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Bruce
03-02-2006, 11:45 PM
I'm sure this was covered over and over in the old forum but I can't get into the old one and search. I'm considering the Super HL5 speakers. I have a PrimaLuna Prologue 2 K88T tube amp rated at 40 wpc. I don't have a local dealer where I can audition the SHL5's with my amp. I see a lot of posts in audio forums that say Harbeths need a lot of power and don't do well with tube amps. So I'm coming here to hopefully find out the truth from some real Harbeth owners. Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?

Jodet
03-02-2006, 11:53 PM
I had a Primaluna II 2 for six months and tried it many times on my Harbeth 30's. It was a wonderful combination. My 30's are in the HT room with an Arcam receiver, so hooking up the Primaluna was just 'for fun'. But it was a very nice combination with Harbeth - midrange for miles and really open.

Groovetracer
04-02-2006, 01:56 AM
I had a Primaluna II 2 for six months and tried it many times on my Harbeth 30's. It was a wonderful combination. My 30's are in the HT room with an Arcam receiver, so hooking up the Primaluna was just 'for fun'. But it was a very nice combination with Harbeth - midrange for miles and really open.
I powered my M30's with an EAR 534 push pull tube amp (50 wt/ch), no problem driving them at pretty high SPL.

Peter Jacobsen
04-02-2006, 02:37 AM
My dealer here in Shanghai (I only just ordered my Compact 7's) almost always drives his Super HL5's with tube amps, usually 300B SET's. It sounds wonderful!! His showroom is quite small, though.

Good luck

A.S.
04-02-2006, 09:40 AM
I read this comment from time to time, and it really is not tue.

The medium size Harbeths (M30, C7, SHL5, and all the earlier HL models) have a resonable sensitivity around 85dB/W/m. The P3 and M40 are a bit lower.

I listen at home using a 50W amp and its its deafening.

I suspect that whilst the sensitivity of Harbeth speakers remained static in the mid 80dB's over the past 30 years, I guess that the avearage sensitivity of speakers has nudged up. However, to achieve a smooth, well balanced sound there probably *has to be* a significant proportion of moving mass in the (heavy) rubber surround, accounting for about 40% of the total. Reduce the rubber mass, and yes the efficiency increases, but the sound quality degrades. Since watts are cheap, I think sensitivity is the least important design goal - it's fine in the 80dB's because even modest amplifiers will generate a really loud sound.

Of all the design objectives that the BBC-speaker designers of yesteryear or me now, sensitivity is the least important. Everything else is so much more relevant to great sound.

I've covered similar topics in the FAQ page on the web site. Also here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=41

Wiyono
04-02-2006, 09:51 AM
My 30 watt EL34 pushpull overload a lot driving M30.
Maybe because I like to listen quite loud.
I think solid state do a better job in make the speaker sing dynamically.

Tony L
04-02-2006, 11:02 AM
Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?

I?ve just bought a Prologue Two and it sounds wonderful with my Compact 7s so I?d guess it would do ok with HL5s. I find the C7s sound better on the 8 Ohm tap and I?ve got them hooked up with Mogami 2972. Power is certainly not an issue, they go plenty loud and sound very clean, clear, open and controlled. I?m liking this amp a hell of a lot already (it?s not even burnt-in yet as I've only had it a week).

Tony.

A.S.
04-02-2006, 11:05 AM
Are you really sure that EL34 is capable of 30W? I do not know anything about tube amps but I have a feeling that EL34 is of lower power - maybe 15W?

Also, please consider that the output matching transformer that (almost) all tube amps need to drive the speakers will lose some power. The entire performance of a tube amp is critically interrelated with the design and construction of the output tranformer - as far as I can tell.

Tony L
04-02-2006, 01:25 PM
Are you really sure that EL34 is capable of 30W? I do not know anything about tube amps but I have a feeling that EL34 is of lower power - maybe 15W?

You can get 30-35 watts out of a pair in push / pull configuration, a couple of current examples being the Prima Luna Prologue One (http://www.upscaleaudio.com/product.asp?itemid=11&catid=36) and the Ming Da MC34 (http://www.mei-xing.com/English/E-CP/e-2.htm).

Tony.

Chayro
04-02-2006, 02:09 PM
You have enough power if you're expectations are realistic. You aren't going to get high-volume bone-crushing bass with that amp. However i've heard the SHL-5 sound beautiful with 30-50 wpc solid state amps. Plus, one dealer I know thinks the best sound he's heard from the 5's was with a 22 wpc SET amp. If you listen at moderate levels, your amp should be fine. Besides, unless you get into horns or single-driver speakers, how many speakers are easier to drive than the Harbeths? The 3A DaCapo is very efficient, but sound like someone is yelling in your ear.

John Parkyn
04-02-2006, 02:48 PM
Just thought it might be interesting to see what members use to drive their Harbeths. I'm far frlom an audiophile or a techie but I imagine some of the following terms will crop up: solid state, tubes, integrated, receiver, amp, pre-amp.

Also please let us know what Harbeth model they're driving and watt power is at play (a wee joke there!).

Please let us know how satisfied you are with the resulting sound.

I don't have Harbeths yet, but currently (Lordy, another wee joke!) I use a vintage Marantz 2270 receiver to power Spendor S 3/5's and a Luxman receiver to push ADC (bet you never heard of them) sub and satellites. I am pleased with the sound these engines generate.

If I can improve the wording of the question let me know and I'll edit it.

Ted_W
04-02-2006, 03:00 PM
Hi John

I have had a pair of Harbeth 7's for several years now, and I am extremely happy with them. As a matter of fact they are the first pair of speakers, that I have ever owned, in which I have been completely happy.

I am using an AR SP-15 pre-amp and an AP 150.2 power amp to drive them and this combination has produced very good results.

Regards,

AEW

Jodet
04-02-2006, 03:23 PM
Arcam AVR250 - I am very pleased with the results. I also have a Nait 5i in a hobby shop that I have listened to on my Harbeths - that is a wonderful combo.

s.a.b.
04-02-2006, 03:24 PM
John,

I use Quad 909 amp/99 pre combo to drive my C7s.

By the way I also own Spendor s3/5 which I use in bedroom/TV system driven by the Quad 99 amp/99 pre combo.

parmenides
04-02-2006, 03:30 PM
I use naim nait5i and naim cd5i with my harbeth 7es-2. also use tuner of magnum dynalab md90.
I like combo naim + harbeth.

Robert Lantin
04-02-2006, 03:44 PM
Hello Mr. Parkyn,

Here's a glimpse of my current set-up:

Speakers: Harbeth M30s
Amplifier: Plinius SA100/3 (100 watts per channel; pure class A solid state)
Preamplifier: Plinius M16L (solid state)
Room: 16 x 20 x 9 feet (with the speakers ~8 feet apart on the long wall, ~6 feet into the room)

I have had this set-up for several years now and am absolutely delighted with it. I feel no urge or need to upgrade. Music is the name of the game as far as I'm concerned, and my M30s sing to me every single day. I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to musical genres, and have no preferred format?I listen to vinyl, cassettes, CDs, DVD-As, DADs, and SACDs.

Kind regards,

Robert Lantin

Don Leman
04-02-2006, 03:58 PM
Speakers: Super HL5
Amplifier: Blue Circle BC24 (85wpc class AB tube hybrid)
Preamp: Blue Circle BC3000 (tube)
Room: 19.6 x 12.1 x 7.5 speakers 5.5 ft apart along short wall 5 ft into room

Gary DiChiara
04-02-2006, 04:01 PM
M40's driven by Audio Research VT 100 MKIII (100wpc tube) amp through Alpha core MI2 Divinity single wired.

Chayro
04-02-2006, 04:38 PM
Nap 250-2 with the SHL-5s.

Halrich
04-02-2006, 04:53 PM
HL-P3ES-2 's driven by a Manley Stingray intergrated amp - 45 watts.

tomryan
04-02-2006, 04:57 PM
C7-2s driven by an EAR 890 70wt tube amp in a small room (10.5 x 13x8ft). A Plinius SA50MKIII also worked very nicely but I've been a tube guy for over 20 years and probably won't change. I use a Joule Electra LA150MkII tube pre-amp which is from a small USA company.

Halrich
04-02-2006, 05:01 PM
In the last year I purchased a pair of HL-P3ES-2's and bought the
Manley Stingray Int. amp @ 45 w per channel. My listening
room is medium size and I am extremely happy with volume level.
Sound is wonderful - especially after I replaced the two 12AT7 pre amp
tubes with NOS telefunken's. Cant get much better!

dodgealum
04-02-2006, 05:04 PM
I'm using an ARC 100.2 (100wpc solid state) amp and a SP16 (tube) preamp. I previously used a Naim 140/62/Hicap. The improvements brought about by the ARC electronics was substantial. I'm driving Compact 7ES's. Lovely.

tomryan
04-02-2006, 05:05 PM
I have a bias toward tubes and use EAR 890 tube amp for C7-2s. The Harbeth dealer I spoke w/ however, tried to steer me toward SS saying Harbeths are designed with SS and made to sound best that way. I always try my own thing, though, and the EAR works very well.

tomryan
04-02-2006, 05:11 PM
I just remembered this. I friend in St Louis, USA, heard C7-2s being driven by Lamm 18 wt SETs ($20,000.00 a pair!) and said the volume and dynamics were excellent. He and two other people heard no indications the speaker was being underpowered. But then, I think the Lamms are designed to be high current devices. I always make careful consideration of transformer type when considering a tube amp. That is why I've owned 2 Air Tights.

lasseolsson
04-02-2006, 05:14 PM
An Arcam AVR300 drives my Compact 7ES-2. Channel 6 and 7 are used for bi-amping. Very nice.

Steven Yu
04-02-2006, 05:38 PM
M40
Hovland HP-100 preamp
Symphonic Line Kraft 250 amp
Lector 7 CDP
Roksan TMS/Triplanar VII/Shelter 901
Oritek X-1/X-2 interconnects
Anti-cable speaker cables(single run)

tomryan
04-02-2006, 05:51 PM
I am running C7-2s with an EAR 890 tube amp but had this same problem with a Plinius SA50III and Air Tight ATM2. When I drive the volume a little high (but not anywhere near headbanging high) an upper midrange glare becomes evident on things like saxes, piano, female vocals, electric guitar. I back off the volume and things are fine. Again, this happens at moderately high volume, no where near high volume. Has anyone else had this experience and could it be related to the metal dome tweeter? I see it's crossed over at around 2500 hz which is about where the "bit" comes in, maybe a little higher. I've tried other equipment (except speakers) and get the same problem. Only items I haven't swapped out are the speaker cables which are TG Audio silver wire. Might be the silver wire interacting with the metal dome tweeters as I have to admit not being a fan of metal transducers. Thanks in advance, people.

Ian Boyd
04-02-2006, 06:13 PM
Are you really sure that EL34 is capable of 30W? I do not know anything about tube amps but I have a feeling that EL34 is of lower power - maybe 15W?


Many push-pull EL34 amps are rated around 30W. I have used an AMC CVT3030a with these valves, rated at 30W.

Perhaps you are thinking of the EL84, Alan? It is a smaller, lower power valve, used in amps like the Leak Stereo 20.

Ian

Groovetracer
04-02-2006, 06:36 PM
I am running C7-2s with an EAR 890 tube amp but had this same problem with a Plinius SA50III and Air Tight ATM2. When I drive the volume a little high (but not anywhere near headbanging high) an upper midrange glare becomes evident on things like saxes, piano, female vocals, electric guitar. I back off the volume and things are fine. Again, this happens at moderately high volume, no where near high volume. Has anyone else had this experience and could it be related to the metal dome tweeter? I see it's crossed over at around 2500 hz which is about where the "bit" comes in, maybe a little higher. I've tried other equipment (except speakers) and get the same problem. Only items I haven't swapped out are the speaker cables which are TG Audio silver wire. Might be the silver wire interacting with the metal dome tweeters as I have to admit not being a fan of metal transducers. Thanks in advance, people.
I doubt cables are the problem.
Do you use any room treatments at the first reflection points?
Speakers stand type/height?
What is your source equipment?
Have you tried driving them with a solid state amp with at least 100 wt/channel?

I powered my Monitor 30's with an EAR 534(50 wt/ch.) which is very similar to the EAR 890 and really enjoyed the results.

renanj
04-02-2006, 06:49 PM
Amplifier: EAR 890 75 w/ch
PreAmp: EAR 864 with phono stage
Speakers: M30s
Subwoofer: Linn Sizmik

The amplifier drives the M30's easily. I have had the M30s for 4 years now and they are still the best speakers I have ever heard.

A.S.
04-02-2006, 07:11 PM
I have a bias toward tubes and use EAR 890 tube amp for C7-2s. The Harbeth dealer I spoke w/ however, tried to steer me toward SS saying Harbeths are designed with SS and made to sound best that way . . .
OK let's clarify this one!

It is true that throughout the design and listening process I use S.S. (solid state = transistor or MOSFET) analogue amplifiers and I have not (ever) used tubes. This is really a matter of practicalities. My equipment in not stationary in one listening room but moved around in the back of the car. For example, at "The Old Dairy" on the farm we have a mini-anechoic chamber, lab and workshop and so on. This is not a good travelling arrangement for tubes.

Secondly, tube amps start to age from the moment they are turned on for the very first time. Consistency - year in, year out - is actually more important than the fidelity when designing as opposed to listening for pleasure. I know that if I can get a speaker to work well on this modest gear, you will be able to extract a fabulous performance by careful selection of even better tube or S.S. amps; and you have the time to experiemnt. I don't.

I made a conscious decision to use a certain type of amp some twenty years ago, and I have a stock of them to be sure that I have always one or two available in working order. I have no motivation to change my position - these amps work well. And they are truly the product of a brilliant engineer. (Please don't ask what they are!)

As for the electrical load (the "impedance curve") of Harbeth speakers, I am acutely consciuous throughout the design process that the load must be benign so that our speakers will work with 99.99% of properly designed amplifiers. Otherwise my phone would be ringing all day long from customers in far flung places seeking my advice. Sadly, my Mandarin is not good enough to hold those sort of detailed conversations.

A.S.
04-02-2006, 07:12 PM
Yes, I think you may well be right. I'm getting confused.

A.S.
04-02-2006, 07:20 PM
... metal dome tweeter? I see it's crossed over at around 2500 hz which is about where the "bit" comes in, maybe a little higher. I've tried other equipment (except speakers) and get the same problem. Only items I haven't swapped out are the speaker cables which are... TG Audio silver wire. Might be the silver wire interacting with the metal dome tweeters as I have to admit not being a fan of metal transducers ...
The crossover frequency of the C7 is much higher - about 3500Hz.

Please don't be dismissive of "metal tranducers". These SEAS units specially made for us are fundamentally excellent transducers, and given the free choice, I would not hestiate for one second to select them for any future application. They are as perfect as you can get.

Yes, soft domes have a following, but I dare to suggest that if you have had negative experiences with "metal tranducers" that is in fact due to unsympathetic crossover design, not the tweeter iteslf. Of course, from the listener's perspective (i.e. yours as opposed to mine) you would only be able to judge the combination of the crossover + tweeter when you listen, but I can separate them (literally) and judge them independently.

I am a big fan of properly designed tweeters, regardless of their dome material. The SEAS people are, to my way of thinking, the masters of that craft.

As for cables - don't wast time and money experimenting.

Wiyono
04-02-2006, 07:27 PM
Gryphon Tabu AT 80 watt class AB SS Integrated driving M30

Markhh2
04-02-2006, 08:03 PM
Plinius 9100, Bel Canto DAC2, DH Lab Q10 speaker cables.

Attilio
04-02-2006, 09:08 PM
I?m driving my C7ES-2s with Blue Circle BC3000mkII/GZpz preamp and BC204 amp (150wpc) and find they compliment each other. My system plays a wide variety of music extremely well, from Bach to Coltrane, to Beatles, to Zeppelin. The music is exciting yet not fatiguing, even at low volume levels. I?m contemplating getting SHL-5s when cash flow permits.

Attilio

Chayro
04-02-2006, 09:24 PM
Silver cables are bright in general. Harbeths are not a bright speaker by any means. I would seriously consider swapping the cables out for copper. Before getting involved with anything expensive, I would just try some standard 14 gauge speaker wire to see if it makes any difference.

Don Leman
04-02-2006, 09:38 PM
Just a quick question... Out of interest how do you say SEAS is it like sneeze without the "n" or S E A S with each letter?

Groovetracer
05-02-2006, 12:12 AM
Silver cables are bright in general.
This is a general statement that I do not agree with. I use silver cables throughout my system and it is not bright in the least.

Chayro
05-02-2006, 01:18 AM
This is a general statement that I do not agree with.

I agree. That's why I wrote "in general".

joel
05-02-2006, 01:25 AM
The amplifiers I currently use are a pair of Trigon Dwarves

http://www.pbase.com/jomina/image/54847782/large.jpg

60wpc is plenty for the Compact 7s which are situated about halfway into the room on high stands, and which I listen to at close range (>1.5m). That is when not cooking, reading or doing something else while listening to music
Preamp is a large, oldish Accuphase.

lelexiao
05-02-2006, 01:27 AM
I use Naim Nait3R driver HL P3. It sounds great.

tobes
05-02-2006, 01:32 AM
I have never heard my C7's sound glarey - clearly something other than the speakers is responsible. Room acoustics/treatment (or lack of) would be my guess.

For the record, much of my system uses silver wiring (tonearm wiring, phono cable and all DIY interconnects). If I were to ascribe a general characteristic to silver wiring it would be purity or lack of grain.

