Harbeth vs. Tyler

Newbie here (long-time musician), looking for my first (and hopefully last) real set-up. Planning a system around a Creek Destiny amp for a moderately sized bedroom. Listen to everything from classical to hip-hop, but not at excessively loud volumes. I've heard good things about both of these brands of speakers, and wanted to know if anyone has experience with both of these and can describe the differences. Unfortunately I'm not in a place where I can audition either of them. I'm particularly interested in the compact 7's and the linbrook bookshelves, but would welcome any general comments as well. Thanks for the knowledge . . .
The Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors would be plenty for a moderate-sized bedroom. As a bonus, if you choose to run your TV sound through them, they are the best at clear dialogue that I have heard.

I have had both Taylos and Linbrooks and prefer the Taylo sound myself.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard Harbeths.
Thanks for the reponse. How would you describe the differences bt Taylos and Linbrooks?
Oh, and how would either harbeths and Tylers compare with Paradigm Signature S2's?
well for one thing you ought to do your research. For Tyler you can read all the posts on audiogon and also on Tyler;s web site and also Sally renolyd's review on the Tyler Lin Sys 2. back in Oct 06. The Taylo i believe uses the scanspeak tweet. I prefer the Seas Excel tweet Ty uses in his Linbrook designs.
Not sure where you can find reviews on Harbeths. I did n't like the looks of any of their speakers. very cheap looking, and way over priced.
I've read individual reviews and posts on the tylers and harbeths, but not many comparing the two. Thanks for the thoughts, though.

In a large room, the Linbrooks would be more appropriate - like my 20x35 basement room.

Paritally because of the tweet difference metioned, the Taylos are slightly higher resolution and sweeter to my ear. I don't think that the tweet is the whole story, though - talk to Ty, he does not bite. You can switch tweets if you choose. In my environment, the Linbrooks came across as warmer than I was looking for.

The Linbrooks will dominate the Taylos below 60 Hz, but I am always surprised how good the low end is on the Taylos. I have a pair dedicated to my upstairs TV set-up and they will not be replaced.

If you go with either Tyler, don't skimp on power.

I have not investigated the paradigms.
I have had the Harbeth Compact 7es2, Monitor 30, still have the HLP3-es2.
Also had the Tyler reference monitors.
They all are very nice, but with all due respect to Tyler, and he is a nice guy too, Harbeth makes a better speaker.
Bartokfan, I must disagree about the quality of Harbeth, it is top notch. The Harbeths are put together with screws for a reason, they call it a lossy cabinet. They breathe like a fine woodwind instrument. More about the lossy cabinet can be found on the Harbeth website where they have a fine usergroup/chatroom.
Yep, gotta agree with Muzikat on this. Harbeth uses real wood, similar to Daedalus (sp?). It's a different way of thinking (from a speaker design standpoint) from veneer and MDF, but cheap looking?
Sighhhhh - too much of the world thinks that real wood should look like laminates - it doesn't - it's natural, and inconsistant. And beautiful.
well for one thing you ought to do your research...
Not sure where you can find reviews on Harbeths. I did n't like the looks of any of their speakers. very cheap looking, and way over priced.
Bartokfan (Threads | Answers)
You should take your own advice about doing your research.

Not sure where you can find reviews on Harbeths? For a starter, Stereophile June 2007 has a review of the Harbeth 7ES-3s, with a good explanation of the cabinet design. It's on the newsstand now.

As an alternative, do a Google search for "Harbeth loudspeaker review". My search resulted in five Harbeth loudspeaker reviews on the first Google results page.

Muzikat has it right regarding the lossy cabinet design. It's purposeful.
This is for the those who have never heard the Harbeths. I have owned many speakers and I have yet to see any which deliver more for the buck than do the Harbeths. They do what a speaker is supposed to do. They deliver the pure music and get out of the way, no more no less.

There are reviews out there on all the variious Harbeth models, and I have yet to see a bad review on any of them. Not my favorite, but last month's (I believe) Stereophile had a review on the ES73. Read it.


Ahh here's the big difference for me. harbeth is british. i do not like the british sound. Though Ooka may like it. Its personal preference. And i was not refering only to the cabinet. The poly drivers look cheap.
Harbeth uses a different approach to cabinet resonance control. Instead of massive panels that absorb/store energy, they use light panels that dissipate energy quickly, I believe. The only reviews that are hard to find are negative ones. Harbeth has an enviable reputation, they were one of the original manufacturers of the LS3/5a.
I had the Taylos at one point, and never really got the sound sorted out in my system. I felt I was battling a meddle woofer sound. Other speakers including Totem Ones used in comparison did not seem to have this signature. Keep in mind this is just my experience, as you know many here at Audiogon have reported much better results.
I have never compaired these speakers side by side, but if I were going on faith, I would probably lean towards the Harbeths.
If you think it's hard to find a Harbeth review, try finding a thread on Tylers (or even not on Tylers), without Bartie shilling all day long.

