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Feb. 2018
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Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

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  • ryder
    started a topic Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Firstly, I apologise if this thread comes up as redundant to the "Amplifier selection for your Harbeths" thread created more than 3 years ago with many positive responses. After going through numerous posts here in the Harbeth user forums and Audiogon, I got to know that two consistent recommendation of high-end integrateds to match Harbeth speakers are the LFD Zero MkIII and Lavardin IT. These two integrateds particularly the former have received many praise from owners especially on the excellent sonic attributes and are claimed to rival some of the best integrateds in the market.

    I am considering either one of these amps in near future when my financial allows but there is no distributor for both brands in my country. Hence, I am seeking advice as to which will be a better option to match the SHL-5 although I do know that listening preferences will ultimately determine which will be the "better" amp. I realise there are many happy owners here who use both Lavardin and LFD amps to drive their Harbeth speakers to great effect and I would appreciate your thoughts. I am currently leaning towards the LFD as it seems to be considerably cheaper than the Lavardin IT. There is currently a listing of a used Lavardin IT in Audiogon at $4,800 and the price is about double a brand new LFD Zero MkIII.

  • Thanos
    replied
    Re: Eyes open or shut?

    Originally posted by kittykat View Post
    Thank you for the tip Thanos. much appreciated . The 105 however doesn't seem to be available here in Aust. But ill definitely check out the 101 after the holidays.

    Yes, i agree with you that money is harder to earn nowadays and what confuses me most about amplfiers is that if you look internally, at the parts and design, they're basically very similar in design, with off the shelf parts. How price differences are justified really amazes me, and based on this logic alone, cannot justify price differences. im sure manufacturing and marketing costs make up the big difference and thats where i believe most of the money i pay for a pricey amp goes to.

    think comparing amplifiers is a bit like comparing a lexus and toyota 6 cylinder motor. im sure one is "better" than the other, but at what price? fuel injectors are basically similar, the operating concept is similar etc. Differences can be gained through material improvements but more marked differences are evident in radical technology eg. higher compression combustion etc. but how radical has an amplfier come away from compared to say 20 years ago? We have in fact gone back to tubes which almost become archaic. So when manufacturers make claims on their amplifiers based on current technology eg. mosfets etc. im extremely sceptical, . it wont be a leaps and bounds improvement.
    I dare not publish a tech-talk I had a month ago with an excellent technician, with studies, who has made amps for himself and a couple of friends.
    He showed me, analyzed and calculated the cost of a monster Mark Levinson power vs an old mediun size Yamaha int. He went through other comparisons as well, with evidence. From the cheapest construction cost to the most expensive we hardly have a double or triple price.
    I was embarassed. I realised that different design & topology make the different sound and driving efficiency. But when paid, you might go up the ladder not 2 or 3, but 10 or 20, or even more times so. He told me he would appreciate something really good if he would look at the materials and labour and calculate the cost from the inside. Which is not just glancing...
    At my comment of how much the technology has gone up in the last 30 years, which would make older amps sound so "poor", he started loughing loudly. For a million reasons.
    Alan has put it right by declaring that a genius and long lasting design at a comparatively modest & well controlled cost, plus a very reasonable profit, would be the average man's delight and excellent choice. This is precisely what he does, and this is why I strongly declare my admiration & loyalty to the Harbeth House. No cheapos, No Patek Philippes. You can live all your life with a Seiko, without loosing a minute. The rest is marketing and "paying for the senses". Everybody can disagree with these, yet allow me to continue living in the land of modest living.
    Can you concentrate on music? Do so, and if you'll ever regret, then when my old millionnaire uncle -living in the U.S.A.- remembers me in his testament, I'll send you a superamp for a gift!

    Best Regards,
    Thanos

    Leave a comment:


  • ryder
    replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Hi Yakamozan,
    I guess most people who are not familiar with the 40.1's will have the impression that the huge speakers would need some power to come alive. Initially I too thought the 40.1's would need a reasonably powerful amp due to the additional 12" bass driver. However, after listening to the speakers driven by the Leben CS600 the 40.1 has proven to be an efficient speaker that is able to work well with most modestly-powered integrateds at sensible listening conditions. Unless the listener listens in a big room at fairly high volume levels I reckon moderately-powered integrateds in the range of 50W-100W would be more than sufficient. The older M40 is the one that would require massive power to come alive as a friend uses a Mcintosh MC402 with 400W brute power on the speakers. The power supply of the Lavardin IT must be of high quality to be able to drive the 40.1's and control the bass driver better than the Leben. I believe you now own one of the best matching amps from the fine high-end French manufacturer for your Harbeth and can get off the merry-go-round once and for all.

    Enjoy~

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    To Ryder : Thanks for the Link, nice review. What is surprising for me is that he is running the M40.1 with the IT and that it seems to be a good match. I thought that the overall output of the amp just won?t be enough for the 40.1?s.

