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Harbeth 40.1/40.2 vs Spendor SP100/R2

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, tuga said:

803 D3 for comparison:

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Wow, lots of distortion around 60Hz at the 100dB level, which admittedly is pretty loud.  (Probably makes the bass sound rich!)

Edited by Nopiano

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17 hours ago, Nopiano said:

I think @ChemMan has done this, although not with the exact models in the title of this thread. 

I'm not sure what to say as it looks like the OP is considering "BBC type classic" speakers, even ATC makes some of those classic series.  I think outside of the SHL5+, I demoed very modern speakers and even that Harbie might be the most modern sounding speaker they make, at least that's how Cno put it for me.  I much preferred that over the 30.1, but it was scale I was after.

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23 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

I'm not sure what to say as it looks like the OP is considering "BBC type classic" speakers, even ATC makes some of those classic series.  I think outside of the SHL5+, I demoed very modern speakers and even that Harbie might be the most modern sounding speaker they make, at least that's how Cno put it for me.  I much preferred that over the 30.1, but it was scale I was after.

Harbeth 40.1/40.2 vs Spendor SP100/R2 are not small speakers like the small Harbeth P3ESR

Edited by gasolin

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Super Wammer
On 09/01/2019 at 12:46, DSJR said:

The original active M40 was custom set up to the client's room I remember and Alan S all but dismisses them on the used market as alignment will apparently be way off according to him. I spent an enjoyable afternoon with M40.1's a few years ago and yes, in this room, they weren't boomy at all. the only thing *in direct comparison with the SHL5* is that I felt/imagined I could hear the transition from bass driver to mid unit, but only because the SHL5 didn't have this. Not a problem for the music I play routinely. This demo room favours Harbeths well and the old SHL5 sounds 'organic' rather than boomy in this room. In my more heavily damped sitting room, the crossover dip is more audible and the low to mid bass 'strength' in this model upsets and overpowers the mids to me. I've heard the floor standing Kudos Titans do similar in a similar size (different) dem room, so maybe it's room acoustics doing this. The SHL5+ is far tauter, but tight-arsed if the amp isn't strong enough to push those cones about. I haven't yet heard the 40.2, but understand the bass is slightly better damped (flat frequency response is one thing, but underdamping the bass as well can cause boom and overhang on percussive music which may not show up on a basic response measurement I think).

Each to their own. I don't think Harbeths and Spendors are particularly overpriced when judged by usual manufacturers' margins (I don't just mean Linn and Naim either here). It's just that neither brand are Chinese made for tuppence a pair and in my case, I keep thinking back to late 1980's prices and relevance to my salary then!

Well the guy who owns the ones I have here is a pro who has 3 pairs of actives. He does assist Harbeth sometimes and did check about selling them to me and that was OK by them, but I decided the deep bass was not for me, even though the problem only raised its head on a few recordings.

No mention of any adjustments being available to set them up for the room was made at any time.

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1 hour ago, gasolin said:

Harbeth 40.1/40.2 vs Spendor SP100/R2 are not small speakers like the small Harbeth P3ESR

Hence "scale".  The little 30.1 did nothing for me.  The speakers in the OP are far beyond anything I could afford. 

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Forgive me if I've said this before - MODERN Harbeths EAT power like it's going out of fashion. The sensitivity on paper may make it seem that 50WPC is enough (it may be with some looser amps like certain valve models and Croft for example), but traditional solid state amps I'd suggest a Quad 606 style (140WPC at 8 ohms and with good 4 ohm drive) as a minimum if the sound isn't to stay shut in the plane of the speakers, let alone leaving the boxes at all - in my opinion obviously...

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On 06/01/2019 at 13:18, Dark Matter said:

Interesting to read the change from M40.1 to M40.2 is just in the crossover, I wonder why Harbeth don't (won't?) offer this as an upgrade / retrofit?

I think this was considered for a few minutes, but Harbeth have very streamlined production, only one model on any day, high reliability and most are exported. Retrofitting and rebuilds would not fit kindly into their operation.

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, ssfas said:

I think this was considered for a few minutes, but Harbeth have very streamlined production, only one model on any day, high reliability and most are exported. Retrofitting and rebuilds would not fit kindly into their operation.

And yet ATC will service any of their old speaker models and bring them up to current spec. Mine are there at the moment to have the current tweeters fitted and for the crossovers to be calibrated to the new tweeters. 

So it might be inconvenient but it does generate brand loyalty and it is not impossible to do. 

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4 hours ago, ssfas said:

I think this was considered for a few minutes, but Harbeth have very streamlined production, only one model on any day, high reliability and most are exported. Retrofitting and rebuilds would not fit kindly into their operation.

That's bull. The crossovers could easily be replaced by the end user or the dealer...

They'd rather sell new speakers, that's all.

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On 21/01/2019 at 09:47, tuga said:

That's bull. The crossovers could easily be replaced by the end user or the dealer...

They'd rather sell new speakers, that's all.

Who on earth would want to modify a Harbeth crossover? 

If something broke, I'm sure Harbeth would do a repair, but my experience is that they are ultra-reliable.

Also Harbeth is not really about upgrading. Choose the right size model for your room and stick with it. 

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Just now, ssfas said:

Who on earth would want to modify a Harbeth crossover? 

If something broke, I'm sure Harbeth would do a repair, but my experience is that they are ultra-reliable.

Also Harbeth is not really about upgrading. Choose the right size model for your room and stick with it. 

Who said anything about modifying?

I said "replaced".

If the only change from regular to anniversary is the crossover and it improves performance anyone can take the old one out and put the new one in.

I did that years ago with Consonance speakers (ordered the new crossover from the manufacturer and performed the replacement).

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Super Wammer
11 minutes ago, tuga said:

Who said anything about modifying?

I said "replaced".

If the only change from regular to anniversary is the crossover and it improves performance anyone can take the old one out and put the new one in.

I did that years ago with Consonance speakers (ordered the new crossover from the manufacturer and performed the replacement).

Kef also did it with the old 104 when they sold the modified 104 ab crossover which could be retro fitted by end users.

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