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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

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  • Re: NVA anybody?

    Hi Matherwz,

    I know this may be a little late, but I have just joined the forum. I used the Passive Pre that they make up until christmas 2006 when the earth wire came loose and fried my LFD Pa2m Monoblocks and the acoustic energy Aelite 2's I was using at the time......

    Managed to get LFD to repair the amps but the speakers were toast. The insurance claim allowed me to purchase a set of Harbeths Super HL5's though

    I was very happy with the sound, but having to use the NVA cables made connecting up difficult and I think contributed to the earth breaking free somewhere inside the Pre.

    Best Regards,

    Aus

    Comment


    • Re: Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

      Hello!

      Probably a bit late, but just joined the Harbeth forum party

      I use a pair of LFD PA2M monoblocks running through a Cyrus Pre VS2 amp with my Harbeth Super HL5's. It is a combo that works well for me (Or did - everything is in storage at the moment while we build a new house!). Sounded incredibly natural and really lustrious in the midband. They were a really big step up from my NAD Power Amp and less than twice the price second hand on Ebay, so really good value too! It is still possible to get work done on them by the manufacturer also.

      Drop me a line if you want any more info,

      Best Regards,

      Aus

      Comment


      • Re: Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

        Recently my sister bought Gryphon Diablo integrated amp, connected to her P3ES-2, she said that sounds much better than with Sugden A21a.

        Comment


        • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

          Originally posted by Soundbyte View Post
          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 crude 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.
          Hi there,

          I'm just curious as to why you selected the Lavardin IS Reference instead of the Lavardin IT.
          I'm considering the Lavardin IT with Monitor 30 speakers. My listening room is very similar to yours (5.5m X 4.5m X 3.5m) and have applied sound treatment (bass trap and numerous acoustic tiles).

          My sources - Musical Fidelity A3.2, VPI Aries turntable with Grado Sonata cartridge. I'm currently using the Trichord Research Dino+ phono preamp. My current pre/ amp combo - Cary Audio V12 amp, Cary Audio SLP-05 preamp. Speakers - ProAc Response 2.5

          I need an SS based amplifier due to our hot summer here where I cannot sit in the room with my setup as the room becomes extremely unbearable with heat. I'm also very sure the Monitor 30s will work well with my current setup.

          Basically, I would like to hear from your opinion the difference between the IS Reference compared to the IT model. OR opinion from anyone out there using Lavardin IT/ IS Reference with Monitor 30.

          Thanks,

          Joel

          Comment


          • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

            Please forgive me for being a total philistine, but do you really need to spend a small fortune on partnering equipment with Harbeths? What I'm trying to suggest is that a [very] carefully designed, benign, "easy" 8 Ohm load doesn't need huge power supplies, super-fast transistors or even the last word in expensive capacitors and cables etc. to give of its best.

            I wonder if anyone here has tried relatively humble "real world" equipment like the Quad 99 series or something like current Audiolab (also from the IAG stable) or Arcam and Cambridge Audio - not very expensive but apparently extremely capable for modest prices?

            Comment


            • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

              Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
              Please forgive me for being a total philistine, but do you really need to spend a small fortune on partnering equipment with Harbeths? What I'm trying to suggest is that a [very] carefully designed, benign, "easy" 8 Ohm load doesn't need huge power supplies, super-fast transistors or even the last word in expensive capacitors and cables etc. to give of its best.

              I wonder if anyone here has tried relatively humble "real world" equipment like the Quad 99 series or something like current Audiolab (also from the IAG stable) or Arcam and Cambridge Audio - not very expensive but apparently extremely capable for modest prices?
              I am currently using Arcam A85 to drive my SHL-5 & is quite satisfied with the overall sound. In fact i feel that my modest Arcam with SHL-5 already sounds better than many mega buck systems that i've heard.

              Comment


              • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

                DSRANCE and Gan CK are both correct. As I've stated many times before, you do not need to worry about changing, replacing, modifying, upgrading or throwing away your existing amplifier. If it is still performing to the manufacturer's original specification it will work with a Harbeth. For absolute clarity I suggest reading our full 'golden list'

                If I could only break what seem to me like a neurosis about amplifiers, stands, cables and all the rest I'd be a very happy and contented speaker designer. Few of the outlandish claims stand up to proper scrutiny. The facts are that in the whole audio chain from performer to listener the first and last devices - the microphones and speakers, both electromechanical - are the weak points. The electronics, in my opinion, reached a standard of perfection 25 years ago and is as good as it needs to be. Of course, amps do fail eventually (usually capacitor problems) and you have to decide whether to repair (if that can be done) or replace. Also, there is pride in ownership of something man made, shiny and new: I understand all of that, but I'm impervious to it.

