"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 for Home Theater duties

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  • Harbeth for Home Theater duties

    Hi, I'm wondering if there are anyone using Harbeth Speakers for Home Theater duties? Or should I put it as "Are Harbeth speakers suitable for home theater usage? Or they should only be use for music? The reason for me asking is most ppl will play quite loud when watching movies to get the effect and I remember reading somewhere that it is not advisable to play too loud on Harbeth as you might have a blown driver?


  • #2
    Originally posted by jim123 View Post
    I remember reading somewhere that it is not advisable to play too loud on Harbeth as you might have a blown driver?
    "Too loud" is an entirely relative concept. Unless you like to listen to your films at 95dBA++ (at your peril) I doubt there will be a problem.

    What you have to bear in mind is that Harbeths (or most any speaker designed to work properly on normal music & speech) may not reproduce the thunderous, unreal bass that underpins the soundtrack of many modern action films. For that, a sub may be desirable.


    • #3
      They can be used and will sound fabulous if it is 'natural' film sound it is you are after. They are not optimised for very high playback levels in large rooms, but I have heard 5x HL-P3ES2 sound absolutely fabulous in surround, in a small room at lower levels. Very unforced and natural film sound!

      In all cases (except when you are using 40.1 up front), use a subwoofer and set all speakers to 'small'.


      • #4
        I'm actually using it as 2 chanels instead. I hook up the bluray player and the media player thru my Luxman L505u driving the SHL-5 and set the volume knob around 11 and it can actually gives me thumping bass that are good enough for me. But I'm not sure if Harbeth are being made for such purpose and are they able to withstand this kind of usage and hence the questions.


        • #5
          i personally will never want to do any harm to our beloved speakers... Treat it with love and respect..:D


          • #6
            Harbeths will work well with most film genres - add a sub if you must

            Harbeths are optimised to be played at low/moderate volumes and are used by broadcast networks for monitoring their programmes. Speech and ambient sounds will form a large part of this, so if you watch drama, comedy and other dialogue-heavy movie genres, at normal domestic volumes you should find Harbeths to be equally good for movies as they are for reproducing natural acoustic instruments in music.

            Since I've got my P3ESR speakers, I've been really impressed with how good TV sounds through them. I don't watch noisy action films much and I don't like loud sounds so I never have any problems using my Harbeths for TV and films, in fact as I have stated before, I find the Harbeth bass performance to be perfect for me and surprisingly weighty too.

            Unless someone is very enthusiastic about loud walloping bass, I think Harbeths would be ideal for films. As Pluto suggested, add a high quality subwoofer if you must that can be adjusted to match the Harbeths seemlessly.

            Surround-sound music (like SACD or DVD-A) is another question entirely and one that would be ideal for Harbeth speakers to shine with.


            • #7
              I think its ok to watch movies using Harbeths provided the volume is kept in check. I occasionally watch movies using my SHL-5 too but at moderate levels & they are pretty satisfying. Don't feel the need for a sub as the bass goes reasonably low & extended.


              • #8
                I use my shl5 speakers in a 4.1(no center speaker) set up. I watch a fair number of action films at a normal sound level and occasionally at louder sound levels and the speakers sound great. I've been doing this for over three years.