HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. 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 electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon 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, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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"Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

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  • #46
    Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

    Originally posted by grunt72 View Post
    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!...

    Hi KH

    Care to share with us your "meagre" electronics and cheap cables? I think it will benefit and encourage many to appreciate that you don't need to spend megabucks for the Super 5s to sing!

    Best Regards


    • #47
      Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

      After few days with C7's at home, I can state only this:

      Forget the audiophile bullshit speakers for 20, 40, 80 tenthousands of whatewercurrency,
      Harbeth is about pleasure to listen music. Go for C7 if your room is small, for HL5 if is bigger or M40.1 if your valet and room are big enough.
      Cheers and Happy New Year!


      • #48
        Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

        In step with everyone else who has discovered the magic of enjoying music through these wonderful speakers (Super HL5s in my case), I would like to pose another, more personal, reason why I like Harbeth speakers. That is the bond between Alan and those of us who own his products. The birthday greetings I received last week were a super surprise: Nice Touch! But the response to my expressing thanks for said greetings elicited a most remarkable return email. In my note, I had mentioned more than my delight with the speakers; as a recovering cancer patient, I strongly believe my steady progress has been aided by my love of music and the gift of having a wonderful system to enjoy it through. Quality of life during serious illness is crucial to recovery. Alan personally took note, and sent me a most gracious missive. Imagine that! Alan Shaw and Harbeth represent themselves superbly, as a company with a caring heart. What better reason to LOVE Harbeth speakers!
        Steve Greene
        WI U.S.A.


        • #49
          Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

          Hi katkrazy,

          nice, very nice! I wish you all the best.


          • #50
            Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

            Thank you for your kind words and wishes, Vlado.


            • #51
              Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

              I am the proud owner of a pair of Monitor 40.1. Having never heard the Harbeths before I took a leap of faith with my purchase. I've only owned them for a couple weeks now but I can say without hesitation that these speakers are simply amazing. I have been using a pair of Teledyne AR9's, and I really loved the sound they made. I put the 40.1 side by side with AR9 and noticed that they have a very similar sonic signature. I am guessing it's the flat linear response they are both known for. However, the M40.1 is just way way more revealing. The AR9's sound dull and lifeless by comparison. The music seems to just flow effortlessly out of the M40.1 like I've never heard before. It must be the RADIAL driver that I've read about. I've run them with 30W tube and 400W ss and the sound is just unparalleled. The type of music doesn't matter either, classical, jazz, rock, pop, metal. The bass is excellent at both soft and loud listening levels. These speakers can do it all. The only tricky thing with them is the speaker position. However, once you dial that in to your preference, watch out! Anyone want to buy a pair of AR9's? ; )

              MN, USA


              • #52
                Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                Shortly it will be three month to live with the C7‘s and those wonderful speakers provide me new surprises. Today I dig out an old record of Shirley Bassey, which sounded horrific on my previous “audiophile” speakers, so I lapse to listen it for years. The surprise was absolute. The sound of the record is homogeneous and very enjoyable through C7‘s, opposite to the sound split in bands without coherence, nerving midst, suppressed highs and undefined bass of the “audiophile” speakers.

                Alan hats off!


                • #53
                  Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                  I am done. The Harbeth SHL5 will be my last pair of speakers. For the first time in my life I have experienced a sound that I have never envisaged possible in the realm of high-end right in my own room.

                  Why we like Harbeth speakers? In my honest opinion I feel Harbeth speakers are very musical speakers that one can enjoy all day long without any listening fatigue even with the volume cranked up to insane levels. I have not owned many speakers but quite a number have been in and out of my room throughout the years. Most of these speakers sound forced and bright with high listening fatigue. My ear drums would hurt when the volume was cranked up even to moderate levels. With the Harbeth I often listen to music at moderate to high volume levels without hurting my ears. The more I crank it up the more I enjoy the music. WIth other speakers the more I crank it up the more I hurt my ears. The full natural sound of Harbeth speakers is another godsend apart from real world prices of these speakers that offer much value in comparison to mega-buck speakers costing 4-5 times more that may not sound as musical.

                  I am very happy with my SHL5.

                  Thank you for listening.


                  • #54
                    Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                    just got my pair of shl5's, the sound is growing on me. i get the feeling they might not "wow" people at hifi shows, but taking the time to listen to them, their beauty and the magic starts to eminate. it sounds powerful when it needs to be (gorillaz) or gentle and grand (enya). elvis' voice is fantastic. madonna can't sing but the tunes are foot tapping. i can tell the quality of one recording to the other, even grade each on a scale of 1-10. no kidding. its my happiest purchase this year,


                    • #55
                      Re: "Why we like Harbeth speakers" - Users feedback

                      I've wanted to contribute to this post, but I'm stumped for an answer.

                      A colleague asked me what was so spectacular about the Compact 7's, and all I could say was "nothing". They don't do anything spectacular; they just work well with my stereo.

                      I think it's more what the speakers don't do that I find attractive. They don't boost the high or low frequencies to make the music more exciting or give it more punch. I don't find myself gritting my teeth when I listen as I have with "audiophile" speakers. The Harbeths give a very simple and likable presentation. They do image (or "soundstage" or whatever the term is), but that's a bonus rather than the main feature.

