HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

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  • #31
    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.


    • #32
      Originally posted by tomryan
      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.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK


      • #33
        Yes, I think you may well be right. I'm getting confused.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #34
          Originally posted by tomryan
          ... 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.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK


          • #35
            Gryphon Tabu AT 80 watt class AB SS Integrated driving M30


            • #36
              Plinius 9100, Bel Canto DAC2, DH Lab Q10 speaker cables.


              • #37
                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.



                • #38
                  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.


                  • #39
                    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?


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Chayro
                      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.


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Groovetracer
                        This is a general statement that I do not agree with.
                        I agree. That's why I wrote "in general".


                        • #42
                          The amplifiers I currently use are a pair of Trigon Dwarves


                          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.
                          Last edited by joel; 05-02-2006, 02:27 AM.


                          • #43
                            I use Naim Nait3R driver HL P3. It sounds great.


                            • #44
                              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.


                              • #45
                                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.