"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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Second hand Monitor 20 and cheap equipment

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  • Second hand Monitor 20 and cheap equipment

    Two months ago i buyed second hand monitor 20 speakers, i am very happy with them from first day. In fact each day i am happier. Before this i had another good speakers but they sounded more laidback and less real, it was more like if the musicians were playing in another room. Just after getting the other speakers (second hand) i knew there was a problem with the jazz drums, and in just 2 minutes after listening at home the monitor 20 i saw the difference, now it was correct, more like listening live music.

    I usually hear real instruments playing live, well, each day, and the sound of this speakers is very similar, very real, in fact i was not into listening singers and i find my self now enjoying singers cause they sound really very good. I listen classic and modern jazz, from Miles Davis to Ralph Alessi, Monk to vijay iyer, Bird to Steve lehman, Coltrane to Coltrane ( Ravi ). And now with Harbeth i must add from Sarah/Ella/Billie to Diana Krall (first cd's, when she did good music...).

    I use them with a cheap equipment:

    - Imac computer
    - Very Cheap usb DAC.
    - NAD 320 BEE amplifier (50 W ?), i dont need more watts, it sounds more than i need.
    - cheap cables.
    and listen near them, 1,5 metres.

    I just can not figure out how the other models with radial2 can sound, but i prefer not going to the shop to try them, because they cost lot of money ( remember i bought monitor 20 second hand, may be 50% of the real price ), may be i find myself buying them, and i dont want to have a lot of speakers cause what i like is music. I think i will not change source or amplifier or cables without really trying them in my room with my speakers and see if the price difference with mine really worth the money, and i see a really good improvement, but i must admit i am curious about listening compact ES 3, monitor 30, and HL 5 speakers.

  • #2
    Re: second hand monitor 20 and cheap equipment

    I'm sure one of our dealers would welcome you to his store. If you explain that at this moment you are just browsing then he will respect that and give you as much time and attention as possible.

    Glad that you've assembled an 'affordable high-end' system that works for you.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK


    • #3
      Re: second hand monitor 20 and cheap equipment

      Thank you for your answer, eventually, in some months or some years, i will go to the Harbeth dealer to hear another speakers. I will make sure they are not very busy the day i go, and tell them my situation, i have monitor 20 and want to listen other models to compare it to them.
      I am sure they wil have a bigger and by far better room to listen music than i have at home, so i am not sure how to listen in the shop to hear them " more or less" like they will sound at home, may be nearfield? even if they have a big room.

      I have a room 3 metres x 5 metres, i have them in the long wall, so they are 1,5 metres from me.
      Can i try the Compact model thinking about this room? i read the forum a lot and i think there is information telling Compact model can be used in a small room, and may be SHL5 is too much.

      thank you


      • #4
        Re: second hand monitor 20 and cheap equipment

        My room is almost the same as you, abt 3.6m x 5.5m. I do placed my SHL5 and Compact 7 in the long wall. Both of them sound amazingly good with compromise: my seat is against wall behind me give some mid bass boom in some recordings.
        "Bath with Music"


        • #5
          90% of demonstrations lead nowhere ...

          Originally posted by kerouack View Post
          ...eventually, in some months or some years, i will go to the Harbeth dealer to hear another speakers. I will make sure they are not very busy the day i go, and tell them my situation, i have monitor 20 and want to listen other models to compare...
          If you approch the dealer and are honest about your situation, he will welcome you I'm sure.

          Did you know that having discussed this with dealers over the past months (see my other thread) that 90% of demonstrations of high-end audio equipment do not lead to a sale? The problem the dealer has is identifying the genuine would-be purchaser who deserves full attention from the casual browser. If the casual browser is up-front open and honest, he immediately wins the dealers respect as the dealer does not waste effort trying to define how serious the visitor is. It must be incredibly frustrating. Remember: we, the serious 10% are having to pay the rent, rates, light, heat, wages, salaries, insurance, taxes to entertain the frivolous 90%. Hence, dealers need to make a margin!

          One reason internet sales are cheaper is that the seller is 100% confident that the buyer is serious. Those that do contact him are ready to buy. Hence he does not have to entertain the casual browser. So, if we could all operate on lower margins if we could concentrate on the real customers.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK


          • #6
            Re: Second hand Monitor 20 and cheap equipment

            Hello, i completely understand your point. I dont know much about HI FI shops and sales, but i know about musical instruments shops and sales.

            In last 10 years there are a lot of internet music shop who sell cheaper than traditional shops, but you can not try the instrument before you buy it, and when you buy a 3.000 or 4.000 euros musical instrument that's important. Of course is not fear going to try the instrument to the shop in your city, and then buy it in a internet shop to save some money. If you use the shop to try the instrument you should buy it there.

            With musical instruments this is different because some traditiotal shops, don't have much musical instrument in stock, that's why you get nothing extra buying from them, cause a lot of times you can not try the instrument there, and that why people say, " if i can not try it, and need to buy it without try it, why not buying it cheaper in internet?". I understand this is simply not true with hi fi sales, cause the shops always have stock, and you can try before you buy, thats very good. But it works more like car dealers, one shop is dealer of one brand, other shop has another brand, so same way people go to different dealers before buying a car, and finally they will only buy one car from one dealer, after visiting 7 of them, with hi fi can happen more or less the same.

            I agree that there are people who make the dealers work a lot, in fact too much, and they know they will buy nothing, and that's not good. But it is true too hi fi world is difficult business, with cars i will only go to buy another car if i have a problem with my actual car (so i will really will buy a new car), but with hi fi i can go to other dealers to see if i like other speakers more than my Harbeths, but may be i will not buy that speakers that i try in brand X dealer. So hi fi world make more business cause people change speaker having a good pair of ones in good condition only cause they like more others, BUT that make work a lot the dealers cause they need to show the speaker and a lot of persons will not buy, cause they don't need speakers, they just go to see if they want to change speakers.

            But we can think what happens it people don't go to try speakers having a good pair of speakers, people would buy speakers only once in 20 years, so sales would not be a lot, so this is other option but it is not good for sales. I think it is even more complicated cause now 9 people go to see knowing they will not buy, that's true, and only 1 person go to buy something, but, if there is another situation where only 1 person go to the shop, the dealer will have more free time but he will still have only one sale to pay salaries, insurance, taxes, rent, etc... may be having only that 1 person the dealer can make better service and make a little more sales but may be the basic problem it is not having time to attend real buyers, the main problem it is not having a lot of real buyers? i don't know really.

            For me, knowing about computers and musical instruments but been really new in hi fi world, i think one of the problems of the hifi world/magazines/shops/dealers it is that they try to make business making people hear music like 40 years ago, not making good products to hear music the way people want to listening to it today but with great quality. One person that want to listening music using a computer go to a hi fi shop and they tell him that's not hi fi, and that he NEED to buy a 3.000 euros cd player (or 400 euros stands, like they told me in a shop), so he goes out, and they lose him, not only for one sale, but for future sales. That's make hifi shops having less clients, but very good ones who spend LOT of money each year, other option could be having a lot more clients, but people who buy less and cheaper. In short term first option could be better, but in long term having less clients (even if they are very good ones)make the business go small, and small... and small......

            Furthermore now people like TV's, they spend 1.300 euros in a TV without thinking about it, but spending more than 300 euros in a system to listen to music is something they don't even think about.