Harbeth for Naim : Comparison P3ESR,P3ESR Anniversary Edition, P3ESR XD


I’m planning to pair a Harbeth bookshelf to NAC-202/NAPSC/HiCapDR/NAP-200
my choose is P3ESR series, but I don’t have much knowledge to comapre between 3 of P3ESR series

  • P3ESR original/first edition
  • P3ESR Anniversary Edition
  • P3ESR XD
    anybody know the differences, please let me know

thank you

P3ESR and P3ESR anniversary edition = almost same sound

P3ESR XD = brighter treble in comparison to above models


Can’t really help you but I had that system with a pair of Harbeth M30.1 and what it did do sounded wonderful, but it lacked that deep (mostly bass) foundation . I think either of those 3 will work very well and you should enjoy it. I had no complaint with the treble and how far it went, so I’d recommend looking for the earliest ones and try to save a few dollars.

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That sounds about right and is the general consensus in all the reviews i have read so far. The XD version is also much more expensive than the regular one.

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What speakers are you currently using?

If you have the opportunity I would see if a dealer carries Harbeth, ProAc and ATC speakers and do a in-store demo of the P3ESR XD against the ATC SCM 7 and ProAc Tablette 10 or Tablette 10 Signature speakers. All three are small sealed box speakers.


Marketing puff. If you can hear a difference, I have some land in Florida that’s a great bargain…

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I have chances to compare all of the p3esr versions as OP mentioned and found the same conclusion as Ryder’s. The original version has been kept because of sound quality and built.

The common amplification setup for the comparison was 72/HC/140 though.


I don’t know how large your room is, but if it is important to have the speakers close to the wall you may like to consider the ProAc Tablette 10 Signature. They are the same size as the LS3/5A but are designed to be used close to the wall. Mine are 9cm from the wall. You’ll see in Bandit’s photo the ideal position for the Harbeth, well away from the wall. I’ve also read that the Harbeth is harder to drive than the ProAc, which may be something to think about.


Second HH’s suggestion - I’ve tried the p3esr in a smaller room with close to the wall without success. They’re very boomy in that setup.

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If you like what might broadly be considered to be the ‘BBC’ type sound then you may like to consider the Spendor Classic 4/5 as an alternative to the Harbeth’s. This is another LS3/5a derivative but unlike the others is far more tolerant of postioning and is actually a true bookshelf speaker, ie. they can really be used successfully on a bookshelf, although obviously stands will give better performance.

I had them for a while and I can vouch for them being absolutely fine in close proximity to a wall, ie. no bass boom or tonal aberrations. Ultimately they were not for me as, like the LS3/5a’s themeselves, I found that they lacked engagement. But if that is the sort of sound you are after then give them a listen.

I’ve never heard the ProAc Tablettes’s but from what I’ve read they are more dynamic and engaging and if I was in the market for a small speaker I think they would be my first port of call.

Just as an aside I’ve always found it odd that LS3/5a’s were, as most will know, developed by the BBC as a monitor for use in small spaces such as outside broadcast vans and very small studios. Here there is no way that they could be used in free space and would typically be on a shelf. And yet as others have said they only sound right well away from walls…

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Could I ask what stands you have with your P3s? They certainly look very solid, though if they were mine I’d turn them round so as not to see the badges. I’ve got a thing about badges and took them off my ProAcs. I rather covet the Falcon LS3/5A stands but they are very expensive.

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Tonträger Stands made in Germany.


They are TonTrager stands - hand made in Fussen specifically for Harbeth p3esr. They are made from wood and very light but solid. Good advice about the badge. I agree with you that turning round looks much neater. Thank you.

I have p3 esr with supernat3 in a small lounge. The speakers are 33cm from rear wall.
Works very well,great sound and tight bass that suits the room and my ears well.
Have tried other speakers,but just love the Harbeths.

Just a thought but it seems that with the BBC type speakers, having a thin-wall cabinet, the recommended stands are usuually light open-frame ones, such as you have now. I know some manufacturers do go in for heavier more solid ones but from everything I’ve read they are not the best type.

When I had my Spendor Classic 4/5’s I had some wooden stands made in oak from Broadcast Stands. They looked superb and performed well, meeting all the required design criteria for LS3/5a types. If you’re looking for a change then have a look there. They would look superb as a match with your Isoblue rack and have a less ‘industrial’ and more a furniture type appearance than metal stands. Just a thought.

Plus the badges are supplied separately for you to stick on or leave off as you please.

The Marx Brothers take. I couldn’t find a clip that includes Chico as a bidder in the auction.

Thanks. It’s an interesting one: ProAc have long advocated very heavy stands for the Tablettes. Yet the 10 is different and your thinking was exactly the same as mine, which is what led me to the Something Solid stands. They have sentimental value as it was the last pair made before they stopped. The Falcons look more elegant but cost £900. It’s odd; Falcon’s LS3/5A has the traditional cabinet yet they sell the weighted stands as an ideal match. I’ve seen the wooden stands you mention but they are not my cup of tea, as I thing you can have too much oak and it can start to look too matchy-matchy. I’m sure that the best thing to do is nothing, though the Fslcons do still appeal. For that sort of money it would be sensible to try them out, yet there are very few dealers who carry them.

I know what you mean about everything looking too matchy - it can start to look a bit contrived.

Perhaps it’s an itch that you need to eventually try to scratch. It’s certainly odd that Falcon sell the heavier stands as a match. Everything I’ve read about it, and that is quite a lot as when I had my Spendor’s I wanted to get the best match, suggests that the stands should be lightweight and open frame. Also importantly the bottom panel of the speaker needed to be able to ‘breath’ to obtain the correct bass balance, so no stands with a solid top-plate.

Maybe try to borrow something from your dealer that is more like the Falcon stands and see where it takes you. If the effect is good then you could more safely buy the Falcon’s on-line. Or travel to the nearest dealer and make a day out of it.

It’s not odd at all, the Falcons sound fabulous on their (heavy, yes) dedicated stands. Btw so do the ProAcs and the Harbeths as I’ve found all these to sound better on heavy solid stands and I’ve tried them all on my Falcon stands too. The open frame thing applies to the larger BBC models and certainly in my experience.
However, I agree the Spendors (SA1, D1 etc.) do like lighter (much, much lighter) stands.

I guess that if Falcon make them then they must be the best thing. Just seems to contradict everything I’ve read. Having said this I think there is an awful lot of mythology surrounding many of the BBC designs. It seems like one of those things that’s steeped in audio folklore with various ‘experts’ all having their own opinions.

It’s interesting, and I don’t want to upset anyone, but I’ve read reports from one or two people (engineers) who worked at the BBC when LS3/5a’s were in daily use and they couldn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Apparently the LS3/5a’s were Grade 2 monitors, ie. not good enough to make the final broadcast mix on. Many people there apparently didn’t have a very high opinion of them.

For myself I’ve heard them a few times and owned Spendor Classic 4/5’s. I can appreciate the magical quality of the midrange which makes most other speakers sound horribly coloured and artificial in comparison. I just couldn’t come to terms with the lack of dynamic expression, which for me left everything sounding lifeless. I really wanted to fall in love with them but I just couldn’t. They fascinate me though so who knows, one day perhaps I’ll try again.