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.




Agree - Harbeths require powerful SS amplification to sound their best - such as the Hegel amps Harbeth uses to demo their speakers at shows.

I’ve got the 30.1’s and 40.2’s and they sound superb in all respects with the Hegel H590.

Though... I have heard the Harbeth SHL5+ sound "as good as it gets" driven by the Finale Sesto tube amp!

To me... Harbeths sound so much like the "king" (Quad ESL-57's) - that I have accepted them as one of my favorites (perhaps the favorite) - in the context of "all things acoustic."

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).


You will likely get that with modern speakers but it will need to be fairly high quality to match if not surpass the strengths of the Harbeth.

There is no way that you are getting everything from the Harbeths running them with a 50W amplifier.  I am a former SHL5+ owner.

@tswisla While I agree that SHL5+ can benefit from high-powered amps, you'd be surprised how well they work with my Qualiton amp. Just for reference, I have tried the speakers with Luxman 590AXII (owned), Hegel H390 (extended home audition), Kinki EX-M1(owned), Naim Supernait 3 (home audition), VTL IT-85 (owned), ARC GSi75 (owned), and Sim Audio Moon 340i (home audition). So hopefully you can see that I've been around :)

I understand that watts are watts, yet for some reason the 50 tube class A watts seem to go a lot further than the typical A/B watts. Yes, you do give up the tight and impactful bass a little, but what you gain in soundstaging, midrange, air, palpability, and the holographic/3D sound is worth every penny. Anyways, the SHL5+ sounded (to my ears of course) the best with the a50i once I replaced KT-120s with 150s, which presumably is giving 60 watts now. I'm sure the speakers excel in many areas with big iron SS amps, but for my tastes the a50i was perfect with SHL5+.

Now having said that, it is struggling a little bit with the JA Perspective2's. I've been listening to the Josephs since Friday and will share my impressions soon.

Yikes!  The original Perspectives clock in at 84dB sensitivity!

No wonder Joseph Audio omits that specification on its website, and only lists the relatively benign impedance.