theil for the audiophile. harbeth for the music lover/collector. either could be the last speaker many would ever need.
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It appears the Monitor series are really designed to studio or on site recording use. I understand the Compact 7-2ES, which I own, and the HL5 are intended for home use and have freq response designs, etc. that work best in a home environment. Depending on size of room, you may want to check out one of these home intended speakers.
The Harbeth has a more romantic sound, is warmer, and sounds fuller (like real music does in front of the orchestra). The Thiel is more a design from the head.
Thanks for your comparison. If I can pursue this: If Thiel is, as is their reputation, a more accurate speaker, and reproducing the music as it was recorded, wouldn't this speaker reproduce music as "real music"? If Harbeth is adding warmth, then isn't this producing an element to the recording that might not have been there in the first place? And, what if the original recording did not have warmth? The Thiel speaker would reproduce that recording without warmth, while the Harbeth, presumably, would add warmth.
Thiels to most ears are bright.I think harbeth for my prfernces even though I like hot speaker would be much beter especially in mids but throuight spectrum.Harbeth,Spendor,Quad along with some german designs like Audio Phsics have less coloration over the board and to me this includes Thiel.Spent a lot of time with Mac hooked up to the Thiel CS 7.Wish it had been 7.2 with Thiel made guts but don't think it would have made huge difference.It's your choicer maybe one only you can make but for me it would be harbeth hands down.
I have owned the 2.4 and now use the Harbeth Super HL5. I have not heard the Monitor 40 but know that it shares the same Harbeth family sound while delivering a lot more bottom end and having a better tweeter. My understanding is that the Monitor 40 can produce too much bass for small or medium-size rooms.
You are talking about two very different and I think equally valid, exceptional approaches to loudspeakers, although the Monitor 40 is almost twice the price of the 2.4 (a different Thiel model may be a better comparison, or compare the 2.4's with the Harbeths I have). The Thiels will give you greater detail; more precise imaging and greater resolution; a tighter, more tuneful bass (the Monitor 40 may go lower and have more bass impact, however). They will also be more revealing of all your upstream components. The Harbeths will give you extraordinary vocal reproduction and instrumental tone. Music sounds more "beautiful" through Harbeths. Is this additive? Hard to say. Are the Thiels more accurate? Maybe. Probably. Which is the better choice? You need to hear these speakers for yourself and see which delivers the musical goods for you.
I'm glad to see someone else use the word "tone" to describe what the Harbeths (and Spendors) do well. The ultimate question is, "Of these two speakers, which puts a smile on my face with the music I love?" When I first bought my Spendors, I went through the whole, "But are they as accurate as X brands?" thing. But I soon realized that they made me listen to music for hours on end, something the "accurate" speakers I'd owned never could do. I would also look at the smaller Harbeth brands (based on room size and amp power) as well as the Spendor SP2/3, 1/2, and 100.