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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"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. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best 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 will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system 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. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

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. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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Very happy with 30.2

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  • Very happy with 30.2

    I have paired the 30.2 with a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP integrated. The EL34 Triode mode with the 30.2 midrange works extremely well together. They seem to play into each other's strengths. No issues driving the 30.2 in a rather large room for these speakers. Approx 806 sq ft or 74m and the 30.2 fills the room effortlessly with balanced sound from the 40w Triode/70w Ultralinear mode. Highly recommend auditioning the 30.2 with a good tube amp!

  • #2
    Glad you love them. However, I think you will like them even more with beefy (200 watt+) solid state amplification.

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    • #3
      Welcome and wishing you many years of listening pleasure.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by willem View Post
        Glad you love them. However, I think you will like them even more with beefy (200 watt+) solid state amplification.
        Before the tube amp, I tried driving them with a 300w {PN}. Not even close, they sounded dead and lifeless. I know Peachtree may not be a great example of a SS amp but 300w is still a plenty powerful spec. I prefer the PrimaLuna by a very wide margin.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Octopus View Post
          I have paired the 30.2 with a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP integrated. The EL34 Triode mode with the 30.2 midrange works extremely well together. They seem to play into each other's strengths. No issues driving the 30.2.
          Sounds like a synergistic combination; much like John McEnroe and Peter Fleming were when they paired up to play menís doubles at tennis. Hope your amplifier and speaker combination have a similarly long and successful association with each other.

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          • #6
            Exactly. Hi-Fi is for listening to your music and to give you pleasure. You have chosen your system and are enjoying it. That is the important thing and no more need be said.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
              Exactly. Hi-Fi is for listening to your music and to give you pleasure. You have chosen your system and are enjoying it. That is the important thing and no more need be said.
              Nonsense there is lots more that need to be said about 2 different amps which are so different "by a very wide margin" (in the OP's words).
              (1) If they really sound so different then one or both of the amps are distorting the original input signal to a more or lesser degree.
              (2) if high fidelity is to be ignored, then it is reasonable to go with whichever sounds preferable.
              (3) if high fidelity is desired then the output signals from each amp needs to be captured, preferably while the amps are driving the chosen speakers, and compared with the input signal.
              (4) whatever the preference may be, the amp which adheres closest to the input signal is the 'better' amp.

              There cannot be any rational music lover who could argue with (4). The problem is that many music lovers do not want their preference to be shown up as the amp delivering the most distortion, if that does indeed turn out to be the case. So they stop short of objective comparison, and say they are totally happy with their preference.

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              • #8

                Dave - sure, but the OP included a 'highly recommend' to audition 'a good tube amp' with the 30.2s. As such, others are at liberty to respond to that ('say more').

                My experience is similar to Willemís (solid state, 200watts plus). Also, I understand that the two amps which Harbeth will be using at the Bristol show are both solid state, rated at 250 wpc (8 ohms) with the SHL5plus, and 100wpc (8 ohms) with the PE3SR.

                That said, I see that the OP did try a 300wpc amp, but, personally, preferred the sound of the 30.2s with the 45wpc tube amp. His money, his choice, good luck to him!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Octopus View Post
                  Before the tube amp, I tried driving them with a 300w Peachtree Nova. Not even close, they sounded dead and lifeless. I know Peachtree may not be a great example of a SS amp but 300w is still a plenty powerful spec. I prefer the PrimaLuna by a very wide margin.
                  Those two amps are quite poles apart - a Class D switching amp versus vacuum tubes.
                  The Peachtree Nova300 does have some issues - a significant level of switching noise at the output and phono equalization that could be much more accurate.
                  One advantage of the PrimaLuna design is that KT120 or KT150 tubes can be installed if more power is ever needed.

