Small floorstander recommendations

audiokid

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Hi,

I'm currently using a Supernait with a Mac with some Harbeth P3esr speakers. The system sounds great, but I'm now building a system for another room. I'm either going to pick up another SN or a SU, playing digital files from a server. For this system im going to go for some floorstanders as it would suit the room visually.

I'm looking for something that is really small - I'm talking 900mm max height, but ideally more like 800mm, with a tiny footprint. I really like the sound of the Harbeths and I will consider these the starting point sound wise. I don't mind the new system having a different personality though! I realise harbeths are quite unique. The room will be 3.5m square, and my music taste is broad, so the speakers have to be versatile.

I don't really have a budget, but realise that above the 3k mark, speakers tend to be much bigger anyway, with a few exceptions. speakers that have caught my eye so far are:

-Totem arro (how will these compare to the Harbeth P3?)

-PMC GB1i

-Spendor a5 (nice size but heard these and maybe they had too much bass and sounded a little wooly)

Ideally, I would go up the ladder a bit but it's hard to find anything small, and the other half doesn't want speaker stands / standmount combos in this room. Any suggestions would be great, or thoughts on the above. My only other requirement is that they are simple to look at like the totem arro, so no weird curves, angles, flashy bits please! I love the look of the Harbeth, and wish they did a P3 as a small floorstander, but that would never happen!

Thanks
 

gregvet

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Not sure how the height compares, but I would be looking at the PMC twenty.23's rather than the gb1i's. The twenty range are really good IMO.

What about the spendor A3's if you feel the A5's have too much bass, they are smaller too ;)
 
audiokid said:
Hi,

I'm currently using a Supernait with a Mac with some Harbeth P3esr speakers. The system sounds great, but I'm now building a system for another room. I'm either going to pick up another SN or a SU, playing digital files from a server. For this system im going to go for some floorstanders as it would suit the room visually.

I'm looking for something that is really small - I'm talking 900mm max height, but ideally more like 800mm, with a tiny footprint. I really like the sound of the Harbeths and I will consider these the starting point sound wise. I don't mind the new system having a different personality though! I realise harbeths are quite unique. The room will be 3.5m square, and my music taste is broad, so the speakers have to be versatile.

I don't really have a budget, but realise that above the 3k mark, speakers tend to be much bigger anyway, with a few exceptions. speakers that have caught my eye so far are:

-Totem arro (how will these compare to the Harbeth P3?)

-PMC GB1i

-Spendor a5 (nice size but heard these and maybe they had too much bass and sounded a little wooly)

Ideally, I would go up the ladder a bit but it's hard to find anything small, and the other half doesn't want speaker stands / standmount combos in this room. Any suggestions would be great, or thoughts on the above. My only other requirement is that they are simple to look at like the totem arro, so no weird curves, angles, flashy bits please! I love the look of the Harbeth, and wish they did a P3 as a small floorstander, but that would never happen!

Thanks

Totem Arro. The height is 85cm but immensely slim, both width and depth. Although not heard with Naim, certainly worth an audition as placement is the easiest I've come across.

http://totemacoustic.com/en/hi-fi/columns/arro/specifications/
 

busb

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Totem Arros work well with the Suprnait. My Arros have 2.5kg of sand in them so the don't blow over when I open the windows ;)

Although hardly pefect, they do image brilliantly. Bass is better than their looks & size would indicate but they don't go that loud or have the slam that speakers with large drivers can deliver. Their sense of pace & dynamics can leave larger boxes sounding sluggish. Don't be tempted by a 2nd hand pair of Art Stilettos - they don't come close!

I find (most) Spendor great speakers to fall asleep to - a pity 'cos they look fab. Your Harbeth's, I'm not familiar with & PMC have many fans here. Something like the Nait is the minimum your should drive the Arros 4 Ohm load with.
 

WinterRacer

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Do you have your heart set on buying another Naim amp? If not and you'd consider actives, AVI ADM40s are traditional looking, just about fit your size reqs (90H x 21W x 31.5D) and most importantly sound great.

See 'my system' link in my signature for pictures and my thoughts on them.
 

batonwielder

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It's easy to overlook the Arro's because of its size, but they are so much fun to listen to. They are some of the better performers in soundstaging category.

Rega RS3's are worthy of consideration if you don't listen to demanding music.
 

audiokid

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Arros could be perfect actually. My only concern is that they won't be as good as the mini Harbeths? Will they be as refined?

Has anyone compared the two speakers?

I need to find a London demo ideally, unless I could buy online and return if they aren't right.
 

paradiziac

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+1 for the Arros, but how about Neats?

The Motive 2 is short and easy to position and is really bouncy and fun to listen to, though you might look higher up the range for more refinement.

Great with Naim, and a nice counterpoint to Harbeth.
 

Diamond Joe

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Ahh, I was just going to recommend the Motive 2's, fair point on the leany-backy stance, not to everyones taste. Could I suggest the Kudos X2s in that case, they're easily as good as the Neats (bit more expensive mind you) and about the same size and stand bolt upright!
 
audiokid said:
Arros could be perfect actually. My only concern is that they won't be as good as the mini Harbeths? Will they be as refined?

Has anyone compared the two speakers?

I need to find a London demo ideally, unless I could buy online and return if they aren't right.

No idea how they compare to the Harbeths. They are great fun speakers, not the most revealing so if you love detail above all else the Totems are not for you. If you like your music to be fun and hugely musical they are brilliant.

