Speaker reviews - Harbeth, Monitor Audio, Tannoy, Totem Arro, some french speaker, PMC, Magnepan, Toys


New member
Jul 25, 2011
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Hi all,

Been looking to replace my old Q Acoustics 1010s with something a bit better, so been listening to a few speakers. Here's what I thought, if anyone's interested.

Monitor Audio BX series - flabby bass, bright treble, not for long listening. TBH probably the weakest of the lot. Amplifier was Cambridge Audio I think. Really disappointing.

Tannoy Mercury - better than the bx, but still not really brilliant, though not as fatiguing. Can't remember what amplifier, but didn't think they were that much of an upgrade

Proac - thought these were pretty good. Plenty of bass, not too bright, decent balance, if that's the term. Amplifier was Naim, which I ended up buying I thought was so good.

Then the Evans boy looked like he was going to win the TDF, so nipped over to Paris to watch the lad complete the greates victory in Australian sporting history. Downside was I forgot my inflatable Kangaroo mascot, and you can't buy them in Paris, leastways, not that I could see.

Nipped into a couple of HiFi shops on the Sat - weird opening hours in France, but - the shops open at 11 then shut at 4, and they take a 2 hour lunch! Haven't they heard of the work ethic? Least they speak English


Totem Arro - a bit too strident for me, and bass a bit thin

Some French speaker - much better than the Arro, warm, full bass, detailed but not excessive treble. Apparently hand made somewhere in Paris. Shame I forgot the name, they're good, and cheaper than the Arro

Harbeth (the little ones) - best speaker of the bunch so far. I could of listened to them for ages, really musical. You can hang them on the wall, too.

Magnepan MG12QR - big white panels, too big to take back on Eurostar specially since we'd stocked up on french wine and could hardly lift the backpacks. Absolutely can't use the word stunning, best speakers by a mile. Never heard anything that puts the musicians in the room with you, and, with the jansen CD, you could hear the bow hitting the string. Never knew Mark Kbopfler's voice had so much depth and subtletty, 8 stars on the What Hi Fi scale.

So that's it, really. The Magnepans were selling at £1400, and at that price nothing comes close.

Sorry for the typing, got a bit of a headache this morning, we hit the champagne a bit yesterday.


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Jul 22, 2009
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Agree fully with your assessment of the Magnepan. Brilliant speaker which sounds better than any box speaker I've heard. Very lifelike and natural sounding. If there is one weakness then it would be the bass, which doesn't go very deep, although what there is is very tight and musical. Pity Magnepans have never been reviewed by WHFI. Hoping they might be at sometime in the future?


Well-known member
To be fair, the Cambridge is a bad pairing for the BX as they are both considered a little bright, but its a Moot point considering the calibre of the kit you were testing against.

Around here however, I think you will find we only care about Cav and his green jersey


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Aug 21, 2009
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If the Magnepan's kicked the Harbeths into touch, then they are truely worthy. Must try to get a listen if I get the chance. All very interesting.

It's been a while since I heard Maggies, but panels (played properly) leave many box speakers for dead.

Not sure about suitability of Naims, but as speakers they are one of the greats. If you can get them to work with your system, then I wouldn't hesitate. Not even sure who brings them to the UK these days - the US website only mentions US and Canadian dealers.