My thoughts on Harbeth C7ES3 vs SH5+.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Strat-Mangler, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. Guth

    Guth Music Lover

    Location:
    Oregon
    I previously owned a pair of the C7's and they did a lot of things right. Take 'em home for a demo and make sure to listen to a variety of music representative of all the genres that you enjoy. Then if you still l like 'em as much as you did in your first listen, try not to overthink it.
     
  2. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    There are many things, not just in the world of audio that can't be scientifically measured but that does not mean there are no changes occurring.

    I can live with anyone who claims they "hear cable directionality" even though I can't!

    I just added two new cart's to my set up. The stereo cart changed noticeably for the first few albums then less noticeable then it was settled. The mono cart, I heard very little if any changes over the first few hours put on it.

    I doubt there is anything possible to measure these differences but it does not mean they don't occur.
     
  3. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Thanks for all of those who replied. Please, let's keep this thread on topic. The last thing I want to see is yet another thread derailed by cable talk. :help:

    I don't recall the 30.1 being available for demoing when I visited the dealer. Otherwise, I would have asked to listen to those as well. Also, my room is currently on the small side. Although we'll be moving in a couple of years to a place with a bigger listening room, it's kind of debating what will be best ; getting the right speaker for my current situation or planning for the future by getting something that'll be better in a bigger room. I've pretty much opted for the former since I can always sell later and get something bigger or that'll sound better in whatever bigger room I'll be in at that time.

    Room treatment will also cost me a pretty penny which is why I'm not quite ready to spend 7K on speakers at the moment.

    As for the other brands mentioned earlier in the thread, the fact is that resale value matters quite a bit to me since I've taken a bath on multiple items in the past by taking a chance on rather obscure gear. Since it's something I wish to avoid in the future, I'll stick with brands I know will sell easily and for as close to the same price as I will sink into this purchase if/when the time comes to upgrade.

    There are some Americans with C7s available for sale (2 of whom contacted me) but due to the currency conversion and taxes, it'd cost me only a couple of hundred dollars more to get a brand new pair, so it doesn't make much sense to me to go that route. I'd have to stick with used pairs being offered within Canada. For some reason, prices for new Harbeth speakers are lower in Canada than in the US. An exception that I will take advantage of, no doubt. ;)

    I am still considering my options and did not get a pair for an in-home trial yet due to lack of time this weekend. Hopefully, I'll have a clearer way of going about this by next weekend. For now, I'm seeing if there's any way to stretch my budget a bit so I can get some stands which won't cost an arm and a leg as well.
     
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  4. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    In respect of SHL5 Plus being too big for smaller rooms, consider this review:

    Harbeth Monitor 40.2

    The reviewer has extensive experience with the 40x model, and he rightly notes that latest iterations of Harbeths are optimised somewhat for smaller spaces. Of course there are limitations, but they're now not what one might expect. Consider also the pertinent argument of driver arrangement relative to the near-field listening experience. I agree and have experience of the older models being potentially troublesome in smaller spaces, but this is not as cut and dried an issue as it once was.

    Interestingly, I've also read of Vinnie Rossi using the 40.2 nearfield - he sings their praises in such a set-up and notes brilliant sound-staging and disappearing etc
     
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  5. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    If you go for a smaller speaker you must demo both the 7's and the 30's, both at home if possible.

    Don't stress on the stands, anything open works really well with Harbeth.

    BTW, remind me of the amp that's powering these.
     
  6. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Not sure what you mean by this. They can't reside on the floor. :shake:

    My gear's in my profile. It's a Line Magnetic 508IA.
     
  7. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Take a look at the skylans and that's an "open" stand design. They don't need to be as expensive as this to do the job.
    I don't use open stands for my 30.1's btw and the speakers work just fine :)

    Then again, its matched with an LFD amp', LFD speaker cable and silver inters. All of which I found helps the Harbeths shine.
     
