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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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  • #31
    Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 -What is the material of jumpers and terminals

    Originally posted by Jasper
    ... the jumpers and terminals are robust and is made from copper and originated from UK. If it is really what I guess, I will replace them with genuine UK made ones. So, Alan, please advise.
    My good friend: I understand your question and your concern, but I do not want to take any money off you, and I do not want you to waste any of your money.

    First of all, the Harbeth biwire links are gold-plated brass. They are punched in the UK by hand one at a time, and then driven by car to a jeweller in London: he applies the gold plate. Then they are collected from him, he is paid (because gold is valuable and he demands to be paid immediately) and driven directly to our door. Then they are fitted to your speakers.

    But .... copper and brass is not mined in the UK any more. It is imported. From where? I do not know. Anywhere. Does the copper or brass know that it is from one country or another? No. Italian brass is as good as African brass.

    Please do not worry about the biwire links. The solution to that problem is very simple: a nice glass of wine - then the ghost of the link problem vanishes.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

      Dear Alan,

      Thanks for your immediate reply. How about the terminals? Are they made from brass and gold plated also?

      Actually I am quite satisfied with the performance of SHL5 SSE. It has high/low and most importantly has vocal full mid-range, quite a balance. I sit back every night on my sofa to enjoy my classical LP discs which had been stored for sometime.

      I have A/B test with the SHL5 in the sale agent's audio room before I bought SSE. I totally agree with you that it is a loss business for SSE (50 pounds for each pair).

      One very minor point is that the owner certificate was signed by your engineer, not you yourself. My compact HL speaker certificate is signed by you. I am precious of your certificates and I framed both of them and displayed them in my audio room.

      Next time when you are in Hong Kong, I must bring along the certificate for you to sign.

      Best regards.
      Jasper

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

        Originally posted by Jasper
        Next time when you are in Hong Kong, I must bring along the certificate for you to sign.Jasper
        I'd be delighted to meet you. I don't know about the terminals themselves. I guess that they are cast, but please don't worry about them. I guarantee that changing them will make no difference to the sound what so ever. Thinks about this: if we could squeeze even 1% of improvement out of any part of a Harbeth speaker by the simple expediency of changing a humble part (rather than me working late into the night so often on real engineering solutions) then believe me, I would have done so - long ago. But since there are no improvemnets to be gained "for free" I am obliged to struggle to make real improvements, no matter how exhausting the task.

        Incidentally, on a personal note, I read last week with great interest (and may I add, a sense of pride) the full page obituary of Sir Jack Cater, Hong Kong's former Chief Secretary who had a dramatic, positive and lasting effect in shaping the foundations that make Hong Kong the fabulous, open and exciting place it is. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/20/db2001.xml
        The world needs many more people of Cater and MacLehose's stature, but they are in very short supply it would seem.

        Our best wishes to all our friends in Hong Kong. (My affection towards HK is well known from my many visits).
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific - SuperGrille

          I just noticed (and felt) that the SHL5 SuperGrille, when in place, actually touches the aluminium tweeter.
          Does it matter if it is in contact or is there another protective cover over the tweeter (i.e. the SuperGrille is in fact in contact with the protective covering rather than the tweeter itself?
          Cheers

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific - SuperGrille

            Originally posted by kuryakin72
            ... actually touches the aluminium tweeter. Does it matter ?
            The absolutely flattest frequency response is achieved when the gap between the tweeter's protective gauze and the underside of the cloth is at a minimum.

            Perhaps the way to think is like this: we are used to looking at the speaker from our hot seat in the room. Once, in Japan, I was told (and I absolutely agree with this)
            Alan san - you are thinking like a Westerner; from the outside in. Turn that around as we Orientals do: look from the inside out ...."
            I mean by this, imagine that you are the tweeter looking out into the room. Once you take this position you can see what a disaster the conventional wooden board with holds cut in it and covered with cloth is: diffraction from all around the aperture.

