Now I need to sell my Harbeth
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I think the Coherent Audio line is speakers is a distinct upgrade in sonics from Harbeth.
They offer a Tannoy-esque coaxial driver arrangement, with a horn loaded tweeter inside the woofer that offers up a sensitivity of 96db.
Tube amplification will mate better with this speaker than anything Harbeth makes. So if that’s important to you, I think taking a closer look at the Coherent GR10 or GR12 is very important.
Oh, and they’re literally half the price of Harbeths!
CD318 when does it not come down to personal preference , I guess when you are needing a professional system for specific reasons , so in my case it is a personal preference of sound of "life " over the Harbeth sound .BTW , I can make my Klipsch sound very much like my Harbeth by placing a towel or light blanket over the horn .It's similar in difference between high humidity and dry climate .One suppresses you and the other lifts you up , inspires you .The Klipsch inspires me as does the Sedona climate .I grew up in high humidity , I know the difference .
Yes , I read all the adjectives placed on the Harbeth which is one reason I bought them . When it comes to music , I need to go with emotions over mind , after all , music is an emotion experience .
Please do not be offended by what I wrote , my Klipsch inspired my to write this as I am listening to them right now lol
I owned the Harbeth M30.1 speakers and upgraded to Harbeth M40.2 and could not be happier.
I have owned many speakers over the years and finally found my home with Harbeth speakers.
I really enjoyed the sound of the M30.1 and I was considering adding a sub to get closer to a full range sound. Decided to upgrade to the new M40.2 instead. Best move I ever made.
“BTW , I can make my Klipsch sound very much like my Harbeth by placing a towel or light blanket over the horn .”
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if you prefer 25 year old Klipsch speakers covered with a blanket or towel then more power to you. What kind of gear are you using to drive your Klipsch speakers? What gear were you using to drive the Harbeths?
For me and my ears, I would prefer Harbeth anything to Klipsch anything.
I owned the M30.1's for 6 years and sold them after comparing to the similar sized ATC SCM19 mk2.
The ATC has a more neutral and dynamic type of sound, while still having wonderfully natural mids and highs. The SCM19's bass range is significantly more taut and punchy and - while the specs don't indicate it - reached lower in my room. Sounds more tuneful in the lows too, probably due to the sealed loading vs the ported cabinet of the 30.1's. The ATC sounds much more comfortable with bass driven music and at high SPL's too if that is your thing. They don't give up anything with vocals or acoustic music, though a less plush sound than the Harbeths.
Both very nice speakers, but I prefer the SCM19 by a significant margin.
Worth noting that while the SCM19 has similar sensitivity specs to the 30.1 it sounds (to me) about 3dB less sensitive. Where a 50W amp might be fine with m30.1, 100W plus would be preferable with the 19's.
@dromme, thanks for telling us why you upgraded from the Harbeth's. Nothing to be offended by at all, as an (ex) owner you would be in a perfect place to know so I am grateful for your reply.
Horns do tend to still split opinions amongst certain audiophiles, but Klipsch speakers though still rare in the UK, were once an important part of audio history over the pond.
In any case I'm pretty sure that Harbeth, with it's BBC heritage, wouldn't claim to be the loudspeaker for where high energy and dynamics are required such as for Punk or Metal etc.
Therefore it's reasonable to assume that alternative brands like Klipsch (or ATC, JBL, PMC etc) might be preferred by fans of the Sex Pistols, Motorhead, Metallica, System of a Down etc.
Unfortunately as no speaker is without flaws, its still a question of choosing which compromises you can best live with. Upgrades are often just a case of shifting preferences as I can testify having been through at least 8 'upgrades' over the last 30 years.
@cd318 I can’t help but think you’re being a bit condescending when you infer that it might only be ’Punk or Metal etc.’ listeners who prefer say ATC to Harbeth. These are hardly genres known for their dynamics either.
For the record, a very large proportion of my listening is to acoustic/vocal dominated music - genres that the ATC Scm19’s excel at.
To me they are simply a more neutral, evenhanded speaker than the Harbeth m30.1 - which was a speaker I enjoyed for many years (in fact I’ve owned 3 different Harbeth models over a 12 year period).
I became infatuated with the idea of owning a Harbeth speaker for a while. I auditioned the 30s but ended up buying a pair of SuperHL5 plus as I felt they were a step up in every way - airiness, neutrality, bass depth and control, realism.
Thought maybe I could replace my Thiel 3.7s with them but no. I found in comparing them the Thiels did just about everything better than the Harbeths. They had the beautiful tone, but were just less boxy, cleaner and more realistic, without sounding thin. So I sold the Harbeths. Great speakers to be sure though!
@dhcod I'll be interested to read your thoughts on the comparison.
