In search for speakers of "natural" sound

I am using a pair of Harbeth speakers. However, I am not satisfied with the 'naturalness' of the sound (it could be that I am so demanding). I am looking for a pair of speakers that can produce the more natural and organic sound than Harbeth if there is any.

I know that it depends on the amp, cables, and other variables. However, let's assume that with the appropriate gears, which speakers do you think can produce the "most natural sound"? By "natural", I mean the sound that we hear directly from musical instruments, from the singer without going through any amplification.

There is a user mentioning that speakers from the past used that 'natural sound' as a reference when designed speakers. In contrast, the sound today (even the hi-end one) is to "hi-fi". He guessed it could be less people have chance to listen to live / acoustic music than before.  

Is it right?

Thank you for your experience and recommendation!

P.S: I know that my questions are silly and dumb, please bear with me.

Ag insider logo xs@2xquanghuy147
Aren't we all true audiophiles on a quest to find it ? 
Maybe you don't like boxes. Have you ever heard big Soundlabs with right amplification ? I am just guessing. Or perhaps you simply want what is not possible to achieve. I would also try Gryphon and Ypsilon/Lansche systems, in addition - Lamm/Kharma.and Wavac/Kharma. But they are all expensive or terribly expensive. But you may not like any of them. Possibly Audio Note as well.
I have old Michael Green Audio speakers. They have a number of flaws but they do sound quite natural and emotional, not hi-fi at all.
What Harbeth model do you have? IMO, I think Harbeth is a very natural sounding speaker.
I think you best take a look at some of the other gear in your system before replacing them!
What are the components that you are using with them?

About the only speaker I ever heard more “natural” than Harbeth would be Quad ESL 57.  Mine put the group or vocalist right in your room.
Any of the Quad ESL's will "do it"! True long-time references for "natural" sound!
There’s nothing quite like the natural sound-suffocating rattling of the heavy metal Quad grills to excite the senses of older audiophiles.
The old joke was that burglars would think the 57's were space heaters - and ignore them!
How about the venerable LS3/5A's for natural sound? Can't shake the floor or rattle the windows! But the "magic" is there in spades!
ATC,Proac,PMC and Spendor are consider to be very natural.
You didn’t tell us which Harbeth speakers you have and what is your system so it’s very hard to give serious comment to your question.
Try to listen loudspeakers based  on widebanddrivers, not a full range. they 
get more  musical and natural sound,   Are  you close to NYC or  NJ ??
If you are going for accurate, open sound at un-amplified volume with orchestral range, I second the recommendation for Sound Lab's.

Eminent Technology will get you most of the way there for a lot less money.

It's hard to beat planars for quickness and immediacy.

There are plenty of accurate, ruler flat speakers today that allow you to pull eveything out of the source.

Unfortunately, there's also lots of poorly mixed sources, too.

I went through several high quality, accurate monitor style speakers until I figured out it was the source material that was the weak link.

I switched to a coherent style speaker (Ohm 2000's) that is 'voiced' to be more tolerent of the source and yet still pleasing.

It satifies my tastes but took some years to get there.

If I had the space (and cash), I'd go Sound Lab...ha. They are stunningly good.
TO THE OP: Perusing your prior posts, the following appears:

”....Any used amp as good as denon pma 2000ae ?

Hi, my budget for an amp is 800 bucks, i intend to buy a used one which is as good as denon pma 2000ae to play pop and rock. Could you please suggest any one? Thanks!quanghuy147....”


HARBETHS are generally acknowledged as about as “natural sounding” as you can ever find with a superior midrange. To paraphrase an old paradigm in this crazy hobby: “...Get the midrange right and everything falls into place. Get it wrong, and all the king’s men...”

An independent testimonial on HARBETH:

"We deliberately didn’t want speakers which would ’flatter’ the sound."
‐ Nigel Bewley, The British Library (National Sound Archives)

Are you still adhering to this budget electronics plan highlighted in your earlier post quoted above?

if so, then to actually unlock the HARBETH audio performance true potential, then IMO it looks like this budget amp price and performance strata (and maybe also your source ?) are in need of a significant upgrade worthy of the performance capabilities level of HARBETHS. There is a bevy of British contenders that meet the challenge and achieve the neceessary synergy with HARBETH.

I don’t own HARBETHS personally but they remain high on my fave list. They were on my short list as top contenders and no pretenders, before my last upgrade.

The following mag speaker review extract rehash (non HARBETH) also applies equally to HARBETHs based on my personal auditions (NOTE- they crave high-end upstream electronics )

“.... resolution, detail, and fleetness of foot do not always guarantee musical communication however. It is the ability to organize the sound into comprehensible and meaningful patterns that is the gist of successful music making, both in actual live performance and in audio reproduction. Punctuation, emphasis and de-emphasis, and the organization of time are crucial here. ...

It makes musical sense of a wide variety of types of music, leading quickly to an immersion into the music rather than to a distracting awareness of the sound of the speaker...”