                  Have you ever tried a more conventional transistor amp in the same price range as the PrimaLuna, such as the Luxman L-505uXII?
                  http://www.luxman-global.com/product/detail.php?id=2

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jeff_C View Post

                    Nonsense there is lots more that need to be said about 2 different amps which are so different "by a very wide margin" (in the OP's words).
                    (1) If they really sound so different then one or both of the amps are distorting the original input signal to a more or lesser degree.
                    (2) if high fidelity is to be ignored, then it is reasonable to go with whichever sounds preferable.
                    (3) if high fidelity is desired then the output signals from each amp needs to be captured, preferably while the amps are driving the chosen speakers, and compared with the input signal.
                    (4) whatever the preference may be, the amp which adheres closest to the input signal is the 'better' amp.

                    There cannot be any rational music lover who could argue with (4). The problem is that many music lovers do not want their preference to be shown up as the amp delivering the most distortion, if that does indeed turn out to be the case. So they stop short of objective comparison, and say they are totally happy with their preference.
                    First - I would never say "nonsense" to any member. It is disrespectful.

                    Where is the nonsense in saying that the OP has chosen his system and is enjoying it ? That is the important thing. Hi-Fi is for the owner's enjoyment and as Hal-an-Tow has said "his money, his choice, good luck to him".

                    Once again, a happy, contented Harbeth customer posts on the HUG how he is enjoying his carefully chosen system which is giving him pleasure. Why can't it be left at that ? Why is it intimated that he has made the wrong choice of amp ? Another proud Harbeth owner, unlikely to post here again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jeff_C View Post
                      There cannot be any rational music lover who could argue with (4). The problem is that many music lovers do not want their preference to be shown up as the amp delivering the most distortion, if that does indeed turn out to be the case. So they stop short of objective comparison, and say they are totally happy with their preference.
                      Goodness me, here we go again!

                      Whilst I agree with your point, you cannot force feed people into accepting and buying what YOU would prefer them to - even if they might then get the intended performance out of their Harbeth speakers. As of 2018, Alan has now included an introduction header on this forum stating the Harbeth view of such matters so, if the OP has read and fully understood that this is the view of the designer and quite possibly most of those on this forum, then it is not for you or me to tell them otherwise about what electronics they should purchase to enjoy their music. I can tell you, constant preaching will have the opposite effect.

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                      • #12
                        No doubt like many others here, I appreciate the objective leanings of this forum - I'm very sure it has saved me time, money and heartache. I wish the same for others that might happen to visit here. That said, I don't think every single declaration of valve usage necessitates the usual debate. I don't recall the OP declaring objective superiority. Perhaps one might be as well served by retorting that the recorded medium and associated transducers are ultimately hopeless, and one would be better served by listening solely and exclusively to live music. Acoustic, of course. In a proper room. From the proper vantage point. And without nobody coughing and spluttering beside you, save in the case where they might serve as a favourable acoustical panel for your listening enjoyment.

                        Sure it's 'hifi' by name that we're engaged in, but we know it's really anything but. There's compromises everywhere, from the very start of the recording chain, to the end with you sitting in your listening chair in an imperfect acoustical environment. Oh well. You want to be as perfectly inaccurate as you can be? I've no truck with that - it's what I strive for myself.

                        So the OP enjoys his amp and is a happy new Harbeth customer and forum member. Let's share in his joy. Why not. Harbeth and Alan's MO are clear almost everywhere on the forum. Indeed, when you first log on to the forum homepage, it's likely the first thing you're prompted to read. Might we assume people have the good sense to read and take from this whatever they may?

                        In any event, welcome Octopus, happy listening.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Welcome to the HUG and wishing you many happy years with your new M30.2. This is what really matters.

                          While I totally agree with rational and objective stance towards this hobby, I also believe that everyone has their own path and some things just cannot be rushed or imposed on others, who have their own reasons and experience, which we might not know, and whatís most important, are adults free to make their own decisions. I couldnít be rushed myself to arrange and enjoy my current system or it would never look like it does now. I just needed time to read, learn, think and listen.

