Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review

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Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #20 on: 2 Dec 2011, 11:47 pm »
Alright folks.  You asked for a comparison, so here it is:

The Harbeth P3ESR's are lovingly crafted in the UK by people with funny accents.  The Fritz Rev5's are lovingly crafted somewhere in California by a guy who could pass off as a relative to "The Dude". Neither speaker sucks. Neither speaker will do your laundry, or take your kids to school, or defend your home against unwanted pests. But they do sound pretty good.

The End.

Okay Okay...  Maybe there's more to it than that. But that's all I can share for now...  mostly because I just experienced a very honest life changing event moments ago and I'm a tad wrapped up in that situation right now.  That said, I should be able to fire off a more detailed response to the above queries either later this evening or sometime in the early AM. 

roscoeiii

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #21 on: 3 Dec 2011, 12:04 am »
Hey Zero,

Here's hoping for the best in whatever comes from this life-changing moment.

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #22 on: 4 Dec 2011, 10:15 am »
Sorry for the delay folks! A recent situation had me sidelined for a couple days. The good news is that I'm now able to focus on some cool stuff again - like sharing my thoughts on how the P3ESR's and Rev 5's stack up to one another. So while I busily strum up a small comparison, I'd like to distract you all with a nice teaser pic of the Rev 5's rockin' their 'next season' ribbon mahogany.



Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #23 on: 5 Dec 2011, 03:31 pm »
Sorry for the delay folks. A few more of life's curve balls were thrown my way over the weekend.  Anyway, after listening to both the Rev 5's and the P3ESR's on my main system for a couple of hours, I am now ready to share my observations on how these fine transducers stack up to one another. To keep everything simple, I am going to break down my impressions into a few different categories.

What the Harbeth P3ESR's bring to the table

One of the most common words that I find associated with Harbeth loudspeakers is the word; natural.  And for good reason... that 5” Radial driver is bad ass. True to Harbeth's reputation, the P3ESR's are absolutely first rate when it comes to recreating the human voice and various acoustic instruments. There is an authenticity to their sound that I find very unique at this price point. And while the Rev 5's do not slip too far behind the P3ESR's in this regard – they are nonetheless forced to play second fiddle when it comes to rendering the most natural sounding tone.

As I spun each disc, it became clear that BOTH of these speakers are all about balancing the yin with the yang. For example, I found that the P3ESR's sport slightly better articulation along the treble – which is likely due to the use of a SEAS metal dome. This extra harmonic information comes at a price though, as I found the P3ESR's treble to be a tad rougher and less refined than the Rev 5's top end.

Likewise, while the bass on the P3ESR's is a tad more harmonically expressive than the Rev5's, that too comes at a price – namely in the form of bass extension and impact. Now to be fair, it bears mentioning that nobody should ever expect to extract deep, strong bass output from a set of sealed speakers that are smaller than a shoebox. Yin and Yang.

Imaging is a toss up as far as I'm concerned.  On one hand, the Harbeth's do a better job of locking performers between the speakers.  On the other hand, the Rev5's are more holographic and boast of a much more encompassing sound-stage. Again... yin and yang.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that both of these speakers are fiercely competitive with one another and produce the kind of musical sound that'll keep your rear end glued to the listening chair. At the end of the day though, I feel like the P3ESR's are best suited for the music lover who; A) Listens primarily to simple, non-complex or overly bombastic music, B) can live without deep bass or chest pounding dynamics, C) Owns an amplifier that can output a muscular 30wpc or more, D) Listens primarily at low to medium volume levels, and E) Is extremely sensitive to tonal accuracy.
« Last Edit: 6 Dec 2011, 02:00 pm by Zero »

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #24 on: 5 Dec 2011, 03:32 pm »
What the Fritz Rev 5's bring to the table

Since I've already drawn a number of comparisons between the Rev 5's and the P3ESR's, I am going to keep this portion short and sweet. In short, I believe that the Rev5's will appeal to a wider audience than the P3ESR's. Not because they are inherently better speakers. But because they are more versatile and hit on a number of virtues that I think more people care about.

Going right down the list...   The Rev5's are more power efficient than the P3ESR's.  They are fuller range (to where you may not even need a sub for many types of music),  They are punicher, more dynamic, smooth along the treble, give the music a more authentic sense of scale, and tend to sound better on live recordings due the speakers more lively presentation. They also throw out a wider soundstage while still retaining competence in all the area's that the P3ESR's excel at, such as tone and refinement.

