"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 an audible sonic personality in what you hear. That 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 on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - 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, 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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss 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 faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"

Feb. 2018
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Report on the Model 30.1 at the 2017 LA audio show

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  • Report on the Model 30.1 at the 2017 LA audio show

    Report on the 30.1 displayed at the 2017 Los Angeles, California (USA) audio show:

  • #2
    Originally posted by IMF+TDL View Post
    Report on the 30.1 displayed at the 2017 Los Angeles, California (USA) audio show:
    none of the ancillaries were considered 'ultra expensive' but the TT and amp configuration were still around $18,000 and the digtal route was $21,000 before tax!

    Maybe my speakers still have some extra untapped potential, the ancillaries before the 7's and 3's are literally $600 total, that includes cables and interconnects, part of me would love to think I can achieve better sound with just a couple of changes (I may well have issues with impedance matching amp and passive volume control but would that actually be audible??) and but part of me also wonders if in a blind test would I be able to differentiate my $600 vs their $21000 digital set ups.

    I pretty much have a Frankenstein's monster of ancillaries cobbled together that got there from a kind of evolution rather than design, maybe once I really have got used to the signature of the speakers I might pop in a new box and see if it makes any difference.

    Getting to know my C7ES3


    • #3
      It is nice to hear that the M30.1 is liked (and quite rightly so), but the spin on the electronics and source is indeed bizarre. I could easily think of a rather superior source and amplification that would cost only some 10%.


      • #4
        In the past, I've made similar observations about the evidently extreme cost of equipment being partnered with Harbeth speakers at various hi-fi shows.
        The rebuttal from A.S. has been to the effect that the exhibiting dealer needs to put on a "show" and likely knows their prospective customers far better than do I.

        Nevertheless, based on the product lines offered by that dealer, my inclination would have been to use an Exposure 3010S2D integrated amplifier (capable of [email protected]Ω and costing ~$2600 w/MM phono board), an Exposure 1010 CD player (~$600), either a Rega RP6 or a Clearaudio Concept turntable (~$1500) and an Ortofon 2M Blue phono cartridge (~$200).
        I would then have advertised it as a complete system for $9995, thereby making the system seem relatively affordable by avoiding the possible shock of a 5-figure price tag.


        • #5
          I've gotten to the point of thinking under $10,000 for a totally sweet audio system is my sweet spot. My version is Rega RP3 with Dynavector 10x5 ($1500), Hegel H160 (used $2200), sony dvd/cd player $100 using digital out to Hegel, Grado phono amp ($500), Harbeth SHL5L+ (bought in the UK for $4500 equivalent) and some various interconnects and speaker wires all for much less than $1,000. I realize that we each have our own values and budgets, but I'd wish there had been a bit more exploration of where some of the value plateaus may be in terms of hifi systems would have been useful in the past. It seems so easy to get caught in the audio nervosa train of feeling the need to steadily upgrade for that added little bit of detail or transparency or cache. When I finally arrived at my Harbeth speakers and HUG I for the first time realized that the biggest difference in the quality of my stereo would be the speakers and that is where I've invested as much as the rest of my system combined. And I love it.


          • #6
            Thanks for sharing the review of the show. Did you also happen to see the review from Stereophile?
            Emma Smith
            Brand Manager
            Harbeth Audio UK


            • #7
              Originally posted by Emma S View Post
              Thanks for sharing the review of the show. Did you also happen to see the review from Stereophile?
              That review, and one other: