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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.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

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"Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

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  • #16
    Re: Which Harbeth for me?

    David, Thanks for the reply. What was your experience comparing the HP3's with the Spendor S3/5? I have heard the 3/5's but not the HP3's and your comments would be helpful. I think you may be right on the size. When you are used to a small speaker like the LS3/5a the 7 may be too big of a change. The Monitor 30 may be the way to go but I guess I should also consider the HP3's.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Which Harbeth for me?

      I compared Spendor 3/5 and P3 when I bought P3, for me, as David said, P3 are with better bass and dynamics.

      Now I own M30, IMHO, if you look for similar sound but bigger ones, M30 are very good choice with very natural and smooth sound.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Which Harbeth for me?

        Originally posted by musicfan14
        David, Thanks for the reply. What was your experience comparing the HP3's with the Spendor S3/5? I have heard the 3/5's but not the HP3's and your comments would be helpful. I think you may be right on the size. When you are used to a small speaker like the LS3/5a the 7 may be too big of a change. The Monitor 30 may be the way to go but I guess I should also consider the HP3's.

        As I said, I listened to the two speakers side by side in my house, using the same equipment. Conventinal wisdom is that the Harbeths are more revealing, the Spendors warmer. That's correct, except that to my ears there was no contest between the two. The Harbeths were superior in every respect, and the Spendors' "warmth" seemed to me to be coloured and veiled. Others may disagree. A friend of mine who is an audio engineer with years' experience agreed with me.

        If it helps to know what equipment I used here you are: modified Thorens 125 tt, Hadcock 242Se arm, Dynavector DV20H cartridge; Rega Planet CD player; proprietary pre-amp and phono-stage (built by my audio engineer friend; Sudgen Class-A P51 power amp (about 17 watts per channel! the Harbeths are really easy to drive); 5mm welding cable on 'speakers.

        My room is pretty large: 24 x 18 x 9ft. The speakers were 18" from the back wall and about 8' from the side walls. They're on 26" granite stands. Walls and ceilings are brick/concete; floor is concrete with parquet wood flooring. I've never felt that the Harbeths do not fill the room sufficiently, even with Mahler, and they are absolutely magical with solo piano, small jazz ensembles and classical chamber music. I hear, however, that the Compact 7s are even better, with the same degree of weight, but much greater transparency. Alas, I've never heard them. I bought the Harbeths because I wanted a much smaller 'speaker than my previous Martin Logan Aerius i's for aesthetic reasons. They're much better in all respects than the Martin Logans, especially in the treble and in the quality of their bass. And of course they look better as well.

        Hope this helps.

        David

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Which Harbeth for me?

          Originally posted by David Schalkwyk
          And of course they look better as well.
          I find it interesting that most reviews say the Harbeths look plain while most Harbeth users find them good looking! I for one think my SHL5 Ebony looks gorgeous, though not a sexy young thing, they are rather like a beautiful mature woman.

          I also had a pair of Electrostats(Innersound Isis) and dumped them for the Harbeths.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

            Hi everybody.


            I'm new to this forum so I guess I'd better introduce myself briefly before firing my query.

            I'm 46 and I live in Italy. I've been quite into music since I was a teen-ager and I bought my first (and last for now) hi-fi system. (Thorens phono / Marantz 1040 amp / tempest lab 3 speakers...good grief! Am I that old????

            Well, My music tastes have somewhat changed since then and - though I don't refrain from playing some lively rock / rock-blues ever now and then - I tend to focus mostly on classical music (my interests range from Gregorian chant and early poliphony, baroque music to 18th-19th century opera via symphonies and concertos). I also like folk and jazz.

            Now, having decided to "invest" about 8000-9000 euros in a brand new system, I would very much appreciate your enlightened help.

            I have set my ... ears on the Harbeth Monitor 30, which - so far - I have listened to in combination with Meridian CD player (g07) and Meridian integrated amplifier (g51).

            The result was very good, although I really need to expand a bit on this, keeping the M30 as a fixed starting point and build the whole system around it.

            Among the few pieces of advice I have been given are:
            - integrated amplifier CHORD CPM 3300 (which I can buy at a considerable discount)
            - Naim 122 + Naim 200 and flatcap 2 (although I must confess, the quirkiness of the Naim in terms of cables, extra machines to add to the system to upgarade it etc. sort of tend to put me off a wee bit).
            - A friend of mine claims Myryad MXI2080 or MXI2150 would really do the trick for an interesting price.

            One more thing: my room is rather large: 4.80 X 7.30, but one long side opens for about 3/4 of its lengths to the kitchen (3x5) which is not separated from the living room. Are M30 maybe a bit too "small" for the room?


            Looking forward to your reply

            best regards

            ps Sorry for my far from perfect English

            luca

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

              Since you live in Italy why don't you buy the Graaf GM50 integrated amp to drive your SuperHL5 speakers? I think that you must check it...!

