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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.

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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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Close wall placement - Model suggestions

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  • Close wall placement - Model suggestions

    Hi I am planning on buying a pair of Harbeths for a 2 channel system.

    Would like to get a recommendation on which model to buy.

    I have a Macintosh MA6500 amp (2 x 120/200/250 watts (8/4/2 ohms)

    I will be using a Bluesound Hi Res streamer (mostly tidal) or an oppo for CDs.

    Room dimensions are 16 x 20 x 8 high

    The speakers will be placed on the 16 foot side

    one side has a corner - I can move the speaker 3 feet in from the corner

    The other side is open to the family room - 3 foot opening - I have a few feet in from the opening

    The speakers will be 6 to 10 feet apart depending on how far they are placed from the corner

    I don't have a lot of room behind the speakers - they will be 1 to 2 feet at most from the wall (WAF)

    opposite the speakers (at the other end of the 20 foot room) is an 11 foot opening to the dinning room

    the dining room is 10.5 feet wide

    Most listening is done in a group setting during get togethers or while sitting in the dinning room

    Which harbeth model would work best for the room size and being close to the wall?

    Budget is not that important but the 40.1 would be stretching my budget so I would prefer one of the others

    If the 40.1 is the only solution I could swing it

    Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions







  • #2
    Regardless of which speakers you select, you might benefit from adding a room correction unit to your system.
    The McIntosh MEN220 is one such a device: http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/us/Produ...oductId=MEN220
    Another lower cost solution is the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core: http://www.dspeaker.com/en/products/20-dual-core.shtml

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    • #3
      My experience is Harbeth speakers are less sensitive to close wall placement than most other speakers. I have the SHL5 + and they are less than 2 feet from the back wall and on either side of a sofa and they sound superb. I looked at the 30.1 and didn't notice room placement sensitivity differences so I went for the fuller sound I preferred with the SHL5 +. You have a good sized room so you can accommodate the larger end of the Harbeth range I think.

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      • #4
        Of course, if your budget permits, then the 40.1 would be the best option. After that, the SuperHL5 Plus, possibly with subwoofers added for a little bit more bottom-end extension. The 40.1ís will like the power output of your amplifier and will put it to good use.

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        • #5
          Your room is similar in dimensions to my demo room and I can happily demo all of the Harbeth range in there with no problems.

          I use all the speakers with a slight toe in and in that situation, the M40.2 is only around 10 inches from wall to rear edge of the speaker and they sound wonderful like that. The SHL5+ has around 13 - 15 inches from wall to rear edge with no issues. I would therefore advise that any of the range will be suitable for your room, depending on budget.

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