Harbeth Speakers- Doing Something Right....

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

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    the freakin midrange (woofer in the other models) has the same sheen to it ! the amount of cloning is taking place is crazy.
     
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  2. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Lol...shiney things are attractive to us audiophiles.....much as i love the idea of the 40's i think the Shl5+ are better for most rooms and required volume levels...at least that's what i keep telling myself;)
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  3. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand Teckel fool

    Location:
    Germany
    Hello,
    my first post here at this forum.
    I'm curious to know what you didn't like with the DeVore 3XLs?

    I'm a Harbeth fan and have owned many of them but I thought about getting a used pair as a more efficient alternative for my 300b mono amplifiers compared to P3ESR for my small listening room.

    I have to mention that I didn't have heard a DeVore or Audio Note speaker until now. Both brands aren't that much available in Germany and even less available in the second hand market.
     
  4. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    As usual, this is my opinion before I get dumped on for daring to have an opinion. The DeVore lacks dynamics and life and openness and sounds overly polite and dull. It's way overpriced for the sound on offer. In comparison to other speakers my dealer had at the time I could not see spending 2.5 times more money over it than the Audio Note AX Two (other than nicer wood finish on the 3XL) and the AN K/Lx while a bit more money than the 3Xl is a LOT more loudspeaker in every way.

    My take on it is not as unpopular a take as some might think - here is Paul Messenger (former editor of Hi-F Choice magazine and currently at the Hi-Fi Critic) on the 3Xl. DeVore Gibbon 3XL review
     
  5. LivLif

    LivLif Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    My opinion is probably unpopular too because I’d take Audio Note over Devore every day of the week.
     
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  6. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    No one should be dumped on for an opinion about speakers. I rarely see anyone get dumped on.

    I found precisely the opposite. I auditioned a long line of speakers, everything from Audio Note to Focal, Magico, Audio Physic, Raidho, Kharma, Paradigm Persona, Harbeth, B+W...you name it. The Devore O/96 stuck out from everything else for a life like sense of dynamics and feeling of "live."

    Whereas I preferred the sound to just about everything else I listened to including speakers that were more expensive.

    Let all opinions fly....:)
     
  7. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
     
  8. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand Teckel fool

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you all for your impressions and a happy new year (if you have already).:)
     
  9. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Got it! Thanks. I'm not familiar with the 3XL, just the O/96, O/93 and I listened to the Gibbon X briefly.

    I'd also say that I've seen some people even describe the O/96 as "too polite." Rare...but I've seen it. And I can actually understand that reaction too, because I think that speaker is a combination of "smooth and easy" on the ears generally speaking, but "moves lots of air" sense of dynamics. If one latches on to the smooth easy going character, I can see the impression of being a "polite" speaker.

    Also set up that speaker is very touchy, so I can see some variety of opinions even based on set up, angling etc of the O/96.
     
  10. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Part of it is was room set-up - the 0/96 and AN E are based in part on the Original Snell speakers - depending which amp and what kind of room would have depended on which speaker I was going to go with. Living in Hong Kong - Devore is not for sale here. So that and not working in HK apartment layouts (needing a lot of space from walls) were the reasons it was crossed off the list. A lot of tube amps can be the reason for a polite sound as well.

    Speaker auditions are rarely totally fair. To be "truly" fair the speakers need to be auditioned in the same room with appropriate gear for the speakers (not necessarily "the same amp" or cables or sources. A 2a3 tube amp may sound the best on the DeVore and a 211 amp may sound the best on the AN E and neither amp will do well on a Magico.

    I was somewhat fortunate that Soundhounds in Victoria carries Harbeth, Audio Note, and DeVore. Albeit the store's owner and top sales guy passed away so I am not sure how they're holding up.

    The wide baffle lossy cabinetry group of speakers I generally prefer to the narrow baffle multiple stacked woofer approach.

    Lastly, most adjectives like polite are relative to something else. A brash horn that shouts to some are considered "good rockers" or "lively" and so yes AN, DeVore, Harbeth or going to sound polite in those comparisons - but on the other hand, the people who like AN, DeVore and Harbeth are likely going find those horns to be "brash, unrefined, shouty, etc." They may be more exciting for 15 minutes until you reach for the Advil.
     
  11. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I agree that auditioning the speakers in the same room with the same appropriate equipment would be ideal.

    Nonetheless I don't find this a prerequisite to getting a largely accurate take on a speaker.

    When I seriously audition a speaker I do so in a variety of ways, which includes trying different listening/speaker distance set ups. The first thing I'll do is get the speakers and listening distance (including distance from back wall) essentially as I have with my speakers at home. But I also listen from various distances, and check the sound from below listening axis, all the way to standing, and also listening off axis, around the speaker, and from a distance where room sound gets mixed in. All this gives me an overall idea of the speakers sound and interaction with a room, and it then allows me to go back and dial in the final listening position.

