I have auditioned at length the Quad 12L and the Harbeth Compact 7 ES-2 in the last month. Despite the Quads attractive lacquered wood finish, there is no other comparision possible at all-go for the Harbeth-there's no question that's it is in a completely different league-a non fatiguing, utterly transparent speaker, a classic, in all likelihood.
I've seen but not auditioned the Professional Monitor Company speakers.
They are not very attractive looking is my only observation!
I know this isn't entirely helpful, since I didn't do the comparison, but I absolutely love my Harbeth Compact 7ES-2. I first heard them at CES with a Plinius 102 amp, and they took my breath away on female vocal. I've heard them at home with both a Bruce Moore tube amp and a new (unbroken) PS Audio HCA-2, and they sound great on both. They are certainly worth giving a listen. Walter Swanbon of Fidelis (www.fidelisav.com) sold me mine. He's a good guy!
Agreed the Harbeth's are great. If you can stretch for the Super HL-5 it's a nice step up - more bass. But they all sound great. Much better than their looks would imply!
Well in the Quads defense...in u want a speaker that is truly uncolored(ie. no rolled off highs,etc)...the Quads are the real deal...as one poster already mentioned...some dont like this level of sonic realism...they are very revealing of source and electronics...however...with good gear(which u have) and a quality recording...they are about as good as it gets below 2k....they also throw a larger soundstage than the above speakers(both good in their own right)...however...I wouldnt say the Harbeth is in a different league...it is an entirely DIFFERENT sound...more in the old school Brit speaker sound...very forgiving...works well with more recordings...but doesnt have the speed or dynamics of the QUads...and the QUad name is synonomous with transparency...
I would say phasecorrect is just that. You have to decide which camp you fall into: Transparent, airy (tubies call it bright) or warm, musical. (tansparent types call it rolled off and soft). If you prefer transparency go with the Quads if you like warmer take the Harbeths. Its all about preferances, both makes are quality and the Quads are nicely priced.
You've never heard the Harbeth if you think it's "old school Brit," forgiving or lacks transparency, or else there is something wrong with your hearing. It isn't rolled off on top to any appreciable extent. If anything, it may have a little too much tweeter. Its superior transparency and clarity come from the proprietary material the woofer cone is made from - no audible distortion. It will sound a little different in different rooms and on different height stands, but it will never sound like an old British speaker. And, let me add, not really forgiving at all. Rather, very revealing of the sonic character of upstream components as well as the merits and deficiencies of modern recordings.
ALso..Von Shiekwert(?) vr-1 is a highly acclaimed monitor for under 1k...I dont have a local dealer...but many owners rave...hope this helps...you also wont be sorry with the QUads...they are an exceptional value...
One thing no one seems to take into account much is how much a speaker has been run in or how it was auditioned when we comment. Toe-in or not, type of stands, room, cables, height, etc. I have owned now two sets of the Quad 12L. My second, new set sounds quite different than my pair with over 100 hrs on them. Upon first listen on a newer set they are less focused and a touch splashy sounding, less defined central imaging. I know that after a conservative 50-100hr break in they have one the best sounding top ends I have ever heard, and the best imaging I have heard, period. If the 12L ever sounds bright I will change my gear because it has one of the smoothest frequency responses I have heard top to bottom. Of course everyones gear and taste is different. I use Primare equipment that is fairly refined. If I mentioned my impression of the Harbeths It wouldn't be fair because it was in a different room and on different gear. I can say I choose the 12L prior to hearing the Harbeths and have no regrets. I choose the 12L after owning the Spendor S3/5 and GR Paradox 1 with the same Primare gear. Value wise I haven't had a better purchase.
I noticed comments in other discussions pairing Plinius and Dynaudio. Any thoughts on the Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkII?
Also, is there another monitor in this range that would be more forgiving of a poor recording?
Thanks for your input.
Checkout the the Soliloquy 6.0s.It has a very articulate and refined top end but not tingy.Bass extends down to about 35 hz.And these speakers will disapear with good equipment.They are also soundstage and imaging champions.Fit and finish are beautiful and they weigh about 35lbs a piece.The driver compliment is one 6.5 woofer and a 1 inch silk dome tweeter. If you want transparency, airy and musical with a little warmth look no further.
I do not own 12L but own both Quad 11L & Compact 7ES. While the 11L may be revealing however I think it is not as revealing as the C7ES, and C7ES is obviously in another league.
C7ES is much more superior in term of highs, imaging and overall smoothness, and sound effortless with most kind of music. When I compare Quad 11L to other of my moving-coil speakers collection such as KEF LS3/5A, Dynaudio 1.3MK2, Proac Response 1SC and C7ES, I am pretty sure that the midrange of 11L is somehow over-emphasized. To put in another words, somehow the midrange is designed to sound overly loud/or rather over forward in contrast to background music. Listen to some Choral works/Vocal and you understand what i meant. But this can be compensated by choosing different cables/Interconnect or switch you pre-amp. I drive them with my tube gears.
However, I do not think C7ES sound warmer that the 11L. 11L is one of the warmest sounding speakers I have come across.
But it is the overall tonal balance of 11L which attracts me. It is non-fatiguing with good musicality and natural sounding. Just the opposite to the Dynaudio 1.3MK2. I found myself hook on to it after hrs of listening. I start to appreciate the laid-back highs from the Quads, they sound very different/special to me, which i do not find these in C7ES, Dynaudio and Proac. I think these is one reason makes the Quad far more non-fatiguing tha the others.
If you have extra budget, i think you wont make mistake by getting a pair of QUADs. They are real good at their price. No other made can rival them at the price range.
But IMHO, the C7ES is much superior because they image much better and more neutral sounding, couple with their natural mids and conherency.
SPendors work well with poorer recordings...midrange is slightly exaggerated...which adds nice body on vocals...not really designed for speed or deep bass...but a very pleasant, musical speaker....
I would have to disagree...the Quads are not a "warm sound" type of speaker(sometimes I wish they were)...they are designed for detail,speed, and transparency...and most professional reviews have reiterated these traits...if anything they are a tad bright out of the box...but break- in does improve greatly...the 3/5as are notorious for having a slightly "bloated" midrange...which in their case...adds weight and body to a very small speaker(and a very good one I might add)...