Son Ideal demonstrated with the Harbeth P3ESR: a supremely musical loudspeaker in its own right, and one for which the Montreal dealer has shown a certain affinity over the years. At SSI the Harbeths were paired with brand-new Audiolab 8200 MB mono amplifiers (250W, $1099/each) and 8200 CDQ CD player/USB D/A converter ($1299), that venerable English brand having recently been revived by new owners. The 30-something fellow running the dem asked me to choose an LP from the good selection there, and I lighted upon a well-loved Neil Young album from the ‘70s. Then, while he cued that up, I found another Neil young faveand
, after that, the first album by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I broke from my reverie long enough to find myself on the receiving end of the sort of pitying look reserved for The Very Old.
Never mind: My choices served to show how well the Audiolab/Harbeth system, with Oracle Paris turntable (see elsewhere) allowed voices to sound naturally brilliant. The trebles were typical of Harbethsmooth without sounding prematurely rolled-offand there was plenty of good color and texture in the mids and bass. “You Don’t Have to Cry” has seldom sounded so good!
John Atkinson felt Richard the Bunny sitting on the Harbeth M40.1 being passively displayed in the next room was a nicer picture, but you can find Stereophile’s review of the P3ESR here.