best "bookshelf" loudspeaker you ever heard is :

Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by Mister Natural, May 22, 2019.

  1. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Member

    May 14, 2010
    Harbeth Monitor 30 Mark 1 or Mark 2 are the best small speakers I have heard. The all important midrange is magically transparent; the treble is naturally extended without any artefacts of the tweeter material. By this, I mean that you don't hear any colorations imparted by the tweeter; the tweeter is transparent.

    It does not have bass weight but you can hear the upper bass notes articulated. Great for following the bassline. The Monitor 30 speakers are nimble; the notes start and stop as they would when heard live.

    For more bass weight, less transparent than the Monitor 30 but more satisfyingly suitable for bass heavy music the Harbeth HL5 Plus are my next choice. You can hear the tweeter, you can hear the bass driver, you can hear the midrange driver. By this, I mean that you notice you are hearing music through loudspeakers. The loudspeakers do not disappear so readily from the soundfield unlike the Monitor 30 which erase themselves.

    You have to hear them side by side to know what I mean. I would recommend the HL5 Plus for most people as they are more suitable for a wider range of music. But if you live in the midrange and treble, care not too much about bass slam the Monitor 30 are the choice. They truly transparent to the source and do the disappearing act very well.

    The B+W 805D3 are worth a listen. Great speakers. I rate them about as highly as the Harbeth speakers. You do hear the drivers though. They are nimble in the bass and have loads of space-age industrial style.

    The Sonus Fabers (heard them from the first Electa Amator back in 1989 to the Guarneri to Extrema) are nice bits of Italian furniture. I don't rate them as they are plodding in the bass, rolled off in the treble, and music sounds "forced" through the speakers, not effortlessly reproduced. I understand their appeal as nobody fails to be wowed by their curves of Italian Walnut and leather fascia. If you need to please the wife's taste in furnishing, SFs are the ones to buy. I hate them as they exemplify the worst of hifi: expensive looks before performance.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    Tony Foran likes this.
  2. Mister Natural

    Mister Natural Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Harbeth, I've read hava terrific reputation - great notes Jabber

    I think it's interesting that so many of us above mention a British-branded speaker manufacturer as being superior sounding. Harbeth & B&W(my beloved Monitor Audios) included.
    Jabberwocky likes this.
  3. bluesmeanie

    bluesmeanie Member

    Aug 8, 2008
    My dad bought me a pair of Celestion Hadleighs in the mid-70s that I still use, though not with my main stereo rig. For decades though they were part of my main rig and they are excellent. Solid, too. Once, at a party, I had them on top of bookcases over six feet off the ground and one fell onto the cement floor when a kid bumped the bookcase. One corner of the cabinet got sort of smushed in but it still worked, and works.
    Jabberwocky likes this.

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