Alternate title: “I said no more upgrades, but…”
This past Friday I paid a visit to a well known audio trading website and as it turns out Codell Audio (my dealer) has a pair or preowned Harbeth Monitor 40.2 40th Anniversary Special Edition speakers in mint condition for sale. The price is fair.
As I said before in another thread, I used to have Monitor 40.1s with my then 552 / 300 non DR system about 3 years ago. For some reason I was never able to make them work in my room - the highs and medium were to die for, but the bass was boomy. After 8 months or so and having tried everything I could think of, I reluctantly downgraded to Super HL5 Plus. That resolved the boomy bass issue, but I’ve been missing the Monitor 40’s magic ever since.
Since then, two things happened: first, I had the 300 serviced and DR’d and it has a more extended yet tighter and better controlled bass. Second, knowing that several domestic users were having that problem with the Monitor 40s, Alan Shaw ,Harbeth’s CEO and designer, revised the speaker (now called Monitor 40.2), mainly to make its bass delivery tighter, more extended but not as proeminent. Those 2 factors combined have made me wonder if my now 300DR could make the new Monitor 40.2s work in my room…
In short: an unqualified yes.
I’ve listened to the 552/300DR/Harbeth Monitor 40.2 Anniversary for almost 48 continuous hours and my findings are:
Their transparency and level of detail are mind blowing - I could swear I’m listening to electrostatics.
Even though they’re big boxes, when the music starts they totally disappear to let the music flow… until they punch you with the tightest and strongest bass I’ve ever heard from any Harbeth.
I’m a flat earth guy and don’t pay much attention to soundstaging, image dimensions and the like, but I can’t help noticing the sheer size of the image. Impressive.
In a word, the Monitor 40.2s make the Super HL5 Plus sound like a tin in my system and in my room. Now I have to try and get the financial model work - otherwise the return to reality will be rather brutal!
Sorry for the picture quality, BTW