"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. 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 offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by 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, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Harbeth SHL5 specific

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  • glad to hear this...

    thank you very much for your quick response...


    • Hello,

      I owned a pair of super HL5 since middle of december. At first I want to say: great sound especially the vocals are very nice (better than my B&Ws before). I use a naim amplifier and the cooperation is quite good.

      I have question about the frequencies at the HL5: In the beginnig I had some Problems with backcoupling and wanted to check the drivers separately. Everything seems okay but in this context I had the following questions:

      It is right, that the super tweeter is used parallel to the normal tweeter. I think above a frequence about 10.000 Hz the super tweeter starts and the normal tweeter also goes on until xx? Hz. Right? In my mind the super tweeter seems to play a little bit quieter than the other? But maybe the reason is, that I could not hear the high tones as good than the lower ones. Does anybody know way how I could test the super or normal tweeter separately?

      {Moderator's comment: are you expecting to hear anything much at the super high end? Music contains almost no energy up there .... and certainly we here are too old to hear much above 15kHz ... if you could clearly hear the s/t's contribution then it would be generating far too much energy = bad design. The s/t contribution is very subtle indeed.}


      • Real recordings have little energy above 15kHz

        Hi Koexter, a program like Sonic Visualiser (a non commercial app. recommended by yeecn (a HUG member)) will tell the frequency content (and extremes) of a recording. There is very little, if any “high” frequency in most recordings. Very simplistically, 14-15kHz really is the edge (and rare) , 7kHz is probably a more “typical” top end boundary.

        Your Harbeths excel at the most important numbers ie. between 60Hz and 2kHz. Most other speakers eat SHL5 dust in this range, and cannot hope to compete.


        • Keep it up!

          Just trawling through this forum which is very interesting and must Alan's Shaw's sense of humour is on a par with his speakers.....seems like a great very down to earth bloke. Keep it up

          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          I personally polished every cabinet by hand. Some I even gave them a little farewell hug to.

          As a good father, I've never been comfortable with the idea of promoting any one of our three children above the other two. They are all special, and about the most favouritism we could be guilty of is slipping a nice shiny apple in one of their pockets as they leave the house in the morning.

          "Be happy with what you have".

          But you've given me an idea .... 2007 will be our 30th Anniversary. Um ...... (thinks) .... I wonder what new tricks I might have up my sleeve by then? I'll have to strain my weary old brain and see what pops out!


          • 35th anniversary next year?

            ... which means that next year will be the 35th anniversary?


            • Recording of Super 5 *in my room*

              Hi, I have recorded Harbeth sounds in my room. Attached herein two files. One is the original recording 4 tracks - each 1 minute long (SampleMono.mp3) and the other is the recorded sound using small condenser made my friend to set up my AV receiver. Isn't it pretty close to the original? Alan, if you are reading this I would appreciate your comments.


              p.s Both files are in mono.

              {Moderator's comment: we appreciate your effort and trouble but you need to re-record taking more care over recoding levels to avoid distortion.}


              • Playback through Harbeth. Round 2

                {Moderator's comment: we appreciate your effort and trouble but you need to re-record taking more care over recoding levels to avoid distortion.}
                A four minute recording took me a good two hours just to match the volume with the original CD recording and yet I couldn't get it right!

                Anyway, SampleMono.mp3 is the orginal recording copied from CD and PlaybackthruHarbeth1.mp3 is sound recorded using a cheap mic made by my friend to setup my AV receivers DSP. It is okay for a mic but bass and vocal is not quite right.

                So guys what do you think?



                • Just ordered new SHL5

                  Having happily owned the C7es2 for 4+ years, when some funds became available to me the choice was easy. Question below answered, they seem to hold the same weight just fine.

                  Does anyone know if the Ikea Lack table will safely hold the SHL5 until my new Skylans arrive?


                  • Lack stands

                    Yes, with all confidence I can say they will support your SHL5's.



                    • Lack stands

                      No problem at all. In one of the other thread, a fellow Harbeth user had the Lack table under his M40.1. :]

                      {Moderator's comment: the M40.1 was designed by Alan on the Lack stands as you may have seen on the photos ....}


                      • Just ordered SHL5!!!

                        ordered my SHL5 Saturday morning...!!! delivery time end of May...

                        just wanted to share my happiness


                        • We appreciate it. You are going to be very pleased.



                          • thanks John!


                            • SHL5 sound great

                              Congratulations Vas
                              they are a cracker speaker. Owned mine for a while now and very happy. The only speaker to seriously challenge the timbre of Quad 57's.
                              I found they take a little system matching (we all have different ears) - but that is for bonus points only: they sound fabulous with just about any source and any amp. At least in IME. Whether it's a $10k or $100 amp - they sound great.
                              They certainly have a level of magic in them that comes out when you take the time to fuss and fiddle abit - mainly room positioning and the like. But the great thing is you don't have too.
                              And ..unlike many speakers....just get better and better.

                              Please let me know how you get on.


                              • Hopefully my last pair of serious speakers

                                I take delivery tomorrow of my new pair of HL5's from the dealer here in Stockholm, hopefully the last pair of serious speakers i need to buy. He does seem rather intent on selling me some older foundation stands, which i will check out tomorrow, and expensive cables. Unluckily for him I view expensive cables as a complete waste of money, i would rather buy another second hand Quad amp, or cinema tickets for the next year! Anyway, this means i now have a pair of P3ESR's as monitors in my recording booth, the new HL5's soon to be in the living room, and a pair of Quad Esl57's still in the UK, all powered by various Quad amps. That is my idea of audio heaven....I will let you know how they sound in a day or two. I did think about sending an April fools post in this morning regarding imaginary HL5 clones for sale on ebay for next to nothing,but I just could not do it.....anyway, too late now, the moments passed.