"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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Newbie Help, please

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  • Newbie Help, please

    I'm looking at SHL5+, and wondering if it's right for me based on the following:

    Mytek Brooklyn Amp and DAC+ electronics. Source is my PC, so not the best quality, but convenient for my day to day use.

    Corner placement, so close to side and back walls.

    Warmth and musicality is most important, as i want to be able to listen to music all day, every day.

    Is this the speaker i've been searching for, or will room placement mean it's pointless? Assuming the amp is neutral, is the power right for Harbeth speakers?

    Any advice or suggestions would be gratefully received.

  • #2
    A few more details would help. How big is your room and how close to the side and back walls? I have SHL5+ in a 13x14' room and the speakers are 18 inches off the back and side walls and they sound lovely. I work from home and have my stereo playing almost all the time and these speakers are the easiest speakers to listen to for extended periods compared to the Maggies and ProAcs and KEF's I've owned in the past.


    • #3
      With a good DAC like yours a PC is a perfect source, provided the fan is (very) quiet or you even use a fanless computer (if that is fast enough for your purpose). Your amplifier is powerful enough for these speakers. Room placement is a bit hard to judge without more information. Provided you do not intend to place the speakers right into the corner, things should be fine, however. Harbeth speakers are eminently non fatiguing to listen to, so that is not an issue.


      • #4
        Totally agree with Chazk and willem. I am listening to my SHL5+ in a 30 square meter not acoustically treated room and they sound lovely. I use a 100W amplifier and it's enough for my purposes. No fatigue at all, at least with music I like. PC with a good DAC is a perfect source, although I still use a CD-player because of my huge collection of compact discs.

        Tell us a bit more, especially how big is your room. I don't know about any speakers that would be easier to accommodate in a domestic room though, so it would have to be a very difficult room indeed to be not successful with Harbeth.