CAF 2013: Fidelis AV, Red Wine Audio, Harbeth (updated!)

Vinnie and Alexis from Red Wine Audio had a full setup behind the Harbeth 30.1 loudspeakers, including a fully loaded Isabella pre ($6,000 as configured), a finally finalized, ready-to-deliver Signature 57 and a pair of Liliana monos in walnut. Tellurium Q cables were used throughout.

Snappy tunes, dynamics and tone — all running off battery. On the grid? So yesterday! I mentioned to Vinnie that the sound here was a bit smooth — he told me he forgot to bring along a pair of 6H30 tubes for the Isabella (he’s sending me a pair to use), which he says would straighten that “issue” out. In the meantime, this was a “big tone” room — those Harbeth loudspeakers may well be the best in that line.

Oh, and did I mention that half this stuff accidentally-on-purpose fell into my car on the way out? Hee hee!


  1. Most won’t heed the designers advice about not upgrading from C7 to 30.1 as what does the designer know? Better to take the opinion of anonoymous postersd on audio forums.

  2. I haven’t heard any of the other models, but having read through the design discussions on the Harbeth forum they seem to be very concerned to have a consistent sound across the line. There are only five models: the monitors 20, 30, and 40; the Compact 7; and the HL5. The Compact 7 is a larger box version of the 20 with the drivers of the 30 and a bit less expensive crossover (as I understand it). The S-HL5 is a bit more distinctive, with a super-tweeter, but is more or less a smaller version of the 40 for folks who want the extra bass extension over the 30 but don’t have the space or funds for the 40. When the 30.1 came out last year, the designer Alan Shaw went on the forum to advise folks not to upgrade from the Compact 7. He literally told them to give the money to charity.

  3. The Harbeth 30.1 speakers sounded terrific. Very neutral and detailed with excellent imaging, big soundstage, well controlled and musical bass. They really got my toe tapping as well–music swings through these (when it’s meant to). I was surprised that were not producing the kind of colored or artificially toned sound that British speakers are supposed to produce. I ended up reading large chunks of the Harbeth users forum and learned how much work goes into making a flat, uncolored midrange. Vinnie seems to know what he’s doing demoing his amps and dacs through these.

    • The Monitor 30 and 40 are a bit different from the rest of the line, I’m told.

  4. Damn, missed this one. Would have liked to hear what ask the big whoop is about harbeth speakers. Did they live up to it?

  5. Smooth sounding room, but maybe too smooth. I could feel myself about to fall asleep after just a couple minutes in this room, maybe it was the full stomach that did it.

  6. This system sounded so much better than it did up at the NY Audio Show, or I should say the Harbeths sounded better, especially in the bass. Must have been the rooms. Very nice room.

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