Caveat emptor and good luck.
ATC are an alternative to Harbeth. Harbeth has some FM radio style warmth to their sound. ATC are more neutral sounding. If you want more warmth than Harbeth then try Sonus Faber.
The only speaker I've heard (and I certainly haven't heard them all) that is more natural than Harbeths are the Audio Note AN-E's.
Hi everyone,
Thank you all for your valuable input. I am using Harbeth 30.1 with pow/pre Quad 909+Quad 99. The source is DAC Yulong D18.

I believe that Harbeth can sound better but I would need to spend a lot for amp and source to fully exploit its potentials. This is part of the reason why I want to try other names , which are less demanding but still keep up to the same quality.

I always like Quad ESL, however, I heard it's only for one listener because of its narrow sweet spot. Also, as reviewed,  its size and room space demand and that its fragile diaphragms can be more easily damaged than the traditional speakers, which discouraged me somehow. :)

I don't think I am into warm sound. I just need neutral and natural one. 

I am in Orange, CA.

How do you hope to achieve natural sound with a digital source ? 
It's futile. There is nothing wrong with your speakers, that are considered to be among most natural sounding.
Yes I am a dealer and have sold, heard all the speakers mentioned in  this post. 
 What I have learned over the years is that it is important to obtain a speaker that does not interact with the room as most box speakers inherently do - due to the laws of physics.
 Yes electrostatic speakers that are dipole in nature will have less interaction with the room however I have found that the transformer which is used to charge the panel does interplay on top of the actual signal that is going to be reproduced as music.This is not ideal when you are looking for the proverbial straight wire with gain or ultimate in transparency. 
 Speakers on the other hand that contain crossovers have a whole host of other problems including the loss of transparency phase issues etc. in comparison to speakers that do not possess or crossover at all.
 After approximately 30 years of my quest for the ultimate speaker that produces the highest level of transparency which does not contain  any crossover components on the main panel  and is mated to open baffle servodriven subwoofers with an onboard computer  inside the servo plate amp -this quest has ended with the 
GT Audio Works planar magnetic speakers
 Along with the SI  Open baffle servodriven sub woofers.
 The technology in these speakers is just to comprehensive to list on this blog and I would encourage you to contact either Steve at Sound insight or Greg Takesh over at GT audio works for a comprehensive and detailed description of this technology.
 Most importantly let your ears be the judge we encourage auditions please contact  Steve at sound insight- his information can be found at the Facebook page by googling sound insight high-end audio.
Sound Insight

1. Quad ESL 57 or 63, but don't expect any deep bass and they are finicky

2. Harbeth M30.1 or 40.1, but the big ones are pretty expensive (basically BBC monitors brought into the 21st century)

3, Tannoy Red or Gold 15" (SWEET in large enclosures, SUCK in small enclosures, best with tubes)
The only speaker that can come even close to the sound of a "natural" instrument is going to be a speaker that plays back electric guitar or other instrument that uses such speaker for its amplication and tonality. As soon as ANY instrument or voice hits the diaphragm of a microphone, compression function is invoked and this is the fundamental reason no speaker (another compression function) will ever sound like a natural instrument or voice. It is why we can tell if the music from way over there is live or recorded playback. Loss of timbre, frequency and dynamics can never trick our ears into believing otherwise. The key is to find speakers and other components that do the least amount of damage. And, having said that, there's nothing we can do about the recording and mastering brought to bear on the original performance. We must always suspend our disbelief if we want to enjoy recorded music played back on an audio system.
harbeth 7es3 > mc452 > C52

great combo imo. It really was the solid state amp that made the difference.
Harbeth 30.1 are very good speakers before changing your speakers I suggest to look into upgrading cables or maybe your DAC.You didn't advise ud what is your source of spinning music maybe the problem is there ?
Never heard Harbeth speakers but from my understanding they are very natural, sense their use as studio monitors. I can attest that the most "natural" sounding speakers I have heard are any of the Magnepan line. They however require plenty of space around them and plenty of quality current to sound their best....Good Luck in your search.
As "faxer"implies, it is always ideal to hear a speaker "at home" - if at all possible. The more money that you plan to spend, the more a dealer should be willing to accommodate this request.
Shout out for Fulton Nuance floor-standers. Replaced my Quad 57s. That tells ya something.
We need a bit more to go on, specifically what are you unhappy with?

For instance: Audio Note speakers have a very direct and open quality compared to Harbeths which are a bit warmer, (to my ears of course), so if you find the 30.1 to be a bit too warm maybe some AN silver Es might be for you.


