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Sonic differences SHL5+ anniversary edition?

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  • Sonic differences SHL5+ anniversary edition?

    Dear Harbeth Devotees,

    I fell in love with the SHL5+, and about to order a pair, but not sure if I should go for the 40th Anniversary Edition. What sonic improvements can I expect from the anniversary edition?

    SQ wise, I understand the limited SHL5+ offers custom internal wiring and custom capacitors. Reading the forums, the 30th anniversary SHL5 only had different wiring of which Alan himself said the impact was small. But changing capacitors could IMHO have a bigger impact.

    Did anyone compare the regular SHL5+ to the 40th anniversary edition?



    FYI:

    (this is not relevant for my question above but my experience might be interesting for current SHL5 owners considering an upgrade to the Plus version)

    I brought my trusty SHL5 30th anniversary to my dealer (Beter Beeld en Geluid), so I could a extensive direct comparison to the SHL5+ (non anniversary) and M30.1.

    The M30.1 mids are breathtaking, and overall the M30.1 has a little more PraT: which was quite obvious listening to complex electronic music. It was easier to follow the different musical rhythm and tunes. Can completely understand why people prefer the M30.1. My dealer suggested the M30.1 makes analysing music easier and offers more insight, and the HL5plus does a more complete, grandiose presentation of the music, to which I can only agree.

    I prefer the SHL5+:

    Interestingly, it was quite obvious the the original SHL5 and the Plus truly share the same character. However, the conclusions of the direct comparison were clear and specifically fixing my two gripes with my original SHL5s. First, the bass is better defined and less boomy (my big issue with my SHL5, I added some dampening the cabinet to some effect), and secondly, the treble is more energetic, sparkle and extended. Especially with electronic/techno music this is amazing and exactly what I was looking for.

    In addition, the overall sound seemed even more cohesive, natural and detailed and music came more loose from the speaker (for the lack of a better word), presenting a more 3d image and soundstage. Mids presented more texture. More 'magical' and more 'emotional', voices are even more present. The new filter is genuinely more transparant, quite an amazing feat. The plus is better in every single way. The countless rave reviews to be found online are true.

    I would never recommend a buying a speaker without audition. But if you are a SHL5 owner from the previous generation, I think you safely can upgrade to Plus if you feel that urge.

  • #2
    The gestation of the SHL5plus Anniversary edition ....

    Originally posted by jeroen View Post
    Dear Harbeth Devotees,

    I fell in love with the SHL5+, and about to order a pair, but not sure if I should go for the 40th Anniversary Edition. What sonic improvements can I expect from the anniversary edition? SQ wise, I understand the limited SHL5+ offers custom internal wiring and custom capacitors. Reading the forums, the 30th anniversary SHL5 only had different wiring of which Alan himself said the impact was small. But changing capacitors could IMHO have a bigger impact.

    Did anyone compare the regular SHL5+ to the 40th anniversary edition?


    FYI:

    (this is not relevant for my question above but my experience might be interesting for current SHL5 owners considering an upgrade to the Plus version)

    I brought my trusty SHL5 30th anniversary to my dealer (Beter Beeld en Geluid), so I could a extensive direct comparison to the SHL5+ (non anniversary) and M30.1.

    The M30.1 mids are breathtaking, and overall the M30.1 has a little more PraT: which was quite obvious listening to complex electronic music. It was easier to follow the different musical rhythm and tunes. Can completely understand why people prefer the M30.1. My dealer suggested the M30.1 makes analysing music easier and offers more insight, and the HL5plus does a more complete, grandiose presentation of the music, to which I can only agree.

    I prefer the SHL5+:

    Interestingly, it was quite obvious the the original SHL5 and the Plus truly share the same character. However, the conclusions of the direct comparison were clear and specifically fixing my two gripes with my original SHL5s. First, the bass is better defined and less boomy (my big issue with my SHL5, I added some dampening the cabinet to some effect), and secondly, the treble is more energetic, sparkle and extended. Especially with electronic/techno music this is amazing and exactly what I was looking for.

    In addition, the overall sound seemed even more cohesive, natural and detailed and music came more loose from the speaker (for the lack of a better word), presenting a more 3d image and soundstage. Mids presented more texture. More 'magical' and more 'emotional', voices are even more present. The new filter is genuinely more transparant, quite an amazing feat. The plus is better in every single way. The countless rave reviews to be found online are true.

