Of the listings currently on A-gon, one seller is upgrading in the Harbeth line, and all but one of the remaining are dealers' ads for new speakers. Hardly what I'd call a trend.
69 responses Add your response
I agree that Harbeths have a following just like B&W and McIntosh which come to mind..You either love em or hate em.I would guess those that are running Harbeths have been doing so for some time and have no intentions of selling.For me having owned the 40s for a short time years ago Harbeths aren't on my list of "buys"...but weve had this debate many many times.I see no trend in dumping
I have no experience with harbeth. I like the retro design aspect of them
though. Makes them stand out from the crowd these days.
They tend to be pricey. The older conventional Ohm line bears a lot of
similarity to Harbeth. Those can Still be had via ohm refurbed and updated
with modern drivers and components for a fraction of the cost. Are
any harbeths better than ohm c2 L or H for example? Those can all be
had when available for under $1000, essentially the same cost as 30+
years ago still but all updated and refurbed. Factor in inflation and these
should go for harbeth prices these days. Made in Brooklyn though not
merry old England.
"you sit there and sit there waiting for the next song. 2 hours go past, your late, but you want to stay. Magic."
That's the acid test for a music lover that things are going right and no reason to muck with it further.
OHM Walsh and Harbeth are quite different. I would really love to compare fully refurbed OHM L, C2 or H to comparable Harbeth. Any of those, when availble would come in for half the price of the smallest Harbeth from what I see.
I still run my original OHM Ls from 1978 along with newer OHM Walsh, Dynaudio, and Triangle speakers, all off the same amp via in-wall wiring to various rooms. I refurbed the Ls a few years back on my own, replacing original 8" woofers with closest matching high quality Morel drivers I could find. Those alone almost cost as much as the Ls originally. I also added OHM sub bass circuit JS uses these days in all his models. That and all other parts are availble as parts in the OHM store. Low and high tweets are still original, as is crossover The Ls are big hitting speakers now that can compete with the big boys. There is just a slight upper midrange rise that is noticeable on some vocals in particular, but otherwise the sound would cost a lot more to purchase today. A full refurb done by a pro like John Strohbeen would surely smooth out the few rough edges.
I refurbed the Ls prior to buying the newer OHM Walshes. I almost decided to go with OHM Hs (my favorite all around speaker from Tech Hifi days that were too big and expensive for my college kid budget back then) and punt on the Walshes based on teh performance, but decided I would probably miss the unique OHM Walsh presentation long term, so that is where I am today with OHM F5S3, OHM 100S3, OHM L, Dynaudio COntour 1.3mkII and Triangle Titus all sharing duty in different rooms.
One last note is that these older highly regarded speaker designs all take a leap forward these days when run off modern good quality source and amplification gear, which helps put all speakers in a different league than those that were around in the largely japanese dominated receiver and integrated amplifier days of years ago when SS amplifier technology was still fairly new and often underpowered for the task at hand. Modern innovations like Class D amps help put that limitation in an amps ability to optimally drive a speaker to rest for good.
I was cleaning room and music was on,and stuck my head between speakers somewhere in the middle,the efect was-music were coming from one point ahead of me occanally stereo efects moving from left to the right side and the same time heard dynamics and fast and agile presentation.From that time I repositioned speakers and listening distance .It became shorter.Now it reminds me associations with nearfield or midfield studio monitors.You can try if you have harbeths, may be it just my ears or room interaction.Because with dynaudio contour s1.4 I have sit back at 1meter longer distance
Could be that many of their speakers have been and are over rated. Sam Tellig and John Atkinson of Stereophile seem to be in love with the company's product. The other reason is that the Harbeth sound appeals to a certain audience, and listener.
Sam Tellig would not be caught dead playing rock music or even jazz. he was strictly, and officially a classical music lover and elitist snob, and also automatically anoint the speaker with special status.
There is a continuing assumption in audio that great speakers "should" sound good on any type of music. I am not sure that is totally true in reality, though it is a noble and worthy goal to pursue if you are building these things.
I have to somewhat agree with the member about "Harbeths on sale". Interestingly, there was for a while a run on KEF LS-50 placed on the selling block. Maybe, reviewers over enthused about them. Or, maybe they are too analytical, and also don't have much bass. Nevertheless, I counted one day last month, approx. eight LS-50's on sale on audiogon.
What bothers me about companies like Harbeth is how they can justify retailing a speaker like the 30.1 for $12,000 plus. However, in the over enthused and less critical reviews world of hi-end audio, price too often predetermines the expectation of great value and high end performance.
I believe I read about the price in Stereophile about 2 years ago by Sam Tellig who just gushed and raved on about the sound quality. of 30.1
However, my memory may not be correct, but I am sure I saw it there. I guess you could google up Stereophile's reviews. or Tellig's off the cuff reviews.
