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Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

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  • M40.1 glorious midrange

    Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
    .... The M40.1 is the most natural, easy going effortless speaker I have heard.
    Same opinion here. They have the transparency and detail retrieval of electrostatics, but (to my ears) with much better dynamic impact and a more natural sense of imaging. While they're superb top to bottom, the midrange in particular is gloriously natural. I've never heard a better speaker.

    Comment


    • M40

      Dear moderator, hifi_dave and EricW,

      Thank you for your replies.

      What do you think about my notes saying that I felt bored to listen the same songs through Harbeth 40.

      I don't know how to overcome it with 40.1 (if it exists), since I don't know what cause it? Well, I don't want foot (or leg) tapping fully, just toe tapping is enough for me :-)

      What do you advice me to make it play more cheerfully, any amplifier or pre-amplifier or something else ?

      {Moderator's comments: speakers are a matter of taste. What suits one listener may not suit another as all ears are different. If an opinion is so deeply held favouring this or that 'speaker signature sound', we think spending money on amplifiers etc. will be money wasted. If a listener prefers a more 'projected' midrange then that is what they consider to be right regardless of what we or our happy customers think. We cannot and do not want to offer a peaked-up midrange in our products as that sound is not natural. But there are many many other models to chose from as you have said yourself that may be a better match to your tastes.}

      Comment


      • I am really confused. If the sound is so deeply flawed how can it be attractive? 'Horns' 'caves' 'boring' - what is going on here?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by HUG-1
          Excuse me. I am confused. Are you telling us your experiences after your listening or after selectively quoting other [unknown] persons comments found on the internet? Are you asking us here in the manufacturer's forum to reply to these random comments?

          You MUST listen and decide for YOURSELF. How did this thread pass Moderation?
          This is not a comment I have made a copy/paste from somewhere... I've listened myself, and I couldn't find a solution for those points.
          After listening lots of speakers, Harbeth 40 became the most I liked and the one I have choosen to buy. What I'm trying to do is to find answer to some question marks in my mind by thinking aloud...

          I'm not trying to denigrate anything. I'm not here to fight with you. I'm an ordinary citizen and I think really simply. I want to prepare a good condition for my beloved speaker.

          I had really noted that "... I felt bored..." and also "... the best speaker I have ever listened..." and "...I should buy 40.1..." that's all.
          I don't know what you imagine.
          I like to hear if you have an idea on that.
          Best regards,

          Comment


          • Originally posted by HUG-1 View Post
            I am really confused. If the sound is so deeply flawed how can it be attractive? 'Horns' 'caves' 'boring' - what is going on here?
            Dear HUG-1,

            Nothing really so bad is going on here :-)
            just a newbie is trying to understand the characteristics of the speakers he decided to buy.
            If you share your thoughts on how to handle 40.1 you will be helped me. Which source, amplifier or pre-power amplifier (and all the other accessories I need to play 40.1) should I choose regarding the minor "open to improvement" points for me.
            I appreciate your help.

            Comment


            • {Moderator's comments: speakers are a matter of taste. What suits one listener may not suit another as all ears are different. If an opinion is so deeply held favouring this or that 'speaker signature sound', we think spending money on amplifiers etc. will be money wasted. If a listener prefers a more 'projected' midrange then that is what they consider to be right regardless of what we or our happy customers think. We cannot and do not want to offer a peaked-up midrange in our products as that sound is not natural. But there are many many other models to chose from as you have said yourself that may be a better match to your tastes.}
              I made my mind. I want the soundstage and imaging that Harbeth 40 series offer. I think, my ear-brain combination will burn-in for the other minor things. But what I'm after is to find solutions to ease my burn-in process.
              Since I'm not a native English speaker, please don't take into account whatever feelings my sentences expose. They don't express any feelings to me, I understand the meaning of the words in separately only.

              Comment


              • You must resolve this Question ....

                Maybe I can help here.

                First the M40 is long out of production, and as you mentioned, the pair you heard was old. So we do not know the history of that pair, we do not know if it working properly, and we do not know if it was modified by the user. So you should be very cautious about drawing conclusions about the current M40.1 from a pair of old, unquantified M40.

