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Harbeth Monitor 40.1's

Discussion in 'audio' started by Amberandorange, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. I have had a number of Harbeth speakers over the years and am now looking for a pair of Monitor 40.1's. I have yet to hear these speakers over a prolonged time and would appreciate comments from those who have heard them. Some of you may note that I have posted once before on feedback on Goldmund speakers. I now have heard them and they are special, but the Harbeth's still appeal

    Your comments and feedback are appreciated
  2. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Some have suggested they don't handle rock well so you may want to check that out. Of course if you only listen to classical and/or jazz that may not concern you.
  3. Classcial and jazz is exatly what I listen to - any thoughts on amps .
  4. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    They do rock as well as they do classical or jazz. You will have no problems on that front.

    What amplifier do you have now ?
  5. Singslinger

    Singslinger pfm Member

    Harbeth designer and owner Alan Shaw believes his speakers can be driven by any competently designed amp that operates within its specs. I don't buy that, even though I have bought his speakers (the Monitor 30.1).

    From experience, I've found Harbeth works well with Class A amps. I use an Accuphase E-560 class A integrated and am very happy with the match. I know of other Harbeth owners who pair their speakers with Leben, a Japanese tube amp maker. Sugden is another possibility.

    You might want read the amp comments over on the Harbeth User Group forum. Cheers and good luck!
  6. Kt77

    Kt77 pfm Member

    Hi there - Amberandorange,

    I'd recommend you consider looking into the 30.1 instead as these are much better balanced in regards to integration of the drivers then they older designs as I heard these over at a friends home last November and he - myself and 4 others felt these were the best sounding ones they've ever made. Yet this could be viewed as just talikng out the side of my neck.

    Amp wise - the very best I've heard them with were either ones from Pathos Acoustic Classic MK III ( Hybrid ) - LDF Zero MK IV - Luxman ( Don't recall which model - but it put out 20w/pc into pure Class A and cost about $5.000 in the states ) along with a Leben Electric CS-600.

    I'm more then certain others with chime in with differences of opinions - but to my ears all of their older speakers just seem to become confused when playing music that has complex runs/passages and sound as if the bass drivers are lacking behind the notes - but once again - some would say I can't hear!, and that's fine.

    But there's something going on there that just doesn't jive with me - but as I often say/add " With Me ". Shall we see where this one goes?.

    Good luck during your Quest - but select wisely once and be done with it.

    o_O scar
  7. Kt77

    Kt77 pfm Member

    Hi Singslinger,

    It's nice to see that I was in fact on point - with the Class A amp as mentioned just below yours - I guess I have to learn to type faster.

    But - I'm in total agreement here - with tubes/valves they might sound pleasant and all - but they do their best when driven with solid state - period, I was listening to these speakers in 1991/92 before they exchanged/flipped ownership and have owned the original LS 3/5A Gold Edition and HL-P3 [ Ebony ] and listening to them through the loads of a lot of my friends amps during said time -

    And guess what?. I stand behind what I've said above - they want an amp that's going to slap them around and wake their lazy arses up.

    Yet, it's always nice to see that I'm not alone in my ways of hearing things after all.

    o_O scar
  8. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I keep coming back to hybrid valve/mosfet amps with my Harbeths (C7 ES3); Unison Research and Croft work very well indeed. You can go as far as your pocket allows with the current Croft range and every step will pay dividends. Personally I use the Unico Pre/DM, but Croft 25RS/7R would do nicely, thankyou.

    Of pure valve power amps I've heard, I really liked a modified Luxman 3600 that uses 4 x EL34. This one here;


    I've tried a Croft Series 5 which uses 8 x EL84 too, and this was almost but not quite powerful enough for me, which was a shame because I love its tonal qualities. Apparently it works very well on SHL5's, which are reputed to be a tiny bit more efficient.

    How much power Harbeths need is a moot point. I've also used a Sonneteer Orton with great success and this is only 33W. This is the best solid state I've heard with Harbeths. The Perreaux amps, such as the Excellence 150i, are also a very nice match. Pretty much any half-decent solid-state will do a reasonable job. But the magic tends to come for me when there are some valves involved somewhere.

    I've never heard them with a Sugden but I'd very much like to.
  9. jumbo

    jumbo pfm Member

    Leben CS-600 running KT-120 tubes certainly wakes up my Harbeth SLH5's lazy arse.
  10. Kt77

    Kt77 pfm Member

    Hi jumbo,

    KT-120 eh!, I can only imagine your SLH5's were trying to make it to a phone to call the police - I know their arses were scared. Yet, have you had the chance to hear them with the Russian version of said the 6L6 that Jeff Day loved in his Leben gear called the 6n3cE as shown in his article here:


    At least you've gone through the trouble of realizing what it takes to drive them properly.

    o_O scar
  11. Kt77

    Kt77 pfm Member

    Hi there - Elephantears,

    Great points as always - as I had a friend whom was in love with his C-7ES-3's driven with a 300B mono ( 9w/pc ) driven directly through his Heed Quasar from his WTL RP and loving it - for three years until by chance he was droping off those 30.1's at the dealer on behalf of another one of our friends who had them on demo for a week - and inquired about hearing them with that 20w/pc Class A Luxman and came home depressed as hell and had his amps - preamp ( Eastern Electric MiniMax ) and his C-7's listed on Audiogon within two days.

