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"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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Help setting up SHL5's

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  • #16
    Thanks Lars; I have moved the speakers a bit and have gotten a better balance, they seem more susceptible to placement than others I have used. I have played quite a bit today and I have been enjoying what I hear. (I also am feeling better today; I didn't realize I was feeling as bad as I was the other day, which can have a big affect.)


    • #17
      Hey, Brian.

      I know there are some in the HUG who believe that stands don't make much of a difference, but I think you'll find a set of dedicated stands to be helpful. From your picture (great room, BTW), I'm inclined to think that you're SHL 5's are up a bit too high, which could contribute to the thin bass you're experiencing. I've had good luck with the Foundation stands under my Monitor 30's, and these stands are specifically designed for each Harbeth model. The height spec for the Foundation SHL 5 stand is 17.3", and it would be interesting mto know if the Skylan stand measures the same or close. I don't think you could go wrong with either stand, but perhaps you could try a 2.3" set of wooden blocks under you current stand and see what you think.

      Good luck!

      Bob LaBarca
      State College, PA


      • #18
        my c7 setup in room and my shl5 setup in hall. Both away from back wall 17+inches too measurement taken from back panel corner which nearest to the wall. This give me most bal bass for most musics. I too feel both speakers need to away from side more than back wall.
        "Bath with Music"


        • #19
          What is your source, Brianm? There are significant differences in harshness / forwardness of sources. Had an eighties CD player once; a modern replacement was a significant improvement. Have you any other source you can plug into your system to eliminate this as the cause? Ipod? Walkman? Anything different from the one you're using?

          Good luck sorting it.
          Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


          • #20
            Have never found the SHL5's sounding harsh/ forward or bright. Just doesn't fit the lexicon of this speaker. brianm, do notice that the toe-in is to the extent that the inner sidewalls disappear. This would make most speakers sound brighter, but not harsh on these ones, unless it is due to the recording.


            • #21
              I have lowered the speakers two inches and the stands are not around 18.5".. This made little difference in the sonics of the system. I plan to push the speakers back closer to the wall for curiosity, but suspect it will hurt imaging. I do think better stands would help, but I am not convinced it will get me all the way to where I want, so I really don't want to purchase them for naught; I really feel that my room is simply too big for them.

              As for source, I hear the same with multiple sources; they can be viewed at the link above.

              I have very little toe-in with these speakers kittykat; the picture on AG may appear differently. That said, I could move them almost straight just to experiment.

              The SHL5's are incredibly open and airy, magical at times, but overall I am not getting a balance in my large room with vaulted ceiling.


              • #22
                As Bas-H and KT88 mentioned, the SHL5s could be a bit too close together in relation to the listening position.
                Alan Shaw recommends a ratio of 1 to 1.5, the latter being the listening distance, and HF unit ear level - with SHL5 that could be ear at supertweeter height or a bit lower.

                Very little or no toe-in is not a guarantee for the least HF presence. A fair amount of it, just shy of directly pointed at the sweetspot can in fact give better overall tonal balance.

                A good starting point is: toe-in so you just loose sight of the inner cabinet sides. This makes them cross behind you and often gives a good balance of focus vs dispersion. It may not help but perhaps it is worth a try. Good luck.


                • #23
                  Actually I think kittykat may have hit it; while it was a thought of mine early on to straighten them out more (less toe-in), and I did, this morning I did a some more and they are sounding very good right now; I have been hesitant to run and post anything so early on as initial impressions can turn around on you, but things seem to have fallen into place much better after the latest tweak.

                  As for moving them further apart, I am restricted much beyond what they are now.


                  • #24
                    The SHL5's are imo the most un-fussy speakers. They sound the best when you forget the silly hifi folklore and just do the most practical and easiest things with them. Get a decent amp and source, plop them on some stable stands and away they go. Place them like they look the best in your living room.


                    • #25
                      If the AG picture still represent the present situation I think the speakers cable don't need to levitate.
                      Because the speakers vibrate I think is better to move down the Luxman in order to don't have an levitated cable.

                      And still a few words about the cables:
                      Many speakers brand seems to renounce at bi-wiring (or even tri-wiring) aproach. But, if you still have a bi-wiring speaker and a bi-wiring cable the best solutions is to go with bi-wiring but also, with a shortest good jumpers.
                      I still belive that a piece of metal betwen a speakers connectors could change a sound. That why I don't use connetors like spade or bananas ... just plug the cable directly.
                      I hope this will give an answer for those who still belives in HL versus LF ,for first connection to the Harbeths before the jumpers (ex. SHL5).

                      Best regards!