SF Guarneri Homage vs Harbeth 7ES3

I am considering either one of these two speakers. A used Guarneri does not cost much more than a new Harbeth 7ES3. I listen to a lot of Jazz, vocal, strings, country. All of my electronics is EAR (except for a Shindo preamp). Any recommendations from people who've tried both? Thanks.
Ggavetti, I own the SF G's and have listened extensively to the 7Es3's.... Really 'like comparing apples and oranges' as the old saying goes.
If you listen to Jazz and vocal and strings, IMHO the G's are just about unbeatable and frankly to me in a different league to the Harbeths. Harbeth's are very good and have a " BBC" sound. I like this sound, BUT again IMHO it is a coloration. You can also hear the contribution of the box with the Harbeths.
EAR make good electronics and will match well with either speaker. In the end, the best advice I can give you is to go out and see if you can hear both speakers for yourself.
I would offer a different thought on the issue of sound coloration contributed by the speaker cabinet particularly in the Harbeth line of speakers. Every speaker will be colored to some extent with the box contributing to the coloration. In the case of Harbeth, they have adopted "thin-wall" removable front and back panels in order to create a low coloration, low inertia and low energy storage cabinet in true BBC tradition. The cabinet is sometimes called a "lossy" cabinet due to this design approach and is one of Harbeth's secret for natural sound reproduction(they also use their own proprietary Radial driver designed and built in-house in the Harbeth factory).

Like Daveyf has mentioned, it's really like comparing apples and oranges. I do not have experience with the Guarneri Homage but have listened to the lower range models in the Cremona line and owned the Grand Pianos. My experience with Harbeth speakers were the Monitor 30, Super HL-5 and Compact 7ES-3. To my ears, the Sonus Fabers are more colored than the Harbeth. Maybe the Guarneri is less colored and steer more towards neutrality. I share the same notion in that it is best the person listens to both speakers before deciding himself. Both speakers will sound substantially different from one another and listening preferences will determine which speaker would match one's taste more. The Guarneri Homage costs substantially higher than the Compact 7ES-3 and the build quality on the former is miles ahead in comparison to the plain ole' British boxes, a testament of exquisite Italian craftmanship at its finest. Both are great speakers by the way.
Just to clarify: I listened to the speakers but at dealers, therefore with different electronics, which makes it hard to make a real comparison. So, my hope was to find people who tried them both with comparable electronics.
Maybe a good way to describe the Guarneri's would be...a richly detailed sound. They are very resolving speakers....certainly on a different level of performance then the lower level Sonus Faber speakers.
Don, why are you selling your G's?
That is a good question. Sitting here listening to them...they sound amazing...maybe I should just get a subwoofer. I have been thinking about getting a pair of Amanti Homages...very hard to find.
I hate it when other people chime in and offer opinions on, and make recommendations for, products other then what the OP is asking about!

Its is nice to see no one doing so in this thread!

(Try the Verity Audio Parsifal Monitors - they beat out the SF G's, IMO)

Don, If you need more bass, I suggest a sub. Usually in a small room the G's have sufficient bass, but in a larger room, then a sub that is fast and as accurate as possible, is the way to go. I personally don't really like the A's as much as the G's in an average to smaller room. In a big room, the A's are more recommendable but I still prefer the G's with a good sub.
John, the Verity Pasifals are beaten solidly by the G's IMHO, not in the bass I would agree; but the Verities do not have the midrange magic of the G's nor the high end
smoothness. Personally I don't even like them as much as the Harbeth's!
After trying many different subs from $500 to $3K, I finally matched my SF GH with a REL T-2. The right sub makes quite a big difference and I am thinking of getting a second T-2 to even out some room modes.
Daveyf, My room is large enough where it needs some more bass....I like it deep and textured. Midrange and highs are amazing...not sure anything else I have had can touch this level of performance and pleasure to the ears. I would say if I had some more bass performance this would be about perfect for my ears.

As1963, Just curious have you tried any JL Audio subs? Was thinking about two F-110's. I'll have to look into the T-2.
It depends on priorities but in a larger room I would prefer a speaker with large drivers(8" or bigger) over a speaker with small drivers + subwoofers although the latter is preferable in smaller rooms. Larger speakers sound fuller with greater scale, realism and dynamics. Nonetheless, I agree with Daveyf in that some attributes that are inherent in select speakers like the Guarneri can sometimes be more desirable than speakers that are able give more bass and volume. It was further noted in Stereophile that although the bigger Electa Amator and Extrema will play louder and capable of higher dynamics and deeper bass, the Guarneri eclipses these Sonus faber designs when it comes to purity of sound. The G was described as truly balanced and truthful to its source with a tonal, harmonic linearity that extends from the upper bass to the treble. From the write-up, it appears that the G is an extremely low-colored speaker that does not sound much alike with the other models in the lower range of Sonus Faber speakers.
Don, You might want to consider a couple of Martin-Logan Depths. I have not heard these with G's, but a friend uses them with his 'stats and they are very fast and can go pretty deep. I'm not sure if the JL's are fast enough to keep up with the G's.
This afternoon I looked for Ken Kessler's 1993 of the Guarneri Homage. At some point he talks about the Guarneri's lack of bass, which didn't bother him much because he thought whatever bass they have is so good that you do not need more...and found this passage fairly amusing:
"So, before I go any further, I want to qualify my remarks with a reminder: I do not give a damn about deep, thunderous bass. I find the obsession with sub-70Hz sonics to be not just juvenile but anal. And I can think of no lower life form than the kind of mutant who puts twin 15 inchers in the boot of his Escort, driving along with 125dB's worth of 40Hz grunge in each lughole."

