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Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

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  • #31
    Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

    Thanks, TNIC -

    Yes, my Sound Anchor stands are 17". Certainly it makes sense to try them to see how they work out and - as you say - try inserting something (indeed, carefully!) - between the stand and speaker to see what effect additional height has. All comments on the M40s that I've read have been so positive that I fully expect I'll like them also - especially since I've been so happy with the SHL5s. I'll post my reaction.

    Ned

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

      Alan,

      I am currently using the SHL5s, but am considering the M40s. Can you tell me what - if any - significant differences exist between driving an 8 ohm speaker (the SHL5s) as opposed to a 4 ohm speaker (the M40s)? Is one 'easier' to drive than the other?

      With thanks, Ned

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

        Allan,

        If I may follow up my previous question about the M40's impedance with another about room environment for the M40: In your summary of the development of the M40 - and history of the LS5/8 - you mentioned avoiding tile floors for the M40. I'm now wondering if my room is indeed unsuitable for the M40. It is an aproximatley 22'x15'x9 space constructed of concrete-block and stucco, with a plaster-board ceiling and a cement slab floor covered with tiles, which in turn are covered (about two-thirds) with rugs. Not being familiar with the term "well-lagged", I'm not sure how my environment conforms - or doesn't - with this type of construction.

        With thanks again, Ned Mast

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

          Hello Allan,

          My questions concerning the impedance of the M40, and about it's behavior in my concrete-block constructed room were posed before my dealer offered me a home trial of the M40. All concerns have been laid to rest; they sound quite wonderful in my room. My amplifier has selectable impedance settings, so I can set it at 4 ohms and it seems to be quite happy driving the M40. While I have several days left on my trial period, it's clear that this pair of M40s has found a home here. This is my second Harbeth speaker, and I would guess my last. It does everything I've ever hoped a speaker would.

          With Thanks, Ned Mast

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

            Hi Tnic,
            what are your amp for your Monitor 40?
            Bye

            David

            Originally posted by TNIC
            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.

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

              My impression is you might be searching for the perfect amp for your speakers?
              Please let me know when you find it and how you went about the selection.

              I found good sound can be obtained from tubes or solid state (and so can bad sound). Tubes do offer me the additional flexibility of modifying the sound (without a soldering iron) by switching the tubes. A JJ Tesla EL34 sounds more focused on the middle an upper range frequencies on my system/room. A Svetlana EL34 Winged C sounds far more full range on my system/room. I observed a similar ability to tweak the sound on the pre amp tubes.

              My amplifier is a 1990s vintage amp made in France (50 watts per channel) My friends/advisors urged me to buy this amp because of the transformers inside the amp. They (my friends) learned how the components in an amp vary the sound by using a prototype amp. The parts are clipped together (not soldered). A ?breadboard? setup we call it here. This allowed them to swap a capacitors transformers and other parts to learn how each component effects the end sound. They stressed that transformers and capacitors aare important components in the amp that effect sound in a noticeable way. They felt this amp was a smart buy because of the Partridge transformers in it. Everything else inside the amp could be swapped if need be. But not the Partridge transformers.

              Once I obtained the amp we fixed a potential problem, and made other improvements. I had each change done in steps so I could compare the differences in sound using my favorite test recordings.

              I am not interested in an improvement that does not provide a substantial improvement in sound quality. Silver wire, expensive connectors etc made virtually no difference in the sound. In my case I found capacitors do have a substantial effect on sound quality of the amp. But you need to find a capacitor you like. Many people like Auri caps. They did not work well for me In my system. Black Gate capacitors provided my system with a sound I love.

              I have not observed capacitor break in on the Harbeth speakers I have owned. But I have observed capacitor break in on my amp and pre amp. Some might disagree, but it took me 200 hours to break in the capacitors on my amp and pre amp (each done at different times). In the amp, the capacitors sound dry and brittle (screechy) in the beginning but mellow down to the sweet, uncolored, full range sound with breakin. That?s my experience and I would challenge those who say its my ears that broke in!

              You can find plenty written on Black Gate capacitors and other brands and how they effect your sound (includnig break in).

              In my opinion $300 worth of capacitors in the amp and pre amp did more for my system than.$5,000 of cable could possibly do. Of course the better your speakers are the better you will be able to hear the difference. But that should not be a problem for us since we already have great speakers. Listening on the SHL5s and the M40s the differences in capacitors in the amp and pre amp were obvious. These wonderful speakers allowed me to imake improvements based on what they revealed.

              Like friends, pets and mates, it is better for me to judge amps by what is inside than what the outside looks like. I would prefer an advertisement that listed all the parts that are inside rather than a photo of a stunning woman, holding a Champaign glass with a cityscape background. Looking at the sturdy construction of the M40 crossover I can see a lot of craftsmenship and care went into it. Its "done right".

