HARBETH C7ES-3 XD > Tone Audio review
Listening to the gentle interplay of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway on their classic track, “Where is the Love?” its panoramic presentation plays to the strength of Harbeth’s latest version of their ever popular Compact 7 monitor.
Having owned the original and the anniversary version, the current “XD” series is the best yet – at least for most of us. If you’re the person that always likes the original version of something, claiming all subsequent versions to not only be rubbish, but not “the real example,” you might be a little put off by the extra resolution served up by this model. As they say in business school – “you’re not the right customer.”
They might just be the grail you’ve been seeking
We can go on and on about this track and that, but these speakers need to be experienced at a deeper level than you might get from a quick dealer demo or a cursory listen at a hifi show. Harbeth always makes a good showing in this context to be sure, but this new, XD version of the C7 begs a long listen – the equivalent of a road trip. The more time you can put in your listening chair with a pair, the more I suspect you will enjoy them.
With the cost to participate in a “high-end” audio system ever increasing, along with the complexity and the myriad choices at your disposal, it’s easy to lose your way. The past versions of Harbeth’s C7 have always been Exceptional Value Award winners. The current speaker is better in every way, and even though the price is higher than when we first heard a pair about 15 years ago, they still represent tremendous value and performance. I’m also purchasing the review pair. These will become my benchmark to review realistically priced components. These are still worthy of our Exceptional Value Award for 2021.
If you happen to be someone that finds your joy in the music a lot more than you do in endless gear swapping and the upgrade path, your journey could end right here. The Harbeth C7ES-3 XD does so much right and nothing wrong. It doesn’t get a lot better than that.
– Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio