HARBETH: “I am considering a change from Harbeth Super HL5s to the 7ES-3s. Could you describe the difference between the two?”

I've recently moved my system to a smaller room (the old wife acceptance factor) and as a result I am considering a change from Harbeth Super HL5s to the 7ES-3s. Could you describe the difference between the two? The new room is 13’ 2”x15’ 2” with 8.5’ 2” ceilings, and due to other furniture the speakers are out into the room only 8-9’ 2” away from my listening chair. The 7 s will be a better fit aesthetically, but what might I lose or gain sound-wise?

The rest of my system consists of a LFD integrated (I recently switched from a Lavardin IT), a Wavestream tubed phono stage, and a rebuilt Lenco with a Triplanar tonearm. Thank you for any insight that you can share about the Harbeths. And best of success to you with your excellent approach to audio.

Frankly, I wouldn't do it. Listeners here, and after extensive home demonstrations generally feel the Super HL5 is more musically engaging than the 7ES-3s. Having said this, it is true that in swift A-B demonstrations, the 7ES do have a certain 'immediacy' and presence that initially the HL5s don't. It's something to do with the comparative bass characteristics that does this. Take my advice and stick with the 5s. Long term, it's the correct decision.

Having used the entire range inc. the 40.1 monitors, I feel that in domestic situations, especially when used with LFD amplification, the 5s have the most neutral and most engaging balance of the lot, closely followed by the HL-P3ES-2. I must emphasise that (a} I'm talking about domestic situations and [b] ignoring considerations of ultra bass.

The 5s are a bona-fide masterpiece and currently define, in my view, state of the art stand-mounted speakers under £5,000 ($10,000). Greg, sit back, relax and enjoy – and keep the surplus money. It seems to me that currently you have no weak points whatsoever in your system.

Neil McCauley