It’s the other way around. The 30’s were not rolled off or reserved in any way, but the 5’s are a bit more forward. I would have assumed the opposite, thinking “monitor” and the reputation of the other notorious true “monitor”, ATC. If you read around or talk to some Harbeth dealers, you’ll probably find more to back up what I’m saying. I wish they were a little more tame, to be honest. I wonder, since Harbeth markets them as “the ultimate domestic monitor”, if they worked to make these a bit more fun.Wow! Those are pretty. So was it more a matter of scale as far as the differences? I felt the 30s were a bit more 'monitor like' up top and the SHL-5s were a bit more, not really rolled off but a bit more reserved. But I never got to make an immediate back to back comparison.
The 5‘s are a bit more everything, dynamically. The larger boxes make a bigger sound, top to bottom and left to right. Just a larger sonic scape. And obviously, deeper and louder bass.
For instrument separation, realism and speed, you can’t beat the 30’s. I need to keep working with placement on the 5’s, but I suspect, they’re never going to strike that perfect balance of the 30’s. I can’t compliment them enough.
But if boogie factor is what you’re after, skip the 30’s. The 5’s still get a high enough score on the 30’s strengths, but can do things the 30’s couldn’t physically dream of.