My SF trip - finally heard a Harbeth

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the recommendations of audio stores in the SF Bay Area. As it turns out I didn't have nearly as much time as I had hoped to explore them, but I did make it to Tone of Music (after a 30 mile drive that took 3 hours - damn that SF traffic). The owner, Tim, is a very knowledgeable and understood my system needs right off the bat.

I only had about an hour, so I chose to listen to the Harbeth P3esr as I had never heard a Harbeth. He paired it with a Luxman integrated and a Line Magnetic CD player. His listening room is lined with shelves and equipment, so it's not an ideal acoustic space (but the cost of space in SF is at a premium, so no complaints). The speakers had not been played recently, so Time put on some acoustic bass music to warm them up. The clarity and realism of the instrument was very impressive. Later he put on some Jackson Browne, and there were some moments of absolute magic. Browne's voice was as real as anything I've ever heard from an audio system - spooky. Finally, we put on some electronica so that I could hear how deep the little Harbeths go. This was where I had some doubts about the little P3s. The bass seems to be rather undefined and boxy. It really sounded like someone smacking the side of a plywood box rather than bass. However, he was playing the music much louder than I would at home, and the room may have been contributing to the bass issues.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to hear the Harbeths, but I'm still unsure about whether to buy them. I don't listen to electronica, hard rock or dance music, and in my 14x11 listening room I imagine they would provide more than enough bass depth. And I'm sure I could resell them to a budding audiophile if they don't work out.

Thanks again for all your suggestions!

Best, Scott
Hello Scott

My response is to your listening priorities, and I will say just one thing, the Harbeth's are equally good on all types of music that I have hear. That's not to say that they are the best in any given area, but they are very good in all areas.

I have two systems of which one includes the Harbeth 7's. I haven't heard the P3's, but I have heard the 7's and the 5's and I would believe that the 3's whould have a lot of the same Harbeth sound as the others.

Good luck in your endeavor.

How was the soundstage and imaging with the Harbeth demo?
The soundstage and imaging were very impressive. The depth was particularly startling, and the placement of instruments and vocals was very realistic.

@ AEW - I'm sure that the Harbeths would sound great in my system. I just didn't get a long enough listen to drop more than 2K on a small speaker.

I own the P3's and I think they are a bargain. They are
better than many speakers I have owned at more than twice
the price.

Sometimes I am amazed that these little boxes can put out
such a big sound. I even like the nice accurate tight bass
on the sealed enclosure and never felt that I needed a sub
with them.

You will not regret getting them. I think they are that

BTW,my audiophile friend came over for a listen and the next
day he sold his Spendors and bought a pair!
I've always been impressed with Harbeth speakers. Tonally right .... in spades.