My thoughts on Harbeth C7ES3 vs SH5+.

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

  1. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    I understood and got the point of the initial post, there was no need to repost a reworded version Richard.

    My point remains the same regard your point! I won't repeat it.

    I do get what your point is but you can't accuse someone of second guessing by second guessing them, nor can you make silly claims regard some one picking up on this.

    I never heard him make a claim regard more power etc. More power can help, especially with a range of speakers that make different power demands but from memory, he always said 25 watts plus worked fine with all of his range. I also know that a low watt tube source can drive even the biggest speakers in his range, just quietly!
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    Irisaurus Rex likes this.
  2. Irisaurus Rex

    Irisaurus Rex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Alan shaw is wrong, I heard a Schiit Ragnorak and it sounded a lot different than my Pass Labs. It was merely "ok" and it rendered things to sound very thin compared to the Pass which had more body and fullness to the sound. The Pass is $4,000 more expensive so I think a direct to direct comparison is kind of silly anyway. But it does prove my point that Alan Shaw is wrong on this matter.
     
    SandAndGlass and Gordon Johnson like this.
  3. Irisaurus Rex

    Irisaurus Rex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Alan Shaw is always misquoted. What he said was any two amplifiers with adequate power and being driven the same load into a pair of speakers should be indistinguishable from one another. People typically interpret that as him saying anything under his reccomended 50w is inadequate and therefore inferior, or that literally all solid states sound the same no matter what. I think if a speaker has a low sensitivity, like Harbeths, then they actually would benefit from more power, that's kind of obvious.

    In my testing, both of the amps had different sound characteristics despite being driven equally. Maybe the pass setup sounded better because I was also using my xp-10 in the chain?
     
    SandAndGlass and Salectric like this.
  4. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    I always assumed that Mr Shaw's comments regarding amps to be marketing driven. Meaning, if he were to recommend "Amp A" for his speakers, and you happen to own "Amp B", you may decide against his speakers since you may think it may not be a good match. Therefore, by saying any amp sounds good with his speakers, as all amps sound similar, helps him sell speakers. I may be completely wrong, but that's what I read into it.
     
  5. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I think it's rather moot because at the wnd of the day people read thing and interpret things differently. We bring ourselves to the listening room and to the written word and we make judgements. Extreme examples can be seen when 2 people listen to certain politicians, or rap music.

    What Shaw says would not influence my decision on my hearing of the speakers. The only words that would make me look elsewhere would be hate speech and that sort of thing or various practices where I can't send my money to support it.

    I was only using Harbeth as an example on the B&W break in and forgot I was in a Harbeth thread.
     
  6. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    I have not used/owned a 302. I have used a 683 S2, a 702 S2 and a slew of 800-series speakers.

    Speaker choice is not a political or social statement, at least to me. If one took issue with all the claims made by PR/marketing limbs of corporations, there would be paltry few survivors.

    I will have to slap Paul in the face for that!
     
  7. Exactly. He never said "all amplifiers sound the same." I agree with @BIGGER Dave in that if you read the Harbeth User Group he refuses to recommend any particular amplifier, and I think that's probably a sound business decision. He's better off suggesting -- as he does -- that a wide range of quality amplifiers of sufficient power will work well.

    At the same time, I recall him being critical of vinyl playback and tube amplification based on measurements, so try to reconcile that one....:confused:

    Regardless, I get great pleasure listening to my Harbeth 40.2 being driven by a McIntosh MC275 while playing my records. :p
     
    Gordon Johnson and Strat-Mangler like this.
  8. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    I bet you do! I thoroughly enjoy my M30.1 being driven by a vintage Scott 299C, so I can only imagine how amazing your setup sounds. Congratulations!
     
    snorker and Strat-Mangler like this.
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto
  10. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    Just make sure you know the Canadian law regard [miss] selling. It is clear that you have been mis-sold an item so should have no problem getting a full refund.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  11. Gordon Johnson

    Gordon Johnson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, South
    I think we got there regard Alan Shaw and what he hears and does not hear :)
     
  12. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Well for me it depends - If I know what the manufacturer is "into" and and its my money helping him fund something that runs counter to my belief system - there are PLENTY of speakers and stereo equipment that I like enough to change - just as there are other wedding cake shops to buy from, Chicken outlets to buy from, banks to use, cars to buy etc. Break in and biwiring don't rise anywhere close to what I am talking about of course.
     
