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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.

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Super tweeter and Super HL5

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  • Super tweeter and Super HL5

    After questioning to myself the role of the super tweeter in a speaker listened to by someone with no longer the hearing of a 20 year old, I read the thread on the same topic, and it has led me to ask the following: Could the dimensions of the Super HL5 alone with it's cross-over (different I would imagine than the one in the C7 ES3), account for the increased air and openness over the C7 ES3?

    I realize that it's the end result that counts, but if others have been curious and someone has had the good fortune to compare the Super HL5 and it's predecessor, I would enjoy reading their thoughts. Please note that I only know the C7 ES3 but have been intrigued by everything that I have read on the Super HL5.

    {Moderator's comment: you imply that the C7ES3 is the predecessor of the SHL5. That is completely incorrect. They are two entirely parallel model lines. The SHL5 was introduced about fifteen years before the C7ES3. Both sell very well. They both have a slot in the market.}

  • #2
    Clarification

    Originally posted by Yellow lab View Post
    After questioning to myself the role of the super tweeter in a speaker listened to by someone with no longer the hearing of a 20 year old, I read the thread on the same topic, and it has led me to ask the following: Could the dimensions of the Super HL5 alone with it's cross-over (different I would imagine than the one in the C7 ES3), account for the increased air and openness over the C7 ES3?

    I realize that it's the end result that counts, but if others have been curious and someone has had the good fortune to compare the Super HL5 and it's predecessor, I would enjoy reading their thoughts. Please note that I only know the C7 ES3 but have been intrigued by everything that I have read on the Super HL5.

    {Moderator's comment: you imply that the C7ES3 is the predecessor of the SHL5. That is completely incorrect. They are two entirely parallel model lines. The SHL5 was introduced about fifteen years before the C7ES3. Both sell very well. They both have a slot in the market.}
    To clarify; predecessor was meant to refer to the predecessor of the Super HL5, the speaker which the Super HL5 replaced, and not to the 7 series which I regard as a different speaker altogether.

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    • #3
      A lesson from Japan about speaker performance ...

      Originally posted by Yellow lab View Post
      ... Could the dimensions of the Super HL5 alone with it's cross-over (different I would imagine than the one in the C7 ES3), account for the increased air and openness over the C7 ES3?...
      Now, this is a really interesting question, and up-front I must give the truthful answer 'I just don't know'. But your comment about openness etc. is very much a personal opinion. It is not an objective certainty in the way that, say, the frequency response of a speaker is an unarguable fact. Indeed, although one listener (or even geographical market) may strongly prefer speaker A, another may strongly prefer B, claiming the exact same sonic benefits or advantages of one over another just as you illustrate. This is reflected in the sales figures per model, but taken across the whole of our production portfolio, I'd say that the C7ES3 is about as popular as the SHL5.

      Last spring, thanks to the Icelandic volcano, a two week trip became six weeks in the far east and I travelled around several countries and met many Harbeth distributors and customers. It gave me a chance to hear the various current and previous models side by side in very different listening rooms, almost or actually all of which were far more lively (untreated) than I would prefer for serious listening myself. Maybe that is a significant factor, but as I listened (eyes closed) I could all too easily visualise the frequency response plot of the speaker as measured back at Harbeth UK. What I found - and this has niggled me ever since - is that there was a relatively poor correlation between the flatness of the measured response and the speakers seductive appeal and the subjective appraisal such as 'air' and 'openness'. As was said to me in Japan over twenty years ago when I first delivered the prototype HL Compact to the very keen ears there ... 'she is like a pretty girl with a small beauty spot on her cheek. The 'imperfections' actually enhance the appeal ...'.

      It seems clear to me now looking back over the various speakers that I have designed that it is just as well that my basic design knowledge was so slim because otherwise I would have (predictably) designed only for a ruler flat frequency response (rather than a balance between science and sound) and that would almost certainly have given the various speakers a completely different, and probably sterile sound. The dilemma I now have is how to move forward now that I have more knowledge and far more sophisticated technical facilities. One itches to use the power of engineering computing to aim for an objectively perfect result, but that could all so easily design-out the very 'beauty spots' that make the speakers so appealing. Extreme caution is required which is why we are in a period of consolidation and study, with an open mind as to what direction to take.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        Super HL5 and super tweeter...

        Thank you Mr. Shaw for your candid and thoughtful comments. I enjoyed your post.

        Happy holidays to you.

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        • #5
          The SHL5 draws me in ....

          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          One itches to use the power of engineering computing to aim for an objectively perfect result, but that could all so easily design-out the very 'beauty spots' that make the speakers so appealing. Extreme caution is required which is why we are in a period of consolidation and study, with an open mind as to what direction to take.
          Having heard every Harbeth model, I can confidently say I could live happily with any one of them.

          That said, it has always seemed to me that the Super HL5 has a certain "magic" that makes it uniquely appealing. The Monitor 40.1 is undoubtedly the flagship and probably better in every objective respect, and the new models such as the Compact 7-ES3 are (I'm guessing) probably more neutral. But there's a certain je ne sais quoi about the SHL5 - if I ever get a larger listening room, that's the one for me. I can't really say why, however. It just draws me in.

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