Chrshanl 37. I may be looking for a new speaker, so I will check out Speaker Art brand which you noted; I have never seen ads referred to on Audiogon, or in the major audio mags. Overall, I am not sure I see your point
Harbeth gets more press coverage and therefore I assume sells more speaker which may (please note "I say my")result in more re-sales
I don't think Harbeth gets more press coverage these days,at least I don't see it but I will admit I don't pay much attention to the product.The thing about Harbeth is it has a following like McIntosh and B&W.Its an old well established name and its followers will fight to the death to defend it from the audio worlds arrows.Are there better speakers to buy these days on the market?,yes absolutely but it doesn't mean that Harbeth isn't a good speaker...just not mine or a lot of folks cup of tea.
Harbeths like Proac, Spendor, Stirling and certain other brands put music first in that classic restrained British way.
I thought the comment about listening to classical music as being elitist as odd as classical music was the driving force for a lot of great hifi. I can listen to Mozart and Black Sabbath on my Harbeths but I do not listen loud.
I love the BBC school of speakers and have owned other such brands. Also love the timeline classic styling.
These speakers don't play loud and are not the forward obvious sound of certain other brands. They are easy to drive but favor a slightly forward amp. If you are running something that is already warm and soft sounding these will not be ideal.
To Pcoombs, I stand corrected, but I doubt it will make me judge them differently. I still believe they are unfairly priced. I have an entire spiel about overpricing speakers in high-end, but I will spare you and others. Does Harbeth make a model 40.1?? at that price??
Nevertheless, take a look at Devore's pricing; I am sure in his corral he has at least one $12,000 pair of boxes.
Sunnyjim you are of course entitled to you opinion that the Harbeths are unfairly priced.
In my case as I honestly preferred the $5695 M30.1s (UK made and imported thus causing inevitable extra costs to the US consumer) to the $26k (US made) Magico Q's I inevitably have a slightly different view as to whether the Harbeths are overpriced or not.
..of course I know its not really fair to contrast these speaker price alone. We shouldn't forget the Magico's do of course include the stands .
Can you please explain what you mean? I am asking this because I own a Quad box speaker and love it. I am looking to upgrade and want to listen to PMC, Spendor, Proacs etc. I listened to PSB Imagine T3 and it is a pretty good speaker. What is the difference between the "voicing" of a American Vs European loudspeaker. When I upgrade, I would like to have a speaker that does at least 30Hz.
Good question and none of the speakers I mention have real bass down to 30 hz. I would not characterize the brands I mention as broadly European.
These have very traditional BBC school voicing. Natural midrange tone, especially with voices and acoustic instruments, at the expense of some dynamics. They would sound very different from other major European brands such as Dynaudio, Focal, B&W or Sonus Fabor. The PSB is a Canadian design made in China and is a more modern sounding speaker. It is more forward with deeper tighter and faster bass but I would not characterize it as "natural". Some American speakers are very natural like the DeVore line.
One company that tries to provide a neutral midrange but a nice open sound is the Canadian made Totem. I think they offer a very good overall package and they are widely available with a number of good sounding speakers at different price points.
BTW your Quads are excellent speakers. I have always been impressed by this company's traditional box designs and would say they too are voiced in that traditional British way.
Banerjba: I'm sure Harbeth is good speakers, esepecially in voice and instrument music, clear natural and not overly sweet sound, I own a Wharfedale Denton, though not sure how close would it be, consider the price, I'm feeling awesome enough, and yet it does has dynamic and power limitation, but the bass still something I would consider decent for small to medium room. I'm stucking in btw Harbeth, Dynaudio, and Wharfedale, especially Wharfedale Jade 3, while the other 2 I'm not sure I can justify how much sound difference by spending twice or even triple the price...
Those three speakers are very different sounding, although all are made by companies with storied histories. Dynaudio is the most neutral and is a reference standard used by many, including the BBC. Wharfedale's budget offerings to my ears are best in class. I have not heard the new Denton but very familiar with the wonderful sounding classic model. I am not totally in love with the Jade series as I find them a bit too forward, but I am not sure I have heard them properly set up. Definitely different animals to the neutral Dynaudios or natural Harbeths.
Of the 3 brands, I think Dynaudio makes the best speaker for the money, even though I am a Harbeth owner.
Please tell me more on the "voicing" of British Vs US loudspeakers.
I listened to the PSBs and I don't think they are as forward as the Triangle that I listened to years back. I listened to Totems and they are good speakers. But they are not as efficient as I would like (> 89 db). Same with Dynaudio - these require more power to sound their best.
I love the way the Quads play music, but would like to have deeper bass. I saw that they have come up with the new S line. But the specs only go down to 30Hz.