Hi all, My audio friend has a pair of Harbeth P3ESRs in the rosewood finish. After I heard them I wanted a pair even though I have ProAc 1SCs and Tablette Reference 8 signatures and Spendor S3/5s. I went on Audiogon and found a pair in nice condition and a great price in cherry finish. When they were delivered I put them on the stands and played them. They sounded nothing like my other speakers, kind of dull. So I played them as much as I could for a month and they finally sounded better. After another month of playing I brought them over my friend's place for comparison. His Harbeths sounded more open and with better bass. Not huge but there was a difference. I brought them home and played them every day for another month and brought them back over my friends. Same thing. My LR numbers are in the high 400s and his are in the high 1600s. He thinks it's the wood finishes like a guitar. I'm wondering if it's an improved production run like ProAcs claim they can do with their products. Any thoughts? Thanks.
You have purchased a used pair of speakers. Therefore there is no way to know what exactly it is that you have purchased. Perhaps the previous owner performed unsatisfactory repairs to the speakers or modified the crossover in such a way as to compromise their performance in your music reproduction system. Because of the varilbility of having puruchased used speakers there is really no way way anyone here can answer your question.
I’ve owned the p3’s in eucalyptus (serial numbers 1800s ) and rosewood (serial numbers 4000s) and they sound the same. Might be other factors why yours sound different! Shoot Harbeth an Email and ask them if they changed anything. I doubt they did!
If you're in or near the SF Bay Area, you can compare to my mid 800s rosewoods.
You might want to pose this to the US distributor, Walter Swanborn of Fidelis AV, or join the Harbeth User Group through the Harbeth UK website and ask there. And if you have a local Harbeth dealer, take your pair in to conpare with theirs.
Your ProAc's have a more forward and direct sound to them. If you're used to listening to them, changing to a different speaker can show this quality in a very abrupt way.
You also need to take your room, electronics and placement into consideration. The 1sc's are far more forgiving of placement than the Harbeth. Try placing them closer together and moving your listening chair to a more nearfield position.
Thanks to all for your help. My friend and I had gone over the speakers and there is no evidence that the front or rear screws were removed. The speakers don't have a mark on them, not even the bottoms. The seller was a true gentleman. I received the original box, manual and proof of ownership with the numbered stickers sheet. He put gift ribbon behind the grills for easy removal and there were no marks on the wood from removing the grills. He even called me to make sure they arrived safely! Don't get me wrong, they still sound and look wonderful in my small room. (My friend's room is three times larger.) The difference is minimal so rushing to sell them (and the basic cherry finish with the pinkish hues is nice) isn't necessary but I will give it a shot and call Walter. Cheers.
speaker2 After trying the Harbeth compact 7, I went back to the Harbeth P3ESR. I have owned many LS3/A type speakers including Spendor,Kef,etc. The Harbeth is my favorite among the others that I have owned. I have never heard a ProAc,so I can’t comment on them!
Thanks for the response yogiboy. I assume the same finish, gorgeous! ProAcs are pretty much a clear view of the music with headphones like sound stage effect. My 1sc's are in marble ebony and sigs are in tiger ebony. Beautiful. But....there is something very special about the P3ESR. It would be very interesting to see how they can improve on them!
I would check into yogiboy's point. I'm not familiar with the details of Harbeth products, so do your speakers have a serial number, for example? Perhaps, there were enhancements done within the same model and why your friend's speakers sound slightly better than your own. This is true with my own Horning speakers, and a buddy of mine was able to do his own driver upgrade. I would contact Harbeth or the other sources already mentioned by the other members. Kenny
If it's a blown tweeter only one side should sound bad. You can try switching the speakers and and do A/B comparison. I'm surpise to hear that used speakers needed that much breakin time. Check with Harbeth and at else confirm the serious numbers. I've listen to many pairs of Harbeth speakers before I bought the C7 and never did I experience dullness. Have you tried playing your friends speakers on your system? You said that there wasn't a big difference now playing it over your friend's house. Maybe your tricking your own ears and it's the amp or source componets you're using.
My suspicion is that Harbeth production line was not homogeneous , I had before an odd experience with a pair of Morel satellite speakers one sounded completely differnt than the other, The first sounded more heavy bass and worm while the second one more soft and bright.I returned them to my dealer.