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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Viscoelastic damping material -cabinet walls- -what is your composition?

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  • Viscoelastic damping material -cabinet walls- -what is your composition?

    Hi, my Harbeth speakers give off an unpleasant smell going out from the bass reflex port, above all when they are working.
    I think that this is due to viscoelastic damping material of walls cabinet.

    Is toxic the material?.
    Can it give health problems?
    What is your composition?

    In my case, is a unbearable, my friends feel it also.

    Otherwise i am very happy with my speakers, the sound is fantastic.


  • #2
    What does your dealer say?

    In private emails with us we recommended that you discuss this with your dealer.

    Please tell us what your dealer said about this matter.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK


    • #3
      O.K., but i dont believe that the distributor know what is the composition, .....the manufacturer, yes.

      Ive been several months with this smell, unbearable; and not is burned smell.

      This is the first time that this happens to me.

      Anybody can explain me what is this due to?- Or anybody have had this problem?


      {Moderaters comment: We have used the same rubber/foam materials for over thirty years without one single comment like yours. So, you *must* discuss this with your dealer. They are responsible for happy customer relations.}


      • #4
        Glues and foam

        I've just received my SHL5 and I also notice a strange smell from the port of one of the speakers. It has a chemical rubbery smell to it. Strange it's only coming from one of the speakers. I'm going to guess that it will dissipate over time, at least I hope so. It's not so strong that one smells it in the room only if one is up close to the speaker. I'm going to postulate that in the manufacturing process a bit more of some substance (adhesive is my best guess) was used than maybe is called for. And that once the speaker is built and bagged and boxed the out gassing has no where to go so it just percolates. If this is the case then over time it should dissipate. I'm guessing that is what happened with the OP since he hasn't commented since October.

        {Moderator's comment: this was reported but either we are immune to the smell and/or some customers are extremely sensitive to it. It should dry out. It is because the very best damping is using glues that never completely cure as they are "lossy". At this time of year, the drying-out will take longer. The cabinets are paired and even though you may not detect it in one, the glues and construction are certainly common. Also, the thick sponge foam tends to hold constructional vapours. We will look at this again but the glues are basically PVA, in inert wood glue used as a main ingredient in chewing gum.}


        • #5
          Thanks, yes that's also what I think that over time the "vapors" as you call it will dissipate. I'll report back when they do.


          • #6

            I reported the same problem on another thread on the HUG. Now, the smell from my SHL5 is very rare. It's only there when listening at medium to high volume.


            {Moderator's comment: that will be the high velocity air motion through the port.}