Really - they're both good, but take the resident promotional goon's words for what they're worth.

And anyone who finds the Harbeth cabinet "cheap looking" is probably allergic to natural fabrics too.
I wish Muzikat had provided a really specific description of the tonal and resolution qualities of the Tylers and the Harbeths - especially since he has owned and heard them both.

I've owned other British Speakers, Rogers LS35A's and Studio 1A, as well as Quad 63's. If these represent 'British sound', and Harbeth represents British sound, I doubt that Tyler's speakers will sound much like them based on my experience with the Linbrooke Signature Systems that I presently use.

In comparison I would expect the Tyler's to have a warmer sound, both in the upper bass, and a little less high end energy (not resolution - I think the Tylers resolution using the millenium tweeter is outstanding). From all I've read about Harbeths (I've never heard a pair, but I'd like to hear one of the larger models) I would expect a very high quality/resolution speaker, tonally neutral, perhaps without the typical upper mid range dip that appears in a lot. They certainly are not some POS speakers that out VI seems to think they are!

Personally I really like the Tylers.

I have heard both Tylers and Harbeths. The Tylers have many very good qualities. They are very fast and clean but do not have the natural tonal qualities and musicality of the Harbeths. The Harbeths sound more like music to me.
Some Harbeth models do have a slight midrange dip.

I'd love a serious audition of Tyler speakers because many people, not just Bartokfan, are enthusiastic about them. Maybe designing speakers is made out to be more difficult than it really is, but I always wonder how Tyler can offer a choice of drivers in a product. It seems to me the crossover would need to be redesigned to accomodate a Seas vs. a Scan-Speak or whatever. Maybe he does change some values, but it is as easy as all that? Seems like the Madisound DIY school of speaker design. I get the same hit from Silverline (perhaps unfairly): throw them in a box -- how many drivers you want...3? 4? 5? -- wire 'em up, and voila! Which is counter to many other manufacturers' claims about searching long and hard to find "just the right tweeter," having to modify it to "our exacting specifications," blah blah.
Drubin: I have to agree--I've never seriously considered the Tyler's because it seems like Ty either stuffs the same drivers into different size boxes or, as you say, rotates different drivers into the same boxes with what seems to be little regard for their inherent performance characteristics. I'm no expert here but just my hunch that each of his many models does not get individualized attention in the design phase.

On the issue of cabinet materials I second what has been said here--the Harbeth "lossy" cabinet is a clever and time tested approach to dealing with resonances and, in my view, it works. Harbeth's simply disappear for large boxes and are very low in coloration. The veneer applied to the outside of the lossy cabinet is first rate, however, and doesn't look at all "cheap" to me. The Daedalus, which I currently own, use solid hardwoods in constructing the cabinets. The goal here is rigidity, not flex. Lou feels that hardwood is pound for pound much stronger that MDF and resonates far less and what does move happens within a more favorable frequency range. In my experience I think he is right. My DA-1's sound fabulous and very organic--like real music itself.
Mark S's "dis-information" comment that the Tyler's "Lack natural tonal qualities and musicalities". Mark your opinion goes totally against everything Sally Renolyds wrote in Oct issue of Absolute Sound. Also go to audioreview.com. Every review gives Tyu 5 stars, not one negative comment. Look at the comments here on audiogon feedback, read the happy owners opinions. Then go to his web site where anyone can freely chime in whatever they feel.
Now read what you just wrote. Don't worry, its only your opinion, no harm done.
Sonfun you really like to back up your country's products. Lets keep things civil OK. No need to go into trashy uncool remarks. I gave my opinion, you went beyond the bounds. If the Harbeth is such a great speaker , nothing i say could/would take away from its stellar qualities.
planning a stereo around an amp is often a trainwreck. buy speakers you like the sound of and don't think about the britsound vs the madisound. then ecide if the amp serves the speakers to make them sound their best.
Drubin & Dodgealum,

While I would consider you cynicism about speaker design with multiple options using the same drivers regularily in different boxes and with (or without?) crossover adjustments, very reasonable, consider that many of the major manufacturers put out multiple models with different drivers, different boxes, and different crossovers, and is continually introducing Mk I, II, and III versions, and then moving on to a new model. One must wonder about their level of expertise and dedication to producting a speaker that is truly a value. Names intentionally omitted but they are well known and have large followings. Same also applies to components as well.

