HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

The Harbeth User Group is the primary channel for public communication with Harbeth's HQ. If you have a 'scientific mind' and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - audio equipment decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and should be accessible to non-experts and able to be tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge. From a design perspective, today's award winning Harbeths could not have been designed any other way.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If you are quite set in your subjectivity, then HUG is likely to be a bit too fact based for you, as many of the contributors have maximised their pleasure in home music reproduction by allowing their head to rule their heart. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area only, although HUG is really not the best place to have these sort of purely subjective airings.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters and Harbeth does not necessarily agree with the contents of any member contributions, especially in the Subjective Soundings area, and has no control over external content.

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{Updated Oct. 2017}
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What can I do with the unpleasant smell from my P3ESR?

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  • What can I do with the unpleasant smell from my P3ESR?

    I use Harbeth's P3ESR as nearfield monitors to my desktop computer and feel a unpleasant smell. I'm pretty sure it coming from the woofers, the wood is not smelling unpleasant. The smell is more clear when playing music than not but the smell is clear enough that I have to move the speakers away when not playing with them.

    The sound is lovely, it has the best (I have ever heard) stereo imaging sound that can match my reference but I can't use them anymore as nearfield monitors if I can't find a solution. I have tried several times to carefully expose the woofers to the sun and monitored the temperature with hope that the smell would decrease but it will not. Please return if anyone have other ideas!

    Can someone confirm if there is another Harbeth speaker that not have this smell? One solution is to replace my P3ESR.

  • #2
    I use my P3ESRs as near field monitors as well and I do not smell anything. I am somewhat asthmatic and allergic to perfumes, so there are no perfumes from detergents etc in our house that could mask any smell if there is one. In short, I am baffled.


    • #3
      Have p3 esr .No smell from mine,even after a fews hours of music through them.What is the smell like ?


      • #4
        Have you engaged with your supplying dealer over this? I note that you do not define the smell. Have you owned these from new? Are there youngsters in your household? Has this smell only recently appeared?

        What make and model of amp have you, and how old is it?
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #5
          Good to hear that your Harbeth's don't smell. Have I caused the smell myself in some way? I have not engaged this with the dealer, can't honestly see the point of what the dealer can do to help.

          The smell is like chemical plastic/rubber, the grill (off) also have the same unpleasant rubbery smell in the middle. To clarify! The wood smells more than the rubbery smell but the rubbery smell feels more unpleasant (in my nose).

          The speakers are new since late 2015 and I discovered the rubbery smell some weeks later. Can the smell be harmful?

          No youngsters and we almost never use perfumes at home of any kind, even in laundry detergents. I appreciate good ventilation and maybe I'm a bit sensitive, particularly to new home electronics, but these smells usually decline over time.

          My amps? I mainly use a Denon PMA-2010AE from 2012 to the P3ESR.

          Thanks for all replies!


          • #6
            I strongly suggest that you take this up with your dealer for a second sniff.

            I do not honestly believe that we can progress this here. I cannot understand any mechanism in the speaker itself that could conceivably cause this issue. Let us know the outcome please.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK


            • #7

              I have similar issue with my M30.1. I bought it new from Guildford Audio. It worked perfectly and I loved the natural sound so much. One day I change the amplifier to Heed Obelisk which was also brand new. I listened music as before like max 90dB, but few days later I noticed some unpleasant smell which unfortunately never disappeared completely. I have lack of technical knowledge, but I connected this side effect to the new Heed Obelisk amplifier. The previous 4 years the M30.1 worked perfectly with different amplifiers. I bought brand new SHL5+ which driven by QUAD QMP + QUAD Artera Play and works and sound flawlessly. Harbeth is simply the best speaker. I'm glad I'm lucky enough to own pair of SHL5+. I never buy any other speakers to listen music. After 6years I still fall in love the Harbeth natural sound. This was my best audio investment. I'm sure your dealer or Alan will find solution and your P3ESR will work perfectly.