My thoughts on Harbeth C7ES3 vs SH5+.

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

  1. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    I have been told that the toe-in needs to be adjusted so that the tweeters of left and right speakers point directly at their respective ears when sitting in the listening position. Of course, one can and needs to experiment, since everyone has different preferences. In my case and with my Stirling LS 3/6, I found this to be the best.

    Also, I recommend reading this post from Tom Mallin (and look at the pictures being posted there). My room looks nothing like Tom's room, mine is much bigger, but the toe-in in Tom's pictures and my set up is very similar.

    Harbeth Monitor 40.2
     
    Echoes Myron and hvbias like this.
  2. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    I've had them flat face on to the listener in near field, toe in to as much as I dare and [as they are now] slight toe in.

    its always tough for me to decide which I really prefer to be honest.

    But this is down the line, getting the right speakers to match your room is the first step, then playing about with positioning is then the fun part.
     
    timind likes this.
  3. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    I suggest you modify your post to reflect this.

    My interest is not great enough motivation for such effort. I asked for the link because I have tried, over the years, to read what Stereophile has published about this topic and I cannot recall what you describe. (I am not saying that my memory is better than yours.)

    I have never heard "very loud pops as the drivers were settling in" with any of the many B&Ws I have used.
     
    Robert C likes this.
  4. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    My experience has been the tweeter height matters even more, hence why adjustable stands would be fantastic.
    Not possible after 30 min but he can report his own post and ask for a mod to edit it accordingly.
     
  5. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Yes, getting the tweeter to the "right" height is important with every speaker, as is matching a speaker to a room. But there are many standard height stands per Harbeth speaker that will do this.

    Its not a case of exact height match for tweeter / ear. Over long listening periods the sitting position alters, I have never sat rigid in a chair for long periods to ensure my ears remain at an optimal level :). Its more about not having the tweeters massively above or below ear level for near field listing.

    One thing I like about my Harbeth 30'1's is how they still deliver when I'm standing 18' away at the end of the room.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  6. Robert C

    Robert C Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    On the subject of near field listening with the larger Harbeth models, I heard the SHL5plus at the Britol Hi-Fi show last year and thought they sounded amazing. They were in an untreated small hotel room and I sat in the front row, very close to the speakers. I admit that I didn't once think about room treatments or if the bass was too much/etc as I was completely memorised by the sound! At the time, I wrote: "Unlike many other rooms, designer Alan Shaw was playing a selection of classical and jazz recordings with the idea being to convey a subtle and nuanced sound rather than the whizz-bangs going off elsewhere. The speakers framed everything perfectly and had an addictive and comforting sound that you could listen to for hours. Highlighting the fact that speakers are probably the most important part of a Hi-Fi set-up, Alan was simply playing tracks from his portable digital player to superb effect".

    Here is a photo of the room:

    [​IMG]

    We have the Monitor 40 pro speakers at work (I think they're one generation behind the current model) and listen in a near-field setup. Obviously the room is completely treated and the speakers are hung from the ceiling but I've never had any cause to complain about the sound quality. In a domestic situation I could possibly imagine them sounding too big or disjointed in a small room.

    I think the SHL5plus would work really well in a small room with some inexpensive treatments. I'd definitely want a home demo first though.
     
  7. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Notice the "open" speaker stands in post #56!
     
    Robert C likes this.
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    i'm about the same with my c7s but have more toe in- try aiming them so that the right speaker fires a straight line that is ~ 8" to the right of your right ear and vice versa the left. might improve your stage center focus / coherence which is amazing for me.
     
    octaneTom likes this.
  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    the harbs (all of them IMHO) sound best with tweeters below ear level ~ 4" below if you can.
     
    bhazen likes this.
  10. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Choice of speaker stands will make a large difference with any of these thin-wall monitors. Even the choice of coupling material (i.e. Blutack, Sorbothane) has a significant impact.
     
  11. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Definitely doable- even if it means bypassing the low pass filter components on the main tweeter (if they are present)- but the idea doesn't sit right with me....
     
  12. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    On axis is too much toe in.
     
  13. Subvet

    Subvet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern Maine
    I'm with you on the toe angle but not on the level. I want the tweeters right at ear level for my C7s. I have them on Sound Anchor 17" 3 Post Stands which have them nearly exact for my chair.
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  14. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    It might be too much for some people. A generic rule for speaker placement is not going to work in every room and in every system.
    The way the speakers interact with the room environment, the synergy or non synergy with the rest of the system as well as the personal preferences of the listener play a big role.
    As I said, this is what I was told as a general rule about speakers that follow the BBC tradition (Spendor, Harbeth, Stirling, etc.) and it seems to work great in my room with my Stirling.

    Btw here's Alan Shaw talking about toe-in.

     
    ogdens_sliced likes this.
  15. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    Of course Alan Shaw uses Ikea stools as speaker stands.
     
  16. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Which will be an "open" design :)

    One reason I changed the toe in / removed the toe in over time in my room is that the room lay out was re arranged and that also impacted what I was hearing!
     
