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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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Reviews

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  • #16
    Re: Reviews

    Here is a review from an english magazine in Montreal. They tested the SHL5 and like it a lot.
    You can read the entire article on pages 47-48-49. http://www.uhfmag.com/Issue84/UHF84.pdf

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Reviews

      Originally posted by MDALL View Post
      Here is a review from an english magazine in Montreal. They tested the SHL5 and like it a lot.
      You can read the entire article on pages 47-48-49. http://www.uhfmag.com/Issue84/UHF84.pdf
      Excellent review of the SHL-5 there. Yes indeed, they are a strong contender for the heavyweight crown.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Test Super HL5

        Thank you! Nice pictures indeed.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #19
          Stereophile August copy Now on sale - " Harbeth reinvents the classic minimonitor"

          Guys,

          Yet, another REVIEW of the little Harbeth now John Atkinson. He compared the little Harbeth with (unfair comparison imo ) Revel Ultima Salon2, Ariel Acoustics 20T V2 and Focal Maestro Utopia.

          He said that, "what suprises me about the little Harbeths was how little I missed what the big speakers had been giving me"... and many more in the Summing up..

          Got to listen to the little Harbeth... for my PC.. :)

          Comment


          • #20
            What a comparison ?

            Speakers at 20 x the size and 15 x the cost.

            Reviewers - don't you just love them ???

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
              What a comparison ?

              Speakers at 20 x the size and 15 x the cost.

              Reviewers - don't you just love them ???
              Why is this a bad thing? Doesn't it say a lot about the quality of the P3ESR that it can be compared directly to much larger, much more expensive loudspeakers, and still hold its own? I read that as a positive, not a negative.

              Comment


              • #22
                It is a positive, it's just that I am hard to please. I just think that it is unprofessional to do such a thing.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by John Parkyn View Post
                  Perhaps you didn't know it, but at the bottom of each Hi-Fi speaker page on the main Harbeth site (www.harbeth.co.uk) there is a list of reviews of the relevant speaker. These reviews are magazine or e-zine reviews. Many of these reviews are re-presented on another Harbeth page:

                  http://www.harbeth.co.uk/sales/countries/USA.php

                  ========

                  User reviews are also found on the Harbeth site at:

                  http://www.harbeth.co.uk/library/our...peak/index.php

                  ========

                  Beyond the Harbeth site, highly complimentary user reviews can be found at:

                  http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/harbe...6_1594crx.aspx

                  To date on audioreview.com, the P3's have garnered an average of 4.87 from 15 reviewers; the Compact 7's ... 4.87 from 30 reviewers; the Model 30 ... 4.75 from 4 reviewers. These scores are out of a possible 5.

                  No other Harbeth model has been reviewed on audioreview.com

                  For some reason audioreview.com classifies Harbeths as "floorstanders".

                  =======

                  If you know of Harbeth reviews posted beyond the locations cited in this reply, please report them in this thread.

                  Here is, Audioreview and Harbeth SHL5:

                  http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speak...5_1594crx.aspx

                  5 from 5 reviewers

                  Regards.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    The big speaker sound? Maybe not?

                    Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                    What a comparison? Speakers at 20 x the size and 15 x the cost ...
                    Yes, that's a very odd piece of writing. Let's see how that would work if we were talking about cars, not loudspeakers ....

                    Something like 'the great new baby BMW was so good in every way that I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to buy a Bentley or Ferrari ....'. A sweeping generalisation of a statement just doesn't seem credible does it even though we appreciate the compliment. What would have made it more credible would be to have explained how the baby BMW could dare to stand up to the Bentley ....

                    What I suspect is that the characteristics of the bigger speakers (attractive features or not - I have no idea, don't know them) cannot have worked in their favour. If, for example, a larger speaker is prominent in the middle or high frequencies compared with a little one that is neutral, it would tend to pull against our mental expectations that the big speaker should sound full, grand and smooth: in other words it could make the small speaker sound bigger than the big speaker actually does.