            The Harbeth SuperGrille solves all of these problems at a stroke but at a relatively high cost. First the metal for the frame has to be cut and bent exactly to length. Then welded by hand. Then fettled. Then degreased and sent away for powder coating (to prevent rust) .... then received by Harbeth and sent on to another supplier for cloth covering .... and finally back to Harbeth and fitted to your speakers. That adds up to about ten times the cost of a conventional board slapped onto the front. But technically/acoustically it's worth every penny.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

              I was just looking at the excellent photograph of the HL5's crossover that appears on the Harbeth website. That board is labelled "version 5, 16-02-2005". Since my HL5's probably pre-date that, I am wondering what changes there may have been between different versions of this crossover, and whether the change between versions 4 and 5, for example, is sonically significant.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

                Originally posted by AlanW
                I've had my Super HL5's for a couple of months now. It is unparralleled in my experience how they "get out of the way" and let the musical performances speak for themselves without intrusion. I am also continually amazed by their soundstaging and imaging performance, not to mention the realism of the orchestral instuments themselves on good classical recordings. The HL5's actually better my previous speakers (upgraded/modified KEF 101's) in the imaging and soundstaging department, and I had consistently found the KEFs to out-image all of the other speakers I had compared them to previously. I would not have thought this possible given the much larger size of the HL5 cabinet.

                Another major improvement over the KEFs is the image size and midrange purity. The KEFs, being a mini-monitor, tended to miniaturize the images, and it is thrilling now to hear bass strings as they sound with great seats at a live performance. Also, the string sound is the finest I've ever heard, as subtle variations in tone and phrasing are now laid bare. Obviously, the low-end performance of the Harbeths is another world entirely compared to the KEFs. Overall I couldn't be happier with the Harbeths, and consider them to be my best-ever audio purchase.
                I agree 100%. My previous speakers were Spendor BC1's, which served me well for more than 20 years. Thinking about that, I believe I had them almost 25 years. The BC1's are the same size and they also derive from the same heritage, which is the famous BBC monitor. However, hearing the Harbeth's was a revealing experience to me. The reproduction of details is stunning. For example: the difference in sound between a lute with "old style" gut strings and one with "modern" strings is far more obvious.

                For me it is very important that the Super HL 5's let me hear MUSIC, not loudspeakers. The sound is always musical, relaxed without being too laid-back, detailed without being overly analytical, creating a big musical "picture".

                I really love this concept. I have loved my Spendor BC1's for almost 25 years, but now the Harbeth Super HL5 shows me, that a big progress has been achieved without abandoning the concept of the Classic British Loudspeaker.
                It has taken me a long time to find a worthy successor for my BC1's and when I "found" the Super HL5's, it took me a few years to save enough money to buy them, but it was well worth the "investment".

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

                  Originally posted by J.A. Boonstra
                  I agree 100%. My previous speakers were Spendor BC1's, which served me well for more than 20 years. Thinking about that, I believe I had them almost 25 years. The BC1's are the same size and they also derive from the same heritage, which is the famous BBC monitor. However, hearing the Harbeth's was a revealing experience to me. The reproduction of details is stunning. For example: the difference in sound between a lute with "old style" gut strings and one with "modern" strings is far more obvious.

                  For me it is very important that the Super HL 5's let me hear MUSIC, not loudspeakers. The sound is always musical, relaxed without being too laid-back, detailed without being overly analytical, creating a big musical "picture".
                  I wish I could concur with you on your observations...but I have to wait for my SHL 5's for a couple more days....They're finally coming!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: High Powered Amps with ..... anything

                    Recently I had the opportunity to hear a pair of Harbeth Super HL5's being powered by an Audio Research VS 55i valve-amplifier (55 watts, push-pull 6550 valve configuration). I was very impressed by the sound quality. Later that week I heard an Ayon 300B SET amplifier, which sounded absolutely superb (but had very little power, something like 27 watts). Since then I have taken every opportunity to listen to valve-amplifiers (shop demonstrations, hifi-shows, etcetera).

                    I confess, I am addicted to "valve sound". I want a valve-amplifier. Oh yes!
                    Maybe next year or so, because I recently bought my Harbeth Super HL5. They cost me an arm and a leg, but it was very well worth it!

                    My questions are:

                    1) What kind of valve amplifier works best with the Super HL5's?
                    I think, that SET's are underpowered, but they are too expensive for me anyway. So I guess it will have to be be a push-pull configuration (possibly EL 34's or KT88/6550).

                    2) In hifi-magazines I often read, that one watt from a valve-amplifier is not he same as one watt form a solid-state amplifier. It seems, that one "valve-watt" can be compared with two or even three "transistor-watts". Is that true?

                    3) Can you tell me, how to choose a valve-amplifier that works best with teh Super HL5's (other than just listening)?
                    Is there a minimum power requirement?
                    It seems, that valve-amplifiers react very sensibly to a speakers' changes in impedance behaviour. I read, that some speakers can get to almost 2 ohms, which can cause a shortcut the valve-amplifiers. How does the Super HL5 behave in this respect?

