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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Newest owner of Super HL5 in Korea !

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  • Newest owner of Super HL5 in Korea !

    Hello everone,

    I just became a proud, and happy owner of Harbeth SHL5 like many of you, after years of love and hate relationship with many speakers that came and went in my living room.

    Interestingly when I went looking for this back few years ago, no dealers I know in Korea carried them. They always gave me that strange look, "Harbeth ?? "

    Fast forward to present day, last week when I went back to the shops to buy new pair of speakers, many of them had Harbeth products in display. The Harbeth sound seemed to have caught up so fast, that now many of those dealers who gave me a strange look were saying "Harbeth is a true masterpiece and you must know your stuff ! Come on in !" They all seemed to follow the similar welcome tag line, although they were still very much confused about the product lineup and the history of Harbeth.

    The good thing is I was well aware of Harbeth and these dealers had numerous Harbeth models in display for audition. So I decided to trust my own judgment. (although all along, my mind was set up on SHL5 admittedly due to Stereophile class A rating. Shame on me for relying on them but hey, they are right sometimes and definitely on Harbeth, they are dead right)

    With my price range, the choice was between M30 and SHL5. A very though decision. Actually when I auditioned them side by side, M30 sounded superior, more expensive sounding highs, more revealing and defined sound, it seemed. I was actually disappointed with SHL5. They sounded too laid back...veiled... However, at the last minute, I stuck with SHL5 since SHL5 threw a deeper and wider soundstage, and in all honesty yes, it was Stereophile class A. (with a big hope that their judgment is better than mine, and it would actually sound better in my home and with my system)

    Well, I have been with SHL5 for a week now, and I now understand why one of the reviewers said along the line of "SHL5 should not be auditioned side by side. Give it a respect it deserve and just listen to them for a long time and more..."

    These speakers are marvel. Beautiful and such a seemless integration of high, mid and low, beautiful, "colorless" midrange, and on and on..You all heard before. They all came true in my living room. I once had my friends over for a dinner and one of my friend's wife cried listening to my Harbeth. What more could I say ? "Emotionally captivating" is how I would describe SHL5's sound summed up in few words. I think it is one of the highest praises one can give on an audio equipment.

    Lastly, I know there are many discussion on the amplifiers to use etc...For me, I have Power Module's Belles 28A pre-amp and Belles 350A reference amp with Ayre D1XE multi player and WOW... I believe they match so beautifully with SHL5. SHL5 sings with such a joy. Naim brand also matched extremely well when I heard them with SHL5 at the dealership. ( I almost bought Naim CD5X before I settled on used Ayre D1XE, one of the best bargains I had) Only thing I am debating now is whether to switch my speaker cables. ( I currently have silver wires made by HGA but I am not sure if silver wires are best match for SHL5..I may go with Kimber or Cardas line) If any of you has any good recommendation, please do let me know !!

    When I get around to it, I will put up few pictures of my system..very excited to join this fine user group with such a good exchange of info and interaction.. I am extra thrilled and impressed that Harbeth owner and designer actually spending time interacting with all of us here at the forum. How can Harbeth go wrong when there is this much passion and energy....

    Thanks for a beautiful gift Harbeth. I have a feeling this one is going to be staying with me for a very long time to come... :-) Good night to all !! back to listening to Harbeth now....

  • #2
    Re: Newest owner of Super HL5 in Korea !

    Welcome, pkoh 70!

    It's great to hear your enthusiasm for these fine musical instruments that we all listen to. For me, the Monitor 30's were the correct choice, and I have a pair of Compact 7's (es-2 version) around as well.

    One of the best things about the Harbeths is that they sound great with just about anything decent in front of them in the audio chain. I've used mine with a wide variety of pre-amps and amps, vintage and modern, tube and solid state, as well as many different interconnect cables and speaker cables. Regardless, the Harbeth "voice" speaks clearly in any combination. So I wouldn't worry about those speaker cables too much!

    Music bringing tears to your friend's eyes is indeed what it's all about. We are all quite fortunate to have these speakers that are built to the service of art and musical communication.


    Bob LaBarca
    State College,PA


    • #3
      Re: Newest owner of Super HL5 in Korea !

      Originally posted by pkoh70 View Post of my friend's wife cried listening to my Harbeth.
      It is quite rare for someone to shed tears when listening to a stereo system. If it happens, I suppose it is more of a function of an emotional response to the music rather than the sound quality of the system. It can be due to a joyous occasion or memories of sad moments such as passing of a close friend or relative. Nonetheless, the organic qualities of the Harbeth can be a factor too. Good to hear the Harbeth has worked out for you.