    I would never recommend a buying a speaker without audition. But if you are a SHL5 owner from the previous generation, I think you safely can upgrade to Plus if you feel that urge.
    OK, I'm going to wade in here and save a whole ton of soul searching and anxiety! Or at least try to.

    First, your post needs to be read with the understanding that, I think, you are comparing the SHL5 with the SHL5plus, and not the SHL5plus Anniversary Edition. So may I deal with the SHL5/plus first?

    Externally we'd all agree that these speakers look practically identical and could be confused. However, the SHL5plus is a complete redesign of the concept from the ground up. You can think of the speaker as a 737 jet. The SHL5 is the 737-200 model and the SHL5plus, the 737-500 and the SHL5plus Anniversary Edition the 737-NextGen. Externally very similar but under the skin, quite different.

    Now, the only person alive who knows the truth about the SHL5plus Anniversary Edition is me, so please take this as the truth and save yourself a heap of effort trying to double guess the truth when it's here right in front of you!

    I have just returned from the Bristol HiFi show 2017. I spent three days continuously manning the Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary room (234). The only break I has was one hour on Saturday. So I have played and listened to these speakers exclusively for some 23 hours. The first point to make is that as I do not have hifi at home, after I completed the design a few weeks ago I have not had the time or curiosity to listen to the Anniversary 5s, so the Bristol show was, by design, my opportunity to experience them afresh, just as you would in a dealer's store or when you opened the cartons at home. I was very satisfied indeed with what I heard and many visitors actually used the world "beautiful" as they left the room to describe their sonic experience. That is exactly what I was hoping for. The sounds I heard as I entered and departed the Show were so horrifyingly 'hifi', so dirty, so false, so one dimensional, so harsh that the contrast with the Harbeth room was a shock to me, let alone visitors. The one think I can absolutely assure you of is that there is absolutely zero listening fatigue with these speakers. I didn't sleep terribly well because I wanted to get back to playing more great music as soon as the sun was up.

    In the three or so years since the SHL5plus was introduced, I have learned a few new tricks, and those are woven into the SHL5plus Anniversary edition, so there are genuine physical changes that you would find for yourself if you dismantled an Anniversary SHL5plus, a standard SHL5plus, and there are many physical changes if you compared them against the original SHL5.

    So, what are the changes and how important are they? I approached the design having been driven by my colleagues Andy (Production Manager) and Emma (Brand Manager) to embody every last molecule of design ability in a something-very-special model. I admit that at several planning meetings over the months, that I stuck to my view that we should, as usual, do everything we could to minimise cost, especially in the present unsettled global environment.

    Both Andy and Emma are in direct daily communication with our customers, and evidently I'm not, and over these meetings they demonstrated to me that the Anniversary speakers had to be truly special, and that I had to get it out of my head that cost minimisation was a sensible goal. They slowly brought me around to the view that this corporate Anniversary is special, and freed from cost constraint, could I be more creative? They won me over eventually and I agreed that I could be, and even found myself signing a bank transfer a week or two later for Eur. 50,000 of first batch ordered custom parts, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically committing myself to the project.

    Freed from cost constraint, I explored various options, not as a serial process but with the mind set that as we were committed, I might as well pick the parts that I wanted, have custom ones made where necessary and treat this as a holistic indivisible upgrade - my best shot. Can it be truly said that x% of the improvement of the SHL5plus Anniversary edition is from the terminals, that y% is due to the biwire links, that z% is due to the crossover? No; the design was not tackled that way. I didn't need to penny pinch so I invested in the Bill of Materials without concern about cost and without dragging out the process over months neurosing over this or that dollar part.

    So my appeal to you would be to approach the SHL5plus Anniversary speaker as a whole, accept it for that is is, enjoy it, cherish it, be amazed by it, be moved and astonished by its resolving capability and just leave it at that and get back to the music!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      The gestation of the SHL5plus Anniversary edition ....

      So my appeal to you would be to approach the SHL5plus Anniversary speaker as a whole, accept it for that is is, enjoy it, cherish it, be amazed by it, be moved and astonished by its resolving capability and just leave it at that and get back to the music!
      As a frequent flyer and part-time aviation nut I loved your 737 comparisons.

      Believe me, after my the SHL5plus Normal (Non-Anniversary) audition I could easily approach that specific speaker as a whole, accept it for that is is, enjoy it, cherish it, be amazed by it, be moved and astonished by its resolving capability and just leave it at that and get back to the music.

