OK; if you already know, and/or love these speakers...or are at least familiar with the Harbeth sound. Just skip ahead to the detailed pics, and PM me if you want to talk shop...lol. For those of you...who may only know Harbeth by name, or reputation; and aren't quite sure...what all the fuss is about, or if they're right for you. You should keep reading. Don't worry...I just lifted this, from an ad I'm running elsewhere.
For the longest time, I was an audiophile with Champagne dreams, and Beer budget. As such...I had mostly "mid-fi" speakers, like Paradigm, Polk, (lower-end) B&W, Klipsch, etc. About 7 years ago...I finally had the money, to start throwing a little more at my system; and a good pair, of "hi-end" speakers were my first priority.
I did my research...talked to lots of fellow 'philes, and listened as much as I could. I came away a devout Dynaudio man. I started with Focus 140s, and over the next 6 years...moved steadily, up the Dyn stand-mount ladder. Focus 140s, turned to Contour S1.4s...S1.4s turned to Special 25s; and Special 25s, turned to $8500 Confidence C1 Signatures! When I started with the 140s, about 5 years prior...C1s were supposed to represent the pinnacle. They were, and are...world-class monitors.
Then a funny thing happened; I tried a pair of Harbeths. Of course, being a guy who knew about all the brands...even though there was a time, I couldn't always afford them; I was well aware of their reputation. I wanted to put together a really good, but appropriately priced, small system for my Office; and I decided to pick-up a pair of used P-3s. WoW; what a little speaker! The things you hear, and read about Harbeth are so true: fantastic mid-range, so natural sounding...no fatigue whatsoever. The P-3s were perfect for the Office, but...I won't kid you, and say that the 5"mid/bass driver, rocked the house...lol.
But I was so intrigued by the nature of the sound, that I did want to see...what a bigger Harbeth would do, up against the much more expensive C1. I picked up a pair of 7ES-3s (30th Anniversary), and put them in the Main rig. Like an amicable split with an old girlfriend...you won't hear me bad-mouth the C1s; they are simply different speakers, and comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. (but obviously...the C1 Sigs went, and the 7ES-3s stayed )
Because they're so hard to compare...and Harbeths, in general, are tough to describe if you've never actually heard them...I'm not sure I can do it justice. But...great as the C1s are, there's just a whole lot of stuff there; BIG bass...a really extended tweeter needed, to balance it. It's a speaker that really hits you over the head; certainly by comparison. It's what I've come to call a "show-off" speaker...and I don't even mean that as a dig (I told you this was complicated...lol). Let me try it this way...the Harbeths, wouldn't wow your non-audiophile friends; you know...your buds, who dig music but don't really know good gear from bad. Harbeths aren't likely to wow them. The bass doesn't boom, it doesn't floor you; and in fact...after coming from a speaker like the C1...it took some getting used to.
But what I realized...after I spent some time with it; is that the thing is so damn musical! It's so natural, so "real-sounding"; it's incredibly balanced...and you can just focus on the music, rather than listening for the sound (if that makes sense?). Now don't get me wrong: I've had 'phile friends...mostly Dyn guys, like I was...who couldn't believe I made a switch like this. They'd say things like "of course it's got good mids...there's no bass or no highs to compete". Spoken like someone...who's only read about them, but not actually heard them. It's not true. These 7ES-3s have bass; good, firm, taut...punchy bass. It's just more like real bass...like you'd hear in live music; than the kind of boom-boom, hit-you-over-the-head, thump-you-in-the-chest bass...some speakers give you. Yes...that'll impress some people; but I'm telling you...I've come to think of it as an enlightened and evolved view. This is really more musical, than all that bombastic output (and no...I'm 45, not 75 ). Plus...these 7ES-3s throw a BIG sound-stage; wide, deep, and high (when the recording is up to it)...and I just love the pinpoint placement of instruments.
So...that's my take on Harbeth, for those of you who may be thinking of taking the plunge...but weren't sure what they were all about (for those of you who know and/or already love Harbeth...it was probably just a big waste of time, and you want to see some pics to confirm the condition...lol). Don't get me wrong; these speakers probably aren't for everyone. One...if you like that BIG, boomy bass, and presentation...despite what I say, lol (and there's nothing wrong with that...different strokes, and all); these probably aren't for you. And if you're an Electronica or Trance freak...I've heard they can have trouble, with the dense, complex passages...and so forth.
But...if you're a Jazz guy, they're killer; Vocals are to die for...and yes, they do Rock just fine. I would say Room is important to consider; as are matching kit (though I would say both are always worth consideration). If you need to talk it through...feel free to PM me, and let's talk a little shop. I'm a died-in-the-wool 'phile (though I hate the implications, that most associate with the word); so I don't mind talking gear and systems. I have perfect and long-standing feedback, at AG (I can provided you with, and verify a member-name if need be); and not to pat myself on the back...but I just moved a $6500 IA, and the buyer emailed me to say "you really are an excellent and knowledgeable seller. I wish I were as good"...lol. Point is...I'm not going to feed you a string of BS...or steer you into these, if I don't think they're a match; just to make a sale. These don't sit.
I'm not sure about the price though. I am selling these with the beautiful, matching...custom-made for 7ES-3s, Tyler stands. $2800/obo sounds right; but I'm open to reasonable offers...and I'll let the market dictate price. That's more than enough for now. I'll follow-up, later today...with any additional thoughts that come to mind; and more importantly...some very detailed shots of the speakers and stands themselves.
FOUNDER - E.S.A.C. (Eastern Shore Audio Collective)