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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 Monitor 40 domestic specific

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  • #16
    Re: Measuring frequency response of the M40 domestic

    The Velodyne fills in the bottom octave (20-40Hz), but I can't say I'm very impressed by its performance. The measurement device that it comes with is certainly useful, since it produces a sweep tone from 20-200 Hz that gives a useful indication of bass dips and bumps in your room.

    With the Harbeth 40, I think the Velodyne does not add much to the sound (most recordings have very little information below 40 hz). With the smaller Harbeths, e.g. the 30, it might provide a bigger impact.

    - Sridhar


    • #17
      Re: Measuring frequency response of the M40 domestic

      You say you are not very impressed with its performance. Is this because the Harbeths go low enough and there is not much for the Velodne to do, or do you think the Velodyne is inferior in some way?

      I am asking because I am thinking of trying a sub with my SHL5's and the Velodynes are attractive because of their automatic room adjustment features.


      • #18
        Re: Measuring frequency response of the M40 domestic

        In my room, the M40s generate plenty of bass (too much, in fact), although they
        do roll off fairly sharply below 40 hz (as per design). I had originally assumed that the Velodyne could be used in a fairly narrow window from 20-40Hz with a fairly steep crossover at 40 Hz. This is how I have set it up.

        My general impression is that on most music, I can barely tell the difference between having the Velodyne on and off. On 0.1% of my music collection (e.g, organ music), having the Velodyne does make a difference in that the windows rattle, but musically, I can't say they add much to the sound.

        I am generally not impressed with the DD series, although the room equalizer is a nice idea. My first DD-12 unit went bad in a year or so, and had to be sent back to Velodyne. The revised unit is back and functioning, although the automatic turn-on works rather poorly (it almost never comes on, unless there is substantial bass content at hgh levels).

        Given the rather high price of the DD-12, I would save the money and use it to buy a better front end (or electronics).

        - Sridhar


        • #19
          M40 repair

          Hi Alan, I'd be grateful for your opinion regarding repair of an M40. It does not belong to me, yet, I still have my M30s and I'm very happy with them. I am in the process of negotiating the purchase of a pair of used M40s that are only a few years old and were in perfect condition. Now there is an interuption because one cabinet has been damaged in a fall, there is damage to the grille and cabinetry. My attitude is that besides cabinet repairs the drivers require replacement because of the high probablility of magnets having shifted in the fall (downstairs). My concern is in obtaining factory support for a replacement set of drivers to match the original set and match the other one of the pair. There is also the possibility that a grille replacement would be needed. Before I can go ahead with the purchase I would like to have an assurance that parts would be available. Obviously a serial number would be provided and we would deal through Fidelis. How does this look to you?

          copy to Fidelis AV


          • #20
            Re: M40 repair

            Hello Ted.

            Forgive me for sounding negative but I strongly urge you not to proceed with the driver replacement. Cabinet repairs, locally, and a replacement grille would be an economic solution. The magnets are guled together using extremely strong two-part adhesives and it would take much more than a small drop to budge them - once they are jigged and glued they are set for ever.

            We have never been involved in such a complicated operation at a distance, and I can readily imagine the cost and complexity quickly getting out of hand.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK


            • #21
              Re: M40 repair

              Thank you Alan, turns out the damage is much less serious than first appeared and the deal is going ahead, after enjoying M30s for six months I shall soon have what I have always wanted, three way, full range speakers. Thanks again.



              • #22
                Re: M40 Stands

                Originally posted by TNIC

                Hi TNIC,

                Your listening room looks quite narrow. Could I ask what the dimensions of your room are?


                • #23
                  Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                  My current listening room is

                  12 feet wide (3.65 m)
                  15 feet long (4.57 m)
                  8 feet high (2.43 m)

                  The room is constructed of sheet rock/plaster board and I damped it with acoustic foam to control the high frequency area. The M40 is the first tweeter I have had that shines (but does not glare) in this room. I have no problems with bass boom. In fact I love the bass and it is the reason I migrated to the m40 along with the other benefits such as a true 3 way. Having said that ? I can move the M40s 3 inches closer to the walls and it will over load the bass to produce boom. I have control of the sound. Its not a problem for me. Inadequate bass was a problem for me on other speakers. I do have a few CDs (out of hundreds) that will boom in the current position. But that is due to the recording in my opinion. I live in the USA and I am assuming the room construction here is M40 friendly and that may not be the case in other locations since I read so much concern about the bass on the M40. 2 friends of mine also have the M40 and are as happy as I am.

                  While at a demo for a CD player I recently heard a speaker that sounds better but it costs about 3 times the price and weighs 245 pounds each (111 kg). It is beyond my audio funding ability!

                  The M40 is a dream come true on classical but left me wanting more punch on rock and jazz. I recently added an Esoteric CD player to the system and it provided the punch I was missing. I don?t state this lightly ? the M40 in my setup is producing all the music to meet and exceed my needs, including the live concert feel on jazz and rock. Its not perfect on every piece of music but outstanding overall. The M40 is far more than a speaker for the spoken word in a studio!

                  My room size does present limitations. I can easily overload the room if I ramp up the volume (which I do if I have drunk enough green tea or mead). For the best listening I stay within the room volume limitations and let the system/music come to me rather than have it force itself on me with overload. This is a concept that is lost on my impatient audio friends. They would like to come over and judge the system in 5 min. like the finale of a fireworks display.

                  For them, more volume is better? even to the point of overload and noise. I wonder if they understand what their ears are capable of. I believe they are used to adding volume to make up for a system deficiencies on other systems.

                  I had to make a rule ? no demos less than an hour so I could clean our their ears an allow them to hear music.


