JPW AP3's and Harbeth

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by vincula, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. vincula

    vincula

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    Hi guys,

    I've recently installed a pair of JPW AP3's in my living room. Bought them for close to nothing and they sound indecently and laughably good with my Audio Innovations AI500. Has any of you direct experience with them?

    IMHO they're just a pair of classic two way larger-than-usual British monitors with a 8" driver and a soft dome tweetter in a sealed box, but they sound incredibly natural in my quite large living room. What's the secret? Crossover? Balance? Dunno...

    I wonder how these would compare with a pair of Harbeths, such as the M30, Compact 7ES or HL5's or Spendors. I'm actually looking for a pair of speakers I could live for a long long time and forget it all. No more issues with the missus. No huge dominating boxes. Another kid (number three) will soon be here, and I do most of listening at night, whenever possible.

    Opinions? Maybe I should just keep it here with my JPW AP3's. They may look too humble, but they do sound just dandy:D.

    Regards,

    Vincula
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2011
    vincula, Apr 20, 2011
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  2. vincula

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Only heard the cheaper and smaller P1 many years ago and It was excellent for the money. IIRC all the P range used light paper 8" main drivers in what would be regarded today as large stand-mount cabinets.

    I wouldn't assume that the more expensive Harbeths are better in every way. Some of the range do retain that beautiful mid band and vocal accuracy developed at the BBC but that doesn't mean the JPW can't be better in other areas.

    Enjoy them.

    Lots to be said for that recipe (8" in a big stand mount) - in fact, watch this space :)
     
    RobHolt, Apr 20, 2011
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  3. vincula

    DavidY80 Long Member

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    Old JPW's

    [​IMG]

    Got these new in 1986, but they've been sitting in the loft for 20 years. Just ordered a foam kit to repair them.

    A very decent cheap speaker from what I remember of them, and at the time, beautifully made.
     
    DavidY80, Apr 20, 2011
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  4. vincula

    Pure Sound

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    It's worth replacing the electrolytic tweeter feed cap (4.7uF) with something better ie a polypropylene type. Not sure whether the above are P1's or AP2's but the main difference with the AP2's was the addition of some bituminous sheets on the insides of the cabinet to damp panel resonances a little. Something like Dedshete.

    Re the AP3's, the above cap mod applies there too. I also feel the AP3 benefits from a little more wadding than was in it as standard, ie perhaps half as much again or even double the amount.
     
    Pure Sound, Apr 20, 2011
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  5. vincula

    DavidY80 Long Member

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    Thanks for that. I'll take a look when I pull the woofers out.

    I have feeling they're P2's, but they're not labelled.
     
    DavidY80, Apr 20, 2011
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  6. vincula

    vincula

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    Thanks for the response, mates. I'm learning a lot here.

    Mine are in pristine condition. Either had they been refoamed or they were NOS. Not a single mark on them. They even come with some funny labels: "British at its best". Well, I agree :D

    Front:

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Rear:

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Woofer:

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    They're kinda beautiful in a self-effacing, understated way, imho. I'll try to peep inside...

    BTW, what about the binding posts? Two binding posts marked as "Passive input" (what I'm currently using) and four binding posts marked as "For active use only". Haven't tried them yet...

    Regards,

    Vincula
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2011
    vincula, Apr 20, 2011
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  7. vincula

    DavidY80 Long Member

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    Don't use the active inputs unless you have some way of providing an external crossover. Feeding the full range output from your amp to the tweeter will almost certainly kill it.
     
    DavidY80, Apr 20, 2011
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  8. vincula

    Pure Sound

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    The drivers have been refoamed. The surround is wider than the Vifa original. Incidentally, these drivers are now made by Scan Speak who are operating out of the old Vifa factory with their tooling, staff etc. I supply alot of them to Heybrook & JPW users.

    Some battered AP2's with new Danish made drivers. These are the later version, they did alter the cabinet cosmetics while maintaining the prison cabinet manufacturing.
    [​IMG]

    The AP speakers did need some internal modification to be operated as active designs. The terminal panels were there to allow for it but iirc some internal connections to the passive x-over needed to be cut.

    Back in the mid 80's a number of UK electronics companies were offering active crossovers. It was something that died out for a while apart from the relatively expensive Naim systems.


    and this one!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2011
    Pure Sound, Apr 20, 2011
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  9. vincula

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Found a Choice review of the 1 & 3:

    [​IMG]
     
    RobHolt, Apr 25, 2011
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  10. vincula

    vincula

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    Thanks a lot for the review, Rob! Did feel like Sherlock Holmes reading the document on my lap-top :D

    They recommend positioning the speakers firing straight ahead to find the best balance. Must try that again. My listening chair's placed about 2 metres from the boxes. There's indeed some treble excess and bass thumpin', but they're still quite entertaining.

    Got the AP3's presently hooked up to my 8 ohm taps. Haven't tried the 4 ohms taps from my AI500 yet, though it could be interesting, as the lab test states they eventually drop down to 6 ohms...

    Regards,

    Vincula
     
    vincula, Apr 25, 2011
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  11. vincula

    vincula

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    Hi guys,

    Got a pendant for classic British boxes. I'm curious about how a pair of Rogers LS6 or LS7 would compare against the JPW AP3`s. They fetch reasonable prices these days. Maybe I could stretch to a pair of Spendor BC1's, which are supposed to be a great match to my AI500 valve amp.

    My friend's opinions are divided here. One swears by the classic AE1's and other thinks I should by myself a pair of Monitor Audio RX6's and forget about it all. My wife'd probably agree... Then there's a legion of L3/5's worshippers in all its itinerations.

    They all want to kill my amp, btw. God knows why :confused:!

    All suggestions welcome:D.

