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Kef LS50 vs Harbeth Monitor 30.1

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by murphythecat, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    Ive heard kef ls 50 and will audition monitor 30.1.

    Ive just sold my amphion one18. they are truly the most accurate, detailed and fast speakers Ive heard. I may want a more smooth, slow and musical presentation.

    My interest is likely getting a high end REL g2 combined with the 30.1 or kef ls 50.

    Id love to hear the comparison between the ls 50 and 30.1

    thanks
     

     

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  2. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

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    No contest. The 30.1's are a far better speaker. My Compact 7's wipe the floor with the LS50's.
     
  3. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    yeah, thread close.
    it seems harbeth is no question better.

    the only problem I have read concerning monitor 30.1 is bass control....

    now I need to decide between 30.1 vs compact 7 vs shl5.
    thing is, I will always have a small room, likely around 12x12, never more. and I need to be around 6 to 8 feet away from the speakers maximum. I think this makes the shl5 out of the question...

    how do the compact 7 fair for ''near filed'' application?

    I'll open a shl5 vs compact 7 vs monitor 30.1.
     
  4. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

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    Location:
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    The only one of those three that will work in a small room, IMO, is the 30.1. The P3ESR will also work in a small room, but you lose scale with them. Also consider the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3xl.
     
  5. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    hi
    art, thanks for the recommendation

    however, I have the feeling that the p3esr is about the quality of kef ls 50. monitor 30.1 is probably much better as it easily compares with c7 and you seem to have prefered the ls 50 to the p3esr.
    so I think that the best harbeth for my room is either 30.1 or compact 7. maybe you also think p3esr can be as good as c7 and 30.1?
     
  6. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    No, the P3 is not as good as either the C7 of Monitor 30.1. The Monitor 30.1 has the best resolution of the three as it has the best tweeter and the most recently reworked crossover by Alan Shaw. It also has the tightest and most controlled bass. That said there are folks that prefer both the C7 and Super 5 to the 30.1. The C7's are a warmer and more forgiving presentation. Still the resolution is excellent and the midrange is to die for. The Monitor 30.1 simply lifts yet another veil from the presentation to reveal even more information. I have not heard the new Super 5 Plus but I am certain it is special, albeit not for your room.
     

     

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  7. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    606
    Location:
    northern illinois, USA
    i heard the SHL5 in a small hotel room during a show. blown away. if they are on your list, you need to hear them.
    check the recent review in stereophile.
     
  8. slippers-on

    slippers-on Music...let it move you!

    Messages:
    4,651
    Location:
    Saint Charles Mo.
    How are the Salk Continuum compared to the LS50 in your opinion?
     
  9. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    I have the continuum for couple of years now.
    the ls50 I have heard for 1 hour in a store.

    the ls50 are clearly more resolving, but the bass was weird to me.
    the continuum are hard to describe, they are not amazing at anything, but the balance is superb. Id say they are comparable.
    I have made some thread like audio note an j compared to ref 3a decapo, amphion, continuum for more information on the matter.



    I will have a listen this week to monitor 30.1. I guess its really the only way to know.

    as for shl5 in small room, I have heard too many horror story in small room and ime, big speaker in small room brings a lot of problems. and listening distance for shl5 is at least 8 feet, which I will never have as I cannot have my reference speaker against a back wall. I need exact bass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  10. Dissonant

    Dissonant Active Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Singapore
    The Harbeths are more coloured than the LS50s but bass definitely sounds less strained due to the larger driver and well-judged tuning. Some can live with the Harbeth colouration, but they don't offer enough insight IMO. The soundstage, placement, delineation of space is world-class on the KEF. KEF's coaxials are the best in the world right now. Not even the TAD ones can compare in the top octave as KEF has several unique solutions that solve the treble raggedness of most coaxials (even the TAD has a ragged top-octave).

    I found ATC SCM11s and Canton Vento 830.2 better speakers than either. The ATCs sacrifice holographic imaging for a less strident low treble. Decay is a tad subdued but more nuanced on the ATCs where the KEF introduces a glare. The Cantons were the first metal/ceramic driver speakers to blow me away without a rising treble. Loads of detail and yet fun. In between the KEF's and Harbeth.

    As for a KEF-style coaxial, the Gradient 5.0 is also fantastic. All the KEF's coherence without the glare. Slightly better extension due to a larger driver and fancy passive radiator loading. I loved it.

    However, if you are not adverse to EQ, it can fix the glare by padding down the 2kHz peak that occurs at all listening positions with the KEF. That should keep the formidable qualities of the KEF whilst vastly reducing fatigue. Slightly pad down the 7kHz and 10kHz sibilance regions to taste too. Add subs crossed at about 120Hz and you have a possibly endgame solution.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Also, the Continuums have a massuvely-flat response with incredibly low distortion at low to medium levels. Literally world-class. If you found it inoffensive, I reckon that you aren't suited for a speaker that provides true insight and neutrality.
     