The only stockist I know is here: http://www.obrienhifi.com/www.obrienhifi.com/Home.html
 

batonwielder

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Haven't compared them back to back, but I've auditioned on separate occasions.

Personally, the refinement you are talking about robs speakers of dynamics. For me, it is not about playing loud in terms of decibels, but what gives emotional impact through ease of communication. Neither the Arro or the Harbeth will play loud, but the Arro is definitely more immediate and entertaining. Actually, it's not hard to better the Harbeth's in this department.

The only reservation I have about the Arro is the attachment and the stability of the plinth. They use two sided stickers for installation, and the plinth itself is not much bigger than the base, which doesn't give you much confidence.
 
batonwielder said:
Haven't compared them back to back, but I've auditioned on separate occasions.

Personally, the refinement you are talking about robs speakers of dynamics. For me, it is not about playing loud in terms of decibels, but what gives emotional impact through ease of communication. Neither the Arro or the Harbeth will play loud, but the Arro is definitely more immediate and entertaining. Actually, it's not hard to better the Harbeth's in this department.

The only reservation I have about the Arro is the attachment and the stability of the plinth. They use two sided stickers for installation, and the plinth itself is not much bigger than the base, which doesn't give you much confidence.

Exactly my problem, otherwise wonderful speakers. If you have young children and/or a dog with a waggy tail avoid the Totems like plague.
 

busb

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AudioT sell Arros. Their stability can be increased by either partly filling the lower chambers with dried sand (what I used) or lead shot (available from amazon). They come with black plinths that take 4 blunt spikes with rubber decoupling washers. Mine came with the Canadian equivalent of blueTak. Mine are on thick carpet, toed in very slightly because they are 3m apart & 0.5m from my rear wall (recessed either side). Their bass response can be tuned by moving them away from the rear wall to reduce the bass. They are very well made but the drivers are totally unprotected with the tweeter looking very much like a door bell push! They don't have any wadding in the upper chamber but are veneered on the inside then covered in a Borosilicate paint. You can buy a set of Totem Claws that circumvent the need for the plinths but cost an extra ~£300 but are probably only worthwhile on their larger speakers that come with them anyway such as the Hawks where they work very well with the ball bearings in place.

The Harbeth's are based on the BBC LS3/5a design so I would speculate that the Arros will have much more bass that is both tuneful & deeper. Some feel the Arros are bright - I have never found them so. I'm yet to hear a pair of speakers that image better - they are phenomenal & appear to become invisible to the extent that several friends have said that they get pretty good depth sitting well off-axis - praise indeed. Although they can go fairly loud - that's not what they are about which is bring fun to one's listening. Their sound is also very agile, very fast. If you play hour apon hour of poorly recordered pop, they will tire you - they will not file off the corners of poor recordings - they are not pipe & slippers but do remain very musical.

If you buy a pair of Arros or any speakers with 2 sets of binding posts per side, remove the linking plates & use short lengths of the same speaker cable you intend to use instead. I've bi-wired mine which gave a audible improvement so those plates are redundant.
 
@busb

My local Audio-T didn't stock the Arros, only the standmounters the last time I called, a few weeks ago.

Also, the last audition I had at O'bs hi-fi they sat them on these strange claw/ball bearing arrangement. Hadn't seen this before but didn't like the stability element.
 
A

Anonymous

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Have you considered ART? They dont seem to get any coverage on this website/forum at all, not sure why?

I use a pair of the Emotion Monitors with my Nait XS and the sound wonderful.

They are more of a large standmount (with built in wooden stand) than a floor stander, but i think they suit your brief. 960mm high, very simple design, relatively small footprint, and a great synergy with Naim.

They are £4,000 new but i have seen second hand pairs going for £1,995 which is a bargain.
 

busb

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plastic penguin said:
@busb

My local Audio-T didn't stock the Arros, only the standmounters the last time I called, a few weeks ago.

Also, the last audition I had at O'bs hi-fi they sat them on these strange claw/ball bearing arrangement. Hadn't seen this before but didn't like the stability element.

To me, their stability is their greatest flaw & those Totem Claws are not going to improve the situation. Any branch of AudioT should be able to get hold of a pair (now they are AudioT again). If cost is no object, Totem Hawks are more stable, have more extended bass & are considered to be superior. They are slighty wider & deeper than the Arros & cost around £2700. As for ART, they are home grown (Scotland) but their Stilettos don't match the Arros for SQ (bass-light for starters) but do have wider permanently attached plinths. I haven't seen nor heard their current range.
 

philipjohnwright

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Meridian 5200's? 903mm high so slightly over, but suspect their cost and looks will swing you against them. It would simplify things though, just plug the computer straight into the coax digital input. No other boxes to pay for or look at.

Vienna Bach's - the smallest ones are 880mm high, plain square boxes, and look nice. I've heard the next one up in the range and liked it a lot, not overly clinical like many. So perhaps of interest to a fellow Harbeth owner (I have Compact 7-2's)

Re the Arro's, my own limited experience of Totem says they have a diffferent sonic signature to Harbeth's, so do listen to them if considering them (they are a nice speaker though, and the Arro's with a small REL were very impressive indeed). If you do go this route consider a BK subwoofer- they used to make subs for others (have a look, it will be obvious who). And they are seriously low cost. My dad has the smallest one, very good value and sounds nice.

But I suspect your aesthetic considerations will preclude a separate box (and quite right too, hi-fi should be heard, not seen)
 

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