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                Hello. I am new to this forum. I am considering to buy a Harbeth for my second system. I auditioned three models in a dealer's room: SHL5, Monitor 30 and Compact ES2. I was prepared for one of the first two models, but to my surprise I found both of them too bloated, or muddy, or I don't know what term to use- anyway, not accurate in the bass. The only one with a clear and articulate bass, although not extended, was the Compact ES2 ( the dealer did not have the new ES3).
                The electronics used were Primare, the speaker cables Nordost. The speakers were situated at a good distance from front and lateral walls.
                Maybe the room was "guilty", although it was an ordinary, medium sized one.
                Does anybody have an explanation? Regards Jacques

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                • #23
                  Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                  Jacques, I would absolutely suspect the room as being the problem with the bass response of the SHL5s and the M30s. I have owned the SHL5s and they were very clean in the bass in my room (aproximately 21'x14'x8.5'). They were on 17" stands. On the other hand, when I listened to the M40s in the dealer's demo room (slightly larger than my room) they did not sound clean in the bass. Fortunately, he allowed me a trial in my own room, where they sound terrific throughout their range. So, see it the dealer will allow you to try the speakers for a few days in you own room. That is the only way to be absolutely sure how it will sound there. And try different locations for the speakers.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thinking of buying Harbeths ...

                    Hi folks, it?s my first post.

                    I own a pair of Spendors SP1/2R and I?m thinking to buy a pair of Harbeths, Compact7 or SHL5.
                    What are the differences that I will find between Spendors and Harbeths?

                    Best Regards.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Thinking of buying Harbeths ...

                      Here is a link to a review who compared the Monitor 30 with the Spendor 1/2.

                      http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin.../harbeth30.htm

                      While not exactly what you were after, I expect you will find his description interesting.

                      What is it about your current speakers that is prompting you to consider a change?

                      Regards
                      Don

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Thinking of buying Harbeths ...

                        Originally posted by Don Leman
                        What is it about your current speakers that is prompting you to consider a change?
                        Spendor?s are perfect for Classical and acoustical music, its timbrical accuracy and neutrality is wonderful, but sometimes and for other musical genres with more dinamic as pop, rock, I feel like they are lifeless. Perhaps it is for the amplifier, a 35 wpc Pathos TT, I?m not sure. The fact is that they doesn?t match completly with my musical tastes. For this reason, I?m looking for a speakers with the same magical midrange and more punchy and vitality as Harbeth?s, I guess.

                        About matching with my amp. I?m concerned about low sensibility and wattage demand of Harbeths.

                        Regards.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Speaker cones and cassette tapes?

                          Originally posted by midwoofer
                          ... I feel like they are lifeless. Perhaps it is for the amplifier... I?m looking for a speakers with the same magical midrange and more punchy and vitality as Harbeth?s
                          The reason you have a dead, lifeless, airless lacklustre sound is very simple and has nothing to do with your amplifier. What you are hearing is the sonic signature of vacuum formed homopolymer polypropylene as used in the bass/mid cone.

                          Nothing - I repeat - nothing - inside the speaker system, outside in the electronics, the room or even the music can restore what V.F.H. polypropylene robs from the micro-detail in the music. Once music has passed through V.F.H. polypropylene cones on its way to your ears as sound, something will have been removed from the music. In fact, as you may know from our Govt. funded cone research project, what actually happens is that the low-level sonic detail* is converted to heat inside the cone (due to friction in the V.F.H.polypropylene molecules) and there is no return path from friction back to sound. Once the sound has gone, it's gone. The process is exactly akin to recording the finest digital recording onto cassette tape; the detail is lost below the granular noise of the tape particles and merges into the background noise as a continuous mush. This seems to be a serious problem in V.F.H.P 8" 200mm driver cones: the missing detail can never be restored and what's left is certainly smooth - but foggy.

                          The reason only a Harbeth sounds like a Harbeth (that is, it has incredible detail) is because of our RADIAL cone material. Simple as that really! You could spend years chasing this speaker or that and wasting much time and money in pursuit of the resolution you are missing. Please don't waste your time and money. You can't out-Harbeth a Harbeth by using yesterdays speaker technology.

                          * The best examples of this fogging process at work -

                          a) listen to a clean recording of a soprano in a large hall on V.F.H.P. cones and observe how, in the gaps between phrases as her voice decays into the acoustic space, it is as if the walls concert hall walls are covered in cotton wool. The micro detail, just above the recording's noise floor has been rubbed out. You can not really determine how large the hall is because the reverberation tail behind the voice has been corrupted.

                          b) listen to brass instruments on V.F.H.P cones - it is not capable of resolving the complex harmonic 'rasp' of brass, which in real life, and on Harbeth's RADIAL cone, has the correct 'bite'. Yes, V.F.H.P. is definitely smooth but has the sonic corners rounded off; it acts like an acoustic filter.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                            Alan, thanks for the technical description.
                            Now my question is which model, Compact7 or SHL5?
                            Which one will match better with my Pathos TT?
                            Best Regards.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                              Originally posted by midwoofer
                              Alan, thanks for the technical description.
                              Now my question is which model, Compact7 or SHL5?
                              Which one will match better with my Pathos TT?
                              Best Regards.
                              Alan, please.
                              I have not the possibility to perform a previous listening, so I have to do a blind buy.
                              Thanks a lot.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                HL-3P-ES for a modest room/system?

                                Hello, I am thinking of trying the HL-3P-ES for my small room (18' x 15' approx.), to be driven by a Naim CD5X and Nait 5i amp. My ears are very sensitive to high-frequency sounds (I don't like "brightness") and I like accurate, "present" midrange (voice, flute, piano etc.) Big bass isn't an issue - I have neighbors who I'd like to stay on good terms with. How might this work out?

                                Cheers,
                                Rabbit

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