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Aussie speaker value proposition vs British Proac/Harbeth


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I am interested in the Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR bookshelves for vocal and instrument reproduction.

 

In the forums, many recommend Aussie brand speakers as a decent bang for buck. Looking into it, I have shortlisted the:

 

1) Lenehan ML1,

2) VAF i91,

3) Legend Kurre and

4) Osborne EOS bookshelves.

 

I would be including a small REL sub in this setup as well. The room is smallish. Amplifier to be matched to the speakers, however not more than $1000, used.

 

Does anyone know whether, tonally these Aussies are in the ball park of a Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR? Or any other general comments? Cheers.

Edited by Sounder10
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Speakers have the largest variation in 'voicing' of any of the stereo components (other than the room) and are therefore the most likely to be a "personal preference" type of choice. This means that if you are fussy then a listen is mandatory.    Sorry.:)

 

Speakers are also likely to be the largest and often the heaviest piece of hi-fi gear and cost the most to ship. Whether the shipping costs make up for relatively expensive Australian labour costs is a moot point, but supporting local companies is an advantage, and if anything goes wrong repairs are right here.

 

Have some fun in the search, and remember that you are looking for something that will give pleasure for years, so time spent is not wasted time.

 

 

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A fair few years ago now, but I listened to the ML-1's (older HDF type) and the Proac 1SC and while the Proacs were very nice I heard a couple of things that sounded off when compared to the ML-1's, both where very good but I gave it to the Lenehan speakers at that time.

 

Apparently Mike has improved on that older ML-1 with his more recent versions.

 

With the ML-1's the character of the amplification and rest of the chain really comes through, so the better the rest of the chain the better they will sound.

 

Haven't heard the vafs or legends.

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I have ML1+R, ML1 Reference and the later ML2+Rs.

 

All you hear is what they are connected to. 

 

So far I have run an Yamaha AVR, Redgum RGi60ENR, an early Metaxas Soliloquy, Electrocompaniet AW180 monoblocks, various cables and an Oppo 205, Gieseler Audio Konverter, Gieseler Audio Klein III....  All you hear is the improvement as you upgrade the up stream components and the quality of the recordings. Severely exposed just how bad a sub $3k AVR is at music or even movies. 

 

Speakers are super transparent in time domain, strong 3-d imaging (depth through the wall behind them width well beyond their location wrapped 200 degrees to a bit behind you, shut your eyes and you don't know where they are) and can put out more tight low end than you'd expect, with the right gear. 

 

They are designed to have good off axis response to suit real rooms. 

 

I'd buy the Lenehan and keep upgrading the rest of your gear. 

Edited by DrSK
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2 hours ago, GregWormald said:

Speakers have the largest variation in 'voicing' of any of the stereo components (other than the room) and are therefore the most likely to be a "personal preference" type of choice. This means that if you are fussy then a listen is mandatory.    Sorry.:)

 

Speakers are also likely to be the largest and often the heaviest piece of hi-fi gear and cost the most to ship. Whether the shipping costs make up for relatively expensive Australian labour costs is a moot point, but supporting local companies is an advantage, and if anything goes wrong repairs are right here.

 

Have some fun in the search, and remember that you are looking for something that will give pleasure for years, so time spent is not wasted time.

 

 

 

My opinion is that the higher Australian labour costs are more than offset by the lower brand power.

 

The big names command premium price tags for lesser gear at the same price point. 

 

We have Aussie designers designing for the big names that charge at retail 5 times or more what the designer can charge for their own brand. 

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Posted (edited)

Fascinating stuff. If I wanted to err on the side of "not-fatiguing" and "not-bright", what kind of chain would I be looking at, leading up to the Lenehan speakers? (amp, cable, interconnect, source [e.g notebook/or audiophile streamer])

Edited by Sounder10
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3 hours ago, GregWormald said:

Speakers have the largest variation in 'voicing' of any of the stereo components (other than the room) and are therefore the most likely to be a "personal preference" type of choice. This means that if you are fussy then a listen is mandatory.    Sorry.:)

Fully agree, speakers are very much a personal choice and an audition is a must.

 

@Sounder10, at the risk of making choices messy, have you seen this?

 

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Anthony Holton has an intro price for a 100watt power amp for under $1800 which should bring out the best in any high quality speakers.

 

I just finished a comparable 150 watt DIY Holton amp which cost about the same to build and am enjoying it immensely. There is something special about the Holtons I have heard. They aren't spectacular, they just do everything that makes music sound the way it should, effortlessly.

 

Holtons are 'keepers, so you will be unlikely to find a used one, but at the into price they are a bargain. 

 

https://holtonprecisionaudio.com/collections/class-ab-power-amplifiers/products/holton-one-zero-one-power-amplifier

 

Cheers, Rob

 

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Lenehan cables are among some of the best there are at any price,

some have sold their Nordost Valhalla, and replaced with lenehan,

 

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There is a lot more to a speakers performance than the drivers used, much more.

