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New speakers for old electronics budget £3,000

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FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Demoed the Harbeth HL5 and M30.1 today.

Well balanced speakers. No harshness. Bass well controlled.

Good sound stage, the speakers disappeared, although sometimes music sounded distant.

They both worked well with any genre I played.

I preferred the M30.1 overall but not much between them.

I did try the M30.1 with a £500.00 Rega CD player and £1000.00 Croft amp, not much more powerful than my Quad 303. There was a bit more control in the bass but not by much.

Ran out of time at the demo at this point – would have like to have tried a beefier amp.

It's a difficult one. Spendor's 2 weeks ago, Harbeth today. Different demo rooms.

The Harbeth's are very easy to listen to. Spendor's sounded sounded a bit harsh with dedicated stands – they sounded smoother on wooden stands.

Harbeth's even handed with most tracks, Spendor's sounded amazing and drew you in with some.

I think overall the Harbeth are a more balanced speaker. But I also liked the Spendor's!

Note about bass issues: after trying the tracks I had bass issues with in 2 demo rooms with multiple speakers and a change of amps I think that the bass issues are likely inherent in the tracks and room dependant.

Going to a local store next Wednesday to demo some Tannoy and Dali speakers. They currently have a pair of Tannoy Definition DC8 to try. Also demoing some amps. As they are only 10 minutes drive away, when the time comes, I can easily borrow kit to try at home.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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Very interesting.

Re. the Harbeths, my preference would be the SHL5s, but we're all different, I guess.

Some people have experienced problems with bass management with Harbeths, so a home demo would be essential.

Looking forward to hearing your views on the Tannoys and Dalis.

:cheers:
 

Macspur

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May 3, 2010
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I've not heard the 30.1 myself, but certainly the SHL5 sings better with more power, so if you do get a chance to try again with beefier amp, please do so and what Mat said about home demo, I second.

Mac
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Demoed more speakers today.

Tannoy Definition DC8 and Precision 6.4, Dali floor standers and some Elac stand mounts (not sure of exact ones).

Elac where good for a while but I could tell that they they would become fatiguing over long term.

Dali where very good. Lots of well controlled bass but plenty of mids and top end. Nothing dominated. Something not right though. Also could become fatiguing over long term.

Tannoy Precision 6.4 had enough bass but a bit uncontrolled compared to Dali. Nice overall sound.

Tannoy Definition DC8 where like the Precision 6.4 but better.

More realistic sounding & easier to listen to. Although the bass is supposed to go deeper on the 6.4's it seemed better on the DC8's. I could hear different notes from a bass guitar on Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing.

I think I need to demo the Spendor, Harbeth & Tannoy again.

The Harbeth's come with free stands. I could listen to music with them all day but something not right that I can't quite explain. £2519

Spendor very nice except the bass issue. Room placement may be the key to fixing that. With dedicated stands £2999

Tannoy easy to listen to but not too laid back. Best bass of these 3. Aprrox £2500 plus stands. I might be able to use my existing stands.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Anyone demoed Tannoy Prestige Stirling speakers?

Within budget so might be worth a try.

They look like monsters with 10" bass drivers!
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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I can home demo the Tannoy's and other speakers I demoed yesterday but the Spendor's and Harbeth's may be more difficult.

The Spendor's had to be borrowed by the shop I demoed them at so not sure if he could lend them to me. They were the only store willing & able to do a demo of them within 2 hours drive. Another store was reluctant suggesting the SP3/1R2 instead and another could not get them on demo (but al least they were willing to try).

The Harbeth's not sure - I could ask.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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I think the nearest Spendor dealer to you is in Kettering is that where you heard the Spendors?
 

FennerMachine

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No, I demoed them in Cheltenham. Helpful chap, let me demo for about 4 hours!

Demoed 4 different speakers.

Kettering do not stock the Classic range so likely cannot get them. I Emailed several Spendor dealers but most said they don’t stock them. Just Emailed Kettering to see if they can get them for demo.

The store local to me says they will try to get the Tannoy Prestige Sterling speakers so I can demo them.

Just Emailed Cheltenham to see if they can arrange a home demo nearer decision time.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
No, I demoed them in Cheltenham. Helpful chap, let me demo for about 4 hours!

Demoed 4 different speakers.

Kettering do not stock the Classic range so likely cannot get them. I Emailed several Spendor dealers but most said they don’t stock them. Just Emailed Kettering to see if they can get them for demo.

The store local to me says they will try to get the Tannoy Prestige Sterling speakers so I can demo them.

Just Emailed Cheltenham to see if they can arrange a home demo nearer decision time.
OK I see, Analogue Seduction near Peterborough stock the Spendor Classic range also and Tannoys but not Harbeth.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
They were reluctant to demo the SP2/3R2 and also don't open on Wednesday's which is my day off.
I see, any reason why they were relunctant to demo the SP2/3R2?
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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They said that the Quad 303 wouldn't do the SP2/3R2 justice. They suggested the SP3/1R2 or A5 instead.