  8. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Change is a constant. Apparently too, so is post-modernism and all of its associated phenomenology. Implying that because someone thinks there must be some sort of effect that, in fact, there actually is an effect is simply conclusory. The current state of measurement instrumentation far and away exceeds the capabilities of human hearing. That is actually how we know what the general limits and the rare extremes of human hearing actually are.

    In many, many situations, measurable changes in electronics, cartridges and loudspeakers over some moderate period of time are so absurdly tiny that they exist far below the noise floor of the system being tested, so far below, in fact, that special filtering and other technical tricks have to be used to even find the change or effect or distortion or harmonic in the first place if it even exists in the first place. Suggesting that a person in his listening room can hear something that is well below the system noise floor or well below the threshold of audibility simply begs belief.

    I can live with anyone who claims they can hear such things too, no matter how demonstrably absurd the claim actually happens to be. No need to hijack this thread by raising the spectre of a cable discussion though.

    You may only be doubting measurability because you don't know the measurement methods. It's simple actually, as long as you've got the right equipment.

    Install a new cartridge in a specific system. Play an appropriate test LP and use the measuring equipment to create a baseline. Set aside the test LP and don't use it again. Continue to use the cartridge as usual and without any further adjustment and without any further change of any kind in the system or the setup. A few weeks later, perform the same measurements using the same test LP. Compare the two test measurements, account for instrumentation error, and then create a delta if there is one. Any differences will be readily evident. An experienced technician can explain the significance, if any, of differences if they appear.

    The most common reason for claims of hearing a change (claims by me, claims by you, claims by almost everybody) when no other major variables exist (i.e., in a system with no other change except the installation of the new cartridge in this case) is that the listener's sense of hearing has adapted to the sound of the new cartridge over some relatively short period of time. The brain interprets things, as much as it can, in ways that are familiar. When a benign, non-threatening change occurs, the brain tends to assert part of what it was familiar with before because it expects something to sound a certain general way when an LP is played. The effect occurs in all people to varying degrees. Some audiophiles are affected only very slightly by retention and hear all or most of any difference right away. Some audiophiles need weeks of adaptation for their minds to gradually rid themselves of all of the old habitually expected sound in favor of the new.

    We're all a bit different from one another, and that accounts for the wide range of differences in our reactions to a new piece of audio gear. When you consider that, it becomes impossible to believe that (for example) Hana's design and materials are responsible for one audiophile playing an LP a day using a new Hana SL needing six weeks to 'break in' his cartridge while another audiophile using a brand new Hana SL playing an LP a day only needed one week. The state of the art in cantilever suspension materials dictates that no such variability can exist between two cartridges that measure essentially identically when brand new, or even between two of the same cartridges that measure slightly differently when new. If such huge variability did exist, a huge percentage of the cartridges would be junk which is not the case. Other audiophiles, by their comments, imply that cantilever suspension materials break down only for positive effect, something else which begs belief. Implicit in such beliefs, more than anything else, is a lack of engineering background and a lack of knowledge about contemporary materials science. The point is that it's our hearing adapting quickly or at a moderate pace or slowly to some particular change.
     
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Guys, start a new thread or take it to PM, please! This is a speaker thread ; not a cable thread. Thanks.
     
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  10. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Agitater;
    If you can't hear a difference / change that's fine with me be it a cart, speaker or cable. In fact any other audio equipment.

    Quite an enviable position that everything sounds the same and constant!

    But I think the OP is keen not for the thread to be derailed and not just because the word CABLE was used as an example and not as part of a CABLE debate!

    So, either start a thread or leave it here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  11. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Back to business.

    Is it possible to test the 30's line?
     
  12. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I never said I couldn't hear differences. You don’t read carefully at all. Of course different cartridges sound different from each other and different speakers sound different from each other. Suggesting otherwise is foolish.

