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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.

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Harbeth SHL5 specific

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  • Re: Losing sleep over new SHL5s

    Originally posted by ryder View Post
    Well, I don't want to imagine that now since I'm losing sleep already thinking about the Harbeth sound I've experienced at the showroom. By the way Gan CK, what were your previous speakers prior to purchasing the SHL-5? I am using a PMC LB1 Signature, a pretty large bookshelf but it just got blown away by both Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5.
    Haha that's very interesting actually...to start losing sleep even before you own the SHL-5s. )
    Well, i have had the good opportunity to try just about almost every speakers that i could grab my hands on. Just to name a few like KEF, Wharfedale, Spendor, Rogers, Mordaunt-Short, Epos, Proac, B&W, Celestion, Tannoy, Monitor Audio, PMC too, Totem, Paradigm, JBL, JM Lab, Sonus Faber, Aliante, Red Rose...etc...the list goes on...all in all over the past 25 years, i think i've had about almost 200 pairs of spks to grace my living room. Yes you can call me a fanatic but i was indeed a loudspeaker fanatic. I feel that loudspeakers give the most difference to any setup. Wondering if you notice that i mostly had british spks. I love brit hifi, even amplifiers. I feel that they are more practical, simple, not excessively huge & unsightly, don't flash useless gadgets & above all excel on musical communication. My current LFD LE III is a very good example of solid british engineering in the simplest form. Same goes to Harbeth as well.

    Btw, if i recall correctly, your PMC LB1 uses dynaudio drivers with its back top portion tapered off. The SHL-5 will be a big improvement over those PMCs in terms of tonality, transparency, detail & musicality. Go for it without hesitation.

    Comment


    • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

      GanCK,
      That is one long list of speakers you got there! You certainly hit the bullseye in that the PMC LB1 Signature has a tapered back and utilises Dynaudio driver. I believe the limitation of the LB1 lies in the small 4.5" woofer, and I think I have had enough of small bookshelves with small drivers. After listening to the Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5 which both have 8" woofers, there is totally no comparison. Speakers with small drivers just don't cut it and lose out in depth, soundstage, clarity and dynamics. The larger PMC EB1 may be a better comparison to the SHL-5 but due to the substantially higher price tag and the requirement of equally demanding partnering ancillaries in high-powered amps, the choice is clear for me. I also have a fondness for British gears and speakers having got my first pair of B&Ws and Arcam amp in the UK more than a decade ago when I was a student. I like the speakers more than the amps though, although I have to admit I am only exposed to Arcam electronics.

      Comment


      • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

        Originally posted by ryder View Post
        GanCK,
        That is one long list of speakers you got there! You certainly hit the bullseye in that the PMC LB1 Signature has a tapered back and utilises Dynaudio driver. I believe the limitation of the LB1 lies in the small 4.5" woofer, and I think I have had enough of small bookshelves with small drivers. After listening to the Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5 which both have 8" woofers, there is totally no comparison. Speakers with small drivers just don't cut it and lose out in depth, soundstage, clarity and dynamics. The larger PMC EB1 may be a better comparison to the SHL-5 but due to the substantially higher price tag and the requirement of equally demanding partnering ancillaries in high-powered amps, the choice is clear for me. I also have a fondness for British gears and speakers having got my first pair of B&Ws and Arcam amp in the UK more than a decade ago when I was a student. I like the speakers more than the amps though, although I have to admit I am only exposed to Arcam electronics.
        Actually its not the size of the woofer that matters, its the quality of the driver & execution that matters more. Have a look at the Harbeth P3, it also has a very small woofer but has given nothing much away as far as sound quality is concerned. The larger PMC spks may require very expensive amplification to sound good. Not so on the SHL-5. As Alan has mentioned several times, the SHL-5 works pratically with almost any decent amplifier. As for british amplifiers, Arcam is good. Expose yourself to more british amps like Creek, latest Arcams, Cyrus & LFD. Listen not to its power delivery but to its tonality, musicality & the ability to involve the listener in a subtle way.

        Comment


        • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

          Quality of driver and execution do matter in sound quality but I am generally comparing between speakers with small drivers and big drivers. I have also listened and owned a fair share of bookshelves throughout all these years which include the B&W N805 and mid-range Proacs to name a few. No matter how good a small bookshelf is, the scale, dynamics and realism would not be comparable to a speaker with bigger drivers. If not, everybody would be contented with just well-designed speakers with small drivers and get say the Harbeth P3. In the end I believe the choice depends on priorities, room size and budget to name a few. Yes, the P3 as with other well-designed bookshelves with small drivers would sound excellent but they will not compare with larger speakers.

          Comment


          • After two weeks listening ...

            I've had the demonstration pair for just over a week now, so I'll try and put my impressions so far into words. As I've already mentioned earlier in the thread, they are extremely revealing of poor recordings, but the more I listened to music through them, the more I realised this was a good thing. With speakers that homogenise all recordings into a single entity you are missing out on so much, whilst they may make poor recordings sound acceptable, they are also severely limiting all the great sounding CDs and LPs in your collection, which means you?ll never know which are the great recordings.

            So far I?ve only found two that are poor, the Brahms I mentioned above and a real surprise, the Barbirolli Elgar Introduction & Allegro on the classic RWV Tallis fantasia recording on CD. This is first generation transfer to CD, so it?s possible there might be a re-mastered version out now. Curiously, the RWV Tallis fantasia on the same disc is fine, despite that edit!