I'm much more impressed by the small manufacturers (I would think Harbeth would be one) who take the time to get a good basic design in the first place and stick with it, only making changes allowing for slow evolution or the needs of the end user.

Personally, I think far too much "emphasis" placed on anything (other than quality component parts) is likely to be marketing hype. Especially when it comes to design philosophy and esoteric or new stuff.

IMHO there is nothing inherrently wrong with a cross over designed by Madisound any more than there is anything right with a crossover designed by some major speaker designer. They all have their share of successes and failures which are only revealed by careful listening.

JMHO folks.
I have heard Tyler monitors and the bigger Linbrook. They are a good speaker. Very competitive for the price. Netural by my ears (I find most audiophile speakers too bright). But they do not have the magic midrange and musicality of the Harbeth or Spendor speakers.
Bartokfan - I did not say that the Tylers are not musical. I'm just saying how they sounded compared to the Harbeths. The Harbeths are very special speakers in my opinion. As far as Sally Reynolds, who cares what she has to say. I would never buy a product based on her reviews. If you really know audio, then you know that you cannot rely too heavily on reviewers. If reviews mean that much to you, then read all the worldwide raves about the Harbeths, especially the latest on the new 7 ES3's.
Newbee good point. You'll never see Seas and Dr Appolito renaming the thor 'thor mk2'. Its a final design. Madisound offers you an upgrade version of the xover, which i galdly pd $150 more. The design has been out now 5 or 6 yrs and its the same speaker/crossover. I think the odin went through a slight revision, so they named it odin Mk2. I suspect Tyler will maintain his designs the smae over the yrs. Ty will not come out with Linbrook Mk2. Now you can contact Ty and he will make adjustments per request in some of the xover values.
All these labs with Mk2, Mk3, MK4's getting you to believe its a total different speaker is something i don't buy into.
Read the story behind the Seas Excel driver. That is a unique design with quite a history to it. Poly midwoofers are a "dime a dozen".
Been around since the 70's. And after 30 yrs I still hate their sound.
Poly midwoofers are a "dime a dozen". Been around since the 70's. And after 30 yrs I still hate their sound.
I assume you are referring to the Harbeth. Harbeth's founder, Mr Harwood (of the BBC) did, I believe, originate the polypropylene driver in the mid-seventies. However, that was significantly changed in the nineties when Harbeth, aided by a research grant from the UK government, developed and patented the midwoofer that is used in most of their leading speakers today. It is called the RADIAL and it is Harbeth's secret ingredient, a major reason the company has achieved its modern-day success. You can read all about it on the Harbeth web site.
Well mark don't believe Sally. Like you I don;t believe mags reviews either. On this one she was correct. In spite of her throwing in a compliment on the Spendor. Which I subsequently heard and totatlly disagree with her on.As I say I am not a fan of the british speaker. But did you read the reviews on audioreview.com, type in Tyler. No you haven't. Neither have you read any of the unbiased comments of Tyler owners on his site and on audiogon's feedback for Tyler. I have the ability to read through hype. been there done that. I can read between the lines. I'm never fooled by hype. I know when its the real deal, and when its voodoo.
05-28-07: Bartokfan
Neither have you read any of the unbiased comments of Tyler owners on his site.
That's an oxymoron. By definition, any comments made by customers on a manufacturer's website are biased in favor of the manufacturer and its products.
Interesting that the comments made on Ty's open forum line up closely with reviews here and on Audioreview.com.
Ooka ha sto do his own DD and make his decision. Thats how I found my speakers, through hours of research. And I had a good idea of what i wanted and my hunch paid off.
Who here likes cookies?
Bartokfan hates the way the Harbeths look, hates the British sound and hates poly woofers... but does not mention whether he has actually heard the Harbeths. Please tell me you are not trashing the sound of a speaker you have never heard just to promote your favorite brand? By the way, the poly driver that "looks cheap" is a made exclusively by Harbeth (RADIAL), unlike others who, for good or bad, use "off the shelf" drivers. Frankly, offhand comments like these inspire little confidence in one's opinion.
05-28-07: Bartokfan
Interesting that the comments made on Ty's open forum line up closely with reviews here and on Audioreview.com.
Interesting in what way? In the way Tyler owners would comment favorably on Tyler's website, and also comment favorably on other user-review sites like Audiogon and Audioreview? Seems perfectly natural that comments from the same owners on three different websites would line up.

