Good old Qute with C7ES3 vs P3ESR?

Hi, I’m running a Qute v1 upgraded 24/192 with P3ESR. It does sound good but I’m looking for upgrade.
According to specs these P3ESR speaker seems harder to drive then the C7.
Anyone have been running the C7 with any Qute? Does it sound good to you?

(Sorry if there was already an old treadon this, but I can’t manage to find)

Crikey, expensive speakers on the end of a UQ1 (even new it was “only” a £1500 box, though that was 10 years ago now 8) ). I have run both my Neat Iotas and Motive SX3s from my UQ1 (also with the upgraded boards) and both sound great. Not much help, but I suspect there’ll be a few comments coming on relative budget allocation.

Can I ask why it’s the speakers you’re looking to upgrade? In this case maybe a shoebox power amp might be worth a try instead of a speaker upgrade?

The P3ESR are not har to drive but are very hard to drive well - they use an extremely complex crossover and unless the amp driving them has a very fast current slew rate, the crossover will take a lot of the micro-dynamics out of the signal.

On the other hand the C7ES3 the crossover is somewhat simpler, but still a very complex circuit

Neither represent a tough load for an amp, but on the other hand both need a very fast high current capable amp to get the best from them.


I added an elderly, but serviced, Olive 250 to my Qute when I had it. An inexpensive option, not least as you could sell it without losing anything much.

I guess that combo would drive your speakers well.


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Thanks gtack! The info is well appreciated. I actually recently found a Neat dealer in Montreal and I passed by to confirm that he does have the SX3 and SX2 in store available for demo. As soon as I manage to upgrade my Qute to the last firmware I’ll go for a demo. There are really not a lot of Neat dealer in Canada so second hand will be a challenge for sure. But I see a lot of good about Neat in this forum.

It’s not clear to me where I’m going at this point. What I know is that I’m missing a spark of magic even though I really like what I hear now. My first time falling in love was the 5i with some Sonus Faber floorstand. The second time was Qute with floorstand Focal 700 or 800 series.

I opened up my house by taking down a few walls so now my room is 3.8 x 11 meters. I listen in the 3.8 axe. All this together make me think that maybe (???) floorstand might sound better even if I don’t usually play loud.

Is the solution a nap 100? The C7ES3? A Supernait v1? Neat SX2 or 3? A Focal stand mount? (the 816 are so beautiful but way too big in my setup). A slow upgrade aiming for Nait XS2 with ND5…

If I can find the magic with my Qute, I stick to it for another few years :wink:

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Cool pic xanthe! Thanks for the inputs, I never dared open my p3. :slight_smile:
So if I got this right the 30w coming from Qute should handle well both speaker, right?

The speakers won’t cause problems for the Qute, however the Qute doesn’t have enough current drive to make the speakers really come alive, by comparison to a more powerful amp the Qute is likely to leave the speakers sounding quite ‘flat’ and quite possibly lacking in bass clarity and drive as well.

The Qute itself won’t struggle technically (i.e. it won’t overheat or do anything nasty unless you turn the volume up too far), but it won’t make the best of the speakers either.

There are other speakers that are a far better match for the Qute compared to the Harbeths.

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Very very interesting, thanks. That brings me again to the power. I guess I should first put my system on the vitamins to get some more power then assess my actual P3ESR.

New or used, I don’t see any nap100 in North America. There are nap 150 and 150x at a local store.
But if I put more power in the system, for future flexibility maybe 70 or 80w is safer.

I am not sure adding a NAP 100 would really be that big a step forward. Don’t get too hung up on watts, it is about sound quality not just power.

If you are absolutely sure that the Qute is staying with those speakers (or the C7) then I would audition power amp options rather than choose blind.

Personally I wouldn’t invest that amount in a speaker upgrade in your system, but in source and or pre/power components. I think most here would feel a £3.5k speaker on a Qute MK1 was an unbalanced system.

Again only a demo only can tell you but I’d get the dealer to show me what that money can do with your existing speakers but different electronics, as well as trying the Qute with a different speaker brand maybe.

I should say I don’t have personal experience of those Harbeth speakers.