  13. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Things are open to interpretation but he Alan was pretty clear - if the amplifiers are at the same volume and assuming the amplifier isn't a total travesty no one will be able to tell them apart - which to an objectivist means they all sound the same.

    Alan
    "Now, as a speaker design and manufacturing company, and we know all too well that all electro-mechanical transducers (microphones, pick-up cartridges and loudspeakers) are bedevilled with countless measurable problems. It's not far off the truth to say that it is a small miracle that what comes out bears any resemblance to what goes in. That's how bad transducers are. But amplifiers - in most engineer's minds - reached a point of virtual perfection a generation ago...

    You won't believe me - few take any notice of what I say here - but in the great scheme of things, in a world of great instability and anxiety, you just don't need to fret about this amp or that amp. You cannot - I repeat this - you, the layman, cannot begin to draw any objective, repeatable, valid opinions that are worth passing into folklore (and therefore moulding another person's behaviour) unless you devise a proper controlled comparison using an instantaneous A-B switchover. That is a fact. It cannot be refuted. If you were blindfolded and I walked into your listening room and very slightly adjusted the volume control I could reverse your opinions about amplifier X or Y. You must control the listening level between amps under test - or the comparison is in all honesty, meaningless. And that implies that you need specialist audio measuring equipment."

    It is 100% clear what he is saying here - that if the amplifiers are at the SAME volume they will sound exactly the same - and that the ONLY difference is volume.

    Alan


    "I am not saying that amplifiers 'all sound the same' - quite the opposite. I'm saying that you can expect amplifiers to sound different under loose, uncontrolled 'comparisons' because they all have different gains. And different gains mean different loudness. And different loudness means different subjective characteristics."

    Once again he is doubling up and saying that amplifiers sound different ONLY because of different gains which means different volume levels.

    And By the way - he is not technically wrong - people in controlled blind level matched sessions aren't able to distinguish a $400 Solid State receiver form a $50,000 Momentum in a DBT with speakers the receiver is capable of driving. The problem however IMO is with the T in the DBT and that it doesn't really follow the "range rule" of how people listen to music in real life. A DBT can't prove A=B either - so while a person could fail 100 DBTs it doesn't actually mean A sounds the same as B or even that the subject can't tell the difference between A and B - it only means that under the Test (T) the person failed to meet statistical significance better than chance to the 0.5 level. choosing correctly 9/10 times is the same statistically as choosing correctly 6/10 ten times with a miss for 59/100. I wonder how many tests are done where a person chooses correctly 6 out of 10 times and the tester concludes that the subject failed? Umm no - if the subject does the test ten times and all ten times and scores 6/10 then in fact the subject CAN distinguish a difference. And I would argue that in something auditory and subtle - a lot more trials would be needed than in other forms of DBTs.

    Issues with the T aside though I still wouldn't spend a ton of cash on a solid state amplifier because quibbles with DBTs aside - if the difference was TRULY massive then in a controlled DBT one should probably be able to distinguish a $50,000 amp from a $500 better than a flip of the coin. So I have no problem with people who fall in the objectivist camp and want to be cautious of not throwing their money away. If the rest of us nuts choose to trust are bias and "believe" in the sound we get (or think we get) then so be it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  14. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Amen.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  15. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    have you tried the earlier SHL5 version (not the "+" version)? Im at a cross roads and having a 400 sq foot audio room think that maybe they will fit better than the 7es3 (which are great btw)...but still...thinking out loud...
     
  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    no- have not. but i do like the SHL5+ better than the 40th anniversary model though. my C7s have bloomed in richness over the years that the SLH5+ could be just the right ticket.
     
  17. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    always keep going back to Harbeth...of the numerous speakers Ive tried, nothing beats them.
     
    Carter DeVries likes this.
  18. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    I've owned both Plus and Non-Plus. Non-Plus is less focused in bass, however may play well in your space. They also are a tad more forgiving, the Plus being flatter. In general, the Plus are perhaps more versatile (both placement and programme material), non-Plus likely great if you're classical/ small ensemble/ acoustic focused and in a larger space. So...it depends. Difficult to give definitive answer really. Both have their fans.

    As ever, a home audition if possible is key.