      (FYI: I still can with my current 30th anniversary SHL5's)
      .
      I have a strong preference for the Tiger Ebony finish of the SHL5+. But on the other side I am intrigued by The 40th anniversary edition, which is walnut (that would be me 2nd choice). So I now have to make a choice between my preferred looks (just love tiger ebony) or the next gen

      Thanks for your reply!

      Comment


      • #4
        My audio unit is walnut, the floor is walnut, I even persuaded Bradley at HiFi Racks to make me a special order pair of Harbeth SHL5+ stands in walnut a year or so ago. But the speakers are Rosewood. So I'm pretty cheesed off they are now available in walnut and I'm not changing for a tweaked version of the same speaker.
        So let's hope the SHL5++ comes in walnut and that the success of this version becomes a permanent feature in the form of a SHL5++SE.

        What I would like to know is if A.S. tested with a batch of components and included them on performance irrespective of price, or whether they were substituted on the presumption that better overall performance would be acheived as a maxed out product.

        I mentioned a few months ago that another speaker manufacturer of similarly long standing to Harbeth designed a new range of speakers, using a previous range name with high brand value, with each of the three designs made to meet a specific retail price-point. I think this wasn't a bad idea. The money did not go on the drivers, as they make their own and they have remained largely unchanged for about 30 years. That said, the most expensive one has a lacquered finish that is stunningly beautiful (for a wooden box) and apparently takes 3 weeks to apply. That suggests to me that after the second design they ran out of ideas and spent the money on the cabinet. They use high quality Mungdorf capacitors in all the crossovers.

        I bought the standmount speaker from that range for 1,000 in 1998. The new version is 3,750. I wonder how much HL speakers have gone up in the last 20 years.

        p.s. Didn't understand the 737 analogy, way beyond me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ssfas View Post
          p.s. Didn't understand the 737 analogy, way beyond me.
          I think that the analogy was meant to try and show that, although the SHL5 and SHL5plus may have many external visual similarities, they are in fact two quite different designs, created many years apart, using quite different knowledge bases and improved technologies.

          The Boeing 737-200 model and the 737-500 and the 737-NextGen are all twin-engined jet airliners. However, they will likely vary in the performance of their engines (e.g. maximum thrust, fuel efficiency), their drag at cruise speed and altitude (e.g. caused by different wing profiles), and also in such things as their avionics and the qualities of their internal cabin air conditioning systems, etc. Many of those changes are "under the hood", so to speak.

          I hope that the analogy that was used makes a bit more sense now.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ssfas View Post
            I mentioned a few months ago that another speaker manufacturer of similarly long standing to Harbeth designed a new range of speakers, using a previous range name with high brand value, with each of the three designs made to meet a specific retail price-point. I think this wasn't a bad idea. The money did not go on the drivers, as they make their own and they have remained largely unchanged for about 30 years. That said, the most expensive one has a lacquered finish that is stunningly beautiful (for a wooden box) and apparently takes 3 weeks to apply. That suggests to me that after the second design they ran out of ideas and spent the money on the cabinet. They use high quality Mungdorf capacitors in all the crossovers.

            I bought the standmount speaker from that range for 1,000 in 1998. The new version is 3,750. I wonder how much HL speakers have gone up in the last 20 years.
            If I am correct on the speaker brand you are talking about, I had their Nautilus standmount speaker until three years ago, when a very brief mistake with another British speaker maker (horribly 'hi-fi', fatiguing and boomy) led me to finally bite the bullet and listen to Harbeth. My P3ESR's are better in every (musically) conceivable way than anything I've had before costing three times as much and Harbeth will now be my final destination for speakers, and even more so if I do manage to convince myself of another visit to Hi-Fi Dave for a listen to the M30.1's.

            I am very envious - in the nicest possible way - of what your SHL5's are capable of giving you, even if they are Rosewood

            Comment


            • #7
              Even in consideration of the above chronicle of the latest design brief, the machinations of what make this iteration an improvement seem somewhat vague and scant - and dare I say it - out of step with usual Harbeth modus operandi. Have customised component changed the sound in your estimation? What forward steps have been made in respect of crossover, assuming changes here?

