Harbeth vs. Salk

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robinje

Harbeth vs. Salk
« on: 19 May 2008, 04:48 pm »
In light of the Maggie vs. Salk thread, I thought I'd inquire about another comparison.  I have the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3's and am considering either the Salk Veracity HT-2 floorstander or the Veracity QW.  I like the Harbeths pretty well, particularly the mids, but I'm curious how the Salks would differ and/or be better.  My room is small and I have a McIntosh MC275 (~80+ wpc) tube amp.  Hopefully, the impedance curves of the Salks are relatively flat and tube-friendly.  The Harbeths' definitely are, even though they are not very efficient speakers.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Brucemck

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #1 on: 19 May 2008, 10:15 pm »

I have not heard Harbeths in a very long time, so don't have a specific point of comparison.

But, the HT2s are amazing speakers for the money.  Detailed, powerful, precise, involving.  Properly set up they trounce speakers that are much more costly.  I enjoyed them more than Krell Lat 2's, which are considerably more costly.

richidoo

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #2 on: 19 May 2008, 11:04 pm »
Salk is more accurate, more detailed, lower distortion overall. Harbeth is smoother, more beautiful, makes everything sound good, easy to place in a room - but more distortion, deliberately allowed to beautify the music. Both are well balanced, great sounding speakers. Harbeth is clean and accurate in high freqs, with a soft blur in the mids like a bridal portrait, just enough to make Beach Boys Endless Summer CD sound good, where it might sound a little edgy on the Salks with same electronics and wires. But Salks will blow away the Harbeths in audiophile terms on a great recording. Especially rewarding with a good strong tube amp like yours playing clean modern classical recordings like Naxos, EMI or Dorian where the extended FR and midrange detail really counts. Depends how much detail you like, and if you are willing to live with the detail on crappy recordings. I have Quads for detail fix and Legacys for a touch of soft midrange blur, I love them both very much. I love ribbon tweeters and tube amps together, which is how I heard Salks at RMAF with AVA (30W?) tube amp. Your Mac would be a great match for the Salk, just as it is for the Compact7s. They both have their place in the world, neither is "better" it just depends on your taste.
Rich


denjo

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #3 on: 20 May 2008, 06:03 am »
Hopefully, the impedance curves of the Salks are relatively flat and tube-friendly.  The Harbeths' definitely are, even though they are not very efficient speakers. 

Just for fun, I hooked up my Harbeth SHL5 (bigger brother of the Compact 7s) with my Cary 300SEI integrated (not the mono version) and was amazed how well 15 watts could drive the Harbeths. Yes, they are certainly tube friendly. I have heard of SHL5 owners using 2A3 integrated amps to drive them.

Best Regards
Dennis

dspringham

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #4 on: 20 May 2008, 03:24 pm »
I've been auditioning the Super HL5's on 13 wpc SET mono blocks (Wyetech Labs Onyx) and they play "cleanly" as loud as I care to listen at. Bass response is outstanding.

Never heard Salks but the Harbeths are truly seductive.

Dave

Russell Dawkins

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #5 on: 20 May 2008, 04:58 pm »
Also, no other speaker in the world can sound like the Harbeth in the midrange because the bass/midrange cone material is proprietary, moreover the cone is injection molded, and varies in thickness from centre to edge.

They must be doing something right for the BBC to be choosing Harbeth for monitoring their recordings! Even though the Beeb is not active in speaker (or microphone) design anymore, they still have an exacting approach to sound.

woody

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #6 on: 26 May 2008, 10:09 pm »
I won't argue the point that some may find the Harbeth (and Rogers and Spendor to name a couple more) speakers engaging and musical.  I didn't, but that's another story.  I will argue however, on their accuracy or exacting approach to sound.  If I recall correctly, the BBC is famous for its "BBC hump" or the +3 to +5 dB spike in the midbass range, and the "BBC dip" in the upper mids and lower treble range.  Many of these British speaker manufacturers voiced their speakers this way due to the typically smaller rooms in the UK and some continue to do so today since many find the sound "romantic".  In a larger room like mine, I found the sound muddled, boxy and/or congested.

I like the relatively flat freq response of my HT3s  :D


robinje

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #7 on: 26 May 2008, 10:52 pm »
According to the Harbeth website, the "BBC dip" you speak of is not engineered into the frequency response curves of the current models.  I do like the sound of my current Harbeths, but I could use a bit more resolution and maybe some additional frequency extension on the low end.  Perhaps the Salk HT2 or QW will to the trick. 

