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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Harbeth SHL5 specific

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  • SHL5 and me - the start of a lifelong relationship!

    My Hl5s are now in their 'rightful' place. They do sound fantastic in an understated way. The quality shines through with real depth to recordings, whilst sounding very balanced. I bought a pair of foundation stands very cheap from the dealer here since they are changing the design, but also got some 'Oddvar' Ikea stools for 14 the pair and stained them a rosewood colour.

    The foundation stands are now in the attic in case i ever need them. The ikea stools look better and i can highly recommend them. I added feet and rubber mounts on top to protect the speakers. I glued them during assembly, and am not using the stool seat, so i have a strong wooden frame. That's it, the beginnings of a happy lifelong relationship!


    • What does "HL" mean?

      Does anyone know what "HL" in Super HL5 an acronym/ short for? Thanks.


      • Pick the right answer

        Originally posted by kittykat View Post
        Does anyone know what "HL" in Super HL5 an acronym/ short for? Thanks.
        a) HL = Highly lovable

        b) HL = Heavenly legend

        c) HL = Harbeth Loudspeaker

        d) HL = Harwood's Legacy
        Last edited by STHLS5; 08-04-2011, 01:39 PM. Reason: added d)


        • Harbeth Loudspeaker, isn't it?
          Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


          • HL=Harbeth Loudspeaker


            • Oddvar Stands

              I can endorse the earlier poster's comments wrt to the Ikea Oddvar Stools as stands.
              I swapped from some open frame metal ones (the ones supplied by the Malaysian/Singapore distributor I believe) to the Oddvar's and can report a very definite benefit. And at A$13 each - priced just right.
              I use Herbie's Big fat Dot's (3 per speaker) under the 5's to decouple. I have also experimented to great effect with a barely inflated 12 inch child's inner tube under the 5's: although they are hard to balance.


              • Surely "Happy Listener"?
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK


                • Shl = ......

                  Just to add to what Alan mentioned above...SHL = Super Happy Listener. )


                  • Cables and interconnects


                    I just purchased a set of used Lavardin IT and Harbeth SHL-5 (30th Anniversary edition) and now would like to get opinions what are the best power cable, interconnect and speaker cable for this combo. I live in USA, by the way. I am currently using Crystal Clear Audio Master Class interconnect (silver cable) and for the speaker cable is a DIY Audioquest 9AWG copper cable from a friend. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestion as to what cables are highly recommended in order to get the best out of this combo set. I am thiking of trying Clear Day Audio speaker cable (silver). Has anyone had any experience with this? Also what interconnect is highly recommended? Thanks.

                    {Moderator's comment: As you will read in the small print at the bottom of the forum page we do not encourage discussion about cables here on the Harbeth User Group. Also your post is in the wrong sub-forum. It should be in the Sandbox.}


                    • Cables

                      My experience of SHL-5's with the Clear Day Audio speaker cables is very positive; see my testimonial at:
                      I use 2 pairs of double shotgun cables to bi-wire the speakers.
                      I have no experience of the Clear Day interconnect; I have balanced Cawsey connections from my DAC to power amp.


                      • Amplifier and CDP

                        Heard that SHL5 is well matched with LFD integrated zero Mark III, can anyone tell what good CDP to match with and what cables to use ? Thanks.


                        • You don't need exotic equipment ....

                          Originally posted by naimindo View Post
                          Heard that SHL5 is well matched with LFD integrated zero Mark III, can anyone tell what good CDP to match with and what cables to use ? Thanks.
                          Hi Naimindo,

                          I am an LFD LE III with SHL-5 user & have the Rotel RCD-971 as digital source & a $100 vintage Micro-Seiki MB-14 Belt driven turntable as analogue source & setup as a whole sounds very good & musically expressive nonetheless. CD interconnect is via a $30 QED (circa 1982) & spk cable is something similar to QED 79 strand but even cheaper than 79 strand. No fuss at all. Just pure musical enjoyment. If you feel that you want something more exotic like Nagra, Goldmund, Vimak, Krell, Accuphase or Mark Levinson, by all means. How much better than a cheap Rotel, i'll leave it to you to decide.

                          One thing for sure is that one don't need exotic equipment to gain access into the musical prowess of Harbeths.


                          • LFD Mk. 1V

                            There is a Mk.IV version of the LFD integrated now and this is a fair improvement on the previous model, especially in the bass. I also get very good results with Croft and Sugden amps at less cost.

                            I can recommend the Rega Apollo and Saturn as CD players which set the benchmark for inexpensive players. I've heard much worse at 10 X their price.

                            As to cables, I would suggest you go with something decent but not outrageously priced. Try the Chord Rumour and Odyssey, both very good and realistically priced plus one of their incons to suit.


                            • SHL5 super tweeter

                              Hi Alan,

                              I recently bought a used pair of SHL-5 speakers. They are wonderful! I adore them!

                              I live in calgary and I just met Noel Nolan from Skylan and got one of his magnetic speaker grille removal tools.

                              I easily popped off the grilles and found that one of the super tweeters is dented (pushed in). I listened to each speaker independantly and they sound the same to me.

                              What do you suggest that I do? If the speakers sound identical to my ears, should I have the super-tweeter repaired or replaced? Is it reasonable to remove the front panel myself and gently try to push the diaphragm back out?

                              I would appreciate your advice and the advice of other members of the forum.




                              • Super Tweeter

                                Not certain what the official answer might be but if the dent is small, I would be tempted to ignore it and keep the covers on. I believe that the only change due to a large dent would be a slight difference in the dispersion characteristic but you say the two speakers sound identical, so it can't be too problematical.

                                If it is worrying you, I am sure the distributor would help.

                                {Moderator's comment: thanks for the input which we agree with. Did you Register for extended Warranty on the Harbeth web site?}