                Second: what I think we are concerned with is that you have mentioned some worrying characteristics concerning these old M40s. You stated for example: "as if vocal was singing through a horn shape pipe or from a cave." Now this is a very serious criticism to apply to any quality speaker system, Harbeth made or another brand. The Harbeth brand reputation is for the natural reproduction of 'vocals' - I am sure that you know this - so if I were you I would have walked out of the demonstration there and then. There must have been something seriouslywrong with the speakers or the equipment for you to have this opinion. Or, it is just possible, that you prefer your vocals with more "projection". It's impossible for me or anyone here to rationally explain your findings.

                But I'm sure that you will agree that there is nothing anyone here can (or should) say to you to cancel your experience. For whatever reason you did not enjoy the vocals, but since vocals are the Harbeth strength, something was very wrong. And you should waste no further time here or in your listening quest until you have totally resolved that matter. Before spending one cent you need to get to the bottom of whether the speakers were defective or you prefer a more forward vocal sound - in which case the Harbeth brand is not for you.

                Unfortunately I am not familiar with your musical tastes. Nor do I know anything about your previous hi-fi listening experience, nor your exposure to live unamplified (vocal) sound. All of these mould ones judgement about what is 'right'. What I can say as a designer is that it is impossible for me to reconcile your comment about extreme vocal coloration with your apparent enjoyment of the sound stage and 'palpable image'. If the vocal reproduction were as dreadful as you hint, then surely the entire speaker would be crippled and it would be impossible to find anything enjoyable about the experience. That's because quality vocal performance is the very core of high fidelity sound reproduction.

                So you see, we are completely mystified by your experience. Had I experienced vocals that sounded as if "... singing through a horn shape pipe or from a cave" I would have run out of the door!
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • Harbeth vocals - astonishing revealing power

                  'Vocals through a horn or a cave' is the last thing you could accuse any Harbeth speaker of. They all major on the vital mid-band, which projects the vocals solidly in the room with you. Their resolving power is astonishing, producing the most lifelike, tactile vocals I have heard.

                  Do try to hear a pair of the M40.1 before making any decisions. I doubt you will be disappointed.

                  Comment


                  • Carefully considering my experiences ....

                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    Maybe I can help here.

                    First the M40 is long out of production, and as you mentioned, the pair you heard was old. So we do not know the history of that pair, we do not know if it working properly, and we do not know if it was modified by the user. So you should be very cautious about drawing conclusions about the current M40.1 from a pair of old, unquantified M40.

                    Second: what I think we are concerned with is that you have mentioned some worrying characteristics concerning these old M40s. You stated for example: "as if vocal was singing through a horn shape pipe or from a cave." Now this is a very serious criticism to apply to any quality speaker system, Harbeth made or another brand. The Harbeth brand reputation is for the natural reproduction of 'vocals' - I am sure that you know this - so if I were you I would have walked out of the demonstration there and then. There must have been something seriouslywrong with the speakers or the equipment for you to have this opinion. Or, it is just possible, that you prefer your vocals with more "projection". It's impossible for me or anyone here to rationally explain your findings.

                    But I'm sure that you will agree that there is nothing anyone here can (or should) say to you to cancel your experience. For whatever reason you did not enjoy the vocals, but since vocals are the Harbeth strength, something was very wrong. And you should waste no further time here or in your listening quest until you have totally resolved that matter. Before spending one cent you need to get to the bottom of whether the speakers were defective or you prefer a more forward vocal sound - in which case the Harbeth brand is not for you.

                    Unfortunately I am not familiar with your musical tastes. Nor do I know anything about your previous hi-fi listening experience, nor your exposure to live unamplified (vocal) sound. All of these mould ones judgement about what is 'right'. What I can say as a designer is that it is impossible for me to reconcile your comment about extreme vocal coloration with your apparent enjoyment of the sound stage and 'palpable image'. If the vocal reproduction were as dreadful as you hint, then surely the entire speaker would be crippled and it would be impossible to find anything enjoyable about the experience. That's because quality vocal performance is the very core of high fidelity sound reproduction.