                    I know, I am asking a lot, but I want to make sure that I don't harm my Super HL5's.

                    J.A. Boonstra,
                    Netherlands

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: High Powered Amps with ..... anything

                      Originally posted by J.A. Boonstra
                      Later that week I heard an Ayon 300B SET amplifier, which sounded absolutely superb (but had very little power, something like 27 watts)
                      Hi,

                      First of all, if the 300B amp that you heard was a SET than it could not have been 27 watts. I think the 300B SET amps are rated at about 8-10 watts.

                      To answer some of your questions:
                      1) What kind of valve amplifier works best with the Super HL5's?
                      I think, that SET's are underpowered, but they are too expensive for me anyway. So I guess it will have to be be a push-pull configuration (possibly EL 34's or KT88/6550).
                      1. I personally think that any valve amp can suit the SHL5 but other factors come into play. If you have a small room (say 3 x 3.6m) and listen to mostly small jazz ensembles or vocals than a 300B set amp will probably do well. A push pull amp will give you power but lacks the immediacy and finesse that SET amps can provide.

                      I've had a KT88 based amp at 200watts per channel and I had a 2a3 SET amp. I preferred the 2a3 but it lacked power for orchestral music. I switched to an 805 SET (50 watts per channel) and was generally happy. In the end, I wanted the best of both worlds and I bought a BAT VK-75. This is a single ended bridged design using the 6c33 triodes. Needless to say that I am happy but there is an itch to try a 300B amp.
                      2) In hifi-magazines I often read, that one watt from a valve-amplifier is not he same as one watt form a solid-state amplifier. It seems, that one "valve-watt" can be compared with two or even three "transistor-watts". Is that true?
                      2. I've heard the same about tube watts but I've never heard anymore than that.

                      3) Can you tell me, how to choose a valve-amplifier that works best with teh Super HL5's (other than just listening)?
                      Is there a minimum power requirement?
                      It seems, that valve-amplifiers react very sensibly to a speakers' changes in impedance behaviour. I read, that some speakers can get to almost 2 ohms, which can cause a shortcut the valve-amplifiers. How does the Super HL5 behave in this respect?
                      3. There's really no way to choose an amp but to listen. The impedance curves are on the website and it is a fairly easy load for valves. Valves don't like impedance dips.

                      BTW, I just got my SHL5's last night...they look and sound great! Thanks alan! Specially for the autograph.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific - SuperGrille

                        Originally posted by A.S.
                        The absolutely flattest frequency response is achieved when the gap between the tweeter's protective gauze and the underside of the cloth is at a minimum.

                        Perhaps the way to think is like this: we are used to looking at the speaker from our hot seat in the room. Once, in Japan, I was told (and I absolutely agree with this) I mean by this, imagine that you are the tweeter looking out into the room. Once you take this position you can see what a disaster the conventional wooden board with holds cut in it and covered with cloth is: diffraction from all around the aperture.

                        The Harbeth SuperGrille solves all of these problems at a stroke but at a relatively high cost. First the metal for the frame has to be cut and bent exactly to length. Then welded by hand. Then fettled. Then degreased and sent away for powder coating (to prevent rust) .... then received by Harbeth and sent on to another supplier for cloth covering .... and finally back to Harbeth and fitted to your speakers. That adds up to about ten times the cost of a conventional board slapped onto the front. But technically/acoustically it's worth every penny.

                        The fact, that the SuperGrille can be left in place without deteriorating the sound, is an advantage that must not be underestimated.
                        Most speakers with "conventional" grilles sound better without the grilles in place. BUT: although removing the grille from such speakers may improve the sound, it ruins the WAF (Wife Acceptancy Factor).
                        Compared to several friends of mine, I am a lucky man, because my wife lets me put rather large speakers in the living room (the SHL5's are no dwarfs; including the Target R2 stands they stand 106 cm tall!). However, she very much likes the fact, that the SuperGrille can stay in place. In her opinion, speakers without grilles look ugly.
                        That is why the SuperGrille is a great piece of engineering, although it may look simple at first sight. I would like to turn the question around: Why are other manufacturers unable (or unwilling) to develop a grille that can stay in place, considering the fact that the WAF of their speakers can be improved significantly (and thus the sales figures)?

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Harbeth SuperHL5 and small rooms

                          Hi all,

                          I am interested in the Super HL5 but was wondering if they would work in a small room.