I am not sure I fully agree, but I think he has a point here...
Daveyf, Decided to make up a subwoofer myself. I can play around with design and tuning for my listening space. Maybe a cost effective way to add that touch more bass performance I'm looking for from the sound.
So Don, are you still selling the G's on 'Gon?
Daveyf, I do still have an ad here on the 'Gon...I'm thinking these sound amazing and I won't do much better for this listening space. I have been playing with set up and they are really blending nicely with the room now. I should just keep them and become part of the GH club.
I am a proud Guarneri owner myself...sorry never heard the Harbeth. All I can add is that it would be hard to imagine a speaker sounding finer on the types of music you mentioned.
I have the M's, and was not overly impressed with them in my larger room (16 x 25 x 10)...event with a subwoofer thrown in. In my smaller dedicated listening room (16 x 10 x 8), they sound amazing...quite a transformation.

Just another data point for you to evaluate.
Thank you all for your input. I have been close to buying a pair of Guarneri's but eventually ended up buying a pair of Harbeth's Super HL-5. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to test the Guarneri's and relied on some trusted friends' mixed feelings about them -- stunningly beautiful speaker, but probably overrated in terms of its musicality and acoustic performance. Let's put it this way. I have two close friends who are professional reviewers for Italian sound magazines. Both of them recommended enthusiastically the Harbeth's I bought -- just go ahead and get them, especially if you're used to Quads ESL 57. Both of them recommended that I take a good listening to the Guarneri's before buying them...I followed their advice.
Ggavetti, you say that your friends/reviewers suggested a listen to the G's, did you not have an opportunity to do that?
Frankly, IMHO the GH is if anything underrated in its musicality and acoustic perfomance. I teach guitar as a side line and when most students hear my Taylor( That's a
respected US guitar maker) and then hear the GH's play back
of an acoustic guitar recording they are astounded at how close the playback sounds to the real thing!
Enjoy your HL-5's.
...play back of an acoustic guitar recording they are astounded at how close the playback sounds to the real thing!
It is my opinion that a speaker has to be pretty bad to not sound good when playing back an acoustic guitar. Maybe my experience has just always been with good speakers.
Daveyf, I tried both GH's and HL-5's at dealers but I tend to discount these tests because the room configuration and the electronics and the cables used are always different than mine. For me it's hard to judge how good a speaker is without trying it out in my system or in a system that is similar to mine. That is why I think that our opinions can be so different about speakers or components in general. In addition to having different ears and tastes, little changes in one's system can have big changes in how appealing a component it...at least in my experience. So, when I ask for advice I tend to trust people whom I know well, and who tried components for long periods of time in systems that are similar to mine. The reason I got interested in Guarneri's is that I've always been in tune with Ken Kessler advice. On the other hand, the fact that two reliable people who have similar tastes and similar systems to yours basically tell you to lean toward the HL-5's...well, that tells me something. The problem might be that they (and therefor me) might not have the right equipment to make the GH's sing as they should.
Brianmgrarcom, Have you had a real instrument, in this instance, a guitar, in the same room as the speakers and therefore were able to do an 'AB' comparison. Or, are you listening to the reproduction via speakers and then relying on your audible memory? Frankly, while the GH's are amazing in their ability to portray this instrument,and are as close to the real thing as I have heard, when you actually listen as a 'AB' comparison the audio system is clearly a facismile of the real thing and not
quite as "real" as the real thing... then again this has applied to all systems that I have ever heard in comparison to the real thing...For those who don't think so, I suggest having a quality instrument played next to your system and then telling me what you think...:0)
I play acoustic guitar as well - not at the professional level that Daveyf looks to perform - but always as a reference to me when evaluating speakers.

I have had at keast ten different speakers, from stats to ribbon to horn and dynamic designs, all reproduce acoustic guitar differtly, some at a larger scale, some with a heavy reverb, some thin - some just right.

and yes.. I own a pair of Souns Faber Guarneri.