    Regards,

    Vincula
     
    vincula, May 2, 2011
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  12. vincula

    RobHolt Moderator

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    I've a pair of Rogers Export Monitors here which are very closely related to the BC1 and the BBC LS3/6.
    Excellent speaker with a beautifully balanced midband that manages to fill a room with ease.
    The BC1 gives very similar performance as does the later Rogers Studio 1.
    The biggest issue with these speakers is age and many are quite frankly well past it. Good ones can be found though and are well worth looking for.

    Not heard an LS7 but did once own a pair of Chartwell PM210s which were effectively the Chartwell version of the LS6 and used the same drivers, crossover and thin-wall type cabinet - just differently styled.
    Good speaker but a bit too full and loose in the bass IMO - I wouldn't think they'd be a good match to most valve amps.

    So if you want a good BBC monitor, look out for:

    Late Spendor BC1 (early ones will be past it)
    Spendor SP1
    Rogers Export Monitor
    Rogers Studio 1

    All are climbing in price these days but a good pair are still worth the £250-500 you typically pay.
     
    RobHolt, May 2, 2011
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  13. vincula

    taz

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    I bought a pair of ap3's years ago and had many a chat with the manufacturers, one of their engineers designed an off board crossover network for me although I never did get round to building them, at the time I used a mantricore turntable and rotel pre pwr amps. the speakers where very good for the time but I think things have moved on since then, still I had them for several years and a lot of enjoyment from them
     
    taz, May 16, 2011
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  14. vincula

    DSJR

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    Late update.. Can't believe how expensive old Rogers and especially Spendors are nowadays, despite many of 'em being shagged out.

    To try to answer the original question, although I haven't compared Harbs with JPW, I have with Wharfedale Diamond IVs and the Rega speakers such as RS1, RS3 and the rather rough RS5. What happened in my case is that the cheaper speakers offered a fine midrange in comparison, lively and involving if a little 'raw,' but nearer the frequency extremes the cheaper models seemed to fall apart, the Diamonds lacking any deep bass and the RS3's being a touch 'ploddy' if not positoned perfectly. The treble on all the others is as rough as a badger's backside and from upper mid upwards, the RS5 was almost painful, although I admit that running in may tame it a tad. ALL of the harbeths had this 'breeding' about them, with a full but not soggy bass, a midband that it's so hard to live without once experienced, seamless crossover into a sweet toned treble (metal domes be damned - they just need to be used right).

    My two favourite Harbeths are the SHL5 and M30.1 with the 40.1 just a tiny bit behind when high volume isn't necessary. The P3ESR's are lovely and the only one I still couldn't live with is the C7-ES3, where the bass 'whoomph' in the UK brick/plaster room I heard them in tends to dominate the fine mid too much - in timber framed buildings this may never be an issue.....
     
    DSJR, Oct 29, 2013
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  15. vincula

    RobHolt Moderator

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    Hallelujah!

    They are usually cleaner than soft domes and the trick is not pushing them too hard at the bottom end close to the driver resonance.

    Unfortunately many listeners and buyers are metal dome phobic and that was certainly a factor in the choice of tweeter for the new Audiosmile 3-way.
     
    RobHolt, Oct 30, 2013
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  16. vincula

    Labarum

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    I have lived with titanium dome tweeters and aluminium dome mid range drivers for 25+ years.

    I not that at one time Rogers were using the same titanium tweeters as I have in my MB Quarts.

    If listening in a HiFi shop I will gravitate to the metal domed units.
     
    Labarum, Oct 30, 2013
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  17. vincula

    micthetic

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    Hidden gem

    I bought a pair of the AP3s with the biamp sockets 6 months ago. First thing i did was to open the speakers up and take out the rather poor links to these biamp sockets and wire the standard banana connectors directly to the crossover. Doing this is a simple and very effective way of improving the already good quality on offer.
    I've farted around with hifi for decades and some products stand out Heybrook HB1, most 80's Snells, JPW from the same era. The common denominator in these speakers is that Vifa bass/mid unit, it really is a sweet driver, just a shame about that surround. Having said that its the surround that goes some way towards the fidelity of the unit.
    Like others have said the amount of audio quality on offer is tremendous, just be aware that with it being a sealed design the bass is tight and might not initially sound as impressive as some ported designs but once you get attuned to it you realise its speed and clarity are the benefits and these far outway the rather loose delivery of most ported speakers.
    If you see a pair, even with rotten surrounds, get 'em and then get them fixed. If you can live with their aesthetically challenging look you'll have something that you'd need several hundred pounds to better.
     
    micthetic, Dec 4, 2014
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  18. vincula

    DSJR

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    Well worth getting them re-foamed and running. In case of accidents, can replacement bass drivers still be obtained?

    It's also been suggested elsewhere that steel plating the cabinet walls drastically improves them further, although I haven't tried this.
     
    DSJR, Dec 27, 2014
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  19. vincula

    Tenson Moderator

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    What do you mean Helen?
     
    Tenson, Mar 2, 2015
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  20. vincula

    tuga

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    According to the review, the AP3s exhibit a rising response of 5dB from 200 to 15000kHz which is the opposite of BBC's recommended tonal balance; when compared with the M30s the JPWs will probably sound quite thin and bright and somewhat lacking in resolution or "clarity" (the M30 uses superb drivers).

    If you like the BBC then the AEs will not be for you.
    The Rogers Studio 1 might be OK but I'd try a pair of Spendor SP2s, SP2/2s or SP2/3s, or better yet the SP1s or SP1/2s instead.

    The LS3/5a was designed for voice monitoring in Ford Transits and in my view is not fit for music reproduction...

    Ric
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    tuga, Mar 17, 2015
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