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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

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.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Harbeth SHL5 specific

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  • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Thanks Gan CK, any crossover difference? but Alan, this mean that "non-special" editions are using cheap wires?

    Nowadays, OFC cables are extensively used in audio world, so I think it?s not an expensive and rare improvement.

    Anyway, could I enhance my SHL5?s by replacing the internal wiring to a good OFC ones?
    Regards.

    Comment


    • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

      No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

      You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

      That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

        Hi Alan

        When I owned the Thiels for a while, I remember reading somehwere that the floorstanders are sloped because of the phase effect. It has something to do with the fact that the low frequency travels faster (or is perceived to reach the ears first), while the HF takes nanoseconds to reach the ears. The sloped design compensates for the phase anomaly. Is this true or is it so negligible that it makes no difference?

        I have seen quite a number of floorstanders that are sloped as well.

        Best regards
        Dennis

        Comment


        • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

          Originally posted by denjo View Post
          It has something to do with the fact that the low frequency travels faster... while the HF takes nanoseconds to reach the ears. The sloped design compensates...
          Ha ha! No. This'll confuse you .... sound travels at the same speed regardless of frequency or in a more scientific language 'the velocity of sound is 340 meters per second.'
          Nanoseconds? Definitely not.


          Sounds is far, far slower than that! Compared to light, sound crawls along. To travel from a typical speaker set-up to your ear the sound wave regardless of frequency will take about 10 milliseconds (one hundredth of a second). That's a million times longer than you suggest! However, the time of flight of the sound wave from the speaker to your ear can be slightly adjusted as you say by raking the baffle backwards. Then the sound wave from tweeter to your ear will obviously take a little more time simply because it is pushed further away from you. Whether this tweeter delay is a beneficial thing, whether it is a marketing concept or whether it is really necessary etc. all depends upon the inner details of the design.

          The same acoustic solution is elegantly achieved in a Harbeth in the crossover design without the cost, inconvenience or huge bulk of a floorstander - especially one with complex angled woodwork (a cabinet making nightmare).
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
            No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

            You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

            That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
            Thanks Alan, I understand your viewpoint.
            I don?t wish to disrupt your factory schedule production.
            I meant a DIY project about replacing internal wiring in the case that you provide me the information about the kind or brand of best matched OFC cable for SHL5 speakers.
            I enjoy that hand-works. I did it to another speakers before.
            Thanks again.

            Comment


            • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

              No no no! You are asking the wrong person! We absolutely cannot give you the green-light to make any modification! It would totally invalidate your Warranty!
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

                You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

                That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
                Arrrrgh, should have got the normal version and save many pennies for my meals!!!

                Comment


                • Unusual colours in the veneer ...

                  Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                  No no no! You are asking the wrong person! We absolutely cannot give you the green-light to make any modification! It would totally invalidate your Warranty!
                  Don?t worry Alan, I never thought about this modification during the warranty period. Of course, I will not touch any screw till the warranty has expired. I?m not crazy. Anyway, it is only a project in my mind that probably will be better to do at your factory.

                  I wish to comment another question about my SHL5?s. One of them has a failure on the veneer finishing, it seems a varnish defect. Please take a look to the attached pictures. What do you think? I realised a short time ago, not at the moment of unpacking from the shipping box.

                  I have two questions about this: First, why this speaker has passed de final quality control? Second, is it possible to repare easily the veneer?
                  The serial numbers are 9107L/R
                  Thanks again.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • Unusual colours in the veneer ...

                    It looks to me as if a portion of the veneer has been covered so that the sunlight has been excluded. I note that the veneer is cheery, and it is a feature of the cherry veneer and that it's very sensitive to the ageing effects of sunlight. Was there a sticker on this part of the speaker?

                    I think that a veneer mark like this would have jumped out at you even on a cursory examination so I'm very suspicious that this is a shadow/sunlight problem. Please e-mail me directly with all details including serial number, where you bought the speakers from whether they are new or used and a photograph of your listening room. I can then make a detailed investigation.

                    If it is simply a matter of sunlight exposure, then over a period of months this patch will darken to match the rest of the veneer. Considering the minute defects that we reject cabinets for, it's hard to believe that this passed through our production line. I'll show your pictures to staff tomorrow for their comments and advise.

                    Did you actually cut the carton security seals yourself? Or had the cartons been opened in any way before you received them?
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • Unusual colours in the veneer ...

                      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                      Please e-mail me directly with all details including serial number, where you bought the speakers from whether they are new or used and a photograph of your listening room. I can then make a detailed investigation.
                      Private Message sent.