I won't argue the point that some may find the Harbeth (and Rogers and Spendor to name a couple more) speakers engaging and musical.  I didn't, but that's another story.  I will argue however, on their accuracy or exacting approach to sound.  If I recall correctly, the BBC is famous for its "BBC hump" or the +3 to +5 dB spike in the midbass range, and the "BBC dip" in the upper mids and lower treble range.  Many of these British speaker manufacturers voiced their speakers this way due to the typically smaller rooms in the UK and some continue to do so today since many find the sound "romantic".  In a larger room like mine, I found the sound muddled, boxy and/or congested.

I like the relatively flat freq response of my HT3s  :D



denjo

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #8 on: 27 May 2008, 12:07 am »
Woody

The Harbethians have a forum which provides some useful information and feedback from many Harbeth owners from around the world ( www.harbeth.co.uk ) click on "User's Group". Like me, there seem to be many happy Harbeth owners, with small or big listening rooms, who don't seem to find the various models "muddled, boxy and/or congested."

Although I have not heard the Salks, I have heard a few well-known American speakers which aim for neutrality (relatively flat frequency response) sound flat and fatiguing with my system. My experience with the Harbeths are speakers that are lively, engaging and non-fatiguing. I can sit nearfield or further away and indeed wander around my flat and the same seductive sound draws me to the music in a way no other speaker does.

Best Regards
Dennis


denjo

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #9 on: 27 May 2008, 08:52 am »
I posted this thread link on the Harbeth forum and the CEO, Alan Shaw, responded to the issue of "BBC hump". Please see this link: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=3215#post3215

Best Regards
Dennis

vortrex

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jan 2012, 11:51 pm »
has anyone else had both the Salk and Harbeth that offer a comparison?
 

Zero

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #11 on: 27 Jan 2012, 12:05 am »
Vortex,

I spent a couple months with the Song Towers (Hiquphon OW1 version) and have been running a set of Harbeth P3ESR's for roughly a year.  PM me if you'd like to know my take on how the two compare.


wilsynet

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #12 on: 27 Jan 2012, 01:10 am »
Maybe it would be cool if you just shared your thoughts in a public way and all the Salk owners would implicitly agree that they shouldn't jump all over you because really it's your ears and your system and your room ...

Big Red Machine

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #13 on: 27 Jan 2012, 01:29 am »
Jim did build a "Harbeth" design:

http://www.salksound.com/continuum%20-%20home.htm

I did get to hear it a few years back and it was nice but not the house sound us fanboys like.  He did use Jeff's design take on the BBC speaker and it turned out nicely.  I would think if you like the Harbeth sound you definitely would be advised to spend some time with the Salk sound to see if it was for you.  I know I have listened to many other speakers but beyond the $50k Vandersteen I have not been able to tear myself away from the flat frequency responses I like in the Salk lines.  And yes, I am about to take in my 6th pair of Salks but I can easily see someone not liking the sound of another brand.

I hope you have the opportunity to hear some Salks and eventually find audio satisfaction with whatever brand you chose.


vortrex

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #14 on: 27 Jan 2012, 01:40 am »
BRM - I have Salk ST's now and am thinking of doing an upgrade, either in the Salk line or otherwise.


Big Red Machine

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #15 on: 27 Jan 2012, 01:51 am »
I was directing my comments to robin.

vortrex

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #16 on: 27 Jan 2012, 01:54 am »
Oh ok, his post was 3.5 years ago so I figured you meant me.

audiotom

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Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #17 on: 27 Jan 2012, 02:48 am »
Looks like Robin has songtower rt

fsimms

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #18 on: 27 Jan 2012, 02:00 pm »
Quote
And yes, I am about to take in my 6th pair of Salks but I can easily see someone not liking the sound of another brand.

Big Red, can you say yet what Salks you are going to get?

Bob

jd3

Re: Harbeth vs. Salk
« Reply #19 on: 27 Jan 2012, 02:07 pm »
I happen to own some Harbeth's and have had several models of Jim's speakers.  Pete is right, the Salk 'sound' is very true to the music.  Harbeth's just seem to be 'musical' to me.   Bad recordings are more listenable.  With Salk, the better the recording the better it sounds, but a bad recording sounds like it was recorded...bad!  With a Harbeth, the sound is a bit more 'forgiving' for want of a better word.  I've not noticed listener fatigue with them, while on some (bad) recordings on my Salks I really have had to put something else on.  I've had SHL-5's and currently have P3ESR's.  I plan on using the P3ESR's in my bedroom system. 

I am currently looking at a pair of Jim's speakers for my 2 channel system as I really want a floor standing speaker again.  I guess it's all about what you are looking for.  I prefer the Salk sound for most of my 2 channel listening, but there are times I like to listen to the Harbeths as well.

John