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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. 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.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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"Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

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  • #31
    Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

    Lars,
    What is your set up in terms of source ,amp and cables? This may enable me to meet my religious obligations if I cant get up in time.
    Regards
    James Beltran
    Malaysia

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

      I use nothing to fancy. A Primaluna Prologue 5 power amp but I have changed the original KT88 tubes to JJ 6L6GC . This changes the balance slightly towards a more laidback sound. One strange thing I have noticed is that the power amp sounds better in my setup with the tube cage in place. I can not really explain why.
      Preamp is either a Sunfire Classic Tube Preamp or an Xindak 3250. I can not really decide which one I like best. Tuner is an old faithful Sugden T48 II from 1981(I think)
      New caps in it, that is all I have changed and it sounds really great.
      Cables are Eichmann 6 mk II and speaker cables comes from Marcus cables.
      The 35 watts from the Primaluna is quite enough to drive my Super HL5 in a room 5 x 6 meters.
      I do listen a lot more to radio now with the S HL5 speakers. Everything sounds so right,
      especially live broadcasts. But then if you listen more to how the broadcast sounds instead of the actual music, the musicians can always blame the speaker designer for taking the focus away with a too good design.

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

        I've already posted my feelings about Harbeth speakers. However, i upgraded to the Compact 7-es2, and got a Leben Hi-fi valve amp as well as better cables. The Leben is superb. This is probably not hi end stuff but i have to say that the Harbeths just seem to get better with whatever you throw at them. They now sound even more glorious and more addictive than before. Each recording's character comes to the fore and i never listen to anything but a whole album. Never an offensive note in all of my varied cd collection. Captivating stuff! I feel confident that however i upgrade, the Harbeths will sit back and confidently deliver. They won't be going anywhere fast.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

          I've got Compacts 7 es 2 coming from Rogers Studio 1a (used to haver AR 10).
          (Yes I'm an old listener!)

          What a world I discovered. I was not aware of what a speaker can offer: and I'm nort ruined as they're cheap enough.
          I drive these speakers with Densen DM 10 and this is a beautiful combination:
          Cables are Kimber 8 TC and interconnects areMadrigal HPC: do you think I can improve from those?

          Bye Bye, new friends and many thanks to people like those in Harbeth which takes care to keep us away from Ipod and so.
          (These speakers let my daughters understand the difference between music and confusion)

          Sergio

          Comment


          • #35
            C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

            WHERE AM I GOING WRONG????

            I have always liked Harbeth Speakers.

            I used to own a pair of HLP3s and it was one of those times when you move a piece of hifi on and always regret it.

            I recently bought a pair of Harbeth Compact 7- brand new latest version and set them up in my lounge. I am using a Karan Integrated Amp and Resolution Audio CDP Player with Chord Cables. Not an insignificant combination.

            The problem I have is that I am really struggling to get any decent sound from the Harbeths after 3 weeks or so of owning them. They are quite bright with no real warmth to the sound. Very little bass. Imaging is poor and vocals indistinct.

            Where am I ging wrong? I know the potential of these speakers and feel I am missing out somewhere.

            Any ideas, advice, suggestions?

            Rob

            Comment


            • #36
              C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

              Originally posted by Robmoores1 View Post
              WHERE AM I GOING WRONG????

              I have always liked Harbeth Speakers.

              I used to own a pair of HLP3s and it was one of those times when you move a piece of hifi on and always regret it.

              I recently bought a pair of Harbeth Compact 7- brand new latest version and set them up in my lounge. I am using a Karan Integrated Amp and Resolution Audio CDP Player with Chord Cables. Not an insignificant combination.

              The problem I have is that I am really struggling to get any decent sound from the Harbeths after 3 weeks or so of owning them. They are quite bright with no real warmth to the sound. Very little bass. Imaging is poor and vocals indistinct.

              Where am I ging wrong? I know the potential of these speakers and feel I am missing out somewhere.

              Any ideas, advice, suggestions?

              Rob
              Brightness & lack of warmth is the last thing that anyone can use to describe a Harbeth. Something is extremely wrong with your setup. I suspect its your Karan amp. I've heard this amp before, though with other speakers & have found them to be bright & brash. Recently, i found that LFD goes very well with Harbeth. Smooth, very sweet, controlled, musical, & transparent. Contact Stereonow & have a listen to LFD & Harbeth. To me, the pairing is simply magical.

              Comment


              • #37
                C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

                There is indeed something seriously wrong with your system. Overall warmth and clean, clear vocals and a sweet un-hifi like top end (i.e flat) are the outstanding features of the C7ES3. As you may know, I do not have hi-fi at home (for various reasons) and that means that months (or even years) can pass before I have the chance to hear production-Harbeths again. I am always listening to development Harbeths, but once production has commenced, I don't need to listen again. My job is complete to the best of my ability. Occasionally I do hear production-Harbeths at a Hi-Fi show, in a customer's house, at a hi-fi dealers store.

                So, when I was at the Montreal show just a few weeks ago, it was an ideal opportunity to reacquaint myself with Harbeths afresh. I can not recognise the Compact from your description. You would expect the bigger RADIAL-coned Compact 7ES3 to be warmer and more involving than the smaller P3, and that is absolutely true, it is: but of course the C7 is much more expensive (and bigger).

                OK so how do we go about resolving this? First of all, please be sure that you have Registered these speakers on the Harbeth web site then we can have a look at their history - this is important. Did you buy them new in sealed cartons? Do you still have the P3s available so you can do a real side-by-side and not rely on your memory?

                Second, can we see a photo of your listening room please to see where the speakers are and on what types of stands.

