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Harbeth 40.1/40.2 vs Spendor SP100/R2

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In my opinion current Spendors are not in the same league as those produced when Derek Hugues still owned the company.

The Graham Audio LS5/8 might be worth a listen though...

R

Thanks, I heard the original LS5/8s at Scalford for the first time this year and really liked them running off the R2R machines.

My living room, while big, is not on a par with Scalford's lounge. :)

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I've never heard the Spendors but I can comment on the Harbeth Monitor 40. I recently acquired a pair of the original version of these, studio grey complete with handles. Ugly? yes. Sublime sounding? Definitely. It was a strange impulse to buy them, as I have been listening with Revel Gems for the past few months and loving them. The Harbeths have a tonal balance in the bass which is undoubtedly different from most other domestic speakers. I'm sure they are room dependent, but in my room I'm enjoying having a speaker that gives weight and body to the sound coherently, without subs. It is really hard to characterise the overall sound of the M40 as it changes with the recording, more than with any other speaker I've owned. I think that's a good thing. They certainly have extraordinary transparency to vocal and instrumental timbres, without the thinned-out quality which often passes for transparency. The Revels are amazing speakers, which can do things the Harbeths can't. They certainly have much more explicit dynamics, and they can carve the musicians into the air with extraordinary solidity. I've not decided 100% which I'm keeping. They will appeal to different tastes (in both music and audio). I think the M40's have their nose ahead for me, though, because with the Harbeths I seem to have stopped listening to the sound, and am just enjoying the music, whatever I put on. (It's a cliche, I know, but it's how it is.)

PS Robert E. Green's website (regonaudio) has Harbeth v. Spendor material on it.

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I've never heard the Spendors but I can comment on the Harbeth Monitor 40. I recently acquired a pair of the original version of these, studio grey complete with handles. Ugly? yes. Sublime sounding? Definitely. It was a strange impulse to buy them, as I have been listening with Revel Gems for the past few months and loving them. The Harbeths have a tonal balance in the bass which is undoubtedly different from most other domestic speakers. I'm sure they are room dependent, but in my room I'm enjoying having a speaker that gives weight and body to the sound coherently, without subs. It is really hard to characterise the overall sound of the M40 as it changes with the recording, more than with any other speaker I've owned. I think that's a good thing. They certainly have extraordinary transparency to vocal and instrumental timbres, without the thinned-out quality which often passes for transparency. The Revels are amazing speakers, which can do things the Harbeths can't. They certainly have much more explicit dynamics, and they can carve the musicians into the air with extraordinary solidity. I've not decided 100% which I'm keeping. They will appeal to different tastes (in both music and audio). I think the M40's have their nose ahead for me, though, because with the Harbeths I seem to have stopped listening to the sound, and am just enjoying the music, whatever I put on. (It's a cliche, I know, but it's how it is.)

PS Robert E. Green's website (regonaudio) has Harbeth v. Spendor material on it.

Funny, I am finding something similar at the moment. I have stunningly good WB ACTS which may share some traits with your Revels but I am mostly listening to my B&W DM70s as they are more musical and easy going plus they don't choose what I listen to in the same way that the WBs can do sometimes even if the B&Ws bass is very loose at times.

I am on a mission to find a speaker to bridge the gap between 2 speakers that i really like.

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The BnWs have weird/wrong tonal balance and that kevlar midrange makes one's ears bleed.

Definite material for a magazine recommendation...

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Well, the ink on my post (#9) has hardly dried and I picked up a pair of M40.1 this weekend. They are waaaay to big for my current room(we will be moving to a bigger place soon) but still good enough to give you an idea of what they sound like. So if you ever heading towards Herts, you're welcome to pop in for a listen

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Well, the ink on my post (#9) has hardly dried and I picked up a pair of M40.1 this weekend. They are waaaay to big for my current room(we will be moving to a bigger place soon) but still good enough to give you an idea of what they sound like. So if you ever heading towards Herts, you're welcome to pop in for a listen

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks for the very kind offer, I may well take you up that as you are only 90 mins away. :)

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hello,

 

I have been a dealer (when I was in the hifi bussiness) for both makers, sold both models and had both models. .

If you like this kind of sound they are difficult to say which of the two is better. In way word the Spendor is more lirical the harbeth is more accurate. The eally tricky thing with spendor vs harbeth sound is if you compare it directly you may end up prefering the harbeth since in a direct comparison harbeth shows it has more dettails and Something more then the spendor. But when you have it both at home for few months the thing is different. The Spendor manage to get Inside your heart, the harbeth stay more in the brain. It is not a cerebral speaker but it is slihtly more cerebral then the Spendor. At the end of the ownership I had more memories connected with the big Spendor. Now I have a smaller one since I have a much smaller listening room (I have the SP1/2R2). In a way the Spendor give you a certain beauty that you are not going to appreciate in a comparative listening expecially against the Harbeth.

I say this since in a comparitive I always preferred the Harbeth but on the long run I always remembered the Spendor.

Both speakers a big and are difficult to positioning well expecially the Spendor.

Another good thing in favour of the Spendor: it is much easier to drive. The Harbeth is efficient but needs a strong ampli. It will sound with 40 watt but you feel something is not as it should. I have find out that from the big harbeth you can reach a very beautiful sound. With the Spendor you can reach many different beautiful sounds.

Edited by curare
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On 23/06/2016 at 21:54, tuga said:

In my opinion current Spendors are not in the same league as those produced when Derek Hugues still owned the company.

The Graham Audio LS5/8 might be worth a listen though...

R

Hi tuga,

I have wondered this and am trying to find out if Derek Hughes was involved in other incarnations of the S100 after the S100 model itself ceased production?

DM :)

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43 minutes ago, Dark Matter said:

Hi tuga,

I have wondered this and am trying to find out if Derek Hughes was involved in other incarnations of the S100 after the S100 model itself ceased production?

DM :)

Hi DM,

I think that you might be able to find that information at the Spendor Yahoo Group.

Derek often posts there.

Good luck!

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Super Wammer
8 hours ago, tuga said:

Hi DM,

I think that you might be able to find that information at the Spendor Yahoo Group.

Derek often posts there.

Good luck!

Yes, agreed. I was going to suggest that. 

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The £6500 new price for the Spendor SP100 R2's is a bad point, making them way overpriced. At £3000 used off ebay they are still overpriced for the sound quality on offer.

The Harbeth 40.2's at £11,000 new or £8000 on ebay are a joke. You'd have to be barking mad to buy them at those prices. They're only medium sized conventional coned and domed ported speakers.

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Super Wammer
7 hours ago, lindsayt said:

The £6500 new price for the Spendor SP100 R2's is a bad point, making them way overpriced. At £3000 used off ebay they are still overpriced for the sound quality on offer.

The Harbeth 40.2's at £11,000 new or £8000 on ebay are a joke. You'd have to be barking mad to buy them at those prices. They're only medium sized conventional coned and domed ported speakers.

I am sure that both Spendor and Harbeth are quaking in their boots now that you have pointed that out the flaws in their pricing with such erudition. I will look at the newspapers to see if their companies collapse over the weekend. 

I bought S100 new and still have them now. I now also have the SP100R2 and the SP200. All three will still be going strong long after other other speakers have gone to land fill. 

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