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anjowin
19-12-2010, 11:29 PM
I have just ordered the entry level Harbeth monitor and was looking over your site when I saw that you cautioned against using cables with exotic electrical qualities. Could you specify just what that means? I am using audioquest type 4 speaker cable which I don't think qualifies as "exotic" but I would still like to have an clear idea for future reference.

BAS-H
20-12-2010, 09:11 AM
Perhaps Harbeth refer to cables that are designed to modify the sound in some way. Like attenuating cables to lower the sound level, or capacitive cables to lessen HF. I'm afraid others with more knowledge will have to provide examples, though.
Ben

STHLS5
20-12-2010, 09:35 AM
I have just ordered the entry level Harbeth monitor and was looking over your site when I saw that you cautioned against using cables with exotic electrical qualities. Could you specify just what that means? I am using audioquest type 4 speaker cable which I don't think qualifies as "exotic" but I would still like to have an clear idea for future reference.

Hi Anjowin,

Welcome to Harbeth.

I don't recall Harbeth mentioned anything on exotic cables other than telling that any decent cables will do the job perfectly and not to waste your hard earned money on expensive cables. I am also using Audioquest (I can't remember the model) which are more than 10 years old priced around US100 at that time.

BTW, did you say entry level monitor? I doubt there is one in Harbeth product range. Different model for different room size and maybe taste.

ST

{Moderator's comment: agreed. There is no entry-level Harbeth.}

hifi_dave
20-12-2010, 10:44 AM
You need to get yourself a good quality, simple cable. Preferably not one with 'mysterious' boxes on the ends or comprising many fine strands of wire as these generally have a fat, confused sound.

Don't pay huge amounts on fancy cables as 95% of the retail price is very often profit, packaging and marketing costs.

anjowin
20-12-2010, 06:21 PM
Hi Anjowin,

Welcome to Harbeth.

I don't recall Harbeth mentioned anything on exotic cables other than telling that any decent cables will do the job perfectly and not to waste your hard earned money on expensive cables. I am also using Audioquest (I can't remember the model) which are more than 10 years old priced around US100 at that time.

BTW, did you say entry level monitor? I doubt there is one in Harbeth product range. Different model for different room size and maybe taste.

ST

{Moderator's comment: agreed. There is no entry-level Harbeth.}

By entry level, I meant the least expensive in your product line, namely the P3ESR. As long as I am posting, I also noticed that the speaker is rated at 6 ohms. On an integrated amp that only has four and eight ohm outputs, which would most Harbeth owners use?

igor_xxx
20-12-2010, 10:15 PM
Hi Anjowin, welcome to the HUG

Regarding your question about impedance I think you should choose the 4ohm outputs because the speakers are 6ohm and if you choose 8ohm they will draw more current than the amp is intended to work but the more experienced guys here will tell you for sure. What amp do you plan to use with the P3ESR?

BTW congrats on the great purchase, I'm in the process of deciding should I buy the P3ESR.

anjowin
20-12-2010, 11:17 PM
Primaluna Prologue One

honmanm
21-12-2010, 04:09 AM
On an integrated amp that only has four and eight ohm outputs, which would most Harbeth owners use?

Hmm, I guess you mean a valve amp with separate taps for 4 and 8 ohm? If we are talking valve amps with output transformers, the idea is that power dissipated in the speaker is maximised when the amplifier's output impedance matches that of the speaker. The speaker's impedance varies a lot with frequency - see P3ESR graph (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/uploadfolder/p3esr_-sysz_and_phase.png) - and there is also a reactive component - "phase angle". So... with that kind of valve amp the load presented by the speaker will affect the frequency response of the system. However from the chart, at most frequencies the P3ESRs present a load of 8 ohms or more, so that tap should be your starting point.

Re cable, if you have a valve amp the frequency response shaping performed by cables is not significant compared to the effect of amp-speaker interation... so don't worry too much about the cable. In my *opinion* (no factual basis...) the Audioquest type 4 could have an effect on the sound of the system - so at least invest in some stranded two-core mains wire that you can use as an alternative if you start to worry about things that don't sound quite right in your "new" system.

BAS-H
21-12-2010, 10:17 AM
...at most frequencies the P3ESRs present a load of 8 ohms or more, so that tap should be your starting point.

I agree. I had a valve amp once. It had 4 and 8 ohm taps. Its manual said for four ohm speakers, always use the four ohm tap. Eight ohm speakers can use either tap.

