Originally Posted by luna5
First you say"Unfortunately, the marketing folks over at Harman haven't seen fit to release the detailed charts on how well their speakers perform"
And then you say"
Again, consider that the P360, which has thinner cabinets and "MMD" versus "CMMD" performs better overall than the Beta speakers and the Interlude speakers. I'm not talking about subjective reviews here, I'm talking about objective measurements -- in one of the most sophisticated labs on the planet. I'm sure they didn't plan it this way and they may not have been very happy about this, but it's just how it worked out."
I'm not arguing with you but these 2 statements seem to contradict themselves. There's more to speaker design than just drivers and cabinets. The Preludes may very well measure better...they are a newer design than the discontinued Betas but without actual objective measurements of them all as they are produced it's a bit of a stretch to project the actual performance. We also know that lab measurements do not tell the whole story about how a speaker will actual sound in the real world.
Let me try to explain a little more, as I can see where my statements may have not been very clear. My point was that even though these speakers have a cheaper parts list than many other (including harman's own Beta's for example) they perform better -- both in objective measurements and in listener preference testing. Remember that Harman is out on the forefront of being able to meaningfully correlate objective measurements with listener preference because of the large body of work performed there by Toole, Olive, et al. There is more real, objective, ruthless science being performed at Harman on our behalf than perhaps anywhere else in the world. Other speaker manufacturers (particularly the Canadians who use the NRC facilities) practice similar methods, but Harman has carried it further than anybody else. If you have not read the white papers on Infinity's site, then you owe it to yourself to do so. Just Google "infinity white papers".
These people have developed the industry's most rigorous development and testing standards. The important thing to note is that they have the most sophisticated way of measuring whether anybody can hear the results of their engineering efforts. They don't rely on the ears of a particular 'guru'. They have teams of highly qualified people directed by one of the foremost acoustic authorities on planet earth (ok, Toole's retired now, and the team thoroughly practices the objective methodology). Every speaker they make gets put through the torture test of double-blind testing by trained listeners. If you have not read about this process you really should. It will make you question the whole model of using one designer who tests speakers "by ear." Harman's methodology is much more rigorous, much more objective, and much more scientific. They are so efficient at this methodology that their speakers are vastly more refined than the average "audiophile" speaker made by small boutique companies. When it comes to cabinet resonances, for instance, Harman has done a great deal of research on what type of resonances are more detrimental to the final product, and so they are able to prioritize which resonances they go after. So when you judge the weight of a primus speaker versus a heavier speaker from another manufacturer, keep in mind that Harman knows exactly what resonances this speaker makes and has minimized the worst ones and worked their way down the list. I'm not saying that the Primus is resonance free (i.e., perfect), but I am saying that most speaker manufacturers -- particularly the boutique ones -- can't afford this type of analytical equipment and are not able to perform the original research to determine which type of resonances are the worst and how they are best tamed. Harman has more Ph D's running around than most, doing original research, publishing papers in the AES, reviewing each other's work. It's an amazing environment. That's why, when I got a little inside info that the primus series was well though-of inside Harman, and that the P360/362's in particular caused quite a stir, I wanted to pass that along. Comments like that say the 360's aren't good for serious two-channel listening just aren't true. It's not my ears I'm relying on, it's the objective reports from inside Harman that these speakers trounced (now discontinued) Harman products as well as vastly more expensive speakers from other competitive manufacturers. It's just that the Primus project went extremely well, and that the engineering that went into them - cabinets, drivers, crossovers...everything came together in a wonderful way and exceeded expectations. Who knows? Maybe a couple years from now when they put out a replacement line it won't be quite as good. Maybe they will be better. I have no idea. I just wanted to post on this topic because I read a couple comments in the thread that made it seem as if the primus are entry level. From a marketing standpoint they are, but from a measurement and listener preference perspective, they are extremely good. So good, in fact, that people who trade them away looking for something a little better will probably trade down. In my case, I had owned some $1500 Monitor Audio RS8's, and when I heard the P360's, I immediately put the RS8's up for sale. I ended up returning the P360's because I thought, "These are so good at $300 per pair, I wonder what Infinity can give me if I spend a little more money." Crutchfield offers free return shipping so I sent the Primus's back. I got some Beta 40's and some IL 40's (craigslist) and immediately regretted it. Both were good speakers but did not have the all-around performance of the P360's. So I got rid of the above and tracked down some P360's again. This is why I say you take a risk when you think you can do a little better than the P360's by spending a few hundred more dollars. It may be possible, but it's not likely. I had previously owned Paradigm Reference Studio 60's, several models from Castle, Triangle, B&W, Quad 12L actives, and some others. So far the only thing I prefer to the primus line is the Intermezzo 2.6p. A little better imaging and transparency. But just a little. The JBL 6328p is pretty amazing in regards to transparency and power (it is a biamplified studio monitor with super-flat frequency response) but again it is only marginally better at normal room volumes. I've discovered that diminishing returns kicks in really hard and fast after you go past the Primus 360. They really are a very serious speaker.
Hope that helps a little bit. I also hope to not come across as argumentative, but to say, hey, we really have found a gem here, and it's not just all in our heads. Even at full retail these speakers are a bargain.