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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.

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Speaker cable - Harbeth's recommendations to avoid "exotoc cable"

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  • Speaker cable - Harbeth's recommendations to avoid "exotoc cable"

    I have just ordered the entry level Harbeth monitor and was looking over your site when I saw that you cautioned against using cables with exotic electrical qualities. Could you specify just what that means? I am using audioquest type 4 speaker cable which I don't think qualifies as "exotic" but I would still like to have an clear idea for future reference.

  • #2
    Exotic cables

    Perhaps Harbeth refer to cables that are designed to modify the sound in some way. Like attenuating cables to lower the sound level, or capacitive cables to lessen HF. I'm afraid others with more knowledge will have to provide examples, though.
    Ben
    Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.

    Comment


    • #3
      No entry level monitor

      Originally posted by anjowin View Post
      I have just ordered the entry level Harbeth monitor and was looking over your site when I saw that you cautioned against using cables with exotic electrical qualities. Could you specify just what that means? I am using audioquest type 4 speaker cable which I don't think qualifies as "exotic" but I would still like to have an clear idea for future reference.
      Hi Anjowin,

      Welcome to Harbeth.

      I don't recall Harbeth mentioned anything on exotic cables other than telling that any decent cables will do the job perfectly and not to waste your hard earned money on expensive cables. I am also using Audioquest (I can't remember the model) which are more than 10 years old priced around US100 at that time.

      BTW, did you say entry level monitor? I doubt there is one in Harbeth product range. Different model for different room size and maybe taste.

      ST

      {Moderator's comment: agreed. There is no entry-level Harbeth.}

      Comment


      • #4
        Avoid 'mysterious' cables ; 95% profit??

        You need to get yourself a good quality, simple cable. Preferably not one with 'mysterious' boxes on the ends or comprising many fine strands of wire as these generally have a fat, confused sound.

        Don't pay huge amounts on fancy cables as 95% of the retail price is very often profit, packaging and marketing costs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
          Hi Anjowin,

          Welcome to Harbeth.

          I don't recall Harbeth mentioned anything on exotic cables other than telling that any decent cables will do the job perfectly and not to waste your hard earned money on expensive cables. I am also using Audioquest (I can't remember the model) which are more than 10 years old priced around US100 at that time.

          BTW, did you say entry level monitor? I doubt there is one in Harbeth product range. Different model for different room size and maybe taste.

          ST

          {Moderator's comment: agreed. There is no entry-level Harbeth.}
          By entry level, I meant the least expensive in your product line, namely the P3ESR. As long as I am posting, I also noticed that the speaker is rated at 6 ohms. On an integrated amp that only has four and eight ohm outputs, which would most Harbeth owners use?

          Comment


          • #6
            P3ESr - sugge using amp's 4 ohm output

            Hi Anjowin, welcome to the HUG

            Regarding your question about impedance I think you should choose the 4ohm outputs because the speakers are 6ohm and if you choose 8ohm they will draw more current than the amp is intended to work but the more experienced guys here will tell you for sure. What amp do you plan to use with the P3ESR?

            BTW congrats on the great purchase, I'm in the process of deciding should I buy the P3ESR.

            Comment


            • #7
              Primaluna Prologue One

              Comment


              • #8
                P3ESR load

                Originally posted by anjowin View Post
                On an integrated amp that only has four and eight ohm outputs, which would most Harbeth owners use?
                Hmm, I guess you mean a valve amp with separate taps for 4 and 8 ohm? If we are talking valve amps with output transformers, the idea is that power dissipated in the speaker is maximised when the amplifier's output impedance matches that of the speaker. The speaker's impedance varies a lot with frequency - see P3ESR graph - and there is also a reactive component - "phase angle". So... with that kind of valve amp the load presented by the speaker will affect the frequency response of the system. However from the chart, at most frequencies the P3ESRs present a load of 8 ohms or more, so that tap should be your starting point.

