Harbeth speakers vs Audionote


Hi Goners!
I am interested in hearing from owners of either brand who may have auditioned both before making their choice...
I would like to know what it was that made you decide on one vs the other...
I have heard both for a second set of speakers and I am stuck!
My system is solid state integrated and the room is 18 x 15 x 11 ft.

Thanks,

Azjake
azjake
I am not an owner of either brands, but, I hang out a lot at a shop that carries both brands. The Harbeths have a tighter, more accurate bass response and deliver a reasonably detailed and lively sound while being on the warmer side compared to many current speaker designs. My only big "issue" with the sound is that there is a slight raspiness or sibilant edge to vocals, but, other listeners like that little bit of crispness to the sound.

Audionote speakers tend to have a somewhat overblown upper bass response, particularly when they are placed in the corners of the room (position recommended by the manufacturer). The overall sound is even warmer than that of the Harbeth, although it manages to substantially avoid the muffled and lifeless sound (like someone threw a blanket over the speaker) that often attends "warmer" sound. I don't think the Audionote would beat the Harbeth in any kind of beauty contest where a comparison is made category by category. Yet, for me anyway, for the shear pleasure from the overall sound, I prefer the Audionote speakers--there is "something" there that makes the music seem to blossum and fill the room. The other plus, for my taste, is that they work reasonably well with the lower-powered tube amps.

For the Harbeths to sound their best, they do need to be well out into the room. They image beautifully there. The Audionotes, which are meant to be nearer the corners of the room, don't quite deliver the same kind of depth to the image in that placement. If you are someone who places a high priority on "imaging" and can accomodate the space requirement of the Harbeths, that might be another thing to factor into your choice.

I have only heard the Harbeths with one solid state amp (Bel Canto) and the Audionote only with tube amps, but I suspect that both would be quite good with solid state because both have a warm sound that is "forgiving" in nature.
I listened to both and like both but like Larryi there is a way the AN-e's play music that made me prefer AN. The E's are more efficient and can be tucked away in the corners that also pushed me to AN-e. (NYC apartment friendly). Beware - I started with solid state electronics with the E's and liked it but when I heard them with 300b tubes in my livingroom I was compelled to head into SET country. The E's love tubes-thats obvious though if you spend any time on the AN website.
Where do you live? I know a really good dealer that sells both brands, and does a pretty good job setting the stuff up so you can get a good demo.
For now...Dallas,Tx but by fall I will be back in Scottsdale, AZ.

Thanks guys for your explanations!
Jake
The only place I know of in TX is Galen Carol Audio. That may be too far though, and I'm not sure if he has both brands. I think he has Harbeth. He does have a great reputation, and for me at least, that goes a long way.

I was thinking that if you were in FL, you could visit Wellington Audio (http://www.wellingtonaudio.com/). He's really into the British gear. If you wanted to compare both brands, that would be the best place I know of. There are a few B&M stores that are a cut above the rest, and Wellington is definitely one of them.
02-17-15: Larryi
…….The Harbeths have a tighter, more accurate bass response and deliver a reasonably detailed and lively sound while being on the warmer side compared to many current speaker designs. My only big "issue" with the sound is that there is a slight raspiness or sibilant edge to vocals, but, other listeners like that little bit of crispness to the sound…….

Really? I've owned Harbeth m30.1's for 2 years and they have amazing vocal quality - and highs in general. Free of any sibilant edge unless present in the source. This is one their greatest strengths in comparison to 'hifi' speakers IMO. The C7es3, which I previously owned for a couple of years was perhaps less gorgeous sounding than the 30.1 - but still plenty good.
I use a solid state pre/power.

Can't comment on the Audionotes, but nice speakers by all reports.
I have owned the Harbeth HL5, and the AudioNote ANe, and enjoyed them both. As with any speaker, placement matters. With the Harbeth, I ran a Naim integrated, and then a Mastersound 300B. The AudioNote sounded quite wonderful with the 300B. But ultimately with both speakers the sound was very homogenous, and became a litlle boring to my ears.
The Zu DruidV that I have owned for a couple of years now are so much more vivid, and seem to convey emotional content more effectively.
Wellington Audio in Florida carry both. I have had a pair of AN-J's for a little while, but they did not work in the very small room I had them in. At that point, I sold off the (2nd) system they were in, but have kept the AN's. They have been sitting looking gorgeous in Makassar finish, but I have yet to set them back up. I was driving them with an LM 211, budget SS phono, and a WT Amadeus/ DV20X-L. My feeling is they may have deserved better all around, perhaps an SET or an OTO sig.... I can't seem to bring myself to sell them!