            A few of the highlights?

            Beethoven
            : Violin concerto, Jascha Heifetz, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch. This has always been a difficult piece to listen to, a superb performance, just slightly hindered by an average recording, or so I thought. I now realise this is a truly great recording that was being masked by poor speakers! I?m not ashamed to admit I was in tears when the final movement faded to silence.

            Kind of Blue, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. Finally this sounds right! Since I bought this LP many years ago there has been a problem of getting the volume right, loud enough to hear the double bass correctly and the horns take your ears out and vice-versa.

            John Surman
            , all his recordings! The ECM sound really seems to suit the SHL5s, and the two with Karin Krogs? vocals, wow, took my breath away!

            There are dozens more I could mention but this post is long enough!

            Comment


            • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

              Hi everybody!

              I've never actually heard a Harbeth speaker, but I've been doing a lot of googling the last few days and the SHL5 might be exactly what I'm looking for.

              My room is 23x16x6,5 my speakers are placed on the long wall. The listening position is between 8-9 feet from the speakers. The speakers will have to be placed pretty close to the backwall (15"-17"). The room is not so well damped.

              Would any of the above mentioned cause a problem with the SHL5?

              I'm using Densen Beat amps: Pre B-250 and power B-350 monoblocks (150w 8 ohms and 250w 4 ohms) Densen is danish so i guess not a lot of You has any experience with the synergi between Harbeth and Densen?

              Is it possible to get the SHL5 in black ash??

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              • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                Hi my new demonstration Harbeth SHL5 speakers arrived yesterday in Cherry finish. I have them set up in my audio room which is 7.5 meters long by 4.5 meter wide & 2.450 meters in Height.

                I am using the emmLabs CDSA CD/SACD player & SME 20.2a Turntable with SME V tone arm for source playback, the amplifier consists of the new Quicksilver reference valve preamplifier and Quicksilver Triode mono blocks (50 watts triode output) matched with the Harbeth SHL5 speakers.

                After 5 hours continuous playing at a good listening level I sat down for a quick listen late last night playing the Stockfisch Records Sampler Volume one SACD, the Harbeth SHL5 filled the room with music.

                I must say at the end of the day it was wonderful to relax in to my leather listening chair switch off any outside stresses & be refreshed with music. Honestly I have played & owned many loudspeakers over the years but I can not recommend to you enough how right sounding the Harbeth SHL5 speakers play music.

                Alan, Andy & the Harbeth team thanks again.
                Cheers Jason.

                Parmenter Sound Harbeth Audio distributor in New Zealand.
                Thanks Jason.

                www.parmentersound.com

                Comment


                • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                  Coming up to two weeks, it just keeps getting better & better, listening to Radio 3 playing Strauss: Don Juan on my Quad FM4 through the SHL5s, bliss!


                  PS come on Jensen, lets make it two out of two in Malaysia

                  Comment


                  • SHL5 and room size again

                    I have been using and really enjoying a pair of SHL5s for a couple of months, driven by a Quad 909 power amp. I mostly really enjoy them but have what is undoubtedly a room size issue.

                    My room is about 15ft x 12 ft, so obviously small for the SHL5. I have had no problems with excessive bass, but what I do find is that the music is sometimes too "big", and therefore overpowering. It's as if I have invited a number of real musicians to perform for me in my small sitting room, and they are jostling with each other for more room to perform! The speakers are never ever too much in terms of fatiguing, but rather in terms of scale.

                    Is there something I can do to slightly reduce the scale of the presentation, to give more room for individual instruments and performers? Or is it simply that I should perhaps have gone for the 7es3's? I could always change to the Compact 7s but I would be loathe to, as there is just so much about the SHL5's that I love.

                    Any thoughts?

                    Comment


                    • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                      HI tozen,

                      I'm using the SHL5 in my even smaller room, about 15 ft x 9.5ft x 8.5 ft height. I have no problem at all, the imaging, sound stage and depth among other things is superb (to me).

                      IMO, your sitting position and speakers position may be the issue. Try to re-position them.

                      Rgds

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                      • Re: SHL5 and room size again

                        tozen,

                        Could you give us an idea of how the speakers are placed in the room, some photos would be useful.

                        Comment


                        • Re: SHL5 and room size again

                          Thank you both for your thoughts. Getting some pics sounds like a good idea. I will see what I can do in the next 24 hours.

                          Regards,

                          Comment


                          • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                            I have been playing around a bit with positioning as you suggested. What I have found is that, due to the large soundstage and palpable, life-size imaging, they like to be quite far apart. The best position sound-wise entails placing one of the speakers so close to the door as to impede entry! So maybe they do in fact like a slightly bigger space to recreate the sound stage they are capable of? I find that where I really need them further apart is in recreating the sweep of an orchestra or choir. When they are (only) 5-6 feet apart instruments and voices don't seem to have enough room to breathe. When they are 7-8 feet apart everything really clicks into place in a satisfying way. Is this the sort of distance apart you have them?

                            Currently listening to Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite and the SHL5 both caresses and thunders as required. Very satisfying

                            Comment


                            • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                              My SHL5 need to apart at least 7ft in my room too. If less than that, the center imageing, esply vocal, can be too big.

                              Which Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite you listen to? My favourite is Karajan gold version.
                              "Bath with Music"

                              Comment


                              • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                                Mine is Herbert Blomstedt, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - sounds fantastic!

                                Comment

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