                  • #24
                    Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                    Looking at the photo of your listening room I can't tell if that is a hard floor under your oriental rug or more carpeting. I ask because I am considering the M40s- I currently have the SHL5s. My floor is tile but with rugs covering much of it. (Alan warns that the M40s on tile is not a good idea. I'm not sure if he means even if it is covered).
                    Thanks, Ned
                    [email protected]


                    • #25
                      Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific


                      I've asked TNIC - whose post here shows his room and speaks very enthusiastically about the M40s - what kind of floor he has in his listening room. I currently have and greatly enjoy the SHL5s and am considering auditioning the M40s at my dealer's room. However, my floor is tile (not good for the LF energy of the M40s you say); but it is largely covered by two oriental rugs with mats. Would you still caution against this speaker, with it's greater LF output than the SHL5s?

                      With thanks, Ned


                      • #26
                        Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                        Hello Ned,

                        My M40 joy continues! I live in the second floor apartment of a frame house. That is – wood frame and wood floors. The walls are covered with sheet rock also known as plaster board in my area.

                        I have neighbors and we get along fine. I have my listening time but I also know when to listen at quieter volumes. The M40 sounds great even at very low volume. The large size presents a much bigger and more enjoyable area of music.

                        The M40s are on 85 pound (each) Sound Anchor stands. The stand spikes are resting on the wood floor through the carpet.

                        My friends (2 others) who purchased his M40s around the same time as me – also have wood floors and similar stands. I am sorry but I have no experience with other floors.

                        Nothing can replace an actual listen. A true 3 way with a tweeter, 8 inch mid and 12 inch woofer speaks volumes for itself. While the spoken word aspect of the speaker is often cited, you can expect the same amazing quality for music too.

                        I did two listening session and brought all my significant music along, from Beethoven to Alanis. One of my favorite rock test CDs is Cream Live at Albert Hall. Its just Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. On other speakers Jack’s bass sounded “not equal” in presentation when compared to Eric. On the M40 all 3 are in the spot light and equally balanced. You can hear the bass and lead in tremendous detail as they play (Sleepy Time and Stormy Monday). With my other speakers the bass did not have the same gravitas as the other musicians on the Trout Quintet. With the M40 they are all playing on an equal level. Balance pretty much sums up the sound for me. If your missing the double bass in your classical and/or your tweeter sounds a bit bright (and it’s not your room) you might want to have a listen (and why not anyway?) You will recognize what you have been missing immediately.

                        I also took all my “problem music” to see how it sounded. In your case it is especially reasonable to negotoate a listen at your location. If you were purchasing a car you would expect a test drive. Good luck and please do keep us posted!

                        If you feel a phone call would be more productive - email me. I live in the New York City area.


                        • #27
                          Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                          Hi TNIC,

                          Thanks for your comprehensive reply to my question. Ultimately, of course, I must listen to the M40s. I've been in touch with the dealer (he lives about 1 1/2 hours north of me) and will make the trip when he's ready. As of now he only has about 2 hours playing time on the speakers (he seems very impressed - he's carried the other Harbeth models, but I think these are the first M40s he's had) and wants to have at least 50 hours playing time before he auditions them with customers (I don't think Alan would think that much time is necessary, but he is a very diligent dealer who is serious about considering his customers' needs and desires. And he wants to fully know the components he carries. To this end, he also wants to try various electronics with them). So, perhaps within a few weeks I'll get to hear them. To be honest, I've not found the bass wanting on the SHL5s - or the treble, for that matter. I do listen almost exclusively to 'classical', including contemporary composers. But then, until I listened to a stand-alone DAC, I didn't miss anything from my CD player, either. So, as you say, it sometimes is only after you've heard another component that you can know what you are - or aren't - missing from your own. And just how important that aspect is to your listening satisfaction. I'll let you know how all this works out. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent: on the one hand everyone who talks about the M40s does so in the most enthusiatically positive terms. On the other hand, the SHL5s have been a real revelation to me in terms of musicality. After about 5 months, they still enchant me with their presentation. I don't want to be fickle - or greedy, for that matter.

                          Best, Ned


                          • #28
                            Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                            Hi TNIC,

                            I'm going to be able to hear the M40s this weekend, and it's possible I may want to get them. I'm curious to know what height your Sound Anchor stands are that the M40s are sitting on. Mine for the SHL5s are almost 17", and I'm not sure whether I'll need to go higher or lower if I do indeed get the M40s.

                            Thanks, Ned


                            • #29
                              Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                              Hello again TNIC,

                              Please disregard my last question about stand height; I just went back to your earlier posts where I see that you mentioned you're using 18" Sound Anchors.
                              I'm really looking forward to hearing - and perhaps owning - the M40s.



                              • #30
                                Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                                My Sound Anchor stands are 17? high. The spikes add to that height. From the carpet to the bottom of the speaker is about 18 inches.

                                I would think your stands would be a good place to trial the M40s. You can add height with wood or books. Be careful of course. That is what I did. You can experiment from there and decide what is right for you. I found in my room raising the M40 reduced bass noticeably but reduced desirable resolution a tiny bit. (tweeter a few inches above ear height. Lowering the M40 increased the bass (eventually) to the point it was muddy.

                                But that?s my room. My friend has his M40s at 14 inches and they sound good in his room at that height. A little testing will bear fruit.

                                As with all things in my word personal preference has a lot to do with your end choice. Believe me when I tell you no one complains about the sound of my system!

                                As we already agreed ? there is no substitute for listen at your dealer and (if you can negotiate it) at your room! I remain a great admirer of the M40. They provide unending pleasure and satisfaction for the music lover. Lasting satisfaction is a rare commodity in audio and many other places. I look forward to your report.