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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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New Harbeth P3ESR

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  • Originally posted by KT88
    .......and it seems that the opinion at Harbeth is that wire can't possibly make a difference in perceived sound quality. Thus, it does seem rather hypocritical to tout the presence of "special" wiring in the P3ESR.......
    I know of another loudspeaker manufacturer who stated openly in his webpage, I quote "XXX wire does not sound any better but it may help to sell speakers to those who are concerned about wire and are not convinced that ordinary wire is just as good.". This is similar to Harbeth's position on bi-wiring and cables I don't think it is misleading. The least we can do is to salute Harbeth's honesty.
    ST

    Comment


    • Depriving the buyer ....

      So, according to your line of argument, should we should remove the OFC cable that is standard in the M40.1 from the special edition P3ESR? Would that be a satisfactory answer? Of course not: that would deprive the P3ESR customer of some technological 'off-spin' from our flagship model. That's not how business works.

      I think all of this discussion about what you think I should do, think and say is tiresome. I am making decisions on a day by day basis which a) give our customers choice which they are free to ignore if they wish b) strengthen our brand. Nobody else can make those decisions because nobody else outside Harbeth has the full facts.

      If you want to believe in cables or power conditioners, then please do so if you have the money to pay for them. There is nothing we here can (or perhaps even should) say to convince you otherwise. We have never made claims about the sonic benefit of this or that cable, but if cable is important to you, doubtless each brand and type will connote some benefit or otherwise to your lifestyle.

      It's a consumers democracy as I've said many times before. And please do remember, that we will continue to offer special editions when asked by customers to do so, at the correct commercial price. Harbeth is, and has to be to survive, a commercial business run on conventional commercial lines. I have to make business choices every day but my overarching responsibility is to nurture what we have developed together these past thirty three years for the next thirty three. If that means applying a little magic dust to any of our products, whilst still offering the standard-cost product to those not interested or willing to pay, then that is exactly what I will do.

      If you order a new car, you start with the basic specification, and add features that you think are important and are willing to pay for. Whether or not they objectively improve the performance, acceleration, fuel economy or ride is unimportant - they are the choices you value and will pay for.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Champion
        I don't think we are discussing whether cable makes a difference or not, and I think we are all very clear of Alan's position. What I would like to know is - does the potential customer get informed with Harbeth's standpoint? Remember that not every customer, especially the 'potential' buyers, take part in this forum. If Harbeth's standpoint is not conveyed to these potential buyer, and they think that these special edition are made because the design has made improvement on the sound quality, only to find out that the designer actually does not believe in cable or that thin sheet of wood veneer can change the sound, what do they feel? This gets worse if they are actually told by the dealer or by Harbeth that they are better sounding. Of course, the argument is always that they should listen first before they decide, but this is not always possible. They may listen to the standard version, and rely on dealer's recommendation on whether to get the special edition etc. This is why I am interested in what Harbeth's response would be when a potential buyer enquire about it.

        Many years ago, I read a HK audio magazine and someone wrote a letter to the chief editor asking why his special edition LS3/5A made by Harbeth does not sound special at all. And the chief editor replies saying that the special edition is a way that Alan tries to suck money out from the customers, and the parts used in there is nothing special at all. This is the kind of mis-understanding that needs to be avoid or it can do damage to Harbeth's image. I believe I still have the magazine so if anyone interested please let me know.

        Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate Alan and the team sharing their standpoints here. But if we really want to help the industry to get rid of the BS, then not only us need to be informed, we should try our best to inform the potential buyer.
        What I would like to know is - does the potential customer get informed with Harbeth's standpoint? Remember that not every customer, especially the 'potential' buyers, take part in this forum
        Do you see any deception in Harbeth webpage about their special edition? I remember someone asking about the special edition and Alan said something like" no difference, maybe I give each of them a hug".

        ..they think that these special edition are made because the design has made improvement on the sound quality..
        Can we blame Harbeth for customers perception? When I asked Sam(our local distributors) about special edition he told me the are more expensive. The next question I asked was any improvement in the sound quality to which he answered none whatsoever. Isn't it reasonable for all customers to behave like what I did? Should we blame any manufacturer of deceit?

        This is why I am interested in what Harbeth's response would be when a potential buyer enquire about it.
        Harbeth been very consistent in their response. Very recently, when I asked some question about their super tweeter, Alan stated his position very clearly and left it to the customers to decide. You can see it in the forum.