              Manufacturers riding a gravy of seeming endless 'improvements' to ostensibly the same product is the bugbear of many in this hobby. The previous run-down of the plus design evolution, though no doubt time consuming, was enlightening and informative. Indeed, I still hope to upgrade to a pair someday.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by barryb1983 View Post
                Even in consideration of the above chronicle of the latest design brief, the machinations of what make this iteration an improvement seem somewhat vague and scant - and dare I say it - out of step with usual Harbeth modus operandi. Have customised component changed the sound in your estimation? What forward steps have been made in respect of crossover, assuming changes here?

                Manufacturers riding a gravy of seeming endless 'improvements' to ostensibly the same product is the bugbear of many in this hobby. The previous run-down of the plus design evolution, though no doubt time consuming, was enlightening and informative. Indeed, I still hope to upgrade to a pair someday.
                I deliberated over whether to allow the above contribution to appear or not. It strikes me as harsh and mean spirited when I have invested my time (and money) in designing the Anniversary Edition and when I have laid out, clearly, my position a few posts back. I honestly thought that would be the end of the matter.

                Let me have another go then, although I'm just going to repeat myself. Frankly, I don't care and nor should a music lover where the sonic advantages of the Anniversary SHL5 arise from, the fact is that the benefits are incremental, subtle, tangible, audible, measurable and real and that should be both respected and celebrated. As I stated, clearly, the Bill of Materials is different, and the design must be considered holistically. Further ruminations trying to attribute a percentage rating to the individual elements is daft, so please don't bother.

                I may or may not be around in ten years for Harbeth's 50th anniversary, so I think I've earned the right after 30 years of speaker design to celebrate that, and bring a smile to even more music lovers.

                Harbeth is most definitely not constrained by the past, not commercially, not emotionally, not physically, not financially, and not in engineering and product strategy. Brexit, just as an example, has thrown a serious and totally unexpected business challenge in our direction right at the end of my working lifetime when I thought I understood the world and our tiny place in it. Consequently, I'm looking at all the assumptions that I've made about my company, my work, my countrymen and our customers (95% of our production is exported) and I see challenges and great opportunities for new thinking. The old world is drawing to a close - Mrs. May's seen to that - and we move on, or wither.

                What is blindingly obvious is that we have under-marketed ourselves for years. Last week's Bristol audio show proved beyond doubt just how special the Harbeth sound is, and as you know, that was the Anniversary SHL5plus on continuous demo. And now, finally, thirty years on, I actually believe it. The strength of orders for the new products proves beyond doubt that consumers around the world want to be part of the Anniversary. And with the biggest unit shipment ever of Harbeth's in the air this moment to NA, long may that continue.

                Note that we will not be drawn on the sonic merits of individual elements of the Anniversary models in our marketing. We're promoting the design holistically and that's as far as we are interested in taking the matter.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #9
                  Of course, as music-lovers, as speaker-lovers, (surely not steadfastly mutually exclusive?), I , and no doubt many others here are only best pleased and grateful that the design advancements you make see the light of day. Forgive me, but an eagerness to know what these may be, especially in this hobby, doesn't seem quite misplaced. Nor should it be where increased pricing comes to bear. To return to the 737, you can bet your bottom dollar the NG series was marketed and sold on new engines/ aerodynamics/ glass cockpit and so on.

                  And so to changes - political, company and industry. Of course, in such unchartered economic times, it is understandable that you'll manage your company's well-being and future as best you can. If such a product is the ticket here, then fair enough, you know infinitely better than I. I say that earnestly. And of course the company rightfully deserves a prominent place atop the mount in a market place full of four flushers.

                  Personally speaking, what truly makes the Harbeth brand special for me, is a commitment to honesty and its engineering values. These are things, as a relatively young consumer in this industry, that I seldom find elsewhere, if ever, really. Values, hopefully, that will mean I'm a return customer long into the future. Perhaps I digress, but where myself and my peers in this hobby are concerned (read: tomorrow's customers today), pricing can be impenetrable and entirely off limits - home ownership, never mind home audio, is an ever increasing impossibility. Perhaps we too might figure in your new thinking.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by witwald View Post

                    I think that the analogy was meant to try and show that, although the SHL5 and SHL5plus may have many external visual similarities, they are in fact two quite different designs, created many years apart, using quite different knowledge bases and improved technologies.

                    The Boeing 737-200 model and the 737-500 and the 737-NextGen are all twin-engined jet airliners. However, they will likely vary in the performance of their engines (e.g. maximum thrust, fuel efficiency), their drag at cruise speed and altitude (e.g. caused by different wing profiles), and also in such things as their avionics and the qualities of their internal cabin air conditioning systems, etc. Many of those changes are "under the hood", so to speak.