    You suggested that significant changes occur in the device (cartridges or speakers themselves) during some period of break in time, but I suggested that it’s our sense of hearing fully adapting to the new cartridge or the new speakers that fully accounts for the difference. I suggested that because it’s inconceivable that the materials used to make the devices change so much and always so predictably and always so positiviely over some brief period of time that varies from person to person.

    I also explained to you a standard and well-respected method of measuring comparative differences if they exist.
     
    Robert C likes this.
  13. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Stereophile measure some B&W speakers out of the box and then some period later and found measureable differences. I owned a pair of B&W DM302 speakers and for the first 10 hours the speakers would litterally pop like popcorn under loud passages - this disappeared and never occurred again. Break in. But it's not an issue as all it requires is simply playing the loudspeaker - And according to one manufacturer who makes different speakers he noted to me it depends on the material - for instance his speakers with rubber surrounds he said had no break in and if the speaker uses a metal tweeter has no breakin - but speakers with foam surrounds and silk domes had break in. So what? Just play them.
     
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  14. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I heard his 40.2 nearfield setup at AXPONA two years ago and it sounded amazing. I asked Vinnie why the speakers were toed in so much and he said that they really play well as nearfield monitors. I could not argue with the sound, it was superb.
    The 40.2s as well as SHL5+ will work fine in a smaller room but they need to be away from the wall behind by at least 2 to 3 feet.
     
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  15. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Do you have a link or reference for this? I'd like to read it.
     
  16. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I may be wrong about the brand - may have been one of the Floyd Toole speakers now that I think about it - Paradigm or PSB (more likely) where they found measurable differences before and after a break in period (but no one passed a DBT) - I read it on a Stereophile page whether they (Stereophile) measured it or were passing the results along from the company that measured I can't recall now - it was something like 10 years ago. Perhaps do a search for speaker break in and B&W or Paradigm or PSB and see what comes up.

    B&W was on my mind because it is one of the only speakers I have had where the break in period was frought with very loud pops as the drivers were settling in. I thought something was wrong with them - they were okay and after a dozen albums never a pop or noise for the next several years I had them. But it certainly has to count as break in - severe break in. And the 302 unlike the other models - paper woofer foam surround(I think) and silk dome tweeter. With the rigid Kevlar and metal tweeters of the other models I can't see any break in occurring.

    As an aside, trying to test these things is next to impossible. How would anyone conduct a FAIR blind test.

    You say well - buy a set of B&W 805s and run them for 1000 hours.
    Then test them directly against a brand new B&W 805 out of the box.

    Problem is speakers have quite sizeable variances - Ken Kessler measures how closely loudspeakers are pair matched - he measured the 801 or 802 (one of these )and found that the left and right speakers were off by +/-2.9dB WITHIN the stereo pair so they will very likely be way off from one pair to the next. When the left speaker is possibly +2.9dB louder in the left channel at a given frequency and the right speaker could be -2.9db at that frequency we're not even getting particularly good stereo let alone trying to determine much smaller differences with things like break in. And the B&W was superb against the Quad ESL 989 he was reviewing which were off by +/-5.9dB. Kind of why I like to see both speakers measured at the same time and seeing what the speaker maker has to say - ATC for instance makes a notation that their speakers are pair matched within 0.5dB.

    Thus running a test of two sets of the same speakers only helps if both sets of same speakers measure exactly the same out of the box. And since most speakers are badly pair matched at the outset you better be really careful which two sets of speakers you intend to compare.

    I wonder if anyone here has ever done a 5 mile run and compared what happens to their feet if they run in their 2 year old sneakers or the ones they bought the day before the run? Ask any runner you know if say - shoes have a break in. Yes dummy me bought a brand new pair of shoes before a 10km Sun run and I can tell you that shoe break in is a real thing and if you don't believe me go out and buy a pair right before your next 10km run and report back - although you may be crawling home the last 7km.

