If I know nothing about a client’s needs and tastes other than his/her room size and budget I always recommend one of the wonderful Offerings from Harbeth.
This is because Harbeth speakers are the least sensitive to listening environment in the largest sense of the word of any speakers made ! Near field or far field, close to walls or out in the room, solid state amps or tubes, 20 watts or 200- Harbeths will produce a performance ranging from excellent to Jaw dropping , eye tearing splendor depending upon the associated equipment and listening room.
Even in the worst environments - situations where other speakers sound shrill , boomy or both, Harbeths make music .
Pair them with good electronics and a competent source in a good room and they will give back in a way that few other speakers can.
Most notably Harbeth has cornered the market tonal accuracy and Harmonic richness. Instruments reveal their true character on Harbeth better than any speaker you can buy for twice the price.
When in Doubt buy Harbeth!
Harbeth was founded in 1977 to enable the serious listener to experience BBC's groundbreaking loudspeaker designs . More than forty years later, Harbeth speakers continue to be the product of the longest-running science-based loudspeaker research program ever undertaken
Since its introduction over 25 years ago The Harbeth Pes3R has been the choice of reviewers and listeners alike as the archetypal mini monitor and the best modern expression of the 70 year old BBC designs. Many have tried to knock it off its pedestal with no success.Just ask them
"Suffice to say that this is hands down the most accurate subcompact BBC monitor ever made and perhaps the only one that actually deserves to be called a monitor."
‐ Paul Seydor
"I love the Harbeth P3ESR... the best iteration yet from any manufacturer of the BBC LS3/5A mini-monitor concept"
‐ John Atkinson, Stereophile
Alan Shaw, the designer of Harbeth Audio Ltd. Is wont to say:
"The minute self-congratualtion seeps into your thinking is the moment you cease to innovate. I'm driven to think out of the box — literally!"
That thinking has, just this year, led him to improve dramatically upon this icon of its genre with the introduction of the The P3ESR. 40th Anniversary Edition in olive wood. With the same design and drivers
the differences between the standard PES3R the and the anniversary edition are said to be the use latest WBT-nextgen binding posts, British-made audio grade poly capacitors, and Harbeth's 40th anniversary ultra-pure OFC internal cable.
However, The differences in detail dynamics and purity wrought by these upgrades is nothing short of Dramatic. Both continue to be made both are wonderful but one is just that much more so.
For several years the Monitor 30.1 has been the most universally applauded mid size monitor in the world with typical comments being:
"The M30.1 swept me off my feet"
‐ Wojciech Pacula
"The best compact two-way speaker system I have ever heard, regardless of design type, cost, or complexity."
‐ Paul Seydor
"Harbeths: resolving and ravishing... Timbres so true, and resolution, too. Whatever amp I used, the tonality was superb. Never, ever, fatiguing."
‐ Sam Tellig, Stereophile
And so it would have remained had not Harbeth refused to sit on its laurels and simply collect orders preferring to effectively outdo it self once again. The result is the HARBETH 30.2 Fortieth Anniversary Edition. Incorporating upgraded connectors, special Harbeth wiring and proprietary capacitors just like the PES3R Anni, the 30.2 improves upon the 30.1 to such a degree that if you couldn’t see them you would think there was an entirely new speaker playing Dynamics, clarity, coherency all rise to a new level.
“ (Alan) Shaw says that the sound of his Radial2 cone is the least colored of all present-day bass-midrange cones. I believe he is right.
I also believe that Harbeth's Monitor 30.2 is the most neutral, accurate, tuneful, fun, and music-loving stand-mounted two-way speaker I've heard.”
Stereophile- Herb Reichert | Mar 20, 2018
Applying lessons learned and materials used in creating the 40.1 super monito, Harbeth’s venerable Super Hl5 was upgraded several years ago to The HL5 Plus . With greater range than the 30.1 and a true 3 way design the Hl5 plus is best understood as a larger fuller sounding version of this speaker.
Writing about the Super HL5 Plus in the October 19, 2015 edition of the absolute sound Paul Seydor Noted:
“The midrange is everything we’ve come to expect from a Harbeth: drop-dead gorgeous and so seamlessly integrated to the top and bottom ends of the spectrum that it’s an exercise in artificiality to discuss them separately. To play voice or any kind of acoustic instrument either solo or part of an ensemble is to bring a smile to your face—so easy, beautiful, and effortlessly natural is the reproduction. Perceptive readers may notice that I’m using the word “beauty” and its variants quite a lot in this review. This is because beauty is the overriding impression this speaker makes—that and a wholesale absence of any sort of listening fatigue.”
This year The Super HL 5 plus got the Anniversary treatment with the same results achieved as with the other models. Clarity, coherence and dynamics all improved in a major way.
Describing them as “ Alan Shaw’s Masterpiece” , in the Feb 03rd, 2017 edition of the absolute sound, Paul Seydor
“ if I were asked to recommend a loudspeaker to someone who loves a really wide variety of music and wants it reproduced accurately, naturally, and beautifully such that he or she truly can listen for hours without fatigue, my recommendation in the here and now would unhesitatingly be the Monitor 40.2. As the review period has lasted several months, during which time I’ve had to evaluate several other components, I’ve also come to appreciate the Harbeth’s value as a tool for reviewing equipment and recordings. This is one speaker that really will tell you the truth about any source or any components feeding it.
As for my 2805s, no, I’m not about to sell them—once a Quad man, always a Quad man—but they must henceforth share house space with the Monitor 40.2 as my idea of how a reference loudspeaker should sound and perform. Now that the evaluations have ended and the review finished, truth in reporting requires I point out I’ve felt no pressing urge to bring the Quads back into the listening room, so satisfying are the Harbeths. The Monitor 40.2 is now my reference loudspeaker, and so it shall remain for a long, long time to come.”
Basking in Accolades of the like is not Alan Shaw’s style , so if you guessed that he applied the Ann iversary treatment to the unassailable 40.2 you would be right on the money.
How do you improve on a masterpiece? Better internal wiring , special poly capacitors and improved binding posts.
The result? better sit down when you listen to them because they will bring you to tears and make you weak at the knees.
The Harbeth 40.2 Anniversary is the master reference loudspeaker.