they don't let gear or source material flaws off the hook at all--which I find a bit frustrating, having turned to the Harbeths in search of a more forgiving speaker than my previous speakers. (That having been said, they are the most forgiving speaker I've used on a long-term basis in years.)
Next, I had a talk with a dealer that knew both speakers not long ago. He described the HL5's as being more "voluptuous and warm" than the M30's. However, he described the M30's highs as being more detailed and nuanced than the HL5's. Yet the HL5's were not at all bright, according to this source. I do not find those descriptions particularly inconsistent with the Stereo Times review.
There is no place convenient for me to hear and compare both speakers. Consequently, I've been looking for opinions on this issue, with the expectation that I would buy some HL5's on Audiogon, or otherwise by mail, if the reports appeared to lean in their direction. The reports mentioned above came to my attention only in the last month or two. I'm curious to hear any other reports, and hope these are of some use. In the meantime, I'm saving my nickels, and will likely take the risk with some HL5's in the next couple of months...if I think I can fly under the spousal radar screen tolerably well...
(I should add that I am under the impression that in fairly small rooms the HL5's can sound bloated in the bass. My room is 14x20, and I don't think I will have that problem. As of yesterday, I am trying out a subwoofer also, to see if that gives me what I'm looking for. I think, so far, that it is nice, but not likely the answer. I don't want mere bass...I want a big warm bath of sound!)
Any other thoughts from anyone?
Hi Eweed, Actually, I also found a couple of reviews that compared the two, but again... they were reviews, written by paid reviewers. That being said, they present the M30s as a little bit more forward in there presentatoin too..
This actualy suits me better. I like my music a little more forward. Anyway, with respect the spousal approval? Well... the HL5s are much larger. So.... basicaly, they look like a big boring square boxes with dimensions of roughly 29" X 14" X 14". It's going to be pretty hard to camoflage those. In comparison the M30s are only 18" x 11" x 11". So, they're a little easier to hide. Hmmn? It may be time for round trip tickets for two to Hawaii. I bet that will get the speakers in the house.
I recently bought a pair of M30's ( 30th anniversary edition) from my local Harbeth dealer. Was able to compare with the 7ES-3s but not unfortunately the HL5s which the dealer told me they no longer held as they much preferred and the 30s in comparison. Certainly for myself there was a certain magically quality I heard in the 30s which was missing from the otherwise excellent 7ES-3S . I can only guess this may be due to the different tweeter and cabinet design that the 30s have in contrast to the 7ESs and HL5s .
Kensetsu - Have you compared both speakers? I'd be curious about your thoughts, if you were able to do that. (Not many folks have, as far as I can tell.)
As far as WAF goes, I'm allowing myself to get pulled into a partial kitchen remodel. Started as a floor replacement. Now it's turning into repainting the entire thing, cabinets an all. She knows what she's doing...
It's a 12 X 20 ish size with a large opening to an ajacent room front right and an entry and hall in back. I've never known how to define this situation, small room with room to breathe?
I found them too light in the bass but I'm used to a sub. I have a Velodyne DD12. I simply used the crossover in the pre amp at 40 Hz and brought the sub up gently until it blended. Sounds wonderful. I've had various smaller more detailed speakers Merlin, Joseph, Sonus, Coincident, Sivlerline and so on over the years. My first impression of the Harbeth is that it's a keeper at last. Comments above about warmth and coherence are consistent with my experience.
I'm thinking it may be a natural to work with a Rel sub bass system. My understanding is that initially Rel's focus was on just supplying the lowest octave or two for larger speakers. I will be doing some measuring tomorrow with the Velodyne system.
Hope any of this helps, I'm a little blurry after a long day.
Anybody ever consider using the Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofer. The propaganda that I've read suggests that they'll integrate seemlessly with just about anything.... including my ex mother-in-law. Anyone have any experiences that they'd like to share. By the way, I'm referring to experiences with the subwoofer.
Well.... A couple of days into this and I've gotta tell you. Wow! I'm really starting to like these. To tell you the truth, My 13 & 1/2 year old daughter uses my stereo more than me. She tells me that I'm crazy. That the difference is like night and day. She says with respect to sounding natural, the Harbeths M30s win hands down. I guess her 13 & 1/2 year old musician/perfect pitch ears are on the money. Actually, my 18 year old (same thing perfect pitch) says the same thing. They're right on the money. Now.. all I have to do is get them set up right.
Kensetsu - Give it some time on the highs. As I think I noted above, I went from Vandersteens to the Harbeths and thought the Harbeths sounded a bit rolled off at first. After a couple of months, that concern vanished completely, and I realized I was hearing all the highs I needed.
I think I also noted that I'm working into an Essex sub. I think that was the day I actually unpacked the Essex. Tentatively, I'm now inclined to say that a sub is a nice thing to have with the M30's. It just takes a while to figure out how to integrate.
Lastly, assuming you have the set-up, try some vinyl. Vinyl and M30's were made for each other. All the wonderful detail and timbres...oh, man, what music! Have fun!