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Harbeth Acoustics HL-P3
16 Reviews
rating  4.81 of 5
MSRP 
Description: (See reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jimmyjames8 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I've owned a lot of small speakers over the last 25 years. They all had strengths and weaknesses (besides not being able to deliver low bass). The little Sound Dynamics were the best of the bunch by they had a rear port. Which is fine if you have about 3 feet of open space behind them. That brings up a common misconception about what constitutes a "bookshelf speaker". There are smaill (satellite if you will) speakers and there are bookshelf speakers. They are not necessarily the same thing. If you really want to put a speaker in a bookshelf and have it sound like anything other than a fart cannon, it must NOT have a rear port. I have a specific application for a small speaker, my desk top. And that desk top is against a wall. I wanted wee small tiny speakers that did not take up much space but had great sound and no rear port. OK that narrowed the field down considerably. I tried Wharfedale, Boston, Axiom, Monitor, GR Research, Infinity, Mission, B&W, etc, etc, etc. I had about given up until I scored these off Audiogon for $750.

Everything positive you have read and heard about these amazing little shoebox sized speakers is true. They recreate human voice and piano with uncanny accuracy. The realism of the sound is just striking. As soon as you hear these speakers you will wonder why you wasted your time on any others. So what if you have to eat Ramen noodles and peanut butter for 3 months. These are great jazz speakers. I listen to KKJZ from Long Beach, CA on the internet via USB to a Cambridge Audio Dac Magic to an old Marantz CR2020 cd receiver. Forget Grace table internet radios or M Audio sound cards. This is the way to listen to internet radio. I am just blown away by the sound this combo makes.

The HPL3 has been superceded twice since it's introduction and the 3rd iteration comes out this year. Now is a great time to by a 3, es2 or es3. If you have a small room, desk top or bookshelf and want the best sounding shoebox size speaker ever made, this is it.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by frostmetal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I have a relatively small room and hence was looking for just the right bookshelf speaker that is not boomy or over-extended. Tried a couple in my place - including well reviewed Monitor Audio B2 and B&W CDM 1NT. Also auditioned many small speakers in the stores, including Spendor, Vienna, Sonus Faber, AE, Whaferdale, KEF, Quad and others but didn't seem to get the type of vocals which I like. Until I heard the Harbeth HL-P3ES2. After I bought it, hooked it up with a integrated tube amp pushing 48W (about 100W in SS terms) and the vocals were simply amazing - so detailed, neutral and most important of all, can touch your heart. Playing some of my familiar songs, I was so touched by the "emotion" of the music. Not many speakers can do that. And the clarity, I guess because it's combined with the tube amp, is so amazing - I can hear so many details and in some good recordings you can actually hear the singer parts the lips to sing! For the size, this speakers are great and recommended for near-field listening.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Retail



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pikapika93 a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2003

Bottom Line:   
hi audiophile's and music lover's.............i have been usingthe harberh HLP3 bookshevles.....for 2 month's.....i hooked it up with my pre and power Naim Nac42 and Nap110 ,Audio alchemy transport with own DDE version 1.1 DA convertor.all cables are Naim.
the first thing that i notice was this is a very stubborn and difficult speaker to drive compared with my previes sonus faber bookshelve'c.need to increase the volume level much higher for the amount of sound pressure level with my ex speaker's.i listen to all tpye's of music except opera.my listening room is small.i can tell its the most neutral sounding small speakers (similiarly price) i've listened.just love the natural accurate pitching and tonality of any instrument espeacilly acoustic one's.guiter's sounded atriculate,natural and quite sparkling.i can now listen to all the 6 string's being strum with a good strong rythym sense.Nylon string's sounding like nylon and metal string's sounded metalic.the only thing is electric lead guiter's lacking some agrresiveness and bite when playing rock song's.when listening to a jazz track,the acoustic piano tingkling sounded so natural in tone and pitch.the keys on the piano are real ebony keys not plastic.no complain about piano's.voice are also good..giving a slim,clean cutting and open but not warm enough for me.also i think human recorded human voice must have some colouration during the recording chain in the studio.for me live singing is the most accurate and neutral of all. Bass guter is a bit fat with less extension but tight enough and acceptable for me in my small room.one thing i love about this speaker's are when thers are two voice's ,one main singer and the othe backup vocalist or chorus,u can distinquish each individual voice's very very clearly.either sharing one mike or multiple mike's.
i play the acoustic drum's in my room and i'm very familiar with the drum sound colour.the drum sound is very neutral in tone and pitch coming out of the harbert's HLP3.Woodsnare's sounded like wood with a nice tight warm and clear tone while metal snare's sound metalic with some ringging.that's how a drum should sound properly.every tom-toms also sounded accurately in pitch and tone either hi,medeum or floor tom's.tight natural.only lacking in dynamic and slam.crashe's ,hi-hat and ride's have good extension,pitch and also tone.the decay (tail) time of the crash'es are already being clipped or chopped of a bit during the recording process due to the limitation of the recording format.so u will never or ever get the real full crash sound especially the decay and instantaneaus raw piercing hi pitch sound of the crash sound.Overall i love the harbeth HLP3 sound.the Sonus faber concertino has more dynamic's,depth and lateral soundstage the the former but i prefer the Harbeth because its much more neutral,natural,and accurate.thank u for your time.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1997

Purchased At:   from brother



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eros Garelli a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 20, 2003

Bottom Line:   
These small speakers, hand made in England, are able to deliever a very balanced, rich, smooth, fluid, sophisticated d airy sound.
They’re not easy to partner, however. I found the best match to be the Sugden A21a pure class A integrated amplifier, also recommended by Harbeth Ltd. and by many discerning listeners.
As for the stands I use the Music Tools Tool One 67 cm height which seem to work very well as they were originally designed for the LS3/5a.
The P3ES are the ultimate choice for smaller rooms, in which they provide a full range performance, especially if you listen to classical and acoustic material. They should be placed at least 40-50 cm away from the rear wall, even if they’re an acoustic suspension. I strongly recommend them to everyone who is looking for an updated version of the immortal BBC LS3/5a.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Purchased At:   Italy



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by hrsutty a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I bought these miracle "shoe boxes" after auditioning 10 bookshelf speakers. Could not believe the imaging and detail. As previous reviewers have indicated , they are ideal for small rooms ( my music cave is 2.5m x 2.5m) but lose a bit in large spaces. Took some time to find best listening position. Then realised my old NAD tuner/amp wasn't up to it.
Spent time finding an affordable amp (currently Marantz PM19)which could drive the Harbeth's and which suited my taste in music. Next project is finding something better (valves?) to drive these babies.
I have since listened to much more expensive speakers including Quads in an A/B type situation and have been more than impressed with the P3's as have others who hadn't heard of Harbeth. (There is no distributor/dealer in Australia)

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $1500.00




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