    Thank God - I got him before he listed and sold his table and the Quasar - long story short - he's now chasing a pair of DeVore Reference 9's and went after a $5.000 Sophia Electric S126Magic EL34 based Integrated.

    It just goes to show something I've known all along - while some tend to buy amps to fit their speakers - I've always thought it best to get the best amp one can/could afford and merely find speakers that it drives properly to begin with.

    That's why, I don't understand so many cats here in the states craving Maggie's and thinking that they would be able to drive them with a freaking Sony Reciever..........., I'd never let any speaker predict what sort of amp " It " wants me to put in front of them - that's BS!.

    But we tend to like/love what we do - and that's cool.

    Dude - I'm digging that Luxman 3600 by the way - damn she's cute.

    Once again - great taste, and it's always a pleasure seeing where your mindset is?, as I find it refreshing - in a good way mind you.

    o_O scar
  12. Singslinger

    Singslinger pfm Member

    Hi o_Oscar - I think your hearing is just fine my friend. Also, your judgement in many things related to audio - it's always a pleasure reading your posts. Have a great week ahead!
  13. Plutox

    Plutox Registered Abuser

    I have used 40s and 40.1s both professionally and domestically for a number of years. For sheer absence of colouration (i.e. the ability to reproduce the human voice in a believable manner) I am unaware of other box-speakers as capable.

    The idea that 40s are somehow incapable of reproducing rock music is bizarre nonsense, save two caveats. First, that M40s, while capable of playing at levels that I find unpleasantly high, have been designed to operate well below this point so you may well find the bass (and to a lesser extent, top) too great at high volumes: this is a function of the human auditory system combined with the equal loudness contours, not in any way a design weakness or oversight. Many speakers designed with the rock'n'roll lifestyle in mind have been balanced to seem 'right' at 95dBA+ but, contrariwise, such speakers are likely to sound thin at more 'normal' listening levels.

    The other point (that follows on from the above) is that you are dealing with a very well-balanced, revealing studio monitor that may not be overly kind to some material - but that is its purpose in life. I've seen it argued here and there that a speaker should, desirably, be more 'musical' and thereby make everything sound lush and lovely. I have heard speakers whose owners (and manufacturers) make that claim only to find them not unlike listening under a warm duvet on a cold winter morning - pleasant and cosy, but shielding the listener from reality.

    If, OTOH, you are happy listening to rock music at levels generally considered compatible with domestic harmony, you will find a great friend in the 40.1 because it will render all kinds of detail of which you may not previously have been aware - stuff that would not normally become apparent until you listen at levels which, if subject to noise at work regulations, would limit you to about 15 minutes exposure per day!

    Incidentally, I have used 40.1s in conjunction with a Quad 909 with great success. It has balanced inputs and is ideal to feed directly from a line-level professional source.
  14. jumbo

    jumbo pfm Member

    Hi o_O scar,

    yes I have tried the Russian 6n3cE based on the same recommendations and have several spare sets that probably won't see much use, if any now that the KT-120s are in place.

    The first 100 or so hours were a bit of a roller coaster with the increased power and dynamic range but now they have smoothed out to be something very special.

    Not a hint of glassiness or hardness just smooth, open, dynamic power with detail, depth and tonal colour.

    An iron fist in a velvet glove if you like commanding real grip and control over the Harbeth's drivers with not a hint of strain as the volume increases to realistic levels.

    They are really good.

  15. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    What a sensible post. We could do with more of the like... I, too, use Harbeths ( in my case P3s ) both domestically and in a small semi-pro. way. Mainly voice recording. The above is SO true. Martyn Miles
  16. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    This echoes my experience with the C7's and M30's. Well balanced at a volume that doesn't hurt my ears.

    Returning to an earlier post, they do seem to benefit from having more welly in the amp department but are surprisingly unfussy if your amp is low powered.

    I imagine the M40 is fantastic if you have the space.
  17. Plutox

    Plutox Registered Abuser

    Thanks for your kind comment...I too have a pair of P3ESR here and have compared them side by side with the big boys, at a closely matched level.

    What amazes me is just how similar the two sound - OK, they are not the same but given that we are comparing a 10:1 difference in cabinet volume (and price :eek:), remarkably close.
  18. mbrian

    mbrian pfm Member

    Thanks to a very obliging dealer I had a month's long home demo of the Harbeth 40.1 speakers driven by my Naim system. I guess they just did not work in my 7m x 4 m room. The bass was overwhelming and woolly.

    The overall impression was a broad soundstage with a lush but rather flat presentation.

    Speech was good but the music, mostly classical and some jazz/modern, just didn't do it for us.

    I tried stuffing the ports with wool and foam but could not tame the bass.
  19. Martyn and Plutox

    This is exactly what I have heard , re amps I have heard the Leben with good effect with the SHL5's and in the past have used their smallest speakers with NBS Omega 1 speaker cables, some say that these cables are extremely expensive, but all I can say is that you should not dismiss them. They had a transformational effect on everything I tried.
  20. Kt77

    Kt77 pfm Member

    Hi Singslinger,

    Thanks for the kind and reassuring words - you've a great upcoming weekend as well.

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