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13 hours ago, Al.M said:

Kef Ls50 easily beats the first two for imaging and voice coherence.

 

havnt tried the last two.

 

Should also try a $1000 Wagner MTM kit which uses the same tweeter as the Lenehan 

 

https://www.wagneronline.com.au/speaker-kits/audio-speakers-pa/pl/

 

 

16E46E43-2732-4865-B238-2CEA559BF3EA.jpeg

@Al.M

have you any experience with these?  They also come with a ribbon tweeter as a different variant.  It looks like the original variant was designed by SC.

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to op...id put brands and where from aside as value equation can swing both ways with speakers in my experience... speakers and their character are a very personal pref thing... and what you choose and tonally find superb someone else could be jarred by...just way it is ...

 

id consider sharing overall budget for speaker, stands, sub, integrated... as being a small room... the need of sub might be negated by a better quality stand mount and integrated.  2nd hand has its pitfalls as well.. being able to demo... get  appreciation of the brands...also matching appropriately integrated to brand etc. so once budget is considered ....id spend time actually demoing to find what is appropriate...

 

I know it probably feels 2nd hand is great value ... but you could also spend a lot of time and money buying selling, till find what you want...there is a place for buying new and from a retailer when faced with many available choices... 

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49 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

It looks like the original variant was designed by SC.

Simon Cowell? :blush:

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On 16/04/2021 at 12:39 PM, Sounder10 said:

1) Lenehan ML1,

2) VAF i91,

3) Legend Kurre and

4) Osborne EOS bookshelves.

Thats a nice list of speakers. 

I've heard 3 of them.

I would go for Legend Kurre with a Keces E40 intergrated.

3k all up, new with warranty.

You will need to add stands.

If you went Legend Kama no stands and similar footprint.

 

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I heard Mike’s latest ML 1 variant only two weeks ago, seriously no sub required, for a small bookshelf it had massive bass and it rocked, hard to believe such a big sound came out of such a small box.
One difference with most bookshelves speakers, drop one on your foot and it would hurt and possible take off some skin. Drop one of Mike’s speakers on your foot and after you stop crying you are off to hospital to have your foot put in a cast. How speakers are designed and built is just as, if not more, important than the drivers in them.

 

Have heard both the earlier and now Meta LS50’s and I personally prefer the ML1. I’m biased though, I like Mike’s speakers so much I have done a deal to sell them. It is easy to sell gear you really enjoy listening to and believe in.

 

cheers,

Terry

 

* Compared to the Harbeth P3ESR, I heard a pair of these recently, very nice speaker, the sound that it delivered was in keeping with its size, quality of sound was great but just small. In comparison a ML1 sounds more like a small floor stander than a small bookshelf. To say they are different in how they deliver sound is a understatement.

Edited by TerryO
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20 hours ago, Sounder10 said:

Fascinating stuff. If I wanted to err on the side of "not-fatiguing" and "not-bright", what kind of chain would I be looking at, leading up to the Lenehan speakers? (amp, cable, interconnect, source [e.g notebook/or audiophile streamer])

 

I'm running Lenehan cables, Gieseler Audio DACs (built by Clay in Brisbane and Mike Lenehan often lends an ear to his products). A second hand Klein up to generation III second hand is great value then model name changed, just take USB off a laptop etc for starters. 

 

The only colouration or limiting in quality will be the amp you plug in. 

 

Send me a message, might be able to help with an audition of the older ML1s at least, I'm northside in Sydney.  Can hear through a Redgum amp and Electrocompaniet AW180s. 

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Harbeth speakers in general have a midrange that is hard to beat(unbearable)in my experience. They are never harsh. And being that you are looking at the p3esr no boxy colouration. Like someone else said,speaker sound it's such a personal thing.I  came from Focal electra 1028be floorstanding speakers that i couldn't live with ,at double the price of my current Harbeth monitor 30.1 and been happy. I have no opinion on the other speakers. 

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26 minutes ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

predictive text? Did you mean unbearable or unbeatable? They are not the same.

 

xD

 

Predictive text is one thing, Murray ... but wtf don't people check what they've actually written, before hitting the "post" button??

 

Andy

 

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It's easy to hypothesise a scenario - mobile phones, posting while on the move, after night has fallen. Proofreading sometimes can be an against-all-odds activity.

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On 17/04/2021 at 11:06 AM, Addicted to music said:

@Al.M

have you any experience with these?  They also come with a ribbon tweeter as a different variant.  It looks like the original variant was designed by SC.

I have previous model using the Peerless polyvinyl cone midbass and the Lenehan tweeter and they are as good as a Lenehan, Jamo Concert 8, Kef Ls50, better than VAF I-91, Proac 1sc etc

 

Did review review here 

 

 

Edited by Al.M
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I haven't listened to the first 3 or Harbeth/Proac so can't comment.

