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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.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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"Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

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

    I just joined this group today and would like to give some background, which hopefully will also generate some discussion.
    About 18 months ago I sold my 12 year old Mirage 260 monitors and replaced them with Magnepan MMGs. While the Maggies are very transparent in some ways, I sadly miss the imaging of the monitors, as well as the bass, even if it was the engineered-in bass hump. I have many times heard and read great things about Harbeth, and with your help, I'll choose the right ones.
    I play acoustic guitar, and have alot of solo guitar recordings in my collection. I also listen to alot of jazz (Monk, Davis, Charlie Hunter, Patricia Barber, Diana Krall etc), and small ensemble classical. My rock music tastes go from British art rock (Yes, Crimson) to classic 60's rock.
    My electronics are Parasound Halo A23 and P3. I currently listen in a very small room (10x10). Later this year we will get a new house and I anticipate having a somewhat larger listening room. So, fully realizing the subjectivity of my questions, what do you think of the following:
    -which model would you guess makes the most sense for me?
    -are my electronics appropriate for a Harbeth speaker?

  • #2
    Check out SHL5 or M40. Depends on how willing you want to spend time on fine tuning, room acousitcs and electronics matching. M40 is more demanding while SHL5 is relative easier to get reasonable good result in domestic environment.

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    • #3
      HL5 vs SHL5 (Musicality vs Accuracy)

      In a local audio forum, some people say they still miss the musicality and warm sound of original HL5 and prefer it over current model. Just want to check is HL5 the last design of Dudley Harwood, or it was designed by Alan Shaw?
      What is the major difference between original HL5 and current SHL5 in terms of cone material and sound character? Is it truth that we can't have both musicality and accuracy?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kevint
        In a local audio forum, some people say they still miss the musicality and warm sound of original HL5 and prefer it over current model. Just want to check is HL5 the last design of Dudley Harwood, or it was designed by Alan Shaw?
        What is the major difference between original HL5 and current SHL5 in terms of cone material and sound character? Is it truth that we can't have both musicality and accuracy?
        As with so much 'street talk', a rumor based on a misunderstanding. Although we have made thousands of these speakers, I have never heard this comment, and I simply don't believe it is accurate.

        I designed both the HL5 and the SHL5. Dudley Harwood's last model was the HL Mk4 which ended production in about 1988.

        The HL5, HL5ES and Super HL5 are fundamentally the same speaker. The HL5/HL5ES used the round Audax bass unit with the TPX cone and all three use the same main tweeter.

        The later HL5ES2 and current SHL5 use the Harbeth RADIAL driver. The crossovers are very similar from the original HL5 right through to the SHL5, the SHL5 model having the extra components to drive the super-tweeter.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #5
          m30 or shl5

          I have listened to both speakers in a shop and favoured the shl5 at that time, because it had a deeper bass. On the other hand I also thought mid and high a littlebit more fluent or rich on the m30. The dealer was so kind to let me try the shl5 at home, but I still hesitate between the two. Maybe a combination of the m30 with sub would work out well for me.
          I am sure many have experience on this topic and I would appreciate some advise here

          I also listened to M40 in a big listening room at the shop and it sounded fabulous. As it was around christmas time they played the propius cd "cantate domino" and the soundstage was uncanny realistic. But I suspect the m40 may be too big for my listening room, which measures 8x3.85x2.65 m.(lxwxh) and is rather expensive as well.
          The shop was in fact not a harbeth dealer, but the Dutch importer, who is really enthousiastic about Harbeth, was very kind to deliver this speaker at the shop, which is in my living town Arnhem, Netherlands.

          Comment


          • #6
            IMHO, if you like classical orchestral work, M30 sound better than HL5.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hu
              IMHO, if you like classical orchestral work, M30 sound better than HL5.
              Why do you say that?

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              • #8
                Alan,

                I think this thread is a good opportunity for you to think about improving the Harbeth website. It's already a good site, with lots of enlightening info, but you often have to answer this kind of question on the forum, so why not put this information on the site: What do the different model-names ("compact", "ES2") mean?; What happened when they changed name (from ES to ES2)?; when did it happen?

                Of course you shouldn't reveal any company secrets or information that might otherwise be detrimental to your business, but potential customers wonder what the difference between model numbers is and make all sorts of speculations, when in fact changes could just be moving the port or perhaps of cosmetic nature.

                I think Harbeth users will find this information useful. It can even help us to research our speakers, or speakers we see on the 2nd hand market.

