View Full Version : Cleaning and looking after your Harbeths

07-02-2006, 07:28 PM
This thread concerns the best way of taking care of your Harbeths.

John Parkyn
07-02-2006, 11:20 PM
OK, what are the do's and don'ts of looking Harbeths?

John Parkyn
07-02-2006, 11:21 PM
Do Harbeths require burning in?

What does this involve?

John Parkyn
11-02-2006, 06:59 PM
Not that Harbeths would ever go wrong, but if they did, what's the repair procedure... Shiip to Sussex or contact the national distributor?

I wonder what the most common repairs are.

I understand that some parts are not available for ancient Harbeths.

David Schalkwyk
12-02-2006, 10:49 AM
Do Harbeths require burning in?

What does this involve?

I know that this goes against everything that Alan and the brochures say, but I've found, to my surprise, that my HLP3s have been getting better and better in the three months I've had them (since I've been mostly at home I've been playing them about 8 hours a day!) An initial problem with the treble has gradually disappeared, there seems to be more bass, and mid-range clarity with very large orchestral forces has lost all sense of slight congestion in loud passages I had heard earlier. I've just finished an absolutely riveting session listening to Barbarolli's classic 1970s recording on EMI of the Mahler 5th, on a 30-year-old LP. (It may now be one of my "pick 3" records, John.)

Or am I the one that's improving?



PS This session was played using my original equipment, not the 11-watt JLH amp I tried the other night.

12-02-2006, 11:11 AM
I wonder what the most common repairs are ...
The up-to-date spares situation is detailed here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/sales/servicingandspares/index.php (http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/../sales/servicingandspares/index.php) and yes, you are correct that the spares for very old models are no longer available. That situation changed when Harbeth started to make bass/mid drivers in-house, some ten or so years ago. Prior to that, Chartwell then Rogers, then Audax made woofers for Harbeth. Anticipating that the unavailability of bass/mid drivers would ultimately strangle us, we set about designing our own RADIAL driver in 1990 - and have never looked back.

"Common repairs" . . . In one year, I'd be surprised if we issued, in total, 20 pieces of HL spare drivers worldwide to cover Warranty or other needs. That's a reflection of how picky we are about selection and testing at the point of manufacture and of the sensibilities of our customers. We always ask for defective drivers to be cut open and examined (either at HO or by the Distributor) since the tell-tale signs of 'non-warranty failure' - a polite way of saying customer neglect - are all too obvious. Almost always that is voice coil burn-out. You can see what that looks like at the bottom of the Spares page.

Of those occasional burn-outs we see, I'm convinced that most are due to the customer's amp failing, and dumping the entire power supply voltage on the speakers. Old amps do need checking and proper maintenance - it's far cheaper than new drivers.

24-02-2006, 01:30 AM
An amp blew two woofers in my C7-2s and I had them easily repaired here in the USA by Millersound. They don't have a website and I've misplaced the phone number, but anyone can e-mail and I'll find what I can. Each woofer was scraping slightly and making scratchy, bad sounding music. Cost was $65.00 each (plus $20.00 shipping both ways) and they now make beautiful music.

By the way, I input a thread some weeks ago about a slight hardness or glare in the upper midrange presentation. I found the problem and it had nothing to do with the speakers. Somehow my DAC had "mis-set" itself and when I retoggled everything correctly, the music came back. Now there is not a harsh, glarey, etched, or hard note to be had anywhere. Saxes, pianos, guitars, trumpets, vocals, etc. can be played as loud as I want with nothing but stunningly good music comin' at me. Now I can't wait for music time each night while my wife gets ready for bed.

15-09-2008, 03:08 PM
Hi, Alan,

Looking after any dynamic speaker should be the same I expect. I have 30 year old Rogers Monitor II speakers and considering having the crossover capacitors checked and replaced as necessary. Also, I have been encouraged by audiophiles to replace speaker wiring. My questions are (1) Will newer hi-tech speaker wire like Cardas make an improvement in sound? (2) Will capacitor replacement change the sound in a negative manner.

Must admit that after listening to Harbeth HL-5's and HP-2 speakers, I am contemplating purchase, when I have the necessary funds. Before such an expenditure, is a speaker rewiring a sound move?


15-09-2008, 03:40 PM
An honest answer from me is don't waste your money. Others may have different opinions. Whilst changing the cables may (or may not) make a difference to the sound (and that comment can be equally applied to changing the capacitors) you are tinkering around the edges of the issue. What you are suggesting is a car cleaning valet on a thirty year old car; it may make you feel better but the engine will still be thirty years old!

15-09-2008, 08:33 PM
Thank you for responding to my query so promptly. My thinking was similar to yours, but wanted an opinion from an expert before I engaged in this pursuit.

So, onward in the purchase of a set of Harbeth speakers. Must mention that I had a rather negative 1st experience with Monitor 30 speakers. Bought a pair online only to find that after 2 days of auditioning them, that the quality and quantity of bass performance was substandard. Sounded rather thin overall. So I sold them only to find out from the purchaser that one of the bass drivers had a large slit in it. Fortunately the US distributor had a driver in stock, which I paid for. My customer was satisfied, but I of course lost a few dollars in the transaction.

