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Harbeth XD - What's The Difference

Discussion in 'audio' started by ryder, Feb 29, 2020.

  1. Olsen

    Olsen pfm Member


    Several M40 and SHL5

    No idea if MK 1,2 or whatever
    All of them clearly had problems keeping a tune right, basnotes were slow or boomy.

    Once the dem were managed by AS himself, I eyed panic from him, people just left room fast again.

    A friend had the SHL5 and deeply regretted the investment based on internet ravings.
    I might accept some compromises in bas performance with cheaper priced loudspeakers, but these are not cheap at all, how much are M40 ?

    A pity really as their smaller models are in some ways stunning.
  2. Olsen

    Olsen pfm Member

    Yeah, free speech seem to be a problem for some forum administrators
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
    Tom60300, Bob Edwards and DavidParis like this.
  3. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    I believe a high percentage of Harbeths get exported. With drop in £ it is logical to raise domestic price.
  4. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    I think it's been repeated upthread, but the HL5+ was 'improved' by Harbeth for the anniversary. That latter speaker was a limited edition with fancier finish and fittings and a series of 'improvements' unspecified but confirmed by Alan Shaw as being done to get the 5 series as good as he could make, price not withstanding. It was, a heftier price.

    I auditioned both and bought the anniversary exactly because i felt that those extra trimmings were worth the cost and it will hold it's value as a limited addition. At the time of audition, I wrote that the Anniversary sounded about 5-10% 'better' than the +, which itself was about 30% 'better' than the older HL5. Once the Anniversary edition were sold out, Harbeth wanted to keep the sound improvements and so have produced the XD range with all that went on inside (AS is still not saying exactly what happened, but which designer does reveal all his secrets?), but without the fancy trimmings. I would have expected the price to be between the 5+ and the Anni but I'm not certain what is happening with markets and sales so?? The foam in the hole is the internal foam damping in the speaker itself, and the hole (port) always shows what is inside a speaker. Just replace the grilles as AS intends to hide it.
    Panderos and maccar like this.
  5. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    Certainly with the anniversaries, the 30's and P3's had amendments to crossover apart from different brands of components. On inspection, I don't think the Plus did...

    Anecdotally, it seems that many reviewers preferred the standard P3's. Though, that said, a dealer in Europe told me the majority of his customers, himself too, preferred the standard 5 Plus in comparison, so who knows...Maybe it's model variation, maybe if you put two sets of any speaker model beside each other you'd likely prefer one by virtue of placement.

    The value proposition of 30.1 (approx 2.8k now) vs 30.2XD (4.2k) will be obvious for most...
    Panderos likes this.
  6. Allaboutmusic

    Allaboutmusic pfm Member

    I'm interested in the existing c7es-3 and are on my shortlist for auditioning but the price hike, putting aside budget, just doesn't look good value to me. Of course everyone has different views on value.
    Panderos likes this.
  7. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand pfm Member

    But that is the important part.;)
    maccar likes this.
  8. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand pfm Member

    He overworked the crossover again, the SHL5+40th.A.E. measures different compared to the SHL5+

    No, there are some SHL5+40th.A.E. out there with a foam ring inside the port.

    If Harbeth doesn't lower the price compared to the 40th.A.E. it will be unfair in my eyes. They went from bi-Wire to single which is cheaper and because the WBT speaker binding posts are very expansive the price has to be lower for my understanding.
  9. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    I love Harbeth speakers - I have HLP3ES2s, HLP3ESRs and M30s - but this is just another excuse for a price hike. Nothing to do with hi-fi - there will be no improvements - and If I owned I'd do the same: screw the consumers until they squeaked and sales dropped of, and then back off a bit and try again later, and pray my customers didn't all move to Rogers, Stirling or what have you. One day the Harbeth business model will go tits up.
  10. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    One of the best qualities, from a commercial perspective, of the late David Wilson was his ability to sell the same speakers to the same people over and over again. The media was instrumental but credit is owed where credit is due.
    Alan Shaw is competing for the great British audio salesman cup but still facing tough competition from the late Julian Vereker and AN's one and only Peter Qvortrup.

    That said, there were measureable & audible changes to performance between:

    M30 & M30.x
    Super HL5 & Super HL5+
    M40 & M40.x

    One example:

  11. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    @tuga If somehow, unbeknownst to 30.1 owner, you switched out their speakers and stuck in some older 30's, I doubt they would notice. Probably not readily anyways...
  12. irb

    irb pfm Member

    Alan Shaw has always been very open about the debt that Harbeth speakers owe to the work of the BBC research department, maintaining that his approach is evolutionary. Naturally he maintains that's the best approach.

    If you used phrases like "rehash of old BBC designs" on the old HUG, I'm not surprised he had a go. If you were a member when REG ruled the roost, he'd have had a swing at you too.
    Panderos likes this.
  13. Robby

    Robby pfm Member

    I didn't say anything anywhere near as "controversial" as this. What I challenged AS on was not even HiFi related and his response was like a father dressing down a child for his naiivity and foolishness to even challenge what he said.

    I'm astounded that he hasn't lost many customers (maybe he has) over the years.

    Never heard of REG.
  14. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    But do note that the frequency response measurement I posted has been brutally smoothed (1/1 octave).
    The dips at 600Hz and in the presence region of the M30 are more significant than one can deduce from the plot.
  15. irb

    irb pfm Member

    Robert E Greene. Of The Absolute Sound. Leading light in the HUG pre-2005. Hugely knowledgeable but could make Alan Shaw seem positively cuddly. Left in 2005 to set up his own forum (on Yahoo) having squashed a few toes. (I have a long memory for some things.)
    Panderos likes this.
  16. Hiesteem

    Hiesteem pfm Member

    This is similar to how I heard the Ces7 XD recently at Bristol. They had more detail in the highs and I would agree they were exciting to listen too.
    I understand they have a new crossover.
  17. EPear

    EPear pfm Member

    Interesting discussion. I've been trying to find out some more information here and elsewhere on the new XD models but not yet? Unfortunately HUG is a sad and quite depressing place. If anyone has seen a review, this would be good to know. As far as I understand the new XDs are indeed more or less just the same as the previous models with lowered production costs (but higher prices) with some more changes to the P3ESR only? Curious to see what is meant by Extended Definition?
  18. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    P3ESR XD seems to be an update. The rest are basically 40th anniversary spec minus some of the bling.

    If you're in the market and can find good deals on anniversaries or standard range then you'd do well to go for them.
    Panderos and ArtK like this.
  19. ArtK

    ArtK I bite you!

    Correct, from what I’ve been told from very reliable sources.
    Panderos likes this.
  20. EPear

    EPear pfm Member

    ok .. so this means the anniversary models will be the top Harbeth?

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