Need smaller speakers- where to go, what to do?

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've wanted a pair of DeCapo MM Be's for a few years. I heard them up on the wall at Dove's Luncheonette — right under the blue line in Chicago and I've wanted to hear them in my room. I think they could replace the Harbeth's someday.

- Woody
I think Dove's is gone :(. I walked by a few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon and it was shut down, and the inside was a bit of a mess. I've heard them there, and in a few other settings and have always liked them. If I were to keep them I'd probably keep my SHL-5s and find a place for them. They're similar but... different. I think I'd be giving up a bit of overall transparency and tonal color for immediacy and efficiency.
 

ArtK

Junior Member
I like my Spendor Classic 3/1‘s better than my old Harbeth C7’s. Excellent bass and a very open sound. Easy to drive as well. Also smaller than the C7 or the M30.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I like my Spendor Classic 3/1‘s better than my old Harbeth C7’s. Excellent bass and a very open sound. Easy to drive as well. Also smaller than the C7 or the M30.
I was surprised by the size of the C7… I never warmed up to it’s in between size. Thanks, I’ll check out the Spendors. You still have the little Harbeths?
 

ArtK

Junior Member
I was surprised by the size of the C7… I never warmed up to it’s in between size. Thanks, I’ll check out the Spendors. You still have the little Harbeths?
I do but I’m selling them. I love them but I’m retiring ASAP and need to shed some stuff as well as pad the account.
 
Hey John,

I prefer not to post on threads like this in this manner but in this case, I think I have several good options that could get you where you want to be and the comparisons could be beneficial for some.

1. Rosso Fiorentino Pienza. It is tiny - similar to the P3ESR - but full bodied. I am about to receive my first shipment of the series 2 but the first gen always put on a good show and left jaws hanging. This will be darker than the C7ES3 but I've never had anyone prefer the C7 over the Pienza.
2. Harbeth P3ESR. I don't like selling these in most cases because they need a unique situation to shine but yours might fit. They do have a similar sound to the C7 but they sound their size in terms of frequency response.
3. Dynaudio Special 40. I got these in on trade about a month ago and they're pretty darn good little speakers. They lack *something* the Pienza have in the midrange, but they do a lot right and will offer a smaller package similar to C7, better in some respects, but not as thick in the midbass either. They do have bass but the bridge to the midrange seems to be missing a little. Still a VERY impressive speaker.
4. Sonner Legato Unum. I used to be a dealer for them but allowed another local dealer pick them up. The Unum is attractive and small with an open and airy soundstage. You'll give up some bass impact but there is a cohesiveness in the frequencies it does cover. These are demos and I can make a hell of a deal on them.

I have other things but I think these are some of your best contenders if you want to keep that Harbeth type of tone but downsize the cabinet.

I am assuming a price around $2,500 or less and if that's the case, I'd say options 3 or 4 are best. The Pienza are the best of the bunch but retail at $4,000. The Dynaudio are pristine and well under retail and I think would be a perfect fit for you.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Hey John,

I prefer not to post on threads like this in this manner but in this case, I think I have several good options that could get you where you want to be and the comparisons could be beneficial for some.

1. Rosso Fiorentino Pienza. It is tiny - similar to the P3ESR - but full bodied. I am about to receive my first shipment of the series 2 but the first gen always put on a good show and left jaws hanging. This will be darker than the C7ES3 but I've never had anyone prefer the C7 over the Pienza.
2. Harbeth P3ESR. I don't like selling these in most cases because they need a unique situation to shine but yours might fit. They do have a similar sound to the C7 but they sound their size in terms of frequency response.
3. Dynaudio Special 40. I got these in on trade about a month ago and they're pretty darn good little speakers. They lack *something* the Pienza have in the midrange, but they do a lot right and will offer a smaller package similar to C7, better in some respects, but not as thick in the midbass either. They do have bass but the bridge to the midrange seems to be missing a little. Still a VERY impressive speaker.
4. Sonner Legato Unum. I used to be a dealer for them but allowed another local dealer pick them up. The Unum is attractive and small with an open and airy soundstage. You'll give up some bass impact but there is a cohesiveness in the frequencies it does cover. These are demos and I can make a hell of a deal on them.

I have other things but I think these are some of your best contenders if you want to keep that Harbeth type of tone but downsize the cabinet.

I am assuming a price around $2,500 or less and if that's the case, I'd say options 3 or 4 are best. The Pienza are the best of the bunch but retail at $4,000. The Dynaudio are pristine and well under retail and I think would be a perfect fit for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to list all of those. I am VERY intrigued by the Dynaudio Special 40s. They check a lot of boxes for me, not the least of which is that I've liked most Dynaudio speakers I've heard. It was auditioning a pair of their higher-end stand mounts that turned me onto the brand many years ago.

I agree on the P3esr- I have auditioned them plenty of times, and they never pretended to be bigger than they were. A bit boxy even. The C7s never quite worked here, either, but the SHL-5s have been just right. I need to get them in here, perhaps this weekend, and see if they work at all. If not, the Dynaudios really might be the trick.
 
I’ve never heard a bad sounding Dynaudio. Perhaps they exist, but I haven’t heard one. Same for ProAc.
Currently all my speakers are Morel based- Renaissance Audio (which was Morel until there was some issue with the name usage between the American brand and the Israel branch), and Merlin. Sadly Bobby Palcovic is no longer with us but what he could get from the Morel drivers.
 
Thank you so much for taking the time to list all of those. I am VERY intrigued by the Dynaudio Special 40s. They check a lot of boxes for me, not the least of which is that I've liked most Dynaudio speakers I've heard. It was auditioning a pair of their higher-end stand mounts that turned me onto the brand many years ago.

I agree on the P3esr- I have auditioned them plenty of times, and they never pretended to be bigger than they were. A bit boxy even. The C7s never quite worked here, either, but the SHL-5s have been just right. I need to get them in here, perhaps this weekend, and see if they work at all. If not, the Dynaudios really might be the trick.


Thanks for the kind response! I was worried it might be ill received and I’m glad it wasn’t. The dyns are pristine and I’ve been hesitant to list them simply because when I get product in that is literally in new condition or a rare gem, I prefer to pass a deal off to someone I think will truly appreciate it.

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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the kind response! I was worried it might be ill received and I’m glad it wasn’t. The dyns are pristine and I’ve been hesitant to list them simply because when I get product in that is literally in new condition or a rare gem, I prefer to pass a deal off to someone I think will truly appreciate it.

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I was hoping they were that finish (the red is beautiful but a bit much for my taste). I’m away from home at the moment but we should talk. Those are exactly what I need. That birch veneer is really interesting. I’ve read how the make it by layering veneer then cutting across the layers.
 

240sx4u

Technically It's LexusGuy
wow those Dynaudios are sharp!! I'll also vouch for the seller being easy to deal with.
 
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