                    I hope that the analogy that was used makes a bit more sense now.
                    I regret that after being in a Twin Otter that basically fell out of the sky and seemingly came within inches of slamming into a cliff in the Shetlands, I rather lost interest in the nuances of flying. The bit I like is the taxi outside the Arrivals lounge.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Alan makes a good point in this thread. His ethos seems to be to make the best value for money BBC monitor based speakers. Critics and users (and his balance sheet) indicate his success in doing so, so us owners derive pleasure from our purchase, peace of mind that it is part of a successful heritage and expectation of more to come. 7 iterations of the HL speaker over 40 years is hardly exploitation of the customer base. Affordable excellence requires compromise. Many manufacturers have Special Edition products - better quality components - the cynic will ask why they bother making the inferior product. An Anniversary SE that goes against the general affordability principle is a good idea. So Alan goes off and buys a handful of pricey components and he thinks it's an improvement. Worthwhile? Yes. Worth the upgrade price? Down to the customer. Does he have to then iterate the upgrade part by part to explain why they sound better? No. No one's forcing you to buy them, but I'd still like a pair in Walnut.

                      The component concern may arise from thinking about component audio generally. Having just purchased an all-in-one stereo system, questions about what bits of it are good or not so good go out the window as you consider it as a whole. The hobbyist wants to know whether a different fuse will make a difference. The manufacturer does not have to pander to such eccentricities.

                      MikeM, the manufacturer I was talking about is Danish, formed the same year as Harbeth and their success is based on a driver largely unchanged since they started. Sound familiar? Otherwise, a radically different design. I spoke to them at a show in London and they said they spent a fortune recently trying to improve the driver design and, when they finally compared it to the original, they preferred the original, so stuck with it. The moral of the story is, of course, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Change for change's sake often results in poorer products.

                      I too got my pairs of Harbeth from Dave, more recently new electronics from Harbeth's very upmarket London dealer. Even though the SHL5+ are possibly the cheapest speakers they sell, the "audio consultant" I dealt with only had the highest praise for them in the face of stiff and expensive competition. Out of curiosity, I asked him what I might consider as an alternative and he suggested an item that cost double the price, and that was without the stands that were almost 1,000 extra - but they were available in Walnut.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by barryb1983 View Post
                        Of course, as music-lovers, as speaker-lovers, (surely not steadfastly mutually exclusive?), I , and no doubt many others here are only best pleased and grateful that the design advancements you make see the light of day. Forgive me, but an eagerness to know what these may be, especially in this hobby, doesn't seem quite misplaced. Nor should it be where increased pricing comes to bear. To return to the 737, you can bet your bottom dollar the NG series was marketed and sold on new engines/ aerodynamics/ glass cockpit and so on.

                        And so to changes - political, company and industry. Of course, in such unchartered economic times, it is understandable that you'll manage your company's well-being and future as best you can. If such a product is the ticket here, then fair enough, you know infinitely better than I. I say that earnestly. And of course the company rightfully deserves a prominent place atop the mount in a market place full of four flushers.

                        Personally speaking, what truly makes the Harbeth brand special for me, is a commitment to honesty and its engineering values. These are things, as a relatively young consumer in this industry, that I seldom find elsewhere, if ever, really. Values, hopefully, that will mean I'm a return customer long into the future. Perhaps I digress, but where myself and my peers in this hobby are concerned (read: tomorrow's customers today), pricing can be impenetrable and entirely off limits - home ownership, never mind home audio, is an ever increasing impossibility. Perhaps we too might figure in your new thinking.
                        I will continue to bend over backwards to tell it like it is. As I mentioned at Bristol, the only reason I am empowered to be able to do that is because we are such a successful business and I don't have to appease investors. Furthermore, we do not have an individual in the position of sales manager. That's because orders come to us practically or actually every day, without any push from our side from our 40+ sales territories. And as mentioned, those orders, based on our non-specific, holistic offering of the Anniversary 5's have been overwhelming. Transformative actually. So you see, our customers don't actually care to explore the attribution of benefit amongst the elements of the design, so we will most certainly not be feeding them with our opinions!

                        Indeed, we have heard comments fed back by users which are, in our opinion and understanding of the Bill of Materials, rather curious. It proves one thing - the influence of psychoacoustics, in that an actual adjustment of energy in frequency band A may have a subjective impact in band D.