    One thing i would like to communicate to all Lavardin IT owners. There is one issue you should be aware of. If you use the Lavardin Mains CMR150 or CMR250 ( that?s the mains with the little box in the middle ), the phase is as showed on the back of the Amp. The red dot is where the hot wire suposed to be. Somehow this changes once you use a normal mains. I use the Standard Naim Mains for my Lavardin, Tom Evans and DPS 3 PS, i have the CMR at home as well, but prefer the Naim standard. The distributor for Lavardin in Germany told me to put the Hot Wire of the Mains opposite the red dot, and it really showed that this is the only right position for this amp. The difference is HUGE. Don?t give anything what some detectors say and what Lavardin says in this case, just trust your ears, it is that obvious. I don?t know if Lavardin wants the customer to use their CMR Mains or if they have other listening preferences, but to me as well as to the Distributor and some Lavardin Dealers it is without a doubt the right way to go. Try it and you will see

    Leave a comment:


  • ryder
    replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Originally posted by Yakamozan View Post
    Never had the chance to listen to LFD or Leben Amp?s, and i believe this is the biggest problem with comparing. Who has the chance to get all of this amps at home to compare them and decide which is the best. I personally owned some big Audionet Monoblocks, E.A.R 861?s and 509 Mono?s and Almarro 318B, what i can say is that musically non of them can compete with the Lavardin IT. Not with my old Audio Physic Caldera?s, nor with my M30 or the SHL5 i had at home. I am a drummer myself and what i can say about the Lavardin amp compared to my other amps is that it sounds real, as strange as this might sound, it?s the best way for me to describe it. But again, maybe it just fit?s better in my set up and will not do so in others .......
    Jeff Day has compared the Lavardin IT to the Leben CS600 with his Harbeth. The review is as below.

    http://positive-feedback.com/Issue46...integrated.htm

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Never had the chance to listen to LFD or Leben Amp?s, and i believe this is the biggest problem with comparing. Who has the chance to get all of this amps at home to compare them and decide which is the best. I personally owned some big Audionet Monoblocks, E.A.R 861?s and 509 Mono?s and Almarro 318B, what i can say is that musically non of them can compete with the Lavardin IT. Not with my old Audio Physic Caldera?s, nor with my M30 or the SHL5 i had at home. I am a drummer myself and what i can say about the Lavardin amp compared to my other amps is that it sounds real, as strange as this might sound, it?s the best way for me to describe it. But again, maybe it just fit?s better in my set up and will not do so in others .......

    Leave a comment:


  • kittykat
    replied
    Re: Eyes open or shut?

    Thank you for the tip Thanos. much appreciated . The 105 however doesn't seem to be available here in Aust. But ill definitely check out the 101 after the holidays.

    Yes, i agree with you that money is harder to earn nowadays and what confuses me most about amplfiers is that if you look internally, at the parts and design, they're basically very similar in design, with off the shelf parts. How price differences are justified really amazes me, and based on this logic alone, cannot justify price differences. im sure manufacturing and marketing costs make up the big difference and thats where i believe most of the money i pay for a pricey amp goes to.

    think comparing amplifiers is a bit like comparing a lexus and toyota 6 cylinder motor. im sure one is "better" than the other, but at what price? fuel injectors are basically similar, the operating concept is similar etc. Differences can be gained through material improvements but more marked differences are evident in radical technology eg. higher compression combustion etc. but how radical has an amplfier come away from compared to say 20 years ago? We have in fact gone back to tubes which almost become archaic. So when manufacturers make claims on their amplifiers based on current technology eg. mosfets etc. im extremely sceptical, . it wont be a leaps and bounds improvement.

    Leave a comment:


  • Thanos
    replied
    Re: Eyes open or shut?

    Originally posted by kittykat View Post
    Thanks Thanos. Advance Acoustics has a basic integrated (MAP 101) which is half my budget of USD1000, which makes it most interesting. There is a dealer in town and ill try to get a listen. Looks like really good value.

    Stumbled on a write up of the Abacus Ampino which looks really interesting, They seem to have a very similar philosophy as Harbeth, practical, grounded on science, no fluff.
    Hi Kittykat,

    Try to ask info/listen the MAP 105, same sound with MAP 101, it has all the inputs you'll ever need and almost twice the power of its smaller brother. We heard it in the same shop with the small Quads, DALI and Dynaudio floorstanders. It flattened down with ease a Denon PM1500AE which had 1,5 times its price, and which -strangely- received here in Europe the EISA award for best integrated of the year 2007. The MAP 105 sells here for about 500euros, which still is well below your margin. Therefore you can save money for cables and anything extra needed for setting up. I do have a feeling that it will do pretty much OK with your SHL5s. If the Advance Acoustic MAP305 was in Greece when I paid a hell of money for my McIntosh MA6500, I would have bought it and I would have saved a whole of 4.000 euros out of my pocket... That means I would now have got all my other devices (except the Meridian 507) for free (and they are CDR, Tuner, Turntable and cassette deck). Money doesn't fall from the skies nowadays, it's earned harder than ever before.

