Harbeth Speakers- Doing Something Right....

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I have actually heard Harbeth speakers in a number of settings including someone's home. Demoed my monoblocks on sellers C7ES. They strike me as difficult to get the best out of them but I don't dislike them. Bit of a curate's egg IMO. Better than other BBC speakers I've heard over the years.
     
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    My mistake for the clearly incorrect assumption.

    My experience with them is limited to having heard them at the dealer's and my home but I can at least mention that it was easy to get them to sound terrific in my home. The key was really just to bring them away from the wall. Amazing the difference that did. Frankly, they'd sound even better if my room were bigger but they already sound mightily impressive where they are. Maybe a Class A SET tube amp is necessary to get them to sound their best? Again, I have limited experience in testing different configurations out.
     
  3. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    How much toe-in are you guys using with your Harbeth speakers?
     
  4. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    All I can say is never heard them used with SET amps. The Albarry SS monoblocks were supposed to be a good match as well as Croft push pull.
     
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  5. basie-fan

    basie-fan Forum Resident

    Almost 100% with my P3ESR. Speakers 7 feet apart and 6 feet from listener. Makes for a large soundstage with excellent center fill and images are well placed side to side and fore and aft. With less toe-in I need to move the speakers closer together to keep the solid center fill, and then the imaging becomes a bit less precise.
     
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  6. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Agree with @basie-fan which is to say far more than I have with any other speakers including my spendors.
     
    Robert C likes this.
  7. Mintsauce

    Mintsauce Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hertfordshire UK
    No more than 5deg off axis. From my seat position I’m lined up with the inside of the cabinets. I made a couple of dolly’s for them at the weekend and spent a couple of days trying them in all sorts of possitions. Ended up moving the seating position closer. So I’m 3m to the drivers with them being 2.4m apart. 93cm from the side walls and 73cm from the rear. If I move them again I’ll scream! :)
     
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  8. Larry Seinfeld

    Larry Seinfeld Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philly Pa. USA
    100 % toe in for me. Speakers 9 feet apart.
    Speakers 4 feet from side walls, 38 inches from rear wall.
    My rockin chair sweet spot is dead center, 10 feet from speakers.
     
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  9. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Curious how far from the wall you needed to move them. Are we talking a foot or two, or do you believe they need more room than that?
     
  10. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Depends on who you ask. Some go to extremes. I've seen people suggest some speakers need to be 6 feet away from the wall to perform well. :sigh:

    I was skeptical of the difference it would make due to the Harbeths being a front-ported design but it really made a difference, the more I moved them away from the wall. Currently, I have them at 12". It is not possible for me to move them further out without them being at risk of possibly being bumped into but I did experiment when the house was empty and found 16" to sound even better, although it wasn't a subtler difference. You'll be fine.
     
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  11. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    It not at a show, its at a dealer showroom.

    And, I'm confident that neither Rodrigo nor Gabriela would consider their music "classic audiophile fare", nor would they appreciate that term being applied to it.

    Any more than Janos Starker would have, if Mike had been playing a cello recording.
     
  12. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    That is quite an interesting and a perfectly valid point.

    Since the Altec A7's that I use to run with my tubes amps are have high sensitivity, even with ,y more modes 22-Watt tube amps, I never reach the obvious distortion level.

    But if I overdrive the 4.9-Watt Decware Mini-Tortt SEP, into distortion, it is an interesting experience to listen to, because the sound just becomes increasingly mushy until it reaches the point where it is all blurred out and you can't make out any details in the music any more.

    It is the perfect amp to demonstrate to someone what happens when tube amps distort.

    Completely different than the clipping experienced when a SS amp distorts.
     
  13. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm glad to see this consensus! I too am finding that ~100% toe-in works well.
     
    basie-fan likes this.
  14. kholuap

    kholuap Active Member

    Location:
    BK river
    Sorry, but what would be "100% toe-in"? Is the same as 0°, without toe-in?
     
    G B Kuipers likes this.
  15. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks - interesting looking speaker for sure. Not sure how the pricing will work in Canada, but if it's the equivalent price or higher I think it would be too much for me. Even spending the $5K for the 30.1's will be tough. Though I might go used if I buy a pair of Harbeths, or I may go in another direction entirely (as I outlined in my post).
     
  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    How do you decide without first making a valiant effort? Compatibility with amplifier, sources and cables is important to get the most out of any speaker. The good news is that these are levers available to help get the sound you want.
    Harbeths have a unique ability to transcend their weaknesses. Their strengths are endearing once you realize what they are- which may require a trip in an another direction to fully understand and appreciate them.
     
  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Isn't 100% toe in when they face each other like headphones ?:)

    Chalk me down for toe-in that each speaker's axis fires about 1-foot from either side of the noggin.
     
  18. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Would you also consider Pure Audio Project? They are physically bigger but do not require a stand and they are highly efficient and have sounded great at both CAS shows I've covered. I think the speakers this time were around $5k. But I believe Grant Fidelity at one time carried them in Canada. The big problem for some of these brands is you sort of have to order without an audition. And less local dealer support.

    One of my tertiary things is having a dealer nearby who.can fix the thing and or a product that uses drivers that can be procured if needed. Esoteric brands with esoteric drivers can be a problem 8 years down the line when the tweeter goes and there are none or it winds up costing what the speakers cost.

    So that makes a Harbeth more attractive. Unless the OTHER speaker you just like soooo much more it's safer to go with the bigger brand.
     
  19. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Thank you! I was going to ask the same thing but assumed I was just ignorant regarding toe-in and/or degrees! :D
     
  20. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Never heard of them before. Open baffle. Maybe. I think Spatial is cheaper and I like their coaxial drivers (think the highs and lows would blend better over a shorter distance - the PAP speakers seem to have a lot of room between the woofer and tweeter, which could be an issue).

    Too many speakers and too little cash.

    To be honest I am very happy with the sound I'm getting. If I purchase new speakers for the kind of money Harbeths go for, I'm only going to do that if I think the sound is really special and appeals to my preferences.

    The Tannoy Eaton is another one I'd consider but would probably be more than I'd want to spend. Never know though - maybe a used or demo model will come up one day.
     
  21. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    How powerful is the Bel Canto C5i Sir?:)
     
  22. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I am puzzled as well by what 100% means. Perhaps 45 degrees? Or: baffle facing the listener exactly, which could amount to any angle between 0 and almost 90 degrees, depending on the chosen listening triangle.
     
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  23. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    From what I have heard and seen used 3' to 6' into the room is the optimum position which means quite a bit of space is required.
     
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  24. basie-fan

    basie-fan Forum Resident

    I used 100% to mean fully toed-in, baffle facing the listener. Maybe this is not the correct terminology.
     
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  25. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks!
     

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