              It would be interesting (to me) if at some point Allen can provide a few words about the capacitors in the Harbeths and if he hears any differences from one capacitor to another.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                TNIC,

                Some weeks ago I asked you some questions regarding the M40s, as I was considering trading in my SHL5s on a pair. I have since done this, and could not be happier. What you wrote about your experience with amplifiers is interesting, and I would not consider questioning what you hear. My experience has been a bit different. Before I traded the SHL5s, a friend brought over his vintage McIntosh 275 (tube 75watt/channel) for me to try, saying it would be a step up from my solid state amp (170 watt/channel). I spent some hours for two days over a weekend going back and forth between the two amplifiers; but each time I thought I heard something in the music with one amp that I hadn't with the other, going back to the other proved me wrong. Obviously, the vintage tube amp must sound different from the modern solid state; but the differences were so subtle that I couldn't identify them - they were insignificant, and I consequently had no basis on sonics alone to choose one over the other. Considering other factors such as weight, maintenance, and the heat produced by tubes, I would naturally pick the solid state amp. On the other hand, putting a stand alone DAC in my system was immediately apparent sonically, and a significant improvement. My point is, as revealing as the Harbeth speakers are, I do think that if one provides them with enough clean power (and 50 watts should be enough) they will sound wonderful. And far more important than the amplifier is the quality of the CD player or DAC (assuming digital playback). From my perspective, with the M40s and a good DAC, the only audio considerations left are finding good recordings!

                Ned

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                  Me describing the sonic advantage a superior audio product when compared to the sound of a lesser audio product would be about as productive as me trying to describe the taste of a ripe peach. A lot of words and nothing you could sink your teeth into.

                  My confusing comments were concerning the the amp I am using and how I came to own it. Solid state and tubes (valves) are both good. I am not recommending tubes over solid state. I happened to end up on tubes because my friends/advisors helped me find a good fit. I had a choice, trust marketing hype or these entertaining fellows who build their own equipment and seem to enjoy a 400 volt shock. One thing I could do was listen to their work and compare it to name brands. For me hearing is believing.

                  Certainly you have reached a level in audio that would make almost anyone happy. I floated the Mac 275 as a possible choice for me in my discussions. Mac advertising did reach some cells in my medulla oblongata. But my friends/advisors, flatly stated with fists slaming on the table, in no uncertain terms, they could produce superior sound than the 275 (and other amps) for the same money or less. This ignited a memorable "discussion" with lots of colorful language concerning audio snobbery, marketing psychology and pitchmanship vs. performance and years of electronics experience. The entire argument was fueled with Lurgoshall mead. My friends said their approach of amp/transformers, plus changing the capacitors and other internal components would outperform the challengers OR they would gouge their own eyes out with a hot soldering iron!

                  Fortunately they succeeded in providing the promised level of improvement and still have their sight (in case you were wondering). I appreciate this approach to sonic improvements by using good existing equipment and improving the internal components to a level that exceeds a more expensive amp or pre amp. It is our belief that we live in a time when things are well designed and then built out of crapy components to increase profit (Harbeths can certainly be excluded from that generalization).

                  I was guided/pushed/carried/forced through this process by subject matter experts, I might have accepted the amp in its stock condition. But with a few improvements the amp had far more to give at a reasonable cost. This approach is for those obsessed with audio improvements. Prior to this adventure, my electronic audio improvements ended at the point I placed the credit card in the merchants hands. My last audio improvements ended in a friends basement with the smell of solder. One of these friends purchased his M40s when I did.

                  After we purchased our M40s, had the pre amp built and the amp tweaked we wondered if we might have missed other better opportunities at the same price. Even though we continue to blow away all of our friends speakers in side by side comparisons. There are a lot of heavily advertised choices out there that had us wondering. To settle this in May of 06 my friend and I went to an audio show. The link below shows what we listened to at the show. There were all sorts of designs. Ported cabinets, closed cabinets, open baffle, transmission line, single driver, electrostatic, and on and on. In my opinion the single biggest problem of all these systems was the speakers! I found we could spend tripple what we spent for the M40s and would have something that sounded almost as good...

                  There are cabinets with drivers coming out of the side, top, rear, bottom and places you can't imagine. They were photographed in bewilderment of how that many drivers and such fine furniture like cabinets could sound so lacking. My friend shook his head and offered me these words of wisdom "never trust a driver you can not see". I came away from that show with great relief that my choice was the M40s. I knew they were good but I did not realize just how good they are. Don?t get me wrong, the hardware in the photos sounds OK and is very sexy to look at. But it is just plain outperformed by the M40s. Nothing in the M40 price range came close. My equipment is not as visually sexy as the items in the photos, and did not cost as much, but it sure sounds better.


                  http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...gnin=Slideshow
                  Last edited by TNIC; 19-09-2006, 12:35 AM. Reason: I spell worse than I write.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                    TNIC,

                    I loved reading the saga of your acquiring and tweaking your amplifier; certainly when you have speakers as revealing as the M40s, you want the best signal you can get feeding them. As exotic as the components at the show (your slides) looked, I can well believe that you remain happy that you acquired the M40s. For me, the main problem with them is that I often find it difficult to give up listening when I really should be going to bed! I'll sit down to listen to one CD and end up listening to two or three - or more. Because of what I perceive to be their tonal accuracy, musical instruments - and voice - have that live quality which eludes most speakers (in my opinion).

