Harbeth P3ESR+Linn Sub or Bigger Harbeth Speakers

I currently have an all Linn stereo music system which consists of the Linn Akurate 4200 power amp (4 x 200W), Linn Katan bookshelf speakers (Linn active configuration) and the Linn Majik 126 powered subwoofer. My listening room is untreated and is roughly 12 feet x 14 feet (3.6m x 4.2m) and the speakers are roughly 7 feet (2m) apart and roughly 9 feet (2.7m) from the listening position, toed-in to point to the listener.

I love the Linn sound but find that the speakers are currently my "weak" link. I feel that there is more detail and dynamics that are being produced by my system but not being delivered by my speaker system. I came across this conclusion when I heard an exact system at a dealer but in a bigger treated room and with bigger floorstanding speakers (Linn Akurate 242 speakers).

I'm no sound engineer (just a music lover) so I'm not sure if this is really due to my speaker system or the fact that I have a smaller untreated listening room. My wife is against those ugly room treatment solutions so I've compensated by adding additional furniture, carpeting and a thick curtain behind the listening position which really seemed to help.

I've heard great things about the Harbeth speakers (Radial mid/bass driver) and later in March I will be attending the Montreal HI-FI Show (Salon Son & Image) to see if I can get a demo of some Harbeth speakers. After the Montreal HI-FI Show, I will be meeting with a local Harbeth dealer to audition the Harbeths in a more private setup with the possibility of doing a home demo once I've narrowed down my choice to 1 or 2 models.

Since I already own a Linn Majik 126 powered subwoofer, would it make sense to keep it and get a pair of Harbeth P3ESR speakers or would I be better off getting rid of the subwoofer and going with a bigger Harbeth speaker (e.g. Harbeth Compact 7-ES3 or Harbeth Super HL5)? That is, will keeping the Linn subwoofer and getting the Harbeth P3ESR provide the same results as my current Linn speaker set-up?

Linn Majik 126 Subwoofer:

Linn Katan Speakers:
IMO, you really can't predict how a speaker will sound in the untreated domestic environment. There are so many acoustical minefields that you just have to try different speakers until you find one that compliments your room and taste.

In my cluttered apartment, I was astounded to find that a small 2-way actually produced a fuller bass response than a significantly larger and more expensive speaker. If I were auditioning both speakers side by side at a dealer, I have virtually no doubt I would have chosen the larger "better" speaker, but in my apartment, the smaller sounded much better to me.

So you just have to try them and see.

With all due respect, you have asked basically this same question about 35 times since 9/09/08. It has just been about a different brand of speaker. No one here can pick a speaker for you. Either make a choice or keep the Katans. The beauty of A'Gon is that if you buy something used and don't like it, then you can generally move it on with little financial risk.

Methinks you obsess over speakers other than you own so much that this hobby is giving you a bad case of Audiophile Nervosa.
Muzikat, you are correct, I do obssess over speakers a little too much.

I find that the "weak link" in my system has always been my speakers. There is soooooooo much out there and I'm still on the hunt for something better that will be a good fit for my room & system.

I have auditioned quiet a few speakers but everytime I talk to a dealer he will only "push" what he sells and put down everything else.

It's not an easy task...

I think I'll back off for a while and enjoy what I got...
swap the katans for aktiv ninkas, and sell off the sub. that's the answer here.
Apart from size, all P3ESR, C7ES3 and SHL5 sound quite a bit different from each other. Hence I would suggest you pick one based on your listening preference apart from the size of cabinet to suit your room.

The P3ESR although a small speaker with limited bass response is very musical and engaging. It sounds more lively with a feeling of joie de vivre compared to both C7ES3 and SHL5. The C7ES3 is more dynamic and has quicker pace compared to the SHL5. The SHL5 throws a bigger sound than the rest but lacks a little PRAT compared to these two speakers. The SHL5 can sound little dull, smooth and flat with warm-sounding amps. With suitable amps like an LFD or Luxman(or the Naim) the SHL5 will sound more exciting, dynamic and upfront. Not too sure where your Linn amp sits but generally Harbeth speakers will sound good with most amps out there. They will shine with better amps although the designer doesn't advocate the use of exotic electronics to drive his speakers.

Best is to listen to the speakers yourself at the shows and dealers and judge for yourself. There is no substitute other than listening to the speakers to determine which sound suits you best.