Thanks for the wisdom Bruce :wink:
I’m open for any kind of evolution. Segelmatt did bring my attention to superuniti v1 being more in my price range. There is also one at the same store for a 2000$Can. Not sure if the screen was already changed (look like they have the same Qute screen weakness)
On a more long term setup upgrades I would definitely give a try on a demo with Nait xs2 with ND5. But that would need to be a 2 steps upgrade budget wise. (Blue sound could be the temporary mid term work around)

My ‘wisdom’ (!) in this place is always tempered by the advice to get a demo if at all possible. Lots of unlikely systems surely sound great to their owners; and that is all that matters.

The big point is that you have a variety of ways to go from where you are, and take your time



@BruceW is right, it’s not about power; it’s more about how the current is delivered.

A NAP100 isn’t really enough for the Harbeths, they really need a NAP180 / NAP200, and will benefit from a NAP250, however these amps completely outclass the little Qute even when it’s only operating as a source & preamp.

A NAP200 / P3ESR combination will clearly show the limitations of the Qute’s DAC and preamp. It will, however, still sound better than he Qute alone into the Harbeth speakers - maybe a stepping stone to getting a 272? :thinking: :wink:

I have great sounding results of the Harbeth C7es3-XD paired with my SN2.

I am not sure the Qute will get the best out of them. I am thinking an XS level integrated would be the minimum.

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A lot of great toys are getting listed here. :slight_smile:
I guess the easiest way to keep things balanced for me now would be something like the Superuniti. (Until I free up some budget when the kids get of school :wink:)

Thanks all for having shared your info, thoughts and suggestions! It’s is very helpful !!!

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If it sounds good at the moment, and there are plans for XS2/ND5 XS2 eventually, I might resist the speaker upgrade at this point and keep saving for the amp and streamer upgrade. I know it is hard - but if it sounds good, just enjoy the music your UQ1 plays X) I’ve been close to a number of upgrades over past months, but a few experiences really make me thankful I’ve held off.

As BruceW says, if possible, audition some of what you have in mind. That cannot possibly hurt, and might well crystallise what is the best upgrade.

If XS2 is your next step I think even that would not necessarily justify a speaker upgrade.

You might get there quicker depending what you are prepared to part ex. At UK prices a cheaper but not necessarily less capable set of speakers, XS2 and ND5 XS2, would be less than £4k, selling or part ex’ing a UQ1 and your Harbeths might be almost half way, the C7s are 3.5k, so perhaps you have the budget for a complete change already! I really don’t wish to get you to sell a pair of speakers you love though, just suggesting options! Good luck deciding, enjoy the UQ1 in the meantime, it’s a great box 8)

Mine looking quietly competent a few months back!


In time yes I will try to leverage my actual Qute by selling it, but since the screen is dead, after the repair I don’t expect much profit on it. (At least it’s already 24/192). But yes for the Harbeth, if needs be, it will be easier to use them to get another set of speakers.

For sure I will demo and also bring some home for testing.
I’m not a great sound analyst or great poet to describe like I read in the so many reviews on the net. The one thing I do know, is to recognize that feeling when I’m listening and it keeps me wishing to hear one more song over and over because… it just feels good. This is happiness :grinning:

Depending if my heart take over or my brain keeps control, I will sooner or later do a move this year. I’ll make sure to keep you posted!
Thanks again!

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I have a pair of P3ESRs running off a UnitiLite as a second system. The P3s are magical to me. I never fell in love with the C7 sound.


This may have already been suggested, but you could find a second hand pair of NAC 152 XS / NAP 155 XS , I use these to run my C7’s in a very balanced system.

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I have P3ESR and the question of which amp to which speaker , interests not only the Naim Community and this is from the Harbeth User Group (today)

My advice would be to look for easier speakers to drive, perhaps Bowers & Wilkins or Focal ?

I use a Nova and that has around 80 watts , so it is happy with the Harbeths with have an impedance of 6 ohms and a sensitivity of 83

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Interesting! Thanks for the info! And it reminds me that it’s been a while since I went to Haberth forum. I’ll pass by, thanks.

I do like the natural sound of my P3ESR, but with my new room 3.8 X 11meters room, it’s missing a little magic.
With all the nice answers here and reading I did, my plan established now, first I work on my amp. I feel the need for freedom with some more power. Maybe a Superuniti or a combo Nait XS2 and later a ND5 XS. Not sure yet. I will have to hear the P3 with it and maybe other speakers like floor standers, and also figure out if I go all in one box or separated with a minimum of boxes. Then I’ll see. I’ll let my hears talk first :wink:

(I did heard Focals, they are on my short list for sure, thanks!)

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