I'd had the Omega single-driver speakers in my system for 6 months, loving the purity, simplicity, elegance of the cabinets, wicked midrange tone, and immersive soundstage. But I was missing having speakers that could rock out and play distorted/complex music (TOOL, hip hop...).
My space is relatively tight so I was focusing on stand-mounters to replace the Omegas (which I had been augmenting with a pair of Omega Speed 10 subs).
This forum is rampant with love for Fritz speakers, so I placed a call to Fritz and he was kind enough to drop off a demo pair of his Carreras (he's local to me in California). He is a very kind and reasonable man (and I'm not the first to note this).
Then I arranged for a home demo of lightly used Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversaries (again, a nice fellow audiophile let me play them in my system for 30 minutes). These speakers also get major love on this forum, and in Stereophile, etc. Came with Skylan stands.
Fritz Carreras: Amazing clarity, crispness, speed, coherence, soundstage and bass for their size. Much more modern and crisp than the Omegas, but NOT too clinical or dry at all. Filled my room impressively and were an easy win for their versatility over the Omegas. Just lacking a little of that special alnico tonal/timbral purity that was so captivating with the Omegas.
Harbeth 30.2s: WOW! Huge soundstage but intimate in a way that the Omegas were as well. Much more "live" yet intimate sounding than the Fritz Carreras. Transparent in the midrange even more than the Omegas. Quieter than the Omegas as well due to lower sensitivity. Filled the room in a way I hadn't heard before. Slightly more forward and engaging than either the Omegas or Fritz.
I bought them and am beginning to enjoy my system in a new way.
Harbeth 30.2s are my new reference for natural/organic sounding but big-sounding and versatile speakers. Just what I was looking for. There is definitely some magic there.
Fritz Carreras are amazing for a more modern-sounding, clean, crisp stand-mount at a great price with great craftsmanship. Well worth an audition -- I was very impressed.
Omega Alnico 6" XRS are special, but niche, as is probably obvious from their design. Sweet, smooth tone for vocals, trumpet, basically all unamplified midrange-heavy instruments. Very sensitive 95dB 8ohm. Amazing for old recordings with limited dynamic range or treble. Not so great for louder more complex music, although the subs help a lot.
@jmolsberg Thanks... although the pass brought out the best in the Omegas in my experience... having run them briefly with 45 and 2a3 SET flea-watt amps. But the pass deserves more versatile speakers, I agree!
One of my additional takeaways from this comparison is that cabinet resonances can really enhance the sound. I'd say definitely so for the Harbeths, somewhat so for the Omegas, and, given their heft and small size, probably much less so for the Fritz.
Well if we’ve learned anything today, it’s don’t let one childish doofus ruin the whole world. So, moving on, I think it’s fair to say that the cabinet resonances make more of a musical instrument out of the speaker, more natural harmonics if done right, or something.it’s why I like to have resonators in my room.
And another bonus for the harbeth is the reproduction of the spatial information and depth in the soundstage. Worthy of the pass xa.8 amp! I have to say, crisp definition like in the fritzs is not the be all and end all. Tone and space as long as not too blurry are key for me. I think it also makes for a more forgiving gift experience with mediocre recordings. Less harsh...
I think it’s fair to say that the cabinet resonances make more of a musical instrument out of the speaker, more natural harmonics if done right, or something.it’s why I like to have resonators in my room.
Yes and why something like the Kii Three is easy to admire but hard to enjoy.
redwoodaudio congrats on the Harbeth's! On the three speakers you compared the 30.2's are the only I've heard but they were great. First time was at Cap Audiofest in 2017 I literally stayed for the entire second side of DSOTM the sound was so fantastic.
And agreed on sympathetic cabinet resonances, my Audio Note speakers share that same philosophy of cabinet design.