From that it seems that the Harbeth's would be better off plugged into the eight ohm tap first, but there would probably be no harm trying the four ohm as well.

hifi_dave
21-12-2010, 11:02 AM
Using various tube amps, modern and vintage, over many years, I would suggest you try both terminals and choose which performs best for you. The different amps appear to react differently to the speaker load and sometimes, the theory gives way to practically. Suck it and see.

IIRC correctly, the Type-4 has a similar make up to a 'double' mains cable, having two solid conductors. The insulation is different and the wire is OFC. The Type-4 has a warm presentation.

{Moderators comment: great advice. Neither the 4 ohm, 6 ohm or 8 ohm setting will damage the P3ESR or the amplifier. The impedance differences are relatively insignificant. This is not an issue to lose sleep over!}

DSRANCE
21-12-2010, 05:34 PM
I like the Van Damme round (outer jacket) speaker cables, the 2.5mm or 4mm if you can handle it. Decent quality conductors and not too expensive. the bigger one reminds me of the excellent (IMO) beige coloured cable that Quad used to market back in the good old days ;)

{Moderator's coment: I think Harbeth use VD cable inside special editions if ordered by their distributors, market by market.}

Steven
24-12-2010, 05:33 PM
Hi
I have P3ESRs that I'm driving with an NAD 316BEE using interconnects and cabling that are generic. I play music files (hi-rez and redbook) through Pure Music (which I recommend by the way). The files are mostly vocal, classical and jazz. No headbanging. The speakers are on 24" stands filled with shot and the room is smallish. Having said all that, I'm finding the speakers to be a little bit "sharp" or maybe "tipped up"... I was wondering if this was an interconnect/cabling problem, or a problem with the amplification.
Do you have any experience with this?

Many thanks and happy holidays, Steven.

cornelius
24-12-2010, 08:22 PM
Sounds like a nice system. My guess is it's possibly something with the acoustics of your room. I don't think cables or amplifier will change things much, but maybe other people here will have some other advice. My P3's never sound sharp, but if a recording is EQ'd that way, it will sound that way through my P3's...

Happy Holidays...

denjo
25-12-2010, 02:38 AM
I just recommended my Mum Harbeth SHL5 speakers paired with a NaimUniti integrated. My friendly dealer, Jimmy, delivered a beautiful pair of Cherry veneered SHL5 (my Mum's seems very much lighter coloured than mine. They are beautiful & I am so envious of my Mum!). Jimmy also used Van Damme speaker cables and mentioned that these are the same ones used in the Harbeth Anniversary edition speakers. These are blue colored cables, seems very malleable, pretty thin and light gauged. The sound is very good indeed! My mum could not be happier with the Harbeth speakers.

{Moderator's comment: cheery veneer oxidises during its first year or two so will become darker. Keep out of sunlight.}

Steven
26-12-2010, 05:53 AM
That could well be the case. The room they"re in is different to the one they had been in, and acoustics could well be the culprit. Personally I'm sceptical about the difference cabling makes but I have an open mind. I'm willing to go that route, if it's not to expensive. In the meantime, I'll rethink the acoustics.

Best
S

Sounds like a nice system. My guess is it's possibly something with the acoustics of your room. I don't think cables or amplifier will change things much, but maybe other people here will have some other advice. My P3's never sound sharp, but if a recording is EQ'd that way, it will sound that way through my P3's...

Happy Holidays...

hifi_dave
26-12-2010, 11:16 AM
Cabling does make a difference, sometimes quite large, but what is best is up to the listener's judgement. Different is not always better. Also, price doesn't have a lot to do with the sound as some of the best cables are inexpensive.

Personally, I would steer clear of cables with boxes on as these are expensive and the purpose is deliberately kept unclear.

Mike Mount
27-12-2010, 10:48 PM
I would think that it is to say, use the (already) very good cables that we own and use with current gear. But, do not be(come) fixated on choosing some particular *fancy designer* name cables, with hopes or expectations to greatly improving on already great sound and equipment (speakers) that are not dependent on overpriced cables.

New cables will not give you the ground level to the top level change as you may experience with some *OTHER fancy speakers.

