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P3ESR XD opinions?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Goat, Jul 31, 2022.

  1. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Anyone listened to these, and would be able to share their opinions?

    I miss small sealed boxes, and am thinking of getting back in the game!

    Obviously it goes into Falcon Gold Badge price territory (and the Graham LS3/5 are cheaper again).

    The P3ESR XD are expensive, but they're certainly the prettiest, IMO.

  2. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    I loved the p3esr and follow the comments . they certainly have gone up in price though !! If you get a chance try and compare the much cheaper amphion argon one which imho can give the p3esr a run for the money too
    Goat likes this.
  3. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    This I agree particularly the P3ESR. The finish is superb as it made other speakers look a bit cheap in comparison. Nevertheless it is the sound that matters, and they don't sound too shabby! No experience with XD though.
    Goat likes this.
  4. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Can't answer the specific question as I've never heard the XDs. I did have some P3ESRs a few years ago but foolishly sold them. Didn't achieve speaker satisfaction again until I bought some Stirling V2s, since upgraded to V3s.

    The speakers I had in the meantime were Amphion Argon 3 (excellent, but too much bass for my room), Argon 1 (better for me than the Argon 3 with a sweeter midrange), Tannoy Chesters (interesting diversion but too big & again too much bass) & Kef LS50s (nearly there but I didn't like the way the bass response fell off a cliff, I much prefer a gentler roll off).

    Can't say which I prefer, Harbeth or Stirling because of the the time passed between owning them & all the other system & room changes in the meantime.

    Almost too many choices in the LS3/5A type speaker market these days, don't think there are any bad choices though if you like what these little speakers do.

    Should add that the finish on both the Stirlings I've owned has been superb as well.

    Darren and Goat like this.
  5. Ianp

    Ianp pfm Member

    I've owned the P3ESR original and XD at the same time. Both stunning performers but I prefer the originals. The XD are a remarkable thing, so open and transparent, but the originals have that comfort blanket thing for me.

    Usual my room, my system, my ears caveat of course, please don't read this that I think one is 'better' than the other :)
    Panderos, Banditk, Tarzan and 2 others like this.
  6. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Yeah The Stirlings and Amphion both look great too!

    I adore my Spendor Classic 3/1 for most music in my 4x4m room. Generally they are superb across all genres, and have so much more gratifying scale, texture and impact compared to the small sealed 4/5 Spendors I had before.

    But, on that small spread of music (think electronica, modern pop or EDM with its overblown bass in the recording), I actually prefer a more bass light speaker, with its ease of placement, lack of room interaction and tight presentation. Not having to have them way out into the room.

    It's so music dependant though, as lots of older funk and soul / Jazz, or I die (e.g. Chic, Labi Siffre, Duke Ellington etc), even Arctic Monkeys or Kasabian sounds way better with the larger 3/1. Just a fun, rhythmic bass underpinning the music. It's a shame music, particularly depending on the age of recording, varies so much in how balanced the bass sounds.

    With say 70% of the music I listen to, my current 3/1 are more gratifying to listen to.

    So while I don't think the P3esr, Stirling or equvilent will be my main speaker, it could be fun to swap it in, for those bass heavy tracks. Or, late night background listening when they're back up against the wall (it's in main bedroom).
    Panderos and TonyScarlett like this.
  7. simon g

    simon g Older, wiser but no longer retired

    Perhaps try a sub?
  8. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Yeah I tried a REL t5x at length, with the previous speakers. Just couldn't get on with it. Plus it was extra clutter, cables and floor space, which I couldn't really get past the Mrs. And the texture of bass from the larger speakers (compared to small speakers with a sub) still sounded more natural convincing to my ears.

    I'm sure two well integrated subs could sound superb, but it's a no go in my domestic situation.
    ColinC likes this.
  9. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    The Amphion Argon 1 are superb little speakers & despite the rear port are unfussy about positioning.
    I still overall prefer the Stirlings & the previously owned Harbeths though, there is just something so addictive about the midrange & level of insight they provide.
    Ianp and Goat like this.
  10. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    Very pleased with mine.
  11. Jodet

    Jodet pfm Member

    Over. Priced.

    Try the Falcon Q7 'finish it at home' for the best value in an 'LS3/5a' type speaker.
    Snufkin, Tarzan and Martyn Miles like this.
  12. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    They do seem mazing VFM and perhaps a better all rounder.
  13. Allaboutmusic

    Allaboutmusic pfm Member

    Haven’t heard the XD version but really liked the previous generation, didn’t buy them as I felt I was missing some bass. With some of the new amps available I would consider a sub with them, there are a few videos on Darko audio YouTube channel about sub integration. The new NAD M10 v2 has both hi and lo pass functions plus Dirac room correction and a very good app. So effectively your P3s can just handle mid and high frequencies (what they are best at) and the sub the low frequencies and any room nodes can in theory be reduced. Potentially this can be done with a traditional amp and a blusound node though I’m not sure.
    Goat likes this.
  14. vln

    vln Shuns mooks. And MQA.

