I think you should give the P3ESR'S a listen,they are outstanding with your taste in music. I have them and they better any speaker I have owned. Simple two way sealed monitors are the way to go!
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Given your music tastes, room size and desire for Harbeth's I go with C7's or 30.1's used, however the 30.1's used will be a long wait. I've owned many speakers and am still using C7's. Wonderful speakers for my needs which are mid's to die for and favoring small Jazz ensembles, Classical chamber, solo performers, and voice. Avoid C7's/30.1 for mostly orchestral, opera, rock. Some will no doubt disagree, but I have much experience with Harbeth's. Good luck!
All excellent for acoustic music. The SHL5's have this wonderful big sound and are very forgiving of the equipment and less-than-perfect source materials. IMO they are much more coherent and open than the C7s. The M30's are very nice, but not as much lower mids, which can make them sound thin in the wrong room. OTOH, if you have a boomy room, they are a great choice. But you won't go wrong with any of them. Never heard the little ones.
I have the C7es3's and although I can't compare them to many other Harbeth's, I would buy the 30.1 if money weren't an issue. Much tighter and articulate. I'm not sure they're worth the extra money. With the C7es3, I preferred the Hegel H200 over the Luxman. It's not as pretty but money was not an issue for me when comparing these two integrateds and the Hegel won fair and square. Just something to consider.
Thanks for your responses. As I expected, the opinions are quite varied. I think the Luxman sound, while not the most detailed, is both pleasing and sufficiently detailed. One point about the SHL5 is curious. Some bloggers have noted that it might be too bass heavy for a room of my size. Others note that of the four speakers considered, it can be listened to at soft volumes and still present much of the musical content better than the other speakers at that volume. I know that both these staments may be true. What do you think?
I'm using Harbeth P3ES-02s in a relatively small room. About 12' by 12', and in an apartment. They sound fantastic and my Quad 909 brings out some good bass from them, although that is their week point (they don't go low enough, but in an apartment you don't want to disturb your neighbors too much!)
I want to give a Shout Out to an audio repair shop in Calgary where you can find Excellent service and quality workmanship
About 15 days ago I had a power spike in my amplifier and I blew a mid/bass driver in one of my Harbeth P3ES-02 monitors.
I looked up Darrell Britton-Luthier and last weekend and I took the damaged speaker to his "The Guitar Shoppe". He had the speaker repaired within a couple of hours. I've been listening to it all week and it is as new! The cost of repair was about 6 times less than ordering a new driver from Harbeth, And he gave very personable and super fast service! I thought this speaker was destroyed judging by the sound of it, however with Darrell's service it sounds identical to the other original, unrepaired Harbeth! Kudos to The Guitar Shoppe!
I've only had these speakers for a few months and they are literally the finest sounding speakers that I have ever owned, and I have had Quad 57s, Dahlquist DQ-10s, KEF Reference Series 105.2s, Mission 700 series and few others I can't remember. The Quad 57s had better midrange, but I don't think there is a speaker that has been made that can match that. These are the smallest speakers Harbeth makes; my next upgrade will be to the Harbeth Monitor 30.1s.
Anyways, Kudos to Darrell and The Guitar Shoppe for fixing my babies!!!!
If your in Calgary and need anything from a guitar to a soundboard repaired, contact email@example.com.
I am so happy with his service and the price of repair that I had to share this!
Quad 909, Audio Research SP9, Rega Planar 3 (upgraded to Rega P7 specs), Harbeth P3ES-02.
That's probably true, but it doesn't mean you'll like them better. As I said above, the SHL5s sound bigger and are somewhat more forgiving. So many people around here are worried about "detail" and then end up whining that their systems are too forward or harsh. Keep in mind that we're talking degrees here. The SHL5s are perhaps only slightly less "precise" than the 30's and offer a bit more warmth, IMO. I've owned both, BTW. Anyway, they're all great speakers and it's your money. But they are expensive, so it's best to be honest with oneself. If you don't have the best components, or you really know you would prefer the bit of extra warmth, you know what to do. Obviously, the best way would be to try them both in your room, but that's not always possible. Best of luck.
I own the Luxman 505u and Harbeth 30.1 and the P3's. And I love listening to jazz and Blue Note especially. If you have any questions I'd gladly response! The 30.1 and P3's are very different from each other in my opinion. The smaller speaker is much punchier and clear in the bass. The bigger speaker on the other hand has a very nice warm fuller sound with super smoth highs and extremely natural mids. I like both speaker and can't decide which I like better, but the 30.1's are the ones I have connected most often. I would say the P3's are very allround and the bass is deep enough for me at least.
I feel the SHL5s have a warmth and grandeur that the others have less of - and supertweeter really does add that last bit of top end presence. The bass is strong but once positioned correctly will blend nicely. SHL5s disappear and have the best center image of any speaker I have heard. It is one of the great joys of this hobby imo to marvel at the SHL5 center image.
Handsomeck, I haven't heard either C7 or SHL5. The latter is too big for my room, maybe not sound wise, but the looks of it. The C7 just wasn't available in the store or in any store around where I live, that's why I had to chose the other two models, which I both like a lot. Again, the smaller P3 is punchier with clear bass lines and very allround for any type of music. A "fun" speaker. The 30.1 is fuller and warmer sounding with very smooth highs, natural mids, a sound very easy to listen to.
I use mine in a 11x12 room. I use around 6' of separation. You have to play with the distance apart until if locks in. These are magic speakers. Once you get the optimal separation and distance from them you get a ROCK SOLID center image. I compared them to Dynaudio C1 Sigs and Focal Utopia Micro BE both of which are excellent. The Harbeths clearly best them in terms of natural sound and believable representation of instruments. Many speakers tend to present believable representations of voices/instruments but when the SHL5s are properly set up, my mind cannot tell if what I'm hearing is the real thing. Bass can be strong but is incredibly rich and natural.
Michael, It's quite interesting that you compared the SHL 5 to the Dynaudio Confidence C!s and the Focal BE. They were speakers on my list as well. I found the JM Lab Micro Utopias to be very exciting but not well balanced and fatiguing. I still love the Confidence C1s but when I compared them on the same day to the Harbeth C7 and M30 I found them much less natural -- the same conclusion you came to. What kind of music do you listen to? And what electronics are you using?
I use an Exposure 2010s2 for the Harbeths. Best combo I have heard and much more fulfilling than Luxman. I have not heard the Leben of LFD pairings but Exposure is so amazing at such a great price. They could charge double.
I use regular ol' Daytons for cabling. I have has transcendent experiences with them so for not I'm fine.