"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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Best purchases ever

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  • Best purchases ever

    Just a shameless plug for Harbeth Compact 7's. Absolutely one of my best consumer purchases ever, and THE BEST of all the audio gear I've had come and go over the years. Harbeth's are not come and goers, they are keepers. Listening to now - Jean-Guihem Queyras, Dvorak, Cello Concerto, Harmonia Mundi. I am in audio heaven. Cheers!

  • #2
    Dear Pencey,

    I'm a Proac owner and a Harbeth owner wannabe. Very interested to hear your positive comments about the Compact 7s. Tell me something - have you ever owned a similar-sized, ported speaker with which you could compare?

    I had the Proac Studio 100 for a while. Their detail and imaging was superb but the boom from their ports ruined the sound for me. My guess after reading various posts of this (most informative) forum is that the ports of Harbeth designs simply augment the bass frequencies, without lessening the quality of bass, however it would be valuable to hear from one with first-hand experience.

    Many thanks, Ben.
    Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


    • #3
      Ben, if I may interpolate in your conversation with Pencey:
      "Tell me something - have you ever owned a similar-sized, ported speaker with which you could compare?",
      I have only limited experience of the Compact 7 (I use SHL5s) but I'd say that the Spendor SP2 is a speaker you should also hear. Same BBC heritage, very similar sound to the Compact 7. We bought my son a pair of SP2s for his 21st birthday. A qualified tonnmeister he sees no need to change them after 19 years.



      • #4
        Thank you, David, appreciate it. More saving time required, it seems!
        Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


        • #5
          The Studio 100 is crude in comparison and recessed through the mid band.


          • #6
            My best buy so far was probably the Quad 33/303. Bought used in 1987, that combo set a standard in sheer enjoyment of music that has guided all subsequent purchases. After I'd moved on to newer gear, my Mom used them until a few years ago when a channel on the 303 died. I subsequently renewed all the electrolytic capacitors (descovering in the process just how good they must have been when new) and finally sold them last year to enable the purchase of the P3ESRs.

            However other highlights in my career as a hi-fi womble were a pair of small Maggies needing repair (50), and the Rega Kyte stands that the P3ESRs are on (cost of petrol). The latter was a bit of a story, a friend and I collaborated to buy the Kytes with stands on ebay - he wanted Kytes, and I needed stands. Just before leaving to collect, the seller called very apologetically "I was getting them down from the loft, and put my thumb through the driver - I guess they're only good for the tip now". There was an easy answer: "Well I'll take them off your hands"...


            • #7
              I have a weakness for top-class bookshelf speakers so I'd say my best buys would have been the ProAc Response 1 SC back in 1995 (which I still have today), the Spendor SA1s and more recently, the P3ESRs.

              All cracking little speakers that possess special qualities which sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.


              • #8
                Linaeum bookshelf speakers with ribbon tweeters! It sounded glorious, especially with a 300B SET powering it! Unfortunately, it was stolen during an office move! How I sorely miss those speakers.
                The other 'best' buy was a mint pair of Rogers LS3/5a (15 ohm version) in teak which I still have to this day, occasionally hooked to my amplifier for some pensive nostalgia!


                • #9
                  My best is Harbeth and LFD. Just right for my music taste.
                  "Bath with Music"


                  • #10
                    My best is Harbeth and Lavardin IS. Truthfully right combination.


                    • #11
                      AR t/t and QUAD with Harbeth

                      I bought an AR XA turntable for 25. All it required was a belt, mat and some basic maintenance and lubrication. ( As a little 'extra' I did buy an AR badge for it )

                      Fitted with a Denon D110 cartridge it works superbly with my Quad 34/303 amp. & the P3ESRs.


                      • #12

                        McIntosh pre/power and Harbeth SHL5+.

                        I simply can't fault the combo in my listening room.


                        • #13
                          Accuphase / Harbeth

                          Harbeth SHL5 and Accuphase E560

                          perfect combination


                          • #14
                            Best buy in 47 years ....

                            My best buy ever after 47 years buying, sorry, changing, hifi gear, has to be my beautiful rosewood P3ESRs. Exit 'hifi' enter 'music'.

                            Perfect combination with my other best buy, the Lavardin IT-15. Musical bliss!
                            Last edited by AlanB; 11-04-2017, 09:43 PM. Reason: Oooops! Loved the 3's but they have been superceded by 5 Plus. These are going absolutely nowhere.


                            • #15
                              My best ever purchase

                              My best buy in HIFI in 45 years?

                              Definitely SHL5 plus and electronics Norma Audio: a magic combination! I also enjoyed the Monitor 30.1 but for my room the best is SHL5 plus.