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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

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Which one is the easier load : SHL5 or C7?

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  • Which one is the easier load : SHL5 or C7?

    I have sold my very first pair of Harbeth to a good friend of mines. There are C7ES1 I guess (they should be from 1999 or so). I only changed for buying a pair of SHL5 which are now at home for a little bit less than one year.

    Since that time, we have made a listening session with my friend and believe it or not, IMO, my Croft (25R/7R) did not sound the same with his speakers. They drive easily with details and pace my SHL5 and did not sound comfortable with the C7.

    Any reason you can see or is this only another audiophile fantasy?

  • #2
    No driving issues....

    The vast majority of my listening to SHL5's has been using a Croft 25 and Series 7 and there are no driving issues at all, whether vinyl or digital sources. The 25R preamp should improve things a little further in terms of suspension of disbelief.

    Make sure you're using good quality but non-foo speaker cables. Try fine tuning the position from the rear wall, since the SHL5 has a bit more "welly" in the bass and greater bass extension - get it wrong and the lovely mid gets hidden I found. What sources do you use?

    Alan has insisted that all his speakers have pretty easy loads and from my personal experience of owning and selling older models as well as trying all sorts of unlikely amps, valve and solid state, with the new ones :)

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    • #3
      Silimar easy load

      As David implies, the electrical load of the M30/C7/SHL5 are very similar indeed. I doubt that I could identify them if I was presented with the impedance curves, unmarked.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        Cable issues?

        Thanks for your input.

        it might be a matter of speaker cables. On my side, BJCables (Belden 5000UP in fact; 10AWG full cooper, a very deceptive look, I must say ), on his, some kind of Synergistic Research cable (I do not know anything more about them).

        Anyway, I do like what I hear from my speakers and after all it is all that really matters.

        {Moderator's comment: be very suspicious about fancy speaker cables. The *only* cables we use ourselves at Harbeth are simple electrical flex equivalent to QED 79 strand - ask your dealer for advice.}

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        • #5
          Croft amps and SHL5

          I regularly use the Croft range of amps with all the Harbeth speakers and have no driving issues at all.

          Glenn Croft has always used two speakers in my memory - Harbeth SHL5 and stacked Quad ESL 57. If his amps drive the ESL's they are perfectly able to drive the benign Harbeth range.

          I would suggest your friend's speaker cable is responsible for the discomfort.

          {Moderator's comment: Noted, thanks. Is it at all possible that the tweeter diaphragms have even the slightest crease on them? Little fingers?}

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          • #6
            Speaker cables and 'unobtanium' - caution

            Originally posted by dgolh View Post
            Thanks for your input.

            it might be a matter of speaker cables. On my side, BJCables (Belden 5000UP in fact; 10AWG full cooper, a very deceptive look, I must say ), on his, some kind of Synergistic Research cable (I do not know anything more about them).

            Anyway, I do like what I hear from my speakers and after all it is all that really matters.

            {Moderator's comment: be very suspicious about fancy speaker cables. The *only* cables we use ourselves at Harbeth are simple electrical flex equivalent to QED 79 strand - ask your dealer for advice.}
            For my sins, I design amongst other things audio cables. The advice given by the mods is largely correct. Most "fancy" speaker cables have pretty shocking capacitance values by design (mostly), and irrespective of their gauge or whether they use "unobtanium" in their construction, capacitance and amplifier output stages do not go well together. Excessive capacitance can cause ringing in the output stages and increase distortion which will most clearly be heard in the upper mid and treble frequencies. This can result in a notable loss of detail or coherence. My advice would be to use low impedance cable which exhibits low capacitance. A measure of controlled inductance is usually less troublesome and unless you are running cables of 20m or more is unlikely to result in much treble roll off.

            As 2mm diameter copper is not that much more expensive than thinner sections, but benefits from lower characteristic impedance, I'd advise using a reasonable quality 2mm diameter cable, preferably a side by side type geometry rather than a twisted pair geometry. Decent cable can be had for four or five pounds per metre, anything more is (IMHO) wasting money. Money would be wiser spent on room acoustic treatment.

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