Joseph Audio Perspective2 vs Harbeth SHL5+

I currently own Harbeth SHL5+ and I’m generally very happy with them. I’m driving them with Audio Hungary a50i tube amp (50 watts class A) and don’t feel that the amp struggles at all. I have an opportunity to buy a used pair of Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphene in excellent condition. Just wondering if anyone has had a chance to compare the JA Perspective2 with SHL5+. From what I understand they sound quite different but I’m not sure how. The Perspectives are obviously quite a bit more expensive than the Harbeths but I understand that this doesn’t automatically imply that they are better. Someone told me that the Perspective 2 is more in Harbeth 40.x league instead of SHL5+.

As good as the SHL5+ are, I do sometimes yearn for a wider and deeper soundstage with bigger bass (although I have a pair of REL S/510s to supplement). I would really appreciate if people who have made the move from SHL5+ to JA Perespective2 Graphene, or vice versa, can share their impressions.

Note: My room is 20 x 15 with 12 foot high ceilings. The speakers will be placed along the short wall. I can pull them out by 4 feet from the front wall and about 2 feet from the side walls. My room is treated with GIK panels. My biggest concern is whether my AH Qualiton a50i will be able to drive the Joseph Audios well.



@prof Thank you for such a detailed analysis, I own a pair of Pulsar 2 Graphene and a pair of Harbeth 7ES-3 XD and I could not agree with you more on their characteristics, in fact, you described things that I regularly hear with the Harbeths but haven’t found the proper terms to convey it. Both speakers are excellent but sound quite different.

In my setup and room, the Harbeths are more tonally engaging, the Pulsars sound a bit thin and lightweight but I can tell they have potential, they definitely need a pair of subs to even out. I do have 6 tube traps to tame a boominess problem but with the Pulsars it may be too much. I may think about trading up to the Perspective and/or a pair of REL S/510.

Associated equipment: Pass Labs X350.8 ARC Ref75SE, Benchmark AHB2, Holo Audio Serene, Denafrips Venus, Innuos, Aurender, and just received a pair of Dynaudio Confidence 20 that are in the rotation.


I do think the Perspectives are somewhat richer sounding, especially from the lower midrange down.   I use them with some classic Conrad Johnson tube amps, which helps flesh out the sound. 

Great discussion. I’ve not listened to Joseph Audio speakers but have been a long time Harbeth owner (SHL5s and 30.1s). I found the HL5s were more authoritative, especially in bass range, when I put more power behind them (in my case a Pass Labs X250). May be worth testing more wattage before finalizing a decision. 

Well I’m going to pick them up in about an hour or so. Will compare them to the SHL5+ in the next few days. Depending on how it goes, you might see either the SHL5+ or Perspective2’s for sale. Keeping my fingers crossed. Appreciate everyone who pitched in. I’ll keep you guys posted. 

Apples vs oranges. The Harbeths favor that British sound typically characterized by a wonderfully clear but slightly mellow midrange while the JA’s are all about speed, transparency and soundstage; not as meaty as the Harbeths through the midband. I had the Perspective2’s and unfortunately I couldn’t get them to work well enough in my room. Subsequently I tried the Pulsar2’s and they were not my cup of tea. I actually like the original Pulsars better, but I’m a British speaker guy at heart so that would make sense. My current speakers, the Graham Audio LS5/9’s, do the trick for me. I compared them head to head with the Pulsar 2’s, and while both have their strengths, at the end of the day I preferred the Grahams, but that’s me. Your taste may differ.