A toss up. Can't go wrong with either one.
You'll have a great sounding system either way. One is on the floor, one is on stands. There may be WAF involved in appearance.
Listen to both if possible. Take your amp.
completely agree with magnumpi205....flip a coin, aside from having to buy stands for the harbeth.
Well I have to disagree, at least with the fact that Spendor and Harbeth sound alike.
I have not heard the Spendor A6, but have owned Spendor LS 3/5, S5e, SP 3/1P, and SA1.
I currently own Harbeth HLP3-es. Have owned Harbeth Compact 7es2 and 7es3, Monitor 30, and Monitor 20 domestic.
Harbeths to me are much more detailed and clear. They have more PRaT, for lack of a better term.
Spendors, while nice, are just that, not exciting, just nice and pleasant. They don't excite like Harbeths can.
Of course as always, everyone hears differently. YMMV.
I owned both( not 6A's, but 6's) and IMHO the Harbeth is in another league.
Better mids, highs, not as much, but better bass. Much more detail and just all around more complete sound. I have since sold both for various reasons, I doubt I would ever buy another pair of Spendor. I would definitely buy another pair of Harbeth, they are wonderful speakers.
Hope that helps.
no ones claiming they sound the same...either is a worthy purchase...first class. if you expand your search, the proac D2 is another great box.
You should also audition the ATC 11s. Just won a shoot-out against these speakers in a respected June Issue of the UK mag What Hi Fi?. A great source for all things English.
Although I have not listened to Spendors, the Harbeths are very revealing speakers. If you want all the excitement, PRAT and dynamics, match the Harbeth with LFD and you would be in seventh heaven.
I have had Harbeth 7es3 speakers in my system for about 8 months, and I just sold them. I do find them very detailed, and the bass is excellent; but, ultimately, I found them boring. And, with any kind of rock-and-roll at higher volumes (and I mean not even close to head-banger spls), cabinet resonance becomes an issue, and the highs become relentless. I used them with a Lavardin IT, which is supposed to be a 'match made in heaven'.
How did you like them at moderate levels, with less complex music. Jazz, singer-songwriter, pop....? That's a nice setup you had, so I'm sure it excelled very well in some areas. I have a pair of P3's I bought in August, that I will soon be setting up. I may go with the Croft, when funds allow. This will be a second system, just to chill and not fire up a ton of tubes (-:
The c7es3 is a perfect jazz and classical speaker. . A little research would lead you to never buy them if your preference was rock and roll at higher volumes. If you like, vocals, jazz, Led Zeppelin and Steely Dan at reasonable volume levels, they're some of the best you can get. Obviously the rest of the chain matters and my least favorite was a class a/b amp and my favorite is a 30 watt class A amp. Harbeth's like tubes as well, but the class A is pure magic.
Melville, it is unfortunate that the C7ES3 isn’t working for you. FWIW the Harbeth is a slightly warm and dark sounding speaker hence a more upbeat and dynamic amp would be more suitable if one is looking for more excitement in the music. If I am not mistaken, Jeff Day had compared the Lavardin IT and Leben CS600 with the Harbeth 40.1 on Positive Feedback and consistently found the IT to sound slightly warm, soft and dark next to the Leben. Perhaps the smooth sounding Lavardin IT may be the reason it sounded boring when matched to the C7ES3. I do not have experience with the Lavardin but have tried at least half a dozen amps on the SHL5s and there are some amps that can really bring the Harbeth to life. The Harbeth can sound a bit lacklustre and boring with smooth sounding amps.
Other possible factors that may contribute to the dull presentation of the Harbeth are speaker placement, speaker stands, source equipment and the listening room. If the Harbeth still sounds boring after all these issues are addressed, the speaker is probably not the one for you.
There's that "music specific" thing again…ahem...classical and jazz can be as kick butt and dynamic as ANY music anywhere, and it's only loudness (controllable) ability that differs among speakers, and that has more to do with amp choice. A great sounding system can play anything well…or it's not so great.
the question is:is there such system at this price point which can play everything well:)?
Anyway,harbeth sounds great with tubes ,midrange magic happens,while SS sounds Ok
Any good sounding speakers with one or two musical subs can reproduce anything well. My perfect Silverline Preludes cost 400 bucks used a few years ago, both my mint condition REL subs were bought used for 200 bucks each, lots of used cables and cables I’ve assembled (shrink wrap…love that stuff), tube amp bought new (factory modded Jolida 502p…1200 bucks or something 5 years ago), etc, etc. My system sounds amazing loud, soft, playing jazz trios, loud kick drum, Billy Gibbons, pink noise, white noise, utter silence, Bulgarian Death Mumble-core, gigantic orchestral bombast, solo mandolin, and possibly banjo but I’ve never tried that (wait...Fleck…I guess I have tried that…).
Admittedly, I don't have much experience with Harbeth. I do have a pair of P3's, for which I soon hope to buy an amp for. I consider myself a tube guy for sure. However, with the P3's, I plan to go with a Croft phono integrated which has a tubed stage, and SS amp. I briefly heard the HL5 + right after the P3's at the dealers. I found the 5's to play quite a bit louder, and we left the volume in the same setting. I have no doubt the Harbeths would sound great with Tubes, but I would think they need at least 30-40 watts to bring them to life. I'm sure there are exceptions to this, depending on room size, listening habits....