The Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD Speaker Version with new improved crossovers.
Once in every generation of audio enthusiasts a loudspeaker captures their imagination and quickly establishes itself as a milestone in the science of hifi reproduction. The Harbeth HL Compact 7 series is the outstanding example of natural sound combined with a flair for reproducing any and every type of music from rock to opera, jazz through folk. Now the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD brings together detail improvements in the driver, crossover and cabinet that make this new model the finest and most enthralling Compact ever.
The Harbeth secret for Natural Sound is the result of the most meticulous attention to detail throughout the entire design. Take just one example – the traditional ‘thin-wall BBC-style’ cabinet. In true BBC tradition, cost being secondary to performance, both the front and rear panels are removable, held in place by screws not glue and nails so creating the ideal ‘lossy joint’ structure with low inertia and low energy storage. The cabinet quite literally breathes at the very lowest frequencies, as do the finest wooden instruments. The traditional and elegant Harbeth Compact 7ES-3’s unique cabinet is a critical part of the overall magic that is the Harbeth sound.
Feedback from Japan, which has a large installed base of all previous generations of HL Compact, has proved the integrity of this new model. It was decided to present the Compact7 ES-3 XD there as a ‘brush-up’ of the proven and much loved designs. However, once the new model reached the market it was immediately apparent that the detail improvements amounted to far more than the sum of the individual parts; the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD was acclaimed as a great stride forward. A new star is born.
The HL Compact 7 family has always held at its heart the ultra-clean Harbeth-made RADIAL cone technology. The Harbeth C7ES-3 XD features a redeveloped version of the 8 inch RADIAL driver and a new rubber surround with a softer smoother profile for improved damping. Add to that a new ‘Open Weave’ tweeter grille that gives the tweeter an unobstructed view into the listening room (through the incredibly transparent SuperGrille), the improved cabinet damping and the result is even greater openness and transparency. The new cabinet has revised internal wall-damping and the port tune frequency has been adjusted accordingly for better bass performance.
Most important, and invisible to the user is the crossover. This has been redesigned from the bottom-up using new-technology software simulation that’s allowed millions of permutations of circuit topography and component values to be searched for the optimum combination. This has reduced development time from man-years to man-months, but is, of course, no substitute at all for hundreds of hours of critical listening to music and speech during development. This new crossover circuit has improved the on-axis integration of the drive units and enhanced the vertical integration: it means, in short, that the speaker is less critical of stand height and will integrate well on stands that are shorter than previous generations.