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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

The Harbeth User Group is the primary channel for public communication with Harbeth's HQ. If you have a 'scientific mind' and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - audio equipment decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and should be accessible to non-experts and able to be tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge. From a design perspective, today's award winning Harbeths could not have been designed any other way.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If you are quite set in your subjectivity, then HUG is likely to be a bit too fact based for you, as many of the contributors have maximised their pleasure in home music reproduction by allowing their head to rule their heart. 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 only, although HUG is really not the best place to have these sort of purely subjective airings.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters and Harbeth does not necessarily agree with the contents of any member contributions, especially in the Subjective Soundings area, and has no control over external content.

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{Updated Oct. 2017}
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WOW from Montreal!

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  • WOW from Montreal!

    Dear Mr Shaw.

    Audiophile and music lover, I have more than 30 years of experience in hi fi. Over the years I had the opportunity to be exposed to speakers ranging from 200.00$ to 20,000.00$ CDN and more. Recently I was asked to test the SHL5 for a Quebec?s Hi Fi magazine. WOW! They sounded gorgeous and to my own surprise, my Sugden A21SE was more than enough to drive them! To my ears they are so natural and engaging. I must admit it?s been a long time since I?ve experienced such pleasure listening to music. So much that I am now considering buying a pair.

    Thanks for your knowledge in speakers design.

    Michel Dallaire

  • #2
    Re: WOW from Montreal!

    Originally posted by MDALL View Post
    Dear Mr Shaw.

    Audiophile and music lover, I have more than 30 years of experience in hi fi. Over the years I had the opportunity to be exposed to speakers ranging from 200.00$ to 20,000.00$ CDN and more. Recently I was asked to test the SHL5 for a Quebec’s Hi Fi magazine. WOW! They sounded gorgeous and to my own surprise, my Sugden A21SE was more than enough to drive them! To my ears they are so natural and engaging. I must admit it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced such pleasure listening to music. So much that I am now considering buying a pair.

    Thanks for your knowledge in speakers design.

    Michel Dallaire

    No surprise there. Even speakers costing up to 10 times more may not sound more natural & satisfying than the SHL-5. I guess the only speaker that can really beat it would be the new M40.1.

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    • #3
      Re: WOW from Montreal!

      Well folks it's done.

      I just received my brand new pair of SHL5 with Skylan's stands. Actually they're burnning-in and in the highs they sounds a little bit shut in. How much time do they needs to sounds at their best?


      [

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      • #4
        Re: WOW from Montreal!

        Originally posted by MDALL View Post
        Well folks it's done.

        I just received my brand new pair of SHL5 with Skylan's stands. Actually they're burnning-in and in the highs they sounds a little bit shut in. How much time do they needs to sounds at their best?


        [
        Nice pair of SHL-5 there. I believe your Skylan stands are heavily mass loaded & that could explain why the highs sound a little bit shut in. IMHO, i find Harbeth speakers work better with light (unfilled) but sturdy (spiked) open frame metal stands.

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        • #5
          Re: WOW from Montreal!

          Originally posted by Gan CK View Post
          Nice pair of SHL-5 there. I believe your Skylan stands are heavily mass loaded & that could explain why the highs sound a little bit shut in. IMHO, i find Harbeth speakers work better with light (unfilled) but sturdy (spiked) open frame metal stands.
          Are you really sure of that effect Gan CK? Because my first listening of the SHL5 was on a Skylan' stand and the sound was really open in the highs. So Imust admit that the four pillars was not completely sand filled. Anyway I let them burning-in and I'll see what's happen.

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          • #6
            Re: WOW from Montreal!

            Originally posted by MDALL View Post
            Are you really sure of that effect Gan CK? Because my first listening of the SHL5 was on a Skylan' stand and the sound was really open in the highs. So Imust admit that the four pillars was not completely sand filled. Anyway I let them burning-in and I'll see what's happen.
            Well i was merely sharing with you based on my personal experience. I tried a couple of stands on my SHL-5 & i certainly preferred them on light, unfilled open frame metal stands over to those of the very heavy variety. I guess it also boils down to personal preference. Heavily filled stands do make the overall sound more solid (imaging) & substantial (bass) but takes the natural bounce, expression & air away from the music. It made music sounded a tad sucked in. I didn't like the effect of it. But i must say that i have not heard Skylan stands on SHL-5. So far, i've only heard Sound Anchor stands on SHL-5. Did you listen to familiar CDs when you first auditioned the SHL-5 with Skylan stands? Room acoustics & associated equipment do make alot of difference as well.

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            • #7
              Re: WOW from Montreal!

              Hi Gan.

              You must excuse my written english because I am a french canadien and not used to write in this language.

              Like I said, my first listening was on Skylan Stands at my house, with hi fi equipment and with my own CD's collection. At that time the sound was gorgeous in the mid, tranparent and lucid in the highs and with very good bass. Those units tested were demos from a Montreal's dealer and fully broken in.

              So my brand new SHL5 sounds a little bit shut in from the cold start and I think it's normal. My dealer had Sound Anchor and Skykan Stands in stock but for the Super HL5, he seems to prefer the Skylan. I have not yet tested the Sound Anchor but I found the Skylan very well constructed. The top and bottom's plates are made from thick MDF and the pillars are from a polymer extrusion. I filled the pillars entirely with silicium for sandblasting machine and there is absolutely no ringing. For my hardwood floor, I don't use the spikes but the the flat threaded foots included in the package. I need to know how much time do the SHL5 takes to get fully broken in before changing anything.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: WOW from Montreal!

