"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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Harbeth prize winners in Japan's Stereo Sound magazine, "No.177 Winter 2011"

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  • Harbeth prize winners in Japan's Stereo Sound magazine, "No.177 Winter 2011"

    Japan's long established Stereo Sound magazine, one of the most influential and important audio magazines in the world has awarded Harbeth one of the coveted ultimate best of the best "Grand Prix" prizes and two best-in-price-category awards.

    Harbeth's boss Alan Shaw said "Following on from the cover appearance of our P3ESR earlier this year in Stereo Sound (magazine back copy now sold out) - the first time the magazine cover had ever featured an affordable rather than super-high end product - we knew that the new generation P3ESR had quickly achieved serious respect amongst Japanese audiophiles. The P3ESR is by far the least expensive loudspeaker to win the 2010 Grand Prix award; the top prize loudspeaker costs one hundred times more than the P3ESR."

    Harbeth last received a 'Component of the Year' (previous name of the Grand Prix) award from Stereo Sound for the original HL Compact, Alan's first design, so this is a twice-in-a-career VIP accolade.

    "I'll be travelling to Japan soon to collect the Award - this is a huge thrill and I am immensely grateful for the loyal support we've had in Japan, our first market since 1977, some thirty four years. These awards exactly reflect what the Harbeth brand represents: excellent value-for-money loudspeakers, affordable by ordinary music lovers and built to last."

    More information to follow shortly. The Chinese and Korean translated editions of Stereo Sound will be available in the following months as usual. Stereo Sound Publishing Inc. website here.
    Attached Files
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

  • #2

    Congrats to Mr. Shaw and everyone at Harbeth!


    • #3
      Congratulations P3ESR

      Congratulation to Harbeth for the ultimate awards to the P3ESR speaker


      • #4
        Great news!

        This is indeed great news for Harbeth users around the world. Congratulations to Alan & all at Harbeth.


        • #5

          Congratulations, Alan and all of the Harbeth team.


          • #6
            Good news!

            Happy. New year good news
            "Bath with Music"


            • #7
              Japan - thanks for the feedback

              Thank you for the kind words.

              Unlike any other speaker designer I've talked this through with, I do not at any time during the design process discuss, demonstrate or seek the opinions of others. What we go to market with is entirely what I decide it should perform like, look like and be priced at. So for all these aspects to be appreciated half a world away is most heart warming.

              In the case of the P3ESR we have had tremendous sales success which tells its own story reinforced by serious, informed, objective and responsible comment from professional listeners like those in the judging panel of Stereo Sound. We're working through an Japanese-English translation of their supporting comments which clearly appreciate what we Harbeth exist to provide. Great value for wonderful performance is exactly where we are positioned. It must be easy to make million dollar cost-no-object speakers --- rather more of a challenge (and intellectual satisfaction) making something the size of a human head that fills a room with believable full-range sound.
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK


              • #8
                Thank goodness for Harbeth!

                Well done Alan. Thoroughly deserved.

                As for being all your own work, this is one very good reason why Harbeth products stand out from the mediocre crowd. Far too many products nowadays are designed by computer programmes and OK'd by a committee of bean counters. So much Hi-Fi now sounds the same, treading a safe middle path as dictated by marketing men.

                Thank goodness for Harbeth.


                • #9
                  P3ESR v. mega expensive speakers

                  Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                  ...It must be easy to make million dollar cost-no-object speakers...
                  If it's so easy, I wonder why the sound of many speakers in the 20k++ market seems so decidedly odd. Often with certain aspects of their performance that, it must be said, can be very impressive (such as the ability to generate enough very LF output to make your clothing flap about in the ensuing breeze, or go quite loud when fed by a 3W amplifier) but whose overall performance is at best mediocre and frequently, acutely disappointing.

                  Congratulations on the award Alan - a just reward for the time spent working on the P3ESR (still doing sterling service as my secondary monitoring system). It's a pity that our more local press can't seem to find its way back to the more fundamental aspects of what reproduced sound is really about.


                  • #10
                    Still level headed people out there ....!

                    congratulations Alan and the rest of the Harbeth family. Indeed a very much well earned award... happy to know there are still level headed people who gives credit to those who deserve it...



                    • #11
                      I own SHL5 ... now must buy P3ESR ....

                      Congrats Harbeth team.

                      Now I cannot find any more reason not to own the P3ESR. I have only just bought SHL5 (two months ago) and have thoroughly enjoyed the music. I auditioned both at the time of purchase and I chose the bigger model. In 176 of stereo sound, there was an article matching p3esr to luxman sq-n100, which I also own and I was very much impressed by the review.

                      I love the Harbeth for the absence of listening fatigue. How did I know? When I use other speakers I often have to adjust the volume down a bit after listening for a while and later I will find it not loud enough and have to turn the volume up again. The process tends to repeat. But with the SHL5, once I have found the appropriate level I can listen to it for a long time without the need to adjust the volume. No great science but my personal experience which is what matters.

                      But then I think the other speakers, with their own characteristics, also exist for their purposes and customers. I have no objection they are selling for unaffordably (to me) high prices to people who like to own exquisite gear and explore their unique features.

                      Meanwhile, I will continue to use my Harbeth with basic speaker cables with neutral quality so as not to colour the speakers. (the advocacy of inexpensive cables is not a move that is popular among hifi dealers but for that I have great respect for Alan.)

                      I very much look forward to listening again to the P3ESR and welcoming it to become the second Harbeth member of my family.
                      Again, well done Alan and team.

                      With regards,
                      C K Chan


                      • #12
                        My SHL5 bring me back home to listen again and again ...

                        hehe, i'm in the same league as you are, just two months after having bought shl5.. PERFECT ... the sound i was looking forward (bear in mind, i'm a record/cd collector with over 25000 items and constantly listening to music for the last 35 or so years..., so i have tested several systems throughout my life so far) music only. NOT sound, no listening fatigue (this is the most important thing, not only to keep you listening for hours, but also for bringing you back home to listen again and again.... dunno but i think i have to also buy the p3esr for my bedroom/workroom..

                        dear C K Chan, can you name those basic speaker cables you use with shl5?

                        one last thing, those of you using p3esr is it an easy load like shl5 ? easier or not ?

                        Kind regards,



                        • #13
                          P3ESR in Canada

                          Originally posted by C K Chan View Post
                          ...I very much look forward to listening again to the P3ESR...
                          It's been already few months since I'm curious to listen the P3ESR. I haven't see it in our local stores nor in audio show in Montreal. They prefer the Compact 7ES-3 and the SHL5.

                          I'll look forward for the translate article from Stereo Sound.



                          • #14
                            Japanese culture respects craftsmanship of P3ESR

                            Congratulations indeed. There may be more superficially "impressive" speakers in various respects, but I'll wager there are none more musical than Harbeths, especially for sensible money. A great achievement.

                            And having lived in Japan for three years myself, I know that this is a culture that deeply appreciates and respects quality and craftsmanship. To be recognized as exceptional in that market truly means something.


                            • #15
                              Harbeth only wholly British company to win .....

                              You may be interested to know that as far as we can determine, little Harbeth Audio Ltd. is the only wholly British owned company to win a Stereo Sound Grand Prix award 2010.
                              Harbeth PR,
                              Harbeth UK