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Harbeth P3ESR sounding boxed in?

Discussion in 'audio' started by M@ver1ck, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. M@ver1ck

    M@ver1ck pfm Member

    My harbeth p3esrs sound pretty boxed in to me. They're pretty much as far away from the room boundaries as possible, and driven with rega/naim electronics.

    The Kudos gear that I have, in contrast sounds awesome.

    Any suggestions?
  2. JonR

    JonR Brainwashed Bloke

    How new are your Harbeths? Perhaps they need running in.
  3. M@ver1ck

    M@ver1ck pfm Member

    20 hours on them.
  4. Oakwood

    Oakwood pfm Member

    What are they sat on?

    High mass or low mass stands?

  5. M@ver1ck

    M@ver1ck pfm Member

    skylan stands filled with sand.
  6. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy L3 Toy

    Empty some of the sand out.

    Come back when they have 100+ hours on them.
  7. DSJR

    DSJR Between us and them

    The Kudos speakers I've heard have been rather "toppy" with loads of "HiFi" detail due to the high output from the tweeter. Some rooms, systems and ears prefer this kind of presentation and, if this is the case, no Harbeth will do, despite the sweetness and natural tone on acoustic instruments.

    The recommendation for lightly loaded stands rather than heavyweight dreadnaughts is a good one I think.

    One thing I should say is that the current Naim range seems to major on bass precision and "punch" rather than an "airy" treble. I'm not saying this is contributing at all, but it was interesting for me to hear how the Naim stuff sounds these days - rather gentler in the presence and treble regions than the hard-hitting CB and Olive range I remember from years gone by.

    Hope you find you can get thre P3ESR's to work for you. I'm sure you'll have no difficulty at all in moving them on if they just don't "do it" for you. The Kudos models do seem to be better sorted than most of the livelier speakers out there and should make an excellent alternative if you need to change..

    P.S. You did give a good listen to the P3ESR's before purchase didn't you? What did they sound like on the dem and what gear was used with them?
  8. ArtK

    ArtK British HiFi Nut!

    Mine sound great. What size room are you in?
  9. darrylfunk

    darrylfunk Banned

    play with positioning and toe in.

    try this with some accapella music if you are looking for the most open, projected sound and then tweak with some nice walking bassline music to lock in the bass tunefulness....
  10. Pete the Feet

    Pete the Feet pfm Member

    You need to have an extended listening session with both over a number of days if possible. You may find that what first seems appealing may sound fatiguing or jarring after a couple of hours. Wait for the novelty whoah factor to wear off.
    I had a similar experience with Shahinian Arc's which sounded awsome at first but soon became wearing.
  11. novak

    novak pfm Member

    Harbeths can sound like that. I have the Monitor 30, and have owned the C7 and P3 too. I tried more detailed speakers but lost everything else in the midrange in comparison. What I found worked was to open up the Harbeths with brighter sounding cable - tellurium Q black, bought the Naim DAC and some good connections like the hiline. Not cheap though!

    Also, the Harbeths sound more open without the covers.

    I'd be interested in them for a second system if you want to shift them on, if they are in cherry or black.
  12. M@ver1ck

    M@ver1ck pfm Member

    Well, I had a quick listen to them before I bought them. Got a great deal, so I figured I could move them on with minimal loss. I'm still between systems, and currently have no amp for the p3esrs.

    I'll either get the Brio-R for the P3ESR, or get the SuperUniti for the Kudos and move the NaitXS into the study with the P3ESR.

    wait and see.

    I'll remove some of the sand though. Even the guy who makes the speaker stands suggest kitty litter or rice instead of sand for harbeths in his stands.
  13. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Sensible advice here so far, especially DSJR's. The sound won't change much with burn-in, though the sand-filled Skylan stands can be a factor. Some folks reported a more open sound when the speakers are decoupled from the top plate of the Skylans. If not considering open low-mass stands, you may want to try decoupling the speakers from the stands apart from reducing the amount of fill in them.

    I also concur with most folks here about putting more hours on the Harbeths. You will get to know the strengths of the Harbeth when you spend more time with the speakers. Initial listening impressions can be unimpressive as they may sound less open with *seemingly* reduced energy in the highs in comparison to more forward and bright speakers such as the Kudos.

    If the P3ESR still sound shut-in after taking the above into consideration, perhaps the house sound of the Kudos suits you better.

    Since you already have a Naim Nait XS, it may be more worthwhile to consider the Rega Brio-R instead of another Naim amp, either for the Kudos or Harbeth. Not too sure which amp you would prefer for the P3ESR though. I've not tried the Brio-R but I prefer a Naim amp over the Rega Elicit on the Harbeth. A matter of preference.

    Good luck.
  14. ArtK

    ArtK British HiFi Nut!

    When I talked to him the one exception to the substitution is the stand for the P3ESR. Do you have the 2 pillar or the single?
  15. JCL

    JCL pfm Member

    Sounds like the music is trapped. What about drilling a few holes in the cabinet?
  16. Teddy Ray

    Teddy Ray pfm Member

    these often work well for speakers, and are cheap as dirt. I use them myself.

  17. Pete the Feet

    Pete the Feet pfm Member

    I use Atacama stands filled three quarters full with Atacama bytes. I tried the Atacama pads to couple to the stand but I found a small and I mean small dab of Bluetak applied central to work the best. I also tried the floor protectors for the spikes but I was having doubts, probably all in the mind.
    The Harbeths can be wonderfully detailed and engaging but also easy on the ears. Last night for instance I fell asleep with the system on, you just can't do that with some speakers.
  18. Markus S

    Markus S 41 - 29

    Indeed. Maverick, if you prefer the Kudos sound, no hand-wringing is called for, they may simply work better for you and your situation.
  19. soverton

    soverton pfm Member

    I bought some Skylans for my SHL5. After speaking to Noel himself, it seems that he leans towards a filling for the stands which adds some damping but does not add too much weight. The German suppler for Skylan sells High Density Plastic Pellets as a recommended fill against the kitty litter - but at a price. You can get similar results with these: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Weighted-...ds_CA&var=&hash=item64214ea199#ht_1502wt_1051.
    But be careful as this puts you on the edge of the terrifying world of reborn baby dolls.

    There is an article in the current (May 2012) Stereophile which deals with P3ESR on Skylans - I don't know when the online version appears, but it also suggests that the Q-Bricks can help.
  20. AdamWysokinski

    AdamWysokinski Mmm... music...

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