Paul F.
05-02-2006, 03:13 AM
My C7ES 2's are driven by an ARC D200 (110 w/ch) with an IRD Audio Purist Pre, a NAD C521 CD, a Rega P25/Super Elys TT/Cart., and a Pass Labs Aleph Ono phono.
Everything is on a Stillpoints ESS suspension rack and the C7's are on Skylan 20" 4 post stands.

kevint
05-02-2006, 04:40 AM
was Pass X250 and now MBL 8011S, MBL is the better match to compliment Harbeth sound.

sevodude
05-02-2006, 07:26 AM
Super HL5
Benchmark DAC1
Modwright SWL9.0 pre amp
Odyssey MONO extreme amp

A.S.
05-02-2006, 09:40 AM
Just a quick question... Out of interest how do you say SEAS is it like sneeze without the "n" or S E A S with each letter?

Sea-a-s, S-E-A-S, is how we pronounce it in the UK. Definitely not like 'sneeze without the n'.

A.S.
05-02-2006, 09:51 AM
Thinking about this, you did say that you had a degredation of sound at a high replay level.

I recall a similar situation when driving a CD player into a preamp that really couldn't accept the high voltage output from the CD player, hence the amp's input and/or output clipped. (The Quad 34 suffers from this). CD players output (typically) 2.0Vrms for a fully modulated CD, which may or not be obvious from the music.

2.0Vrms is a peak-to-peak voltage swing of 5.2V, equivalent to more than 3 x 1.5V batteries in series - enough to light a bulb! That's a very high voltage and whether or not the preamp has a dedicated CD input, can the preamp actually cope with this signal?

The sonic effect of this persistent clipping is quite subtle until you latch on to it. It's a gritty edge which is really very iritating, manifest in the higher frequencies. My guess is that many amplifiers are actually clipping some or all of the time when driven by CD players.

The BBC's design of the LS5/8 involved investigation of the effects of driving the active amplifiers into clipping, and to everyone's surprise, proved that the ear was very tolerant of clipping on speech and music providing that it is relatively infrequent.

jaybar
05-02-2006, 10:10 PM
TG Audio SLVR cable is not silver, although silver is used in plating of their power cords and terminations.

Jay

A.S.
06-02-2006, 08:55 AM
T....cable is not silver, although silver is used in plating of their power cords and terminations.Jay
The concept of cables and their claimed sonic differences worries me. Speaking entirely from an amateur theoretical standpoint having never experimented with cables, I find it most difficult to understand how the cable can add anything to the sound, such as 'brightness' or indeed anything else.

If some sonic character can be attributed to the cable, then either the cable has gain - in which case the perpetual motion generator has finally been discovered - or the gain at one/some frequencies is offset by the loss at others resulting in an overall zero gain.

Look at the way the signal (the current) moves along the cable. As far as I understand it, there are (almost) countless billions of electrons whizzing around atoms in the cable, and with a gentle nudge (called a potential difference or voltage) the signal will flow from one end of the cable to the other as the electrons hop from the orbit of one atom to an adjacent one all the way down the cable at the speed of light.

How the 'sonic behavior' of the cable can be influenced by the base metal of the cable seems inexplicable and counter intuitive - unless it is constructed in a weird way in which case it fall into the category of gain at some frequencies, loss at others?

Thanos
06-02-2006, 09:13 AM
Hello John,
I drive with a McIntosh Ma 6500 SS integrated (120/8ohms-200/4ohms), player is Meridian 507, turntable (as a collector's choice) Technics 1200 Gold/Shure V15, deck Nakamichi DR 10, speaker cable (biwire) Kimbers 8TC, all interconnects Kimber KCAG and Heroes, speaker stands custom built.
I dare say, after 25 years of experience and changes of equipment, I' ll end my life with these!
Regards,
Thanos.

kevint
06-02-2006, 09:58 AM
Not necessary gain, it could be the difference in magnitude of subtraction across the frequency spectrum colors the sound somewhat.

A.S.
06-02-2006, 10:06 AM
Not necessary gain, it could be the difference in magnitude of subtraction across the frequency spectrum colors the sound somewhat.
Are you saying that there could be a series of boosts and cuts across the audio band?

OK, I think I understand but please advise by what *physical* mechanism that could occur. Those electrons in the cable have no brain. They skip to the next atom or they don't depending on the voltage 'suck'. They have no known frequency selectivity at audio frequencies, which compared to the speed of light is so slow as to be almost completely irrelevant.

Tony L
06-02-2006, 10:28 AM
The concept of cables and their claimed sonic differences worries me. Speaking entirely from an amateur theoretical standpoint having never experimented with cables, I find it most difficult to understand how the cable can add anything to the sound, such as 'brightness' or indeed anything else.

I think it is time for you to play with some cables! I would be very interested to hear someone with a good scientific knowledge explain why there are differences, and what is wrong with the cables that sound the most different. A good starting point would be say Naim NAC A5 and Kimber 8TC speaker cable; these really are chalk and cheese (selected as I have in the past personally blind tested these with 100% accuracy, so the difference between them is certainly not imagined!).

My guess is that there is a measurable difference between cables, i.e. subtle changes in capacitance / resistance or whatever all have clear sonic traits. I’m not convinced people are measuring the right thing yet, but there is something there to measure for sure.

Tony.

PS I recently replaced the Naim A5 in my own system with Mogami 2972 and again the difference was anything but subtle, you could easily spot that change in the hallway outside the room!

kevint
06-02-2006, 10:34 AM
Are you saying that there could be a series of boosts and cuts across the audio band?

OK, I think I understand but please advise by what *physical* mechanism that could occur. Those electrons in the cable have no brain. They skip to the next atom or they don't depending on the voltage 'suck'. They have no known frequency selectivity at audio frequencies, which compared to the speed of light is so slow as to be almost completely irrelevant.
Don't think drilling down into atomic level can help drawing any conclusion. Just as a plain layman, we all agree ears are our most sensitive apparatus for sound measurement, so why not relying on them when searching for the best connection way to our trusty Harbeth?

BTW, I remember Spendor use OFC for internal cable, curious to know Derek Hughes' view on the subject.

A.S.
06-02-2006, 11:02 AM
Don't think drilling down into atomic level can help drawing any conclusion. Just as a plain layman, we all agree ears are our most sensitive apparatus for sound measurement, so why not relying on them when searching for the best connection way to our trusty Harbeth?

Um. I find it a wee bit hard to believe that after all the semiconductor junctions in the microphone's electronics, the mic cables, the mixing desk, the recorder, the editing machine, the CD laser, the CD internal electonics, the analogue output, the hi-fi amp that a few more in the cables of the listening system can somehow swamp all of the aforementioned.

As for ears, 'sensitive' perhaps, or perhaps not: but unreliable, prone to emotional influence, susceptible to temperature, mood, atmospheric pressure, humidity, tiredness, general health and of course, ageing. In short, just about the least scientific instrument you could possibly imagine. Never trust your ears alone: you *have* to counterbalance your ears with some technical equipment.

Thanos
06-02-2006, 11:11 AM
Hi Alan,
Friends,

I'm very much afraid that the myth of "big watts and super cables" comes to its end, every day passing. We made a blind test in Athens with 7 audiophiles, possessing expensive equipment. We played the same thing (opera & solo voice) several times, changing same length cables of different types/values very very fast. The audience couldn't see, and by 80% they finally voted for the cheapest of all. A thick inexpensive copper cable...
Then, we drove the speakers with pre-power combo of 2 X 400wrms, and immediately switched to a 2 X100 integrated, of the same brand and topology, for several times. We had pre-fixed volumes to be equal (integrated at 12.00 o'clock, pre-power at about 09.00 o'clock), by measuring with db meters at 4 positions where panel sat.
The panel was totally confused, they did not decide what is what and what's better...
I leave to you the comments, the thoughts and spices...
But, one humble point:
Marketing can sell fridges to Eskimoes... Knowledge can prevent spending our (sweat and hard times) earned income to things that marketing puts in front of eyes, like a Holy Grail.
So, to cry for help? No.
Measure, Gentlemen, Measure!
I totally agree with Alan Shaw's positions and way of dedicating to music itself. Let's read and interprete the man more carefully...
Warm Regards,
Thanos.

John Goodsir
06-02-2006, 12:26 PM
Quad 99CDP directly into Quad 909 into Compact 7 ES-2.
Sounds balanced and natural to me.

Soundbyte
06-02-2006, 02:58 PM
Currently running on:


Compact 7ES2
Roksan Kandy MKIII - Still looking for a better amp....
Musical Fidelity A3.2 CD player
Audience AU24 Interconnects
Hisago 7N pure copper Speaker Cable
Atacama SL500 Speaker Stand
Atacama Equinox Hifi rack

danrubin
06-02-2006, 03:02 PM
Super HL5
Amps: Rowland 201 monoblocks
Pre: Rowland Concerto
CD: APL Hi-Fi modified Marantz
LP: Linn LP-12/Ittok II/Benz L2/ Benz Lukaschek
Cables: Oriotek X-1 (IC), Audience AU24 (speaker)
Stands: Ikea 18" plant stands, but I will soon order Skylans

The Rowlands are a holdover from when I had larger speakers and may be overkill (power-wise) for the Harbeths. I plan to play with some alternatives, including tubes, but the current setup sounds very good.

And by the way, I am currently running the Harbeths with grilles off after I discoved that low frequency information was producing a "rattle".

Peter Jacobsen
06-02-2006, 03:22 PM
Just a quick question... Out of interest how do you say SEAS is it like sneeze without the "n" or S E A S with each letter?

The "ea" in SEAS is pronounced like the "ea" in IKEA. SEAS is Norwegian, IKEA is Swedish. (I'm from Denmark, what do we have??) ;-)

danrubin
06-02-2006, 03:24 PM
Audiophilia does tend to be a faith-based, science-free hobby. I have had the experience of not hearing differences in blind tests. And yet, in the day-to-day of the hobby, cables seem to make substantial and musically important differences, such that I can't ignore them.

I agree with the suggestion that you give it a try, Alan (and others). See if you can find someone to loan you a pair of Nordoost Valhalla speaker cables, and then maybe try something from Cardas.

mou
06-02-2006, 05:14 PM
Hi,

and welcome everybody. I've recently purchased a pair of compact 7, and a pair of stands to place the speakers on.

I noticed that with certain low frecuencies, the left speaker did vibrate sometimes (the right wall of the speaker). I phoned the salesman where I bought them and he asked me how did I place the speakers. He recommended me not to use four spikes or four balls of blue tack (or however it is written). Instead of that, he told me to place them with something between the speaker and the stand which allowed full contact of the bottom of the speaker with the stand.

What do you think about that? What would you advice? Thanks for your help

Celadus
06-02-2006, 05:30 PM
A cure for Audiophilia Nervosa:

Harbeth Compact 7ES-2 on IKEA "Lack" stand 18"/45cm (danrubin you read my review on smartgroup? It's Alan's suggestion!)
Accuphase E-307 Integrated amp
Linn LP-12 Sondek with Cirkus and Valhalla PS/Ekos/Klyde, Linn Linto MC preamp.
MIT MH-750 Shotgun biwire speaker cable, Linn Silver interconnect and MIT Z Chord II power chord.

Lorenzo Verger
Milan, Italy

danrubin
06-02-2006, 06:19 PM
(danrubin you read my review on smartgroup? It's Alan's suggestion!)

Yes indeed I did. Was a significant improvement over the chairs I had them sitting on before, and I can only hope that Skylans won't be a step backwards. I am thinking that 20" might be even better than 18".

tomryan
06-02-2006, 10:14 PM
As regards cables, I also was skeptical and didn't give it much concern until borrowing a pair of very expensive speaker wires about 15 years ago. They made the system a little noisy as if there was very slight static in the background. The dealer even heard it. I use TG Audio cables because when I first listened, I heard "backer backgrounds and less noise" than the Kimber and Audioquests I'd been using. Things also sounded more solid, is best I can explain.

I also tried a pair of Audience AU24s which were indistinguishable from the TGs except for a slight but irritating upper frequency "etch". A buddy was over before I took the AUs back and switched them without me knowing. As I listened that night I thought some tubes were going bad or some other problem. That high frequency irritation was back and now, I thought, it's not the wires; must be some other problem in the system. I went to check things and found the AUs installed - I'd thought my TGs were back in line. I suddenly realized what the problem was: the Audience wires. Threw the TGs back on and the high end was smooth again.

I also think the argument all the signal processing happening before the signal hits our system has validity. However, I think once the signals are impressed into the software, what we subject them to has immense effect. We are now in a new universe; our hardware (cables included) handle these things and do effect them.
It's kind of like cooking: how the ingredients are made is important to but completely determining of the final dish.

As regards double blind testing, an interesting article occured in our local newspaper about a vet who gave a couple the wrong dog. It took them over a day to figure it out. Thank goodness they were forced to pick their dog based on double blind testing. Thank goodness I'm not forced to do the same thing as regards peoiple who call me on the phone - "You have 2 seconds to figure out who this is!"

There used to be a neighborhood cat who visited us on a regular basis. He disappeared for a while, then showed up at a neighbor's house. I went over to help ID the little guy and it took a few min for the sublties of his personality to register him as Little Red Teddy. Under dobule blind testing he'd still be on the street.

tomryan
06-02-2006, 10:27 PM
Sorry for some of the spelling errors!

googalang
07-02-2006, 03:53 AM
Since the thread asked for amps...

mine's a Symphonic Line RG10. 150wpc is just about enough.

Grant C
07-02-2006, 08:08 AM
Super Hl5 driven by Consonance Cyber 800 70 watt tube momo blocks and Tom Evans Vibe pre amp

A.S.
07-02-2006, 06:06 PM
This thread concerns finding the best amplifier solutions.

J?rg
07-02-2006, 07:39 PM
HL C 7 ES driven by an Alchemist Kraken.

John Parkyn
07-02-2006, 10:11 PM
On the previous Harbeth user group, a respected audiophile praised receivers and suggested that it was not necessary (essential) to use a separate amp or separate amp / preamp.

I hope I'm recalling the writer's sentiment accurately.

I wonder if anybody has thoughts on this topic, particularly as it relates to driving Harbeths?

Hu
08-02-2006, 02:12 AM
On the previous Harbeth user group, a respected audiophile praised receivers and suggested that it was not necessary (essential) to use a separate amp or separate amp / preamp.

I hope I'm recalling the writer's sentiment accurately.

I wonder if anybody has thoughts on this topic, particularly as it relates to driving harbeths?

I always wonder what the advantage is separate amp/preamp than integrated one.

lelexiao
08-02-2006, 02:20 AM
Since the thread asked for amps...

mine's a Symphonic Line RG10. 150wpc is just about enough.

I am very happy to find a chinese friend and even chinese name in Harbeth group. I am in Beijing

sevodude
08-02-2006, 04:36 AM
Its many reasons: separate power supply, separation from EMI etc, ability to use larger transformers.. a large part of auidio sonic quality has to do with quality of power source and sheilding from interference, noise etc.
Then again, design does matter too. They are very good integrated amps too.

David Schalkwyk
08-02-2006, 04:42 PM
I've posted something related to this on the HPL3 thread, but I think it's probably also of more general interest.

Having bought a pair of the smallest monitors, and being generally delighted with them, there are problems which suggest that I should perhaps think of changing my amplifier. I hate this! I can see the costly, painful spiral of never-ending substitutions (aka upgrading) consuming my life. The problem with buying Harbeths, I have found, is that they are ruthlessly revealing of shortcomings in equipment down the line. In short, I'm thinking of replacing my custom 90watt SS amp (with which I've been very happy for some 12 years!) with a good, but affordable valve amplifier. The other possibility is a Class-A SS. A friend brought around a restored, 25-year old Sugden which sounded glorious (with only 25 watts). Problem is that I can't afford a new Sugden (having spent my budget on the Harbeths) and there are not very many of the vintage Sugdens around.

Does anyone have any experience to share? I'm not sure if it makes a difference whether you've got the bigger Harbeths or not, since the smaller ones don't have Radial drivers.

Thanks

David

PS If anyone thinks the Harbeths are hard to drive, try my previous 'speakers, Martin Logans. They were hell--beautiful mid-range, virtually no treble, lumpy bass and very temperamental!


This thread concerns finding the best amplifier solutions.

Bruce
08-02-2006, 04:51 PM
The problem with buying Harbeths, I have found, is that they are ruthlessly revealing of shortcomings in equipment down the line.

As one considering Harbeth's, I'm sorry to hear that. I have an audition of the C7 and Monitor 30 set for this Sunday. So I will hear for myself.

David Schalkwyk
08-02-2006, 06:52 PM
As one considering Harbeth's, I'm sorry to hear that. I have a audition of the C7 and Monitor 30 set for this Sunday. So I will hear for myself.

Bruce, why should you be sorry? I would have thought it would be an incentive (even though it's caused me some pain).

Best

David

Bruce
08-02-2006, 07:04 PM
That's no incentive to me. Having to swap out amplifiers to make the speakers sound good is not a game I want to play. Maybe Spendors are better for me. Can you say the "S" word in this forum.