A.S.
31-12-2010, 07:53 PM
... But, do not be(come) fixated on choosing some particular *fancy designer* name cables, with hopes or expectations to greatly improving on already great sound ... Good advice. It is conceivable that some other-brand speaker crossovers and/or drive units have strange electrical characteristics perhaps bordering on electrical instability and those speakers will be very much more sensitive to the type of cables used. But as I have mentioned many times before, we just do not want to spend our days answering telephone, email and letters from anxious would-be customers worried about compatibility of Harbeth speakers with this or that cable. So I am acutely aware that at the design stage of virtually guaranteeing that our speakers will work with any credible amplifier performing to manufacturer's spec. and with any cable I can imagine.

Result: zero anxious calls and we can get on with doing something constructive in the working day because this is a non-issue.

AukedeBoer
01-01-2011, 02:59 PM
Happy New Year to all !! My first post on the first day ...

I discovered it's rewarding to make the cables yourself. I used a few metres of Canare 4S8 Star Quad Cable. It's cheap, only 3 a metre. To make it look nice i used heat shrinking tubing, a cable sleeve and 4 banana plugs . 2 x 3 metre of solid speakercable didn't cost me more than 45. If you forget the fancy stuff (tubing, sleeve and banana plugs) it costs you less than 20.
There are cable manufactures who are using rebranded Canare cable. They just put a nice logo on the sleeve and sell it for 100 a metre.

I promised myself i will never ever pay a huge amount of money for cables or interconnects. Neutrik plugs, speaker/ microphone cable and some basic soldering skills will do. If there is a difference in sound it's not price related. The money i 'saved' is spent on a few nice box sets of Stravinsky (Boulez), Webern (Boulez), Bach (Hewitt) and Scarlatti (Ross).

{Moderator's comment: attaboy!! Welcome!

marc1609
05-05-2011, 03:50 PM
I'm a little bit late on commenting on this but you are absolutely right! Don't spend fortunes on cables but buy some nice music instead and enjoy!

A.S.
09-05-2011, 11:37 AM
Production dept. asked me to provide them with a new small power amplifier to be used on one of the test rigs. Only a few watts were needed, just enough to sweep-test every drive unit listening for buzzes by ear. The previous B&K oscillator (now faulty awaiting repair) had a speaker drive output stage, but the newer B&K doesn't have an inbuilt power amp.

As It happens, I'd half assembled into a case a commercial "DIY" power amp module comprising of heatsink, power supply and circuit supplied in one neat resin-potted housing. It's a design that's been available for years and sold to the disco/pa market to drive long speaker lines.

Assembly complete (wiring mains, phono input socket and psu transfomer) and hooking up to an oscillator and speaker and all seemed well. Until I turned the volume up more at which point there was a tell-tall audible distorted character to the pure tone: the character of circuit instability. I clipped the 'scope across the speaker feed to see, as expected, that one half of every sine wave had a burst high-frequency supersonic noise, which whilst inaudible itself, manifest as distortion in the audio band. Reduce the audio input and stability returned.

Disconnecting the speaker so the amp was not actually generating power into a load, and again, stability. The solution was a 'zobel network' comprising a small resistor and capacitor in series soldered directly across the output terminals. Cost about GBP 0.10 (ten pence) and commonly fitted to amplifiers to partially-cancel the inductive/capacitive reactive load of a speaker cable and/or loudspeaker itself. But not this one.

So the message from this is .... we want to assume that audio power-amplifiers are well designed and stable into the sort of loads that typical cables + speakers present, such as this combination. But that may be over optimistic on our part. Unless we have test equipment we cannot look for instability and if we identify it by ear, the damage may have already been done. There may indeed be latent instability which is only triggered on signal or transient peaks, depending upon drive level as in this case. The more exotic the speaker cable and/or the loudspeaker load the more we tempt instability. That's why I design Harbeth speakers to present as benign a load as possible to the amp and advise you to use simple, standard cable that looks like simple standard cable.

If anyone is interested I'll take a photo off the 'scope to show the distorted waveform before the zobel was fitted.

kraiker
10-05-2011, 04:04 AM
Production dept. asked me to provide them with a new small power amplifier to be used on one of the test rigs. Only a few watts were needed, just enough to sweep-test every drive unit listening for buzzes by ear. The previous B&K oscillator (now faulty awaiting repair) had a speaker drive output stage, but the newer B&K doesn't have an inbuilt power amp.

As It happens, I'd half assembled into a case a commercial "DIY" power amp module comprising of heatsink, power supply and circuit supplied in one neat resin-potted housing. It's a design that's been available for years and sold to the disco/pa market to drive long speaker lines.