The dealer where I bought my ATC's also sells Harbeth, perhaps that's evidence that different types of listeners gravitate to one or the other, though as indicated I like both.
I do wish I'd listened to the ATC's sooner as their strengths do align better with my wide ranging taste in music. While auditioning the 19's I also briefly heard the m40.2's set up in the same room, that just convinced me the ATC's were the right move.
I’m very interested in these British loudspeakers because I listen mainly classical and early music, but I’ve been said that they need muscled amps for exponing their best qualities and also need to be played quite loud.
I can’t listen very loud and my Analysis Audio permit me to hear a great deal of details at relatively low level spl.
Do some have experience on that with these speakers ?
@prof, your comments re the SLH5+ are very interesting given that their designer Alan Shaw had revealed a while back that he felt it was time to open up the sound a little bit more with the new model to be more in line with modern musical tastes. Those Thiel 3.7s of yours sound like they are wonderful loudspeakers.
Surprising also that a number of comments have mentioned alternate speakers that they found to be more neutral than the Harbeths. With their BBC heritage behind them Harbeth have prided themselves on the almost self effacing neutrality of their sound, (especially through their ruler flat midrange) majoring on vocals.
I guess we can conclude that things are very competitive in this sector. With all this in mind it will be interesting to hear what @dhcod makes of it.
I do find the SLH5+ to be quite neutral sounding to my ear. By that I mostly mean sounding smooth, without obvious frequency deviations, that kind of thing. I did find the smaller 30s, though seductive, to be just a bit too rolled off and darkish in tone for my own long term enjoyment.
I really do enjoy the lushness of the Harbeth midrange, where so many speakers tend to sound too thin to my errs. As you know the Harbeths of of the thin-wall cabinet design, tuning the cabinet to allow for vibrations but in a way that are supposed to be invisible to the ear.
I think they are remarkably competent in that regard. Just given their looks and construction the actual lack of boxy sound is impressive.
That said, it seems to me the brute-force school of cabinet making, where cabinets are made to be as inert as possible, seem to ultimately hold the day in terms of achieving more realistic sound in most regards.At least in the case of the Thiels. Though they are not made of aluminum or granite, the overriding design of the Thiel cabinet is to be inert and not sing with the music. And I heard those benefits when comparing the Harbeth and Thiel 3.7. With the Harbeth there was a sense of the sound sort of filling all the space in between the instruments, almost as if the space/reverb between the instruments itself had density and was tactile.
On the Thiels, the tone was just as organic (though not as perfectly soft and organic with voices as with the Harbeth), but the sound seemed to clear up in and around the instruments, as if a spurious form of "ringing" had been removed and all the energy cleaned and organized to come only from where it was coming, the instrument itself.
So for instance, playing a classical guitar quartet, the guitars became less produced by a speaker, more cleaned up, organized, precise, free of the speakers, and just sounding less "of a speaker" than and more like real guitars playing in free space. More believable.
The Harbeths certainly got the tone and gestalt right of the guitars, but the Thiels got the tone, gestalt right and also moved the sound towards greater realism and accuracy. If the Thiels had sounded "boringly accurate" with a bleached tone, I’d never own them, but they really are fantastic at portraying an organically correct sounding timbre on voices and instruments. So I found the Super5HL+ with it's more neutral extended presentation to actually sound fairly similar to the Thiels, but I found the Thiels actually took that sound further down the road in believability of timbre, realism.
But for capturing something essential about the roundness, softness and humanness of the human voice, the Harbeths are almost peerless. Until recently a store near me sold Harbeths and when I’d stop in to buy vinyl inevitably a Harbeth model would be playing. Every time I would be seduced by the sound and want to just sit and listen. If I could I’d own them too, but I already have too many speakers on the go.
You're lucky you don't live in Australia, the 40.2 currently lists for over $23K and $2.5K extra for the anniversary model.
A bit of sticker shock when I payed less than $4K for my 30.1's 6yrs ago.
The big ATC's are even more expensive, so I'll probably be sticking with my smaller monitors + sub arrangement.
@prof Thanks for that. It's a good a write up on the Harbeth sound as I've read since R.E.G.
The Harbeth lossy cabinet design is in direct opposition to the brute force inertia approach adopted by almost everyone else so it's very helpful to read your impressions.
I guess Alan Shaw himself would be happy to hear that all his efforts result in 'an almost peerless' rendition of the the human voice.
This has always been the key priority for Harbeth, no doubt stemming from it's BBC legacy where it's major emphasis on the clarity of speech.