                    So you see, we are completely mystified by your experience. Had I experienced vocals that sounded as if "... singing through a horn shape pipe or from a cave" I would have run out of the door!
                    Dear Alan,

                    You're right, that was really what I had already done: run out of the door :-) But I couldn't stop myself going back to listen more and more after having a cup of coffee, since I loved the other general aspects of it. First, I don't plan drawing conclusions about the current M40.1 from a pair of old, unquantified M40. It was simply just what I feel when I listen an unquantified vintage M40 in a no-treatment room, and hoped to get opinions and own experiences of users of M40.1

                    I really didn't imagine it would mean a "very serious criticism" and could be injurious. We, as whole family usually describe everything exaggeratingly, ie when I say that it’s hot actually it’s warm, and if it’s not hot or warm I call it “freezing cold” that is actually what you called just cold. I really don't exactly remember the sound at the moment, what I noted "...singing through a horn shape pipe or from a cave" is a simile to remember later. What I actually mean is the opposite of the "solid".

                    I hadn't understood why vocals didn't impress me same way as whole speaker. I'm not sure if it's because of the old unquantified speaker or room acoustics or the equipment or record's limitations or my expectations or Harbeth’s general characteristics or previous model’s characteristics etc. Surely, it’s impossible for anyone to undoubtedly explain those findings. But I was expecting a brainstorming (by writing here) to find some clues at least on which kind of records exaggerate this if someone else also experienced the same situation. Maybe there are some others himself or spouse or a friend felt the same way at first listening his Harbeth’s, so can help me to understand what it is. Now, I'll try to figure out firstly the difference between speakers with recessed and forward vocals, then I'll see if Harbeth brand is not for me. I simply want to hear the vocalist singing as if neither he is sitting on my lap nor he’s hiding behind the scene, if it is this. On the other hand I want to hear vocals as solid as instruments I heard through M40.

                    About my musical tastes and experiences:

                    After reaching 40 years old most of the things begun to change in my life style and still continue changing too fastly in recent times. I used to listen Heavy Metal and Hard Rock only up to ten years ago. Now all of my Heavy Metal CD's has gone, I listen my old Rock CD's rarely. I listen mostly jazz and sometimes classical music for about 5 years. I have a feeling that in a few years, It seems I’ll be listening mostly orchestral classical music, and sometimes chamber music and jazz, and perhaps some timeless Rock songs at low volumes now and then. So far, I used to listen music through consumer electronics grade (so called) Hi-Fi equipments and standard car stereo. I’ve just began to listen different speakers for a few months.

                    I don’t like live Rock concerts for a long long time and now I prefer mostly unamplified acoustic performances if possible. No problem at the small places where I can get close to instruments and vocal, and also no problem at open air amphitheaters. But there is something disturbing me at large theatres: I hear a kind of echoes lessening the taste, sometimes I feel my ear-brain works hard to fix it. I think this is the only way to augment the voice without a microphone, and this wouldn’t happen while reproducing the music at home. Ooh... do you mean Harbeth speakers produce this depth of voice (or echo which I suffer), on behalf of reproducing natural vocals I used to hear in large theaters? I don't think so... If it were so, you wouldn’t say at another message “...Any music, including head-banging rock music can be reproduced well on a Harbeth at a moderate listening level.”

                    What do you think how my musical tastes could be effected what I feel about it?

                    Actually I would like to know what the following new specifications made changes in vocals, but it seems there is no way for me to understand it except listening M40.1 “…gives vocals exactly the right weight so that they are eerily realistic even panned centre stage. The vocals sound extra realistic because the chest component of the voice integrates very well with the lip component…”

                    It seems I really confused, I should go and listen it again more carefully and longer...

                    Comment


                    • Vocal quality

                      Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                      'Vocals through a horn or a cave' is the last thing you could accuse any Harbeth speaker of. They all major on the vital mid-band, which projects the vocals solidly in the room with you. Their resolving power is astonishing, producing the most lifelike, tactile vocals I have heard.

                      Do try to hear a pair of the M40.1 before making any decisions. I doubt you will be disappointed.

                      Dear hifi_dave,

                      Thank you to help me to find the words to describe what I was looking: "solid and tactile vocals". First, I will listen those M40's again to understand what happened then.

