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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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Dear Mr. Alan Shaw

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  • #16
    Giving up on the 'snake oil'

    Originally posted by C K Chan View Post
    From a number of posts here, many are in their 40s; is that a turning point in our lives (I am in my 40s too and I bought my shl5 last year) that we start to appreciate a piece of equipment that can last for the next 20 or more years, that we have gone into a period of contentment?
    It takes everyone time to recognise the treadmill for being just that and unfortunately, I guess this has to be learnt by almost everyone by being on it long enough to. I should know - I cleaned out my shelves the other day and I found an exotic cable that was used to connect a dedicated power supply to a tube buffer that was in turn used between the preamp and power amp.

    Looking back, I now see that all three pieces were pure snake oil! Simpler is better takes a lot of wisdom to "get", I guess. My Quad 909 should be for life, it has done 6 great years, and now I am looking for Harbeths for something similar. So I can focus on just the music and the voices. And where the Harbeths are concerned, I guess they don't look exotic enough for the set that sees music as opposed to hearing it, to opt for them, and again, I think it takes time to get to that stage with all the rampant promotion and ads that are so in your face all the time.

    And I am guessing there are quite a few like minded folks here who use different equipment, but think similar.

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    • #17
      Battleship grey

      Originally posted by Kumar Kane View Post
      ... And where the Harbeths are concerned, I guess they don't look exotic enough for the set that sees music as opposed to hearing it, to opt for them...
      Well styling is and always will be a mater of individual taste.

      But the key point is surely this: Harbeth speakers are not intentionally consumer products. They are capital equipment which means, they perform a specific task, and they keep performing that task year in, year out. You can think of them being the battleship grey high tec gadget found in a state of the art control room. Hugely understated, perfectly functional. The fact that by changing the case colour to, literally battleship grey we sell them to professionals proves the point. I can think of no other speaker brand that offers just one series of products and successfully sells the same product in two cloaks to two separate markets.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #18
        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        You can think of them being the battleship grey high tec gadget found in a state of the art control room. Hugely understated, perfectly functional. .
        That reminds me of the Quad 909! No longer state of the art perhaps, and a small, solid and heavy block of metal with no buttons except the on/off on the rear. Indeed, if it were not for the heat it throws off, the best place for it is somewhere it can't be seen. But it is robust, reliable, focuses on the midrange, and puts out as much power as I will ever need at home. I am very sure it will love a Harbeth pair and vice versa. Both appear to just be means to an end, not an end in itself.
        End of promo plug! And I have no connection with the company, of any kind.

        Comment


        • #19
          Wine bottles ....

          Originally posted by Kumar Kane View Post
          ... I am very sure it will love a Harbeth pair and vice versa. Both appear to (be) just be means to an end, not an end in itself.
          Agreed. High fidelity listening at home should be about music, music and more music. The gear is as you say, just the route to that objective. When the equipment mania gets a grip though, it pushes out the appreciation of music.

          HiFi gear is analogous to the glass bottle that holds a fine wine. When the shape, colour and style of the bottle becomes more fascinating than the contents of the bottle, the vineyard is doomed because even vinegar is palatable.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #20
            I am waiting on pins and needles for the delivery of my cherry C7's. I am enjoying the last few days of my trusty Spendor S3/5s. They are dear old friends, but alas, there is a new sheriff coming to town. I had first thought to keep them, and add nice REL B3 sub for some weight and bottom. But getting a sub to integrate with monitors is hell. There is no substitute for full range or near full range speakers. When I heard the C7's, it was no longer about bass... it was about dimensionality. It was frightening. It was like dusting off old photographs.
            I bought a pair of C7's and while I was initially satisfied with the level of bass, I ended up purchasing a REL B-3 and I am very happy with that decision. It added exactly what you describe weight and bottom and integrating the sub was not all that complicated when you followed their instructions. If your budget allows, I would suggest you give one a try after a few months of familiarizing yourself with the C7s

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            • #21
              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              What's changed during these past 20 years since I've been running Harbeth is not me, or our products or our values and beliefs, it's the world. Are we now observing the end of the throw away culture? Is the consumer (as I have been) sick and tired of a culture that promotes - yes actively promotes - the voracious consumption of natural resources for consumer products that end up in land-fill just months later? With oil at a record $130 a barrel, and oil being the raw material for all plastics, looks like snap-together-chuck-away consumerism is unsustainable. Real value is and always has been what the discriminating consumer will invest in.

              Hi-fi speakers should last 20+ years. Ours do. The best audio investment that you will ever make.
              I wish it were so Alan, but if we are making any progress to less throw-away products that progress is moving at a snail's pace at best. I commend you for being one those few manufacturers out there who chose do things differently.
              Last edited by george_k; 03-05-2011, 06:30 PM. Reason: spelling

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              • #22
                I have the same combination (C7 and REL B3). I'm also very happy with the end result. If set up properly, the sub disappears, and the result is more more music weight and harmonics at the bottom end. I primarily listen to classical and jazz, so it is important to have a high quality sub that is quick, musical and not boomy. I started out with a REL T-2, which was acceptable, but I was generally aware of the subs presence. The B3 is more seamless and really does disappear. I have not heard the combination, but I have been told that M30 and B3 is another good combination.
                BTW, the cherry finish of my REL is a very close match to the Harbeth's.

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                • #23
                  A long-standing SHL5 customer writes ....

                  Well, as we enter the last few days of 2011, what's better than to receive a letter out of the blue from a satisfied customer. The very least I could do was to call him and reciprocate the greetings and ask him if we could reproduce his letter here. He agreed, so we have redacted the names of two audio industry luminaries to avoid embarrassment.

                  It is truly heart warming (but of course, not unusual) to receive such kind compliments seven years after the customer bought his Harbeth speakers. What I didn't appreciate until now was just how serious a listener he is. And with that sensitivity to music we are most flattered. Thank you for ending 2011 on such a high note.

                  >>
                  Attached Files
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Quad 303/405 still in use

                    Originally posted by Kumar Kane View Post
                    That reminds me of the Quad 909! No longer state of the art perhaps, and a small, solid and heavy block of metal with no buttons except the on/off on the rear. Indeed, if it were not for the heat it throws off, the best place for it is somewhere it can't be seen. But it is robust, reliable, focuses on the midrange, and puts out as much power as I will ever need at home. I am very sure it will love a Harbeth pair and vice versa. Both appear to just be means to an end, not an end in itself.
                    End of promo plug! And I have no connection with the company, of any kind.
                    . Ah, Quad. I have two of their power amps. A 303 that drives my Harbeth P3s at home and a 405 which is used in my PA system, driving JBL Control 5s. Two different amps. in two completely different systems, but performing well in their particular niche.

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