David Schalkwyk
08-02-2006, 07:21 PM
I can understand your point, having just had a pair of Harbeths force me to reconsider what I considered good reproduction. But I have come round, painfully, to the conviction that you can't buy loudspeakers on the ground that they will hide the shortcomings of the rest of your system. What's the point? I've listened to the Spendor competitor of the Harbeths. Even with the problems that the HPL3s revealed in my amplifier/turntable/arm/cartridge (I'm not sure which), I wouldn't have bought the Spendors. That's not to say that the Spendors aren't fine for someone else. It just strikes me that if you don't buy a transducer that is designed to be as accurate (to the recording, not necessarily to the original event, because a loudspeaker doesn't know the original event) then you're going around in circles. I bought a pair of very expensive, very well-reviewed loudspeakers a couple of years ago that I thought matched the system I had. But I gradually became more and more irritated and dissatisfied with them until I could not listen to them any more. That's the danger of not buying equipment that is ruthlessly revealing. At least it doesn't lie. One can live with lies, but only for a certain amount of time.

Good luck, and best wishes,

David
.

Bruce
08-02-2006, 08:58 PM
It just strikes me that if you don't buy a transducer that is designed to be as accurate (to the recording, not necessarily to the original event, because a loudspeaker doesn't know the original event) then you're going around in circles.

Well, that's where we differ. I want speakers that I can listen to for hours and just enjoy the music without constantly analyzing it to determine whether I have just the right components. What's the good of being accurate if you can't stand to listen to it.

David Schalkwyk
08-02-2006, 09:15 PM
Well, that's where we differ. I want speakers that I can listen to for hours and just enjoy the music without constantly analyzing it to determine whether I have just the right components. What's the good of being accurate if you can't stand to listen to it.

Bruce, we could go on for ever. So I'll just make one brief remark. When I bought my previous 'speakers I thought exactly that: I just want to listen for hours (which I do). I don't believe that hi-fi can reproduce live sound with any kind of real accuracy. Problem is that when I listened for hours with my earlier 'speakers (which I bought following your principle--I've been there!) I gradually become less and less comfortable at what I was hearing. All I'm saying is that, to avoid future discomfort, buy the most accurate monitors you can (accurate as far as the recording is concerned). They may reveal problems with the ancillary equipment, but at least you'll know that. It's better than gradually discovering that what you thought would be pleasant, nice, comfortable, whatever, finally turns out to be irritating, deceptive, and unpleasant. That's all. Time is what counts here. I've made this mistake twice; I don't want to make it again. Our ears, as Alan says, are deceptive. But they're deceptive in a non-linear way. After a while, whatever they told you before, they'll rebel in the long run.

Will I be satisfied with Harbeth forever? I don't know. Maybe I'll grow out of love with them too. But for the moment they show me what has been missing for the past few years. There is no science to this aspect of the game. Alan has to hold on to science, but we just live our lives, trying to balance all the competing demands, including wanting to listen for hours.

Good night.

David

John Parkyn
08-02-2006, 09:17 PM
Some recommend tube-based amps. Others, including - I believe - Alan himself, prefer solid state.

What's your opinion? What's your thinking?

=====

I am unsure whether proponents of each camp are referring to Harbeths in particular or speakers in general.

David Schalkwyk
08-02-2006, 09:27 PM
I'm sure this was covered over and over in the old forum but I can't get into the old one and search. I'm considering the Super HL5 speakers. I have a PrimaLuna Prologue 2 K88T tube amp rated at 40 wpc. I don't have a local dealer where I can audition the SHL5's with my amp. I see a lot of posts in audio forums that say Harbeths need a lot of power and don't do well with tube amps. So I'm coming here to hopefully find out the truth from some real Harbeth owners. Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?

A quick PS to my last posting. It's perhaps extremely ironical for this discussion that one of the amplifiers I am considering as a match for the HPL3s is precisely the Primaluna Prologue 2! Perhaps you can tell me how they sound after your audition, Bruce?

Regards

And a final good night

David

Miss j9
09-02-2006, 07:35 AM
Michell + SME+Shure+my modified 1959 Leak Stereo20 + Coffee Latte. Three choices of LS that I use; LS3/5a, B&W Nautilus (my own Xover design. Far superior to B&W! hehe) and Wilson Benesch Arc's. Would love a pair of Harbeth Monitor 30's but running out of room!

Paris Kotsis
09-02-2006, 02:02 PM
It depends on your taste and speaker, of course. Monitor 40 won't be happy with a SET amp, but SHL5, C7 and M30 most probably will. I generally prefer tubes over solid state, for their tonal colors. Bear in mind, though, that much of these tonal colors are absent in most speakers but present in the RADIAL cone itself. So, maybe the best criterion is the speed of the amplifier which depends much on the amount of output power, amount/topology of feedback and class of operation.

Philippe Monteyne
09-02-2006, 06:44 PM
My C7s are driven by a Woodside ISO 230 integrated valve amp, with whic I have been happy for 10 years... However, I recently decided to upgrade the system, starting with the source: Marantz SA11.... fantastic SA CD!

Regarding the amp, Woodside disappeared I guess, but my dealer in Belgium has still a possible amp/pre amp separate combination from Woodside which he suggests me (better bass etc...)

What do you all think ?? Any idea on the next level for a valve fan? The C7s are not the easiest loudspeakers to drive...

Cheers !



Just thought it might be interesting to see what members use to drive their Harbeths. I'm far frlom an audiophile or a techie but I imagine some of the following terms will crop up: solid state, tubes, integrated, receiver, amp, pre-amp.

Also please let us know what Harbeth model they're driving and watt power is at play (a wee joke there!).

Please let us know how satisfied you are with the resulting sound.

I don't have Harbeths yet, but currently (Lordy, another wee joke!) I use a vintage Marantz 2270 receiver to power Spendor S 3/5's and a Luxman receiver to push ADC (bet you never heard of them) sub and satellites. I am pleased with the sound these engines generate.

If I can improve the wording of the question let me know and I'll edit it.

Bruce
09-02-2006, 07:08 PM
A quick PS to my last posting. It's perhaps extremely ironical for this discussion that one of the amplifiers I am considering as a match for the HPL3s is precisely the Primaluna Prologue 2! Perhaps you can tell me how they sound after your audition, Bruce?

Regards

And a final good night

David

I will. But, I will be auditioning the Monitor 30 and the C7's only, not the HLP3's. I would think that the synergy between the Prologue 2 and the C7's will carry over to the HLP3's. Don't expect any flowery reviewer type BS wordsmithing. I will be listening overall for whether I can live with this combination for long periods without fatigue (how the upper mids and treble sound) and how full the soundstage is at low listening levels. I'm looking for a set of speakers to keep for life where I can listen to the music and not constantly be listening for deficiencies in my components.

David Schalkwyk
09-02-2006, 09:48 PM
[/QUOTE] I'm looking for a set of speakers to keep for life where I can listen to the music and not constantly be listening for deficiencies in my components.[/QUOTE]

Fair enough. I think I put it wrongly when I said that the Harbeths expose deficiencies in components. That was a bit too negative. What I should have said is that they're accurate enough to convey the musical strengths of any good component. That is to say, get an accurate loudspeaker, and you never have to replace it again, because it will live up to whatever you feed it with. And it will give you unending pleasure.

I've just had a fascinating evening. A friend brought a new amplifier he's just finished building, based on a John Linsley-Hood pure class-A SS design. We've spent four hours entranced by music--Bach Cello suites, Debussy piano music, Britten's War Requiem, Beethoven String Quartets; Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa; Dave Brubeck; Miles Davis; and Bill Evans. CD and LP--about half and half. The combination of the Harbeths and the Class-A ss was pure pleasure. I've never heard anything like it. Now, here's the interesting bit. Because he's having difficulty with temperature control, he's had to lmit the amplifier to 11 watts. Yes, eleven. With Britten's War Requiem. No sign of clipping; no strain.

I think I've solved my amplifier problem. Privided he can solve the temperature issue. I insist on at least 18 watts. Never know when you might need them.

David

PS He tells me that the amp is the ss equivalent of a SET amplifier. Now I know what they mean.

Tony L
10-02-2006, 01:14 AM
I will be listening overall for whether I can live with this combination for long periods without fatigue (how the upper mids and treble sound) and how full the soundstage is at low listening levels.

If you can try and ensure the PrimaLuna you listen to is well burnt in - I’ve only had mine for a couple of weeks but the amount it has relaxed and opened up is quite pronounced. It sounded a bit edgy, mid forward and even a little harsh straight out of the box but is wonderfully open and clear now with no hardness or grain and is nicely tuneful, dynamic and punchy. It is a very good amp indeed and makes me want to keep listening to record after record.

Tony.

Ted Rook
10-02-2006, 06:12 AM
"I see a lot of posts in audio forums that say Harbeths need a lot of power and don't do well with tube amps. So I'm coming here to hopefully find out the truth from some real Harbeth owners. Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?"


I use a 50Wpc TEAC Reference solid state integrated amp with my M30s with excellent results, including plenty of volume (loudness). Harbeth speakers typically give about 85dB with 1W input. So much of our quiet listening only uses a Watt or two.
Harbeth speakers present an easy load to solid state amps, that is the impedance does not dip lower than about 6 Ohms (except for M40) and the phase angle of the impedance is never more than about 45 degrees I think that is the figure, please correct me if I'm wrong.
Harbeths are intended to be driven using solid state amps which typically have very low output impedance (between 0.1 Ohm and 0.01 Ohm approx) and most users probably do use solid state, especially the professional users like the BBC who would not consider tube amplification to be satisfactory.

Most tube amplifiers have a high output impedance, typically several Ohms or more. The interaction of this with the load impedance of the speaker, and the changes of load impedance with frequency, mean that a tube amp though sounding pleasant is never accurate in the way a solid state amp with low impedance is accurate. If you like the tube sound that is fine, but they cause tonal imbalances that were not present when the speaker was designed using low output impedance solid state amps.

You can chose almost any solid state amp and get satisfactory low output impedance, they are all designed the same way, to provide a constant voltage drive to the speaker.

If you make tube amps and want to sell them to people you want them to use high efficiency speakers so the small wattage typical of tube amps produces usable sound levels. Harbeth's are in the middle efficiency range at 85dB with 1Watt at 1 meter. Speakers having 95dB efficiency get you 10dB more loudness for the same amp power.

In order to discourage people from buying speakers that work best with solid state amps the tube people invent negative ideas about them to make them seem unattractive. For example "needing a lot of power" what is a lot of power? 50W is not a lot of power in the solid state world but it is in tube world. 50W is all it takes to make Harbeths go really loud in my living room. In fact 20W is plenty most of the time. So "a lot of power" is only a lot in tube land not solid state land.

"Harbeths don't do well with tube amps" could mean a lot of things. First it is not true. The mutliple posts here reveal that many people are very happy with the combination of Harbeth and tube. Possibly the most useful thing that could be meant is to note that Harbeths, being intended for use with solid state amps, are average efficiency. In other words if you only have 9Watts from your tube amp your Harbeths are never going to be loud enough. But the same would be true of all 85dB efficient speakers, not just Harbeths.

Does that help?

Ted LS5/12A and M30

A.S.
10-02-2006, 10:18 AM
"Harbeths are intended to be driven using solid state amps which typically have very low output impedance (between 0.1 Ohm and 0.01 Ohm approx) and most users probably do use solid state, especially the professional users like the BBC who would not consider tube amplification to be satisfactory.

Most tube amplifiers have a high output impedance, typically several Ohms or more. T ...

"Harbeths don't do well with tube amps" could mean a lot of things. First it is not true. The multiple posts here reveal that many people are very happy with the combination of Harbeth and tube....
First: I'm intrigued that tube amps has a high output impedance, which I assume is due to the windings of the output transformer? I'd be very interested to know if this is the general picture ...

Second: It's complete rubbish to believe that a) Harbeths are difficult to drive b) Harbeths are designed only for solid state amps c) Harbeths are not tube-friendly. All twaddle.

It is true that for the reasons I have consistently explained over the years, I do not personally use tube amps. I would welcome one, certainly at home, but I am obliged to use an amplifier that is maintenance-free and is just about guaranteed to perform the same across my entire working career. That seems to favour solid state. But I know from years of visiting shows and talking with customers that many Harbeths are paired with tubes - and excellent they sound too.

I keep a very careful eye on the electrical load that a Harbeth system presents to the amplifier during the design process. Many times I have rejected an otherwise excellent crossover network in favour of one presenting an easier load; hence the design time is greatly extended - perhaps by three times. It's very frustrating to abandon a circuit design that you've put many hours into solely because of the load implications, but its ultimately better than having customers on the phone all day seeking advice about amp/speaker recommendations - as if I was personally acquainted with every amp under the sun!

Other speaker designers may be less troubled by the 'universality' of their speaker load, but for me it is right at the top of the designers spec sheet. It has to be.

Overview of amps and power here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=41

sevodude
10-02-2006, 10:24 AM
I think that perhaps one way to think of it is that normal cabling just add a lot of impurities or coloration, such that in the presence of a really good and pure conductor, you get to hear the sound as it is. So it doesn't really add, but rather, a good cable subtract less?
But sometimes coloration can be pleasing. Think about tubes, and we know that certain sonic characteristics like warmth and musicality has less to do with accuracy then euphony.

Ted Rook
11-02-2006, 02:51 AM
I hope it was apparent in my post above that the negative material was quoted from other people's posts and that I was replying in defence of Harbeth. there is something about the construction of Alan's response which leads me to believe the quotes I made from others should have been more clearly identified as such. No big deal.

Yes, the high output impedance is a result of the output transformer. It is not universally true, there are some designs that incorporate the transformer in the amplifier's negative feedback loop and achieve solid state like performance figures.

Ted

Ted Rook
11-02-2006, 03:35 AM
I fully support what Alan has said in reply to my post, Harbeth's have much to offer to owners of all types of amplifiers, solid state and tube.

Apologies for the misrepresentation which was unintended.

Ted

A.S.
11-02-2006, 11:19 AM
I hope it was apparent in my post ... the quotes I made from others should have been more clearly identified as such. No big deal.

Ted
My reply was most definitely not directed at you Ted. It was abundantly clear to me that you were merely passing on hearsay.

I've heard the comments a couple of time about 'difficult load', 'not easy to drive' recently and on the surface it looks like a technical comment, but upon investigation, there is no basis to it at all. I suspect that, as average sensitivities of speakers generally have edged up (at the expense of sound quality) perfectly respectable mid-80dB sensitivities look, on paper, to be moderate. However, Watts have never been cheaper, sensitivity tells you nothing at all about sound quality and I value my hearing anyway.

I've tried to make clear that, as the designer, I am acutely conscious that Harbeths (with the exception of the three way M40 which is a special case) must be designed as an easy electrical load. And indeed they are. I just wish such commentators could see the extra strain that the need for an easy load creates in the design process. It really adds hugely to the mental effort because it closes-off so many circuit design approaches (which would result in very low or reactive impedances) and demand the highest ingenuity - right on the edge of your working knowledge.

Ian Boyd
11-02-2006, 05:02 PM
As one considering Harbeth's, I'm sorry to hear that. I have an audition of the C7 and Monitor 30 set for this Sunday. So I will hear for myself.


Bruce, I have to say, I don't agree that Harbeths are difficult to match. Quite the opposite. I have owned HL-P3ES and HL-K6 in the past, and currently use Compact 7s. My experience is that Harbeths are the easiest speakers to match I've ever owned. I'm one of these people who holds on to old equipment, and I have to say I can use almost any equipment with my Harbeths (particularly C7s) and get excellent results. I attribute this to the fact that they have an accurate, natural balance across the frequency spectrum. If you use components that also give a reasonably balanced sound, you will get good results - and that doesn't necessarily mean expensive components. You can mess them up - but it's quite difficult, and needs components that have a strong 'character'. Anyway, you're hearing them tomorrow (I think) so you'll get a chance to make up your own mind. Hope you enjoy the demo!

Ian

Philippe Monteyne
13-02-2006, 06:33 PM
Alan, I must confess I'm amongst the ones who said "not the easiest to drive" about the C7s. Actually, I should rather say that you don't easily obtain the maximum of what they can give you since these loudspeakers have so much to offer. What I'm currently experiencing is that you can dramatically upgrade the source etc.. and still hear the improvement, which demonstrates that the loudspeakers are not the limiting factor!

By the way, nobody replied about the WOODSIDE AMP... ?? Any good idea for me to upgrade the amplification, after having experience a few years with an integrated 30 W valve amp?

Thanks for any feedback
Philippe

A.S.
13-02-2006, 08:08 PM
...I should rather say that you don't easily obtain the maximum of what they can give you since these loudspeakers have so much to offer. What I'm currently experiencing is that you can dramatically upgrade the source etc.. and still hear the improvement, which demonstrates that the loudspeakers are not the limiting factor!
Philippe

Now that is a completely different spin on the subject and one I entirely agree with!

"The better your source, the more revealing your Harbeths"

sevodude
15-02-2006, 10:41 AM
...."Philippe Monteyne]Alan, I must confess I'm amongst the ones who said "not the easiest to drive" about the C7s. Actually, I should rather say that you don't easily obtain the maximum of what they can give you since these loudspeakers have so much to offer. What I'm currently experiencing is that you can dramatically upgrade the source etc.. and still hear the improvement, which demonstrates that the loudspeakers are not the limiting factor!"

I totally agree. I think the harbeth has such a depth of potential. It continues to reveal the difference as you upgrade, but at all times keeping that rightness of timbre and tonality/musicality, just that the details, bass definition staging etc improves with no detriment to the "beauty" of the sound.

Nam

Hu
15-02-2006, 02:45 PM
I ordered Plinius SA 102 more than 20 days ago, but now I am told that SA 102 got discontinued, the new type will be SA103, the price is higher of course. Has anybody heard of SA 103 or knows the difference?

Thank you all!

Hu

lasseolsson
20-02-2006, 03:17 PM
This article explains how the speaker and amplifier must be considered as a whole as different speakers will interact differently with amplifiers. So, to say "amplifier A is universally the best amplifier" is meaningless but you could say "amplifier A works extremely well with speaker B".

