LS50 sounds OK on the desktop (58" wide) but it is no where close to the sound quality on stands and about 7-8+ feet apart. I have the LS50 for years now and have listened both ways. The LS50 on stands is something I plan to keep until it falls apart.
The new KEF replacement for the XA300A is a better candidate for the desktop over the bigger LS50.
I have not heard Harbeths, but I have had a pair of LS50s for a few years and have used them in a similar setup on my desk. I agree that they will sound better on stands, but I still enjoyed them on my desk. The great thing about the LS50s is that they will fit whatever space you have (generally). I have used them as nearfield monitors on my desk and on stands in larger rooms and they perform well in either scenario.
I just came across a post on Reddit a few days ago with an impressive setup with a pair of LS50s and a small sub in a large room http://i.imgur.com/sFJ5BUr.jpg
I would say Harbeth for tonal accuracy. The KEFs are more metallic sounding. KEF has the advantage of being close to a point source (coherence) and brings more weight to the party in the lower mids and bass.
My vote Harbeth but with the added condition of a REL T5 sub.
In my opinion no speakers can sound good on a desk without a proper room correction system. It´s just impossible with all reflections from desk and pc monitors. Recommend e.g. the Paradigm PW AMP with Arc2 correction for this job. Difference is phenomenal. ATC monitors, Kef 201/2 and Audiovector SR1 Arreté personal favourites for the moment. Just tried the Strada 2 with subs, which I had hopes for, pleasant but weak in mid resolution (and needs to xo very high).
I 've lived with the p3's 40th for a few months now they replaced my thiel scs4. Shortly after I recived them my beloved a/d/s pb1500 subwoofer (circa 1980) finally failed me and is currently in the shop. So I've been forced to listen to them on there own, bar from missing my sub theses speakers are magical! Like you see in almost of the reviews the mids are to die for and the highs are airy and delicate is the only way I can describe them. But if you really want to blow your mind with these speakers go on e bay buy a carver c9 sonic hologram take it to your local stereo shop and have rebuilt to a higher standard. I run a Rogue amp and preamp with nos mullard and rca(tectonics) tubes which already provides a great soundstage...the c9 puts it on steroids! Now I know the criticism about signal processing but I don't care I know what I'm hearing. With near field listening and in the sweet spot I am hearing things from the Beatles I've never heard before! Things like Ringo's bongos that was lost in the background now come out to the forefront and you can almost hear every individual finger hit the skins... Crazy! Another one is Norah Jones come away with me, bought this cd 10 plus years ago skipped though it wasn't impressed. Dug it out the other night and holy crap! You can almost feel her breath and you differently can hear it! The one and only criticism if you want to call it that is if you want any kind of volume levels they need power. My st100 is putting out around 70 watts per and it struggles with some of the pre sound war recordings. Other then that enjoy these little gems there awesome! O and if Steve Guttenberg is reading this get off your horns and finish the review on these already! lol
With near field listening and in the sweet spot I am hearing things from the Beatles I've never heard before! Things like Ringo's bongos that was lost in the background now come out to the forefront and you can almost hear every individual finger hit the skins... Crazy!
It's not really crazy. What's happening is that other frequencies are being turned down so things like Ringo's bongos will come forward...even though they were supposed to be in the background. Audiophiles are often times audio-voyeurs, so I can imagine the fun. ;-)
I’m not quite sure if I agree with the above assessment of what I’m hearing with the Harbeth p3. As far as other frequencies being turned down I’m not sure if you’re referring to the speakers or the effect of the carver c9. I will say compared to my Thile scs4 the p3s are much more relaxed at the high end of the spectrum. Possibly this may contribute a bit more to the detail to Ringos bongos but much more is going on here. First of probably should have desc
As I was saying before I accidentally pushed post. Lol. I should have described Ringos bongos not to be so much in the forefront but more to say in his own space in the soundstage to were he doesn’t blend into the background. I believe this happens due to the high resolution of the p3s and there synergy with the C9 processor. Even though my scs4 have a concentric driver and are a point source speaker on paper they should be better with the C9 but there not. And as far as any frequency manipulation from the Carver that’s not what it does. What the C9 does is crosstalk cancellation buy playing both channels in each speaker which has nothing to do with frequency. Basically the processor gives you a headphone effect though you speakers,only difference is instead of the music to be in the midd
And again with the button lol... as I was saying the with headphones the music is in the middle of your head with the C9 you get same basic effect of headphones but with the music not in your head but coming towards you were it belongs.
These newly remastered Beatles albums are really good in details and sound. Especially I like the voices. Very clear and natural but not "edged" or "screaming" as they often are in new recordings (just too many bad singers today maybe that only can whisper...).
I am using the LS 50 on my desktop. The Harbeths were a consideration. There is no dealer in the vicinity. So, I bought the Kefs from a local dealer where returns are easy. I've used two different amps with them, A Threshold 400A class A/ cascode and an ancient 25 watt per channel Stromberg Carlson tube amp with the tone and volume controls bypassed. (The power switch on the Threshold failed recently after 30 years of faithful service. So, I brought the Stromberg out of storage.) Front end is a Mac into Anti Cables USB going into a Schitt Jotunheim multi bit dac with Anti Cables interconnects, etc. The Kefs are sitting on Isoacoustics desktop stands. The stands make a big improvement in imaging. This desktop system is so good I get lost in the music while working. I can't believe how good the LS 50 sounds in this set up. The amazing to me is how three dimensional they sound with the SC, maybe even better than the Threshold.
I listen primarily to acoustic jazz and some bluegrass - Tidal or ripped cds on ITunes through Bit Perfect.