HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

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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finally today I received my new P3ESR rosewo...BUT does they have defects on the color of the wood??

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  • #16
    Dreaming of the tree ...

    I have to agree with GregD that it looks beautiful and unique. I can't help but wonder what that tree looked like.

    I actually found myself day dreaming the tree as I looked at your pictures and it was the most peaceful moment I've had all day here at work.

    I can certainly understand why some people would dislike it but I personally love the different grain patterns, color variations and especially knots in wood veneers and furniture.


    • #17
      Uniqueness in nature

      That was one funky tree! I really like the uniqueness - beautiful.


      • #18
        Variations add charm

        My pair have anomalies as well. The veneer on the top of one rolls just a bit which can be seen in the right light. I love my pair and see the variation as part of the each his own I suppose.


        • #19
          Fantastic atmosphere at home thanks to P3ESR

          FOR ALAN: it is quite impossible to imagine for me that managing director was reading and interested in my doubts on my new pe3sr. i like to have "natural things" but in the first impression I was quite confusing on how much natural were my p3esr.

          yesterday evening I spent with my wife/child hours to listen our new harbeth. they created a so fantastic atmosphere in the house. incredible and warm sound. my wife is a pianist and her impression, on some piano CD we heard, were so enthusiastic.

          after all these writing in this post, I have to say that I spent a lot of time and money to select the speaker, and I have to say thanks to you Alan and your team on the sound you are able to recreate on a so small cabinet. your hard work is appreciated. repeat, my post was not to depreciate your work.


          • #20
            Never looks boring!

            Same here for liking the natural features in the wood grain of this stunning rosewood pair.

            Harbeth at least give us interesting, individual and exciting wood-patterns of which we can be proud. No boring grain which resembles that of artificial vinyl-wrap 'veneer', all to common on modern speakers (even some so-called piano-finish units have vinyl as a base).

            Mo Iqbal, founder and former owner of Monitor Audio would love this pair; he is from Africa and likes unusual, even wild grain-patterns and whenever he could, he would see to it that his most expensive 'Studio' series models would get the most exciting wood, with eye-patterns, wild flames and contrasting colours. Like a Harbeth, no MA Studio speaker looked boring.


            • #21
              Not mass produced

              It is of course a question of personal taste. For me these P3 look especially lovely.
              You can see that this is not a computer-assembled mass-product. It somehow looks alive.

              Still, personal taste.


              • #22
                The dividing line between quality, and the variability of nature

                We at Harbeth UK much appreciate your understanding that with rosewood veneer - perhaps more than any other veneer- there will be significant differences form pair to pair.

                The L/R veneers are matched so that the features of the left speaker are as closely matched to the right speaker as humanly possible. Please bear in mind that the veneer sheets (or leaves as they are known) used to make each speaker come from adjacent slices of the tree and as features (side shoots for example) are nearer the outside of the tree will slowly disappear as the veneer slices advance through the tree. So there are lots of reasons why adjacent pairs of speakers may look very different - but within a wide range must be considered normal and sellable.

                As I mentioned before, because we work very closely with our cabinet makers for many years of continuous production, they know what we want and expect and rarely do we disagree over veneers. More of an issue is transit damage from them to us (where an idiot puts a forklift through a pallet of cabinets), occasional human error and the like. What happens to the cabinets we are not totally happy with? Sadly, no matter how beautiful the veneer we have to destroy them, which is a crying shame and waste of natural resources. But there must be no possibility that these cabinets will mysteriously work their way back into the supply chain. We work really hard to try and avoid this: the 'graded for charity' is one occasional solution.

                Attached pictures of the end of the road for a few cabinets. From this distance they look beautiful, but I can assure you that for one reason or another they just are not good enough. And yes, unless the supplier will play ball with us (sometimes they will, sometimes not) Harbeth UK just has to take the financial hit on the chin. Basic quality must be maintained, but veneers will vary, as you can see from these few rosewood SHL5s. But these veneer variations you see are considered normal, 'in spec' and perfectly sellable.

                NOTE: The cabinets here awaiting their demise are not piled-up as pairs, (although the paired cabinets will definitely be in this group, somewhere) so this gives an idea of veneer variations across a large batch.

                Attached Files
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK


                • #23
                  Veneer variations in rosewood

                  Pictures of M40.1 in rosewood being assembled today.

                  Pictures lightened a little to show veneer variation; actually colour is darker than this under natural light.

                  Significant variations pair to pair but all extremely beautiful we think. Rosewood P3ESR (and C7ES3, SHL5 and M30) all from the same veneer supplier so will exhibit similar features from time to time, week to week, batch to batch. Or may be more straight-grained. We never know. That's poart of the pleasure of receiving a new batch of cabinets!
                  Attached Files


                  • #24
                    A critic speaks

                    Yes, they are beautiful. I know this will be censored, like my other recent posts that dare to disagree with Alan or Harbeth-but pablozz' P3's are decidedly not beautiful. Why not just own up to that and admit it? No one is perfect!

                    {Moderator's comment: nobody can decide what another finds beautiful. Harbeth Uk would make and happily sell that pair again. It is within what we consider normal veneer variation. If the user is not satified, we have explained what we will do to make him satisfied. Your persistent (deleted) posts are not constructive when the action plan is perfectly clear to all.}


                    • #25
                      Wow! Beautiful!

                      Wow!! the rosewood veneer is beautiful..Who will be the lucky guy? May be I have to get another pair :-)


                      • #26
                        My unique pair - and cables/tube amp info

                        Hi friend, you have to a lot :-) this is a unique pair. if you visit italy, i will happy to show/listen them.

                        friends now I am in confusion about cabling from vacuum tube amplifier and p3esr. I tried van den hul cs122 but not completely happy. the mid high freqencies was cutted. do you have experience on some specific cable for combination between p3es2 and a vacuum tube amplifier? what do you think with kimber 8tc?



                        • #27
                          Kimber 8TC cable

                          Kimber 8TCs are quite fast sounding with extended highs. Do give them a try, you might like them. But as in all things hifi & then some, YMMV.

                          {Moderator's comment: "YMMV"????}


                          • #28

                            YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary.

                            = You may see/hear it differently depending on your preferences.


                            • #29
                              Love the unique veneer

                              I love that veneer! I would feel very fortunate that my speakers were so unique if they were mine. I asked my wife to look at the photos and she thought they were gorgeous and that the pattern almost 'told a story'.

                              I haven't read the whole thread, so I don't the fate of that particular pair, but if they are languishing (in disgrace) in the corner of a shop or warehouse or factory somewhere, I can provide an address for what will be a loving home for many, many years and where it's wonderful, unique, natural patterns will be admired rather than villified.