Still, I wouldn't consider the Rev 5's to be better speakers. The Harbeth's are, in my opinion, the more complete sounding speaker. And by 'complete', I mean that they do a better job of culminating all of the individual elements that we listen for  (treble, midrange, bass imaging, etc..) into one 'whole' sound. When I listen to the P3ESR's, I rarely find myself going "oooo, listen to that bass!"  or  "oooo that treble is awesome".  Instead, I usually find myself kicking back and enjoying the music without so much as a forethought into all that audiophile vernacular. Well, at least until the music gets rockin'. But I digress...

As I mentioned earlier - both of these speakers have what it takes please a discerning music lover. I know that if I had to chose between the two, the decision would be tough. At the end of the day though, I'd go with a set of Fritz Rev 5's. As much as I love my little P3ESR's, I could never use them as mains. I listen to too many different types of music, and their limitations would kill a lot of it. Now don't get me wrong... the P3ESR's are absolutely wonderful speakers. The Rev5's won't be able to capture the silky and soothing tone of Songbird Ella Fitzgerald like the P3ESR's do. But when it comes down to rockin other forms of music, be it Incubus, Tool, Mahler's 5th, or whatever...  the Rev5's will not fall on their ass. And that, to me, is the deal breaker.

 

Edit:  In case you all are wondering, I used the following electronics in the above evaluation:  AMR CD-777 CD-player ;  Karan Acoustic KA I-180 integrated amplifier  ;  MIT CVT2 interconnects and speaker cables

PS:  It's also worth noting that I own the little P3ESR's and am 100% happy with their performance on my desktop system - where their limitations are highly mitigated. 
« Last Edit: 6 Dec 2011, 02:27 pm by Zero »

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #25 on: 5 Dec 2011, 04:03 pm »
Differences in size...








groovybassist

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Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #26 on: 5 Dec 2011, 04:38 pm »
Sean:

Very cool - thanks for the comparo.  Hope all is worked out on the personal front.

-Mike

Carl V

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Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #27 on: 5 Dec 2011, 04:58 pm »
Nice write up Zero.

a few years ago an acquaintance drew similar conclusions
between a very good British Mini-monitor & ACI Saphire XLs.

He chose the ACI Glossy Black Monitors & sold his British Brand.
His only reservations was what if he moved up to 7" sized monitors.
He eventually bought a pair of Floor Standing Salk HT1. Versatility
and some swagger carried the day.

roymail

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Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #28 on: 5 Dec 2011, 05:10 pm »
Very nice and well written review of these two monitors.  I'd prefer the Fritz Rev 5's but that's just me.  At 85.5db sens, I would think more than 15wpc would be required to drive them well.  I'd appreciate any comments about driving the Rev 5's with a 50wpc A/B amp.  Thanks!  :D

Russell Dawkins

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #29 on: 5 Dec 2011, 06:03 pm »
Informative write up, Zero - thank you.

Very nice integrated amplifier, that Karan, from all reports.

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #30 on: 6 Dec 2011, 12:27 pm »
Hey boys. Thanks for the comments! As some of you may have noticed - I decided to trim off (what I perceived as) fat from my original synopsis. 

Groovy - How you doin' bro? Yep, things are goin better on the personal front. Thanks. :) So... Will there be a set of mini-Evolutions under your Christmas tree this year?

Carl V -  I used to own a set of ACI Sapphire XL's.  Great speakers! Sadly, I've never had the opportunity to spend quality time with a set of Salks HT1's - only the Songtowers. Oh.. and I agree.. versatility and 'swag' def. go along way. :D

Roymail - 15 wpc is what I'd call the minimum power requirement.  The Rev5's should sound pretty spiffy being driven by an EL84 tube amp in a small room and on relatively simple music.  If you want to get rockin' though, then yes...  I'd raise that minimum to the 50/60 wpc mark.  They love their juice!

Russell -  Yep, I can't warrant too many complaints against the Karan - except for maybe its jaw dropping price tag.




groovybassist

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Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #31 on: 6 Dec 2011, 01:57 pm »
Still waitin' for the Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne.  It's been a long slog (I placed an order in January this year) , but my understanding from Jonathan Tinn is they should be shipping after CES coming up in January.  He's assured me if I can be patient, they're more than worth the wait.  Based on what I've been reading about them, I'm willing to trust him.  Will post something on AC as soon as I have them.

