Spendors comparable to Harbeth C7ES3?

Hi all

It seems like Spendors and Harbeths share a lot of qualities, while the Spendors seem to be less expensive. Are any Spendor models comparable to C7ES3s? I really like what I've read about the Harbeths, but they aren't available in my area while Spendors are.

Any other similar speakers to consider?


I think that many of the non e-stat quads are made with the same sensibility in mind. I do very strongly recommend that to listen to the Harbeth's to be certain that what you've heard about them and what you will hear from them are indeed almost the same.
Good advice, thanks.

I guess my impression of Harbeths is that they have great midrange, excellent for voice and they are very musical.

I like blues, small group jazz and other instrumental music mostly. I also like some pop and classic rock music.

I have a medium size family room. My current system is a Linn Unidisc-SC, 5125 and activ Ninka speakers. My only criticism is that the system is a little clinical, especially at low volumes.

If I were to make a change I would favor small to medium stand mounts (for WAF concerns) that are good at low to medium volumes. Also would probably keep the unidisk maybe with a non-Linn amp.

Harbeths seem to fit the bill, but are a little above my budget. And of course this impression is without the benefit of hearing them in person.

So, any other ideas?

The Majik 140's will sound MILES better than those Ninkas.
You can find them second hand at good prices if you look.
Both the Spendors and Harbeths have their charms but I'm betting you would ultimately find them lacking.
I had a similar situation a few years back with the system in my TV room (second bedroom). The room measures 15 x 10 x 9. I live in an apartment, so playing music at low or low medium volumes is important. Associated equipment is a Prima Luna PL2 tube amp and a Rega Apollo CD player.

I was using bookshelf speakers placed first inside of and later on top of bookcases. Rega Aras did very well in this set-up, whereas Totem Mites did not. I wanted more/ better/ different and thought that increasing my budget from $600 list to $2000 list would do the trick.

I purchased Spendor SA1s without auditioning. Did not work out. Prior to purchase, my impressions of the Spendors were similar to your impressions of Harbeths and there were plenty of reviews around to support these impressions. Turns out that I wanted speakers with a bit more presence, a bit more bass weight than the Spendors offered. I thought that $2000 monitors would bring me nirvana, but in reality the SA1s were not the ticket.

I finally settled on Ascend Acoustic Sierra 1s . I did not audition them. They are direct order speakers. I got most of my money back on the Spendors and $900 was an amount I would comfortably take a gamble on. Ascend makes a floor standing version of this speaker, as well.

Something to consider. I am very pleased with the Sierras. Wish I had some room to accomodate the floorstanders.

Check out the classic series on Spendor's web site. These are the same - thin walled designs as Harbeth. The A series are more conventional designs.
I own both Spendor (S3/5r2) and Harbeth (C7es3).

Generally, you will find the same great mid-range in both. Harbeth's are voiced a little more forward while Spendors are a little more laid back. I think most of the difference is in the tweeter.
Bmdduck. The sound you describe liking is the Harbeth or Spendors Meiwan noted. I personally own the C7ES3 and I love them. I listen to mostly jazz and female vocals. I'm also the biggest Talking Heads fan on the planet. They sound great too.
Thanks Meiwan and Donjr.

Is it safe to assume that the C7ES3 is more full range than the S3/5R2? The S3/5R2 seems more directly comparable to the P3ESR based on it's size and price.

As you move up the Spendor classic line to the SP3/1R2 and SP2/3R2 the price is more on par with the C7ES3. I guess the Spendors aren't necessarily a better value, but more equivalent with subtle differences the voicing.

WRT the Majik 140s: I'm really looking for standmounts, and to get away from needing 6 or 8 amp channels and aktiv cards to get the best from the speakers.
The suggestion on the Spendor classic series is a good one. I was a long time Spendor owner and have has 3/1 (still own them), 7/1, and 1/2e. I have also heard Harbeth and always preferred the Spendor's to them. Try to locate a user pair of 1/2e speakers. They are bargains at used prices.
My own personal preference if for the Spendor Classic sound-- not as lean and "modern" sounding (more woody and harmonically rich)-- as compared to the S series. Some might find the Classic series to be too "boxy," but in that case, the Harbeths would not be the right choice either.
I have owned Spendor 3/1s, 3/1Ps, 2/3s, and now 1/2Es (circa '97). The SP1/2Es are what I would take a look at (some are labeled SP1/2 but are really E versions BTW) if you want music that approaches decent volume without overloading the bass. It has taken me several months to "get" the 1/2s (I initially did not hear the bass until I measured it because it really does not "hit" like many speakers), but now I see that they are just simply remarkable and I will never sell them unless I am destitute. A good pair of used ones will go for $1200-1400, depending on wood and condition. Also, they rock with modest power and refuse to cause listening fatigue...I can listen to every single disc in my collection and never feel like the highs are biting my head off. I could go on, but you get the picture!