"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, since deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to create the audible sonic personality that you hear. This includes the contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be 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 potentially 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 amongst a plethora of available product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, such as the relationship between recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to get deeply into discussing the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised 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.

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.

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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Shl5+ suitable for my room?

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  • Shl5+ suitable for my room?

    Hello HUG members,

    I just registered in HUG as I am very interested in buying the Harbeth SHL5+. I wonder if the speakers fit my listening area:

    The overall size of my living room is 20 feet x 10 feet. However I could only use half of it to be the listening area. The speakers would be placed along the long side of the room. The left speaker would be about 2 feet from the left wall, The distance between the speakers is about 6 feet. And back of speakers have to be close to the wall (~12 inch), while the distance between the speakers and me would be about 8 feet.

    Or would the speakers be "too much" for me?

    Thank you for reading!

  • #2
    Should be OK

    The SHL5+ should be OK in that room but whether they would be "too much" is down to your taste. Sonically they should perform well but they might 'look' a bit large depending on how important the system is to you.

    Any chance of borrowing a pair from your local Harbeth stockist to check out their suitability ?


    • #3
      Size - fine

      Thanks Dave,

      Great that your comment is they should perform well sonically. For the 'look' yes but I am fine with the size. Just wish to get the music quality right.

      I am in hong kong and borrowing from a local stocklist could rarely arranged. So it is a bit difficult for me to decide by just trying the performance of the speakers at the shop.


      • #4
        Long-side placement?

        Your room is about 18 sqm. I agree with Dave that the SHL5+ should perform well in that area even though I use mine in a 30 sqm room. Placing them along the long side of the room and sitting close to the speakers is not a problem at all because the SHL5+ sound great in the near field as its drivers are perfectly integrated. Only your taste can decide whether they will look too imposing in your room or not, however you could also consider the M30.1.


        • #5

          Thanks Milosz for your suggestion. How do you compare shl5+ with M30.1? I wonder if the shop have M30.1 for me to try. But I read from the comments that shl5+ is superior than M30.1?


          • #6
            Small rooms

            The quality is of course the same (they are both recent designs). The only difference is that the SHL5+ is bigger and can produce a deeper bass and handle more dynamics. In itself, that is nice, but there is one potential disadvantage apart from size and price.

            Produce too much bass in a room that is too small for it, and you get a boomy sound because of room modes (I strongly dislike them). Your room is pretty small of course, so if you cannot get a home demo, try comparing them in the dealer's smallest demo room.


            • #7
              Personal taste

              Originally posted by tonileung View Post
              Thanks Milosz for your suggestion. How do you compare shl5+ with M30.1? I wonder if the shop have M30.1 for me to try. But I read from the comments that shl5+ is superior than M30.1?
              I haven't compared the SHL5+ and M30.1 side by side in the same room but whenever I had a chance to listen to the M30.1 I liked the sound very much. While in a bigger room the SHL5+ would probably be preferred, in a smaller room they both deserve to be given a chance.

              What I've learnt from my experience with Harbeth is that there are no superior or inferior models and which one is preferred wholly depends on personal taste and specific room conditions.


              • #8
                Eventually I got a chance to listen to M30.1 in the shop. Yes it is different from the SHL5+, but is having the same Harbeth "magic". And I agree much that SHL5+ would be preferred for a bigger room. But I am still thinking... difficult to decide...

                The M30.1 I listened to was a 35th anniversary edition. Does that means there is a non-35th edition of M30.1? If so, would the price be different?


                • #9
                  It would be interesting to hear what you observed different between 30.1 and SHL5+. Best, d.


                  • #10
                    Sorry that probably my English won't be good enough to describe my listening experience... anyway...

                    SHL5+: fuller and stunning midrange and bass, relatively laid-back, more 'weight', very musical, very involving

                    M30.1: magical midrange, less bass, relatively forward sounding, more airy, feels like the music could 'breathe' a little more and fill into every corner of the demo room

                    The demo room was around 10 feet wide and 15 feet deep by rough estimation.

                    For my actual room dimensions with 10 feet deep, I think M30.1 maybe a little bit more 'easy'...