An approximate budget would help. Solid state or tube?
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I got carried away reading the hype on LFD on the Harbeths forum. Ordered one and it was no where as good as my little Bryston B135-sst2 integrated. Luckily i was able to return it. I was pairing it with HL5 plus also.
My next amp was the Pass Int-60 and it sounded great with the Harbeths
The Vac 170iq integrated would be my present choice as I have turned to tubes now. With continuous biasing the amp is trouble free and operates the tubes at their optimum. I am so smitten with their equipment.
Your should try to audition the new Aesthetix Mimas. I was startled when I plugged it into my SHL5+. I have been using an Ayre AX7E which is a really good match with the Harbeth’s to begin with. Before I ordered the Mimas I tried the Hegel 360, Musical Fidelity MS 6i, Belles Aria and an Aesthetix Calypso with Quicksilver Siver 88’s. The Mimas is the best of the bunch to me. YMMV. Good Luck with your search!
@rcalderon I am currently running mine with 2 MC275s. I initially started with only 1 but felt like it was running out of gas on certain types of music. I still feel that way now with 2 of them. Do you feel that 1 is enough? I still feel that my Pass XA-30.8 was by far the best. I am very tempted to get another, but I don't want to lose a ton of money on the MC275s.
I’ve been using an Adcom 5802 (from the 1990s) to drive my SHL5+ Anniversaries. No shortage of power. It sounds terrific.
I think I saw one on ebay for $95!
(yup: https://www.ebay.com/p/Adcom-GFA-5802-2-Channel-Power-Amplifier/66787188 )
Because of the Adcom's heat, and fear of aging parts (I’ve had it worked over once), I’ve been thinking about trying a new Benchmark AHB2. I gather quite a view Harbeth users favor that combo.
Tswisla, i am curious of how the speakers would sound with a different amp and coincidentally I’m considering getting another mc275 but just because I would like to run two of them. Honestly it depends on your listening habits and source.
i listen at what I consider moderate levels though sometimes my dB meter tells me otherwise. I understand what your saying and I’ve wondered about the same thing but sometimes the music is loud enough at 47-55% and other time I’ll need 67-80. But given the somewhat low sensitivity of the speakers you may need more power to satisfy you listening needs. I personally would get more efficient speakers since I love my amp. If the MCs are not doing it for you then you may want to switch amps.
I am in awe of how well my LFD NCSE is driving my recently acquired 40.2's - 2nd gen is going for about half of your budget used it seems and the 3rd gen is right in there.
Had an LFD LEIII previously and the NCSE was a totally different animal - way more drive and meat on the bone, solid bottom end just a really really great sounding integrated.
Harbeths are known to pair well with quite a number of tube and solid state amps hopefully you can try a few out and see what makes them sing for you. You'll definitely know it when you hear it!
I saw this thread pop up again and am always interested in Harbeth.
Last weekend I heard the Super HL5 Plus with the LM-805iA Integrated tube amplifier - Single Ended 805 - 2x48W - and think it better than the Luxman recommendation I made earlier (but have not done a formal or even an informal shootout). This integrated amp worked extremely well with the SHL5+ and never showed any signs of clipping and I was running the volume control. Was very good with an Aurender streamer and even better with a Luxman TT + Hana Cart and JC3+ phonopre. For reference, I've heard the SHL5+ many times, with Luxman integrateds and seperates, Marantz, Mark Levinson, and now the Line Magnetic. The Line Magnetic works amazingly well, especially for the 48 WPC it is noted to have. Seems like much more than 48 WPC.
Disclosure, I'm just a happy patron of Excel Audio and I have no financial interest. I just love listening to music on fine systems.
@pokey77 I also heard the LM-805iA but with WIlson speakers. It sounded rather good however when I heard the same tunes a few minutes later with Harbeth and Luxman m900u + c900u separates there was a significant improvement in everything. Of course the electronics are $5K vs $30K. I liked the $5K Harbeth + Luxman over the $16K Wilson + LM-805iA on the same tunes. It could be that the Wilson needed more power.
BTW - I have decided to follow some advice you gave me in a personal message. I am going to buy the Luxman separates (you did not say this) but you did say to look at Harbeth or the TAD ME1 for my small space. After I heard the Harbeth C7ES-3 with Luxman separates I realized the small speakers would sound great with the Luxman. So my system will be centered around the Luxman electronics now and not the speakers.
You can tell Mike you helped me buy one of his systems. That should give you some free passes (joke).
Glad you are finding something you really like and want to commit to.
I've heard all the Harbeth line, I live less than five miles from Excel Audio, and think you should give consideration to the SHL5+ too. IMHO It is significantly better than the 7 and the price isn't all that much more. Better bass, much better top end and really, just smoother and more extended. Since you are now decided on the Luxman separates, the step up to the 5 is fairly insignificant.
Been a little while since I've heard the Luxman separates, so I can't really comment on them vs. the Line Magnetic.
@rcalderon thank you for the reply. That is what I believe most people don’t understand, especially those with low powered amps. It will sound good most of the time, but the amp loses steam and you lose dynamics and detail. Seems like many people are willing to make this compromise to attain a particular sound most of the time, but it is driving me crazy! 150 wpc is not enough for Harbeths if you listen to dynamic music. Try Shostakovich’s 8th or Crime of the Century and you’ll see what I mean.
Just to throw in my experience here: I went back and forth whether to drive my SHL5plus 40th with relatively high-powered solid state (think Hegel or Naim) or venture into low watt class A tube or solid state. During this pandemic there has been no way to do the experiment. There are numerous threads stating that Harbeths need power to play their best. However, the speakers' measurements suggest otherwise, particularly their impedance across the entire bandwidth. So, I took a leap and hooked them up to a Pass Labs INT-25. For me, the sound is truly engaging. I listen mostly to Jazz, Blues, and Rock. I get a tremendous amount of detail without harshness. The soundstage is deep and separation of instruments is what draws me in to the detail.
Very interesting finding.
Although the SHL5+ is a little below average at 86db sensitivity, its impedance curve is quite forgiving, and really more an 8ohm than 6ohm speaker.
BTW worth looking up the Stereophile measurements of the 30.2, 87db sensitivity and similarly undemanding impedance.