                Many of our customers literally save money for three or four years to buy our speakers. It's important that they understand that once they have made the investment in their Harbeths they do not have to save for even more time to buy some fancy amplifier.

                Amplifier technology is slow moving; that's good news for the consumer as it ensures that the vital electronic components are available to amplifier manufacturers for many years by the electronics industry. Transistors, resistors and capacitors are the same now as 30 or more years ago - there have been no new technology breakthroughs in the basic components. Amplifier manufactures like Sugden and QUAD to name just two have service departments and I assume that other manufacturers also run a service operation - if they don't steer well clear of their products. A good amp manufacturer will be able to restore an amplifier to original condition decades after it was made.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

                  Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
                  Please forgive me for being a total philistine, but do you really need to spend a small fortune on partnering equipment with Harbeths?
                  I already have purchased these as stated in my first post...

                  "My sources - Musical Fidelity A3.2, VPI Aries turntable with Grado Sonata cartridge. I'm currently using the Trichord Research Dino+ phono preamp. My current pre/ amp combo - Cary Audio V12 amp, Cary Audio SLP-05 preamp. Speakers - ProAc Response 2.5"

                  I need an integrated SS based amp that I can use during our very hot summer here. Sitting in the listening room with an ambient temperature of 35 degrees C with 12 X EL34s glowing is not a pleasant experience... it gets very very hot.

                  My question to the original poster is why he chose the IS Ref instead of the IT.

                  BTW, I did have an Audiolab 8000A MkII in the early 90s. I've handed it to my nephew of 9 years old as a start up system.

                  Comment


                  • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

                    I've used a MacIntosh MC 275 (tube) amp, a Yamaha, an Adcom and a Sunfire amp with my Harbeths. The Harbeths sounded wonderful will all. The Mac was loaned me; I wouldn't buy one simply because it runs hot (tubes) and didn't offer any sonic advantages to offset that (and it's cost on the used market). I gave the Adcom to a friend whose own amp died (it's cost was $150 used). The Yamaha I inherited from my brother and the Sunfire cost $995 used. Each sounds fine and has plenty of power, and since I always like to have back-up electronics I'll keep and use both. As I said, from the standpoint of sound, there was no basis to choose one over the other. I agree with A.S. that electronics are virtually a non-issue. Once having acquired Harbeths, their best placement in the room and room treatment (and - if affordable - perhaps dsp) would top my priotities list.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Harbeth C7ES2 & Lavardin IS Reference = Sonic Bliss!

                      Thank you for your considered and polite replies to my cheeky (?) post above.

                      There are one or two UK manufacturers who make good sounding (into Harbeths) amplifiers. Quad is one (the 909 should be more than ample for all and it does sound very good with their own, or other pre-amps) and AVI is another that springs to mind, running cool, sounding "open" and having no "temperament" at all...

                      Regarding Arcam, mentioned above. if you really feel that the more humble models in Arcam's portfolio are too big a step "down" then I'd suggest their FMJ pre-amp and stereo power amp, which has a beautiful and solid finish, excellent construction with decent components and a very good sound whilst running cool - even better sound if you'd like to experiment with racks and stands, as many audiophiles do.

                      I think it's fair to repeat that as Harbeths have an easy amplifier load, any amp worth the "hifi" tag should be readily usable with them. Expensive, huge, high current behemoths aren't necessary here.

                      Comment


                      • You can use almost ANY amp with your Harbeths...

                        Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                        ... 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. ...
                        That old twaddle again? It constantly amazes me that these rumours seem to have a life of their own despite the fact that as we've said here before they are not based on fact.

                        The facts are here. Have a look at No. 4 and 5. See what they say? They say 'Harbeths will work with even a small amplifier, and Harbeths will work with any amplifier'. Those are my words - the designer's words. I stake my reputation on those words being factually correct. Harbeths are designed to be easy to drive for the reason (as I have stated) that we want to be 99.99% certain when you take delivery of your Harbeths that they will make beautiful music with whatever equipment you already have.

                        What do we have to do to drop the wretched issue of amplifier compatibility? It is an issue in the mind only. It is a non-issue. Why would anyone place credence in the opinions of third parties who have no input to the design process, no in-depth knowledge of the product, presumably no design experience and no connection at all with the factory?
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • Re: You can use almost ANY amp with your Harbeths...

