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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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Harbeth HL Compact 7ES-3 specific

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  • Re: Harbeth versus a more intense (high-Q) sound ...

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    It should not be casually assumed that the subjective acoustic Sound Quality is necessarily bad with a high-Q speaker and necessarily good with a low-Q speaker. What we've been talking about is the intensity, the 'shrillness', the incisiveness of high-Q speakers.
    Getting back onto sound (or music) and away from wine, I can see the point that one would want different kinds of sound quality for different purposes. My original question was whether it would be better to have a low or high-Q speaker for the purpose of reproducing most accurately the difference between the explosion caused by crisp packet and the polythene bag. And Alan suggested that one would want low-Q speakers for this. That suggests that there is something objectively right about low-Q speakers for accurate reproduction (which is different from inducing people to evacuate a building). Or am I missing something here?

    David

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    • Re: Harbeth HL Compact7ES-3 specific

      Hello Alan and hello Guys!

      So .. anyone already listened the new series HL C7 series 3? And what is the difference from the previous (series 2) version? I missed you all just the time Alan presented the latest release of HL C7ES 3 and by the moment I haven't listened the new production

      Comment


      • Re: Any information about Compact 7ES3 yet?

        Hello Alan and hello guys

        Now the new C7ES is well known .. could someone compare this new serie to the previosu one?
        Where is better? ..

        best regards

        Curio

        Comment


        • Re: Harbeth HL Compact7ES-3 specific

          I realise that your question was about sound but here is what I said earlier in this thread.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • Re: Harbeth HL Compact7ES-3 specific

            Ops! .. I got it Alan!
            I didn't notice you already replied at this question
            Btw I read around the net a very good review of the C7ESIII with a sonic parallel to the older II
            I 'll try to sell mine and buy the new ES III or maybe I 'll think about the Super SHL5

            Best regards ,

            Curio

            Comment


            • Harbeth HL Compact7ES-3 and PP amplifiers

              Hello all,

              last week I've bought Bewitch A30 (also known as Puresound A30) pure class A design with two valve rectifiers and a choke smoothed power supply. It uses Electro Harmonix 6550 output valves in an ultra-linear push pull design producing 30 watt / 8 ohm per channel (the output stage can also be switched to triode operation if preferred).

              I wold like to ask you what is your experience with PP and Harbeth 7ES-3 (which I have) and/or 7ES-2?


              Regs from Belgrade,
              Sasa

              Comment


              • The background story to the Compact 7ES3 development ...

                I thought I'd lost these video files from 2006 but recently as I've been archiving years of family videos onto hard disk* and I've rediscovered them on an old hard disk.

                In the spring of 2006 I was developing what was to be the Compact 7ES3. All the critical listening of the the C7ES3, and crossover adjustment and in-room measurement was was undertaken in my 'study' i.e. a spare bedroom of 3m x 3m (I've just checked the dimensions) at home.

                As I've mentioned before, it is much more challenging to design a speaker to sound natural and believable when the listener sits really close to it because nearfield listening seems to amplify dispersion, frequency response and colouration issues etc.. And, of course, in the nearfield, the environment local to the speaker has a great influence on sound. So, if a speaker can be made to sound great in the nearfield it's my experience that it will sound glorious when listened further away. But, I have so often observed, conventional speakers often sound acceptable in the farfield but extremely hard in the nearfield, which is not good for normal home listening in smaller rooms. I suspect that most speaker designers have the luxury of a huge well damped listening room at their facility and design accordingly in the farfield. But as our customers (and professional users) are likely to use the speakers in quite small rooms in the nearfield, I think our approach is more appropriate to the real-world user.

                You will notice that I made no effort to clear the room of clutter. The left wall is a bank of hard reflective equipment and CDs. Yes, this did disturb the image a little (there is a door just to the right of the right side speaker which I kept open to disturb and counterbalance the right side image too). I'm sure you'll agree that this room is an acoustic nightmare with sound splattering off all those surfaces! And the speakers are very close to the rear wall and a heating radiator. But the unwelcome acoustic magnified every issue, which one by one over the months I solved so it actually helped. I have attached a picture of the set-up and I've highlighted points of interest. As you will always see in pictures of my work environment, my audio analysis equipment is always at hand - it is so important not to trust your ears but to use the equipment to keep your 'ears' on the ground - and to curb ones emotional attachment to the new creation. It is vital not to be seduced by the product you are designing and to maintain an objective detachment - measuring equipment guarantees that!

                It would seem that I have several hours of 'spy cam' footage with sound, illustrating step by step how I listened, adjusted, measured and honed the design. They represent just one of many long and typical days during the C7ES3 design process going around the same measure, listen, tweak loop endlessly. Once we can transfer the video to a suitable web-based format and edit it down, we will make it available on line. I hope that it will help de-mystify the design process and show how we work in the real world, and hence are a little dismissive of money wasted in needless system tweaks. Speaker design is not complex but it is tiring trying to balance what your eyes (computer screen) and ears tell you is 'right'.

                * After making various comparisons of hard disk performance, I have concluded that SATA is significantly faster than both USB2 and (surprisingly) Firewire400 and with a low processor overhead.

                >
                Attached Files
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • Compact 7 - good value for money

                  I recently posted a short review (favourable) in AudioAsylum in regards to the Compact 7's. There are those that actually question the retail price of the C7; imagine that. Although admittadly costly, I find that they're one of the few audio products that actually keep me listening, as opposed to boring, or offending.