Also they did not have the SP2 in at the time. They cannot do Wednesday's which is the only time I can go.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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A few Emails later and I can now get home demo’s of the Spendor, Harbeth and Tannoy speakers.

It's going to be a few months as I'm moving next year (hopefully).

No point getting home demo's until I've moved!
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
They said that the Quad 303 wouldn't do the SP2/3R2 justice. They suggested the SP3/1R2 or A5 instead.

Also they did not have the SP2 in at the time. They cannot do Wednesday's which is the only time I can go.
Well they could be right about the Quad, think Dave said something similar. HAve you been trying these speakers with different amps or is all with your Quad?
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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I've been trying them all with my amps.

I did try the Harbeth 30.1 with a £1000 Croft amp which made a small difference.

The chap at the demo I did yesterday seemed to like my amps though. They seemed to do a good job with all the speakers.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Why not try the speakers with some more powerful amps, not sure what they stock but something around £1,500 maybe and see if theres a difference, Im not that familar with amps around that price range but Rega, Creek, Exposure, Leema and Primare I think all do amps around that price or a bit less.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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With a budget of £3000 what's the best thing to do?

I could get a more powerful/newer amp for £1500 but that only leaved £1500 for speakers.

Unless a £1500 amp works wonders with my Quad 21L2 speakers then that saves me £1500.

I'm not after silly volume levels (although I occasionally crank it up a bit) so I don't need lots of power, although I know a more powerful or newer amp will likely control the speakers better.

Total cost of ownership will likely be lower for my current amps as servicing is relatively cheap and will likely not need doing again for many years (had both serviced recently).

I have found from my demo's that speakers in the higher ranges sound overall better than the lower ranges (Spendor Classic vs A series, Tannoy Definition vs Precision). So a standmount in a higher range sounds better than a floor stander in the range below but may be priced the same.

It's difficult to know what way to go.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
With a budget of £3000 what's the best thing to do?

I could get a more powerful/newer amp for £1500 but that only leaved £1500 for speakers.

Unless a £1500 amp works wonders with my Quad 21L2 speakers then that saves me £1500.

I'm not after silly volume levels (although I occasionally crank it up a bit) so I don't need lots of power, although I know a more powerful or newer amp will likely control the speakers better.

Total cost of ownership will likely be lower for my current amps as servicing is relatively cheap and will likely not need doing again for many years (had both serviced recently).

I have found from my demo's that speakers in the higher ranges sound overall better than the lower ranges (Spendor Classic vs A series, Tannoy Definition vs Precision). So a standmount in a higher range sounds better than a floor stander in the range below but may be priced the same.

It's difficult to know what way to go.
Well I know but as you as auditioning I would try to iron this out. The other option is to get the speakers now and then upgrade the amp later.

I think its not so much about volume but control, maybe some of your bass issues are due to the amp? You maybe better off getting speakers for £2,000 and then buying a used amp for upto £1,000?
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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You could be right.

The Quad 303 is supposed to be a bit iffy with its bass but only at higher volumes.

Maybe its struggling with such good quality speakers or the speakers are showing its shortcomings.

I do prefer the overall presentation from the higher end speaker though even with the bass issues.

As it's a lot of money I think I should take your (and others who have posted) advise and demo some £1500-£2000 speakers with a more capable amp.

The Spendor SP3/1R2 is around £1800 leaving £1200 for either a better power amp (Quad 909 or similar) or integrated amp.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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FennerMachine said:
With a budget of £3000 what's the best thing to do?

I could get a more powerful/newer amp for £1500 but that only leaved £1500 for speakers.

Unless a £1500 amp works wonders with my Quad 21L2 speakers then that saves me £1500.

...

It's difficult to know what way to go.
I know the feeling.

How about a home demo of one or two amps? e.g. the Elicit-R or a Leema. That might at least indicate how it would make sense for you to divide up your budget.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Well good luck in your search. Re home demo I thought you were moving house soon?
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Yes, moving next year hopefully. I'll do home demo's once I've moved.

Just in the process of narrowing down what to home demo at the moment.

I'm using some of the money I get from the house sale to fund the new speakers.

I could try the speakers with different amps at dealers. The one nearest me has some Quad 23L speakers that I could use with my amps and a good amp that they have to get an idea of what a better amp can do for my speakers. I don't want to take my speakers to a dealer as they are quite bulky and I don't want them to get damaged in transit.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Macspur said:
Might be worth your while taking a look through the preowned amps at audio emotion and they will allow home demos, plus do decent part exchange deals too.

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
Mac I enjoy your album reviews, please note THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD is on spotify now and also on Deezer.
 

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