HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. 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 electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon 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, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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I've booked a demo and can't wait

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  • I've booked a demo and can't wait

    After reading so much on here about the Harbeth PSESR speakers and almost pushing the button a couple of times on the telephone Ive finally booked myself a demo next week.

    I have never heard any of the Harbeth speakers before and dont really know what to expect, Ive recently upgraded my amp to a Naim Nait XS from an old Naim Nait 3 olive type which was wonderful by the way but feel that with the recent amp upgrade a new set of speakers were about due, my current ones are Jamo Classic 6 (tech specs below) and are 13 years old and long over due an upgrade. We recently re-located the listening room to a 12ft x 12ft x 7.6ft room, which the floorstanders I have now are overpowering and playing at nightime is useless as they require quite a bit of volume to get anything out of them, I have a 3 yrd old son to consider.

    For the record I have tried a few other brands as one would when spending this type of money, these being with my thoughts (Spendor A5 and A6, not that impressed to be honest, DynaAudio Excite X16, these werent too bad, but possibly a bit bright). My budget is around 1,500 but could stretch it out.

    I really dont know what to expect and sincerely hope I am not disappointed, my music varies from Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Nirvana, Blues n Jazz in general right through to classical all though I aint got a big classical collection by any stretch of the imagination.

    Sorry for rambling on but I am a bit excited to say the least, the chap is going to demo it with a Nait XS, I will put up my honest thoughts when I have heard them.

    Kindest regards


    For info Current JAMO 6 SPECS:

    - 2 way bass reflex
    - 2 x 133 mm woofer
    - 1 x 25 mm dome tweeter
    - long term power 100 W
    - short term power 140 W
    - sensitivity 90 dB (2,8 V/1 M)
    - frequency range 40 - 20 kHz
    - crossover freq 2500 Hz
    - impedance 4 Ohm

  • #2
    2 things you can reasonably expect are an ability to sound good at low volumes, and a different bass presentation (sealed box with small driver vs. ported box and two larger drivers). Can't be more specific than that as I'm only familiar with the mid-1990s HL-P3.

    BTW with small kids it's handy that the Harbeths are designed to be used with grilles on - takes away the curiosity that motivates small probing fingers.


    • #3
      Harbeth's are easy to live with! After listening to a RADIAL driver, most speakers will sound errrr thin, bright and you'll definitely notice most are lacking timbre and tonality in the bass and midrange.

      I believe in Harbeth - the warmth, transparent and natural sound! RADIAL is simply the driver to rule all speaker drivers. My precious!

      These speakers might be warm, but they are very revealing with excellent speed.


      • #4
        What I noticed was that when auditioning at the dealer....the C7's sounded just "OK" and I almost didn't take them home for an audition. Couldn't quite figure out what all the talk was about really. They were demo'd in a very large open room with a 18W tube amp. When I got them home in my smaller room, with my amp and setup the way I like...they were beyond supererb. The clarity, detail and low level definition are great. They do this thing I call "spatial presentation" that is hard to explain, it draws you into the music like no other speaker I have heard.

        I love these things, it's hard for me to figure out why everyone don't own a pair. LOL. (Yeah, I'm not biased) I have owned a lot of different speakers over the years and wish I had found these years ago! I do supplement the bottom end with a REL sub woofer. I used to read while listening to music....hard to do that now, I try, but the book gets put down pretty quickly. Best of luck to you and hope they trip your trigger like they did mine!


        • #5

          Perhaps it's time for Harbeth to have a word with some of their dealers about the equipment chosen to dem the various speakers! When I auditioned my SHL5s, I was less than impressed with the equipment used.

          See post 248.


          • #6
            Hello Stephen, Yeah, you're correct, but to the dealers defense, he was very clear and adamant that the speakers were set up in a room way too large and that my amp would sound much better. Plus he had a broken ankle and was not really able to swap equipment around. So I understood the situation. The danger would be if someone auditioning them did not understand how the speakers were designed to work.

            I'm just very glad that he convinced me to at least try them in my home. I figured they would sound better at home, but I had no idea how MUCH better! He is a good dealer offering lots of support. And I know not to put an 18 watt tube amp on them. LOL


            • #7
              Ive booked the demo with a Nait XS which is what I currently have. I have also taken the tme out to measure my room which is actually 10.5ft x 10.5ft as opposed to what I originally said, I also sit about 8ft away, but could bring the speakers closer if needbe for listening too. I have originally asked for the P3ESR model to be demo'd but do you think that I might be better going for the Compact 7 instead?

