There is a reason why Harbeth’s P3ESR speaker has won multiple awards from hi-fi critics around the world. This shoebox size speaker has the amazing ability to sound like a much larger speaker. It also works incredibly well in many rooms as its sealed cabinet design makes this one of the less fussy speakers that Harbeth produces. Based off the original BBC LS3/5A monitor, the P3ESR have gone through a few different versions since Alan Shaw (owner of Harbeth) launched the HL-P3 back in the early 1990s. Since its revision back in 2010, the P3ESR have included Harbeth’s patented Radial2 mid/bass driver – which has a large part in making the midrange on this speaker, like all other Harbeths, to die for. However, there are some limitations one must understand before deciding to own a set of the P3ESR.
By size alone, with only a 110mm mid/bass driver, the P3ESR will never reach the depths of its bigger brothers (the C7ES-3, M30.1, SHL5plus, or M40.2). However, while listening to one of my test tracks, Jack Johnson’s ‘Rodeo Clowns’ on his album On and On, I felt that Merlo Podlewski’s bass was just ever so light and didn’t have the impact that my reference Harbeth SHL5plus present. Though they didn’t present the lowest of Podlewski’s notes, but alas they did a damn good job at playing them clear and precise, where I’ve heard much more expensive and larger speakers mash it all together where nothing is distinct. So I give them praise for keeping it together. The only other limitation you are going to face owning a set of these is how loud they can go; the P3ESR are designed for studio monitoring and will work great in small to medium rooms. If you have a medium to large room (unless you sit very close to your speakers) and still want to own a set of Harbeth, then have a look at the Compact 7ES-3, Monitor 30.1, Super HL5plus, or Monitor 40.2.
I have customers who use these on their desks as studio monitors, while others use them strictly as a domestic speaker. Though they are no fussy in placement, you will benefit from taking time to positon them in accordance with your listening position and room acoustics. The soundstage and depth of these speakers is well beyond their size and exceptionally vivid. To put it simple – you’ll be amazed what this speaker is able to produce.
If you have a small listening room and love your music, I highly recommend giving the Harbeth P3ESR a listen – you might just find yourself falling in love with this mighty mini-monitor.
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