    I also once briefly owned a P3ES-R and perhaps foolishly sold it on - in retrospect, I should have kept it a reference point. It seems to be one of the ideal speaker to settle and get off the upgrade merry-go-round, even if it is far from being a perfect speaker (if such a thing exists at all).

    Regarding all the different producers of LS3/5A-style spears today, Harbeth stands out to me as they actually produce their own low/mid driver, while all the others buy off the shelf driver (oh, sure, they're "custom made by Scan Speak/Volt/... etc. exclusively for us").

    I am not sure what kind of tweeter they are using, but I don't imagine it's much to write home about, given the overall price of the speaker. I wonder what could be achieved if they aimed a little bit higher in that respect and went for something like a 500EUR Accuton ceramic tweeter!

    And while we are dreaming, how about getting a bit more creative about the material of the front baffle? Surely that must have an influence on sound as well as it's one board that carries both drivers - how about experimenting with CNC'd aluminium, composite materials etc.? That would really bring the LS3/5A into the 21st century, with materials and manufacturing processes they couldn't even dream of in the 1960'ies.
    Panderos and Goat like this.
  15. Goat

    Goat pfm Member

    Good ideas there, thanks. To be honest, my Arcam SA30 has Dirac Live built in, and I've just been too lazy to explore that so far.

    On the majority of music, I think I'd miss the scale of my Classic 3/1 Spendors, if going back to small speakers.

    So perhaps I should instead simply explore Dirac Live to assist on the (relatively small) amount of music where smaller speakers may sound better.
  16. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    There are few people who modified the original P3ESR by replacing the SEAS 19TAFD/G aluminium dome tweeter with SEAS 19TFF 1 soft dome. Changes in sound include a more extended high frequency and improved detail in the treble.

    I don't advocate the modification of original equipment or speakers but am aware that there are folks who are doing it.

    I'm not sure on the type of tweeter the P3ESR XD has.
  17. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I read your recent summary comparison of the P3ESR vs Falcon LS3/5A Gold Badge. How does the XD compare to the Gold Badge?
    Goat likes this.
  18. vln

    vln Shuns mooks. And MQA.

    I also wouldn't want to mess around with an existing design, but that tweeter is ca. 100EUR for the pair - surely Harbeth can do better than that.

    Of course I understand looking at the BOM, a 100EUR tweeter is about what to expect in a commercially available 3000EUR speaker (and there are probably worse offenders, when looking at this ratio), and adding a better tweeter would increase the overall price, but IMO a speaker like the P3 was never intended for some clueless noob who just wants the biggest bang for the buck.
  19. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Member

    I bought my ex-demo P3ESRXDs a couple of months ago to superceed MA Gold 50s. I love the MAs fabulous highs from the ribbon tweeter but after several years trying, realised I couldn't get the bass right in my small room. The rear port design needs more space than available. I was fortunate to be able to audition the Harbeths against Falcon ls3 5a (silver) and equivalent Spendors, all available at much the same price. To be honest the difference wasn't dramatic. Maybe the Falcon's top end sounded brighter but the Harbeth's seemed to give better overall clarity, especially to individual instruments...admittedly in the dealer's quite large listening room with minimal clutter. The Spendor's were somewhere in between, nothing 'special'. I took the Harbeth's on a sale or return to trial in my small space with near field setup. I was just blown away with the expansive sound stage and precision clarity. A definite purchase! I have integrated with 2 small REL subs (tx5) which fills in any missing bottom end. For my aging ears etc this is a pretty near perfect combination. I sometimes switch off to subs to just make sure I prefer the extra 'oomph' (technical, I know!). Working with a Graham Slee system fead by either Technics deck or Limetree streamer the Harbeth /RELs will stay with me for a long time (see me out, as they say).
    AndyCC72, Panderos, JTC and 2 others like this.
  20. EPear

    EPear pfm Member

    The last pair of P3ESRs I had were the 40th Anniv, indeed rather gorgeous looking in the olive veneer, so if the XD comes in the same veneer then they would be just as pretty I imagine. The colour also changes nicely over a few months (that’s all they lasted with me) to an even better, richer honey-like nuance.

    My issue with all the P3s however has always been how they sound compared to the rest and best in the sealed design mini-monitor bunch such as Spendor, Stirling, Falcon, ProAcs and others - the P3ESR being the least truthful and coherent, playing the midrange card and ok, really good but for mostly BBC4, singalong and teleconferencing? It’s their asset and their big compromise and trade off. The latest P3ESRs tried to go a bit beyond that and sound a bit more modern and fashionable but not in a good way compared to the others. All IMHO, of course.
    … So unless someone tells me that the P3ESR XD are transformational (??:)), I would rather go for pretty much any of the others mentioned above.

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