              Any help much appreciated



              • #8
                Hi Lee,

                I'm a dealer in the US for both Naim and Harbeth. The Nait XS is an excellent amp and sounds terrific with both the P3ESR and the Compact 7 ES-3. A square room may present it's own challenge with certain frequencies but those challenges would be similar regardless of the speaker you choose, at least that's MHO. I think ultimately it will depend on your listening preferences as to whether you prefer the P3 or the Compact 7.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by John Geisen View Post
                  Hi Lee,

                  I'm a dealer in the US for both Naim and Harbeth. The Nait XS is an excellent amp and sounds terrific with both the P3ESR and the Compact 7 ES-3. A square room may present it's own challenge with certain frequencies but those challenges would be similar regardless of the speaker you choose, at least that's MHO. I think ultimately it will depend on your listening preferences as to whether you prefer the P3 or the Compact 7.

                  Hi John

                  Many thanks for the response and valuable comments, I will ask the dealer if they can put both types on for me, when your about to part with nearly 2000 its best to get it right. As for my room, its something I will have to put up with unfortunately and make the most out of a bad job, which is why Harbeths sort of appeal to me




                  • #10
                    Hi Lee,

                    I think you will be very pleased with your final decision for years to come. Best wishes for very enjoyable listening.

                    John Geisen


                    • #11
                      Well I went for the demo, the guy forgot I was coming but quite quickly accommodated me non the less. We did not use a Nait XS as the shop did not sell them! but a Krell was used with a 5k CD player, all in all though the idea was to get a feel for what the speaker could and how it sounded. After a quick set up in quite a large open room, a hell of a lot bigger than mine we played my test cd through the PS3ER, the volume on the amp had to be turned up to number 75 whatever that represents on a Krell amp ?, I never go past 11 o clock on my NaitXS which is under half way. I think the volume increase is to do with the room size, there was no reflections at all, and the ceiling was very high.

                      I did like the sound of the 3R, the music played wonderful. I asked about the compact 7's which are not exactly compact when you see them in the flesh, and the size of them I felt would be too big for my room, thats physical size. The dealer said to try a pair of M30's, which would just about fit into my room but maybe just a bit too big size wise, however the M30 when we played the cd back through them are a very nice speaker, they are allot louder than the 3R ad did fill the room allot better, there seemed to be more information coming through as well.

                      So here is my dilemma, would the M30 be too big for my room, I only sit about 7 to 8 ft away and at times bring the speakers forward?
                      Was the dealers room too big for the 3R in order for me to get the right impression, making the M30 sound better in a bigger room?

                      I really like the Harbeth sound but I am a little confused.

                      Im off to the wigwam bakeoff show the weekend to listen to a guys set up with the 3R, there is also another guy there with the SHL5 model which I will give a listen too also

                      An help would be much appreciated



                      • #12
                        You'll have no problem with the M30 in your room. Alan Shaw does the final adjustment and lots of listening in his own smallish room and they are designed to work optimally in this situation as well as larger rooms.

                        My own demo room is not particularly large at approx 14 ft square in the main section and all the Harbeth range, including the wonderful M40.1, are clean and tight with no trace of boom or muddle. You are welcome to come and hear them here.


                        • #13
                          Hi Lee,

                          I'm sorry to say, IMO, your dealer needs to try just a little harder. How are you expected to make a decision regarding how a speaker will sound in your home with the conditions you have described? Perhaps you can purchase one of the speakers with the intention of trying it to see if you like it. If you do not like it, perhaps you could return it and try another. I do not know the dealers situation, or the customs in England, however if these are demo speakers it should't be too difficult to try them. I feel somewhat uncomfortable making these comments as I'm not in your dealer's shoes nor even in your country. I do know the Harbeth product line very well. While I want to believe that almost any of the Harbeth speakers will work in almost any room using almost any electronics, an in-home trial is the only way to know for sure.

                          Alan, if I've stepped out of line please let me know as I believe this one of the most valuable forums available today and I'm not interested in making enemies.



                          • #14
                            Hi Lee,
                            your room is 12x12 square room? I afraid the fuller bass of M30 will boom in your room. Best to try both harbeth at home.
                            "Bath with Music"


                            • #15
                              Hi Lee,

                              I haven't heard the P3s or the M30s, however I own a pair of Compact 7ES-3s. From my limited experience, I would find it very difficult to believe that the P3s would not be more than sufficient for a 12x12 room. Again, while I haven't heard the P3s, at 10% volume from a 60w amp I can hear the C7's clearly 35ft away. Not very loudly, but clearly. One thing I'm learning to adjust to with these speakers ( which I have not had very long ) is listening to them at lower volume levels than I have with other speakers. I do not need to turn up the volume to hear the music clearly. While it may turn out that the P3s may not go loud enough to suit some people, ( and knowing I don't really like very loud music ) I would be shocked if P3s didn't have the potential to blast me out of a 12x12 room. As far as very low bass goes, I think it's highly overrated.