Harbeth Compact 7ES-3

Crock56

Novice Member
Hi, I've been recommended these as an up-grade to my old mission 770s. any comments or reviews on here ?
thanks. Crock
 
What system will you be using them with?
 

Crock56

Novice Member
Quad 34/303, Roskan Turntable, Arcam CD but I mainly listen to vinyl. Classical mainly but also rock, trad jazz, folk, C&W ( Dixie Chicks ), good quality music/recordings . Looking to upgrade electronics at some stage but speakers need to be back against a wall ( 6" gap ) room about 12 X 12 ft.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Quad 34/303, Roskan Turntable, Arcam CD but I mainly listen to vinyl. Classical mainly but also rock, trad jazz, folk, C&W ( Dixie Chicks ), good quality music/recordings . Looking to upgrade electronics at some stage but speakers need to be back against a wall ( 6" gap ) room about 12 X 12 ft.
Given your needs the Harbeth P3ESR may be better for you, they are sealed not ported and can work well near a wall. Go and speak to Paul @ HiFI Corner he will sort you out with the correct Harbeths for your room.

 

Crock56

Novice Member
Thank you. It was Tony at Hi Fi Corner that suggested the Compact 7. I had been looking at the Neat Xplorer the little floorspeaker. I sent him a photo of my room and where my current speakers sit. My budget is ~£10K.
 

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You should be fine with the front ported 7's.

Do have a listen to the speakers, I think you will be shocked at how good they are, I have owned the neat's and they are a couple of levels below even the cheapest Harbeth's.
 

Crock56

Novice Member
Thank you, just need to save a few more pennies. I always save and buy, very rarely do credit.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
I've been recommended these as an up-grade to my old mission 770s
room about 12 X 12 ft.
That's a small-ish room for the Mission 770. Do you like the tonal balance you're getting? Reason I ask is that I too used 770's in a similar sized room and the bass was, er, generous! Usually, a smaller speaker would suit such a room better, i.e. give an accurate tonal balance.

Incidentally, are those the original mid/bass drivers in the photo or have they been changed at some point? I know the designer, Farad Azima, was a bit naughty in that there were several iterations of the 770 even before they officially released the Mk 2 model but I don't ever remember a bass/mid driver that looked like that in either the various Mk1's or Mk2's. Certainly the 770 Mk2 had less bass and it was much better controlled.

I'm familiar with the Quad 44/405-2 amp but not the 34/303. I have to say that neither the 34 or the 303 have a particularly good reputation for audio quality (but maybe they have been upgraded at some point?). The 303 is, evidently, good for driving speakers with high impedances, such as the Quad ESL, but not so good with lower impedance speakers due to the amp's high output impedance which means the damping factor is poor by today's standards. Speakers whose impedance dips to low values in the bass region - a not uncommon scenario - would not be best suited as regards sound quality.

If you really wish to spend up to £10k, I'd look at replacing the amp as well. When I upgraded from my 770's, I chose a sealed box active design. You are in the perfect position to switch to an active setup (i.e. you have speakers you wish to upgrade + a power amp that's possibly out of it's depth).

Agree with SickSquirrel about using a sealed box speaker in your room as it's going to be placed so close to the rear wall. If you chose to go active, then how about these active speakers:


There are many, many other active speakers/monitors available in you price bracket.

But if you wish to stick with the traditional, (nothing wrong in that) how about this:


...though it will need a good amp to drive them.
 

rorackowe

Well-known Member
Incidentally, are those the original mid/bass drivers in the photo or have they been changed at some point? I know the designer, Farad Azima, was a bit naughty in that there were several iterations of the 770 even before they officially released the Mk 2 model but I don't ever remember a bass/mid driver that looked like that in either the various Mk1's or Mk2's. Certainly the 770 Mk2 had less bass and it was much better controlled.
Looks identical to the driver in the slightly later Mission 764. Maybe debuted in end of line 770?
 

Crock56

Novice Member
The drivers were replaced in ?? as the originals had rusted out, lived in damp flats, caravan and a mouldy house, hey ho. They were originally factory chuck outs and therefore slightly mis-matched. Bought in 1983 . Cost £150 ! I do find that they liked to be played at a fairly high volume to get the most out of them hence the looking at a replacement along with hopefully one day higher grade electronics.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
I do find that they liked to be played at a fairly high volume to get the most out of them
IMO, that was also true of unmodified 770 Mk1's.

Just to reiterate, I suggest splitting your budget between passive speakers and a quality amplifier, either integrated or pre+power or, alternatively, purchase a pair of quality studio monitors and a quality pre-amp. Spending around £10,000 (that's not a typo, is it?) on speakers alone whilst still using the Quad 34/303 isn't the road to audio nirvana, IMO.