The dealer that I had purchased my tube McIntosh equipment from is now a Harbeth dealer. So I gave my ears another try with a Harbeth product. Loved the HL-5 and the HL-P3ES-2 which the dealer has in stock. My listening room is 15ft x 15 ft x 9 ft high and speakers have to be placed 12 inches from a wall. I see no trouble with the P3, however, the HL5 may not interact with this size of room. Hopefully the dealer will let me audition both at home, if not, then I will stay with the speakers I have.



Paul Moraw
19-05-2013, 03:13 PM

What do you guys use to clean the dust etc that has accumulated on top of speakers? What else would you guys use to for protecting the wood veneer finish to slow down fading cracking etc?


19-05-2013, 07:40 PM
What do you guys use to clean the dust etc that has accumulated on top of speakers? What else would you guys use to for protecting the wood veneer finish to slow down fading cracking etc?

Forgive me for stating the obvious ... yellow dusters and a little furniture polish?

20-05-2013, 12:50 AM
Veneer care should be much dependant on weather of country region or room condition. For my case, I am using microfibre cloth, women make up brusher and camera lens dust blower to clean radial cone. I do used the brusher to dusting speaker top. Whenever I vacc my house, at least once a week, I am using furniture brush nozzle to suck out dust in gap between the back and front panel, also the speaker top.

I never use the slightly damped cloth to wipe my harbeth because that will increased the posibility of mould/fungus growth in my hall.


Paul Moraw
20-05-2013, 02:23 AM
Forgive me for stating the obvious ... yellow dusters and a little furniture polish?

The reason I asked is I heard that some wood cleaners and perservatives(especially the silicon based ones) can be harmfull to speaker finishes. I just picked up a pair of m40.1's and i wanna make sure i can give them the best care possible.

20-05-2013, 11:54 AM
Direct sun light may be the most harmful to your speakers finnish, followed by extreme humidity. If these can be avoided or minimized, your speakers finnish will last a long time.

I have only dusted with a microfiber cloth, and occasionally a light brushing of the grill cloth, to keep my cherry C7ES3's looking like new. I am fortunate to have a heating and air conditioning system that moderates temperature and humidity.

20-05-2013, 09:11 PM
Silicone based cleaners shouldn't be used if the veneer has been waxed - use a beeswax based polish - but is OKish if the finish is polyurethane based. Don't know what the finish is on Harbeths. Haven't bought mine yet.

04-08-2013, 07:40 AM
I have just placed an order for a pair of 30.1's with my UK dealer - the one thing I would like to purchase to accompany them, is a pair of covers that can protect them when not in use - any thoughts or where / how etc? Would ensure they were in perfect condition but, I accept that I am a fusspot that likes to keep things as nice as possible.

04-08-2013, 04:21 PM
Hello Peez, when I had a pair M30s I bought a large piece of thin 'silk' like cloth from a fabric store and then cut it into two large squares to the size where when laid over the M30's it neatly fell into place and covered all its sides.

Then if you wanted to go one further step you could easily manufacture/sew a long box shaped cover out of a thicker and padded piece of fabric to then slip over both the speakers and possible even over the stands ( if you where concerned that they may be vunerable of being knocked or toppled by pets, children etc)

04-08-2013, 07:39 PM
it's funny as I was speaking to another M30.1 owner this afternoon and he told me that he has also made a pair of covers for his - I fear I am not that adept to be able to sew some covers but, it is something I am mulling :-)

04-08-2013, 09:33 PM
If you able to bring the TT then I can show you the cover.
Very simple

10-11-2013, 09:49 PM
A question from SHL5 lover :) How can I clean the grilles without removing them?

11-11-2013, 11:03 AM
I use a soft clothes brush.

11-11-2013, 11:34 AM
Good for dust, but what about stains?

{Moderator's comment: stains, as in cup or plant rings? That will need professional restoration.}

11-11-2013, 11:36 AM
Perhaps I could remind folk that in the Public Health/Retirement thread we've looked at the effect of smoking on the ear (ear drum becomes leathery and loses sensitivity), but there is another issue.

The presence of cigarette smoke and its toxic cocktail of 2000+ chemicals oxidises the lacquer and veneer of the speaker cabinets. That's bad. Worse is that it hardens, stiffens and degrades the delicate rubber components in the loudspeaker drive units (and pickup cartridge). You must accept a progressive lowering of performance with time in a smoky atmosphere.

As I mentioned, the best and most effective upgrade to a hifi system is to cease smoking.

11-11-2013, 07:34 PM
{Moderator's comment: stains, as in cup or plant rings? That will need professional restoration.}[/QUOTE]

No, just some light, whitish smudges. I have no idea where they come from, probably some heavier dust particles in the grills.

11-11-2013, 07:43 PM
As I mentioned, the best and most effective upgrade to a hifi system is to cease smoking.

I did a long time ago, but that's one of the most inspiring reasons to stop smoking :)