                      I think the most appealing feature for me is that I can listen to music for quite a while with the Harbeths before I get tired of it. Whatever it is that makes music come to life for me, the Harbeths present it well. I wish I could be more articulate, but I'm not sure I have the audio vocabulary to say what I mean.


                      • #56
                        I hear ppl say when they buy expensive speakers like 10k+, they are serious listeners over the web
                        When you own Harbeth, you are serious lover and emotional.
                        You can find others brands used speakers 10k to 80k retail and sell for 1/2 price
                        But with the SHL5, it's very hard to find a used one, even you find one, they dont sell 1/2 price, ppl sell them back 4/5 price they paid
                        So Harbeth is #1
                        Maggie is #2
                        It's not about money... But you can see why after ppl owning a Harberth, they dont need to look where else, Harbeth give you something pure. Harbeth touch your heart.


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Tran Khoa View Post
                          ...But with the SHL5, it's very hard to find a used one, even you find one, they dont sell 1/2 price, ppl sell them back 4/5 price they paid...
                          Hi Tran,

                          I disagree with that. Since I know that I want to buy a pair of SHL5 (february), I started to look on the net for used pairs. On average, there are around 3 SHL5's pairs a month for sell on Audiogon. Plus, the average price is around $3500 USD. retail is $5400 USD plus taxes. This is close to 40% off and they are usualy rated 9/10.

                          Sad but true, there is folks out there who don't keep their Harbeth (do they upgrade, downgrade in the Harbeth line?). Anyway, their lost is others gain!



                          • #58
                            A real, physical dealer v. online

                            We do not recommend 'virtual dealers' unless there is no alternative available to you. We recommend real, physical dealers who have made the time, financial and physical/mental effort to create a demonstration facility where you can hear and compare audio equipment. I realise that in the internet age online shopping is appropriate for many products but we do not feel that it is appropriate for quality audio equipment or, for that matter, shoes or suits.

                            You mention one virtual dealer amongst others. From the feedback we occasionally receive, there is usually a story behind the products being sold on-line. Sadly, the serial numbers show that far from being 'brand new, as-new, factory fresh, virtually unused, pristine, sealed cartons' etc. the speakers are several years old. There have also been worrying instances where the original cartons have been carefully unpicked from the bottom, the speakers used and the cartons carefully resealed; from the top, the cartons do indeed look factory sealed, unopened.

                            I'd like to mention that the Harbeth warranty is not transferable from the first owner, and not transferable outside the country of original supply. If you chose to bypass the traditional real, physical bricks-and-mortar dealer, you accelerate the demise of the industry. When all retail stores are driven out of business we won't have an industry and there will be nowhere for the next generation of consumers to start listening and learning.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK


                            • #59
                              Hi Alan,

                              I find it important that you've mentionned that folks can go "that way" if there is no dealer available around. I often read that type of comment on the HUG. For myself, yes, I had the chance to heard the Harbeth in Montreal from an autorized dealer and also at the SSI hi-fi show in Montreal. I decided to buy a pair of SHL5 for a cheaper price than store's one. I have a budget concern and I assume it. For me, this market was the way to go.

                              There is another argument that can be discussed. Folks who buy used components gives them a second life. There is less production with all that involve. In a world of environmental concerns, we should give respect to that.

                              Also, people say that: "I will buy Harbeth because of all the feed-back I read on the net." Net's good for Harbeth and for a lot of other products. It is true, you can trust those comments and buy Harbeth eyes "almost" wide shut, but I still agree with you that you must be carefull and buy from someone who has positive seller's feed-back.

                              When I will get my Harbeth, I will give Harbeth free publicity. Proudly. Probably I will do a demo someday at someone who will buy it from a store.

                              In the end, it could be a large debate because: net's sale increase on every products. How do the stores will compete with them in that globalization world?



                              • #60
                                Think what we might be witnessing is possibly the declining interest in 2 channel (and corresponding pressure on retailing) and increasing need to specialise?

                                Accessibility (and trialling) decent music reproduction gear for the living room seems to be an increasing issue? I can appreciate from these forums that, even in UK, some customers have to make a bit of a journey to listen to Harbeths for example.

                                Perhaps it will take some effort to inject some dynamism back into the 2 channel market in general, but given that there’s still quite a lot of interest in it, if advertisements are any indication to go by, it might not be too early.

                                Something creative and affordable might help. I can imagine a van (or container the size of a small living room) in the mall where people are invited to go in, sit down and have a listen. No sales pressure (In fact, you wont be able to buy anything from there) but just listen. Not sure how practical it is but id imagine it could be a better demo environment than any ive seen if its put together properly.

                                Few weeks back i saw BMW introduce their X1 on the sidewalk here, both doors opened (on the footpath side) and girls handing out brochures. They fed the council meter and paid for the girls’ time. They were inviting people to hop in. I can imagine a NAD container, with simple affordable gear (amp and cd player, or even their C715 cd receiver) and perhaps a pair of small Harbeths…I reckon if there is a worldwide stereo roadshow to celebrate the anniversary of its creation, it might swing back some market share from surround sound (and ipod) pretty quickly?