                "Speaker history", a new academic discipline!!!

                Regards,

                Peter

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                • #9
                  I agree. Like what was the philosophy when they moved from one model to the next, or what was the special design in that particular model etc.
                  Like why the dip in 2-4khz in the shl5 and not the monitors30? Why the super tweeter and not SEAS excel?
                  That will be interesting.

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                  • #10
                    The wheels of time grind slow ...

                    Well considering how infrequently we feel the need to update/change/improve/tickle models - about once every five years - you'd think we were thrashing about all day making changes!
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In a very small room SHL5 and M40 are too big IMO, too much low freq unable to breathe well.
                      SHL5 was my first choice but Alan suggest me the Compact 7ES-2 as a better match in small room and following his suggestion now I'm happy listening in a room nearly 4x4mt (nearly13.5x13.5ft) still a little more space doesn't hurt. M30 are smaller and another good choice. P3ES-2 is better if you don't change your very small 10x10ft room, but if you'll upgrade to a bigger room you'll miss low freq a lot.

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                      • #12
                        Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                        Hi

                        I`m also looking for some new speakers for my Naim NAC 200/200 Combo. In many reviews you can read that its not a speaker for rock music. Is this true or just a fairy tale? My dealer says the same but he is not a harbeth dealer.

                        Thanks Lars

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: "Which Harbeth is best for me?" New users ask ...

                          Originally posted by Lars
                          you can read that its not a speaker for rock music.
                          There is no simple answer to that question and, ultimately, you need to listen and decide for yourself. I think it depends on what characteristics of rock music reproduction are most important to you. For me, Harbeths do a good job of conveying the "musical line", letting you follow the song and all of its parts. And they do a superb job of pulling the vocal out and making it sound real and very human. So in these respects, Harbeths are very satisfying and even rewarding with rock music.

                          Where I think people find fault is with the tendency of Harbeths (I can really only speak to my SHL5's) to sound too "polite" for rock music. The speaker tends toward sweetness and softens the leading edge of transients such that raunchy, edgy electric guitar becomes a bit "prettier" than it really is. Cymbal crashes are a bit gentler than they really are.

                          I am sure some others on this forum will disagree with me, but that's my experience. Rock is but one of many genres I listen to, and I find the Harbeths work wonderfully well, for the most part, across all of them. But if rock was the majority of what I listened to, I might look at other products.

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                          • #14
                            Which Harbeth for me?

                            I have had LS3/5a's for more than 25 years, both Spendor and Chartwell versions. I am interested in which Harbeth is most like (or I would accept better) the LS3/5a in the midrange but has somewhat more extended bass and better dynamics. From a looks perspective I would like something not real large. For instance the Monitor 40 would be too large for me even though my room is fairly large. Perhaps Allen would comment as I am sure he is very familar with the LS3/5a.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Which Harbeth for me?

                              Originally posted by musicfan14
                              I have had LS3/5a's for more than 25 years, both Spendor and Chartwell versions. I am interested in which Harbeth is most like (or I would accept better) the LS3/5a in the midrange but has somewhat more extended bass and better dynamics. From a looks perspective I would like something not real large. For instance the Monitor 40 would be too large for me even though my room is fairly large. Perhaps Allen would comment as I am sure he is very familar with the LS3/5a.
                              I own a pair of Harbeth HP3 ES2s, the 'speaker in the range closest to the LS3/5a. I haven't heard any of the other Harbeth 'speakers. I have, however, recently listened to some old Rogers LS3/5as, and when I bought my own Harbeths, I compared them directly to Spendor 3/5s. My overall impression is that if you're looking for sound that is generally of a similar character to the LS3/5as, but with better bass and dynamics, the Harbeth P3s fit your requirements perfectly. That's exactly what they do. I was not able to compare the P3s and Rogers LS 3/5as directly (I was on a different continent), but I got the impression that while the Rogers had an impressive amount of weight, the Harbeths did the magical trick of disappearing, leaving one listening to music rather than sound. They certainly have much better dynamics and bass than the Spendors, which are relatively light and muffled in comparison.

                              It may be that the Compact 7s, with their RADIAL drivers and their greater bass and clarity, are really what you're looking for, but I understand that they're actually quite big. What I can say is that apart from the superb quality of their products, Harbeth are an exceptional company as far as their devotion to their customers is concerned. I have recently experienced this, and can say that I cannot imagine anyone getting better service and personal attention from an audio company anywhere in the world. Alan Shaw and his team are exeptional in every respect!

                              David

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