Many many years ago I was taken with the urge to upgrade from the speakers I was running at the time, B&W DM1800 (a remarkably good speaker in its day). I settled on Thiel 2.3. They were fine, but needed a good bit of power. Unwisely, I availed myself of the store's trade-in trade-up program, to 3.6's. By then, I had acquired a pair of Muse 175 monoblocks. Undoubtedly, the most "accurate" system I had assembled, but I just didn't want to listen any more. I returned to the fold with ProAc Response 2.5's, a great speaker--better to my mind than many of their more recent offerings--and subsequently as they aged to PMC Twenty.24's, which I enjoy. After another round of more exhaustive auditioning (that urge again), I'm pretty sure I'm headed towards 40.2's within the next year. I've now heard a lot of makes and models, and to me--just me--nothing I've heard tops them.
It's completely the opposite: The 3.7s are one of the easiest to place speakers I know of, their coax design with the special flat midrange (so so no coning around the tweeter allowing full dispersion) provides one of the widest sweet spots I've experienced with very little tonal balance changes, and I have found them easy to driver with 140W of tube power and even 14W of tube power sounded fantastic on them!
The 3.7s sounded fantastic the moment I dropped them in to my room, and only got better as I played with position to conform to my own tastes.
Interesting to read this thread, since I’ve obsessed over Harbeths for a long time. The larger models (30 & 40) interest me most, but there’s nowhere for them in this house--and they’re way too large for my robust (but space-constrained) desktop audio + headphone system.
Speaking of which, I managed to snag a used pair of the "other" brand that I’ve obsessed over--ATC. I have the SCM12 Pro passive monitors. That has the same drivers as the SCM19s, but in a somewhat smaller, distinctly less upscale cabinet. These ATCs have been a revelation: I’ve never heard such effortless resolution, accuracy, and bass from a 2-way before...and not from many 3-ways, either. Yet it’s not fatiguing or hyped. At this late date in my audio career (35+ yrs), the ATCs are recalibrating my ears & expectations.
I’ve learned that any changes/improvements I make in the upstream components will be markedly apparent through the ATCs.
Still obsessing over the Harbeths, though.
I would imagine the gr15 competes with Harbeth 40.2 but I do not believe the gr10 or gr12 do. They cost $2500/$3500 Canadian vs Harbeth prices (which is a lot more!) so regardless of performance considerations, you have to keep in mind value you’re getting with Coherent.
As for how the coherent handle rock: they make music easier to listen to than my Jbl 4367. I actually prefer how the midrange sounds on the Coherent gr12. Kind of crazy considering the gr12 is $3400 vs $21000 of the JBL 4367.
Holy ****, Pull your head out of your ***. I couldn't even stomach reading all the post. Let me guess, you hooked up some inexpensive source and expected the excellent Harbeth to improve the sound of a crappy source. Should have done your research my friend. Harbeth are very true to the source. Whether it be the cables, the amp or pre, the player or turntable or even if its just a **** recoding, if you feed Harbeth's Crap....You hear Crap.....Feed them good source and the Harbeth will shine. No added dynamics... No added anything. Just honest sound
I was also wondering which post inspired the rant, but I agree with jethro1964. I own and enjoy Harbeths, but I simply can't understand why Mr. Shaw sidesteps the amplification thing. To say any well designed amp over 50 (or whatever) watts will give you great sound does not make sense to me. It's a very well designed speaker, and it will easily allow someone to hear the flaws in a mediocre amp. Then on the same token, it will allow a better amp to shine.
@d2girls Thanks for your helpful response. Do you own both the GR12 and JBL? Is there anywhere to audition the Coherent Audio speaker in US?
I’ve found out easier to listen to midrange often don’t have the dynamic contrast and punch for rock music. For example, Devore Super 9. It has propulsive bass but a bit flat sounding for rock. But the midrange to die for.
Do you think the GR12 has the dynamics punch and grunt for rock compare to JBL? And the GR12 would be better for rock compare to the Harbeth sound? It’s safe to assume both Harbeth and Coherent Audio speaker makes average quality rock recording listenable?
Btw, max tricked out GR12 can be close to $6k.
Also, for a room of size 17'x12' Harbeth or GR12/15 would suit better? From your post, JBL 4367 seems very small room friendly. However, the humongous size gives me pause.
Best speaker purchase I've done in 30 years was to try a pair of rebuilt Quads ESL 63's by Electrostatic Solutions. Rebuilt totally and an updated power supply which really took this already great speaker up another few levels. Very natural, perfect tone and color, and placement of performance eerie good. Best vocals on any speaker, and with 2 subs they really become special. You do have to dampen the wall behind them and have them pulled out 2-3 feet, side walls not a big issue. They play at loud enough levels for most listeners, good dynamics, and the bottom end down to 35hz with no sub. Power Cords do make a huge impact in their sound, that surprised me, the standard cord was just thin and bright, added the Anticable reference power cords and wow! other cords like Lessloss worked fine also, I am sure others would also. The sound is so good that I never once think of changing the speakers or other parts of my system. It sounds like music, and you feel the music. This is what the hobby is about.