"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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P3ESR at work

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  • P3ESR at work

    I work in a medium sized post production house where most of the audio monitoring is on Harbeth speakers ? M40 active in the main suites and M30 in the editing rooms. The audio suites are also equipped with secondary monitoring (for pre-hear plus other miscellaneous tasks) and a tertiary system for domestic quality checking. When discussing the need to replace the secondary system in one of the suites, Alan Shaw invited us to try his new baby, the P3ESR, in which he obviously had the pride of a new father! ?Why not??, we said. A few days later, the neatly and sturdily packaged box arrived. I had never worked with a speaker this diminutive in a serious professional capacity and my expectations were not great. I mounted the P3ESRs in the gap between either side of the 43? LCD telly and the main M40 speakers. The position of the latter results in an angle of about 60? subtended at the main listening seat (listener and the speakers form a roughly equilateral triangle) so the angle subtended by the P3ESR to the same seat is about 40? in a somewhat more isosceles configuration.

    Once the new babies were powered up, the first thing that the colleague (not an audio pro) who was assisting me remarked, was that only one was working. Oooerrr! I got up from crouching behind the console (where the amps are stashed) to take a place alongside him and it was immediately apparent what he meant ? the central mono image was so clear and sharp that it really did seem as though the sound was emanating from a single, centrally placed speaker. No matter what further comments I make, let it be known that the solidity of the central image when these two little beauties are fed in mono is better than on any speakers I have yet heard.

    The first test I tend to use for any new speaker is to play some simple quiet male speech recorded without too much treatment (equalisation etc.), listen to it for a few minutes then ask myself a simple question. Could I convince myself that this really is a bloke talking from the other side of the room? Now it must be said that most of the speakers I?ve tried, fail at this point. This is an amazingly sensitive and critical test and Harbeths are amongst the few brands that consistently do well and the P3ESR indeed did so.

    Now Alan goes on about how good the bass is, so what better to disprove this absurdity than the Saint-Sa?ns Organ Symphony. Half an hour later, I have to admit Alan is right. The Tymps. sound stunningly powerful, yet detailed. The lower strings have fullness, depth and precision. The upper strings are not harsh in the slightest. The brass is bright and clean ? the sense of rasp in the trombones is moving. And the organ? Yes please!

    But the quality that really shines through it how the sound escapes the confines of the shoebox-sized cabinets in all three dimensions with such a great sense of ease. If this quality of imagery is obtained in our not-too-wonderful room (there are a lot of nasty obstructions to cause unwanted reflections from electronic equipment racks, mixing desk etc.), what can be achieved in a far more friendly domestic environment?

    Over the last few weeks I have used the P3ESRs to monitor several jobs. At first I was always careful to refer back to the M40s as a precaution but with the passage of time it became increasingly obvious that this was unnecessary. Sure, the M40s go about half an octave deeper in my estimation and certainly significantly louder should you have a need for the extra, but not necessarily desirable, volume. But given that the P3ESR is about one-tenth of the cabinet volume and an eighth of the cost of the passive M40.1 there can be no doubt that this little speaker is a stunning achievement if ?natural? is high on your list of requirements. The diminutive size will obviously help if lack of intrusion in the domestic setting is desirable.

    Alan, I hope that Harbeth (and you personally) do well with your new baby, which can only enhance the reputation already enjoyed by what is often called the ?Harbeth sound?. What ?Harbeth sound? I say? How can you accuse one of the most natural sounding loudspeakers made today of having a ?sound??

  • #2
    P3ESR for use in video post production

    What a great review. I know it's been some time since the above post, but this is my first post here...

    I'm a (post production video) editor in NYC, and today I heard a pair of PS3ERs for the first time. I'm selecting speakers for home, and these are easily on the top of the list.

    I'm not sure if all post production houses overseas use Harbeth, but if so, I have to relocate! The post house where I work, just went with Genelecs - Over the years I've heard them many times in mix houses and studios, and I never really liked them. Harbeths are the first monitors that I've heard that I could probably listen to all day at work, and at home!

    I just had a quick demo over lunch, but I'm going back to the store with some CDs and I'm going to sit with them for a while...


    • #3
      The HUG post-counter

      If you see the post above. The counter shows 0. So , my posts were not missing or deleted as I said before but there's something wrong with the counter. One small bug. By the way, I checked other forums using similar format like HUG and found out their search engines are equally cumbersome.


      {Moderators comment: noted. As we stated before, we have not deliberately deleted your posts.}


      • #4
        As close to reality as possible ....

        Thanks for sharing Pluto. Thoroughly enjoyable read. I like the way how you realistically put it that speakers are really only an approximation of an event and how the Harbeths are as close to what’s behind the glass as can be. If this approximation helps you to do your work better and for many of us here to explore, enjoy and discover more music it is pretty awesome.


        • #5
          Post production

          Originally posted by Pluto View Post
          [FONT=Arial]I work in a medium sized post production house where most of the audio monitoring is on Harbeth speakers ?
          Pluto, are you able to make a comprison between the P3ESR and small monitors comonly used in studios and made by companies like Genelec and Dynaudio?