"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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Pre-owned Harbeths

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  • Pre-owned Harbeths

    Dear Alan

    I have been planning to put together a hi-fi music for many years (things like children and house renovations got in the way...) but I have finally got around to it. I had no real idea what speakers to go for, other than being aware that good speakers were to be a central requirement, and was initially planning to build a pair from one of the high-quality kits available. Then I found a pair for sale called 'Harbeth'. A little research revealed not only the universally reported exceptional qualities of the speaker but the dedication and single-mindedness of the man behind them. I now own a pair of HL5's, which appear to be in very good condition, apart from the back panel having been drilled for mounting bolts. The back nuts and washers were still rattling around inside the speakers, which gave me an excuse to remove the panels.

    As soon as I saw the brass screw cups set into the panel I knew they had been built with integrity and care. The insides are in perfect condition, and I re-attached some sections of loose foam wadding. I closed the bolt holes with tight-fitting plastic grommets and polished the cabinets. I am waiting for delivery of my amp, which is a low-powered valve amp. I am seeking clear, fatigue-free listening at moderately low levels. I really appreciate the valuable resource of good, solid, engineering-based advice available on this site. There is complete dedication to the excellence of the product and a complete absence of 'audiophile flannel', and from reading Alan's numerous posts I feel that the whole subject has been very much de-mystified for me - thank you to Harbeth for that.

    I would like to trace the history of my speakers (Black Ash, 5467B and 5470B). I seem to have two right-hand speakers albeit quite close together in manufacture, which is a bit of a mystery and I am hoping Harbeth can shed some light on this. I wonder where the 5647A and 5470A speakers are? Or am I mis-reading the serial numbers? Could you also tell me the date of manufacture, and type of cone material?

    I am also hoping to replace the foam grills, which are rather misshapen from incorrect storage I would guess.I have no doubt that I will eventually progress onto a new pair, but will report on my experiences when I have my system working.

    Many thanks Alan
    John Cooper