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"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, since deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to create an audible sonic personality in what you hear. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be 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 potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral amongst a plethora of available product choices.

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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised 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.

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.

If faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"


Feb. 2018
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Sources for your Harbeths

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  • Sources for your Harbeths

    This thread concerns finding the best sources for your Harbeth speakers.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Podding

    Just wondering if any of you are using (have used) an iPod as a source in your setup.

    What is your reaction? Enjoyable? Do Harbeths like iPods?

    Do you have any advice for us techno laggards (Luddites!) who might want to venture into terra incognito?

    John

    Comment


    • #3
      Favourite CD players, SACD players, turntables

      Which CD players, SACD players, or turntables do you recommend?



      Are any of your recommendations especially Harbeth friendly?
      Last edited by John Parkyn; 08-02-2006, 08:56 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        After purchasing M30 and Quad gear, I bought Meridian G07 as source. Well, that made the sound too bright for my taste,so I changed it into Quad 99CDP2, sounds more natural. Now I am using Plinius 9200 (borrowed) integrated amp with Quad CDP. Today I listened to Bach complete violin sonatas played by Grumiaux and Jaccottet (Philips 454-011), sound was elegant and splendent, as I could recall how I described the sound of this CD with Meridian/Quad, that was some sort of scream, but now I wonder how Meridian CDP would sound with Plinius amp?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Favourite CD players, SACD players, turntables

          I discovered a marvelous sounding CD player for a ridiculously low price: the Sharp DX-650. I use it with my Super HL5's. These can be had on eBay for $10 to $20 plus shipping. Just check with the seller to verify that it is in good working order. The DX-650 has a spacious, analogue-like sound that is superb on classical orchestral music. Elsewhere in my system I have expensive tube electronics, and would not consider using the Sharp unless it was a truly outstanding unit. I'd love to hear from other Harbeth owners who give the unit a try.

          NOTE: DO NOT BUY THE DX-650 (BK). IT IS NOT THE SAME AS THE DX-650, AND IS AN INFERIOR SOUNDING UNIT.

          By the way, I also use a Well-Tempered Turntable and Arm with upgrades, and a Benz Glider cartridge. The table is very quiet and musical sounding. This turntable surpasses any of the CD players I've tried in my sytem in terms of 3-dimensionality and "liveness" of the sound, and I've tried dozens. Nevertheless, the Sharp is an extremely enjoyable player to listen to.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Favourite CD players, SACD players, turntables

            Originally posted by John Parkyn
            Which CD players, SACD players, or turntables do you recommend? Are any of your recommendations especially Harbeth friendly?
            Dear John,

            I have had various systems running with my Harbeths and I must say that the Cyrus 8s with the power supply does give me lots of musical enjoyment. For more critical listening (not a term I like to use) I run my Musical Fidelity Kw SACD player which gives me most of the hi fi prerequisites when I feel I need it.Does it give me a whole load more of musical enjoyment? Perhaps .

            Regards

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sources for your Harbeths

              Vpi scout, JMW 9 arm, shelter 501, bent audio step up, GSP Gold Era V.

              Very musical combo.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                My criteria for components is basically transparency; I want them to present what is on the CD (my first choice of format) as unaltered as possible. I believe my solid state pre-amp and amp perform this function quite satisfactorily. (I do have a dbx equalizer in the system that I have used to compensate for some minor room induced frequency anomalies). But I have been a bit suspicious of my old Marantz CD67 CD player. As fortune would have it, a friend acquired a Lavry DA10 DAC, about which I had read good things. Running the Marantz into that clarified and improved the sound from my SHL5's noticeably. I've ordered one. I would now say that, next to my Harbeth speakers, a good DAC is the next most important item in my sound system. But which players have good DAC's in them, I don't know. While the Lavry DA10 is not cheap (and it is the bottom of their line), I suspect that one would have to spend more for a CD player that had a comparable DAC.