                    I've said before and I say it again - journalism is an art. The art of keeping everyone on-side, and out of court. We worked damned hard for years on the P3ESR prototype and we brought it into production when it was not possible to improve any aspect of the design. We know it's great - you know it's great. Trust your own ears. That's the essential message.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      From a pragmatic perspective, I really don't understand how these types of reviews are helpful to the consumer. Why would anyone be comparing mini-monitors with other loudspeakers that have wildly different design objectives? If I want a truthful or moderately accurate review of a given product, then that product should be evaluated in reference to others of its kind/class. Why would anyone shopping for a family sedan trust a review that compares a Toyota Camry to a Hummer? It makes no sense.

                      I think this observation just reinforces the view that these types of publications are primarily for entertainment. I wonder, then, why so many people take them to be authoritative...

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        The written word?

                        Originally posted by jferreir View Post
                        ...I think this observation just reinforces the view that these types of publications are primarily for entertainment. I wonder, then, why so many people take them to be authoritative...
                        Me neither. I simply cannot understand why the public would put such confidence in a complete stranger - a third party - let alone believe the manufacturers claims without listening for themselves.

                        I had lunch with a BBC friend last Sunday. We were talking about this very issue. He said - and I think he's onto something - that the printed and bound word has some extra-special credibility over those merely viewed on screen. So following his argument, a review in the printed monthly 'HiFi Jungle' (and why not!) would carry more credibility than say, whatever I as the mere designer may write here on the virtual page.

                        In the UK we have many 'charity stores' - I think they're called hardship stores in the US? - where the public donate unwanted household items including books. Personally, having wide interests, I can always find old books to interest me. In fact, the problem I have is resisting the temptation (not that I should - the money is for charity I argue) because the printed and bound word has such a huge appeal to me.

                        Of course, we much appreciate the kind words written about Harbeth by critical listeners over the years, and long may that continue. But without looking over the designer's shoulder and/or literally spending a day in his company seeing how he ticks and what he thinks is important in his product and daily life, any third-party at-arms-length review can only scratch the surface of the subject. And may be misleading. If only, if only there was enough time and budget in the magazines editorial department travel fund to permit (or even insist on) reviewers visiting the Harbeth factory and R&D place ..... that would do those readers a much greater service. It would also allow us to ask the journalist to roll up his sleeves and try his hand at speaker design and even screwing speakers together on the production line and of rigorous attention to detail for a day or so. Surely then, better informed about the nitty gritty, he's be a more valuable guide for his readers.

                        That's what I'd call a real review.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Reviews as publicity

                          I agree with those above. Comparing the P3ESR to vastly larger, vastly more expensive speakers may be an interesting exercise for the reviewer, but is of no practical benefit to the consumer, since anyone in the market for a $2000 minimonitor will not likely be shopping for a $30,000 floorstander, and vice versa.

                          However, there are other reviewers in Stereophile that don't follow this practice. Rob Reina, for example, reviews many small(ish) monitor speakers, and his practice seems to be to compare the product under review to two other products of the same category and at reasonably similar price points.

                          Personally, I do think reviews can be valuable, not that one should credulously believe everything (or anything) they say. But in the past I've become aware of interesting products through reviews, which I otherwise might never have heard of. Including Harbeth. So they're useful for that, at least.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Are Reviews insightful or just a bit of fluff?

                            Originally posted by EricW View Post
                            ...Personally, I do think reviews can be valuable, not that one should credulously believe everything (or anything) they say. But in the past I've become aware of interesting products through reviews, which I otherwise might never have heard of. Including Harbeth. So they're useful for that, at least.
                            It is extremely rare for a journalist wishing to review a Harbeth to contact the factory. This means any "review" will be at arms length from the design and manufacturing process. Few journalists have the time or interest to devote to personal research as to the back-story behind the product. In our opinion, this means such hands-off, remote critique cannot understand the design objectives (or constraints). In the internet post-print age anyone working from their bedroom can be a 'reviewer' of another's products. No qualifications or skills of any sort are required to set oneself up as a 'reviewer'. This must be obvious. Even the renowned reviewer Ken Kessler admits that he has no idea what a 'dB' is, and cannot meaningfully interpret technical specifications. An engineered product like a Harbeth speaker really needs to be evaluated with a technicians curious eye and ear. Is wonderful prose a substitute?