Glad everything's cool with your situation!

-Mike

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #32 on: 6 Dec 2011, 02:30 pm »
Hey Mike,

From what I've read, the MMMicroOne's should be stellar performers. I look forward to reading your thoughts on em'.  Hopefully that'll happen sooner, rather than later. :)






groovybassist

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Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #33 on: 6 Dec 2011, 03:07 pm »
Hope so, hope so.  While I'm not thrilled about the wait, it's not like I've been slummin' - my current Harbeth C7ES-3's are singing quite nicely with my LFD amp and Eastern Electric Minimax DAC Plus (using iMac as source, running Decibel - streaming tunes from NAS across Wi-Fi).

-Mike

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #34 on: 9 Mar 2012, 10:46 pm »
Have you ever looked back at the things you've said in the past and wonder; "Why in the hell did I even say that? What was I thinking?" Well, I just had one of those moments. After skimming through the little 'review' that I posted a number of months ago, I'm borderline horrified at how misleading some of the content actually is. In this review, I made it sound as though the Harbeth P3ESR's are one-trick ponies that only sound acceptable when reproducing simple music - which isn't true. I also, for whatever reason, seemed to shine a 'can do no wrong' light onto the Fritz Rev 5's - which also isn't true. So in an effort to right my wrongs, I'd like to take a moment to submit the following amendments to my original 'review'.  First up; the Harbeth's.

In my synopsis, I give the strong impression that the P3ESR's are dynamically constipated, bass shy, and not suitable for anyone who listens to complex music at moderate volumes. And while it's true that these sealed half-pints may not be the first choice for anyone who is looking to rattle door knobs or make it sound as though Metallica is playing a gig in your living-room, that doesn't mean that the P3ESR's are lacking dynamic prowess. In fact, when you consider the speakers small size and design type, the dynamic expression that Harbeth has been able to muster from these things is quite impressive. All that it really takes to 'open them up' is  healthy diet of high current juice. As for musical competence...

As someone who possesses an eclectic taste taste in music, and as someone who has been listening to the P3ESR's on a daily basis for well over a year, I can personally vouch for their ability to sound good on music that goes beyond the whole 'little girl with their guitar'-type audiophile demo material. Hell, just within the past couple of hours, I've shuffled through artists like; The Beatles, The Smiths, Melody Gardot, Ella Fitzgerald, LMFAO, She and Him, Tool, Tchaikovsky, Incubus, Cradle of Filth, Whitney Houston, Zac Brown Band, Epica, Nicki Minaj, the list goes on...  Musically competent? I'd like to think so.

At the end of the day though, these speakers cannot escape the limitations that are inherent to nearly every small loudspeaker. They won't play super loud. They aren't going to be extremely power efficient. And you shouldn't expect them to fill huge rooms with tout bass. However, I do not feel like these limitations compromise the P3ESR's ability to paint a musically enjoyable landscape. I'm sorry for making it seem otherwise.
« Last Edit: 10 Mar 2012, 06:15 pm by Zero »

Zero

Re: Fritz Speakers REV5s - A Review
« Reply #35 on: 10 Mar 2012, 06:22 pm »
Alrighties... Now it’s time to focus on the Rev 5’s. The good news is that I don’t have a lot to say here, mostly because I plan on scribbling up the bulk of my impressions in a separate review . Still, I want to address a couple things while I’m at it…

For starters, I can't help but laugh at how my synopsis all but suggests that Fritz Rev 5's were delivered to us by sheer divine providence. The truth is that the Fritz Rev 5’s are no different from any other transducer on the market.  They have a distinct (warm) aural character.  Some people are going to love that character, while others won’t care for it. Moving on....   

I also wish to retract a statement that I made earlier, which reads:   “I know that if I had to choose between the two, the decision would be tough. At the end of the day though, I’d go with a set of Fritz Rev 5’s”.  Wow. Once again, I find myself wondering just what in the hell was going through my head at the time. Don't get me wrong... The Rev 5's are good speakers that are certainly deserving of genuine praise.  But when you get right down to it, the Rev5's have been returned home and the P3ESR's are still in my abode. Take from that what you will.

Alright folks. That about does it. I'll be working on separate review of the Rev 5's, which I'll post in a new thread (sorry for polluting this one, Jerry)

Thanks for reading!