                Ned

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                  I made similar experiences with a Benchmark DAC 1 which I'm using for several month now. Transport is a 10 year old Marantz CD 17 (Harbeth M30, Gamut D200 power amplifier). The sound is very transparent, clean and natural without any edginess. The improvement also with an Arcam Alpha 6 as amplifier was great.

                  Kind regards,
                  Thomas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                    CD: Naim CDS3

                    Turntable: Rega Planar 3 (1982), RB300 tonearm (id.), Nagaoka MP50

                    I will likely upgrade the TT soon - current favorite is the OriginLive Aurora Gold.

                    As for the Naim... well I think it's one of the best CD players in the world (cannot afford a CD555!)

                    Claude

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                      Claude,
                      I am interested in the Naim CD players... I am thinking of CDX-2 but my question is
                      • How do you rate Naim CD players as the whole?
                      • Does Naim house sound is "Flat" soundstage?
                      • Last Question.... Have you tried CDX-2 vs CDS3 cd player, and if you are limited of budget would you still go for CDS3?


                      Thanks for your help.

                      Originally posted by ClaudeP
                      CD: Naim CDS3

                      Turntable: Rega Planar 3 (1982), RB300 tonearm (id.), Nagaoka MP50

                      I will likely upgrade the TT soon - current favorite is the OriginLive Aurora Gold.

                      As for the Naim... well I think it's one of the best CD players in the world (cannot afford a CD555!)

                      Claude

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                        Hello Soundbyte,

                        May I toss out an alternative to your up-grade of CD player? Before I do, though, I do have to say I don't know the price range of the Naim players you're considering and, also - by reputation - I'm sure they are excellent players. But if you're looking at more than $1000 for a new player, you might want to consider something like the Lavry DA 10 DAC along with whatever player you currently have as a transport. Both I and an audio friend have this unit and are exceedingly happy with it's performance. It has made a major difference in our enjoyment of digital reproduction and in our ability to hear the most subtle details of recordings. The website 'lavryengineering.com' has some information on that - and other - units. I believe Benchmark makes a comparably priced unit. Again, I'm not saying this to dissuade you from Naim - which I'm sure also sounds wonderful - but only pointing out that there are some alternatives for excellent digital reproduction at less than the prices of some of the very high-end players.

                        Ned

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                          A few months back I had the privilege of doing a side-by-side comparison of the Lavry DA10 and the Benchmark DAC1. My findings are similar to the report here: Benchmark DAC1 and Lavry DA10 deathmatch.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                            Originally posted by Soundbyte
                            Claude,
                            I am interested in the Naim CD players... I am thinking of CDX-2 but my question is
                            • How do you rate Naim CD players as the whole?
                            • Does Naim house sound is "Flat" soundstage?
                            • Last Question.... Have you tried CDX-2 vs CDS3 cd player, and if you are limited of budget would you still go for CDS3?


                            Thanks for your help.
                            Although the C7 is supposed to sound good with most decent amps and sources, I found my ES3 to be extremelly transparant to changes - hence all upgrades from sources to cables & stands are clearly rewarded.

                            When it came to sources, one area that's clearly noticeable will be treble and midband as the C7 excel in these areas. After trying out quite a few sources - my upgrade path ends with 2 DACs - coincidentally, found out later that both have fully discrete analog output stages instead of the usual opamp - neither have the latest digital technology in them either.

                            I'm not saying digital sources with opamp output will not sound good but you may be better rewarded by looking into older quality hardwares with discrete output instead of latest stuffs with lower end output stage.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sources for your Harbeths

                              Greetings

                              I'm new to the community and this is my first post, so forgive me if I am going over old ground.

                              In my view both the Benchmark and the Lavry Black are outstanding DA converters. I understand they are used extensively by engineers and studios throughout the world. Whilst I own the Lavry, a friend uses both and also has the Lavry AD converters. With quality microphones the recording quality is exceptional.

                              The Lavry has a slightly darker, richer sound, the benchmark is more pristine. Either would be great, depending on equipment matching and taste.

                              You could spend a lot of money and not find something as satisfying.

                              Mark

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