                Re cable, if you have a valve amp the frequency response shaping performed by cables is not significant compared to the effect of amp-speaker interation... so don't worry too much about the cable. In my *opinion* (no factual basis...) the Audioquest type 4 could have an effect on the sound of the system - so at least invest in some stranded two-core mains wire that you can use as an alternative if you start to worry about things that don't sound quite right in your "new" system.

                Comment


                • #9
                  P3ESR - impedance

                  Originally posted by honmanm View Post
                  ...at most frequencies the P3ESRs present a load of 8 ohms or more, so that tap should be your starting point.
                  I agree. I had a valve amp once. It had 4 and 8 ohm taps. Its manual said for four ohm speakers, always use the four ohm tap. Eight ohm speakers can use either tap.

                  From that it seems that the Harbeth's would be better off plugged into the eight ohm tap first, but there would probably be no harm trying the four ohm as well.
                  Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Try both 4 ohm and 8 ohm outputs!

                    Using various tube amps, modern and vintage, over many years, I would suggest you try both terminals and choose which performs best for you. The different amps appear to react differently to the speaker load and sometimes, the theory gives way to practically. Suck it and see.

                    IIRC correctly, the Type-4 has a similar make up to a 'double' mains cable, having two solid conductors. The insulation is different and the wire is OFC. The Type-4 has a warm presentation.

                    {Moderators comment: great advice. Neither the 4 ohm, 6 ohm or 8 ohm setting will damage the P3ESR or the amplifier. The impedance differences are relatively insignificant. This is not an issue to lose sleep over!}

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Van Damme cable

                      I like the Van Damme round (outer jacket) speaker cables, the 2.5mm or 4mm if you can handle it. Decent quality conductors and not too expensive. the bigger one reminds me of the excellent (IMO) beige coloured cable that Quad used to market back in the good old days ;)

                      {Moderator's coment: I think Harbeth use VD cable inside special editions if ordered by their distributors, market by market.}

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        P3ESR with NAD 316BEE

                        Hi
                        I have P3ESRs that I'm driving with an NAD 316BEE using interconnects and cabling that are generic. I play music files (hi-rez and redbook) through Pure Music (which I recommend by the way). The files are mostly vocal, classical and jazz. No headbanging. The speakers are on 24" stands filled with shot and the room is smallish. Having said all that, I'm finding the speakers to be a little bit "sharp" or maybe "tipped up"... I was wondering if this was an interconnect/cabling problem, or a problem with the amplification.
                        Do you have any experience with this?

                        Many thanks and happy holidays, Steven.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Only as good as the recording or room

                          Sounds like a nice system. My guess is it's possibly something with the acoustics of your room. I don't think cables or amplifier will change things much, but maybe other people here will have some other advice. My P3's never sound sharp, but if a recording is EQ'd that way, it will sound that way through my P3's...

                          Happy Holidays...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            SHL5 couldn't be happier

                            I just recommended my Mum Harbeth SHL5 speakers paired with a NaimUniti integrated. My friendly dealer, Jimmy, delivered a beautiful pair of Cherry veneered SHL5 (my Mum's seems very much lighter coloured than mine. They are beautiful & I am so envious of my Mum!). Jimmy also used Van Damme speaker cables and mentioned that these are the same ones used in the Harbeth Anniversary edition speakers. These are blue colored cables, seems very malleable, pretty thin and light gauged. The sound is very good indeed! My mum could not be happier with the Harbeth speakers.

                            {Moderator's comment: cheery veneer oxidises during its first year or two so will become darker. Keep out of sunlight.}

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Acoustics dominate speaker cable differences

                              That could well be the case. The room they"re in is different to the one they had been in, and acoustics could well be the culprit. Personally I'm sceptical about the difference cabling makes but I have an open mind. I'm willing to go that route, if it's not to expensive. In the meantime, I'll rethink the acoustics.

                              Best
                              S
                              Originally posted by cornelius View Post
                              Sounds like a nice system. My guess is it's possibly something with the acoustics of your room. I don't think cables or amplifier will change things much, but maybe other people here will have some other advice. My P3's never sound sharp, but if a recording is EQ'd that way, it will sound that way through my P3's...

                              Happy Holidays...

                              Comment

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