 

I demo'ed the Osborn Eos with B&W 603/706, Kef LS 50, Kef R3, Monitor Audio Silver 100/300/500 and Krix Acoustix/Phoenix. I felt Osborn was better than all of them on overall. It has the midrange/vocal I like plus more bass than you've thought, sounded bigger than the small floorstanders (probably weigh the same as them as well)

 

It was definitely set-up friendly as well. Only 15-20cm from wall, and no toe in necessary.

 

All I can say is Osborn is good value. If you add up the cost of components and cabinets etc. it does compare well to the price.

 

Take Osborn's superlatives with a grain of salt, but it's worth an audition imo

 

 

 

 

Edited by Dannygx
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I would highly recommend trying to get an audition of some Chartwell LS3/5as. They are expensive but absolutely sublime.

 

Having owned some ML1 Ref and hearing these speakers they are very different.  IMO mids from than the the little Chartwell speakers are as good as I have heard.  Personally, I have since moved on to the bigger Graham LS5/9s.  The ML1s will have more bottom end but in the right room with the right stands the 3/5a will be sensational.  If you need more bass later on Graham/Chartwell have some matching subs they recently introduced.

 

https://www.stereophonic.com.au/chartwell-ls3-5-monitor-loudspeaker-cherry/

 

 

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On 17/04/2021 at 1:31 PM, betty boop said:

to op...id put brands and where from aside as value equation can swing both ways with speakers in my experience... speakers and their character are a very personal pref thing... and what you choose and tonally find superb someone else could be jarred by...just way it is ...

 

id consider sharing overall budget for speaker, stands, sub, integrated... as being a small room... the need of sub might be negated by a better quality stand mount and integrated.  2nd hand has its pitfalls as well.. being able to demo... get  appreciation of the brands...also matching appropriately integrated to brand etc. so once budget is considered ....id spend time actually demoing to find what is appropriate...

 

I know it probably feels 2nd hand is great value ... but you could also spend a lot of time and money buying selling, till find what you want...there is a place for buying new and from a retailer when faced with many available choices... 

I would hope to get it all under $4000, however I'm strongly wedded to buying used. I can't be sure of what my next listening space will be, I need the flexibility to chop and change components without going to the poorhouse.

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10 hours ago, Sounder10 said:

I would hope to get it all under $4000, however I'm strongly wedded to buying used. I can't be sure of what my next listening space will be, I need the flexibility to chop and change components without going to the poorhouse.

 

 

Your course of action is clear then, start driving!!  ⬇️

 

 

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3 minutes ago, 5L15 said:

 

 

Your course of action is clear then, start driving!!  ⬇️

 

 

haha....why are these still for sale...

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I guess it’s still school holidays and people are still away spending money selfishly on the family rather than themselves ?

 

5 minutes ago, Sounder10 said:

haha....why are these still for sale...

 

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On 16/04/2021 at 12:39 PM, Sounder10 said:

I am interested in the Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR bookshelves for vocal and instrument reproduction.

 

In the forums, many recommend Aussie brand speakers as a decent bang for buck. Looking into it, I have shortlisted the:

 

1) Lenehan ML1,

2) VAF i91,

3) Legend Kurre and

4) Osborne EOS bookshelves.

 

I would be including a small REL sub in this setup as well. The room is smallish. Amplifier to be matched to the speakers, however not more than $1000, used.

 

Does anyone know whether, tonally these Aussies are in the ball park of a Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR? Or any other general comments? Cheers.

 

Hey, 

 

Great to meet you today! Enjoyed hanging out and wish we had time to chat more.

 

Plus I do find it easier to enjoy it myself with others around, saves me from myself and let's me step back from being an acoustic engineer analysing it too much. 

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Simon knows his stuff and is very generous and hospitable to boot;)

 

On 19/04/2021 at 7:22 PM, 5L15 said:

 

 

Your course of action is clear then, start driving!!  ⬇️

 

 

haha....why are these still for sale...

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On 16/04/2021 at 12:39 PM, Sounder10 said:

I am interested in the Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR bookshelves for vocal and instrument reproduction.

 

In the forums, many recommend Aussie brand speakers as a decent bang for buck. Looking into it, I have shortlisted the:

 

1) Lenehan ML1,

2) VAF i91,

3) Legend Kurre and

4) Osborne EOS bookshelves.

 

I would be including a small REL sub in this setup as well. The room is smallish. Amplifier to be matched to the speakers, however not more than $1000, used.

 

Does anyone know whether, tonally these Aussies are in the ball park of a Proac 1SC or the Harbeth P3ESR? Or any other general comments? Cheers.

I compared the Kurre to the Harbeth and thought the latter offered nothing more in terms of SQ for the extra outlay. Similarly, the build quality of the Kurre is equal to the Harbeth. 

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