Breaking news: Harbeth announces 40th anniversary models

The 40th Anniversary Super HL5 Plus. Notice the physical change to the super tweeter.
40th Anniversary badge.

Harbeth has announced special 40th-anniversary changes to the company’s flagship M40.2 loudspeaker, and the Super HL5 Plus. Changes include what appears to be either a new super tweeter, or at least a physical change to the outer surround structure of the unit with the addition of a vertical protection bar which can be seen in the factory photo above. Also new on both models is what are being touted as WBT Nextgen binding posts, walnut veneer finish and upgraded crossover capacitors. New anniversary badging is also included. As someone who spent a number of years with the P3ESR, and then the M30.1, not to mention an extended home audition with the HL5 Plus, and many listening sessions with the M40.1, and M40.2, it’s my experience that while these changes may seem small, Harbeth’s chief designer Alan Shaw doesn’t just do something for the sake of change. I’m sure owners of these new loudspeakers will appreciate what the upgraded caps, binding posts, and tweeter change can bring to the listening experience. No word on if these limited-edition models will sport a higher price tag or not.

With changes across the board for a number of models in the last couple years, I for one was hoping the 40th anniversary of Harbeth would see an opportunity for an updated M30.1 (M30.2 anyone?) to bring the mid-sized stand-mount monitor in line with the new, and improved M40.2. Also, the idea of a powered P3ESR is one that I’ve long hoped Harbeth would pursue. Especially if done right, and the amplification is included within the casework, instead of just attaching an outboard amp to the back of the crossover which is the case in the M30.1 Powered version. The P3ESR’s small footprint, and outstanding imaging/tone/timbre in a powered package would probably do very well in a number of markets, especially considering the enormously positive response to KEF’s new powered LS50 Wireless.

–Rafe Arnott