        The forum can be a better place to learn and exchange ideas, if we can accept Alan's role as a businessman, a person believes in sound engineering practice, an environmentalist and his role as a teacher in this forum. In fact, I am seeing less of his posting lately which is worrying as I have benefited more than just a pair of excellent loudspeakers since I joined this forum.
        ST
        p.s. Alan, don't you sleep? While I am struggling to type this you post a reply. ).

        Comment


        • The voice of reason ....

          Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
          Do you see any deception in Harbeth webpage about their special edition? I remember someone asking about the special edition and Alan said something like" no difference, maybe I give each of them a hug" ... Harbeth been very consistent in their response. Very recently, when I asked some question about their super tweeter, Alan stated his position very clearly and left it to the customers to decide. The forum can be a better place to learn and exchange ideas, if we can accept Alan's role as a businessman, a person believes in sound engineering practice, an environmentalist and his role as a teacher in this forum. In fact, I am seeing less of his posting lately which is worrying
          I took my daughter to the airport - she's off to Greece for two weeks (doing her bit for the Greek economy as all good Europeans should!).

          I really appreciate your posting SHL5. It strikes me as the perfect voice of reason - balanced, realistic about how consumerism and business works and worldly wise. With apt quotes. Thank you for taking the trouble to set the record straight.

          There is not much I want to add. You are correct that I have, and will continue to reduce my contributions here when I'm required to justify publicly to unknown persons, perhaps even competitors (?) business decisions that I have to and must make every day. I do wonder if those asking were to post corporate strategy questions to any other audio brand's open forum how far they'd get. Or, to Honda, Sony or Apple's directors. Not far. But I do feel a deep responsibility to share openly - or as openly as I can without weakening my commercial position - the ins and outs of Harbeth. But I cannot be expected to justify every twist and turn. And I won't be. I do not have investors behind me for that very reason - I'm taking total responsibility for my decisions. Few can say that today.

          Talking to the wider membership here, please can I ask you to respect that this is our manufacturers forum and leave me to run the business and make the strategic and tactical decisions please. You settle back and enjoy the music.

          As I have said countless times before - I am at heart a democrat. If you don't like what you hear, see or read you are free and welcome to seek out any one of innumerable other products from other companies. Please don't spoil this special relationship between Harbeth's management and it's customers. We are not here to be whipped.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
            Do you see any deception in Harbeth webpage about their special edition? I remember someone asking about the special edition and Alan said something like" no difference, maybe I give each of them a hug".

            Can we blame Harbeth for customers perception? When I asked Sam(our local distributors) about special edition he told me the are more expensive. The next question I asked was any improvement in the sound quality to which he answered none whatsoever. Isn't it reasonable for all customers to behave like what I did? Should we blame any manufacturer of deceit?
            Thanks STHLS5, this is the answer I am looking for. I never meant to say Harbeth should stop making special edition. I have absolutely no problem with that at all. If you re-read my post, I never question whether Alan's business decision is right or wrong. I never doubt Alan's integrity or honesty. I never said Harbeth has intentionally mislead customer. I did not ask why Harbeth is making special edition. All I wanted to know is - do people get consistent information from Harbeth outside this forum? And you have answered my question with a YES. This is all I wanted to know. So thanks.

            Sorry if my posts have offended others, especially Alan.

            Comment


            • UHF magazine - review of SHL5 and with designer Alan

              Originally posted by kittykat View Post
              ... if you read UHF magazine's (Issue 84, downloadable from their website and the Harbeth review was complete) review of the SHL5's, it sounds like they were completely blown away by it...
              I've just read that review and appreciate it. There is also an interview with Alan in that same edition, a really nice discussion which I enjoy as much as SHL5's review.

              Sebastien

              {Mod comment: this post needs to be moved to SHL5 section ...}

              Comment


              • Thanks for sharing, Kittykat. I have ordered the issue.

                By the way, please move to the SHL5 as required.
                Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.

                Comment


                • SHL5 UHF mag *free* review?

                  Originally posted by BAS-H View Post
                  Thanks for sharing, Kittykat. I have ordered the issue.

                  By the way, please move to the SHL5 as required.
                  The review seems to be complete in the free edition here

                  http://www.uhfmag.com/Issue84/UHF84.pdf

                  There is also an interview with Alan

                  Comment


                  • Which Harbeth for me? C7ES3 or P3ESR to replace Linn Saras

                    Hello,

                    I would like to replace my speakers, a pair of Linn Sara that I purchased in late 80's. A complete newbie in the Hi-Fi world then, I picked a very good amplifier but which revealed itself as a bad match for the demanding Saras: a Naim Audio NAP110 + NAC42 preamplifier. A month ago my NAP110 has been serviced and tweaked and the NAC42 pre-amp has been upgraded to 42.5. More power but still not enough for the Linn Sara.