                          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                          That old twaddle again? It constantly amazes me that these rumours seem to have a life of their own despite the fact that as we've said here before they are not based on fact.

                          The facts are here. Have a look at No. 4 and 5. See what they say? They say 'Harbeths will work with even a small amplifier, and Harbeths will work with any amplifier'. Those are my words - the designer's words. I stake my reputation on those words being factually correct. Harbeths are designed to be easy to drive for the reason (as I have stated) that we want to be 99.99% certain when you take delivery of your Harbeths that they will make beautiful music with whatever equipment you already have.

                          What do we have to do to drop the wretched issue of amplifier compatibility? It is an issue in the mind only. It is a non-issue. Why would anyone place credence in the opinions of third parties who have no input to the design process, no in-depth knowledge of the product, presumably no design experience and no connection at all with the factory?
                          Couldn't agree more with this.... Take this consideration:

                          Why not having a fine and budget integrated? No extra interconnects, plenty of inputs (very useful for various components i.e. tuner, deck, cdr, etc.), plus a good mm or even mm/mc phono stage... Will do everything OK, won't get much space on your rack to settle, won't be a headache to service/replace, and so many other reasons not to trouble your head...
                          If I had these parameters in mind when I chose my McIntosh MA 6500 when I started, although it's a fine and lovely little tank to match my SHL5s, I would have gone for an AVI, Sugden, Rotel, Arcam, Cambridge, Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon etc., for almost half the price... The money I would have saved? Buy more cds, Lps, or clothes & shoes,or a nice trip in Italy, go to concert hall, even altogether, etc.

                          Hope I'm not becoming stupidly simple, but isn't this what Alan is talking about? Don't you think that perhaps he's very-very right?

                          Cheers from Athens,
                          Thanos

                          Comment


                          • Re: You can use almost ANY amp with your Harbeths...

                            Originally posted by Thanos View Post
                            Couldn't agree more with this....

                            Why not having a fine and budget integrated? No extra interconnects, plenty of inputs (very useful for various components i.e. tuner, deck, cdr, etc.), plus a good mm or even mm/mc phono stage... Will do everything OK, won't get much space on your rack to settle, won't be a headache to service/replace, and so many other reasons not to trouble your head...
                            Thanos
                            Thanos
                            I would fully endorse the Integrated amplifier route - "less is more approach". I have been spending years 'toying' and 'tinkering' with pre and power, all that wasted time and money, trying to get the right synergy! In the end I bought a tube integrated, the Leben CS600, and my life is much simpler now. I don't feel I am sacrificing anything sonically. Think about it, I have one less interconnect and one less equipment to worry about. Talk about short signal path! The pre and power stuff is a marketing ploy to get people to buy more, pay more, with the lure that the sound is better!!

                            Best Regards
                            Dennis

                            Comment


                            • Re: You can use almost ANY amp with your Harbeths...

                              Originally posted by denjo View Post
                              Thanos
                              I would fully endorse the Integrated amplifier route - "less is more approach". I have been spending years 'toying' and 'tinkering' with pre and power, all that wasted time and money, trying to get the right synergy! In the end I bought a tube integrated, the Leben CS600, and my life is much simpler now. I don't feel I am sacrificing anything sonically. Think about it, I have one less interconnect and one less equipment to worry about. Talk about short signal path! The pre and power stuff is a marketing ploy to get people to buy more, pay more, with the lure that the sound is better!!

                              Best Regards
                              Dennis
                              How refreshing it is to hear 'audiophiles' encouraging one another to spend less money! I do agree, although I am guilty of having pre/power combo. If I didn't have a turntable I'd have dispensed with the preamp as my cd player has a variable output (volume control). I've compared [a] going straight from the cd player to the power amp, with [b] going via the pre-amp, and guess what? There's no difference in sound - at least any that I can hear.

                              Comment


                              • Re: You can use almost ANY amp with your Harbeths...

                                I hope Alan will correct me if I'm wrong, but I would like to add my observations to this discussion. I 100 percent stand with him in his statement that you need not be concerned with your Harbeth speakers working well with any decently designed amp. However this thread seems to be turning into an all amps sound the same; and I'm not sure if this was Alan's intention. Certainly this has not been my experience. If you have made an investment in a new component upstream, your Harbeths are fully capable of telling you whether you invested wisely.

                                If Harbeths were not capable of resolving these small nuances do you think they would be used by the BBC and other studio professionals?

                                Don Leman

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