    Edit - just realising my comparison is moot, seeing as it's the C7's that's relevant here! Haven't heard them, but conventional wisdom seems to rate them as the best all-rounders in the bunch. Is it bass that you find lacking?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  19. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    Curious as to why you preferred standard, non-anniversary model? BTW, not the first time I've heard that...
     
  20. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    thank you for writing!

    i have a single REL q201e sub (centered) for <40 hz or so. Sacrilege to some, but its a perfect match with the 7es3 and its great! Was just looking for the next upgrade from the 7es3, but for now “i'll survive” with this setup :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  21. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lewes, DE
    I bought a brand new pair of Harbeth Monitor 30s at full list price sight unseen---no listening "tests".
    I had read a dozen reviews indicating this speaker was the best all around box ever invented for medium to smaller size rooms---so I thought if I couldn't make them work it was because I am a dope.
    I got them home, hooked them up to a 125watt per side Parasound A23 and placed them in a triangle a couple/three feet off the wall.
    They were NOT perfect.
    They sounded slightly thin and hollow and my heart sank.
    Then I began the slow work "learning" the room Sumiko-style, moving the boxes a half inch at a time searching for multiples of room reflection that worked WITH the boxes instead of hollowing them out.
    (Read up on the Sumiko method online sometime when you have nothing better to do.)
    I broke out my wallet and ordered TWO 250 watt per channel Parasound A21 amps to bi-amp my little champs.
    That meant I had 500 watts per speaker with amps that operated in class "A" at normal volumes.
    BINGO!
    I immediately found three separate positions as I came off the back wall where the boxes began to "bloom" into something quite unlike any box I ever heard.
    Each position was "real" and it was "alive" and it was "easy to listen to for hours."
    Just a question of what looked best and sounded better---at my listening positions.
    And THEN I spent another year fiddling around with placement trying all kinds of other setups including nearfield and used them in a small control room setting.
    Each time it was not the case that they ever sounded awful no matter what I did.
    But on occasion and with certain placements they "popped" into zones where the audio was intoxicating.
    I decided after five years of experimenting that the ideal back wall between them was relatively uncluttered , had perhaps a few curtains or other sound deadeners AND left a little "flat spot" of hard reflection right in the center.
    This created a three dimensional center fill that I could adjust to any size desired.
    PERFECT!
    After deciding to use these in a larger space I wound up adding four subwoofers (two per speaker).
    Naturally I struggled mightily getting those to blend seamlessly without adding bloat.
    But the subs had enough control knobs on them to allow for perfection.
    The SVS subs have infinite variable phase, NOT just "0" or "180".
    They also have crossover level control AND a parametric notch filter with "Q", frequency and level.
    AND they offer a knob for "room size" which selects different roll offs and contours.
    I am not sure a sub that has less control would work unless you had an outboard controller of your own.
    But I am happy to report I have zero bloat and the subs turn what was already a magnificent normal box into a full range room sized monster that sounds BIG like an Altec A7 BIG.
    I will never replace them.
    These do anything I ever asked out of any speaker.
    They are a wonderful "core" speaker with subs added.
    They can handle a small space convincingly with no subs too.
    No more merry go round.
    No more looking for "better" sound.
    I was a DEALER for other brands for gosh sake.
    I NEVER paid full retail for anything in my life.
    This time I DID.
    And I don't regret a single moment spent exploring these boxes.
    Wow. And double wow.

    [​IMG]
     
    Mintsauce and Ulises like this.
  22. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Those look like FrankenWilsons! Said with admiration for your tweaking and experimenting. :thumbsup:

    I love my c7s. I’d love to hear 30’s in my space for comparison. Has anyone listened to both in the same space with the only change being the speaker?
     
  23. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    Yes, I was going to suggest the addition of the sub. I don't use one currently, however did previously to good effect. A well integrated sub is anything but sacrilegious - done right it affords bass, scale, potentially cancels modes etc.

    It sounds like your set-up is already quite nice. I think if you've really got an itch to scratch, don't pull the trigger but get a home demo. You might find you're already there. Dare I say you probably have enough space for 40's!
     
  24. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    The Harbeth FB group has lots of enthusiastic and experienced users, some of whom are familiar with the range. Worth checking out...
     
  25. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    40’s thats what scaring me :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
    LARGERTHAN likes this.

Share This Page