                    What my present system succeeds to represent the best is small scale music (chamber music, one singer + one to three instruments, small Jazz bands, acoustic instruments); apart a the very shy bass the music sounds very realistic, with a very good reproduction of the mid-range and treble and it sounds very much three dimensional, almost as if a small band is playing and singing a few meters from me. Not so with large scale symphonic orchestra music: it sounds flat, very confused, compressed without any feeling of space or the feeling of sitting in front of a large stage. What is also missing is a more precise and punchy bass (specially low frequency)

                    The budget I dedicated to the speakers is around $2000 and I would like to audition several speakers. To get the most accurate picture of how my audio system will sound I decided to do the auditions in the "audio corner" of my living room with my own system. Most of the dealers selling speakers that I may be interested to audition do not want to hear about letting me audition the speakers at my place and the others are not enthusiastic at all about the idea but they may consider the possibility but only for two pair of speakers for a day or two, so I must narrow my choice of speakers and carefully pick the two or three speakers I will audition at my place.

                    From the intensive research that I have made on the Internet to pick the speakers available in Israel where I live, and that may work fine with my amps, the potential speakers (considering my amplifier, my room and my budget) seem to be the ProAc Studio 110, Audio Note AZ-Two or Devore Fidelity Gibbon 3. In two of the forums where I posted people recommended the Harbeth P3ESR but I have never seen any Harbeth speakers in an audio shop in Israel. After a short research in the Harbeth web site I found that there is a Israeli importer; I made contact with him this morning and I will go to audition the P3ESR next week at his place. From our little discussion on the phone he suggested that the Compact 7ES-3 maybe a better choice considering the size of the room where I listen to music. The 7ES-3 is about twice the budget I dedicated to the speakers; it will be difficult but if the 7ES-3 blow my mind and surprise me in such a way that I think of them as the speakers I want to keep for life, I may consider to increase (double) my budget.

                    The room where I listen to music is 7 meters long and 3 meters wide but the area or the "audio corner" where I actually sit to listen to music is situated in one of the extremities of the room and is 2.50 meters long (the distance between the external sides of my speakers), 3 meters wide (the distance between the wall behind my speakers and the wall behind my sofa) and the distance between me and the back wall is 30 cm.The distance between the front of my speakers and my ears is 2.50 m. The music I listen to is about 40% classical (chamber and symphonic), 40% small Jazz ensembles (vocal and instrumental) and the rest rock/pop/ mainly from the 60's and ethnic music.

                    During our conversation on the phone, the importer of Harbeth was very attentive and very friendly and also agreed if I like the speakers, to let me listen to them a second time at my place before I decide if to purchase them. In spite all that he still is a dealer who wants to sell, that's why I posted here to ask you if you think that according my room, the music I listen to and my amplifier) the Compact 7ES-3 is a better choice for me than the P3ESR ?

                    Thanks.

                    Comment


                    • In your own room

                      Really, you need to hear both the P3ESR and the C7 in your own room to make a firm judgement.

                      Both of these speakers should do what you want and especially as the listening area is a little restricted. However, I believe that the C7 will supply you with more of the scale and bass you require for your music.

                      Comment


                      • P3ESR v. C7

                        Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                        Really, you need to hear both the P3ESR and the C7 in your own room to make a firm judgement
                        Hi Dave,

                        Sure and next Monday, if he does not fly to New York, I will meet the importer of Harbeth and listen to the C7. He does not have any P3ESR left right now and I will have to wait until March to listen to both of them. I am so curious and intrigued to finally listen to a Harbeth that can't wait until March , so I hope that I will get my first impression next week.

                        Thank you very much for helping.

                        Comment


                        • C7ES3 - a demo and a revelation ...

                          Yesterday I went to the importer of Harbeth and auditioned the C7ES3 from two o'clock in the afternoon until half past six and these were four very enjoyable hours: apart from importing audio material the guy is an enthusiastic music lover and we add a good time.

                          The first piece we played was the second movement of Mahler's Symphony No 6. At first it sounded very good but not exceptional; minute after minute I found myself noticing things (musical elements) that I never noticed with my present system or with the pair of speakers (not Harbeth) that I auditioned the week before at my place.

                          With my present system I can easily hear that some of the music come from the right and some from the left or the center of an imaginary stage but for the first time I was able to hear very clearly that some of the music (bass drum, trumpet) came from the back of the stage and some more forward and other from the first row (violins). This feeling of depth was quite a stunning surprise and repeated itself in all the other genres of music we listened to: jazz, ethnic music, classical opera, rock. We listen to Maria Callas singing an aria from La Wally: the piece itself is very moving and emotional but never before human voice sounded so moving and La Callas so present.

