Is the Falcon Q7 better than ATC and Harbeth?

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DomT

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Hello everyone

@Ian and I did a comparison of these over the last two days. The main reason for the write up is to express how ridiculously good value and excellent the Falcons are. It’s a speaker that is probably not possible to demo before buying and so hopefully this is useful to someone.

Round one was at my temporary home in Nottingham. Sparsely furnished with wooden floors. System: Innuos Zen Mini/power supply; Benchmark DAC 2 HGC; Audio Research SP17; Audio Research D130. Speakers: my ATC SCM11 vs Ian’s Falcon Q7.

Thoughts: the difference between the speakers was immediately apparent. Obviously the bass on the ATC was deeper but that isn’t what struck me. On the Falcons there was more detail in the midrange which meant that the flanger used on the guitar on Talk of the Town by the Pretenders was more obvious and the reverb on the vocals was more dense sounding and better defined. The treble wasn’t projected as much as the ATC even though the detail was the same or slightly better on the Falcons. The Falcons had some similarities with the ATC in that they sounded open and detailed but the Falcons sounded a bit sweeter and it was a slightly more relaxing listening experience.

I can imagine that people would prefer either the more lively ATC or the sweeter yet more detailed Falcons. But in my large room the Falcons couldn’t compete in bass extension. On a Jon Hopkins track with low electronic bass the Falcons struggled. I was seriously impressed by the Falcons though to the extent that I have been reading up on their IMF 100 (same drive units but bigger cabinet).

Day 2 was at Ian’s lovely home. System: Quad 99 CDP-2; Croft 25R; Primaluna Prologue 5. Speakers: Ian’s Harbeth P3ESR and Falcon Q7.

Thoughts: we started listening to the Harbeths and it sounded glorious. I have the P3ESR at home in Portugal and so it was great to hear them in a decent system in a smaller room. I was half expecting a much lusher warmer sound than at mine because of the valve amps used but how wrong I was and they sounded clear and dynamic.

When we changed to the Falcons I noticed a difference but it wasn’t as great as the difference between the Falcon and ATC. The Falcon’s were more open than the Harbeths and also had a little bit more bass but the Harbeth had deeper tonality and I preferred how Jon Hopkins piano came across on the Harbeths. But these differences were small. To some they could be significant and certainly in Ian’s system I preferred the Harbeth overall.

There was a greater difference between the ATC and Falcons than the Falcons and Harbeths. All three are excellent speakers. The Falcon Q7 kit is £1100. If I didn’t need a speaker the size of the ATC then in my system the Falcon would have been a no brainer as I preferred it over *all* of the other speakers in my Standmount mega shootout thread. A seriously great speaker. Then when compared to the price of P3ESR or Falcon’s own LS3/5A then it’s also ridiculously good value.

Bottom line if you are considering Harbeth P3ESR or Proac 10 or any of these small speakers then the Falcon Q7 should be on your list or maybe just buy them.

It was great to meet @Ian who is a lovely guy and has great beer on hand. I am very grateful for firstly him bringing the Falcons to mine and his hospitality at his. Also Ian introduced me to the stunning music of Jon Hopkins who I had never heard of and in return I introduced Ian to Goldfrapp (the folk electronica) and Isaac Hayes. Hopefully Ian will add a few words as whilst I know Ian’s thoughts it’s better if he speaks for himself.
 
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simon g

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Thanks for that; interesting.

I think most would buy the speaker built; the price for a standard spec with grille is around £1600. That's quite a bit less than the P3ESRXD. I must admit that I don't really consider the ATC range as being direct competitors to the BBC type designs. The Graham LS3/5 might be a 'better' comparison, at around £1900. Possibly the Sterling LS3/5a v3 at £2200.
 
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garn63

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I had some of these a long time ago. They are easy to live with and have a footprint similar to that of the LS35/A. For those wanting to eek out a little more bass/drive in a smaller listening space, they will fit the bill. Good pair of small standmounts that I found to be well balanced.. and also an enjoyable listen. (y)
 
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DomT

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Thanks for that; interesting.

I think most would buy the speaker built; the price for a standard spec with grille is around £1600. That's quite a bit less than the P3ESRXD. I must admit that I don't really consider the ATC range as being direct competitors to the BBC type designs. The Graham LS3/5 might be a 'better' comparison, at around £1900. Possibly the Sterling LS3/5a v3 at £2200.
The competitor angle is an interesting one. If someone had a lot of experience with many designs then they would no doubt agree with you. But many haven’t had the opportunity, and so those looking for a ‘monitor’ type sound, then Falcon vs ATC would appear to be valid although clearly you would choose the ATC SCM7 vs the Falcon Q7 and not the SCM11.
 

Ian

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First of all the 'wam does what it does best once more in bringing like minded people together and making really positive human connections. We can forget this sometimes when folk are being keyboard unkind.

To speakers, what Dom said really. I think I preferred the Q7 in his slightly larger, less 'soft' room on his gear, though don't know what the bigger influencer would be. I think I prefer the Harbs though it was the Q7 that got left in the system on the day ! I've concluded that I'll never really be able to decide which of these speakers I prefer, and this exchange with a second opinion solidified that.

I think I've decided to let the Q7 go to fund some other fun on the basis that if they don't shift on my terms then I can happily keep both and swap about.
 
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DomT

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First of all the 'wam does what it does best once more in bringing like minded people together and making really positive human connections. We can forget this sometimes when folk are being keyboard unkind.

To speakers, what Dom said really. I think I preferred the Q7 in his slightly larger, less 'soft' room on his gear, though don't know what the bigger influencer would be. I think I prefer the Harbs though it was the Q7 that got left in the system on the day ! I've concluded that I'll never really be able to decide which of these speakers I prefer, and this exchange with a second opinion solidified that.

I think I've decided to let the Q7 go to fund some other fun on the basis that if they don't shift on my terms then I can happily keep both and swap about.
Whilst the initial contact was about HiFi the making a meaningful connection with you and sharing ‘new’ music was really great. I have been to three Wammers homes now and each time it’s been very positive.

As you say Ian a really tough call between the Harbeths and Falcons. That’s why it’s never helpful when people declare one thing is *better* than another.

Another thing to say is that many people like large speakers. But in your lounge neither of us found that there was a lack of bass on either the Harbeths or Falcons that you proved by playing some Green Day!!
 
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uzzy

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At the end of the day only the individual can form a conclusion for themselves. One man's meat is another man's poison.
 
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karlsushi

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Thanks for this. All very interesting.

I recently purchased some ready-built Wilsmlow Audio WA-LS3 speakers. As the name suggests, these are yet another direct competitor to the others mentioned above, probably more closely related to Linn Kans than genuine LS3/5A, but still.

I have found them a wonderful speaker and at £950 fully built (with a large selection of cabinets) and quite a bit cheaper still as a DIY Kit, perhaps an even bigger bargain.

I have however never heard a genuine LS3/5A, so can't say how they compare.

@Ian I am pretty local to Nottingham and would love to hear your Q7’s/Harbeths. Of course you may well be small speakered out by now, but do let me know if you want to arrange another shoot-out (who knows, I may just decide to take the Q7's off you if they're that much of an improvement!)
 

Ian

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You're welcome to pop round, no talk of purchase necessary ! Just pm when you fancy 😉

Maybe I should keep them and offer an East Midlands Dem facility 🤣
 

karlsushi

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My LS3's replaced some Spendor S3/5R2's which are still up in the loft (I don't have the heart to get rid of them yet). So yet more little stand-mounts to add to the East Midlands demo room list!