I heard it at RMAF in October and was blown away and the quantity and quality of sound from such a small enclosure.
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I'm currently evaluating a pair of PMC TB2i's (which are excellent) but also am very interested in the Minuets as I was very impressed with them at the RMAF and in fact bought a pair of Silverline Preludes (small floorstanders) as a result. It may be premature (since I am not comparing them directly head to head) but I think I might prefer the Minuets. I like the idea of having a small monitor around and the Minuets are so superior at their price point they are hard to ignore.
Although I have never heard the Minuets, at their price point, they clearly appear to be candidates for "best buy" status.
A good friend of mine, Texas42 (you can chime in anytime, Dave), is better qualified to speak on behalf of the Silverline's, as he owned a pair of the Preludes, and has first-hand experience with the Minuets.
From what I heard of the Preludes at Dave's, and I only had a brief encounter, they were absolute stunners. Amazing dynamics and a wonderful, rich tone, for such a diminutive floor stander. If the Minuets are half as good sounding as the Preludes, they are certainly worth the cost of admission.
On the other hand, I have owned several pairs of Harbeths, and am fully accustomed to their sound. The P3 series, most notably, is the finest sounding mini-monitor I have ever heard/owned. Size notwithstanding, they throw an absolutely huge soundstage, that extends way beyond the boundaries of their cabinets.
Short story, so please bear with me. The first time I heard a pair was in London, shortly after their debut. My wife and I were in town shopping for a stand-mount speaker, and had spent the entire day searching for a pair to take home. We listened to virtually everything that was available (in London, at least) at the time, but were not satisfied with what we had been hearing.
It was our last shop to visit, and we were already exhausted from all the walking around and train rides to get everywhere, so we were not in the best frame of mind for yet another fruitless audition. We merely wanted to get it over with and get back home.
Reluctantly, we explained to the salesperson the kind of sound we were looking for and, without hesitation, he said he had just what we were looking for. He brought out a pair of the then new Harbeth HL-P3 loudspeakers and set them on the stands. When my wife and I saw just how small they were, we just looked at each other and thought, "yeah right."
Well, I have to tell you, within three seconds of the speaker's being played, we both perked up and did a double-take. The sound emanating from those little boxes was nothing short of breathtaking.
I had heard a lot of speakers in my time, indeed that day; however, none of them could match the little Harbeth's for producing such a vast and transparent soundstage. Totally believable in every (audiophile) sense of the word. Within the context of their capabilities, they were simply remarkable. Needless to say, we bought a pair right on the spot. To this day, no other loudspeaker has had such a profound effect upon my first listening.
While this is hardly a comparison between the Silverline's and the Harbeth's, my point is that both speakers could very well be capable of giving you exactly what you have been looking for, albeit at different price points. I don't think there is any right or wrong in choosing one over the other, except where, perhaps, budget is your first priority. In the end, your purchase of either loudspeaker will be fully justified by the wonderful sounds they can produce. I hope this helps.
FWIW I don't know about the 'new' Minuets, but I listened to a stacked set (4) Minuets at Alan's shop a couple of years ago. They were driven by inexpensive SS amps, pre-amp and CDP. Played a few cuts from discs Alan had and some that I brought. I was greatly impressed!!!!! Clarity, presence, and neutral tone, without 'brightness'. Reasonable bass for such a small box. I still went home with my Bolero's though. :-)
Thank you, a tough call.
I have not yet heard them, but the P3SERs sound like they would be consistent with my tastes, at least according to what I read.
What I perceive and like reading about the Minuets, however, is more sincerity than hype (not that Harbeths are overly hyped), and also some sort of "special" quality or personality to the Minuet speakers.
In the end, perhaps $600 vs +/- $2000 makes it a no brainer.
Stacked meaning 4 Minuets played simultaneously?
One of my first experiences was a friend who had stacked KLH 9's, circa 1980.
Were the Minuets oriented vertically?
I would love to hear more about that and always wonder why "stacked" configurations don't get more airtime.
I'm not sure if mine are the Minuets or the Minuet Supremes, but I've had a pair for a few months in a two channel setup. There's much to like about them, but bass extension and physically conveying the feeling of the music are not on that list. Jazz, vocals, small ensembles, most rock and roll sound very good. Orchestral music sounds truncated and like it's coming from a really small speaker.
