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Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

6 December 2021

Suppose you are familiar with Harbeth, its illustrious history, and its BBC heritage. In that case, you’ll already know that the speakers are designed to have as little mass as possible, because precisely this lack of mass contributes to their unique sound. But if you are more used to speakers that weigh as much as the average person, the Compact 7ES-3 XDs will be a total surprise. I will discuss the reason for this later in this review. The question you should be asking yourself right now is why I am reviewing a pair of Harbeth loudspeakers at.

The answer is that Harbeth’s owner and head designer, Alan Shaw (pictured), has bought himself some new test equipment and its increased resolution has enabled him to pinpoint a few small issues that had bothered him in the past, with the happy result that he has been able to make some incremental improvements to every one of the speakers in the range, so they’ve been re-named ‘XD’ (eXtended Definition).

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