                          I do not listen loud and I find most "mini monitor" types -- I have owned both the LS3/5as, Linn Kans and ATC 7s, also tried the Harbeth P3 and ATC 12s -- they ALL need to be loud(ish) to convey a sense of weight, I live in an apartment and my neighbours do not appreciate that.

                          A friend suggested that I should try bigger boxes would work better at lower volumes, and the 2 that I really enjoyed after auditioning are the Compact 7 and the SHL 5s, esp. the latter.

                          I listen to a very wide variety of music, from Bach to The Beastie Boys! But 80% of the listening is conducted late at night, so fullness at low volumes is necessary.

                          As it is a dedicated room, I can afford to have them all the way out into the room and maybe even 2 bass traps, the walls are lined with floor to ceiling bookcases and cd/lp shelves. The room is very small at 3m x 3.5m x 2.5m (9.5 ft x 11ft x 8ft).

                          I am still undecided between the Compact 7 and the SHL5, esp. the local dealer have the latter discounted, so their cost difference is quite small.

                          Any advice would be appreciated!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 and small rooms

                            Royce5,

                            Like you, I live in an appartment, so I also listen at relatively low levels. I have recently bought a pair of Super HL5, and they work fine in my living room.
                            My room is fitted with wall-to-wall carpet; the SHL5's are standing on Target R2 stands, close to the walls (20-30 cm) because I haven't got the space to put them 75 cm from the rear and side walls.

                            Listening at low levels and still enjoying a full, detailed and rich sound quality is not impossible, because the SHL5's can do that. I have experienced that the quality of the amplifier is very important. You need an amplifier that delivers good sound quality at low listening levels.

                            I have tried different setups and I would recommend, that you buy a pair of Rothwell attenuators and connect them between the source (CD-player, turntable, etc.) and the amplifier (or between the pre-amp and the power-amp). They reduce the level of the source (or pre-amp) with approximately 10 dB, so you have to turn up the volume to get the same sound level. That means, that the volume control of the amplifier wil not be at 9 o'clock (or below) but between 11 and 13. Understand? Most amplifiers deliver a reduced sound quality at low levels, because most volume pots don't work too well in the low area's.

                            The amplifier doesn't have to be extremely powerful. Power is not the magic word. Low level detail is. So you can choose solid state, hybrid or tube.

                            At the moment, I am "between amplifiers". My Quad 33/303 has died, so I need something new, but I am still not sure what I want. I prefer a tube amplifier, but they are expensive so I have to wait, because buying the Harbeth SHL5's has emptied my bank account. So at the moment I use a borrowed amplifier from a friend, who will be out of the country for a year (work-related). This amplifier is a Cambridge 640A. Can you believe that? But it works a lot better than I feared.

                            So you see, the SHL5 is not that fussy about which amplifier you use. Good Luck!

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

                              Some sort of equalization might be in order. Adding a little gain at the bottom and top (a la Fletcher-Munson compensation) can improve the low-volume listening experience.

                              Agree that the choice of amplifier is very important. In my experience and for my preferences, you want clarity and detail at low volume, and SS tends to do better on this than tubes do.

                              Harbeths are decent low-volume speakers, but they are not the best. Better choices would include Quad electrostatics. Or the stuff from Green Mountain Audio.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Harbeth SuperHL5 specific

                                Equalisation? What do you mean? Digital sound processing? You may think that I am old-fashioned (and maybe I am indeed), but I don't use any of that. I never use tone controls, either. I just don't like it. In my opinion a well-balanced system doesn't need that kind of tricks.
                                But, as I said, I am old-fashioned. I have a stereo-system without home cinema or surround sound or other artificial digital stuff. I mostly listen to vinyl, open reel tapes, CD and SACD. I don't own a DVD-player (yet).

                                About low listening levels: I didn't mean whispering levels. I mean levels that don't disturb the neighbours at night, but still produce music in my room.

                                I am a tube fan. I listen to classical music (80%), pop (70's and 80's) and some bluegrass and folk. So maybe it has to do with my taste in music, but I don't know what solid state can do that tubes can't. Theoretically, there are many differences. But in real life?
                                I like the natural flow of music amplified by tubes. At the moment, I am saving up my money to buy agood tube amplifier. In the meantime, I have heard several tube amplifiers. When I listen to (for example) the Audio Research SP16-VS55 combination, I don't know what the problem is. The sound is rich, detailed, bright and full, without any harshness. The lack of harsheness is very important to me.

                                So I think it is all a matter of personal taste.

                                Comment

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