My speaker journey

As can be some old speakers!

There’s a lot in that.

In the past there were a lot of speakers, including some with glowing reviews and with a few specific strengths that made them magic for some people, but at the same time having a number of major flaws that for many people made then quite literally unlistenable for others. Now very few speakers have such gross flaws that you’re likely to completely reject them within the first 10 seconds of listening. I’m not saying that there aren’t still such speakers, but at anything above a very basic threshold price, such deeply flawed speakers are now much less common.

When selecting speakers many moons ago (several hundred moons ago) I had a list of 12 speakers I wished to audition, all in what is now the £2,000 to £4,000 cost bracket. I was able to cut down just 5 speakers before even getting to the end of the first track, 2 more left by the third track and another was eliminated because it was substantially more expensive but had little advantage over one of the others. The choice was quite quickly reduced to just 2. The final decision was the only one made on preference rather than eliminating the speaker for a specific reason.


With speakers…
I think it does come down to nuance and making a choice between two or three great alternatives.

It’s worth adding that the room plays a part too - I recently heard a system identical to mine (same speakers, same pre-amp, same source), but had active 3x250-3 amps whereas I have a single 500. Dealer adamant that the 3x250 was a significant improvement over my 500 but it sounded quite a lot worse (to me? Nobody else has heard both to confirm that) than my system in my room. The room was the key difference with the other system having a huge window behind it


Yes, good point.

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IIUC the dealer’s triamped system in his room sounded worse (to you) than your 500 powered system in your room, but you didn’t hear either the triamped in your room, or 500 in dealers? That being the case, and all else being equal, the only certain conclusion can be that your amp in your room, with everything positioned as you had it, sounds better to you than different amplification in a different room, with everything positioned as the dealer had it: Whilst room could very well indeed be the key factor, and a huge window could certainly be less than ideal for sound quality, it is also possible that you just prefer the 500 over triple-250s…

So maybe the 3X 250.3 would sound better vs the 500 in Tim room, or better if positioned differently in the dealer room, or sound similar in that case, or 500 sound better if Tim is relaxed in his home , the 250.3 inferior because Tim is not fully relaxed at dealer place. But the 250.3 may sound better if Tim is in good condition but worst if he is ill that day.
We can continue indefinitely like that :joy::joy::joy:

Or maybe Tim simply prefers the sound with the 500 and the dealer the different sound with the 3*250… My point was that there was more than one potentially very significant variable, so no conclusive explanation can really be reached about which particular factor or factors was/were the reason/s for the expressed preference.

I understood your post , 5/5, Mister El Professor. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Totally agree…did the same myself…again I am afraid to say it was eons ago…

Yup its a case of the speaker inside the elephant!!! Without doubt one of the best investments in hifi I have ever made is room treatment…

Is that trumpeting the case for acoustic room treatment?

(OK, I’ll get me coat on the way out!)


Hi dmu
Was wondering how you were getting on with the speaker dilemma? Have the Proac’s changed much as you’ve run them in? Or are you still looking for alternatives?

I’ve got a pair of DB1’s on loan at the moment and to me they’re very close to what I’m after - I’ve also changed speaker cable to Chord Epic - another loan item and finding it a touch smoother than the NACA5!

Hi Simon, so the proac’s didn’t get any better after a run in, I did persist in trying them, but the vocal tone just wasn’t for me. I’m glad the db1’s are working for you, I did find a lot to like about the proac’s between the different models, so I can see why people like them.

So the reason I haven’t updated is that I haven’t heard a new speaker since the dt8’s went back to the dealers. I was trying to sort a demo of both some sonus faber speakers and more models of Harbeth speaker. I started with looking into Sonus faber- the first week was spent in miscommunication as my emails got lost :joy: , eventually even though I was worried I’d appear impatient I got onto live chat (for this chain I really recommend their live chat has actual people manning it and they tried as hard as possible to help).

It turns out this chain of stores only do home demo when you’ve chosen a specific speaker and different stores have different stock. The one location with sonus faber is way too far for me to travel to but we chatted on the phone and it turns out their location also sells Harbeth and he said with his experience with both if it was his money he’d buy one of the harbeths. Since I can’t get to a store that sells Sonus faber I took this as a sign I should concentrate on Harbeth.

So I’ve gotten in touch with the original dealer who showed me the Harbeth p3’s and requested a shoot out between the p3’s, the c7’s and m30’s (Harbeth model names are complicated so I’ve shortened them lol). I’m now waiting for them to have time to come over (which I super appreciate since this will be a second trip.)

This does mean I’ve had to expand my potential budget but I want to make sure I’ve gotten the best speaker for me/my room and not have any what ifs.


Ah well things are moving in the right direction for you then - that’s good. I’ve listened to some Sonus faber speakers and really wanted to like them as they look so nice but I’ve found them a little too pleasant - but I know there are some people here who really like them so that’s just my thoughts! The little Harbeth P3 I tried a while ago sounded great until I wanted to push the loudness button a bit so perhaps one of their larger models would’ve suited. But I’m quite taken by the DB1 at the moment - but I want to make sure as these may well be my endgame!
Do keep us posted as you continue the journey!


I know what you mean Sonus fabers are beautiful there are some really super expensive ones I saw on Facebook that are the prettiest speakers I’ve ever seen. I don’t really play loud, I’m a total wuss when it comes to volume my mum plays her bose portable dock speaker way louder than I’m comfortable with :joy:. I’m very excited to hear the other Harbeth models.

I’ll be interested to see what you think of the db1’s as you get to know them and would be interested in hearing your opinions if you end up trying any other models especially if you try the d2r. Personally I didn’t think the ribbon tweeter made a night and day difference but if I’d liked how Proac tunes vocals I think I would have liked them best.

Gents can I suggest Spendor 3/1’s

I tried those on my first demo day but they didn’t work in my room. I’ve loved listening to the A4 at my Naim dealer so I wanted to like them, but unfortunately not.

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And ladies!


I hope you will find the speakers you like and which work well in your room.
Sonus Faber, the new models, are faster and livelier vs the past ones. But they need a lot of current to open and to be involving. With your Nap 250 dr it would be good.
Harbeth speakers have a lot of different models and each sound differently. There’s a lot of Harbeth owners here. You can go in the search part and you will find many threads. And many can advise you.