                      Comment


                      • Talk to your dealer first ....

                        We are now investigating this situation. After discussion here we think we can synthesise the mark you have on your cabinet. We going to experiment and report later.

                        Members here should appreciate that whilst they have a direct channel to me through the Harbeth User Group, as a matter of contract law and courtesy, your first point of contact is with your local supplier. He or she is capable of resolving almost every issue and concern. All Harbeth dealers strive for happy repeat customers. Discussing any matter or concerns with your dealers first will definitely speed-up the resolution.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • Explanation for strange marks?

                          We have considered how the marks could have appeared on your cherry cabinet. You have mentioned (private email) that the cartons were not sealed when you bought the speakers. This is an important point because cherry veneer is very sensitive to light: the veneer will darken after even just a few hours of exposure to light. For this reason, when we receive cherry veneer cabinets from the cabinet maker they are protected by black cling-film. During production, we take care to cover-up cherry to prevent them being exposed to daylight or factory strip lighting.

                          The very last stage of production is to place the speaker in a clear polythene bag, and then for us to seal the bag with sticky Harbeth tape. Then the sealed bag is placed inside the carton. Normally, the customer would open the carton, lift out the speaker in its polythene bag, completely remove the bag and then inspect the speaker and connect it ready to play. We think that what must have happened in this case is that the polythene bag was partially opened, and rolled down. Daylight or electric light would have passed through the polythene, but not through the end of the sticky tape. Hence, under the tape no sunlight hit the veneer which has remained the original lighter colour. The attached photo suggest how this may have happened.

                          If this is indeed the situation, then over the months the lighter patch will naturally darken and 'catch-up' with other now darker veneer. We believe that this is the most likely explanation.

                          >
                          Attached Files
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • Spikes for custom build stands?

                            Dear all,

                            I will be receiving my SHL5 soon (a week or less). I have read from this user-group about custom-building the stand and have seen some great ideas already. I would like to ask, however, how I can put the spikes or what spikes I can buy to put under the stand as I have carpet flooring.

                            Hopefully I'll have the stand ready before my SHL5 arrives. Any suggestions is much appreciated. Btw, I'm from Sydney.

                            Comment


                            • Re: Explanation for strange marks?

                              Alan,

                              As you know my listening room is the basement, so there is no sunlight. What should I do? move the speaker to a sunlight exposed place for a few days?

                              From your explanation, I understand that the mark hasn?t appeared at factory production, hence the boxes has been unsealed and the cabinets exposed to the light an indefinited period, before I received them. Please, correct me if I?m wrong.

                              The question now is why they has been sold as factory sealed, as the dealer told me.

                              Comment


                              • Factory sealed cartons - a definition

                                Yes, I think if you put them in the shade (not full sunlight) they will slowly level out to the same colour. That assumes that I am correct and the mark is indeed light related and not something latent in the veneer or a mark created in some other way. But of course, this mark will not effect the sound.

                                Factory sealed cartons? Factory sealed means factory sealed. It does not mean opened then re-sealed by another person outside the factory. There can be no ambiguity about whether factory sealed or not. How do we seal the carton before it leaves the factor?

                                1) First we staple the carton bottom.
                                2) Then we turn over, slide in the speaker with top/bottom packing caps
                                3) Then we staple the top flaps
                                4) Then we run the Harbeth security sealing tape around the entire carton along the flap joints
                                5) The we put the "made by" signed sticker across the security tape signed by the very last person to hand and pack the speaker who is ultimately responsible for the condition of the speakers

                                So, if any of the staples have been removed, the security tape cut or the "made by" sticker cut then the carton is not is factory sealed condition. It's up to you to decide if the carton has been opened or not by your own examination. If you believe that the carton has been opened, the speakers still may be perfect. Sometimes the customs dept. in the receiving country open the cartons (UK Customs do not, as the speakers are being exported). Sometimes the receiving dealer wants to check the contents. Sometimes the customer is a little picky and wants to select a particular veneer before buying. All these things can and do happen. But legally and morally, we here at the Harbeth UK factory where the speakers were made can only warrant that the speakers were perfect when they left the factory in stapled, taped cartons.

                                If you are in any doubt about the condition of speakers still hidden in their cartons when you receive them, be sure to sign the delivery document "Cartons not opened", "Contents not checked", "Unexamined contents" or similar.
                                Alan A. Shaw
                                Designer, owner
                                Harbeth Audio UK

                                Comment

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