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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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  • #91
    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.

    Comment


    • #92
      amp for Harbeths

      "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

      Comment


      • #93
        The truth. Harbeth: S/S or tube friendly?

        Originally posted by Ted Rook
        "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
        Last edited by A.S.; 08-04-2006, 09:18 AM.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #94
          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.

          Comment


          • #95
            amplifier choices

            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

            Comment


            • #96
              amps

              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

              Comment


              • #97
                Harbeth 'amp friendliness'?

                Originally posted by Ted Rook
                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.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Bruce
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    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

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Philippe Monteyne
                      ...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"
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • ...."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

                        Comment


                        • Plinius 103

                          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

                          Comment


                          • "The amplifier-speaker interface" magazine article

                            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/ass...rInterface.pdf

                            Comment


                            • Plinius 9200 and Harbeth C7ES2 =Bad combo?

                              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...8391&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?

                              Comment


                              • 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.

                                Comment

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