    A woofer is a moving part that has things they rub up against like the foam surround. Every moving part that has friction will have wear. So speaker break in is plausible - whether people can hear it - tough to say but one can't just measure ONE loudspeaker pair and then say - well no one heard a difference in a blind test so that means all speakers in the history of speakers in all conditions will never yield an audible difference.

    Personally speaking if the speaker sounds bad after 10 hours - return the thing. Or better yet buy the dealer demo model as I almost always try to do - that way I always buy the broken in model, I get the speaker for less money, get the full warranty and all the break in rubbish is completely moot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  17. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    The Harbeth dealer in Hong Kong noted that you could disconnect the super tweeter of the SHL5+ As this was his complaint as well. But I have not confirmed anywhere where this is true. Unfortunately in HK Harbeth sells at kind of a fast talking used car dealing kind of big box chain where it's probably best to ignore everything they say. Hard sell types.
     
  18. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    @Richard Austen Consider then closely matched transducers such as those from Sennheiser, renowned for their driving matching. Break-in effects as tested here are negligible to non-existent.
     
  19. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Often the differences cannot be measured, they are so slight. Some to the point that we hear no change.

    Shaw at Harbeth says he cannot measure any difference in his speakers, I respect that [along with anyone else who claims there are no differences to heard] but it does not mean there are no differences to be heard!

    I used two carts as an example as to how I heard no differences in one and noticeable differences in another!

    Sometimes the differences are huge and can be measured [if that's what you want to do]. My LFD amp was awful out of the box and took quite a number of hours over a four / five week period to sound as it should!

    Yes, the claims are that the new speaker in the 40 range along with the new super + can be optimised in a smaller room. That's fine and dandy but it does not take away the absolute, that is a home demo.

    So, just be aware of what you test and were its tested.
     
  20. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    I have been told by people more knowledgeable than me, specifically Robert E. Greene, that all BBC inspired speakers, Harbeth, Sterling, etc. sound best with extreme toe-in and in near field position, and this is how I have set up my Stirling LS 3/6.
     
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  21. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Location:
    Northeast
    Do you know roughly how many degrees? I am doing about 25-30 (probably closer to 30) degrees on my SH5, that is about the furthest out that I have tried but I am certainly open to going further. Orchestral, piano and string quartets have quite a bit of depth if it's present on the recording at this position.
     
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  22. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I have my Spendors slightly toed in, figuring that in my small room too much toe-in will compromise the stereo spread. Perhaps I should experiment with that a bit more.

    Slightly off-center view from the listening chair:

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have old Spendor Preludes and in my room they sound best with zero toe in. None at all.

    In any case, toe in is always an interesting factor to experiment with. I also use Audio Physic speakers and find them best with extreme toe in: lines crossing well in front of the listener, as recommended by AP. With those speakers, imaging and tonal balance are somehow impossible to get right with a traditional setup (lines crossing behind the listener).
     
  24. octaneTom

    octaneTom Man of Leisure

    Location:
    Detroit-ish
    This is interesting — I've played around with my C7es3s, and I guess I'm weird in that I move them around a lot. I've found they sound great in a bunch of different configurations:
    • Mainly, I'm sitting back on the couch, and I have them about a 18-24 inches from the back and side wall with a very slight toe-in. In this position, they're around 7 feet apart and about 6-7 feet from the couch and they sound fantastic - huge soundstage, great presentation.
    • They also sound really great — and it's sort of a different presentation, more like a near-field thing — if I pull them way out from the walls, about 3 feet in and put a chair in front of the couch so that it becomes more like 4 feet from me, around 5-6 feet apart but seriously toed in: aimed right at my ears. That's a super immersive sound, probably not as wide of a soundstage but fun to do.
    • They also sound good less than a foot from the rear wall, pointing straight ahead. This is more like the "party" configuration if we have guests over and are just spinning tunes all night.
     
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  25. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    How far apart are the speakers? Is the room treated at all? Just curious...
     

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