Thank you in advance
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You're hardly comparing apples with apples, save that they're both 2-way designs. Totem is floor-standing; you'll need stands with the Harbeths.
Harbeths are in a high quality bracket, but may not be to every taste. You should try and read a few of the reviews and see what you think.
The Totems will give you a bit more bass extension and will probably be a bit more forgiving.
You don't specify room size, what you'll be driving them with, priorities with regard to sound you're trying to achieve, etc.
It is impossible to pick one over the other without careful
consideration of the following factors. They are both well built products but VERY different in their respective performance signature sounds.
(1) they are both highly system dependent as to whether they will perform at their best . There is a tsunami of posts on both AGON and CANUCKAUDIOMART about TOTEMS being extremely power hungry and requiring an amp with a lot of grunt ( watts AND amps... WPC by themselves are meaningless and will leave you disappointed.
(2) Both crave high quality build electronics upstream .... no faking it it with budget gear and certainly no receivers ... full stop
(3) Contemporaneously, your choice of music genre will govern your choice. They are very different ... again full stop.
(4) Last and certainly not least, your room size and it's unique unique acoustics and unique warts therein will have an impact .
without an audition of each , it's a poker shoot. Choose wisely.
Sorry guys. The Harbeths will have stands bringing them up to the totem height. It will be powered by a McIntosh 275 IV amp and a Mcintosh C2200 pre amp. I will also have a McIntosh Mcd 5500 cd player and a AVid Acutus turntable. Also I have a Isotek Aquarious EVO3 conditioner if that matters. The living Room is abaou 400 square feet (20 by 20 ft). I like to listen to soft and classic rock, Pink Floyd type, Marillion etc. I already have the Totems and they are nice. Just trying to see if the Harbeth 30.2 with stands are a whole other level where I can justify the trade in and an additional 3 thousand. The Harbeths look beautiful and sound amazing but not sure if it is worth it. Thanks
Two completley different sounds.
The Monitor 30 isn’t bass heavy but has a beautiful midrange and balanced sound. The Forests are pretty "energetic" sounding and do a fine job filling a room for their size. If you primarily listened to Pop or Electronica I’d recommend the Forests. IMO Harbeth speakers pair nicely with McIntosh gear and you would end up with smooth engaging sound. They may better suit your listening tastes. Only you can decide if it’s worth the price difference. Is an in home audition possible?
With all due respect to akg_ca, I’ve had a pair of Totem Forests for over 10 years. The metal dome tweeter CAN be hot and harsh, especially with poorly recorded music. It took quite a bit of experimentation to figure out how to tame it. That won’t be acceptable to everyone. With the right amplification, cabling, tubes and room treatment, the treble can be nicely managed without compromising the excellent imaging these speakers are capable of. Using the Forests for 3 hour + listening sessions with no fatigue is not uncommon for me. Re-reading your post, I see you already have the Forests, so I’m "preaching to the choir" (maybe).
As far as being power hungry, I used to believe this too. See BlindJim’s thread, something along the lines of "Which Watts Are The Right Watts?". Recently, I was very surprised how good the Forests sounded driven by a First Watt F7 amp (20 wpc). Georgehifi weighed in with some commentary relative to the Forests begin an easy-to-drive-speaker.
I’m certainly NOT trying to tell you to keep the Forests and forego the Harbeths. Simply providing my experience with the Forests. I think you should get the Harbeths - at least for an in-home audition. If you find they are only a different flavor and just a lateral move, consider keeping both sets if you have the $ and room. Always nice to have alternatives for a change of pace.
I doubt that you will go wrong with the Harbeth. I own the smaller P3ESR and it blows away any other small monitor that I have owned. Here is a review of the M30.1. It is basically the same speaker as the M30.2!
This is like asking "should I buy a Ferrari or a Bentley?" And the answer is the same -- it depends. What are your priorities and preferences in sound reproduction and speaker characteristics? Until we -- and hopefully and more importantly, you -- have a clearer handle on these things you're not going to get any meaningful advice or recommendations here.
You don't elaborate on how you came to narrow the choice down to these two. Are you buying new or second-hand? Are these two models that are available to you? They seem so far away from each other in the spectrum of speakers that the pairing seems odd. And while it irritates me when other people do this, I'll break my own rule and agree with @willemj re. the SLH5+.