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Harbeth M40.2 vs Graham Audio LS5/8

Discussion in 'audio' started by darkmatter, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter pfm Member

    Yes it is interesting that the Graham LS5/8S now uses a different tweeter which looks a bit like the big Seas T35C002 and not the Audax 34mm unit :)

    tuga likes this.
  3. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    There's no reference to a BBC License on the back sticker, I wonder if this is a replica of a prototype or just a cheaper version of the GA LS5/8 design.

  4. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand pfm Member

    No, it is only positioned more in front on the pic.
  5. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    DonMarks likes this.
  6. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    just scanning this thread, I think the answer is no :rolleyes::)
  7. davenrk

    davenrk Member

    I jhave read this thread but can't find any direct comparisons
  8. irb

    irb pfm Member

    There was a Scalford show a few years ago where both the Harbeth M40 and Rogers LS5/8 were playing, in different rooms. Not the 40.2 or the Graham LS5/8, obviously, and different systems/music were in use, so comparisons were difficult. (The source for the LS5/8s was reel-to reel tape, actually.)

    It was the first time I'd heard either of these speakers, and contrary to my expectations, it was the Rogers that impressed most. It was the standout room of that show, for me, in fact. Since then I've owned Harbeth M40s but the not the LS5/8. I guess both are capable of excellent results. It'll be be down to system/room matching and personal taste.
    Tigerjones and Fatmarley like this.
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter pfm Member

    Yes was at this show, thinking about it may be the reason for this thread.
    I did like the Rogers LS5/8 dem produced some excellent sounds.
  10. wow&flutter

    wow&flutter pfm Member

    I always felt the Rogers 5/8 was bit under the radar over the years. I remember it from the early 80’s I guess in unpowered form and do remember seeing a pair in the flesh. Surprisingly I think I heard the Chartwell PM510 back in the day but don’t ever remember hearing the Rogers.
    I’m sure these modern versions are superb but the prices! I guess my wallet is still living in the 70’s:D
  11. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley "It appears my intelligence circuits have melted"

    The Rogers 5/8 at Scalford were the best sound of the show for me too.

    The amount of times I've heard people say a 6" driver is the largest you can use in a 2-way speaker, and yet here we have 2-way speaker with a 12" driver and a soft dome tweeter, that's not even horn loaded. Apparently it shouldn't work, and yet subjectively, it works incredibly well.
    darkmatter and irb like this.
  12. canonman

    canonman pfm Member

    +1 I have used real LS5/8's on and off for decades. Used to have a pair in my office. Incredible speakers but these new pretenders are just that.

    I have no doubt at all that they are fabulous speakers and far more acceptable to domestic use but the only real thing that they have in common is the size.

    Real LS5/8, as I am sure most people know, are true active grade 1 monitor speakers, driven by dedicated Quad AM8/16 amps, which are modified Quad 405 (and 405-2). These amps have built in dedicated crossovers, XLR connectivity and one channel each for the tweeter and bass unit. The whole caboodle then placed on dedicated open frame stands with the amps on a shelf.

    Rogers made passive versions of these speakers for domestic use, based upon the same cabinet and drivers, sold under Rogers and Chartwell names.

    I would have more respect for the new ones if they just used their own name, rather than cynically calling them LS5/8 for obvious reasons..
  13. RoA

    RoA pfm Member

    Strange design
  14. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    Isn't the argument usually that the directivity of two drivers of such great size difference is badly matched at the crossover frequency so colouring off-axis radiation and room reflections? From my reading I think that's nominally correct without some specific design intervention (but I am open to correction).

    However here we seem to have a tweeter which looks like it has a small waveguide to narrow directivity at its bottom end; and (unusually) what appears to be a directivity control on the woofer which will widen directivity at its top end. I assume the two measures combine to make a match and make the 'speaker work.
    Peter_Tos likes this.
  15. irb

    irb pfm Member

    Yes, that's exactly it.

    That tiny 'horn' on the tweeter won't have any effect on directivity at its bottom end. A much bigger waveguide would be needed. So there's no way that the directivity of the two drivers will be similar at the crossover point, even with that 'slot' in front of the woofer. If you go by Floyd Toole's (excellent) work on this, such speakers shouldn't sound good at all. As so often in audio, though, the theory doesn't fully predict what we hear.
    Fatmarley likes this.
  16. Fatmarley

    Fatmarley "It appears my intelligence circuits have melted"

    The original ones that were at Scalford didn't have a horn loaded tweeter or a slot in front of the woofer. And as irb said above, the tweeter horn would only work at the very highest frequencies because of it's size.
  17. darkmatter

    darkmatter pfm Member

    Yes this design is based upon the early prototype LS5/8 which used the slot infront of the 12" bass/mid
    RoA likes this.
  18. RichardAusten

    RichardAusten pfm Member

    The Harbeth 40.2(and 40.1) were in my runner-up camp of speakers - I have heard several Rogers speakers and these (3/5a and 5/9) which I would consider in my runner-up series to another set of speakers I own. Rogers especially out of all the 3/5a speakers I have heard (unfortunately it may be the most expensive).

