"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. 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 offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by 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, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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what CDP are you using?

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  • #91
    I'm using an Audiolab 8200CD, although mainly as a dac streaming from my Airport Express.
    So system now is:
    VPI Classic->Leben RS30EQ->Leben CS600->Harbeth SHL5 with the Audiolab slotted in there too.
    Sounds excellent.
    Previously used an Olive 04HD Server and a {-} amongst other things...


    • #92
      Originally posted by Haddock View Post
      Some "vintage" cdp's sound very good and will last (YBA's, Meridian 506, 507, 508, Revox 226, Teac VRDP 10 ...) because the mechanical part was much better and there was a greater choice of chips available, allowing to take the signal right after conversion and customize it.
      Today's most expensive CDP's use cheap cdrom heads or the only still made for audio (Philips PRO2) which is still a far cry from the best made 20 years ago. And most chips are an all inclusive package.
      I have a mid-1990s Sugden Optima and love it. I purchased this new. It has a wonderful so-called "natural" non-fatiguing sound. It was very well reviewed at the time. Doesn't look much, just a boring black box. I saw one go for next to nothing on e-Bay or somewhere recently.

      As I posted elsewhere, this has "the much-praised high end Philips CDM-9 Loader/laser and Philips dac and filter TDA1543 and SAA7220." While the CDM-9 is out of production I believe, I've also heard that Sugden stockpile spare parts for all of their products going back to the 1980s.


      • #93
        Originally posted by Haligonian View Post
        GregD/Macroaudio: How do you find using a Universal Player as a substitute for a cd player? Do you fin you can reach the same quality when using an expensive BD player versus a cheaper CD player?
        To my ears, I find the Arcam BDP100 to be a very good quality sounding option for a CD only player such as the similarly or even lower priced Arcam or Rega's to which I compared before purchase. I have also A/B'd the BDP100 with an outboard Benchmark DAC1 Pre (adjusting the Benchmark for the same SPL) and find the Arcam analog outs to slightly edge out the Benchmark but is in reality very very close. I'm sure you already trust your own ears when considering component purchases.


        • #94
          Sony XA5400ES VSE Terra Firma upgraded


          • #95
            Originally posted by Haligonian View Post
            GregD/Macroaudio: How do you find using a Universal Player as a substitute for a cd player? Do you fin you can reach the same quality when using an expensive BD player versus a cheaper CD player?
            Just spotted this queston for me Haligonian. My answer is that I find the Cambridge universal player to sound just as good as any other player I've owned. The difference is that it plays more formats which is a big bonus. The downside is that it feels cheaper, more flimsy to use and doesn't have that luxury build quality you can get by paying more.

            I've just bought a dCS P8i SACD player because I like the technical side behind it's development - dCS software was used in the Harrier jets during the Gulf War. I like it's UK-made provenance and brand prestige. It also sounds fine with SACD and CD too.


            • #96
              Oppo BDP-95. Honestly, I find it hard to tell the difference between CD players. Between a really cheap and nasty player and a decent mid priced one, maybe. I usually just rip CDs in Apple Lossless and play from iTunes.

              I decided that money was better spent on a nice turntable, which is a very different sonic experience from any CD player.


              • #97
                Resolution Audio Opus21 (with GNS mods) - have tried some recent universal spinners but the oldish Opus still seems to make better music. And it has a coax digital input too, for my SB Touch...


                • #98
                  Originally posted by JariRåback View Post
                  Resolution Audio Opus21 (with GNS mods) - have tried some recent universal spinners but the oldish Opus still seems to make better music. And it has a coax digital input too, for my SB Touch...
                  That's a GREAT CD-player. The new Cantata is even more amazing.


                  • #99
                    My wife called me at lunch to tell me she ordered my a Audiolab 8200cdq for my birthday. My birthday was in late September and I always beg her to please not get me anything. Well, she must have heard me talking to me local shop about the Audiolab and called them.
                    Originally posted by Thanos View Post

                    I'm using a Meridian 507 since 2003 without a single problem. No XLR conns, but I belong to those who doubt their so widely proclaimed superiority, especially against quality RCAs. My amp also (McIntosh MA 6500) doesn't provide such conns, so no thinking about it. A very nice and neutral all rounder, also matching very well indeed with warm & sweet sounding amps - IMHO of course. It didn't cost a fortune, anyhow I don't believe in skyhigh priced cdp's, I'd rather pay a good sum for a fine vinyl system... (which I -thanks God- already have).
                    I also run a Yamaha CDR1500-HDD, which is very heavy and enough complicated, but does perform very well (especially in record/write mode), although a bit noisy while the the HDD works. For the money, it's a damn good machine!


                    • Originally posted by davidlovel View Post
                      PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport with a Bel Canto DAC3 using the Virtual Battery Supply VBS1.
                      The transport can not only play CDs but also hi-res music data discs (up to 24/192 PCM)

                      An update:
                      I've had the main circuit board of the Bel Canto DAC3 upgraded to the standard of the DAC3.5. This produced a major improvement in sound quality: more natural voice reproduction, better image definition and more ambience of the recording venue. Overall even more enjoyable music


                      • I have used half a dozen mid priced CD players in the last ten years, including at one time an expensive outboard DAC, and they all sounded the same to me.
                        I now have all my music in lossless files on a hard disc, playing it via a Sonos wireless front end connected via a digital cable to the DAC on my CD player, and it sounds just the same as CD replay, with a lot more added convenience based features.


                        • Tubes/SS

                          My update since last posting on this thread, is a SONY 5400ES. I have had it modified by VSE. While it is capable of surround, I'm using it with C7ES3, REL B-3 and Leben CS300XS. I am very pleased with this combination. The SONY replaced a PrimaLuna that I was very happy with. I used the PrimaLuna with LFD Mk IV, and that was an excellent combination. I have tried tubed cdp with tubed amp, and ss cdp with ss amp, but I find mixing either way preferable.


                          • I am now using a Rega Apollo-R with Brio-R and my Harbeth P3ESR's and a TEAC Reference PD-H600 in my living room system.


                            • I'm using a Marantz SA11S2 and Luxman L505U with S-HL5. Upgraded from a Marantz CD63.


                              • Custom music server

                                Well I guess this does not really apply here, but I thought I would join in anyway. My last CD player was the last CD player I will ever own. I have built my own custom music server and only play FLAC files now and I have never played so much music in my life - I totally love it, it sounds better than my last CD player and players costing quite a few thousand, but above all is much more convenient if you have a large music collection.

                                Best thing I ever did guys and I know its not for everyone, but it has taken my enjoyment of music to another level.