Assembly complete (wiring mains, phono input socket and psu transfomer) and hooking up to an oscillator and speaker and all seemed well. Until I turned the volume up more at which point there was a tell-tall audible distorted character to the pure tone: the character of circuit instability. I clipped the 'scope across the speaker feed to see, as expected, that one half of every sine wave had a burst high-frequency supersonic noise, which whilst inaudible itself, manifest as distortion in the audio band. Reduce the audio input and stability returned.

Disconnecting the speaker so the amp was not actually generating power into a load, and again, stability. The solution was a 'zobel network' comprising a small resistor and capacitor in series soldered directly across the output terminals. Cost about GBP 0.10 (ten pence) and commonly fitted to amplifiers to partially-cancel the inductive/capacitive reactive load of a speaker cable and/or loudspeaker itself. But not this one.

So the message from this is .... we want to assume that audio power-amplifiers are well designed and stable into the sort of loads that typical cables + speakers present, such as this combination. But that may be over optimistic on our part. Unless we have test equipment we cannot look for instability and if we identify it by ear, the damage may have already been done. There may indeed be latent instability which is only triggered on signal or transient peaks, depending upon drive level as in this case. The more exotic the speaker cable and/or the loudspeaker load the more we tempt instability. That's why I design Harbeth speakers to present as benign a load as possible to the amp and advise you to use simple, standard cable that looks like simple standard cable.

If anyone is interested I'll take a photo off the 'scope to show the distorted waveform before the zobel was fitted.

Thanks Allan for the suggestion,i use a high strand direct copper cable for my Harbeth P3ESR's have never tried anything else.
But for my interconnects I use Morrow Audio MA-1's http://www.audiosold.com/ma1interconnect.htm

Should I try something more simple then these,I know the cable looks very slim,would this be doing justice to my setup or should I just buy some basic copper interconnects from the supermarket.

fred40
10-05-2011, 01:01 PM
Hmm...I use a Naim amplifier which doesn"t has a Zobel network claiming this results in a better sound. Mr Shaw's experiment has proven the opposite as I understand it.

{Moderator's comment: is that really true? That will certainly mean that the type of cable and speaker connected to it will entirely define the technical performance, and probably audio performance too. Can't understand why they designed like that unless to sell their own cable and own speakers i.e. a marketing tactic.}

fred40
10-05-2011, 02:40 PM
Don"t think so...Although NAIM does advice to use their own Speakercable and connectors they are so cheap that I guess there's hardly any profit.

hifi_dave
10-05-2011, 07:31 PM
Very early Naim amps had to use the appropriate cable in a run of 3.5 mtr minimum to provide the correct amount of inductance to keep the amp stable. In practice, this wasn't a problem as any 'normal' cable will supply the recommended characteristics.

All Naim amps made during the past 15 years are completely stable into any cable unless it's very highly capacitive but there are very few such on the market. In practice, you don't need to give it any thought.

Naim's own speaker cable is very good and reasonably priced, making it a good choice to partner Naim amps or any other for that matter.

QChicago
11-05-2011, 01:14 AM
Greetings from Chicago! I agree that speaker cable should be DECENT, not expensive. I have 25' (8M) runs to my Super HL5s with quad 14 gauge Belden cable (I think I paid $75US). Anyway, by merging the - and + wires the result is 11 AWG. The sound is terrific. DON'T waste your money on fancy speaker wire. Regards, Steve

{Moderator`s comment: you should explain carefully what you mean by `merging the wires` in case readers accidentally short out their amp}

Haligonian
11-05-2011, 01:13 PM
Agreed, can you elaborate?


Greetings from Chicago! I agree that speaker cable should be DECENT, not expensive. I have 25' (8M) runs to my Super HL5s with quad 14 gauge Belden cable (I think I paid $75US). Anyway, by merging the - and + wires the result is 11 AWG. The sound is terrific. DON'T waste your money on fancy speaker wire. Regards, Steve

{Moderator`s comment: you should explain carefully what you mean by `merging the wires` in case readers accidentally short out their amp}

QChicago
11-05-2011, 08:06 PM
By "merging" the wires what I mean is this: The "quad" (Canare) type wire consists of four separately insulated wires (two + and two -). I do not "bi-wire," as it's useless to do so IMO.

Accordingly, I twist together the two + and connect them to the corresponding + terminal of the speaker; and I do likewise with the two - wires and connect them to the corresponding - terminal.

QChicago
11-05-2011, 08:16 PM
Haligonian: I'm not sure what to elaborate about here.

