Spendor SP 1/2 or Harbeth 7ES

Has anyone actually heard both of these speakers? I have heard various Spendors (including the SP 1/2) and I love them, however I have heard and read so many good things about the Harbeth 7ES that I would be interested in your take and opinions on both, as I have never heard this speaker. How do they stack-up to each other?

My listening room is on the small-side and my listening is probably 90% classical and jazz. My amps are ARC: hybrid pre-amp and the D-130 SS power amp.

Any light that anyone can cast on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Your likes or dislikes about each, the strong points and shortcomings etc.

Thank you very much for any and all input.

This is really a tough one. I've heard both, unfortunately at 2 different locations with different electronics, so tough to accurately compare. Honestly don't feel you can go wrong with either. As usual the real answer is to let your ears be your guide - the problem is that Harbeth speakers are almost impossible to find (I heard them in a private home).

I've owned Spendor speakers for over 25 years, currently have the tiny S3/5s in my study and simply love the Spendor "voice". Classical, jazz (and vocals) are my preferences too.

You might want to read the review of the Harbeth Monitor 40s at enjoythemusic.com by Bob Hill. Bob was long a Spendor advocate but recently switched to the 40s. While the speakers aren't 7ES's, his reasons for switching might be helpful.

Good luck on you quest.
I have the Compact 7ES and absolutely love them. Check out enjoythemusic.com and Bob Neil's reviews. He has compared them. (He likes them both, and is presently using the Harbeth H40.) He also has a post on audioreview.com:


Dr. RE Greene, (of The Absolute Sound,) has used both as well and did the review for TAS on the Compact 7. (He also now uses the H40 as his reference speaker.)

Both these gentleman find the two brilliant, and very similar in giving you the truth.

This is a win-win situation! Surely the best thing about the Spendors is their occaisional availability used here. Whichever one you choose, try a sub with them. I use a completely controllable M&K sub and it creates an incredible and full experience.

Email me if you have any problems finding these reviews, I can try to get you in touch with more people who think like us. [:)]