Enjoy:

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/assets/download/AmpSpekerInterface.pdf

Soundbyte
26-02-2006, 11:50 AM
All,
It was a heated argument with regards to Plinius amp with Harbeth C7ES2 in a local Hi-fi forum stating it was unmusical combo and bland.

http://www.echoloft.com/cgi-bin/YaBB/YaBB.cgi?board=tell&action=display&num=1137308391&start=210

Surprisingly... quit a lot of Harbeth forumers do partner their beloved Harbeth C7ES2 with Plinius 9200. In addition, I believe that US distributor often partner these two items together for the "hi-fi" shows....

Is there any truth to all this?

danrubin
26-02-2006, 05:29 PM
As I read that thread (which I did very quickly), it seemed like just one person -- and with a very annoying online style -- who had a problem with the combo.

googalang
08-03-2006, 07:00 AM
probably the bloke needs to give the Plinius/Harbeth combo another go - without knowing that it's a Plinius driving those Harbeths

The thread is quite interesting, meandering into various topics and back again. :)

Ned Mast
06-04-2006, 07:12 PM
Well, that's where we differ. I want speakers that I can listen to for hours and just enjoy the music without constantly analyzing it to determine whether I have just the right components. What's the good of being accurate if you can't stand to listen to it.

At the risk of being sneered at by most audiophiles, I think you are being overly concerned with components other than the speakers. When I purchased my SHL5's, I changed nothing in front of them. That includes a very old solid state pre-amp, a not-expensive Japanese solid-state amp, interconnects I made myself with wire and parts from Radio Shack, and 16 gauge "zip" chord for speaker wires. I have heard only lovely music from the Harbeths, and no obvious problems from the components. In my opinion, the speakers and the room in which you place them are the major considerations leading to wonderful sound.

Ned

northwoods_maine
06-04-2006, 11:04 PM
Has anyone heard Nuforce 9s with Super 5s, or other Harbeths? Based on review comments, I'm thinking it would be a good match but don't have any way to audition that pairing.

Thanos
07-04-2006, 09:38 AM
At the risk of being sneered at by most audiophiles, I think you are being overly concerned with components other than the speakers. When I purchased my SHL5's, I changed nothing in front of them. That includes a very old solid state pre-amp, a not-expensive Japanese solid-state amp, interconnects I made myself with wire and parts from Radio Shack, and 16 gauge "zip" chord for speaker wires. I have heard only lovely music from the Harbeths, and no obvious problems from the components. In my opinion, the speakers and the room in which you place them are the major considerations leading to wonderful sound.

Ned
Ned is right.
There are 2 types of audiophiles: Those who listen to music, and those who try to "listen" through machines. The latter usually forget the music itself. Said a dozen times, Harbeths don't need the Superman to drive them... Just a good humble amp and a well taken care of the room.
Does anyone think that a pair of Harbeths driven by an ONGAKU instead of a PRIMALUNA (both valve integrateds, about same power, with a price difference of about 54.000 pounds!!!!!), will be heard reproducing the same music from planet Mars than from planet Earth?
I can use the 54.000 pounds to hire the BERLINER PHILARMONIKER and CHORUS for a day, to perform the Beethoven's 9th, with Alan Shaw in the front seat of the audience accompanied from 500 Harbeth fans, all drinking DOM PERIGNON and eating CHAVIAR at the same time...
Please take it seriously but just with a bit of Humor...
Cheers,
Thanos

ranyc
08-04-2006, 12:06 AM
I am actively shopping for amps and was highly recommended to BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) Amps and Preamps. Has anyone heard BAT electronics matched with Harbeths and if so, how would you describe the sound characteristics? I own the Monitor 30 speakers. Many thanks for your advice.

ranyc
08-04-2006, 12:38 AM
I am considering, based upon recommendations from colleagues who are experts in stereo equipment, getting an amplifier rated at 250 wpc at 8 Ohms. Is the Monitor 30's an 8 Ohm speaker? Is a 250 wpc amp OK for these speakers, in careful hands, or is it considered too much power? Many thanks for your replies.

A.S.
08-04-2006, 09:13 AM
I am actively shopping for amps and was highly recommended to BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) Amps and Preamps. Has anyone heard BAT electronics matched with Harbeths and if so, how would you describe the sound characteristics? I own the Monitor 30 speakers. Many thanks for your advice.This subject has been covered in very great detail here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=41

Derek Yang
13-04-2006, 07:24 AM
What?s a relief to have your information above. Now I can sit back and relax with my new SHL5 powered by a solid state amplifier which contributes 75w @ 8 ohms.

danrubin
13-04-2006, 06:30 PM
This subject has been covered in very great detail here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=41


Well, that thread includes discussion of theoretical power requirements for Harbeth speakers, but does not address BAT. Or is that not relevant because all well-designed amplifiers sound alike?

ACF
15-04-2006, 06:22 AM
Musical Fidelity A3.5 Integrated Amp, Musical Fidelity A3.5 CD run through a Musical Fidelity Tube Stage with separate Musical Fidelity Power Supply. All Kimber cables to Super HL5. Sounds great!

Ferdinand777
19-04-2006, 08:29 AM
For months used a solid state mccormack dna 0.5 to drive the Compact 7es2-- very good sound.

Had a chance to try the PS Audio HCA2 (150w digital amp)-- even better.

The other day, a friend lend his Conrad Johnson MV60 tube amp-- wow, also very good!

cables are a mixed bunch: audience interconnect, TG slvr IC, analysis plus oval 12 speaker cables, skyland 20" 4 post stand

Thanos
19-04-2006, 01:11 PM
Hello,
I AM THANOS, A FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR FROM ATHENS. ARE YOU FROM ISTANBUL? MY FAMILY ORIGINATES FROM THERE! AS I HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE, ITS NOT A MATTER OF SO MUCH POWER, AS IT IS RATHER OF QUALITY, TO DRIVE YOUR HARBETHS. I READ YOUR COMMENTS IN AUDIOREVIEW. I DRIVE THEM WITH A MACINTOSH MA 6500 (2 x 120 WRMS) WITH EXCELLENT RESULTS. I BELIEVE THAT ANY FINE QUALITY MEDIUM POWERED INTEGRATED WOULD BE ADEQUATE TO DRIVE THEM. AND, THIS EASE OF DRIVE - I CALL IT EXCEPTIONAL VERSATILITY- IS WHAT MAKES HARBETHS TO STAND ALONE ONE STEP ABOVE ALL THEIR COMPETITORS.
GREETINGS,
THANOS

David Schalkwyk
20-04-2006, 11:52 AM
I'm using a 1960s Class A Sugden A51 (25 watts) to drive my HP3s, with very pleasing results. I seem to be going further and further back to "classic" or "vintage" equipment. Strangely, it has been the Harbeths that have induced me to change a newer front end and amplification for old. I've replaced my Linn LP 12 with Thorens 124 and 125 turntables, from the '50s and '70s, respectively. And I consider the HP3s to continue a classic tradition. (And let's not forget those welding cables!)

Only CD has me stumped. I couldn't bear to listen to anything earlier than the '90s, and even then it doesn't give me much joy. What would the Harbeth equivalent of the HP3s be in a CD player, I wonder?

David

airdavid
26-04-2006, 10:48 AM
I am considering, based upon recommendations from colleagues who are experts in stereo equipment, getting an amplifier rated at 250 wpc at 8 Ohms. Is the Monitor 30's an 8 Ohm speaker? Is a 250 wpc amp OK for these speakers, in careful hands, or is it considered too much power? Many thanks for your replies.

250 ? Do you "wanna make a party" ? :-)))
I heard M 30 with 250watts Pass Labs and it sounds good, but what price !!

David

Soundbyte
27-04-2006, 03:06 AM
The Search is over... I have found the amp that blew all my previous amp audition. This amp enables me to listen to details, clarity that I haven't heard in other amp. With only 35 watts, it drove my C7 effort to a full-bodied and properly balanced sound, with superb bass. Finally? my C7ES2 can rock with fast pace music? with full sonic bliss!


http://www.soundscape2.com/rn-room-001-4.jpg



All,
It was a heated argument with regards to Plinius amp with Harbeth C7ES2 in a local Hi-fi forum stating it was unmusical combo and bland.

http://www.echoloft.com/cgi-bin/YaBB/YaBB.cgi?board=tell&action=display&num=1137308391&start=210

Surprisingly... quit a lot of Harbeth forumers do partner their beloved Harbeth C7ES2 with Plinius 9200. In addition, I believe that US distributor often partner these two items together for the "hi-fi" shows....

Is there any truth to all this?

airdavid
27-04-2006, 08:27 AM
what Musical Fidelity cdplayer is?

David


The Search is over... I have found the amp that blew all my previous amp audition. This amp enables me to listen to details, clarity that I haven't heard in other amp. With only 35 watts, it drove my C7 effort to a full-bodied and properly balanced sound, with superb bass. Finally… my C7ES2 can rock with fast pace music… with full sonic bliss!


http://www.soundscape2.com/rn-room-001-4.jpg

Soundbyte
28-04-2006, 07:25 AM
what Musical Fidelity cdplayer is?

David

It is the Musical Fidelity A3.2 CD player.

DeonG
28-04-2006, 01:50 PM
Soundbyte,

What amps did you audition with the C7s apart from the Lavardin?

I was thinking of a second-hand Accuphase, Sphinx or McIntosh integrated for my C7s...

Cheers
Deon

Thanos
28-04-2006, 03:13 PM
Soundbyte,

What amps did you audition with the C7s apart from the Lavardin?

I was thinking of a second-hand Accuphase, Sphinx or McIntosh integrated for my C7s...

Cheers
Deon

Hi Deon,

I have tried them both with Macs and a couple of Accuphases. So:

Macs drive them easily. They are laid back, very musical, and with huge staging. You'll have to get used to their dinstinctive sound though. It extends to the finest detail, yet with a bit rounded edges. "Oldfashioned", but glorious reproduction. Accu's are more delicate and a bit detailed, especially in the highs. Less impressive in upper and lower bass management. Equally or more musical than Macs, on a wholistic approach. But, much more expensive, especially in Europe... And an Accu won't last longer than a Mac, nor it will cost less in possible repair. As for Looks, I personally prefer the traditional -yet less luxurious than Accuphase- looks of Macs. Then, if you don't have balanced connections on your player, you don't have to pay/buy an Accuphase which has them in all models. But Mac MA 6500 hasn't got them. I bought it and I'm happy with it. Accuphase reminds me something of a Porsche Cayenne jeep, but Mac is like a Land Rover.
You don't want to scratch your super Cayenne... But you don't fear/care if you drive your Land Rover V8 into the heart of London, or in the middle of Sahara desert..
Cheers,
Thanos

Soundbyte
29-04-2006, 07:11 PM
Hi DeonG,
These are the following amp I tried:

Sugden A21SE
SimAudio I-5
Lavardin IT, IS Ref, IS
Roksan Kandy MKIII - My old Int Amp
Plinius 9200
Naim Nait 5i - Good pace & timing but a bit cude sounding


I don't have a big living hall... (5.5 X 4 Meters) I am using the longer side of the room. But suprising the Lavardin with only 35 Watts is much more powerful than my 120 Watts Roksan Kandy MKIII.

I guess you got to try the others amp... because in Singapore most dealers/retailers do not allow home trial... So I have only limited choice to try.

Cheers.


Soundbyte,

What amps did you audition with the C7s apart from the Lavardin?

I was thinking of a second-hand Accuphase, Sphinx or McIntosh integrated for my C7s...

Cheers
Deon

Ferdinand777
30-04-2006, 01:15 PM
I was able to try the Lavardin IT with my C7ES2.

I felt it was a good combo at first but after a while i find the sound too smooth for my taste.

I'm not so sure if I was able to match them properly. Interconnects I used ranged from the copper Analysis plus to the Audience Conductors. Speaker cables were Analysis Plus. My CD player was the Naim CD5.

Anyhow, I find the Audible Illusions Modulus 3a with either the Conrad MV60 Or with the McCormack 100 watter to be more satisfying match in my system with the C7ES2.

Again, your experience might be different.

wlmdx
01-05-2006, 02:10 AM
Hi DeonG,
These are the following amp I tried:

Sugden A21SE
SimAudio I-5
Lavardin IT, IS Ref, IS
Roksan Kandy MKIII - My old Int Amp
Plinius 9200
Naim Nait 5i - Good pace & timing but a bit cude sounding


I don't have a big living hall... (5.5 X 4 Meters) I am using the longer side of the room. But suprising the Lavardin with only 35 Watts is much more powerful than my 120 Watts Roksan Kandy MKIII.

I guess you got to try the others amp... because in Singapore most dealers/retailers do not allow home trial... So I have only limited choice to try.

Cheers.


Hi Soundbyte,
I recently upgraded from Simaudio i-5(too bright for my taste) to Plinius 9200. The Plinius 9200 is a much warm sounding amp, I dont get the harshness as I got from my i-5, much sweeter mid and fuller sound in low listening volume(night). This is the 2nd day and it's not "burn in "yet. How do you compare the sound from Plinius 9200 to the Lavardin? Thanks

Soundbyte
01-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Hi Wlmdx,
IMHO "feel" from the SimAudio i-5 is "bright" and very detail but I can't stand listen long. And Plinius is a bit too "warm" for my taste and it loose the details. I find Lavardin suite me the "best" because it is clear, details and clean tight bass note to "wow" me! If you can try to get a Lavardin IS Ref or IT to try it side by side with your Plinius ... to see which you pefer. I think that Plinius require quite a while to breakin... so wait awile to ensure a fair comparision.

Cheers.

PS. another user in Singapore also partner his beloved Harbeth P3 with Lavardin IS.
http://www.soundscape2.com/ph-system-001-1.jpg


Hi Soundbyte,
I recently upgraded from Simaudio i-5(too bright for my taste) to Plinius 9200. The Plinius 9200 is a much warm sounding amp, I dont get the harshness as I got from my i-5, much sweeter mid and fuller sound in low listening volume(night). This is the 2nd day and it's not "burn in "yet. How do you compare the sound from Plinius 9200 to the Lavardin? Thanks

Soundbyte
02-05-2006, 11:15 AM
Agreed, YMMV - As for me, I like the smooth sounding Amp - That was the reason I gotten the Roksan Kandy MKIII as it sounds smoother than my old receiver AV amplifer...

But when compared to Lavardin it was still quite "crude" and "veil" - as though the curtains have been lifted up and the sound is more open!

Cheers.


I was able to try the Lavardin IT with my C7ES2.

I felt it was a good combo at first but after a while i find the sound too smooth for my taste.

I'm not so sure if I was able to match them properly. Interconnects I used ranged from the copper Analysis plus to the Audience Conductors. Speaker cables were Analysis Plus. My CD player was the Naim CD5.

Anyhow, I find the Audible Illusions Modulus 3a with either the Conrad MV60 Or with the McCormack 100 watter to be more satisfying match in my system with the C7ES2.

Again, your experience might be different.

fongc
03-05-2006, 01:53 AM
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the Lavardin IS Ref with the Creek 5350SE (which I am currently using)? How much better is it?

Speaker is Harbeth Compact 7ES-2. Thanks.

Regards,
Chris

Soundbyte
03-05-2006, 03:39 AM
Hi Chris,
Well the local distributor do not allow me to have a home trial for the Creek amp. I heard it in the showroom but is not the same speakers and CD player... so I don't think I can really comment.

Do you find anything lacking in your Creek amp? For my old Roksan Amp... I thought it was only bass light untill I compare it with Lavardin IS Ref; it was more than bass light, it was a bit crude and veil.... and unable to play complex music. Now I can enjoy a wider range of music...

Cheers.




Hi all,

Has anyone compared the Lavardin IS Ref with the Creek 5350SE (which I am currently using)? How much better is it?

Speaker is Harbeth Compact 7ES-2. Thanks.

Regards,
Chris

fongc
03-05-2006, 04:10 AM
Hi Chris,
Well the local distributor do not allow me to have a home trial for the Creek amp. I heard it in the showroom but is not the same speakers and CD player... so I don't think I can really comment.

Do you find anything lacking in your Creek amp? For my old Roksan Amp... I thought it was only bass light untill I compare it with Lavardin IS Ref; it was more than bass light, it was a bit crude and veil.... and unable to play complex music. Now I can enjoy a wider range of music...

Cheers.

Thanks Soundbyte. I don't have much of an issue with the Creek, it is a really good amp at its price. Just wondering how much better is the Lavardin IS Ref as I have read so many positive reviews about it.

The only issue is that I am in Hong Kong and there is no local distributor here, so I can't compare either. Might have to get a chance to come over to Singapore to do the listening test...

Ferdinand777
04-05-2006, 08:30 AM
Agreed, YMMV - As for me, I like the smooth sounding Amp - That was the reason I gotten the Roksan Kandy MKIII as it sounds smoother than my old receiver AV amplifer...

But when compared to Lavardin it was still quite "crude" and "veil" - as though the curtains have been lifted up and the sound is more open!

Cheers.


