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 Post subject: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:37 am
Posts: 1040
Location: East Toronto, ON, CA
I am writing to find out how do these Harbeth sound, I have been reading mixed reviews about these.

I am specially interested in knowing how do they sound compare to Totem Model 1 speakers.

I could not find much on the subject of P3ESR vs Model 1.

Any input from Camers would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 2897
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
was just listening to a pair today. Have demoed them on a few occasions and keep going back but....
for the right genres, they are very good. Today I listened to them together with a JL Audio sub and felt that was a needed addition for most listening that I would do.
In past listening I felt the $1000 difference in price between them and what a new Dynaudio Excite 14 would cost would be a difficult justification.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:24 am
Posts: 500
Location: Greater Montreal Area, QC, CA
P3ESR's were fantastic speakers, while I had them. They sound so natural, but are for smooth music listening. Jazz, and that kinda stuff. I found them very good for low volume. Never hear the Totem Model One, but I do have some Totem Sttaf right now. The Model one does have a Dynaudio driver and at one point after the Harbeth's I had the Dynaudio Excite X12, which had a similar sound to the Harbeth, I found. The Totems will be more difficult to drive. Make sure your amp can handle them.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:47 am
Posts: 34
Location: Edmonton, AB, CA
I can offer my experience with a similar transition. I went from Totem Forest to Harbeth SHL5. I much prefer the sound signature of the SHL5 - not in your face, musical at any volume, and minimal to zero listening fatigue. The Forest wasn't bad by any means, they're accurate, highly detailed and punchy. It's all based on personal preference.

I recommend finding a local Harbeth owner and requesting an audition!


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:25 am
Posts: 251
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Since you are local....
Go to Planet of Sound @ Queen & Ossington and demo the Harbeths
Go to Bay Bloor Radio and demo the Totems
Perhaps one of them could be persuaded to loaning a pair out for a side-by-side demo?


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:27 pm
Posts: 568
Location: Kitchener, ON, CA
Would definitely go Harbeth over Totem. Main reason is the tweeter in the Harbeths are extremely smooth and can play quite loud without distorting. The model 1 seems to loose it's gusto a bit too early. Both good speakers, but I would go Harbeth.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1442
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
naimkid wrote:
I am writing to find out how do these Harbeth sound, I have been reading mixed reviews about these.

I am specially interested in knowing how do they sound compare to Totem Model 1 speakers.

I could not find much on the subject of P3ESR vs Model 1.

Any input from Camers would be greatly appreciated.


If you are a Naim guy maybe consider staying in the family and give the Focal Electra 1008be a listen. I have mine matched with a JLA E110 sub and the combo is working well, especially for the music I like, which is mostly rock.

But admittedly I am not answering your question. There are so many great stand mounts out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:21 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
naimkid wrote:
I am writing to find out how do these Harbeth sound, I have been reading mixed reviews about these.

I am specially interested in knowing how do they sound compare to Totem Model 1 speakers.

I could not find much on the subject of P3ESR vs Model 1.

Any input from Camers would be greatly appreciated.


I just bought a pair of P3ESR and also auditioned the Totem Sky, which was the closest model at the time. The new Model 1 is not yet out but will be priced above the P3ESR whereas the Sky is less. Both the Sky and P3ESR have 5" mid-woofers whereas I believe the new Model 1 will be a 6.5".

Both the Sky and the P3ESR are fine speakers and I think the choice is personal and depends on your listening habits. For tonality the Harbeth won me - the midrange in particular is phenomenal. For punch and low frequency extension the Totem wins. I preferred the tweeter in the Harbeth but the Totem is no slouch. For imaging, again Harbeth has the edge. The Harbeth is a sealed design however and more inefficient than the ported Totem.

I listen to jazz a lot more than rock so the Harbeth's reproduction of vocals and horns sold me. I have a subwoofer and the P3ESR definitely benefits from support down low. Unless you're running them on a desktop or in a small office you'll want to consider a sub. With the Totem you might not need one, depending on your room and tastes. Finally, if you ever want a change I think Harbeths are easier to sell, but this is just my subjective impression based on looking at the classifieds.


Last edited by basie-fan on Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:21 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
naimkid wrote:
I am writing to find out how do these Harbeth sound, I have been reading mixed reviews about these.


Strange, I did a lot of research on the P3ESR, and since it's been around for a while there are many professional reviews out there. I didn't see a single "bad" review, in that the overall conclusion was mixed or negative. All the reviews I've seen were positive, with the usual caveats such as limited bass extension, limited dynamics and SPL, etc., which are expected for a speaker the size of a shoe box.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:54 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:45 am
Posts: 1265
Location: Burlington, ON, CA
Given the inefficiency of the model 1s you had better have at least a nap 250 to drive them. I assume you have a smaller room and a mid level Naim setup. In such a case the Harbeth would be better - or something like an ATC SCM 7 or 11.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:46 am 
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 6:49 pm
Posts: 186
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I owned these speakers and loved them. My music tends to be soft jazz and female vocals and this is where these speakers shine. These do need a bit of power to drive, no low watt tube amps because you will never be happy. The fit and finish of the veneer is pretty good to very good. The only reason I sold them was to get something bigger and now I have the 30.1's.

Compared to the Totem's, I really can't help you there. I have listened to Totem's on many occasions and I have to say I have never found a pair that I liked. I just don't like their house sound. Other's will say the opposite so take what I say with a grain of salt.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:37 am
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Location: East Toronto, ON, CA
Thank you everyone so much for your input and sharing your experiences. All comments here would help me a great deal to choose the direction suited best for my listening taste.

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1442
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
naimkid wrote:
Thank you everyone so much for your input and sharing your experiences. All comments here would help me a great deal to choose the direction suited best for my listening taste.

Cheers


listening tastes which are... :?:


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:52 am
Posts: 55
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
I went from Model 1s to Harbeths P3s and have never looked back.

Tried hard to love the Totems. I started with the Totems and the Brio R. Brio was not enough to get the most out of the Totems but it actually was not that bad. Then switched to a Rega Elicit. That combo was just plain bad (v. harsh). Then I went to a Supernait based on several positive reviews of that combo. It could certainly drive the Totems but the top end was still way too bright for my tastes. I listen to pretty much everything and very few genres were enjoyable to listen to on that combo for me. YMMV.

I bought the Harbeths to compare and immediately sold the Totems. The P3s and the Supernait are a fantastic combo for my small to moderate room. I don't find them muted or too laid back at all. I too have never seen a bad review on the P3s. They are considered one of the jewels in the line-up.

Now doubt the Model 1s are a great speaker but they require very careful paring to tone down the treble and are probably at their best with tubes. For me Harbeths all the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Harbeth P3ESR
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 8:10 am
Posts: 26
Location: NA, MB, CA
Totems and Harbs are very different speakers -- their respective strengths and weaknesses have been well summarized above.

Having owned Model 1s and various Harbeths, including the M30.1s, I've found myself returning to the P3ESRs once again, despite their limitations in the frequency extremes and overall dynamics/loudness, because within their limits they produce a sound that is balanced, engaging and musically convincing like nothing else near their size and price. They really are a music-lover's speaker, although they do tick many audiophile boxes (midrange purity, imaging, detail retrieval, bass clarity, etc). It's the gem in the Harbeth line IMO, and a keeper for many who own it.


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