                          First of all, Harbeth itself cannot be rushed and needs time to be fully appreciated. Itís not a coincidence that Harbeths are usually not the first speakers anyone buys, because you simply need to accumulate some experience and learn from your own mistakes before you even begin considering their purchase. Otherwise you would never buy those speakers! Question that probably every Harbeth owner is asking themselves is ďwhy did I get these speakers so late?Ē My answer to that question is that Harbeths just couldnít be fully appreciated by the buyer (me) any sooner than it happened in reality.

                          Just enjoy your new Harbeths Octopus, read and discuss here if you like. Welcome

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                          • #14

                            The point for me was that the OP wasnít just stating his choice of system, nor was he simply declaring his use of a valve amp. He extolled what he considered to be the virtues of his valve amp and stated 'highly recommend auditioning the 30.2 with a good tube amp' (exact words).

                            As such, others, like Willem, Jeff_C and myself, are at liberty to comment on that recommendation.

                            I donít see why there should be a reaction to those comments, except that, as on all hifi forums, it seems to me that a science based view which is seen to run counter to either an individual subjective opinion, or, a subjective consensus, is often taken as an affront. The 'here we go again' view could equally be taken about the posts defending subjective statements!

                            If someone wishes to reject the science, and spend their money how the heck they want, then thatís entirely up to them. However, I for one would not want to see any inhibition of the scientific rationale, questioning, and enquiry on this forum from which I have sought to gain much information and insight.

                            Since those who post subjective opinions and recommendations on HUG, running counter to the scientific consensus here, are already confident enough in their views to do so, I donít see why it should be considered a problem when others disagree.

                            I probably would not have commented on this thread had it not been for the inference that no comments should have been made! To the OP, as others have said, do enjoy your new Harbeths.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              HUG and Objectivism: A six week success

                              What I have seen since we put the masthead Announcement "Introduction - Please read to understand this forum...." prominently at the top of every page some six weeks ago, there have been some interesting observations in the back-office here:

                              1. Aside from the single post mentioned recently above there has been a complete cessation of posts raving about amplifiers - it's not that they have been Moderated-out, they have not been submitted at all

                              2. Overall visitor numbers have grown slightly

                              3. The quality of posts in content, presentation and general relevance to a wide audience has been maintained and even enhanced

                              4. The overall stress level both in the public side of HUG (the bit you see) and the back-office (the bit you don't) has dropped to zero

                              5. New members have continued to join, and their profiles reflect a wide range of professional people who often state that they want off the hamster wheel of hifi churn and see Harbeth (and HUG) as the solution

                              6. 'Lurkers' - members who chose to remain silent have stepped forward to make comments (very welcome)

                              7. Retail sales of Harbeth continue on upwards

                              8. A Harbeth dealer who expressed his anxiety about HUG's objectivist leanings and the potential for impact on his sales is back on board at HUG

                              9. My personal workload in being consulted as to whether this or that post should/should not be permitted has dropped to zero. Thank heavens: I've got my life back!

                              So, what do we conclude?

                              I'd say that with the odd excusable exception from an excited new owner passing on his fun to others, this forum is in the best place it has ever been. The clear Announcement has inhibited nonsense posts leaving the rest of us to work towards improving our pleasure from quality music over quality equipment objectively.

                              The Announcement is working as hoped. The only pity is that we didn't state it ten years ago. It says, as is now obvious, that we here cannot be expected to enthuse about gear which we have reason to suspect or know takes the listener off the neutrality 'getting closer to the microphones' or 'straight wire with gain' path and onto some personal adornment of their system tuned to their own tastes.

                              Not because there is anything wrong with that, except that it directly opposes this brand's long-stated core values here on HUG and is therefore hostile anti-marketing in that it propagates a message inconsistent with this brand: that makes no business sense whatever.

                              Thanks to everyone for playing the game by the Announced rules.
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

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