Personally, whilst I enjoy spending other people's money, I don't think a 12' x 12' room justifies such expenditure. For instance, if you listened in 30' x 30' room, then the speakers required to fill such a room with quality, tonally balanced sound would be much larger - and larger nearly always means more expensive for the same level of sonic performance.

When we have the available funds, it's tempting to splash out on very expensive gear but, with speakers in particular, more expensive doesn't necessarily equate to better in-room audio - certainly not in this case. Too-large a speaker in too-small a room is a recipe for sonic disaster. Best stick with a quality small-ish speaker for accurate audio. And it really needn't consume your entire budget.
 

Crock56

Novice Member
Thank you. Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment but yes I wouldn't spend all my budget on the speakers, I am certainly looking to up-grade the whole system. The Compact 7s are ~£3.5K so would leave me a fair bit for other up-grades. I know a bigger room would be nice but ........it would need quite a big redesign to the house, hey ho, perhaps my premium bond will come up !!! I enjoy my quad set-up and I 've not yet heard anything that makes me think wow, that's better than my current set-up., but then i've not yet looked much into amps.
 

unclepuncle

Active Member
Proac Tablette 10 Signature would be a great option given your amps and room restrictions.

Harbeth P3ESR are very good too, but became a little anaemic after a while.
The Monitor 30 may be a better bet than the C7.
 
Proac Tablette 10 Signature would be a great option given your amps and room restrictions.

Harbeth P3ESR are very good too, but became a little anaemic after a while.
The Monitor 30 may be a better bet than the C7.
Having owned the P3ESR 40th's, and home demo'ed the Proac's, the Proac's are very good but not in the same league as the Harbeths...
 

Crock56

Novice Member
thanks, i have listened to a few different Proacs and liked them but put off by their need for space which I don't have. HiFi dealer is offering me a home demo of the harbeths. I live about 300 miles north of him !!
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
HiFi dealer is offering me a home demo of the harbeths. I live about 300 miles north of him !!
Great idea. In terms of size alone, I also think that the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 would be a better room fit than the Compact 7ES-3, though Harbeth suggest both models are best used away from walls.

Make the most of the home demo by asking the dealer to bring along a quality amp too. And maybe an alternative pair of speakers (doesn't seem unreasonable, does it?).

What about Highlands HiFi in Dingwall? They must be nearer than Falkirk and Glasgow. They don't advertise Harbeth but stock a few other top-end brands.
 

Paul7777x

Well-known Member
Just to muddy the waters a tad, I’d also suggest the Unity Audio Rocks.


And this preamp.



The ARC will tame any issues you will have with placement.

It’s hard to imagine how awesome these two are likely to sound.

...that’s assuming I’ve read your budget, at ten grand, correctly?
 
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Crock56

Novice Member
Great idea. In terms of size alone, I also think that the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 would be a better room fit than the Compact 7ES-3, though Harbeth suggest both models are best used away from walls.

Make the most of the home demo by asking the dealer to bring along a quality amp too. And maybe an alternative pair of speakers (doesn't seem unreasonable, does it?).

What about Highlands HiFi in Dingwall? They must be nearer than Falkirk and Glasgow. They don't advertise Harbeth but stock a few other top-end brands.
Good stuff but a bit limited, not suprising really considering the population up here ! He's very keen on Naim which I'm not overly impressed with, i do like the Proac speakers but am advised on here that the Harbeth is a notch or two above them. Difficult as i like to support local businesses when I can.
 
Any update?
 

Crock56

Novice Member
No update as yet, it will probably be 6 months (or possibly more :-( ) before I've saved enough. The potential windfall i was expecting has been postponed. I will update when I've had a listen and I will be back on asking about amps. Side issue but what has happened to tuners ? Is it all streaming these days and how does that work with a limited or poor internet ?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
There are still a few about. At the mid-upper end have a look at the Rotel T14, FM, DAB and streaming so you have the best of all worlds. However internet radio dies not need a very high bitrate but obviously can’t deal with drop outs.


 
No update as yet, it will probably be 6 months (or possibly more :-( ) before I've saved enough. The potential windfall i was expecting has been postponed. I will update when I've had a listen and I will be back on asking about amps. Side issue but what has happened to tuners ? Is it all streaming these days and how does that work with a limited or poor internet ?
There is nothing of any quality tuner wise now, I have looked and listened!

In the end I purchased a second hand Arcam FMJ T32 Tuner. I listen to a lot of radio and this thing makes low bitrate DAB sound excellent. I have had a couple of streamers that used the 320kps BBC streams and they sounded worse then my Arcam by a large margin.

My advice, look out for a good second hand Arcam or Linn DAB tuner.

There is no point buying FM tuners now as the FM signal is a re-broadcast of the DAB one...
 

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