HARBETH: M40.2 test review

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Harbeth Monitor 40.2 Loudspeaker

The Absolute Sound (Paul Seydor) writes .....

A few days after I took delivery of the Monitor 40.2, the third version of Harbeth’s flagship loudspeaker, a close friend fell by for a listen. He’s a Los Angeles studio musician (a violinist who’s played many high-profile film scores, often serving as concert master), who is also a long-time audiophile, a member of my informal listening group, and an extremely discerning listener. Within about a minute or two of listening, he asked, “Aren’t you tempted?” He had no idea.

I had a sinking feeling from the moment the speakers were delivered—they were already well broken-in—and I started listening that it was going to be extremely difficult to part with them. Several months later I gave into temptation and bought the review pair. This is the sort of admission we reviewers typically reserve for the climax of a highly enthusiastic review, the coup de grace that drives home the full measure of our enthusiasm for those special products we elect to buy for ourselves.

But under the circumstances I thought it might be prudent to declare it from the outset, because this is going to be a rave review. In the grand scheme of things, one man’s opinion doesn’t matter much more than the next’s. But if actions really do speak louder than words, then in the strictly personal sense my action is a pretty large statement in view of my history, because for the last quarter-century not only have my reference speakers been Quad ESLs, beginning with the 63, then the 988, and since 2005, the 2805 (in my view still the finest speaker Quad has ever made, though I also have a fully restored vintage pair of original Quads), Quads have also been the only speakers during this time that I’ve purchased for personal use as my main speakers—until now.

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