                        I'm told that a new member joined today who describes how he returned to his audio hobby after a period of illness and confinement to home. He auditioned the SHL5plus and Anniversary version at his leisure. I hope he feels able to comment here. Welcome!
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I felt assured that I own the best possible SHL5 iteration and there's nothing that can be improved sonically at this point, in next 10 years maybe. When the 40th Anniversary models have been introduced, I felt tempted by the beautiful walnut veneer and the uniqueness of the new, limited, models but considering the changes, I was positive they must sound the same as the originals, or the difference can only be negligible at best.

                          There were limited editions of various Harbeth models in the past, and despite the fact that they were fitted with better internal cabling, A.S. has never stated that they sounded better than the originals, or even different for that matter. They were just made for some special markets to fulfill their expectations. Added value was pride of ownership but not much more than that. They also cost the same or just a little more than the standard models, so there was a very reasonable thinking behind them and I never questioned their merits.

                          Now I read about numerous benefits and improvements of the Anniversary models over the standard ones which makes me feel insecure. Do I still own the best Harbeths that the money could buy for my room? Not so sure now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, you ask a direct question, and here is the direct answer. We here at Harbeth UK have, as usual, been very cautious and conservative in our marketing language for the Anniversary models. We have definitely not invented fabulous claims about the significance of this or that feature. We've listed the features (obviously) and leave it to our customers to draw their own conclusions. The last thing we want to do is imply our current (non-Anniversary) products are inferior - which is why they continue in production and are great value for money, giving our users a genuine choice. Ultimately it's your personal preference.

                            If the holistic package makes sense and you have the budget, we'd be delighted to supply you. I'm a strong believer in being satisfied with the here and now, and there is no intention on our part to create a sense of shortfall. Go to your dealer, close your eyes, hear for yourself and decide. If you are one of those who simply have to have the best, and you change your car every time there is a facelift, then you will only be satisfied with the latest and greatest. If, like me, you've only just realised that your car is in fact two facelifts behind but is working perfectly well, then just pretend you've never heard of Harbeth's Anniversary speakers and you'll save yourself a heap of anxiety and cash!

                            I have already stated that I spent three days on my feet at Bristol listening to the SHL5plus Anniversary edition. I had not listened to them since I designed them. I went to Bristol with an open mind, hoping to be delighted. I was.

                            If I had created the SHL5plus Anniversary edition 30 years ago, this company could be, by now, the dominant global loudspeaker brand by sales. Put yourself in my shoes and think how that feels ......
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A Harbeth Dealer's listening experience ...

                              This is risky stuff, as I myself are the distributor of Harbeth speakers in the Benelux - making my own opinions seemingly coloured - but I will try to describe the difference between the SHL5plus and SHL5plus Anniversary.

                              As a start, I would like to say the 'normal' SHL5plus is remarkable and for many - including ourselves - a complete benchmark in the marketplace in its price class. Not only does it sound very good, it also has the ability to really 'speak' to the listener, involving the listener deeply into the music.

                              Yesterday, I made an A/B comparison between the standard and Anniversary model and immediately preferred the Anniversary model. Period... I will try to describe what exactly I preferred, as there also might be customers (be them dealers or end users) that might prefer the original version and I also will try to explain why.

                              I will try to be as objectively as possible in my description, but the two words that crept up again and again in my head were: 'information' and 'energy'. The Anniversary Edition simply lets more information through and you can hear more energy in the complete sound. Because of this, involvement into the music is increased. More recorded acoustic space can be heard and dynamic contrasts are more pronounced. Bass definition is increased, making bass lines easier to follow. This increase in energy did not come with more harshness. If anything, because of less 'compression', dynamics are improved, making strong transients even cleaner and faster. The perspective of the speaker (because of more information retrieval) is more towards the listener if this is in the recording, making the sound even bigger and more tangible if it's recorded as such.

                              There might be a downside to this new model for some however... If your system is less advanced, it might just let you hear this easier. Don't blame the speaker. The normal SHL5plus has a more 'easy listening' character, it glosses over some nasties, as well as it will gloss over some of the good stuff. This is the very epitome of hifi...

                              Again, in isolation, there is NOTHING 'wrong' with the standard SHL5plus. It's still an important yardstick and extremely hard to fault. The Anniversary is just that bit more advanced. Next gen indeed...

                              This is my personal take on it...

                              Comment

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