Basically, I believe that expensive speaker cables are not necessary to achieve the best sound and that money is much better spent on other parts of our audio systems (such as components) that DO make a SQ difference. I also believe that bi-wiring does nothing to improve SQ. I follow the Harbeth suggestions: DECENT (not expensive) cabling of suitable gauge and single wiring of the speakers.

At the suggestion of the Moderator, I have explained what I meant by "merging" the wires in a previous post. HTH

keithwwk
12-05-2011, 03:37 AM
Appreciate QChigaco for sharing your experience. The good sound of Harbeth really no need exotic accessories....I am too still using my more than 10 yrs old MIT terminator2 speakers cable happily. I can keep my $ for more music.. :)

Haligonian
12-05-2011, 12:29 PM
QChicago, thanks for the helpful response.

Vooidudrew
07-09-2011, 05:50 PM
I am trying very hard to get the proper sound from these new P3esr speakers. I am running them from a Pass Labs XA 30.5 Class A amplifier at 30 watts. Actually much higher but you already know that!

I am trying to find a pair of quality speaker cables that match with your speakers. I feel the sound just a tad on the thin side or I haven't adjusted my ears to "pure" sound of flawed recordings. I listen to the Stones to Lucinda Williams to Coltrane to Miles. James Taylor to The Beatles.

Can you point me in a few directions for a pair of 8-9' cables.

Nordost Red Dawn LS
Kimber 8TC
Crimson
are the ones I am currently looking at.

{Moderator's comment: we here at Harbeth UK are highly sceptical of using speaker cable to 'adjust' the sound of your system. That's really not the right approach. The P3ESRs as you will have read have a fantastic following, and if you are not achieving the natural sound they are capable of throwing money at the issue willy-nilly is not sensible. The first step is to live with the system as it is for weeks. The second step is to borrow another amplifier. The third step is to do some soul searching about whether natural sound is really what you want. It's not everyone's choice. We urge you to use bog-standard QED79 strand or similar cable as a benchmark to be sure your existing cables are not the culprit. In other words, remove all the variable and get back to basics.}

KT88
08-09-2011, 03:17 AM
Hey, 'drew.

I'm going to go with the moderator here and ask what cables you're currently using, and what electronics are in front of the Pass amp. I have no problem with your amp, as I use a 15 watt Pass clone in front of my Monitor 30's. And they've never sounded thin.

Of the cables you mention, I'd try the Kimber first - a no BS product.

Let us in on the rest of your system.

engjoo
08-09-2011, 05:00 AM
I am trying very hard to get the proper sound from these new P3esr speakers. I am running them from a Pass Labs XA 30.5 Class A amplifier at 30 watts. Actually much higher but you already know that!

I am trying to find a pair of quality speaker cables that match with your speakers. I feel the sound just a tad on the thin side or I haven't adjusted my ears to "pure" sound of flawed recordings. I listen to the Stones to Lucinda Williams to Coltrane to Miles. James Taylor to The Beatles.

Can you point me in a few directions for a pair of 8-9' cables.

Nordost Red Dawn LS
Kimber 8TC
Crimson
are the ones I am currently looking at.

{Moderator's comment: we here at Harbeth UK are highly sceptical of using speaker cable to 'adjust' the sound of your system. That's really not the right approach. The P3ESRs as you will have read have a fantastic following, and if you are not achieving the natural sound they are capable of throwing money at the issue willy-nilly is not sensible. The first step is to live with the system as it is for weeks. The second step is to borrow another amplifier. The third step is to do some soul searching about whether natural sound is really what you want. It's not everyone's choice. We urge you to use bog-standard QED79 strand or similar cable as a benchmark to be sure your existing cables are not the culprit. In other words, remove all the variable and get back to basics.}

I am using 10 gauge belden cables terminated and sold by bluejeanscable on my P3esr. They are no nosense, afforable and feature ultrasonically welded banana plugs. Do a google for their contact.

cornelius
08-09-2011, 04:47 PM
From your list, I'd choose Kimber. I use Kimber PBJ interconnects, and Kimber 4TC's on my P3ESR's (I think mine are 8' runs). The Kimbers seem fine, someday I'll have to A/B them to my old Analysis Plus Clear Oval cables that I still have, from an older set up. I have a feeling they'll sound pretty much the same...

I've used Blue Jeans Cable for digital interconnects - they're a good company to deal with, they're stuff seems pretty sound (no pun intended).