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"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.

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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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Looking for CDP, p.s Is Audiolab 8200 really that good?

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  • Looking for CDP, p.s Is Audiolab 8200 really that good?

    I've got a LFD zero driving my beloved C7es3, and am in the market for a CDP cost less than 4000usd new.
    I listen to about 50% classical, 30% jazz, 20% pop and world music, and I value clarity, detail, and balance highly. A bit of sweetness would be a nice addition, so would be good pace and dynamic.
    I've heard great reviews of Audiolab 8200 from English media, and suspect it would be just the thing for me. However, since I can't find one to audition in Canada, I'd like to hear some advices from anyone who's got experience of this cdp working in my setting.
    I've also heard good reviews for Sony xa5400es, and wonder if that'd make a good adition to my current system.
    Other than that I'm open to any suggestions. I've got on my list for audition: Ayre Cx-7eMP, Marantz sa11s2, Bryston bcd-1 and Raysonic cd128, becasue they are very accessable here and probably would work for me.
    Really, any suggestion would be useful.
    Cheer.

  • #2
    Not sure what you have there but the Rega Saturn is exceptionally good and very reasonably priced. Also, take a listen to the Naim CD5i and CD5x, great sound great build and well thought out.

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    • #3
      I have a PrimaLuna Prologue 8 CDP that I am very happy with. It is paired with C7es3 and a modified HH Scott 222c amp.
      I have just purchased an OPPO BDP 83SE Nuforce Edition for my second system. Although it plays all discs, it is maximized for analog audio. I'll report back when it arrives.

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      • #4
        I'm using a Quad 67 CD Player with my CS7ES3 and I'm extremely happy with it. It's a bit rare since it was produced in 1990's (1993 - 1996) and there were only about 6000 units produced before the series 7 replaced it. But there are still some of them available on eBay with the price around 650 GBP. For me it's the best sounding CDP I ever heard (and believe me I did hear a lot of them).

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        • #5
          Thank you all for your suggestions.
          I've heard the Rega and kinda liked it. It is certainly a overachiever at this price level, and it sure is smooth. The only problem I've got is that my shelf (not an audio shelf), does not allow top load space to open...
          drdennis, I'd be interested in your comparasions. I've got an original Oppo83 for blu-ray movies (ok sound from its analogue outs, but I think se would be a big step up), and always thought it'd be cool to have a tube cdp for once.
          to blazh, great suggestion for the Quad. I've had people telling me about this player a few times over the years, and it is accessable in the used market. The only problem is, since most of the Quad 67s sold on used market are at least 15 years old, I wonder how many more years would one last. If it will give me another 7, 8 years of musical pleasure, I'd jump to the first opportunity and purchase one of these classic performers.
          Happy new year, all~

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          • #6
            You can try EAR Acute Gold. I've got it with C7es3 and I'm very satisfied. The amplifier is Leben CS-600.

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            • #7
              The Canadian distributor for Harbeth is also the distributor for Audiolab. I would think your Harbeth dealer should be able to get one for you to audition?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by blazh View Post
                I'm using a Quad 67 CD Player with my CS7ES3 and I'm extremely happy with it. It's a bit rare since it was produced in 1990's (1993 - 1996) and there were only about 6000 units produced before the series 7 replaced it. But there are still some of them available on eBay with the price around 650 GBP. For me it's the best sounding CDP I ever heard (and believe me I did hear a lot of them).
                Hi Blazh, what about the newer Quad 99 CD Player? How does it compare with the 67?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by blazh View Post
                  I'm using a Quad 67 CD Player with my CS7ES3 and I'm extremely happy with it. It's a bit rare since it was produced in 1990's (1993 - 1996) and there were only about 6000 units produced before the series 7 replaced it. But there are still some of them available on eBay with the price around 650 GBP. For me it's the best sounding CDP I ever heard (and believe me I did hear a lot of them).
                  Hi blazh

                  I onwed the Quad 77 CDP for many years until it 'died' on me but against the Quad 67 (which is older), I preferred the 67 sound. What's more, the 67 had a digital out whilst the 77 did not!!

                  Anyhow, the Quad CDPs were very musically sounding and engaging!

                  Best Regards
                  Dennis

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gan CK View Post
                    Hi Blazh, what about the newer Quad 99 CD Player? How does it compare with the 67?
                    Hi Gan,

                    I'm really sorry but I only had a chance to listen to the CD99 once for 10 minutes so it would't be fair to give any opinion on that matter.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Will View Post
                      The Canadian distributor for Harbeth is also the distributor for Audiolab. I would think your Harbeth dealer should be able to get one for you to audition?
                      Unfortunately, there's no Harbeth dealer in my city, my pair of C7 came to me via UPS.

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                      • #12
                        Audiolab 8200

                        Hi Mooku,

                        I have heard the Audiolab a few times now but not yet with Harbeth speakers. The 8200 CD and CDQ are interesting machines but you need to read the mammoth thread (well over 100 pages) about them over on one of the more popular audio discussion boards. There are some aspects of the players you need to be aware of and it would be a good idea to hold off purchasing until your local distributor guarantees the ones in your market have the latest firmware. Give it a few months.

                        If you have some SACDs but really like the 8200 sound, consider getting a cheaper SACD player with digital outs that you could connect to one of the impending three(!) variants of the Audiolab DAC which are supposed to be released later this year (MDAC, RDAC, DQ).

                        Whatever you do, check with the manufacturer's subsidiary how long they plan to stock critical spare parts. Sony UK told me five years for the XA5400ES (now sadly discontinued and rare as hen's teeth). Quad estimate ten years for the new Elite series. But these figures aren't set in stone and you need to check warranty details for your country.

                        About Rega vs. Marantz vs. Audiolab: I have heard the Rega DAC and it seemed to bury low level details, unlike the 8200. It was really uncanny; music that had lots of reverberation effects suddenly seemed to have barely any. I'm not sure why. It's smoother sounding than the 8200 perhaps and some web forum posts indicate some customers chose it over the Saturn.

                        Arrange a home demonstration if at all possible and please let us know how you get on.

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