  11. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    If you're going to listen to the 30.1 anyway - and you've already heard the LS-50 then why do you want people possibly biasing your listening.

    Those Amphions turned out to be real keepers eh? "accurate, detailed and fast" = tin can unlistenably bright treble that people will grow tired of and eventually sell.

    I would take the Harbeth or the ATC SCM 11 over the KEF LS-50 but you pay more for them.
     

     

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  12. slippers-on

    slippers-on Music...let it move you!

    Messages:
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    Oh...you've heard Vento's! Great, I've been tell people for years they're sleeping on a outstanding speaker. And you know what? I can easily borrow a pair of the LS50's from my dealer and compare them side by side. I might just do that!
     
  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    RGA, your help is always welcome!

    but the amphion are not at all unlisteningly bright. have you heard new their pro line? they have received nothing but startling review and in my opinion, truly deserve all the praise they have received. the one18 are incredible, not harsh at all and I have heard nobody say they are harsh or unlisteningly bright. their highs are very smooth actually.

    I have recently tried the original chartwell ls3/5a and that speaker made me realize that something less detailed and more smooth and warm could be more to my liking. I couldnt live with ls3 5a, but that roundness is very musical.

    the amphion are so fast and detailed, that sometimes, I find them a bit puzzling to follow the musical passage. musicality may be a bit lost under all the details and depht.

    I'm using wilson audio cub 2 right now in my room. those are indeed very bright, RGA. the amphion are in another league to wilson, and also my previous AN-J Lx.

    have you heard the monitor 30.1? from what I read, it seems the 30.1 is quite detailed...

    the continuum are too much on the soft side, not enough bite though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  14. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    PODUNC USA......
    Also the Harbeth are 2-3X the price of the LS50 so they SHOULD sound better.
     
  15. Dissonant

    Dissonant Active Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Singapore
    Detail resolution typically comes from a slight peak in the detail-emphasizing range of ~2-5kHz and clean driver decay and distortion to resolve microdetail.

    I thought the Monitors had a distinct colouration introduced by the thinwall cabinets used in all Harbeths. A slight woolyness (with class D amplification, no less). Their treble was flat with a tendency to deemphasize sibilance and bite. Midrange was to die for, but definitely coloured.

    For a revealing loudspeaker with a bit more bite and glare, the KEF with subs to remove strain and increase extension would do well. The 3K difference can be used to get a pair of top subs from the likes of Rhythmik if budget and setup permits.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  16. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

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    Location:
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    I'm sitting here with a pair of Harbeth's and a pair of KEF's and couldn't disagree more. I believe Neil Gader in his review of the LS50 for The Absolute Sound stated "This is an essentially neutral monitor throughout the mid-range. But there’s also a prevailing sweet- ness, a harmonic saturation that lends it a dark, velvety overall character, and a bloom that is so pleasing that I began affectionately dubbing it the butterscotch sundae of small monitors". I have referred to this phenomenon (as regards the LS50) as a bit of sameness with regard to tonality. The Compact 7's have a bit of coloration (as does every loudspeaker I have ever heard) but tone is far more accurate and so to is scale. It is a far less colored sounding speaker than the LS50, in my opinion.
     

     

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  17. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    The AN J LX is vastly better than the Amphion - I can't help the deaf.
     
  18. murphythecat

    murphythecat Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    you never heard amphion new pro line.

    I had an j lx in the same room as amphion one18. the three of us all vastly preferred one18 to an j lx. it was not even close to be honest.
     
  19. seminole54

    seminole54 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    From wading through Srajens' review it appears that the Amphion is an extremely detailed monitor best used in a nearfield configuration. It would seem to have nothing in common with any Audio Note speaker or a Harbeth. If you "liked" the Amphion sound then it seems to me that the KEF would be more to your liking. The Harbeth is on the other side of the curve. A middle ground might be the Reynaud Bliss or Bliss Silver.
     
  20. Dissonant

    Dissonant Active Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Singapore
    Of course scale would be more proportionate on the much larger Harbeths. Nevertheless, the KEF LS50 driver is a technical tour-de-force disappointed only by the questionable tuning decisions in the low treble by KEF. The KEF R100 had less prodigious bass but a less offensive midrange-tweeter transition at the expense of quite a bit of resolution (heard them in the exact same setup). I reckon the glare for the LS50s, once removed with judicious EQ, will give a more natural timbre but keeping the inimitable sense of space and ambience good coaxial drivers give. If we used the price difference between the LS50s and the Harbeths to get top sealed subwoofers from Rhythmik and the like for bass reinforcement, I think the disparity will be much smaller.

    IME, similarly-sized ATCs provide a lot of the Harbeth sound with more transparency. The treble decay on the latest SCM series speakers I heard still give me chills when I think of it. Their midrange was more open and provided more insight into the recording with a more nuanced treble decay on cymbals. I'll bet some of that character was imparted by the 211 tubes that drove the ATCs in my audition though.

    We can only provide armchair recommendations based on OPs preferences. Best thing to do, as some have said, is an in-room audition.
     

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