Without a doubt the IT Lavardin I owned for a year or so was one of the smoothest sounding amplifier among the many talents it possesed: soundstage, the accurate tonality, cleanliness, refinement... I felt that this amplifier did more magic for me when driving the Maggies MG12 compared to the Harbeth Compact 7es2.

regards

Sebas
08-05-2006, 06:04 PM
Hello,
i am a new member as I have recently decided to go for a pair of C7! I also need to purchase an amplifier, i listened to a lamp amplifier from the japanese small firm Leben, model CS300 with only 12 watts power but sounds great.. http://www.soundscapehifi.com/leben-integrated.htm
Is anybody know if this is a good match with the C7 or if a ?2,000 euros budget would allow me to get an amplifier that suits better?
I have a 25m2 room and listen jazz, pop and also some hip-pop(!) so good bass is important.
thanks in advance
Sebastian

airdavid
09-05-2006, 10:18 PM
Nap 250-2 with the SHL-5s.

and what nac, cd, etc....?

david

Ferdinand777
11-05-2006, 02:39 AM
Others may refute this but this is my observation.

The C7es2 sounds very good with at least 50 watts tube amp. I've tried 15-30 watts tube amp, while it sounds ok at small to moderate volumes, i feel i could want some more watts. The sounds is a bit boxy with 30 watts below.

However, when you feed this speakers with more wattage, (eg tried 140watts tube amp), wow, it even sounds better. More alive, another dimension opens up.

In short, it would be great if you can try this first with the Leben 14 watts. Your mileage may vary.

good luck,

Hu
13-05-2006, 08:17 AM
Alan and others,

Now I just recalled that when I used Quad909power/99pre with my M30, every time when stand-by or when I switched the amps off, my speakers made light hums, now I am using Plinius 9200 integrated amp and Quad CDP, I am not aware of that hum from speakers totally.

Would someone be kind to tell me why, do some amps make that hum while some do not?

Thanks!

Hu

wlmdx
15-05-2006, 01:48 PM
Alan and others,

Now I just recalled that when I used Quad909power/99pre with my M30, every time when stand-by or when I switched the amps off, my speakers made light hums, now I am using Plinius 9200 integrated amp and Quad CDP, I am not aware of that hum from speakers totally.

Would someone be kind to tell me why, do some amps make that hum while some do not?

Thanks!

Hu

Hi Hu,
I am using Plinius 9200 integrated with AH!njoe Tjoen tube CDP+ C7 ES2. Do you speakers make some hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters and the midwoofers regardless of volume when put your ears close(about 10 inch). And some merchanic hum from the amp itself. Just want to know if this is normal. Thanks.

Hu
16-05-2006, 02:53 AM
Hi wlmdx,

No, I have not heard any hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters or the midwoofers no matter how close I stick my ear to them. In the beginning of using 9200, I heard very slight mechanic hum from the amp itself, but somehow that disappeared later, so I do not think that the noise from you speakers are normal. Wonder what others would say

sunil
17-05-2006, 09:09 PM
I've been driving Compact 7ES-2 with the Lavardin IS Reference with terriffic results. Sound is detailed and clear, with great separation of instruments and a spacious soundstage. This amp is rated at only 35 watts / channel, but I've never felt the dynamics lacking.

macolive
19-05-2006, 06:37 AM
I am actively shopping for amps and was highly recommended to BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) Amps and Preamps. Has anyone heard BAT electronics matched with Harbeths and if so, how would you describe the sound characteristics? I own the Monitor 30 speakers. Many thanks for your advice.
I am planning to order the SHL5 to mate with my VK-75. I borrowed my friend's Compact 7 and drove them with the VK-75 and they sounded great!!! So much so that I've placed an order with my dealer for the SHL5 right away.

The VK-75 is warm sounding so be careful. Everything else upstream of the VK-75 in my systems is very neutral.

If your front end is warm sounding then you may want to try the VK-75SE as I believe this has a more neutral sound. One more caveat with BAT, I am told that you must use a fully balanced pre-amp to extract the full potential of the amp.

compozor
27-05-2006, 09:25 PM
I have Compact 7s in a 2500 cu.ft room, and I listen in the nearfield (approx 7 feet).

I have been using Cary 300B LX-20 single-ended triodes (rated at 20W) and they clip only rarely - and very gracefully. For my listening tastes (classical, often period-instrument recordings) the trade-off of power for sound quality has been well worth it. The purity, timbral truthfulness, dynamics and soundstaging are simply remarkable in my system - and confirmed by other listeners. And I get satisfying in-room levels (85dB) without even opening up the preamp all the way.

I would encourage others with similar listening tastes - if you're looking for ultimate sound quality more than unrestricted power - not to shy away from lower-powered amps.

Frank
http://www.franklarocca.com

Hu
29-05-2006, 03:43 PM
Hi Hu,
I am using Plinius 9200 integrated with AH!njoe Tjoen tube CDP+ C7 ES2. Do you speakers make some hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters and the midwoofers regardless of volume when put your ears close(about 10 inch). And some merchanic hum from the amp itself. Just want to know if this is normal. Thanks.

Hi wlmdx,

My Plinius SA 102 arrived, now I heard some hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters and midwoofers, especially when I put in its class A mode, with A/B mode just very slight noise, nearly cannot hear. Now I just mailed dealer, have you ever contact to the dealer? Those noises are quite big. I did not hear merchanic hum from the amp itself, just from the speakers.
Thanks!
Hu

kevint
30-05-2006, 01:44 AM
Hi wlmdx,

My Plinius SA 102 arrived, now I heard some hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters and midwoofers, especially when I put in its class A mode, with A/B mode just very slight noise, nearly cannot hear. Now I just mailed dealer, have you ever contact to the dealer? Those noises are quite big. I did not hear merchanic hum from the amp itself, just from the speakers.
Thanks!
Hu



Hu,
Did you try to follow the procedure here?
http://www.pliniusaudio.com/questions/index.asp#09

First disconnect all powercords and interconnects and then reconnect back one by one start from poweramp, it will help to you identify which part of your system causing hum.

Good luck!

Rdgs,
Kevin

Hu
30-05-2006, 02:08 AM
Hu,
Did you try to follow the procedure here?
http://www.pliniusaudio.com/questions/index.asp#09

First disconnect all powercords and interconnects and then reconnect back one by one start from poweramp, it will help to you identify which part of your system causing hum.

Good luck!

Rdgs,
Kevin

Thanks, Kevint!

I will try that to find out. Yesterday the dealers brought different source, pre amp and interconnects to try with Plinius SA 102 and Harbeth M30, they found the noise, later when I connect my own source, pre amp and so on, the noise is still the same.

Regards,

Hu

A.S.
30-05-2006, 11:31 AM
...they found the noise, later when I connect my own source, pre amp and so on, the noise is still the same. I think you need to be absolutely clear about the source of this problem: is the hum noise generated in the electronic circuit of the amp (or CD or whatever) or is actually an artifact of the mains supply wiring in your room?

For example: I have been playing with different power amps at home in my tiny 3 x 4m listening room recently. I noticed that there was a small hum on the left channel of one amp (right channel was clean, just the usual tiny hiss). I could live with that hum, no problem. On the next amp, there was a hum on both channels. Actually, it was not a hum, it was a buzz; I could live with this since it was only audible when I put my ear about 3cms from the bass unit. On the third amp, there was a strong hum on both channels.

It turns out that there were several problems and I had to tease them apart. First point to resolve was that the amp was plugged into a mains wall socket that was on the other side of the room. You may think (as I did) "so what? It must be served by the same electrical ring-main, and what is a distance of only about 5m between wall socket A (powering the CD, and preamp) and wall socket B, (powering the power amp)". Both the preamp and power amp were mains grounded.

But you and I would be wrong. There is a microscopic difference in the potential of the earth pins in wall sockets A and B due to the finite resistance of the bonding earth cable between them. To put this into perspective, that small a voltage is about the same as the voltage from your TV aerial that reaches your TV receiver: very difficult to measure but obviously there! So, the potential difference between socket A and B may only be millionths of a volt - surely insignificant - but it confuses the amplifier which will amplify the difference and then delivered to the speakers as a low-level hum or buzz.

I decided that I'd bundle up all three amps and send them back to their manufacturer's excellent service dept. (total cost ?400 to repair, check and calibrate). I then brought all the equipment mains to ONE point; this killed the ground (hum) loop.

Moral of the story:

1. As I have said here before, amps do age. The big smoothing caps (made with a wet paste) do dry out, and they let mains hum through onto the speakers. Only solution: replace them periodically - say every 10-15 years or so.

2. Always - always - connect all your audio equipment to ONE wall socket (or a pair of sockets if they are together on the same moulding).

3. Never, ever, remove or tamper with safety earths as a way of breaking ground loops. This could be FATAL. If the equipment is double insulated and does not have an earth connection that's fine, but if the equipment has an earth pin it needs one to ensure that the case is safe sould there be a mains leakage inside.

airdavid
30-05-2006, 12:01 PM
Very interesting, Alan...
thank you !
Anyway, have you read my email about Monitor 30 birth year?
bye

David

Hu
30-05-2006, 01:29 PM
I think you need to be absolutely clear about the source of this problem: is the hum noise generated in the electronic circuit of the amp (or CD or whatever) or is actually an artifact of the mains supply wiring in your room?



Thanks Alan,

I tried to disconnect the interconnects between power amp and pre amp, only switch the power amp on, still heard the hissing/buzzing noise from M30s, with Class A mode more, with A/B mode less.

The dealer tried in his shop, the same noise from his West Lake speakers. I am not sure if he connected all his audio equipment (probably Goldmund preamp) to ONE wall socket, I did at home.

Hu

A.S.
30-05-2006, 02:05 PM
I tried to disconnect the interconnects between power amp and pre amp, only switch the power amp on, still heard the hissing/buzzing noiseOk, noted. It's very important that you use just one mains socket to power everything as I explained.

Now, I am not trying to make excuses for any equipment, but as I have some experience designing active speakers which include power amps I am aware of how difficult it is to totally eliminate all and every hiss, hum and buzz. Because the circuitry is in the same case as the mains transfomer there will always be some interference between the magnetic field generated by the mains transformer and the circuits. This is inevitable. There will also be some hiss generated by the circuits. This is also inevitable and to a large or complete extent, predictable by a mathematical analysis of semiconductor (or tube) electron flows - far, far, far beyond my pathetic maths ability. There will also be a buzz associated with grounding inside the case and outside due to the connection to other equipment.

These unwelcome and unwanted noises are exceedingly difficult to eliminate during design and construction of an amp (which is why really good amp designers are so rare) and in the case of the M40 it has amazed me that every single active amp unit has its own very subtly different sonic signature - some have a tiny little hiss: some are absolutely silent etc. etc.. Why? I don't know. The circuit is the same: the layout is the same: the case is the same and yet there are these tiny differences in hiss, hum and buzz if you put your ear on the tweeter.

I have spent tens of hours playing with wires, tracks, grounds and so on and driven myself nearly (or more) mad to understand this. But - reality check - 'can you hear it at 50cms away or more'? Answer: no. All these noises are masked by the aircon system, the traffic noise, the TV next door and of course, the music itself. So why chase a standard of perfection down at the noise floor? It's just not necessary - or is it?

In my humble opinion, having recently become much more aware of the gurgles, groans, heart beat and spurious quasi-tones from inside my own body (and ears) when meditating in a quiet room just before sleeping, it seems to me that this sets the threshold of a worthwhile signal to noise ratio in the electronics. I should add that comparatively speaking, the problems with speakers - even good ones - are so gross and so ghastly that all this amp stuff pales into relative insignificance. And I'm not proud of that.

Lastly: it is not fair to judge an amp (pre or power) when the input is 'open circuit' because the input will pick-up and amplify aircraft, taxi, mobile phone, TV, computer and other rubbish noise.

To be fair to the amp you need to short circuit the INPUT i.e. connect the INPUT plug's hot pin to the input plug's ground or connect it to a preamp that is turned off.

Don Leman
30-05-2006, 03:01 PM
. So why chase a standard of perfection down at the noise floor? It's just not necessary - or is it?

Thank you Alan for your very considered reply.

One other point which I have thought about from time to time is the relationship of these noises to speaker sensitivity. e.g. If the noise source is in the amp then switching to more sensitive speakers would make the hum/buzz more obvious.

Seems logical but is it?

wlmdx
30-05-2006, 03:17 PM
Hi wlmdx,

My Plinius SA 102 arrived, now I heard some hissing/buzzing noise from the tweeters and midwoofers, especially when I put in its class A mode, with A/B mode just very slight noise, nearly cannot hear. Now I just mailed dealer, have you ever contact to the dealer? Those noises are quite big. I did not hear merchanic hum from the amp itself, just from the speakers.
Thanks!
Hu


Hi Hu,
I contacted the US distributor and spoke to Mr.Scot Markwell. He advised me to try several things to rule out that I don't have a noisy amp. No matter how I tried the noise is still there. The only thing that changes the noise is the MUTE botton. If the unit on MUTE,I have the hiss/buzz. If the unit is on operation, the noise is lowered. Check the link:
http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/amp/messages/39053.html

I have the similar problem. If your amp was produced in the 2004, you might fit into that category. He is currently waiting for a respond from Gary (Plinius factory) to see what's the fix. I am pressing for a new amp. Hope this help.

Hu
30-05-2006, 04:39 PM
Hi Hu,

I have the similar problem. If your amp was produced in the 2004, you might fit into that category. He is currently waiting for a respond from Gary (Plinius factory) to see what's the fix. I am pressing for a new amp. Hope this help.

Hi wlmdx,

Thanks! My amp was produced now, in March. I hope the distributor will contact to Plinius to see what the problem is.

Hu

A.S.
30-05-2006, 05:15 PM
You're absolutely right Don. I did notice that Lao Hu mentioned a brand of speakers which, right or wrong, I associate with high efficiency and big drivers. This would definitely enhance the noise. If, for example, the other speakers were 6dB more sensitive than a typical Harbeth - say around 91/92dB - that would equate to a doubling of the spl of the noise just due to the speaker's higher efficiency. That definitely would be noticeable even on a casual listen.

There is another factor here: the subjective quality of the noise. Is it hard and harsh with a definite tonal character to it? Soft like a gentle wind? Random and spluttering? Bass heavy? Top heavy? All these characteristics can give a clue to the precise noise source.

I strongly believe that a gentle, warm, soft hiss can actually subjectively enhance music. Truly. It gives the ear a reference point around which to pivot the ear's Automatic Gain Control action. Strip away the noise so that the background is deathly quiet and the ear has to work much harder, constantly tightening and relaxing the muscles in the ear itself.

I surely can't be the only person whose ears actually pop (and I can feel the muscles working) when I am listening to music such that I find myself swallowing to equalise the pressure. I guess that this ACG mechanism is an evolutionary protection mechanism: the protection from the damage of a loud sound and the 'gaining-up' of the ears sensitivity to a more useful dynamic range when that twig snaps some 20 feet behind - and life may hang on a thread.

I have long considered that when pople talk of the so called 'hard' digital sound v. the 'soft' analogue sound they are actually commenting on the background hiss level. I dare to suggest that if noise, of a similar spectral character to that associated with analogue recording, was deliberately superimposed onto even the 'hardest' digital recording that it would sound perfectly acceptable.

Hu
30-05-2006, 05:47 PM
You're absolutely right Don. I did notice that Lao Hu mentioned a brand of speakers which, right or wrong, I associate with high efficiency and big drivers. This would definitely enhance the noise. If, for example, the other speakers were 6dB more sensitive than a typical Harbeth - say, around 91/92dB, that would equate to a doubling of the spl of the noise just due to the speaker's higher efficiency. That definitely would be noticeable even on a casual listen.

I do not know what sensitivity West Lake have, but I got surprised at the store that noise is much more obvious (I stood about 1M far from the speakers and could hear quite big noise, with my M30 I have to be closer to the speakers. I asked the dealer what the speakers they are broadcasting, they say they are West Lake.

Hu

A.S.
30-05-2006, 06:43 PM
Speakers made in USA? Then I think that the efficiency will be much higher than Harbeth. That is the reason that you heard the hiss more distinctly. Plus, of course, the fact that the Harbeth have a flat frequency response.

danrubin
31-05-2006, 02:30 AM
The recommendation of powering all components from a single wall socket is interesting and not something I have heard before. Two things come to mind:

Could this be different in England than it is in the US?

Power has become a very big deal with American audiophiles (maybe the rest of the world too). Expensive power cords, power conditioners, and so forth. We don't need to have that conversation, but I want to remark on a couple of things. First, common practice has been tending toward dedicated circuits for one's audio system, and usually more than one such circuit so that you isolate source components from amplifiers, analog from digital, etc, etc. It's all connected back at the breaker box, but nevertheless, this is what people do. I am not aware of this creating ground loop problems for people.

Another practice is to avoid power strips and the like and, if not using a conditioner, plug everything straight into the wall. To do that and to implement your suggestion would require either very few components or a lot of outlets at the one circuit drop. Both are possible.

Hu
31-05-2006, 08:31 AM
Speakers made in USA? Then I think that the efficiency will be much higher than Harbeth. That is the reason that you heard the hiss more distinctly. Plus, of course, the fact that the Harbeth have a flat frequency response.

In the case, how could such amps drive USA speakers? I could hear from those speakers very distinctly, not only hiss from tweeters but very annoying hum (somehow like the noise of PC fan) from midrange in its A class mode.

And, if that nearly only makes such hiss/hum when it is in A class mode, in A/B mode you almost cannot hear, does that have something to do with the mains?

Hu

A.S.
31-05-2006, 08:31 AM
I'm sorry to say that I can claim no originality for the observation that all grounded hi-fi equipment should be connected to the supply at one point in the room. I should have adhered to this - it is basic electrical engineering and applies the universe over. But convenience and haste made me overlook this.

If the equipment is not grounded i.e. has a two-pin mains plug not three, then the is no issue with ground loops by definition and you can (probably) plug-in to the supply anywhere in your house or your neighbours.

