"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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Where did you first hear a pair of Harbeth speakers?

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  • Where did you first hear a pair of Harbeth speakers?

    Hopefully that's the main options covered, if it was 'other' then please specify.

    at a dealers
    at a show
    at a friends
    at home after they were delivered

  • #2
    Me is other. I heard it at seller (owner who want to sell his P3) house.
    "Bath with Music"


    • #3
      I voted 'at a dealer's' because I am a dealer and I first heard them here.

      I knew of Harbeth, of course, but I was on the search for speakers that weren't in-yer-face like most are nowadays. So, I contacted Harbeth to hear a loan pair only to be informed that they didn't have such a thing and that my best bet was to buy a pair !!! This I did and got in a pair of 7ES-3 a few weeks later. I eagerly plugged them into a modest system and sat down to audition them and that's where my love affair started. Within ten minutes I was on the phone ordering the rest of the range and that's my story.


      • #4
        I've recently bought a pair of Super HL5's from hifi_dave having never heard any Harbeths before. They are superb speakers.
        Also, although I have never met hifi_dave I would say he's a gentleman to do business with, many thanks Dave.



        • #5
          I voted other. I have not heard any Harbeths at a dealers, but I have had M30 and C7 to test at home. Planning to try SHTL5 too. Plus a couple of pairs of another brand.


          • #6
            I first heard Harbeth speakers at CES in the new distributor's room, Walter Swanbon . I was a Naim dealer and Chris Koster, the Naim distributor in the US, at that time, recommended both Harbeth and Walter to me. It's the best decision I've made and I owe a lot of my success to both Walter, who was willing to take a chance on me and to Chris, who was selflessly helping me expand my line. I speakers I heard at the time were M30's.


            • #7
              I heard my first Harbeths at a dealer's store but it was only for 5 minutes or so, by most standards of logic not really enough to form a firm opinion.

              However, I believe buying hifi is an emotional decision that sometimes defies logic, so quite naturally I ordered the PESRs immediately.


              • #8
                My first exposure to Harbeths goes back.. many.. many years to the old HL1mk3 that a friend of mine had that he had paired with some beautiful old Luxman stuff at the time.. it was sublime to say the least. I don't think I ever forgot that system. Flash forward many years, and now I have M30's in the main rig, and P3ESR's in the vinyl room.. delightful.


                • #9
                  I first heard Harbeth at Heathrow HiFi shows 20+ years ago. Alan Shaw was typically demonstrating the speakers alone, often to a very small audience - presumably because the Harbeths were not so 'impressive' as some other speakers. I liked their BBC sound but thought the HL5 and Compact as basically the same as the Spendor SP1 and SP2. As we had both of the latter in the family I did not listen for an extended period, but I do remember some interesting hi-fi conversations with Alan. It was not until 5 years ago that I heard something better than the SP1, the Super HL5.