Ooka ha sto do his own DD...
Bartokfan (Threads | Answers)
Mekka-lekka high, mekka hiney-ho to you too! :)
Cookies? Don't get it. Anyway, thanks, all, for the discussion. Looks like I'll be saving up for some Harbeths. Wish I had the opportunity and time to audition these speakers side by side myself, but I just don't have that luxury. I'll look into Daedalus speakers, too. One last thing, is it safe to assume that the harbeths are a step above the paradigm signatures S2's? Those get good reviews, too, and are more inexpensive (and of course there's no dealer around close by to audition). thanks again . . .
Preliminary search into daedalus on the forums here are very intriguing (just read your review, dodgealum--very nice). Will keep searching.

One more q: do you harbeth owners use a subwoofer with your speakers? (I know Alan Shaw on his website doesn't think they really need a subwoofer.)
maybe its a coincidence, but if your selling harbeths on audiogon you can't link to their website for more info.....tyler does not seem to have this problem...whats up?
Quite a discusion you'v sparked here. One thing seems pretty clear, these must must be pretty special speakers to elicit such a discussion. I'v never heard Tyler speakers, but I understand that Harbeths endear themselves to there owners like few other speakers, they are indeed very special. I was smitten by the harbeth as well--I'm waiting for my new c7-es3 to arrive. I'v heard a sub with the C7 and I really liked it. The "Brittish monitor sound", from what I understand, usually does not include deep bass. Some purists think that adding a sub messes with "that" sound. Too each his own--thought it sounded great!

I'd really like to know how the Destiny sounds with your Harbeths (if you decide to purchase). I'd really appreciate letting us know how it sounds
Wish you all the best!
What types of subs works well with the Harbeths.Could those with 7 series Harbeths recommend a few brands that they have found work well.Also what amps do you favor & will they play rock music at reasonable levels?
Thanks for your input in advance
New addition to an older thread for posterity's sake... I have been playing with some Super HL-5's after looking for something to replace my Tyler Linbrooks (two piece system) which are just too big for my room. After 5 years with the Tyler's I still had no feeling of a need to replace them, other than the size issue. I have been running the Tyler monitors only now for some time. Anyway, both speakers are excellent, and each does some things a bit better than the other.
-The Tyler's millenium tweeter is superior in my opinion, the Harbeth having just a little bit of 'tizz', but it is not to a level I would care much about enough to not recommend the Harbeth (plus see my system below; many run tubes with the Harbeth which may be a better match).
-The "magical" midrange of the Harbeth that everyone talks about is for real, though again, the Tyler's are not far behind in this regard.
-What I like best about the Harbeth is it fills in the midbass better - perhaps even a bit 'bloated' from some peoples' perspective (and no, this is not an issue of room positioning), whereas to get that from the Tyler you have to plug in the bass modules which then must be placed WAY out into the room to avoid bass boom, and then you lose something else in the mix. So the Harbeths are easier to place IMO (compared to the entire Linbrook system. Otherwise the Linbrook monitor is very easy to place, and works in many places well).
-The biggest problem with the Harbeths, which for me IS a very large shortfall due to the music I listen to, is that they cannot handle the heaviest musical passages without breaking up. I'm talking about organ music with low notes (i.e., Felix Hell RR disk) and some heavier orchestral works. The manufacturer even states that the midrange driver will melt if you overload them! And I am not talking about very high SPL's either, perhaps high 80's, and this is only on a few well recorded CDs.
-Lastly, the Tyler's have a bit more 'energy' to them. I think this is what people call a "speaker that can rock," which no one has ever claimed about the Harbeth anyway. The Harbeths are more laid back in presentation whereas the Tylers project out into the room a bit better - better attack if you will, like a Yamaha piano compared to a cheaper Kimball or something. I'm not talking about the treble here.

All in all, I think both are fantastic speakers; I could live with either of them. It comes down to what kind of music you listen to moreso. The Tylers can handle everything you throw at them. The Harbeth's however, with most music, and at lower SPLs, might be said to have a more coherent and 'pleasing' sound overall, whatever that is. I would love to do a head to head comparison with the Linbrooks and the Monitor 30's or 7ES (with the same tweeter as the Tyler I believe) and having the Harbeth's signal crossed over below 40 Hz or so to a sub - in that case I think the Harbeth might win out. As always it comes down to system matching and music tastes. Either way, it has been a fun and enlightening 'experiment.'
Source is Meridian G08 and amp JRDG Concerto integrated.