Taking the supply back to the mains inlet board especially in old houses with strange wiring has to be a good idea, but it's a rather extreme option.

I really should have recalled the problems I had eliminating hum from recordings made off my (grounded) amplifier onto the sound card in my (grounded) PC. The PC was in one corner of the same room adjacent to a convenient wall socket ; the amp in the opposite corner adjacent to another socket and I ran a phono to jack screened (hence grounded both ends) lead between them. Eventually, three safe solutions were found to work in breaking the ground loop: an optical connection (no connection to ground at all), high quality 1:1 audio signal isolating transformers (expensive, some small audio quality issues - this has been the standard practice in the BBC for some 70 years) or powering the PC from a mains isolating transformer of the type used on a building site. In avery case, the trick is to prevent a ground loop. (Thought: there is a fourth option: to power the PC from a long mains cable plugged into the amp's mains socket but that was ugly.)

Finally, powering from extension leads plugged into one mains wall socket: fine; no problem - this is what I do. You can run several of these off one socket, sufficient to power everything but make sure they come from one single or double wall socket and that you don't exceed their rating.

I was discussing studio grounding during an installation of M40 Actives at BBC TV Centre a few weeks ago and the wireman confirmed that the studio had a good, solid 'star' earth point in an equipment rack. All audio signals were of course balanced (hot, cold and ground or live, return and ground) and that although they were distributed around the studio with balanced shielded cable the shields were snipped off at the distant end as one end was bonded together at the star earth point, which was connected to the building's earth strap to ground. Hence, no possibility for ground loops since there is no cable between signal grounds: they are all at the same potential, at the same point in space in the equipment rack.

danrubin
31-05-2006, 08:58 AM
I believe that mains power in the US is not balanced as it is in the UK. Hence a market for power conditioners that deliver balanced power (Equi=tech, Balanced Power Technologies). People who use these say they never have ground loop problems.

A.S.
31-05-2006, 11:23 AM
I believe that mains power in the US is not balanced as it is in the UK...Sadly, completely untrue. The situation in the UK - and I would guess the world over - is that the 'neutral' feed is connected to a huge, solid stake buried in the ground at the power station. In your home your 'earth' pin is also connected (or definitely should be connected) to a solid stake driven ito the ground by or in your home with a thick cable: go and look for it: have it routinely checked: know where it is. There is no way at all that this power transmission system can be described as 'balanced'. It is exactly the opposite: it is unbalanced, single-ended from the power supply just as a phono-phono lead is.

So, the 'live' feed is swinging + then - volts relative to the neutral wire 50 times a second (or 60 times a second in the USA etc.) and the neutral wire is at or very close to the same potential as the earth wire.

IT REALLY MATTERS that you know which pin is truly 'live' and which pin is truly 'neutral' on each and every mains socket in your house. In the UK we have a really solid plug (also in Hong Kong and other empire-legacy places) where this can not be confused: the plug can only be inserted one way. But elsewhere, you can often plug in a two-pin (non-earthed) plug either way round and accidentally swap over the neutral and live.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Because a shock from the true neutral is not likely to kill you. It is so close to ground potential that it can (almost, but not actually) be considered 'ground'. But if you get a shock from the true 'live' it could/will kill you.

HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? If your equipment uses a mains switch or a standby circuit that only switches one side of the mains supply - it would be designed to expect to switch the live side. The other side of the supply will flow around the circuit and to the wall socket even when the switch is open and internally the entire equipment will be charged. That's OK if the switch has interrupted the true live feed, because the neutral - almost at ground potential - willl be running around the circuit. But if you inadvertently transpose the live and neutral, then the switch is not protecting you: the entire circuit is live even when the switch is off, and in the case of electrical failure, the case could become live. If there was no proper safetly ground connection then when you touch the case the mains live passes through your body seeking the ground. Fatal.

http://www.cherwell.oxon.sch.uk/prm/efact10.htm

http://www.theanswerbank.co.uk/How_it_Works/Question40795.html

http://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/Circuits/Power/tps.htm

Conclusion: Check your home wiring for the safetly of your entire family. Be 100% sure it is wired correctly. Know which pin is truly the live pin in each and every socket right through the house (you can buy a simple neon tested for this). Make sure the earth bonding is perfect. Never ignore the earth pin if the equipment expects a saftely earth. Get your wiring checked periodically: unbeknown to you, earth wires do loosen and drop off; one day your life may depend upon its integrity.

PS. Did you know that over a period of many years the 50/60Hz mains cycling causes the screws in plugs and sockets that crimp the wires to actually unscrew? Make sure all connections are tight.

danrubin
31-05-2006, 04:03 PM
Sadly, completely untrue.
Ah, so it's untrue that power is balanced in UK. Here is a description of the balanced power devices I referred to, which I am borrowing from someone's Internet post:

Balanced power (best for front end stuff not necessary for amps) splits the AC potential in two. Instead of 120V between the the hot blade (of the plug) and the (nominally zero) neutral blade (plus your ground of course) it splits it so that there is +60 V from one blade to ground, and -60V from the other blade to ground. You still get 120V between the two plug blades, but the blades are always opposite polarity relative to ground. So any noise carried in the line (mostly hum but also RFI) is self-cancelling. Studios have used balanced power for years, but it was only UL approved for consumer use about 8 years ago.

A.S.
31-05-2006, 07:41 PM
... it splits it so that there is +60 V from one blade to ground, and -60V from the other blade to ground. You still get 120V between the two plug blades, but the blades are always opposite polarity relative to ground. So any noise carried in the line (mostly hum but also RFI) is self-cancelling. ...This sounds perfectly plausible - in the UK/Europe the voltage would not be 120V but 230V, which is why an electric shock in Europe is often fatal.

However - and I'm on the very edge of my knowledge here - the system described above could only balance-out the hum and RFI (if there is any) between the power conditioner and the hifi equipment. Since that is only a few feet of cable compared to the perhaps hundreds of miles of cable back to the power station don't the undoubted theoretical benefits seem a trifle diminished by distances involved?

A.S.
01-06-2006, 10:40 AM
Something strange has happened here ..... Kevint I seem to have overwritten your message. Sorry. The point you made was that uSA 120V being half the UK voltage would draw half the current.

If you would like to resubmit your message I will try and work it into my answer. Sorry again.

kevint
01-06-2006, 10:56 AM
My original message was saying power stablity is more an issue in 110V countries. I experienced flashing light whenever the motor of dryer or air conditioner start running there. And I don't experience this problem in my home country where is 220V. So I guess 110V country has more power stablity concern than we have in 220V country, at least here in Hong Kong.

airdavid
02-06-2006, 03:44 PM
Hallo,
have you ever tried Naim Nait 5i with Monitor 30?
thank you,

David

Frihed89
17-06-2006, 08:59 AM
I have come into contact with a small spec/custom tube amplifier mfr. He can make me a push-pull amp at 2x40 or 75 W/channel or a single-ended triode (he hesitates to call it an SET) that is at a max at 28 Wpc. The preamp is triode based. These amps are extremely detailed and musical, with the single ended being "smoother" in the mid-range.

Now the $64 question: If i intend to buy the C-7 at a later date (i have Audiovector 2.5 ways and Quad 12Ls, now), do i dare buy the Single Ended power amp? Or should I play it safe?

I have auditioned the C-7 with Audionote Lexus speaker cables. The perceptible diference is that if you listen to a single guitar, it gives the notes a little warmth without losing the detail. I also hear this on various wind instruments in the mid-range. These cables also take a bit of the sharpness out of the Quad 12L which is a pretty amazing feat. I am a non-silver fan when it comes to the "BB-sound".

compozor
17-06-2006, 08:07 PM
I am running ES7s with Cary 300SE LX-20, a single-ended design with a 300BXLS (20w) output tube. I have a small room and listen in the nearfield (and only rarely to large-scale orchestral works). In this context the Harbeths are simply marvelous and seem quite happy with the single-ended amps.

Frihed89
17-06-2006, 08:56 PM
That is pretty much my situation. Most of the music i listen to is basically vocals with small bands, alt.country, indie, acoustic, blues. Maybe it will work. This is a very interesting single ended amp that uses "sweet tubes". They are high efficiency, high voltage, low cost triodes designed for TVs.

Frihed89
17-06-2006, 09:02 PM
Has anyone seen the impedance-freq curve(s) for the C-7? If so, what is the lowest impedance of the C-7 and at what frequency? Or perhaps you can give me a url or post a pic of this relationship.

I want it to help make my amp decision. Thanks.

I got an offer for a new Quad 99 preamp + new 909 power amp, both demos, for a total of about 1100 quid. Is that a good deal?

The easier, softer way.

Don Leman
18-06-2006, 06:58 AM
For the C7 impedance, go to the Harbeth webpage for the C7. There is a "Z" link at the very bottom with the curves you are looking for. The minimum is around 6 ohms.

Frihed89
18-06-2006, 09:07 AM
Thanks Don. I feel a little stupid.

Bruce
18-06-2006, 04:25 PM
Now the $64 question: If i intend to buy the C-7 at a later date (i have Audiovector 2.5 ways and Quad 12Ls, now), do i dare buy the Single Ended power amp?

Here's a review of M30's driven by 3 watt SET monoblocks off the Harbeth website.

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/hifispeakers/monitor30domestic/images/HiFi-for-grownups-M30.pdf

shseto
13-07-2006, 05:43 AM
I am using Arcam CD72 and Spendor S3 speakers (plan to move to Harbeth C7 in the future)

but now i need to upgrade of my amp first.

Been having my eyes on Naim Nait 5i and the Sugden A21A. It seems to me that the Nait is better for jazz and the sugden will do better with classicals.

how do they compare ? and other suggestion at this price range? anyone?

A.S.
13-07-2006, 06:02 AM
Hello - well, we have used both Sugden and Naim at shows around the world, and Sugden is being used here in Guangdong to drive Harbeths. Both are fine companies although somewhat different in size; Sugden is a small, family business and run along very solid traditional lines.

Don't forget one important thing about equipment selection and purchase generally that has nothing to do with sound quality - true long term cost of ownership. A little more money invested at the beginning can save a vast amount in the long run, let alone the peace of mind and missed pleasure of listening. This is a general point and not related to the two fine brands that you mention here.

Hu
13-07-2006, 08:56 AM
One Harbeth P3ES-2 user once tried Sugden A21a and Naim 5i, he said with Naim sounds more exciting, probably with Sugden more smooth and softer, finally he chose Naim 5i, so I think that dependes what music you listen to more and what kind of sound you like more.

Hu

shseto
13-07-2006, 11:15 AM
Don't forget one important thing about equipment selection and purchase generally that has nothing to do with sound quality - true long term cost of ownership. A little more money invested at the beginning can save a vast amount in the long run, let alone the peace of mind and missed pleasure of listening. This is a general point and not related to the two fine brands that you mention here.


thx Alan, hm...... I think I am investing for the long term , the amps I plan to replace now, we have used it in our family for some 15 years now and it is still working fine but I just think that its time to replace them as I worry that I am missing something from my newer equipment by partnering them with these old amps.

Your comment of 'little more money invested at the beginning' is indeed very good advise, the sugden cost more than the naim. does this have anything to do with your comment?

shseto
13-07-2006, 11:21 AM
One Harbeth P3ES-2 user once tried Sugden A21a and Naim 5i, he said with Naim sounds more exciting, probably with Sugden more smooth and softer, finally he chose Naim 5i, so I think that dependes what music you listen to more and what kind of sound you like more.

Hu


i listen to jazz and classical.

My personal expereince and feeling is that jazz and classical demand different sound. this is giving me big headache as i love both type of music.

i like classical sounding warm and smooth with lots of air while jazz should sound exciting and dynamic.

ClaudeP
13-07-2006, 11:43 AM
Shesto,

I listen to classical (50%), jazz (25%) and other stuff.

I drive my Compact 7s with Naim amplification and just love it - Naim excels at reproducing the timbre of acoustic instruments (just like Harbeths do) and the famous PRaT (pace, rythm & timing) does magic for any kind of music.

I am not familiar with late Sugden products, sorry.

Claude

Ned Mast
14-07-2006, 02:51 AM
This thread regarding amplifier choice I find very puzzling. I have long been of the persuasion that an amplifier's task is to amplify the signal given to it as accurately as possible. I think any number of modern amps will do this well, since they provide flat frequency response, inaudible levels of noise and of distortion. Hence, a recording will sound 'exciting' or 'smooth' or whatever quality you care to use, if that quality is in the recording. To try to use an amplifier as a glorified 'tone control' seems to me to be traveling down a slippery slope - and an expensive one at that! Just my opinion. . .

Just for the record my amp is not particularly exotic, but has great specs, and provides all the musical excitement or smoothness I could ask for - provided it's there on the recording. Also, I would add that I spent some hours over a weekend trying different placement of my SHL5's until I found a location where they have a relatively flat frequency response. With a little judicious eq, they are virtually flat from 40 Hz up. Something basic to consider, perhaps, before tweaking electronics. . .

Ned

A.S.
15-07-2006, 10:06 AM
T... I think any number of modern amps will do this well, since they provide flat frequency response, inaudible levels of noise and of distortion. ... Hello Ted,

Whilst you and I are in agreement, it is a fact that even a benign load like the SHL5 (or indeed any Harbeth) does interact with the amplifier and this does produce variations in sound pressure response ("frequency resonse") to a greater or lesser extent. For example, at the all-critical development stage of a new speaker when reference measurements have to be made of the 'raw' drive units sans crossover it is essential to elimianate the amplifiers load dependence. This is done by using a two-channel analyser, one channel of which measures the voltage at the amplifier's output and the other the signal from the microphone. By maths division the speaker's response can be normalised to that of a perfect amp.

The errors measured may be of the order of 0.3 to 0.5dB from true at various frequencies with a solid state amp - probably rather more with a tube amp - if this cross-correlation is not implemented. Whether one considers this important or not in subjective quality is a matter of opinion but it is a measurable fact.

Interesting to note that the earlier current dumping QUAD amps, of which we have many, are quite different in their load sensitivity. From memory the least sensitive is the 405, the later 606 is rather more so and the rack-mount pro version (520) has to be used with caution.

Ned Mast
15-07-2006, 08:05 PM
Hello Alan,

Thank you for clarifying the speaker/amplifier interaction issue. I can - and certainly must - accept your point, that some measurable differences will occur between different amps into the same speaker. But my suspicion is that these differences are generally not audible and hence significant, though I could be proven wrong. And I am thinking of solid state, not tube amps; in terms of seeking accuracy, I tend to think solid state would be the general choice. When someone says a certain tube amp sounds particularly wonderful, I think that is probably because it'is adding something to the signal that the listener likes - or perhaps is glossing over something that he doesn't like. Not that it is more accurate than other amps. In short, the more accurate a tube amp is, the more I believe it will sound like any number of solid state amps. Again, I could be proven wrong. (And, too, the point you made must be considered; namely, that any amplifier's performance will to some extent be affected by the speaker it serves).
My belief is that far more than electronics affecting the sound one gets from one's Harbeth's, placement in the room will affect their sound. So I would just hope that those thinking of trying different ampliifers with their Harbeth's have first taken the time to try the speakers in various configurations in the room to arrive at what seems an optimal placement. Whether this process is done using measurements or just one's ears, it should at least be a revealing one and - at best - a rewarding one.

Ned

Hu
18-07-2006, 08:46 AM
i listen to jazz and classical.

My personal expereince and feeling is that jazz and classical demand different sound. this is giving me big headache as i love both type of music.

i like classical sounding warm and smooth with lots of air while jazz should sound exciting and dynamic.

Yes, I think that classical and jazz demand different sound, so I understand that could be big headache even when you choose the speakers. I mostly listen to classical but I need dynamic for orchestral work. Could you try both of Sugden A21a and Naim 5?

A.S.
20-07-2006, 02:46 PM
My belief is that far more than electronics affecting the sound one gets from one's Harbeth's, placement in the room will affect their sound. So I would just hope that those thinking of trying different ampliifers with their Harbeth's have first taken the time to try the speakers in various configurations in the room to arrive at what seems an optimal placement.I agree: the commonly held belief that an amp designer (compared to what is a reality for transducer designers - microphones and speakers) has a vast bag of tricks available to somehow trash or gold plate the soundwave signals passing through his amp has always surprised me.

Undeniably, different design strategies - even different PCB layouts - do effect sound, measurably and sonically, but compared to the almost limitless list of technical/acoustic characteristic 'distortions' that can be attributed to even good speakers, the amp designers window of improvement is small indeed.

Domestic listening rooms make an acoustic mess of soundwaves to the point that is is nothing short of a miracle that we can hear through the peaks and troughs to be able to differentiate any detail at all. But we can. As you say, paying some attention to damping the room to kill the worst of the acoustics will reap dividends. That's where I'll be starting as I build a new listening room next month during closedown.

Alan
(in China)

Hu
30-07-2006, 01:30 PM
Hope we could know how to make a good listening room. I have listened to P3ES-2/Sugden A21a amp/Sugden CDP for more than two weeks. In the begining I felt that sounds brighter than my M30, slowly I got used. Now I got back to my M30/Plinius 102 power amp/Quad 99 pre amo/Quad 99CDP, I even got surprised that they sound so differently, my system sounds much more lower, smoother and softer, I even doubt they are from one family and wonder if P3ES-2 and M30 sound so differently or because of the amps?

jttlee
19-08-2006, 01:51 PM
Is Primare I20 or I30 a good match for P3ES2 or C7?

