Filling the space

Harbeth 40.1 Speakers / 3-way Monitors w/ Stands



I’m finally getting around to writing this blog post, a few months removed from one of the more impressive feats of a speaker that I’ve witnessed.

The Music Room is the kind of business that interests everyone in this hobby. We’re not beholden to any brand when it comes to our giant library of used hifi equipment. We try to take the best stuff in hifi audio’s past, so there is an element of curation to the offerings.

It’s a great thing to be a part of. And likewise, we love this role and our industry and we try to stay connected and lend a hand where we can.

The quickly growing vinyl subscription service and record club called Vinyl Me Please — you may have heard of them from their recent partnership with Classic Album Sundays — is based nearby here, and it’s got franchises popping up all across the country.

One of the community-focused things Vinyl Me Please does is host listening and lecture parties called “The Spins” (clever ;) in chic locations, in nearly every state.

Denver’s club hosted a party a couple months ago, featuring discussion and selected music from a scholarly analysis of Miles Davis’ music.

VMP is good pals with TMR, and we try to help with the hardware side of things either at their offices or on location at these parties. This night of The Spins was a fun chance to show up with and set up a really killer system.

TMR head buyer/guru Rob and I headed to the HQ to whip up a system that would play vinyl to a large audience and sound fantastic in the process.

As a Devialet owner, Rob didn’t need suggestions for the electronics, and I didn’t have any arguments. I love the sound of Devialet and the ease of use. The sheer flexibility of these things is a little much for my brain sometimes, but I let Rob figure out how to dial it in.

No, we had to mainly decide what speakers we were going to use. This was a very specific audience. They were people who are 100% unaware of the hifi world, but are actually quite receptive to it. We wanted to blow some minds and convert some new audiophiles with our speaker choice, frankly.

Rob said the room for the party would be big, but I don’t think we knew how big the room would actually be.

So we were looking for something with grandeur that commands attention, and that also clearly presents some of that audiophile “magic” that gets even the untrained ears to recognize excellence. And it had to fill an absolutely enormous room with that kind of sound.

Our choice? The Harbeth 40.1, of course.

I’ve written about Harbeth before, and, having plenty of experience with the tiny little Harbeth P3ESR, the 40.1s are hard for me to wrap my head around.

The P3ESR is so good at detail and space, and they’re so fun and relaxing to listen to. It’s hard to think that you’d get all of that when you take in the massiveness of these 40.1s with their 12” woofers.

But in practice, what is surprising is that you do get the P3ESR magic, WHILE filling a 10,000 sq ft. room with loud music, and while ALSO being the most dynamic speaker I’ve heard in hifi.

It shouldn’t be surprising. The P3ESR is more accessible than the 40.1, with applications galore. But once you go above 90dB or you want to sit more than 6 feet away from them, you start to notice the limitations of the P3.

That’s where the 40.1 (and the 30, and the HL5 and all the Harbeths — we love our British speakers, can you tell?) take over. From there on out, the bigger guys dominate with a delicate touch.

Anyway. Sorry to ramble. The party was a smashing success, and there was a lot of cell phone selfies and oooohs and aaaahs over the Devialet/Harbeth system. Mission accomplished.

Consider Harbeth’s big boys if you’ve got a space that could tax your average floorstander. These music makers are anything but average.


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