I'm not sure, but they also may be sensitive to the type of solid state amp running them. I have an Arte Forma and they sound good, clear and detailed most of the time. When I was running a ClassD Audio amp, I thought the speakers sounded smoother and richer. Of course, it may have all been the amp.
If they just had a 6 to 7 inch bass/mid driver, they'd be able to offer a more well-rounded sonic character. But I guess that's why Silverline sells other, more costly speakers.
I think an obvious hint would be that the supreme version has real wood veneer whereas the earlier ones had vinyl covered cabinets.
Perhaps system matching is important, as may of the compliments praise the bass and volume of sound coming from such a small speaker, not just the usual sounds good with jazz and vocal comments that you hear every time a new mini monitor gets well reviewed.
It is possible that the Minuets are just another good monitor with some good reviews - there are many - but hoping they had some genuine magic about the design, especially because they are so small.
My EPOS ELS3's were played for about 30 minutes before I put them back in the box and in storage.
Cwlondon, The Minuets were stacked vertically and the speaker on top was inverted. I never really listened to the solo set of Minuets so I can really comment about their sound.
If you are interested in the whats and whys of stacked Minuets you might call Alan. BTW, I listened in the near field with lots of space around them. I don't know if these speakers would drive a mid to large size room. But what I heard was balanced and very very good.
Of course system matching with any good speaker/room is essential and you can't get 20hz, 30hz, or even flat 40hz bass for free. It costs bigger bucks and bigger speakers/drivers. That's life. :-)
I am sorry for the very late response. I definitely believe the Merlins and Harbeth are better, but in the Minuet's price range I heard a speaker last week that clearly outperform them and if you like the single driver sound, outperform just about any speaker I have heard. The speakers I am referring to are Hoyt-Bedford Type 1's by Omega Speaker Systems which are 8" modified hemp single driver speakers that sound great and have unbelievable build quality for only $795.. These speakers are tremendously musical and sound like live music.
Go to Audio Circle under circles and scan down to Omega and you will find info about the Hoyt Bedfords. I believe they will be on the regular website shortly. It is worth the effort because these speakers are an incredible bargain at Omega's asking price and a terrific speaker regardless of price.
I also bought a pair at RMAF. I am blown away and I won't be missing the P3ESR SE/Nait 5i if that says anything. Just sold my Adam A7Xs for this setup. I'm powering them with a Wadia Powerdac on a desktop system. This configuration is GREAT!!! Please help me figure out a larger version for biggish room for 2 channel and theater usage.
Re "I wont be missing the P3SER SE....if that says anything"
I would say that says quite a lot, since the Harbeths have been raved about and are almost twice the price!
Noting in your other threads that you liked the original Linn Kans (which I also thought sounded surprisingly good when I heard them) I take this as a strong recommendation for the Minuets and may finally have to just give them a try.
As I have inquired regarding both the Minuets and the Harbeths, it would be great to hear any further thoughts on near field use, particularly with respect to fatigue free midrange, low level transparency, and /or any good matches or "synergy" with associated DACs and amps.
I have a pair of original Minuets in my small living room powered by a vintage Marantz receiver. They are kind of tucked away behind my TV and I run my TV through this system for a poor man's HT (sounds fine for movies and music on channels like Palladia), but also have a cd player and internet radio hooked up. They sound really nice and are just cool little speakers and IMO a great bargain for $300 used. In my room they are capable of putting out an incredible amount of bass. In the interest of simplicity, I use a single run of wire with jumpers.
I once owned a pair of Minuets, I'm a Big Silverline fan, with 11's 17's (among others over the years). I sold the Minuets and regret it to this day. I haven't found a small
speaker for the money that can match them. I'm back to thinking I need a pair again. Hope some come up soon. Great speaker, period.
I had an older version of the Minuets. There were great. While I can't say size doesn't matter, these put out remarkable sound for their size. I may buy another pair. ERAd4s are also very good, better bass, Ms seemed to provide more detail and "punch". Either way you can't go wrong, esp if power isn't an issue for the ERAs.
I have a pair (minuet supreme plus) on my desktop that I use with inexpensive components (Marantz pm5004) and think they sound very nice. I will at some point pair them with better electronics (perhaps a Rogue Sphinx) but agree they are absolutely wonderful for the money. And cute to look at as well!