                          Small scale music (Jazz, chamber music, acoustic instrumental music) is the one that my present system render the best and I always thought that if I was listening only this kind of music I would not change my speakers, but after a few notes from P.Wispelwey's cello playing one of Bach Cello suites and later from Keith Jarrett's piano came out of the C7ES3, I understood what I have missed. Very surprising also was to listen clearly for the first time to the sound made when Keith Jarrett pushes or releases his foot from the pedals of the piano.

                          For the audition the importer purposely used a good but simple all in one integrated amplifier (with a CD player inside) to demonstrate that even with a not expensive, not fancy amplifier and CD player the Harbeth C7 was able to deliver fantastic music. I so much enjoyed what I heard that we did not change the amplifier. Note after note it was clear to me that next pair of speaker will be a Harbeth and today I have canceled the audition of the ProAc and Audio Note that was supposed to have take place next week.

                          When I took interest in Harbeth speakers ,my intention was to audition the P3 but there are no P3 in his stock right now, maybe sometime in March. The truth is that I am very tempted to buy the C7 in spite the higher budget. The audition of the C7 at my home will take place two weeks from now and I am a bit concerned by the size of my room. As shown in the attached picture my living-room is 19 feet long x 10 feet wide but the corner where I listen to music is only 7 feet long and 10 feet wide. Today the Saras stand close to the wall but correct me if I am wrong, the C7 should stand away from the wall and this will bring them closer to my ears (around 7.5 feet ). Is it not too close for the C7? By the way I do not listen to music at high volume (the maximum I set the dial of the volume is around ten o'clock)
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • Listening to loudspeakers ... depth perspective missing from so many speakers

                            Originally posted by ummaya View Post
                            ... At first it sounded very good but not exceptional; minute after minute I found myself noticing things (musical elements) that I never noticed with my present system or with the pair of speakers (not Harbeth) that I auditioned the week before at my place.

                            With my present system I can easily hear that some of the music come from the right and some from the left or the center of an imaginary stage but for the first time I was able to hear very clearly that some of the music (bass drum, trumpet) came from the back of the stage and some more forward and other from the first row (violins). This feeling of depth was quite a stunning surprise and repeated itself in all the other genres of music we listened to: jazz, ethnic music, classical opera, rock. We listen to Maria Callas singing an aria from La Wally: the piece itself is very moving and emotional but never before human voice sounded so moving and La Callas so present....
                            Your kind observations noted. What you have experienced defines the 'Harbeth sound'. No amount of fine words here is a substitute for actually listening as you have done. We have tried to capture the essence of your experience in words, especially about the depth perspective which you particularly comment on. Harbeth owners take depth for granted as you will. Too many modern speakers have a superficially overblown sound, but upon careful listening the woofer and tweeter are fighting each other which obscures depth and increases fatigue.

                            We wonder if this TechTalk article goes anywhere along the road to explaining what you heard? Read here. Alan has mentioned and illustrated with pictures the tiny back bedroom that the C7ES3 was actually designed in which should reassure you. The C7ES3 is also highly successful in Japan (more award info to follow) where it is revered and as you know accommodation space in Japan is very small compared with the west. Enjoy.

                            Comment


                            • Hyper priced speakers fool the listener ...

                              Originally posted by HUG-1 View Post

                              Harbeth owners take depth for granted as you will. Too many modern speakers have a superficially overblown sound, but upon careful listening the woofer and tweeter are fighting each other which obscures depth and increases fatigue.
                              That's very true. A lot of so called hyper priced speakers have exagerrated highs to fool the listener into believing that the sound is transparent when in fact its only trying to mask a lack of transparency, resolution, texture & expressiveness in the critical midband. Besides depth, things like musicality, tonal & timbral accuracy are also taken for granted but one listen to any other speakers, & it immediately becomes very clear that no other speaker (irregardless of price) does the musicality & tonality thingy quite like a Harbeth.

                              Comment


                              • Auditioning C7ES3 - remembered the TechTalk

                                Originally posted by HUG-1 View Post
                                We wonder if this TechTalk article goes anywhere along the road to explaining what you heard? Read here
                                Sure it does, I have read this interesting article and downloaded the MP3 audio example during my first visit to the website. While I was auditioning the C7 I instantly remembered the article.


                                Enjoy
                                Thank you. I believe that I will enjoy my own C7 sooner than I thought since the audition of the C7 at my place has been forwarded to next week.

                                Comment

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