    The result is I find I end up with very consistent results - I've never been surprised by the sound of a speaker once I got it home (e.g. my Joseph Audio Perspectives sound essentially as I heard in the store, once I plunked them down in my entirely-different-shaped room). And I find speakers to sound very consist from one location to another. So for instance I extensively auditioned the Devore O/96 on Nagra (and I think also it might have been some PASS) gear in one oddly-shaped small demo room, and then again in another shop in a massive open space, with Leban gear...and with the care described above, I heard basically exactly the same performance characteristics in each situation.

    As to the description of "polite," that is of course by it's very nature relative.
     
    timind likes this.
  12. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Has anyone else had a Harbeth woofer fail from a cracked cone?

    [​IMG]

    This is my second one in three years.

    My speakers were purchased used, so there is no warranty.

    Just fishing for theories, is this a material failure, or is this just the way Harbeths go if you get a little happy with the volume control?

    Amusing, though, that it is a radial crack...
     
  13. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    wow that stinks. second time as in the other speaker of your pair failed?
     
  14. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Yeah, the other one, same failure, two years ago.

    Can't really see it in the photo, but the crack goes all the way to the surround.
     
  15. ispace

    ispace Senior Member

    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    What style of music are you playing?
     
  16. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Dad rock mostly, also lots of NPR*. Nothing particularly challenging or abusive. Last thing I played, apart from radio, was Neil Young's "Barn". 'bout half way through Side 2 Neil's voice started sounding oddly "crunchy"...


    *you're Australian, so you won't know what NPR is - it's mostly news and l*****l talk. www.npr.org
     
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  17. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand Teckel fool

    Location:
    Germany
    Nope, with 10 pairs and it never happened even if I played louder but if you push them too loud you hear the distortion and if you still push further...
     
  18. wbass

    wbass Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I see some solid deals on the older SHL5 now and then. (Not the plus or the XD.) Are they still worth hearing? Or do the newer models really eclipse them? Some forum reports suggest there's not much of a gap between the models. Others say that the older SHL5 are too bloomy in the bass. Just curious if Harbeth fans still rate this older model. Thanks!
     
    Ivand likes this.
  19. Art K

    Art K Retired but not tired!

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I prefer all pre Anniversary and XD Harbeth speakers. They went modern (read too much upper mid) with the Anniversary and XD models for my taste.
     
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  20. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand Teckel fool

    Location:
    Germany
    Everyone who says that a SHL5 and a SHL5plus version are sounding similar must be deaf IMO. The SHL5 sounds much warmer, has a mid bass bump and a dip in the crossover region. The SHL5plus is much straighter with a leaner and tighter bass. I didn't have listend to the SHL5plus XD but owned the standard and the 40th. A.E. version more than one. I wouldn't buy a plus version again, there is something that distracts me but I can't say what it is exactly.
    But also the SHL5 is too warm for me. I loved the C7 ES3 XD but found the C7 ES7 too warm. The M30.2 40th. was to much of a monitor for my taste , maybe I have to spend more time with it but what I found interesting is that in Germany the SHL5plus and also the M30.2 40th. A.E. was often available in the second hand market.
     
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  21. AC1

    AC1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I've heard the XD versions have less of a bump in the upper bass and more treble because of modern audiophile trends. That would explain why some no longer associate them with being 'warm'.

    PS: Oops, I didn't see Art K's post.
     
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  22. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Agree about the pre plus SHL5 but the plus for me is still quite warm sounding (grilles in place, an importamt reference). They have mellowed quite a bit over the almost 3 years I have owned them.
    Amplifier synergy is importand as are proper stands and speaker distances and aiming angles. The cabinet resonance still warms up the overall presentation.
    Contrary to other mentions the SHL5 XD sounded OK but I chose the plus model for my system. Th XDs sounded punchy and dynamic but more recessed in the midrange and rolled off in the treble, lacking presence and slightly bland.
     
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  23. wpjs

    wpjs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ny
    yes. I was lucky to pick up a pair of 30.1’s right before they disappeared.
    My dealer tells me there is now a cult like following around them.
    The 30.1’s are super sweet.
     
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  24. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    so interesting these observations...

    I absolutely love my 30.2 XD's.

    I can't imagine how much more or less I'd like the pre-Anniversary/pre-XD/30.1's.

    I'm not gonna wonder too hard about it tho.
     
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  25. PoetryOnPlastic

    PoetryOnPlastic Forum Reedmaker

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just wanted to update after my last post. Successfully integrated the T5X with the 30.2 XD, really nice integration. I know REL recommend the t7x with the 30.2 even in small rooms, but I think given that I have downstairs neighbors and that I'm only at 9 o'clock on the sub gain/level, I think the t5x is sufficient for me. It just makes the speakers sound more like a floorstander, definitely takes away my jealousy of the SHL5's bass capabilities.
     
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