Otherwise we are chasing our tails with suggestions....
Wow Geoff, Fulton’s! I never heard the Nuance, but did have a pair of the earlier Model J, which replaced Magneplanar Tympanis. The J’s had the great RTR ESL-6 tweeter array, a transmissionline loaded woofer, and Fulton’s Model 80 2-way as it’s midrange. Great speaker, $1200/pr in 1974.
I think my Klipsch Heresy IIIs have a surprisingly "natural" sound with my tube stuff, and I have instruments around as a reference as well as a long career as a live concert sound tech, musician, and fashion model (not a public one, just me around the house wearing my own crappy clothing). However, I wonder if it's reasonable to use yourself as a reference as really, what the hell do I know? A good reference is to make a clean recording of the ambient sound outside, play it back on your hifi rig blindfolded and then try to determine where you are...this requires plugging your nostrils so you can't smell anything.
Thank you everyone, I truly appreciate your experience and advice. Now, I know where to go from here,  I guess I will look for a used pair of AN silver E or open baffle speakers.

You should look at Revel and read this book by Dr. Floyd Toole:
"Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms".
The concept is you want speakers that measure flat on and off axis. 

All of your other equipment measures flat, why would you want speakers that don't?
Silverline SR17 Supreme (USD $7500). I'll have a review coming out imminently, but I believe this is one of the premiere speakers < $10k for reproducing acoustic music. Not the best at electronic/harder music, but great for e.g. classical and jazz - very organic and balanced with just a hint of warmth. Very high resolution too, without being too fussy - a forgiving load and easy to match with both solid state and tubes.

Spatial Audio speakers have no cabinet coloration , being open baffle. They have no dynamics compression being pro audio drivers . I have had comments on how natural my Turbo 3's sound . Give them a listen or order direct for a trial period .
I'll add another possibility here, which is that the audio magic you seek may lie more in the recordings that you choose to play than the equipment on which it is played. There are many brilliantly recorded albums that playback on even somewhat modest systems with a spooky, they're in my room, realness. It could just be that your sources aren't that great to begin with and nothing is going to make them sound the way you'd like. I know I have many albums that are disappointing from this standpoint. I still listen to them because I love the music, but it doesn't give the wow factor.
I don’t see any mentions of speaker placement ... you can get a lot more natural sound if those Harbeths are not jammed against a wall with a bunch of gear in between them. 
If you think Harbeth M30s sound warm (I do not), look into ATC,  ProAC, and Vandersteen. 
Huy did not mention what kind of music he listens to most often.  My experience is that a certain set up will sound best for certain type of music.  I have yet to experience a system that sounds natural for all types of music.  Some people believe that the amps used to voice the speakers during their design would give you the best synergy.  I subscribe to that idea.  In Hut’s case, you should find out what amp was used by Harbeth, and try the same amp with your speakers.  And room treatment as some have mentioned.
Went from Harbeth to Zu Audio and never regretted it. Zu brings the X factor I bet you are searching for. I run Zu Omen Def with Bryston amps and pre. Very good combination imho.
No speaker worth its salt (not sure what that means...but it stays) should be "music specific." From the Bad Plus to banjo, well designed speakers don't know what they're gonna do, shouldn't care, and should be able to do dynamic range as all music has it. 
You should try a pair of Open Baffle speakers. Natural sound for me is not only how the instruments sound on the speaker but also how well the speaker can produce a setting (as part of the soundstage) that sounds natural, unrestricted and life like.  

I have a pair of Robert Bastanis OB speakers. Very Natural sounding to me.   
Reference 3a, incredibly coherent, natural sounding speakers. No crossover, great mid-range.
Audio Note AN/E, in my experience are the most effortlessly natural sounding speakers, but you need to pair them with a SET amp and ideally an all AN system.
ATC is a studio monitor builder first. Their consumer versions are dressed up studio monitors. They want a "natural" sound in the studio, so it stands to reason that the consumer versions will all sound "natural"
I second @inna’s post, digital does not sound "natural". Listen to the same song on a quality record, played on a quality turntable with a quality cart and you’ll hear "natural".
Did you read Arthur Salvatore's review of his reference speakers "Pure Reference" from Coincident? To my ears these are among the most natural sounding speakers I have ever heard.

Try Yamaha NS1000, NS1000x or NS2000 for Natural Sound. Beryllium mid & high, sound very open. Just add a rel sub and it can compete with most speakers
perhaps you need to define what is natural ... each concert venue has it's own characteristics ... so what are you really shooting for?   3rd row center at Carnegie Hall,  first balcony at the Auditorium Theatre, a box at LaScala (old or renovated), the slope at Red Rocks, on the field at an outdoor stadium, the picnic grounds at Ravinia or a college rehearsal hall?  You get the idea ... no one can tell you what is natural in a speaker it is up to you.
atc is my was going to be between harbeth,spendor,atc...non ported cab was what my room was needing

This question is perfect. It addresses an important issue. Here we are in 2018. Sixty years after the first quads came out and we have hundreds of speakers available.....for the prices they are asking shouldn't they all have a natural sound......don't these reviewers car about natural sound when they listen to speakers. 

What is wrong with the speaker industry. Why would they even make a speaker that did't have a natural sound...