                Third: have you tried another amplifier? I can not really believe that you are experiencing an amplifier issue - but you may be. Finally - what does your Dealer say?
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #38
                  C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

                  Alan,

                  Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                  Rather than writing an essay I will shorten my response into the following points:

                  1. I bought the speakers direct from yourselves The serial numbers are C7 789L/R. They have been registered on the website.
                  2. The P3's went a long time ago so cannot do a direct comparison.
                  3. I do not have another amplifier to try although I may well borrow one next week.
                  4. I have the speakers on Atacama SL500 stands. They are in my well furnished lounge around 18 inches from the wall (long wall) and 6 feet 5 feet from the side walls. The room is around 20 feet by 11 feet.

                  I will see what my finding are with the new speakers. Having listened again it is almost as though very little power is getting through to the woofer - it is a strange situation. Almost as though the speakers are being driven by a 5 watt amplifier rather than a 180 watt one.

                  If you have any further suggestions I would appreciate hearing them.

                  Regards,

                  Rob

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

                    Originally posted by Robmoores1 View Post
                    ...Having listened again it is almost as though very little power is getting through to the woofer - it is a strange situation. Almost as though the speakers are being driven by a 5 watt amplifier rather than a 180 watt one...
                    The only thing I can imagine is that the woofer's cone/coil assembly is not free to move in the magnetic gap. That could be caused by overload or obstruction - for example, a metallic particle has become wedged in the 'gap'. But for a particle to creep into both woofers is frankly, almost unbelievable. Or, maybe some glue has crept into the gap? The 'gap' into which the voice coil fits is very narrow - I've shown it here.

                    I will be overseas from the end of next week, and I would like to resolve this before I go. Could you email me directly (you can do that here on the User Group) and tell me please where you are, give me your post code and phone number. I will try my best to make a trip to hear these for myself in your home, if that is acceptable to you before I depart. Alternatively, please immediately repack them in the original cartons exactly as we sent them out and have them ready for UPS to collect on Monday/Tuesday for return to us. I can not give you an exact time they'll collect - could be between 9am and 6pm - so please have someone available during that (long) period to hand them over. PLEASE NOTE: it is essential that you return them in the original cartons as these will protect the speakers. Please check that the cartons are in good condition.

                    In any event, we will measure the frequency response of the speakers, listen to music on them then dissect these woofers and video the result. I apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and would very much like to resolve it before my flight on Thursday night.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: C7ES3 - power/ loudness issue?

                      Alan,

                      Thanks for your response and concern. I have spent the last few hours attempting to see if I can find a solution to the issues I am having.

                      To fill you in a little more the music I listen to most of the time is acoustic (solo guitar and singer) and piano music. It is on this type of music where the vocals and guitars lack any real body or midrange warmth that I had anticipated. I put some CD's on today that actually had some proper bass and can confirm that there is certainly nothing wrong with the radial drivers in the lower bass regions.

                      I am almost convinced (contrary to you you said) that the amplifier is at fault. The more question I have asked about the Karan amplifier the more obvious it is that this is where I have a problem. I am borrowing another amplifier tomorrow which should be a better match.

                      I will let you know how I get on.

                      Regards,

                      Rob

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                        Got a different amplifier to try last night - an Almarro A318B 18 watt single ended integrated.

                        Hooked it up to my system.

                        Bliss. Sheer musical bliss. Suddenly the midrange on the Harbeths sprang to life. Now I had body and weight that the Karan for some strange reason simply could not produce. Alan, although the Harbeth's may work with a lot of amplifier's out there I think that there are clearly some excpetions and the Karan is one of them.

                        Thanks for your concern and help in resolving my problem.

                        Regards,

                        Rob

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                          Okay. It has been a few weeks now since my original and subsequent posts regarding the Harbeth Compact 7's.

                          My system has changed a fair bit since then. I now have an Ayre Pre/Power Amp and matching CD player.

                          The music (not sound!!!) that this combination produces is breathtaking. You are totally immersed in the music and for the first time or a long time forget about the hifi and simply enjoy ]listening[/I] to the wonderful expressive music being produced.

                          Thanks to Alan Shaw and his team for producing such an amazing speaker.

                          Rob

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                            Originally posted by Robmoores1 View Post
                            Got a different amplifier to try last night - an Almarro A318B 18 watt single ended integrated.

                            Hooked it up to my system.

                            Bliss. Sheer musical bliss. Suddenly the midrange on the Harbeths sprang to life. Now I had body and weight that the Karan for some strange reason simply could not produce. Alan, although the Harbeth's may work with a lot of amplifier's out there I think that there are clearly some excpetions and the Karan is one of them.

                            Thanks for your concern and help in resolving my problem.

                            Regards,

                            Rob
                            I have the same SET amp as yours.
                            Was worried it was not enough to drive my SHL5, but I was wrong.
                            It sounded lovely. Vocals so sweet.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                              Hey guys, I just brought home my very first pair of Harbeths - Super 5 no less hehe...

                              With my "meagre" electronics and cheap cables, I am so wowed by the natural musicality of the speakers. The midrange and vocals are simply unheard of in my other speakers I have used. While I am sure that "some" speakers may reproduce like sounds as the SHL5 but these had to be multitudes of the cost!

                              For me, this is the milestone for a long while...time to settle down and relisten to all my hundreds and hundreds of CDs!...

                              Thanks Alan for designing and pushing a great product.

                              Cheerio

                              KH

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                                Like grunt I am using budget entry components (NAD 325 BEE amp and squeezebox source) and cheap wires and am happy with the Harbeth sound, I think this is a big advantage of Super HL5 speakers -they are very easy to drive.

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