                            We are considering revising our policy regarding 'reviews'.

                            Our question is how much importance do you, the consumer place on reviews?

                            To follow: the best published technical critiques of loudspeakers ever published, in Japan of course.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Universal Praise Means Something

                              Originally posted by HUG-1 View Post
                              We are considering revising our policy regarding 'reviews'.

                              Our question is how much importance do you, the consumer place on reviews?
                              What first drew my attention to the Harbeth line, and the 7es-3 in particular, was not any single review, but the universal praise in every single review I came across. Tastes in speakers vary greatly, so when every single review is wildly enthusiastic, that has real meaning, even if the reviewing process is problematic for various reasons.

                              Bruce

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                The Importance of Reviews

                                Having recently purchased my first pair of Harbeths (P3ESR), I have been reflecting on the happy coincidences that ultimately led to the purchase. The time taken between me discovering the brand and finally buying Harbeth speakers is roughly 5 years.

                                It did not take this long because I had to save - quite the opposite, in that time I have spent a not so small fortune on hi-fi electronics.

                                My main source of information about available hi-fi products came from the magazines published in the UK plus occasionally the US magazines. I used to read about 5 hi-fi magazines per month.

                                I first read about Harbeth through either a Hi-Fi News feature by Steve Harris or a Hi-Fi Choice feature by Malcolm Steward. Both were in 2006 or 2007 I think, I particularly remember reading AS talk about the RADIAL material's unique properties. I had never heard of Harbeth's existance before then, but knew of the BBC engineering legacy through KK always mentioning the LS3/5A in his reviews. KK is why I bought my LS3/5As!

                                I first took notice of the actual speakers Harbeth make when I read a Hi-FI News review by Chris Breunig of the C7 ES3. That review piqued my interest and later when I read positive comments in Stereophile magazine about the C7 and SHL5, I started to become keen on finding out more.

                                More positive comments surfaced in Stereophile and TAS for the HLP3ES-2 and M.40.1 and I started to wonder why they are a bit of a secret in the UK. By now I was thinking they could be right for me too. To be honest the relatively low price made me doubt they could be good enough. I was used to reading about 10,000 speakers as "reference quality". How wrong I was!

                                I then found the HUG and occasionally dipped my foot in, reading the posted comments. After a while I read about the new P3ESR and was so impressed by what I read on the HUG that I thought that I must hear it - it could be the answer. I set about reading everything I could about Harbeth and Alan's design goals. I dug out the old C7 review and even found one I had over-looked in Hi-Fi World by Chana Vithana.

                                Then of course, I bumped into Alan at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show this year (the photos of our meeting are on my wall - bet you're all jeleous!) and decided to join the HUG. I have now learnt far more here than the magazines ever taught me about speakers, hi-fi and the issue of common-sense and all sorts of other things.

                                But the point is that crucially, my initial introduction to Harbeth was through the UK and US hi-fi magazines. Of course it helped that the reviews I found in them were very positive about Harbeth speakers. Now that I have become a Harbeth owner and member of the HUG, I have no need for magazine reviews of Harbeth speakers. I strongly feel that. I will only buy Harbeth speakers from now on and any changes I make to my system to a different Harbeth model will not require the reading of reviews or the seeking of reviewers opinions. I believe Harbeth speakers are designed by one man with an unflinching vision of what the BBC legacy means and demands in a loudspeaker and I know he delivers. I have found the Harbeth-way and know that it is right for me.

                                Publicity in hi-fi magazines (in the form of reviews) can help to spread the word, but it is crucial that reviewers and feature writers understand what you are trying to do with your speaker designs. Otherwise there is a danger of potential customers (and I believe there are many) missing the boat so to speak and taking longer to find their way here. And the HUG really is the hub of Harbeth ownership experience.

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