                      And I will try to find a M40.1 to listen as soon as possible, there is no any chance near my home town though. I'm too sure I won't be disappointed.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by A. E. View Post
                        ...You're right, that was really what I had already done: run out of the door :-) But I couldn't stop myself going back to listen more and more after having a cup of coffee, since I loved the other general aspects of it... I really didn't imagine it would mean a "very serious criticism" ...
                        First I'm sorry that due to a hard disk crash (physical error) on the Linux server hosting the HUG and Harbeth website we were off-line for the last 24 hours or so. I am told that the backup has restored all data.

                        In my opinion, a loudspeaker that reproduces the human voice with horn-like or cave-like coloration is a completely useless high fidelity transducer. Vocal quality, as our readers here will agree, is the basic, fundamental first-rung on the quality ladder. Doubly so in a monitor speaker of BBC pedigree (and used by the BBC to make many of the programmes we watch and hear every day) because broadcasting is primarily centred on human to human speech communication. So voice has to reproduce well - this is the most basic requirement. So if you are hearing chronic coloration which (in your words) makes vocals seem like they are at the end of a horn or in a cave something somewhere is very seriously wrong. The difficulty we have here is trying to figure out just what is wrong, across a continent, knowing nothing about the equipment, the room, the recordings or your personal taste.

                        Here is an idea to move the issue along a bit: download this MP3 file of Derek and myself talking inside the (now demolished) BBC anechoic chamber. We can be sure there is total acoustic absorption so there should be no echo and certainly no 'cave live' reverberation around our voices. Also, we picked a perfectly flat coloration-free reference microphone so we can be equally certain that there is no 'horn like' coloration in the microphone. So this demo recording is about as good as possible to make. Our voices should sound completely natural - perhaps a little 'dry', because there is no reverberation around them. We are so very familiar with listening to voices inside in normal 'live' rooms that we don't even notice how much reverb there is and when that reverberation is suppressed (in an anechoic chamber) the voice will sound more like outside on a windless day. But this recording is very clean and natural.

                        Perhaps you'd have a listen to our voices and comment on whether the dominant colorations you mention are still there?

                        Please download the recording here
                        .

                        You can burn it to a CD but do not increase the record level too much or you may introduce clipping. If you want we can make a .WAV file available rather than this high-quality MP3.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • Downloaded file

                          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                          You can burn it to a CD but do not increase the record level too much or you may introduce clipping. If you want we can make a .WAV file available rather than this high-quality MP3.
                          Downloaded the file, it's clear enough. I think it will give an idea. I'll test it at the weekend.
                          Thank you.

                          Comment


                          • Vocal presentation - the explanation? Check the TechTalk section of the website

                            Dear Adnan,

                            When you said “Vocals through a horn or a cave” I think you are saying the vocals are sometimes too far at the back compared to other speakers. Am I correct to say that? I did experience similar effect when I bought my S5HL. Now, I have solved the issue.

                            From the Harbeth knowledge base you will find different characteristics of loudspeakers. I may be wrong but I think most of today’s loudspeakers were deliberately made “'Pinched', 'pushed', 'shouting', 'colored' type which on first listening may sound attractive. They are unnatural and can become fatiguing.

                            I noticed that you have a big room, and it is very possible that you have placed the Harbeth M40 too wide apart. I made the same mistake with my Super 5. Try making the speakers closer, and you would notice that the vocal presentation is more forward than placing the loudspeakers too far apart. Alternatively, you can use my somewhat unorthodox method of listening to vocals through one loudspeaker only and see if they have the quality I am looking for. Trust me, Harbeth will give the most accurate representation. In short, they don't lie as I discovered just yesterday the thunder sound in a track I am very familiar with was actually man made sound, maybe made by hitting a oil drum or flapping a large metal plate to sound like a thunder.

                            If I may suggest, you may want to consider the newer and better Harbeth. The M40.1 would be nice or even the S5HL.

                            ST

                            Comment


                            • I checked the sales records. Can you confirm that the M40s you listened to were eucalyptus veneer?

                              To date, no M40.1s have been sold directly to your country.
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

                              Comment


                              • Confirm M40

                                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                                ...Can you confirm that the M40s you listened to were eucalyptus veneer?
                                Yes, it was eucalyptus veneer.

                                Comment

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