  17. octaneTom

    octaneTom Man of Leisure

    Location:
    Detroit-ish
    Yes, I'm pretty close to that in my normal, day-to-day listening position but I'm always open for experimenting....I'll try them a bit more, thanks!
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  18. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I can't speak for Harbeths but my Spendor SP100 speakers sounded best toed-in slightly, but not so much as to be pointing straight at the listening chair. My rule of thumb was that I should be able to see a small part of the inner side of each speaker when I was seated in the chair.
     
  19. Irisaurus Rex

    Irisaurus Rex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I know for a fact Planetofsound has at least one pair of 30.1 for demo. Go back and listen before deciding anything!
     
  20. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    If the OP can save some cash on a demo pair, that would be my recommendation (assuming he prefers the M30.1 over the SHL5+ and C7ES-3). From my expereince purchasing Harbeths, they sell for about 50% off retail on the used market (I purchased my used P3ESR for about 60% off new retail, and my used M30.1 for almost 50% off). Saving some cash upfront on a demo pair lessens the hit you'll take at some point down the road when (if) you go to sell them.
     
  21. Irisaurus Rex

    Irisaurus Rex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Heads up @Strat-Mangler, planetofsound has 15% off in stock merchandise for the long weekend, starting today until Sunday. If you wanted to save some $ buying new, now is definitely the time!
     
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  22. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
    Thanks for the heads-up! :)

    They already offered 15% on the package damaged merchandise. Maybe possible to negotiate a lower price for those due to the sale? I'll have to check.
     
    Gordon Johnson likes this.
  23. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Well maybe it was relegated to my pair - did you own specifically the 302? I did only comment to this particular B&W speaker and surmised that it may be due to it using different driver materials to every other model.


    FWIW - regarding break in and B&W this is what it states in their very own manual for the 705

    "The drive unit suspensions will also loosen
    up during the first hours of use. The time taken for the speaker to
    achieve its intended performance will vary depending on previous
    storage conditions and how it is used. As a guide, allow up to
    a week for the temperature effects to stabilise and 15 hours of
    average use for the mechanical parts to attain their intended
    design characteristics."

    Page 9 https://www.bowers-wilkins.eu/Downloads/Product/Manual/707-706-705-manual.pdf

    So it seems B&W engineers are under the impression that some running in is required in at least some situations and that even their ultra stiff materials have some room to loosen up. Well worn shoes are always always more comfortable than brand new out of the box shoes - so yes the results of a speaker always sounding better and never worse after break in is a logic continuity. I want to see if anyone has measured shoes and drivers. You have an in with B&W - why not ask them to make some measurements of a cold B&W kept in -20C storage facility - play it straight out of the box versus a 2 year old pair that has at least 2000 hours on it and see if they can send you guys a graph.

    Personally, If I believe that something is BS marketing - I try to avoid the product. If the view of the manufacturer regarding certain design ideology runs counter to my long experience then I have a tough time handing over my money to such companies. Alan Shaw thinks all amps sound the same and that more power is always better - since that has not been my experience - I second guess getting Harbeth loudspeakers. Simply because IMO I'm handing money to a guy who doesn't seem to have much experience OR his speakers are so low in resolution that in fact you can't hear the difference among amplifiers - in either case - no thanks.

    So in your case - B&W claim break in exists - You believe it's total BS - so why hand then your money? Perhaps find a company that says break in is total BS and support them - PSB perhaps.

    PSB doesn't recommend any Break in at least in this manual http://www.psbspeakers.com/content/120515094917-PSB_OM-200ImageImagine_English.pdf

    Of course they do recommend other things without measurable benefit like biwiring.
     
  24. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Personally, If I believe that something is BS marketing - I try to avoid the product. If the view of the manufacturer regarding certain design ideology runs counter to my long experience then I have a tough time handing over my money to such companies. Alan Shaw thinks all amps sound the same and that more power is always better - since that has not been my experience - I second guess getting Harbeth loudspeakers. Simply because IMO I'm handing money to a guy who doesn't seem to have much experience OR his speakers are so low in resolution that in fact you can't hear the difference among amplifiers - in either case - no thanks.


    Alan Shaw does not build amplifiers! You seem to be second guessing him too!!

    My views on amplifiers differs greatly to those of Shaw but I also recognise a well designed and built speaker.

    And to even suggest this ……… "his speakers are so low in resolution that in fact you can't hear the difference among amplifiers" is a little silly to say the least.
     
    Robert C likes this.
  25. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I think you missed the point. But look at the case logically. The man designing and testing the speakers uses an amplifier correct?

    Probably several if he concludes more power is always better. And he concludes that all the different amps sound the same on HIS speakers presumably properly working solid state amps.

    So if HE can't tell a difference between amps on his best speakers either he is right and all amps sound the same OR his hearing is terrible OR his speakers are not revealing the difference among different amplifiers. I am more in the first camp as SS amplifiers are rarely if ever distinguishable in level matched blind sessions. Thus if one believes there are vast differences in amps then it has to be number 2 or number 3. Either you are buying from a deaf man or you're buying low res speakers. If he has good ears he should be able to tell amps apart if his customers can no? And if his speaker sound great it's probably because he heard them and evaluated the sonics. So if his ears are in fact great then his speakers can't distinguish between different amps. Perhaps he didn't mean what he said or misspoke as everyone does from time to time.

    It's a logic exercise, not a jab at Harbeth which have made my best of lists at shows and were in the running as a speaker I was going to buy.
     
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