What Is So Special About Harbeth?

SLike probably all of you, I just received notice from Audiogon of a 20% discount on Harbeth XD. I clicked on the tab and found that the sale price is about $2700. I have read so many glowing comments here about Harbeth — as if just saying the name is the password for entering aural nirvana. I admit, I haven’t listened to Harbeth speakers. But looking at these, they just look like smallish bookshelf speakers. I’m not questioning how good others say these speakers are, but HOW do they do it out of an ordinary-looking box?

Is it the wood? Is it the bracing? Is it the crossover components? Is it the cone material? What is the reason why these Harbeth’s are such gems compared to other bookshelf speakers? What is it about the construction or technology that makes these speakers a deal at $2700 on sale versus the $800, 900 or $1,000 that others normally cost? What is the secret that makes audiophiles thrill to get such a costly bargain?


  Quite a lot of self promotion, and dare I say self aggrandizement in that video ( this one Watch this. ).  At the 14:10 mark I heard that injection molded cones are "a unique thing".  

  Careful, umm, marketing is a significant part of any consumer electronics firm's success.  Now that's not unique.

What is it about the construction or technology that makes these speakers a deal at $2700 on sale versus the $800, 900 or $1,000 that others normally cost? 

That's a straw man, as I don't recall anyone raving about the great value of Harbeths, though they certainly can represent good value on the secondary market.

As to the allure, well, that's well known. A gorgeous midrange, and very accurate tones and timbre, especially with human voices and acoustic instruments.

The smaller models are bass deficient, but for those who don't listen to head-banging material, it is a flaw that can be overlooked, or repaired with a subwoofer.


I have heard a few Harbeths (and Grahams ... same BBC lineage). They are sweet on the right music, as stated here, The competition is tough in that price range, which for me is expensive for a stand mounted speaker with limited bottom end. I have read that they still have to pay a royalty to the BBC for the design, though I don't know that is true. If yes, it adds to the price without direct benefit.

Years ago at RMAF I heard a Bricasti Design DAC and (?amp, not his) power a large three-way pair of Harbeths (ported as I recall) that looked like big monitors.

Classical music is okay and I own some (not enough) and work at it but hearing that setup with classical music made me want to stay for hours. It was stunning sound due in no part to those speakers as well as electronics.  It was one of a very few show moments (over a dozen years) that I never forget....

The Harbeth P3 is one of the best sounding small monitor type speaker that I have owned. IMO, there are many others that don’t come close!!