                  Comment


                  • Re: Compact 7 value?

                    Originally posted by digiphobe View Post
                    I recently posted a short review (favourable) in AudioAsylum in regards to the Compact 7's. There are those that actually question the retail price of the C7; imagine that. Although admittadly costly, I find that they're one of the few audio products that actually keep me listening, as apposed to boring, or offending.
                    Sad to say, many so called audiophiles don't really listen to music. They are only interested in listening to exaggerated 'bang' & artificial 'wow' elements in music. Things such as correct timbre, tonality, emotion & artistry of music are deemed as unimportant. Just as somebody from this Usergroup has highlighted before, many high end loudspeaker manufacturers don't place any emphasis on correct timbre & tonality as their design criteria. But, if timbre or tonality is not correct, how can music sound like they are supposed to in the first place.

                    As far as i know, Harbeth is the only loudspeaker manufacturer in the world to use the human voice as their reference in voicing their loudspeakers & there is absolute logical sense to do that. After listening to & having owned countless speakers, i totally agree with Harbeth's claim that they make the world's most natural sounding loudspeakers. Probably i'll add in to say that Harbeth also makes the most correct & musical sounding loudspeakers. Period! Value? What value are we talking about when music sounds this natural & correct with virtually no peers from any other loudspeakers at any price? To me, its priceless.

                    I know that's a very strong statement to make but that's really how i feel.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Compact 7 value?

                      The issue of 'best value for money' is a complex one and can not be measured scientifically. When I was starting out here at Harbeth I was hugely influenced by the book 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' which explores the philosophical meaning of the word 'quality' and our concept of 'value'. In short, it said that products (and even people) sometimes had this inherent 'quality' which is how many observers would rate the product but that it was in fact impossible to pin down the precise definition of this 'quality' even though it was the widely held view. I guess that you either get it or you don't. I am not - as I've said many times - an audiophile nor do I believe that we are of much interest to audiophiles. Music lovers, yes, very much so.

                      From my side a product that demonstrates the mysterious 'quality' and hence offers great value is where self-evidently it has been designed and made in a way that is not usual or normal for that class of product, which may be expensive or difficult to make, has unusually tight control over tolerances and materials and which perhaps above all, is built to last.

                      As an example of an unusual construction technique that features in Harbeth speakers (and adds tremendously to the difficulty of making the cabinets and their cost) have a look at the attached front-and-back shots of the M40/M40.1 cabinet. The front and back are made as completely separate pieces, not glued in place but each held with 14 screw with just the right tension to control potential resonance. Who else would use such an expensive assembly technique these days unless they really cared about quality? It certainly pushes up the retail price.

                      From what we hear so often, when a music lover has gravitated to Harbeth that's the end of the process of fiddling around with speakers. It's a done deal as they say. That, to me, is the real value for the consumer and makes his Harbeths long term, the cheapest speakers he'll ever buy.
                      Attached Files
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • Re: Compact 7 value?

                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        From what we hear so often, when a music lover has gravitated to Harbeth that's the end of the process of fiddling around with speakers. It's a done deal as they say. That, to me, is the real value for the consumer and makes his Harbeths long term, the cheapest speakers he'll ever buy.
                        Absolutely no doubt about that Alan!

                        Comment


                        • Re: Compact 7 value?

                          Yes Gan, timbre and tonality are big ones for me also. Most of the previous loudspeakers that I've owned tended to sound either "lean" or "threadbare", lacking in richness and warmth, but not so with the Compact 7s' which seem to reproduce the body of the music much better.

                          Comment


                          • Re: Compact 7 value?

                            Thanks Alan. One other aspect of value for me, is that I no longer have to engage the willing suspension of disbelief switch. It's easier to accept that what I'm hearing is a reasonable facsimile of the artist's initial intent.
                            "The cheapest speakers you'll ever buy" - that could be the new sales slogan.

                            Comment


                            • Torque setting for front/back screws?

                              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                              ..the M40/M40.1 cabinet. The front and back are made as completely separate pieces, not glued in place but each held with 14 screw with just the right tension to control potential resonance....
                              Alan,

                              So the torque applied to the screws does affect the resonance, and thus the sound of a cabinet, and eventually the sound of a set of speakers? Is there a tight QC on this process so that all cabinet, belonging to a same model, will have a tight tolerance as far as screw torque is concerned?

                              If this QC does exist, is it also applied to other models too?

                              Comment


                              • Torque setting for front/back screws

                                There is no need to be concerned about finding a specific torque setting. "Fairly tight" is perfectly good enough and probably preferred to "exceedingly tight". In fact, it is better if each screw is at a very slightly different torque (as they will be, ex-Harbeth due to minute differences in the density of the wooden bearers) as this will randomise any resonance control benefits. That's a good thing.

                                The point is not to worry about this but to draw the comparison with what other manufacturers offer - namely rigidly pinned and/or glued baffles and/or backs. Before you audition a speaker it pays to have a close look at the construction method, specifically is the back and/or baffle rigidly glued in and approximately how thick are the side walls likely to be. If the box is rigid - the vast majority are - then that implies a certain type of system sound which to my taste can often sound rather cold.

                                Never forget that just as with a stringed instrument (violin, cello even piano) the speaker box is a critical part of the perceived sound.
                                Alan A. Shaw
                                Designer, owner
                                Harbeth Audio UK

                                Comment

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