JoeH
11-09-2006, 08:52 PM
I purchased the Model 30 to replace 15 ohm LS3/5a's which had served me for 25 years. The amp I had used with the Rogers speakers is the NYAL Futterman OTL4. This amp worked with my Quads and the 15ohm load of the Rogers. While not the greatest bottom the Futterman is magic with the mid and high end. The magic didnot reveal itself fully until the grills came off.

airdavid
12-09-2006, 09:29 PM
"The istant Email notification" doesn't work !!!!

Anyway,
does anybody listen to Monitor 30 with Exposure XXXV ?
In Italy it's said it's a wonderful match...

David

Ned Mast
07-10-2006, 02:53 AM
Since I listen to CD's for the most part, I simply run my Marantz/Lavry DA10 directly into a Yamaha M65 (230 watts/channel into 4 ohms) and from there to my M40's through 10 gauge stranded copper wire.

Ned

sonofcolin
07-10-2006, 10:59 PM
NAIM NAC82/NAP250 with NACA5 speaker cable into compact 7ES2.

Groovetracer
11-10-2006, 09:52 PM
I would like to know if you can bi-amp the M40 without any external device.
Suppose you have 2 identical mono amps powering one M40 or gain matched amps of different topology.
One amp powers the 12" driver and the other amp powers the mid and tweeter. 2 separate speaker cables would be used along with a single jumper between the mid & tweeter.
I may consider powering the 12" driver with a SS amp and the mid & tweeter with a tube amp.
I would welcome Alan's comments on this. Thank you in advance for your input.

Ferdinand777
12-10-2006, 03:27 AM
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b327/Ferdinand77/JeffRowland102out.jpg

I recently had the chance to try the new Jeff Rowland Model 102 digital amplifier into both the Harbeth Compact 7es2 and Monitor 30. Both speakers sound splended with this small amplifier that puts out 100w per side at 8 ohms. The Pre-amp was a tube Modwright 9.0SWL.

Best part about the Rowland, its priced fairly at $1500 considering the build quality of the unit and the unit consumes very little electricity.

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b327/Ferdinand77/JeffRowland102_iin.jpg

hornet
25-10-2006, 02:39 AM
Looking to simplify my system and want to purchase Harbeths and ss amp/pre-amp or integrated. I have read several places about the great match of Harbeth & Naim amplification, although I have not gotten to hear the combo personally. I want to simplify and do not want the hassle of din connections, extra power supplies, and expense per watt, so Naim is not really a consideration. What about some alternative ss brands which are also more affordable such as Arcam, Exposure, Rega, Densen, etc. ?

sonofcolin
26-10-2006, 01:45 AM
All the alternatives you mention are good - but none are as good as Naim IMHO. I have owned Arcam, Rega (still do) as well as Naim. You gets what you pays for! Naim make 3 good integrated amps. You don't need to add power supplies to them, they are optional. As far as interconnects go, you can use DIN to RCA cables. Where's the hassle.

Expense per watt? Is it possible to correlate musical pleasure to expense per watt?

Soundbyte
26-10-2006, 03:45 AM
Well you may want to try Lavardin. I believe they are really close in terms of sounding but I choose Lavardin because love the smooth sounding amp.

Cheers.

JLL
26-10-2006, 08:19 AM
Hello,

I have juste bought a pair of Monitor 30, for the moment I drive them with a A75-C75 (old branch Cambridge Audio).
I think the bass is not well drived.
What kind of amplifier could take the place of my Cambridge audio, with the same sound but with more bass?
I have read that naim is suitable fot harbteh, but I doubt that naim and (old) cambrdidge audio have the same sound.
I know that the new model, NAP 150 sound quitly different with the old 180.
Could "you" help me?

Soundbyte
28-10-2006, 03:44 PM
Hi JLL,
you can try Lavardin IT integrated amp with Monitor 30.

Lavardin IT (http://www.lavardin.com)

http://www.lavardin.com/lavardin-modelIT.jpg

Cheers.


Hello,

I have juste bought a pair of Monitor 30, for the moment I drive them with a A75-C75 (old branch Cambridge Audio).
I think the bass is not well drived.
What kind of amplifier could take the place of my Cambridge audio, with the same sound but with more bass?
I have read that naim is suitable fot harbteh, but I doubt that naim and (old) cambrdidge audio have the same sound.
I know that the new model, NAP 150 sound quitly different with the old 180.
Could "you" help me?

Franz
06-11-2006, 12:42 PM
Please try also Croft GCI or Syntegra Amp. The GCI sounds full of details and fantastic if you like to hear the music not so loud - the Syntegra has the power for the full sound if the whole orchestra forces their instruments.

airdavid
06-11-2006, 12:48 PM
Naim make 3 good integrated amps. You don't need to add power supplies to them, they are optional.

3 integrated amps by Naim ?
I know just Nait 5i, what are the others ?

David

airdavid
06-11-2006, 12:55 PM
Have you tried it with Monitor 30 or just with your C-7 ?

regards,
David




Hi JLL,
you can try Lavardin IT integrated amp with Monitor 30.

Lavardin IT (http://www.lavardin.com)

http://www.lavardin.com/lavardin-modelIT.jpg

Cheers.

Naimeo
09-11-2006, 07:31 AM
I'm a ex-Naim owner with multi boxes and now driving my C7ES3 with Primare I30 - effordless power with refined liquidity that my 72/1400HC never knew...beautiful even at relatively low level.

By the way, Rega Mira3 sounds great too. I could have happily bought it till i auditioned the I30.

sonofcolin
10-11-2006, 09:43 PM
3 integrated amps by Naim ?
I know just Nait 5i, what are the others ?

David
5x, 5i, superNAIT. 5x may have been superseded by 5i (but it's still quite recent).

yeasaen
13-11-2006, 03:56 PM
Hi
I am a new member and I joined because I am thinking of purchasing a pair of Super 5s (with the 7 ES 3 as a second choice)
I am not ready to upgrade my electronics yet, and so will be using an old Pass Aleph 3 amp which is a 30 watter class A. Has anyone used this combination and will it be able to do justice to the 5s or 7s?
Thank you!
Mary

Ferdinand777
16-11-2006, 08:30 AM
Hi
I am a new member and I joined because I am thinking of purchasing a pair of Super 5s (with the 7 ES 3 as a second choice)
I am not ready to upgrade my electronics yet, and so will be using an old Pass Aleph 3 amp which is a 30 watter class A. Has anyone used this combination and will it be able to do justice to the 5s or 7s?
Thank you!
Mary


Mary

Depending on your room size and how loud you listen, the Aleph 3 will sound sweet with the Harbeths. But I feel it might sound a bit lightweight with them. Again, depends on your pre-amp you are using. With tube preamp, that might help put some weight on the music.

Good luck. Thats a great amp.

Mank
19-11-2006, 11:08 AM
Hi
I am a new member and I joined because I am thinking of purchasing a pair of Super 5s (with the 7 ES 3 as a second choice)
I am not ready to upgrade my electronics yet, and so will be using an old Pass Aleph 3 amp which is a 30 watter class A. Has anyone used this combination and will it be able to do justice to the 5s or 7s?
Thank you!
Mary

Hello Mary,

nice to have you a new friend in the Harbeth society!

I'm using a McIntosh integrated at 120watts/8ohms. Cannot get the volume over 1/3, it will shake the earth! The SHL5s need some space, not so much - let's say at least 3,5m. W by 4-5m. L, in order to healthy develope their bass without probable risk of a bit spoiling the mids and highs (also furniture and curtains/carpeting do real good). As for power, you'll most probably get surprised from what your Pass will do with them! Seeing my powermeters, I hardly have ever used more than 10watts per channel to get them really loud... and I mean just a few seconds peaks. "A" class isn't at all funny.... 30 watts of it are quite a power. A Hungarian made Etalon integrated with just 10w at A class, once lifted off the ground in front of my ears a pair of heavyweight floorstanders with an 88db sensitivity at 8 ohms... I don't think you'll get lean bass foundation, not at all. If I could afford more, I would have bought the Accuphase E-530 two years ago. Expensive, but divine! Can drive almost anything!
Happy to mail you anykind of help for your SHL5s, as far I have put them on my own designed and tailored wooden stands, many cabling tests, positioning etc. And they keep my so happy every day!

Cheers from Athens, Greece,
Thanos

Arlequen
25-11-2006, 01:31 PM
Hello guys ,

Here HL Compact 7ES2 driven by Odyssey Audio Tempest and Stratos preamp and amp
Bellavista Turntable Origin Live arm and Denon DL103R mc cartridge
Mit cables

I love my C7ES and the whole system

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Arlequen/Stereo/1024.jpg

airdavid
29-11-2006, 10:11 AM
nait 5x doesn't exist !!! SuperNait in the 2007....

what do you think of Roksan with Harbeth ?

David

sonofcolin
29-11-2006, 04:10 PM
You are correct. It's CD5x. I actually meant Nait 5, 5i and supernait. Nait 5 no longer in production.

Christel
03-12-2006, 03:25 PM
Hi! I am a woman from Sweden that is going to buy a pair of super hl5s soon.
I have just listened to a French lavardin amplifier the IS reference and i liked the
sound a lot. Is there anyone here that have any experience with Harbets and Lavardin?

I am also planning to buy a Origin live Aurora with the silver tonearm and a musikman MK 3 cartridge.

Is there any better amplifier for around 3500??

Ned Mast
04-12-2006, 02:03 AM
Hi Cristel,

The dealer from whom I bought my SHL5s, and later M40s - I love both speakers - sells Lavardin in addition to Naim and other electronics. He has mentioned that he is particularly fond of the way the Harbeths sound with the Lavardin (I'm not sure which model, thought I think it's 50 Watts). Perhaps he'll read your post and respond himself with more detailed information. Whatever amp you get, I think you are going to love the SHL5s!

Ned

John Geisen
06-12-2006, 12:24 PM
Hi Cristel,

I'm the dealer Ned is referring to in his last post to you. Ned, thanks for your support. First of all, the SHL5 is a favorite of everyone who comes to my place for a demo. For many, there isn't a reason to get anything else. The entire Harbeth line is extremely musical and very similar sounding. The main differences between the speakers seems to be caused by the different cabinet sizes and the resulting limitations. In particular the midrange of every speaker is very special, indeed.

Since the Harbeth line is so revealing, you can hear differences of almost every change you make. Stands change the sound, sources change the sound, ampliers and cables change the sound. There are many options to help you tailor the overall sound to your liking.

As a dealer for Naim, Audio Note, lavardin, and Manley (only US manufacturer) amplifiers, I have found all of them very capable of driving the SHL5's. They do sound different, but due to the ease of driving the SHL5 they all perform well. A purchase decision has more to do with your personal sound preference and, of cousrse, your budget. Some customers seem to prefer tubes, other's solid state. Naim creates a little more immediacy (up front) while lavardin seems to put the sound well behind the speaker plane. For these reasons you should request an in-home demonstration.

The only lavardin model I have on demo is the IT. It is the more expensive of the integrated line. The lavardin has a way of giving you all the benefits of solid state yet seems to avoid the artifacts created by most solid state amplifiers. It is a very special amplier, and in many ways seems like the perfect partner for Harbeth. However, the list of good amplifiers that perform well with Harbeth is long, indeed. I hope in some small way I have helped without causing more confusion.

John Geisen

HeelWing
22-12-2006, 05:32 PM
(First post, hello everybody)

Anyone considered as a Naim alternative, the Moth line of amps? Does anyone knows them? They are in a way very similar to older Naims (discretes, separate power supplies); I've only listened to their phono pre, really nice.

Experiences anyone?

Guido

blantyre
03-01-2007, 02:13 PM
I drive my LS3/5As with a Consonance M99 Plus re-tubed with Sovtek KT66s. This seems to be a very pleasing combination. M99s come up on Audiogon at very reasonable prices and they are integrated, so no need for lots of wiring. A bonus is that they also look very cool with the "coke bottle" tubes glowing. That said, I am a strong fan of Naim's older chrome bumper products which are hard to beat for smooh power with a larger speaker.

wats
09-01-2007, 12:53 AM
hi folks,

it?s nice to see: you are searching like me in Germany.
I?ve heard for some weeks the creek Destiny against my naim 5i.
In my room, with my Monitor 30, my music etc. I prefer the Creek. I?m only glad to hear this combination. Total harmony.

happy listening
werner

airdavid
12-01-2007, 03:36 PM
hi folks,


In my room, with my Monitor 30, my music etc. I prefer the Creek.

happy listening
werner

Why? Could you be more specific?

Thank you,
regards

David

analogue_lover
12-01-2007, 05:41 PM
Hi Gang!
I'm thinking of picking up a 610 pre and 620 amp. Anybody out there running Crimson at all? Wondering about pairing with HB's.

Mike
ESC

Ytsejam
12-01-2007, 08:01 PM
Hi Mike,
i heard crimson 640e monoblocks with a dCS P8i CD/SACD Player and Harbeth M30 a few weeks ago. In my opinion the amplifiers overemphasize the speed factor and don't sound really natural especially with classical music. The Harbeth M30 easily point out the character of the amplifiers instead of other speakers i heard with crimson gear (610, 620+630) a few years ago. Maybe a more neutral ampilifier design would be more suitable for Harbeth speakers.
Regards, Thomas

NikPer
14-01-2007, 08:57 AM
Greetings,

I just got a pair SHL5's, the rest of my gear is a Cary SLI-80 integrated valve amplifier with 2xKT88 per channel, a Cary CD308T cd player, a vintage AKAI turntable with the small BENZ cartridge amplified by a creek OBH-18 phono-stage and a SONY tuner. The room is my kitchen-living room combo area, about 5.5 by 6 meters.

So far i am very happy with the speakers, I really appreciate their full bodied sound and clarity plus i just love their "old-school" look.

heflo
03-02-2007, 03:39 PM
Has anybody expriences with CROFT SYNTEGRA amplifier?

heflo
11-02-2007, 06:36 PM
I own a Denon PMA 2000AE. Will i get perfect results with a SHL 5?

E. G.
19-02-2007, 11:40 PM
I have a pair of HL-P3ES-2 and I have owned both the Sugden A21a and the Naim Nait 5i.
In my humble opinion - and for my taste ? I?ve found the A21a to be a better match.

A.S.
28-02-2007, 09:18 AM
As you may be aware, Harbeth (USA in particular) and the management of the (original) Plinius amplifier company developed an affection based on Harbeth and Plinius amplifiers working rather well together and making very good music. We happily shared each others equipment at various trade shows a few years ago.

As a result of this a certain perception developed in the marketplace that we, Harbeth, were globally endorsing our relationship, and this motivated some customers to seek out the combination and invest their money in it, even when the local Distribution network was not in place or was immature.

Amplifiers are considerably more complex than loudspeakers and problems do develop which need expert attention - the very service a Dstributor is set-up to offer. As I understand it, the Plinius company changed hands a couple of years ago in a business restructuring and the two leading lights in which we had confidence and a direct relationship have long departed. We have not been able to identify their successors - if any.

Where does that leave the customer? In a very difficult situation, since we are aware that the communication with the (new) factory is very sporadic at best, and sadly, we at Harbeth have no direct line into their company any more to help resolve Warranty and similar issues.

So - we reiterate Harbeth UK's long standing policy: we only endorse electronics from people and brands that we personally know, have been in business for many years and have an impeccable after care record. In my view - as I've said before - this reassurance is more valuable than the last degree of so called fidelity so please do not expect us to be drawn into recommending this or that amplifier. Almost anything will work with a Harbeth.

As a general view, there is no point owning a thoroughbred racehorse who runs like the wind but has an aversion to race days.

holden
02-03-2007, 10:21 AM
Hi All,

I currently have a quad 34/306 amp and am looking to upgrade. I'll probably buy second hand and am looking at a Linn Majik integrated. Don't know if this will be better but any ideas on how Linn/Harbeth match would be useful. I'm also considering a Krell KAV 300i or a Unison research Unico.

aladog
30-03-2007, 01:12 AM
Hi all, I'm looking for a power amp or integrated amp to power my C7s. I enjoy a rich, mellow, and relaxed sound that is not forward or bright. Budget is under 1200US...I am considering Sugden and Cayin at the moment. Does anyone have any experience with the two companies or know an amp that may meet my expectations? Thanks.

airdavid
23-05-2007, 03:58 PM
Alan,
what about NVA amplifier with Harbeth?

regards
David

A.S.
23-05-2007, 04:53 PM
I'm really sorry but I am not able to answer your question. There are two reasons:

1. As I have said many times, "Harbeths will work well with all and every credible amplifier". I know nothing about NVA so I can not comment on their amplifiers.

2. I am not able to endorse any particular brand. There are a handful of amps that I have personally used over the years and am satisfied with. They are certainly not the greatest examples of amplifier design (I suppose: or maybe they are? I can't say for sure) but they are well above average (I guess). That's good enough for me.

Why shouldn't an amplifier work well with Harbeth? I can only imagine that it would be faulty or poorly designed or both. There must a a thousand different amps out there that will work really well with Harbeth.

A.S.
24-05-2007, 09:56 AM
As I have said many times, "Harbeths will work well with all and every credible amplifier" ... Why shouldn't an amplifier work well with Harbeth? ... There must a a thousand different amps out there that will work really well with Harbeth.It occurs to me that what we've seen many times over the years is a deeply rooted fear of amplifiers - how they work, how their power is rated, different design concepts (Class A, AB etc.), tube or solid state, analogue of digital etc.. Let's try and demystify this once and for all. Of course, I am not an amplifier designer, and I readily admit that there will be detail issues which I don't appreciate but having said that here is my bold statement ....