                    Recently I was listening at a friend/dealer's house to some back-horn loaded cabinets; in each cabinet were two 15" Tannoy (vintage) drivers. They put out a lot of sound, but not with the tonal accuracy of the Harbeths. As someone put it on REG's forum the other day, the only way the M40s are leaving is if they're 'pulled from my dead, cold fingers'. My sentiments, also.

                    Ned

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                      Boom in the room!

                      Where to start? I need help getting the best from M40's.

                      More, more, more! I own a pair of SHL5's and have achieved very good results with them. Always wanting more of a good thing, a pair of M40's came up for sale locally and I greedily snatched them up.

                      Luring the M40's into my Evil Lair. Last night, far too late, I set up the speakers for the first time and achieved a sub-optimal result. The bass was overpowering on most recordings, most noticeably on analog versus CD. (For reference, I have a pair of Verity Parsifal Encore speakers that are quite full range, though I augment the lowest octave with a Martin Logan Depth powered subwoofer.) My room measures 12 feet in width, 22 feet in length and 9 feet in height.

                      Standing Tall. The M40's came with Sound Anchor stands of approximately 12" height - and over 65 pounds weight. They are solid! Sitting on the stands, my M40's look gigantic!

                      In Their Place. I have set the speakers approximately 2.5 feet from the side walls and 6 feet from the room's front wall to the rear surface of the speaker cabinet.

                      Would You Trust the Swiss? I drive the M40's with a pair of Nagra VPA amplifiers - approximately 55 watts of push-pull power from 845 direct heated triode tubes.

                      Help! Given the "boom in the room" can anyone provide guidance in setting up the M40's beyond that help provided in the standard Harbeth user's guide?

                      How should I start to work on this problem? While that guide is useful so far as it goes, a speaker of this size provides challenges that other Harbeths do not.

                      English to US Translation. Having read Alan's excellent posts on building his listening room, I am unsure what "Rockwool" is. Is this just insulation for houses? I know that I can get bags of fiberglass insulation. Is that the same?

                      Thanks to everyone for any help that you can provide.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                        OK there are a number of issues here. First of all, you can not take a speaker like the M40 and plop it down into any and all rooms and expect it to work optimally. Just to remind you: it was designed as a specialist workhorse for use in treated BBC studios where there are no bass problems at all.

                        I think there is an unfortunate combination of room and speaker's bottom end. It happens. It happened to me in my new listening room (written up here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=154). Yes, Rockwool is similar to but not the same as fibreglass: both are used for lagging building walls. They are pretty much interchangeable. Rockwool is non-irritant though.

                        What I would do is this: remove the grilles and completely stuff the ports. A pair of socks one inside the other in one, either or both ports will do the trick. This will dramatically reduce the vent outputs. That is by far the most effective workaround. If that works, then make some prettier furniture foam bungs and job done.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                          Casaross,

                          A.S. obviously knows these speakers better than anyone, so I would follow his advice to the letter. I'm a bit surprised, however, that he didn't comment on the height of your stands. 12" is very close to the floor to have the M40s sitting. I had 17" Sound Anchor stands for my SHL5s and put risers on them to get my M40s about 21" off the floor. This improved the bass reproduction, I believe. At any rate, room positioning is very important, so keep trying different configurations and ultimately you will be richly rewarded!

                          Ned

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                            Originally posted by Ned Mast
                            ... 12" is very close to the floor to have the M40s sitting
                            Yes, sorry, I missed this point. 12" is extremely low but of course, as with everything in life, compromise is necessary.

                            Reducing the port efficiency is the primary workaround and can be tested for free. Adjusting the stand height is of secondary effect. Here is a picture M40 on studio stands I designed. They lift the bottom about 970mm from the floor. The M40A rack-amp is mounted into the stand below the speaker. This works well.
                            Attached Files
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                              Casaross,
                              I agree with Ned that you need to get the 40s anywhere from 20" to 23" off the floor and try a little less toe in. I currently have 20" Skylan stands and I know that Noel Nolan is currently working on a 23-24" stand for the 40s with a tiltable base which could better assimilate BBC positioning. Get in touch with Noel as he is a wealth of knowledge concerning bases for the Harbeths and a great guy to know. He has been a tremendous help to me with the 5s and 40s.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Harbeth Monitor 40 domestic specific

                                Hi Alan and Ned,

                                Thanks to both of you for your responses. I did not expect to plop the M40's into the room and to have them magically optimize. I did, however, expect that some of the Harbeth group faithful would be able to guide me once I began to try to work these speakers into the best configuration. As usual, Alan suggested a trick that may well work and impose minimal expense. As for Ned's point on the stand height, I can easily make the stands go a bit higher just by installing the spikes. After that, I may be able to layer some wood blocks but want to take care not to send my significant investment tumbling, literally, to the floor.

                                Thanks again for your help. I will go to my drawer and withdraw my most suitable bass-damping socks. (All my high frequency attenuation socks are in the wash!)

                                Scott

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