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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Harbeth HL Compact 7ES-3 specific

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  • Hi Paul,
    nice photos again. Potential buyer who interested in Eucalyptus finishing should take a look on your photos.
    "Bath with Music"


    • Hi Tobes, thks for the confirmation. Wow your C7ES2 looks as if its brand new. Very well maintained indeed. Btw, you seem to like Eucalyptus alot since your new C7ES3 is also the same finish. :}


      • Thanks Gan.
        Those pics were taken for the sale of the ES-2's, wish I could have kept both sets of speakers - but I could not justify it. They were as good as new, the buyer got a bargain.
        Yes, I like the eucalyptus finish best out of the 3 standard finishes....and I could substitute the ES-3's without my 'significant other' being any the wiser!


        • My C7ES3s have arrived .....

          My new Harbeth Compact 7es-3 in Tiger Ebony finally found their way home today.

          Compared to my old Neat Motive 2's these are in a whole other ballpark. Even when not yet fully broken-in and still housing right on the floor they sound absolutely magic. They are driven by a Naim Nait 5i which takes very good care of them. But eventually i'm thinking of replacing the amplifier. Maybe. Now I just want to listen, listen, listen...
          PC/AudioPro WF100 - Luxman L550A II - C7ES-3


          • My new C7ES3 - absolutely stunned

            And for the record. After a couple of hours more music playing. I am absolutely stunned. God almighty. All the music comes alive. This is what it is supposed to sound like.
            PC/AudioPro WF100 - Luxman L550A II - C7ES-3


            • New C7ES3 (well 2nd hand but new to me!)

              I thought I'd share my experience of the first month or so of enjoying my new speakers. They have displaced another popular English speaker manufacturer's bookshelf model and I was surprised by the changes.

              There was no 'earth shattering moment' - just a certain rightness about the sound. The previous speakers were incredibly detailed and leaning a bit towards the spitty in the treble area.

              I no longer listen to loud music. It's just not necessary. At very modest volume these speakers fill the room (it's not a small room) and are very satisfying. With my old speakers I would always turn up the volume a bit when a song I particularly liked came on. This wasn't good for my ears or my neighbors peace. Now I have no urge at all to muck around with volume. That just gets set (quite low) and I just listen to the music and it's great!

              I listen to FLAC files streamed from my PC to a Squeezebox Touch, then Naim DAC, 122x, and 150x amplifiers. Couldn't be happier with the result - now just enjoying the music!


              • Thinking about Compacy 7ES-3s .... for movie sound use ....

                I'm new to the forums here and currently in the market for a new pair of bookshelf speakers. I'm drawn towards the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 speakers, having read some fantastic reviews of them but was wondering if they are good speakers for movies? It seems like most of the users here mostly listen to music on their systems, but for me it's about a 50/50 split between movies and music. I imagine the Compact 7s would be great for dialogue-heavy movies, but what about action flicks? Currently, I own a pair of PSB Imagine Bs powered by an Outlaw Audio RR2150.

                Thanks for any input. The nearest Harbeth dealer is a good 1.5 hours away and I'd like to know if they are suitable for my needs before venturing out for a demo.


                • C7ES3 for movies

                  I've had C7 stereo speakers integrated into my HT system for about 6 years (ES2's now ES3's). As you surmise, they are superb with dialogue and music.

                  Personally I don't really care much for bombastic sound effects - I don't even have a subwoofer - and I've found the C7's to provide perfectly adequate foundation by themselves (driven by a 175W Plinius amp).
                  I'm hardly a typical HT user though, I don't even use a centre channel (I think it would compromise the purity of the Harbeths).

                  For the record - I've recently changed to a lower output 50W tube amp and I'm yet to assess how this effects the C7's grunt in movies.

                  Bottom line, unless you listen at stupid levels, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the C7's in a HT setup. I suspect you'll find yourself revelling in the truthfulness and quality of the sound.


                  • C7ES3 and home cinema - perfect at sensible levels

                    The suitability of the Compact 7ES-3 in a 'Home Cinema' system depends on the volume levels used. If the volume is sensible eg. loud but not nose-bleeding, you will have no trouble at all and will be able to appreciate the Harbeth sound with music.

                    Unfortunately, some 'Home Cinema' systems are used at mind bending volume levels and this would require speakers to suit. Don't get me wrong, the Harbeths will go very loud on music but special effects and subsonic bass is a killer.

                    I find that more and more people are ditching the full surround sound for 2.1, where a pair of speakers are used, augmented by a sub-woof for cinema effects.


                    • Movies and classical DVDs on SHL5 ...

                      I sometimes watch movies on SHL-5 & at moderate volume, they are more than sufficient. I don't really find it necessary to use a subwoofer as the bass has adequate grunt & depth. Watching classical concerts on DVD can be very satisfying on the SHL-5 as well.


                      • My media room (and C7ES3)

                        Thanks for all the input. My media room is rather small, so I never find the urge to really turn up the volume.

                        I'm going to be running the speakers through the Outlaw Audio RR2150 amp (100W/channel). In my current setup, I have a subwoofer to give me that extra "oomph" during action sequences and when I'm listening to more bass-heavy music such as R&B. So I can always use that with the Harbeths if I desire a bit more bass for movies.

                        I'll definitely find time to take the drive and give the Harbeths a listen and report back.


                        • Compact 7ES3 - more than enough bass

                          With music and 99% of film output, the Compact 7's have more than adequate bass. It's just when the Dinosaurs stomp around or WW3 takes off that you might need the assistance of a 'good' sub woofer.


                          • "Stand buttons"

                            does anyone have the measurements for the stand buttons for the compact 7 speaker? where they are located? I am making a stand for this model since I have one coming soon, I just need to know where to put the spikes or ball bearings...


                            • Position of rubber feet ...

                              I sure hope someone can post the center location of speakers rubber footing in relation to its bottom corners... can't finish my build until I am sure of the specifications...
                              cheers all.


                              • Rubber feet

                                Searching I found that there really is no specific placement for the footing or blu-tak, so I guess I can continue the build.