"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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Well, it happened

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  • Well, it happened

    I recently bought a pair of SHL5's. My Hybrid MartinLogan's moved to the kitchen/dining area. Initially, I was disappointed by a less defined bass representation (especially when playing dub, such as King Tubby) and also by less of a presence of mid range and vocals (with the Martin Logan's it felt Alicia Keys was in the room with me, or that Wes Montgomery was sitting next to me).

    However, what I realized, I am listening more and longer than ever before, and somehow, magically, they seemed to open up last night. Adele's 21, several Frank Zappa recordings, Ernest Ranglin, Keith Jarrett, Sonic Youth, Pixies, The Fall, Sarah Vaughan and Radiohead all sounded great. The presentation is less open and revealing than the Martin Logan's, but I love listening to the SHL5's.

    I have no idea whether my ears are getting used to the new set up after a week, or whether it has to do with the mythical burn-in of the speakers and cables?

    My system is Technics 1210 with Ortofon 2m black, Musical Fidelity VLS phono stage, Wadia Ipod transport, Cambridge Audio Dacmagic, Quad 24 pre-amp, Croft Twinstar 4 and Harbeth SHL5's. And Skogrand speaker cables (they look cool, cost a fortune, and hopefully add to the whole set up)

  • #2
    whether it has to do with the mythical burn-in of the speakers and cables?

    whether my ears are getting used to the new set up after a week
    That's it!
    Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


    • #3
      That's very normal Boukman. Harbeths are not spks that will impress immediately. Instead, they will slowly warm you up & before you know it gets under your skin. That's definiely a sure sign of a great product. Live with the SHL-5s for a while. Then try going back to the Martin Logan & see what happens.


      • #4
        I will definitely keep comparing them, thanks!


        • #5
          Try to enjoying them instead of comparing them....after same time you will know which let you really "enjoying".

          Cheers and well come to the ultimate musical club.
          "Bath with Music"


          • #6
            Many thanks! I still listen to my ML's and they are also great but different. Better for parties, given the built-in 200 watt D class amps. And also my LS3/5A's in the office. Loads of great gear out there


            • #7
              I just changed the stock technics arm to a jelco 750. Feel like a real man after all that 'engineering'. Now some smokes, a drink and I am loving Sarah Vaughan. Radiohead next. Zappa test passed with colours. The new arm really makes it happen. Happy as Larry with my Harbeths, technics and quad/croft. Sleep well folks


              • #8
                Originally posted by Boukman View Post
                Now some smokes, a drink and I am loving Sarah Vaughan.
                Don't underestimate the effect of the smoke/drinks! After all, it isn't your ears that tell you what you are hearing, those centers are in the brain....and that's where the drink makes a difference to what you perceive to have heard. And after all, your perception is your reality.
                Now I am off to grab a drink to help float willie nelson even better than how he is, out of the C7s just now...:-))