    Regards,
    Thanos

    Leave a comment:


  • Gan CK
    replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Originally posted by musicquest View Post
    I remember those tandbergs quite well.....they had a look about them that once you saw them you never forgot, kind of like a big beogram from b & o....

    I do believe the particular dealer mentioned earlier was comparing the current Luxman to the Sony ES line, which I've never heard. I remember I did whince a little when I heard the comparison comment, thinking from all the threads that the new Luxman must be quite good.

    I very much value his opinion, he coming from quite a history of gear. That being said, the only way audiophiles ever agree on anything is if they own it. Why would one believe him or any other poster on these threads? You don't know their gear, setup, room, listening tastes. All one can do is audition or buy with assumptions and hope for the best.

    I'm presently using Crimson gear, the 710 preamp and 640 monos. I would assume they're far ahead any of the integrateds mentioned, but just a hunch......
    The best way to judge if an amplifier is of any good is to listen to it in your own setup. Good as many amplifers are, but there's no amp that is all things to all people. And then, there's also an element of bias. Nobody is totally 'neutral'. I am definitely not. I have always preferred Brit stuff over those outrageously expensive, overbuilt & flashy non UK made gear.

    Having said that, i've also heard many good integrateds trouncing more elaborate & expensive pre/power or monoblock counterparts by quite a long shot.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    I remember those tandbergs quite well.....they had a look about them that once you saw them you never forgot, kind of like a big beogram from b & o....

    I do believe the particular dealer mentioned earlier was comparing the current Luxman to the Sony ES line, which I've never heard. I remember I did whince a little when I heard the comparison comment, thinking from all the threads that the new Luxman must be quite good.

    I very much value his opinion, he coming from quite a history of gear. That being said, the only way audiophiles ever agree on anything is if they own it. Why would one believe him or any other poster on these threads? You don't know their gear, setup, room, listening tastes. All one can do is audition or buy with assumptions and hope for the best.

    I'm presently using Crimson gear, the 710 preamp and 640 monos. I would assume they're far ahead any of the integrateds mentioned, but just a hunch......

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    Ah Yes. Those electronics were mostly made by Alps Motorola, Some was actually quite good, and some was well, terrible (Servoface). Since I was in the center of mid-fi at the time, I can say that Luxman was vastly superior to Yamaha. I would say that NAD was much more of a peer than Yamaha or Denon. The really nasty stuff was Sony, JVC,and Technics. My absolute favorite in the late 1970's early 1980's was Tandberg. The small receivers were great (TR-2025, TR-2040).

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    I know, but that was what one dealer has said, and he has some of the best gear.....made me laugh, too.....I hope to hear a newer Luxman piece someday to decide for myself, if it keeps selling and gets better distribution maybe I can. I heard some of the cheaper lines of Luxman back in the 80's, the receivers and some integrateds, and they were about like Yamaha then.

    Leave a comment:


  • kittykat
    replied
    Re: Eyes open or shut?

    Thanks Thanos. Advance Acoustics has a basic integrated (MAP 101) which is half my budget of USD1000, which makes it most interesting. There is a dealer in town and ill try to get a listen. Looks like really good value.

    Stumbled on a write up of the Abacus Ampino which looks really interesting, They seem to have a very similar philosophy as Harbeth, practical, grounded on science, no fluff.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

    "Luxman only a glorified Sony"

    WOW ! That actually made me laugh out loud !

    Leave a comment:


  • Thanos
    replied
    Re: Eyes open or shut?

    Originally posted by kittykat View Post
    The Brio is the only one which fits the budget. ill try and get a listen with one of them. i might even take a shot with some of the chinese made amps, the 2 ive shortlisted being the dussun T6 or the G&W 2006x.
    Well,

    If you're thinking of Chinese products, check if you've got around a dealer for that French company that builds in China under French supervising, the Advance Acoustic. Take a look into their site, When we heard them here driving various speakers, cheap or expensive, our eyes popped out. And they have really very low prices, one can't believe... They are constantly receiving excellent reviews worldwide. Costs vary from 350euros to 800euros, the latter concerns a 100watter/8ohms that goes 200wrms/4ohms, weighs about 19kgrs(!) and has tremendous built with anlogue VUmeters. Heard it myself with Quad 22 floorstanders and was really impressed. A very little bright, transparent and very detailed, I think it would finely match with the smooth & warm character of the SHL5s.

    Cheers from Athens,
    Thanos

    Leave a comment:

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