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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Large Harbeth for small room?

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  • Large Harbeth for small room?

    Firstly Happy Easter everyone!

    Ok lets get straight to the point, got the chance to pick up a good deal on a below speakers (all second hand):

    Compact 7 ES2
    M40 (not the 40.1)

    Music taste are strickly Reggae, RNB, Soul, Female vocal. No classical, Jazz what so ever.

    I have a dedicated listening room which is not the best size (14ft x 14ft x 9ft high).

    Will keep my current amps which are the Musical Fidelity KW550.

    Want to get more life like / meat on bones sound without having to crank it up and disturb the house hold and neighbours. Still would like the bass, thus why I'm looking at the larger speaker models (larger drivers).

    What speaker would best suit this room and my music taste (unable to audition before hand).

    Thanks all


  • #2
    Suggestions please...

    Hi all,

    Any assistance with the above would be appreciated.



    • #3
      C7ES£ works well in small room

      Compact 7ES3 works wonderfully in my 12x12x9 room. We are told it was designed in a very small room. C7ES2 being the same size should work equally well. Perhaps Alan could offer confirmation of this.

      The SHL5 may be a good choice, and has reportedly worked well in rooms smaller than yours. M40 has also been used in rooms about the size of yours, but IMO might be a stretch. Ideally, you would be allowed an audition all three speakers in your room. If not, I might focus the decision on the C7ES2 and SHL5.


      • #4
        Hi Che, i'd go for SHL-5 in your room.


        • #5
          Damping and positioning are very important

          I have not heard the SHL5, but the advice for smaller rooms here seems to be - make sure you pay attention to damping and positioning. I have just done a bit of experimentation in my small room with my P3ESR, damping the corners and side reflections with soft fabrics etc. and found a substantial improvement.


          • #6
            Shl5 ....

            Thanks all,

            Keep the opinions coming.

            Im about to pull the pin on the SHL5 but its twice the price of the C7ES2 (in fact more so) than the SHL5....hoping the cost differance is worth it.... knowing me I always want to go bigger and better, just hope the SHL5 is not to big!


            {Moderator's comment: there can be no hard and fast rules about optimum speakers for a given room. Consider though that the SHL5 is very popular in the Far East and living space there is very small, probably half of normal UK apartment size.}


            • #7
              SHL5 recommendation

              Given your choices, you might justify the difference by the fact that the SHL5 is a current production model. Should you choose to sell, it should retain a larger percentage of the purchase price. Of course this is one reason why you are paying more. The other reason being the SHL5 is more expensive to begin with.


              • #8
                SHL5, I think.

                Your style of music tells me you're going to need your bass. I concur with others here by suggesting go for the SHL5.
                Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


                • #9
                  SHL5 in Hong Kong rooms ....

                  {Moderator's comment: there can be no hard and fast rules about optimum speakers for a given room. Consider though that the SHL5 is very popular in the Far East and living space there is very small, probably half of normal UK apartment size.}[/QUOTE]

                  Indeed there seems to be a sizable SHL5 community in Hong Kong as judged by comments on the local hifi forum. I am using SHL5 and my room is a few feet shorter than yours on both dimensions and I still do not find a problem (no booming) - though I wish I could place the speakers a foot or so more from the back wall; you can do that given your room size.


                  • #10
                    Big speaker, small room & grand or upright piano?

                    Would the big speaker- small speaker to room size discussion be similar to an analogy of whether to put a grand or upright piano in a smaller room? Room size is one factor, but what’s inside makes quite a difference as well. Brick walls, glassed areas, bare ceramic tiled floors will be a bigger challenge.

                    My room is slightly longer. The SHL5’s can go very loud in this room size, but without some adequate treatment the room will feel like it “can’t take any more” at high levels. Drapes, carpets, pillows strewn about, foam padded furniture will help. If it still doesn’t work ie. you like listening loud, some slightly more “heavy weight” intervention might be necessary. Sitting closer and at lower levels is just as, if not more, enjoyable. Personally find that distance to the speaker does make quite a difference, between being a spectator (outside the triangle) or being immersed in the music (inside the listening triangle).

                    Short answer is with SHL5’s if you decide to go with it is, you can’t be wrong but you’ll need to do some simple experimental room tweaks, trials, placement and sitting. More work is required if you like listening very loud.