    In the end, if you are down to just two speaker finalists then you should do all the listening yourself - forums and reviews may be useful at getting you a list of 10-20 speakers and then hopefully you have a dealer that carries several of the speakers on that bigger list to widdle down to a handful.

    And then it somewhat matters where in the world you are located. In Canada I remembered auditioning the Bryston B60 and Sugden A21a - I greatly prefer the Sugden but the Sugden was about $500 more in Canada than the Bryston so the B60 offered reasonable value. But in the UK the B60 was outrageously priced - Perhaps the import duty there is very high but it was more expensive than the Sugden - Hi-Fi Choice gave the Bryston a mere 3/5 star rating. The Sugden is way better in the UK while it is merely just better in Canada in terms of value for the dollar.

    On top of that few people will have auditioned any two speakers in the same room, at the same volume, at the same listening position, with the same music. And even then, it is entirely possible one might like the Harbeth better in one room and the Graham better in another room. Indeed, the Harbeth might sound better with the Bryston than Graham and the Graham might sound better than the Harbeth with Sugden.

    This happened to me - different speakers. I audition a set of AN K/Lx speakers (copper cables) and it sounded pretty nice with a Rotel amplifier but that same amp on the J/SPe(silver cables) sounded thin and edgy. Switching to the AN OTO SE tube amplifier and the K/LX sound better but the J/SPe made much much greater gains - the thin and edgy went away and it sounded more whole organic and connected together. Bottom line - the impression one would get would be very different depending on what was being connected. Thus, I am not terribly surprised when people hate silver wiring.

    Like I said - if you're down to just two finalists - you have to find a way to get both of them in your home to try - alternately - you could ask dealers to provide contact details of customers who would be willing to let you audition stuff.

    You would be surprised how friendly the audiophile community can be - I have been welcomed into several people's homes to audition gear in Canada and here in Hong Kong. I bought my current AN E/SPx AlNiCo speakers largely based on an audition at a guy's home (A Pianist in a Symphony Orchestra) who had special non dynamically limited source material to play massive Chinese drum music.

    I would also talk to dealers and tell them what you are interested in. They know their customers. They know what their customers are planning in terms of upgrades. So you may get quite a good deal if they know that customer X is looking to sell their Graham or Harbeth because they want something else. Not everyone wants the hassle of selling online so these customers may take a discount over what they could get selling online just to get cash to make their upgrade. So if you like both speakers more or less the same - then try to get the one you can get a better deal on. And if buying blind then the speaker you know you can resell easier if you don't like them. When my dealer told me a customer was selling his Audio Note K/SPe speakers because he was buying $22,000 Audio Note J SEC speakers - I pounced - I gave the guy cash and my KEF LS-50s (they're easy to sell) and I got the AN K/Spe for a price where I could sell them for more than I paid.

    So buy second-hand - let other people pay the depreciation. It's not that Harbeth or Graham aren't good - most of today's speakers are good - the question is only about whether they'll be good for you. And none of us can answer that for you. It's kind of like leather - some people love leather seats in a car but others find that it's too hot and their butt sweats so they prefer cloth - so it's not even about price - some people just like cloth better. The speakers may have a slight rise in the treble band - some people like that "sparkle" while others find it bright. How will you know if you don't try for yourself?

    Tannoy has this treble sparkle - I tend to like Tannoy as a brand - their prestige series quite a lot - also on my shortlist. I understand why some folks are put off by their treble. I like it. They've been selling them for like 80 years or some ridiculous number - so a lot of people do.
    darkmatter likes this.
  19. Ayya Khema

    Ayya Khema pfm Member

    a 2 driver speaker....
    why is Graham asking freaking 15 000$ for this?

    Debilitating prices.

    Harbeth 40.2 not much better at 20 000. its a sure value though (in the resell), its a good speaker that sadly needs super powerful amps to drive. Along that big 12" cab into a lossless cabinet. I dunno, I wouldnt buy neither without a serious audition and comparison to other speakers that uses a big woofer...

    I kinda think the BBC lossless makes sense with small speakers.
    I really dont think a real woofer (12") benefit from a lossless BBC cab
  20. Ayya Khema

    Ayya Khema pfm Member

    Theirs the genesis of your journey, all the lesser speakers youve rejected and finally the speaker that seeminlgy saved you from all the pain and money. Audio Note, AMEN!

    That company charges 5k to change a tin foil cap to copper.

    Ah, thats right, thats the same guy who stole the Audio note name from a real Master Kondo.

    Im curious, why do you never? recommend any amps from AN kondo? I dont think, after over 12 years of reading the almost same ad, I dont remember seeing you recommend Kondo Audio Note product. Only the UK brand.

    " How will you know if you don't try for yourself?"
    you ask....
    I dont recall ever seeing pictures of you auditioning with proper amplification a big Harbeth or ATC or even a big Tannoy in YOUR room.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
    Peter_Tos likes this.

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