I hope our Harbeth fans chime in. I am far from an expert on these speakers.
That sounds like a really amazing system.
Harbeths really are wonderful. They just get SO much Right. As a video and audio pro, they strike the best balance between the qualities of a studio monitor and a home speaker. And that is true across the range. The P3 ESRs are the “gateway drug” (though you’ll want subs if you’re looking for a more full-range setup).
I have P3’s in the second system and SHL5+ in the main. Darren has P3’s and recently got 30.2’s. They all do much of the same familial things but have different qualities, as you might expect from the differences in size and driver complement.
I may or may not get something “bigger and better” than the 5’s (with two JL f112’s) some day, but if I do, I don’t anticipate ever selling either pair. I know I would miss them.
I feel like I should mention that they are not necessarily speakers that “wow” you. That is, if you haven’t heard them, but get the opportunity, don’t expect to be clubbed over the head. They also like free space. A LOT. You can put the smaller ones fairly close to the wall, but even the P3’s work best out in the room. They are “instruments” to my mind - unlike most speakers that strive to be inert, these are tuned, resonant wooden boxes that play music. Different approach.
Thanks Paul! the BHK 250 and the P15 are still burning in. Loving every moment of it!
Couldn’t have said it better myself. I started with P3ESRs -> 30.1s -> 30.2s (with subs). I have a small listening room. They are a good distance away from the front wall but close to the side walls and they still do amazing. I can only imagine what they’d do in a bigger room. My setup is near field. Love them and could never se myself parting with them. Unless it was for a pair of 40.2s… LOL
Yeah - for sure. But they REALLY want some space.
Absolutely! Maybe in the next house. LOL
Thank you everyone for your responses thus far… I’ve been so blessed
to have a house with 15’ x 25’ L shaped listening room with the equipment
in my 2ch system. My Focal Aria 948s sit out 8’ from short wall behind them.
My listening point is 15’ from speakers toed in aiming to a point about 18" behind
my head. The results from all my upgrades and tweeks yield for me an expansive
deep, and tall soundscape, consisitently . Consistently because of my P5. My P12
being soon on the way!!! Yay!!!
Focal describes the Aria 948 as a return to the acoustical speaker.
My Aria 948s have an amazing midrange .
An in home comparo a/b your Harbeths vs my Aria 948s would be educational
an event for me.
The Harbeths are on higher price point to my Arias so the outcome would likely
favor the Harbeths.
Appreciate everyone’s input.
Thank you keep your thoughts coming.
Question for you badbeef…how much space would the 40.2s need
in orfer to have breathing room?
My system consists currently P5>Oppo 205>wyred4sound stp stage 2, or Emotiva XSP1 Gen2 > Parasound A21, balanced Nordost Red Dawn ic and speaker cables. Speakers: Focal Aria 948. My room is L shaped leg of the L is 15’x 25’.
You could likely plunk them where the Focals are to start and you would be fine.
Have not heard the 948’s, but have heard many Focals - and to wildly generalize my personal impression of their “house sound” - they seem quite aggressive on top to me. So I would be prepared, as I mentioned above, to not be “wowed” by Harbeth sound, coming from there.
badbeef…your view is very helpful for me…thank you
particularly comparo to Focal house sound. When Focal describes
the Aria 948s as a return to an acoustical speaker…suggests you
may have a very good point…
I would like to add while they might not give me the wow factor compared
to my Arias…the apparent lack of a wow factor …could in and of itself
be the wow factor after all!!
Thank you again
Yes - this is one of the things you look for in a studio monitor. You want whatever you mix on it translate to listening on any other system, from boom box to car stereo to high end system. Many studios have more than one set of monitors for comparison/averaging/testing - and sometimes to “Wow” clients who don’t listen for a living or as a serious hobby/daily necessity, as we do.
Most dealers have chosen speakers and set things up to make as good an initial impression as possible. Oftentimes those impressions don’t hold up over time.
When I hear speakers that are “impressive” or “very revealing”, I question their veracity.
On the other hand, I know a few people personally that value different things in their playback, such as scale and slam. Not to say that 40.2’s would be lacking in that area. But, without those traits, the music doesn’t seem “realistic” to them, and other aspects that may be primary to some of us may be secondary to them. You just have to sort out what traits are most important to you, in your room, with your gear.
badbeef: Great reply sir! Very very helpful… someday I may have the opportunity
to have a listen with my music that I’m used to for a better understanding.
So how did you happen across your handle badbeef?
The Aria Focal line doesn’t use the beryllium tweeters that the higher-up Focal series (Kanta, Sopra, …) use, so from my listening experience the Aria series is less aggressive up top, and more pleasant to listen to, for my tastes anyway.
I’m a Spendor guy which is probably pretty similar house sound to Harbeth (at least with the Classic and A Spendor series, althought I prefer Spendor D with the LPZ tweeter), though I’ve never heard Harbeth because no dealers in range unfortunately. Before I upped my speaker budget to acquire Spendor D7, I was seriously considering Focal Aria 936 or 948, having listened to them extensively.
Congrats OP on your PSA purchase - hope you like it! When you get, please post impressions
My surname is Malboeuf, which in high school French class inevitably was translated as “bad beef”. “Yer ancestor musta been a shyster butcher, hahaha”
Wasn’t until I attended college and met actual French people that they explained that it is just a name, no associations with trades and so on, as we might have with “Cooper” or “Smith”. And that in any case “bad beef” would be “boeuf mauvais”. So our bad translation doesn’t make grammatical sense to them. But its still funny.
Congrats on the upgrade! I am saving up for a new PC for my p20 and plan on getting the Obsession (20A) from Pete at Triode Wire Labs
kzk Your Spendor- Harbeth point of view appreciated…I really do enjoy my Aria 948s.
As soon as P12 arrives to replace P5 …will endeavor to report back…
badbeef …your story is so funny…you probably got quite a ribbing.
Were beef ribs spared any?
I had a machinist who worked for me for 10 years or so. His last name was Wellington so you guessed it - everyone just called him Beef. He had been called Beef for most of his life and would respond to that name quicker than his real first name.