"You do not need to be afraid of your amplifier. Compared to even the simplest digital circuitry, an audio amplifier is conceptually a very simple device. All it has to do is to magnify the electron flow into its input terminals up into a bigger electron flow and deliver that to your speakers. You can think of an amplifier like the gears on a bicycle: gears magnify the energy you put in from your leg muscles into sufficient power to push the bike along the road. The amp does exactly the same.

There are no mysteries at all in amplifier design. The concept of audio amplifiers dates back more than 80 years; the design principals are unchanged. Books have been written covering in the greatest detail the design of amps, and all the little tricks and techniques that can be applied to the circuit design. Aside from the op-amp, the QUAD current-dumper and the MOSFET output device, during the past 30 years there has been nothing fundamentally new in amplifier design - it's all been done before. How can you improve upon the motion of electrons through wires and components? You can't! The only advances we can expect now are in miniaturisation, design engineering (cost down), extra features (e.g. USB input), remote control and cosmetics etc. etc. - all peripheral issues."

But - mentioned before - all electronics (slowly) age. No matter how sophisticated or elegant the design and manufacture of an amplifier its performance is only as good as the weakest component. Just like the bike: no matter how strong the gear cogs, if the chain has a weak link the full power will not be applied to the wheels.

Q: In practice, what does this mean? We've covered this - it means that after, say, 15 years or so (I'm picking a number out of the air and assuming that good quality parts were used) the electrolytic capacitors in the amp will have degraded. If the designer anticipated this, and over-specified the capacitors to allow for the gradual reduction in capacity, it will extend the working life, but it will have increased the size and the cost of the amp. He may not have been able to do this. Miniaturisation of consumer electronics is a key design goal these days alongside shortened product life. These factors are inextricably linked. I urge the consumer to undertake some basic desk research to get a feel for the organisation behind the amplifier. Would you buy a new shiny car by only visiting the showroom? I wouldn't. I'd want to inspect the service bay, get a feel for the integrity of the service manager, talk to the mechanics. Why not approach hi-fi equipment the same way? Call the manufacturer. Talk to the service department. Ask them to explain what can go wrong, when and the costs involved. If they are open and up-front with you then invest in that product.

Personally, I would never buy a used (second-hand) amp and expect it to perform as designed unless I could return it to the manufacturer for refurbishment. If I was given a used amp I wouldn't even bother to switch it on. I'd packed it and immediately despatch it to the manufacturer or his authorised agent providing that he could prove to my satisfaction that he had the skills, equipment and parts to service the amp as if he was the manufacturer. Just as with buying a car, one thing is for sure when you buy an amplifier: sooner or later you will need to know a man who can service it properly!

So, in my opinion, the ability for the manufacturer to offer a lifetime aftercare (at a reasonable cost and with honesty so that he actually does replace defective components) is just about the most important criteria in selecting an amp. Far more important that hair-splitting arguments about whether X is better than Y. If X is better today, but Company X can't or won't give technical after care on amp X, then it's likely that at some point in the future due to ageing, Y will be better than X. That makes a nonsense of the whole hair-splitting thing.

markus sauer
24-05-2007, 02:11 PM
An excellent post, Alan, that I very much agree with. If I may appear to be nit-picking, however, I don't quite agree with this part of your post:



"You do not need to be afraid of your amplifier. Compared to even the simplest digital circuitry, an audio amplifier is conceptually a very simple device. All it has to do is to magnify the electron flow into its input terminals up into a bigger electron flow and deliver that to your speakers. You can think of an amplifier like the gears on a bicycle: gears magnify the energy you put in from your leg muscles into sufficient power to push the bike along the road. The amp does exactly the same.
An amplifier doesn't actually magnify the electron flow. Not a single electron from the original signal will reach the speaker.

In my view, what a power amp does is to condition and control the electron flow from the mains. The power arrives as an AC signal with a particular voltage and frequency. The first thing the amp must do is convert that energy into something which is suitable for driving a loudspeaker (that's what the power supply is for, it turns the energy into DC and normally drops the voltage to ca. 50V max). The second task of the amp is to modulate the energy from the mains into an exact copy of the input signal, only at a higher level (23 dB higher is the industry standard I believe).

Your bike gears would be analogous to a transformer. No matter what transformers you choose, I doubt the output from the CD player of your choice would be sufficient to drive a speaker.

A.S.
24-05-2007, 04:59 PM
You are absolutely correct of course.

I find that in the interests of simplification it's often better to draw comparisons that are nearly if not comprehensively accurate. I find it easier to visualise the amp as a signal booster rather than a power gate. As you say, the literal function of the amplifier is to feed the amplifiers own mains-drawn power supply to the speakers in a highly controlled way - the control being that of the music waveform itself and the setting of the volume control.

You do draw attention to the point that the design, construction and age related degradation of components in the power supply circuit of the (power) amp critically effects the overall performance. It is the part of the circuit working hard to make power available to the speakers (via the output devices) and we expect a lot from it. It has to have huge power reserves (acceleration potential) to follow the big musical events, but be silent enough so we can't hear hum and buzz during the quiet moments. The PSU components are under strain, and just like a car, to keep them in tip top condition requires periodic maintenance and component replacement. How often really depends upon ambient temperature, how hard it's worked, quality of original components, over/under engineering of the design, manufacturing cost constraints and good luck.

I was discussing component life expectancy with a supplier last week. He showed me graphs which I'm told are typical of electronic, mechanical and fluid components. They show that for every 10 degrees C rise in ambient temperature the life expectancy of a component halves. As for 'life expectancy' it does not necessarily mean that the component totally fails (like a car windscreen wiper motor) but that it slowly degrades until it is well outside specification - such as a PSU's main reservoir capacitors. That electronic components age and slowly degrade is no surprise at all: this has been understood for decades by everyone involved in industrial or military equipment and of course, all component designers and manufacturers. It is the very reason why military-grade components are so hugely expensive - they are internally engineered and carefully seelcted to work at high temperatures for a very long time, but at a very price. Back in the real world of consumer hi-fi amplifiers assembled from affordable consumer-grade parts, it has to be expected that they won't last forever, hence periodic servicing is advisable before catastrophic amplifier failure - and destruction of your Harbeths.

I must assume that better tube amplifier designers are experts in balancing their elevated operating temperatures and high voltages against component life expectancy. This is a subject I'd like to know more about.

In my particular case, I declined the would-be suppliers invitation to use his component because I could not define precisely enough the stress it would be under, hence it's useful operating life. Some Harbeth users listen at low level to chamber music - others at high-ish levels to rock. We shouldn't gamble with shortening the working life of a Harbeth, which under careful conditions has already proved to be 30 years.

holden
25-05-2007, 12:23 PM
I use a Leben cs300 integrated valve amp with my compact 7-es2. It's only 12 watts, not a big room. It's one fine amp and makes the Harbeths sing like never before.

A.S.
28-05-2007, 12:46 PM
Well that just proves the point. 12W is, in a moderately sized room, on music of moderate scale a surprising amount of power. If you recall the old QUAD tube amps they were only 15W/channel and they played very loud.

Because the Harbeth electrical load is benign, little power is wasted.

Hu
28-05-2007, 01:11 PM
How about 18W valve to drive M30?

A.S.
28-05-2007, 03:00 PM
Well, to answer that please first refer to my former comments .... " ... 12W is, in a moderately sized room, on music of moderate scale a surprising amount of power ...."

I constructed my answer carefully and used a number of critically important key words: I qualified the size of the room (moderate size), I qualified the type of music (music of moderate scale) and I used the word 'surprising' to describe my impression of power. An imperssion of power is not the same thing as real, scientific power! You can not beat physics - real power is real power! 12W is 12W. It can not behave as if it is 20W or 50W. It will only do the work of 12W. (Power = potential to do work). A 60W light bulb can not do the work of a 100W bulb. In the case of the amplifier, when we say 'work' we mean to push the bass unit's cone in and out. That is mechanical work.

If you have this small combination of room size + small-scale musical tastes and listen at a low-level then a small amount of power is adequate. But if you change any of these qualifying conditions, then more power will be need. So, if the room is bigger and/or you listen further away and/or you like to listen louder and/or the music is more demanding (full orchestra needs more power than a string quartet) you will surely need more power.

Think of this: if you want to illuminate a small room so that you can sit in the corner and read comfortably maybe you need only one 40W bulb hanging in the middle of the room. But if the room is bigger 40W is not bright enough: you need 100W bulb. Or, if you bring the light bulb nearer to your reading corner 25W may be sufficient. That's the same situation as listening close to or far away from your speakers: much of the light or sound is wasted and does not reach where you sit.

Remember, power is just another word for energy-reserve. If you drive down the slow country lanes in your Rolls Royce maybe you are using 1% of the engines power reserve but you feel happy knowing that you have 99% power available to you. If you travel fast on the main road maybe you use 70% and you are reassured that you have 30% reserve. Or maybe you are a young driver in big hurry with a small car racing around the streets using 95% of the power with only 5% reserve but you are happy because your girlfriend has the impression of power when if fact it is 100% used up!

What is your amplifier comfort-zone? Only you can decide how fast you want to travel, what power reserve you feel comfortable with and the cost.

oferab
30-05-2007, 04:58 PM
and it sound great, very clean and precise, and very musical
I also have there CD player, which also sound great
my speakers are the 7es2
here is a link to there site

http://www.avihifi.co.uk/IntAmp/Integrated%20Amp.html

matthewz
12-06-2007, 11:28 AM
Dear all,

I am at the brink of replacing my amplifier (Bryston 3B-ST), and I need some advice on what to consider. My cd player is a Pioneer PD-65, and next on the chain is my lovely E.A.R. 834L valve pre-amp connected to the Bryston. My Harbeth Compact 7 mk I is the heart of the system, and all cablings are by Nordost.
I was thinking about obtaining a pair of second-hand Michell Alecto Monoblocs (but they're really hard to find). One of my friends said I ought to try the Naim power amp (he said the small one is decent enough). Another one said Sugden new class-A power was good also.
All advice and recommendations are warmly welcomed.

Cheers,

J.L.

Don Leman
12-06-2007, 03:08 PM
While it doesn't answer your question, I would like to suggest that before you make any amp purchase you audition a pair of the new Compact 7ES-3. I expect you will find an improvement far beyond what a change in electronics will provide.

Respectfully

Don Leman

matthewz
13-06-2007, 01:53 AM
Dear Don,
I would certainly audition the new C7-3ES, but the thing is, we dont have authorized Harbeth dealer around here. I personally purchased my C7 directly from the UK.
I am sure there's a lot of improvement in sound quality in the mark III version. <sigh> Wish we had it here in Indonesia.
Anyway, thanks for your advice. Cheers.

J.L.

Ned Mast
13-06-2007, 10:39 PM
J.L.

I know I'm a bit of a contrarian on the issue of electronics, but not having heard significant differences among the four amps (three s.s. and one tube) I've tried with my Harbeths (SHL5s and M40s), I'm wondering why you're looking to change from the Bryston. I know it only by reputation - excellent for quality and reliability. Is there an actual problem with it, or is it that you just want to try something different? If the latter, what is it you're hoping to achieve? Other than changing speakers, the next most significant sound change you could achieve would be (in my opinion) further work on room treatment, trying the speakers set up in MANY different locations, and/or actual room correction with a unit such as TacT, Lyngdorf, etc.

Ned

matthewz
14-06-2007, 11:01 AM
Hi Ned,
There's absolutely nothing wrong with my Bryston. Infact the 3B-ST sounds natural, transparent, yet in a bit of laid-back region (perhaps, in my system the Bryston is matched with the valve EAR pre-amp?).
But, the REAL problem is that my Bryston has 110voltage, and I am living in a country where we use 220volt. Using a step-up transformer is an option. But I prefer replacing the power supply inside the Bryston. But again, the cost of changing the psu is almost as costly as purchasing a new small amplifier.
Maybe this explanation can clear up things why I wanna get a new amp for my Harbeth. =)
Any suggestions, Ned? Anyone? Hope anyone can gimme some solutions on auditioning a decent amp in my system. BIG thanks.
Cheers!

J.L.

A.S.
14-06-2007, 05:12 PM
Good news for our Indonesian customers! There are Compact 7ES3s on their way this week to our excellent distributor there - Victory Audio. So now you can have a chance to hear them and then make a decision about amps.

Ned Mast
14-06-2007, 05:12 PM
Hi J.L.,

That certainly answers my question on why you want - actually need - to get another amp. I couldn't recommend one over another; I think it largely depends on how much power you feel you need and how much you want to spend. I mostly use my Sunfire because I wanted to put the power issue completely to rest, and I like a cool running and absolutely quiet amp. (And - for me - the price was reasonable).

Ned

NikPer
18-06-2007, 05:57 AM
Greetings,

I just got a pair SHL5's, the rest of my gear is a Cary SLI-80 integrated valve amplifier with 2xKT88 per channel, a Cary CD308T cd player, a vintage AKAI turntable with the small BENZ cartridge amplified by a creek OBH-18 phono-stage and a SONY tuner. The room is my kitchen-living room combo area, about 5.5 by 6 meters.

So far i am very happy with the speakers, I really appreciate their full bodied sound and clarity plus i just love their "old-school" look.

Above is my post of about six months ago.... Quite recently (last month and a half) i have been using a Yamaha stereo receiver (RX-797) which is spec'd about 2x100W. I am quite happy using this amp so far and this was, needless to say, a big surprise to me!

matthewz
19-06-2007, 11:03 AM
Hello, Alan.
Thanks for your kind information. Why do you think I need to audition the C7 Mk3 'cos I already own a pair of cherished Compact 7? Any significant sonic difference between those two?
Is there any Skylan speaker stand dealers in Indonesia too?

Regards,
J.L.

matthewz
19-06-2007, 11:10 AM
Ned,
I try to keep my system running naturally and simple. Wattage speaking I guess 80 - 100 Watts per channel is adequate for my Compact 7...am I right?? (My listening room is 3 meter x 5.5 meter)
I prefer some England-made amplifier so that my system can sound "wholly" made-in-England.. hehehe.
I read some of the threads discussing about choosing amps between Naims and Sugdens. Perhaps any of those two brands can represent and be suitable for my future system.
Any suggestions again is warmly welcome.
Thanks

J.L.

Ned Mast
19-06-2007, 04:45 PM
J.L.,

Nothing wrong with keeping your system purely British! Frankly, the question of how much power one needs is still an open one in my mind. Because I've read posts by those who have measured output in the neighborhood of a few hundred watts (during brief peaks) when playing music over speakers of 'average' efficiency, I opted to use an amp that should never run out of power. That being said, I also have played my Harbeths with my Adcom 60 watt amp and not noticed any strain (and the amp has a warnng light that let's one know if it is being pushed beyond reason). Still with solid bass, smooth highs, etc. So, yes, I suspect that 80 to 100 watts would be quite adequate for the C7s, as it seemed to be for my SHL5s, and seems to be for my M40s. As Alan has often said, his speakers are designed to be easy to drive, and any competently designed amp in the power range you mentioned should afford complete musical enjoyment.

Ned

matthewz
05-07-2007, 03:47 PM
Hey folks,

anybody here familiar with the NVA (Nene Valley Audio) stereo or mono amplifiers?
Is any one of the amps from that brand is suitable to Harbeth Compact 7?
Thanks for your advice.

Cheers,

J.L.

Hu
05-08-2007, 09:13 AM
After three years my M30 finally sing? Recently I tried Audio Note M3 preamp with my Plinius SA102 instead of Quad 99 pre. Wow, what sound! Such warm, mellow and clear sound!

matthewz
02-09-2007, 01:01 PM
Has anybody here in the community ever tried matching a class-D amplifier with a pair of Harbeths?
I was thinking about purchasing a Pro-Ject amp box mono. According to its specifications, it delivers 28Watts per channel. Can it deliver a good result for my Harbeth Compact 7? Any comments are welcome.

Cheers,

J.L.

A.S.
02-09-2007, 11:02 PM
By coincidence I have just returned from the home of a BBC sound engineer to whom I was giving the UK-first demo of the Monitor 40.1.

After the main demo his friend arrived with a home-made stereo 2 x 20W Tripath Class-T amp in a small box powered from an internal 12V battery charged from an wall-PSU type external mains supply. I have no direct experience of 'digital amps' (although I'm told that Class T is not actually digital but Pulse Width Modulation) and was very curious.

I was astonished how good it was: warmer and sweeter than the main amplifier. I was doubly astonished that such a low power amp could drive the M40.1 adequately loud and to such an excellent standard. I've borrowed the amp and ordered from him the 2x100W big brother.

I'm so impressed with this miracle amp and its sweet sound - which would certainly drive C7ES3, M30 and probably M20 that I wonder if there is a small market for it at a sensible price? I am not saying that it would compete with big 'audiophile' amps or have a long life expectancy - I am saying it opens up many possibilities and is definitely a small investment worth considering.

Thoughts?

A.S.
02-09-2007, 11:18 PM
Oh dear ...... I have been searching for the Tripath chips ...... I found this meaasge on the Profusion (former UK importers) website today:

"Tripath have now stopped trading due to bankruptcy and their assets have been sold. All Tripath parts should be considered obsolete and are only available while stocks last."

I guess that's the end of that project then.

Knut Knutsler
03-09-2007, 02:19 AM
Have you checked out the Hypex line of class D amplfiers?

http://www.hypex.nl/

I've been following them for a while. They are consistently reviewed very highly and are sometimes said to be warmer, more musical etc. than the Tripath offerings (and once as having "a hint of coldness"). Perhaps they're just really good.