                Hi MDALL,

                I would suggest you read this message (FAQ) from Alan Shaw.

                http://harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=373

                Harbeth speakers do not require breaking in. You haven't mentioned how you are attempting to do this but if it's other than by music played at reasonable levels, please note the caution about break in CD's.

                There has been some discussion about how full to fill your Skylan stands with some recommending you only fill them 2/3 full. Mine are filled to the brim and my SHL5's sound wonderful.

                Hope you are able to sort things out soon. Why not give your dealer a call, I'm sure they would be happy to help you get the most from your purchase.

                Don Leman
                West Coast Audio

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: WOW from Montreal!

                  Thanks Don for your reply.

                  My Skylan are filled to the brim to and I think that's the way to go. I like them a lot because they are efficient. Actually the sound is getting better every day and I have to experiment with speaker's cables to. My dealer loaned me a pair of Acoustic Zen for a week and it seems to work better than my Van Den Hull CS-122. Stay tune for more results.

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                  • #10
                    Re: WOW from Montreal!

                    [QUOTE=MDALL;3528]
                    Actually the sound is getting better every day and I have to experiment with speaker's cables to. QUOTE]

                    Like Alan's point, probably the burning in is working betwin my brain and my ears. With time I realise that these speakers are not "spectacular", they just show me the meaning of correctness and musicality.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: WOW from Montreal!

                      Hello Harbeth fans.

                      Well. I finally joined the Harbeth Owners Club. I have built my sound system on a very small budget, with the bulk of the money going towards a pair of second hand HL5's which are in very good condition. I am using a Yamaha CRSM 170 CD player with combined DAB tuner (?99) and a Separo K88 valve amplifier (?295). The Chinese amp is beautifully and carefully built, is very heavy (13Kg) and has a very good technical specification, but is only rated at 10w per channel. It has a relatively simple circuit design with good qualiy discrete components and no integrated circuits or PCB's. The amp will continue to drive the speakers for a full 15 seconds after power is switched off, suggesting large capacitors and chokes. I have no idea if these characteristics are inherently A Good Thing, but my ears tell me that it is.

                      I have to say I am absolutely delighted and amazed at the result. The amp and speakers are easily capable of filling a large room with clear, stress-free sound at only half-throttle, and the clarity, purity, accuracy, depth, invisibility and sheer musicality of the speakers are such that I cannot imagine anything could be better. I would guess that the speakers are at least 15 years old, but are in perfect condition. I would be very interested to hear a pair of new SHL5's in comparison, as I can't conceive of where the imrpovement would be - but then I am a complete newcomer to hi-fi, although I know what I like and can appreciate what makes a great system and understand the philosophy behind the search for perfection.

                      I have shown the system to friends and family and all are simply blown away by the pure, clear and stress-free sound that it produces. The room is simply filled with sound, and it seems to make little difference where one is in the room in terms of thr reality of the sound stage. Even in the hall outside, the music can be clearly heard with little loss of clarity. A normal system is reduced to a muted thump as soon as one leaves the room. The other strange thing is that in the room, filled as it is by the all-enveloping sound, one can hold a normal conversation without having to 'fight against the noise'. This is truly extraordinary. The CD player and amp are (or should be) essentially passive components, reading and magnifying the signals from the CD, and it is the job of the speakers to convincingly convert electrical signals into the audible compression waves that reach your ears, and given the age of the speakers, this is a fine testament to the integrity and quality of the original design and construction.

                      There are very, very few second-hand Harbeths for sale - it would seem once an owner has a pair they become 'speakers for life' and I can understand why. I, like many others before me, am re-discovering my own CD collection and looking for new recordings to enjoy.Does anyone else use such a low-powered amplifier, and does anyone have a par of original HL5's?

                      Regards and good listening,
                      John

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: WOW from Montreal!

                        Originally posted by johng View Post
                        Hello Harbeth fans. Well. I finally joined the Harbeth Owners Club.... I have to say I am absolutely delighted and amazed at the result. The amp and speakers are easily capable of filling a large room with clear, stress-free sound at only half-throttle, and the clarity, purity, accuracy, depth, invisibility and sheer musicality of the speakers are such that I cannot imagine anything could be better. I would guess that the speakers are at least 15 years old, but are in perfect condition. ... I know what I like and can appreciate what makes a great system and understand the philosophy behind the search for perfection.... There are very, very few second-hand Harbeths for sale - it would seem once an owner has a pair they become 'speakers for life' and I can understand why. I, like many others before me, am re-discovering my own CD collection and looking for new recordings to enjoy.
                        Hi John, i had the original HL-5s & they were indeed very good in its time. Smooth, sophisticated, musical, has very good tone & timbre perspectives & with the ability to create a large & natural soundfield when appropriately driven & supported. In direct comparison, SHL-5 is more transparent/detailed, has sweeter highs, faster & more involving while preserving the strengths of the old HL-5s. If you must nitpick, then i'd say that the SHL-5 is just a tad less weighty & 'thick' than the old HL-5s & this is probably because its more transparent.

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                        • #13
                          Re: WOW from Montreal!

                          Originally posted by johng View Post
                          I
                          Does anyone else use such a low-powered amplifier, and does anyone have a par of original HL5's?

                          Regards and good listening,
                          John
                          Hi John

                          I have paired my Cary 300 SEI with the more contemporary SHL5 and was very surprised that such a low powered integrated could drive and control the Harbeths so well! The Cary 300SEI is rated at between 8 to 15 watts but feels like a much more powerful amplifier. I reckon its because of the Class A operation that accounts for its power handling. So, I am not at all surprised with your observations regarding your low powered tube amplifier. I think there are other Harbeth owners who have enjoyed the magic of low powered tubes with the SHL5.

                          Best regards
                          Dennis

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