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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.

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.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Harbeth SHL5 specific

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  • Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

    Hello sourealistis, this is Myron, from Greece too, since your room is 4x5m why don't you check on the SHL5? I believe that it is a better choice. If you live in Athens you can audition the M40 in "STUDIO 17" (Harbeth distributor). M40 is an excellent choice too, but for bigger rooms.

    Comment


    • Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

      I have considered the SHL5, but I don't believe it has the potential to 'disappear' like the quads ( i have read great reviews on the m40 but i guess it can't do the disappearing act, either. it's because of its large woofer and neutrality that i'd choose it ). However, i was informed lately that the quads are in most rooms seriously unbalanced, having boomy bass and prominent treble. Any suggestions?

      Comment


      • Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

        Sourealistis, if tight bass is your goal, then go for M40's. Electrostatic's are not good in bass reproduction and they do need special positioning. Just check if your MC275 can drive them (the M40) properly. The M40's are great instruments (plus they are handmade) with extremely seductive sound....!

        Comment


        • A.S.'s Stereo Sound Interview (about SHL5)

          The following message is transferred from the M40 thread, because it is really about SHL5. I vaguely remember a post by A.S. on the previous Harbeth website (or perhaps elsewhere) about a blind test Japan?s Stereo Sound magazine put him through. A.S. was asked to critique the characteristics of a pair of ?another brand? of speakers. The identity was concealed by clever lighting and intentional misinformation by the editor. In the end, the speakers turned out to be A.S.?s own brain child, the Super HL5. I surmise that is what Alan meant in his last paragraph.

          I am sure all of us are keenly interested in hearing the whole story. Alan, please take your time in formulating and relaying the story to the readers here as much as possible. As an SHL5 user myself, the speakers attract me into the core of music. They are very enchanting, and I often feel goose bumps from the realism unconsciously creeping up. I like to read about SHL5 to compare with my own notes, not because I need any reinforcement from reviewers. I can get enthusiasm by putting on an SACD. Thank you Alan.


          Eagerly awaiting

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          As a P.S. I have just recalled helping out at Harbeth's exhibition room several years ago in some far off country.

          As you may know, I do not have hi-fi at home: if I did it would be impossible for me to be objective and I would be seduced by my own creation - a very slippery slope indeed. So it's always a treat to hear speakers - any speakers - in unfamiliar surroundings and to learn something new.

          Anyway - the point is that in a nearby (hotel bedroom) room along the corridor an electrostatic speaker was on demonstration, and as the doors were kept open their sales people visited our room and we theirs. I'd pop in for a few minutes every couple of hours and heard quite a selection of music over the three days.

          Even applying maximum objectivity and self honesty it was a shock (a pleasant one, but still a shock to me) was how astonishingly good the Super HL5 was in every way. It was cleaner, clearer, more true-to-life, better bass, sweeter and drove the room better. Above all, the SHL5 had no sonic signature, nothing at all that said 'this is a man made box'. Nobody was more surprised (and delighted) than me since I had read so much about electrostats but not really listened to one.

          Why surprised? Well, one reads so much wonderful theory about how electrostatics have such thin diaphragms that can trace the music etc. etc. and I'm sure that is all true, but does that necessarily mean that all electrostatics are great speakers? No it doesn't. The downside of the light, taut diaphragm is that it definitely has a Cling Film-like twang that, to my ears, is ever present and so evidently man-made. It could never be the signature of an instrument or voice since no instrument or human voice is generated by wobbling a large sheet in the air.

          Remind me to tell you of my experience in Japan when I was invited to be one of the first visitors to the new Stereo Sound listening room an couple of years ago! Again .... the wonderful SHL5.
          __________________
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • SHL5: how easy to drive? How much power needed?

            We received an email from a confused customer which reports that he'd been told that the SHL5 is "notoriously difficult to drive". This is utterly untrue. The SHL5 is extremely easy to drive.

            This irresponsible rumour is incorrect. There is NO need to spend big money buying a huge amplifier to get the best from the SHL5. I have already mentioned here that I have heard the SHL5 driven by a 7W (yes, seven Watt!) 300B tube amp and it filled the room with sound. Astonishing.

            These rumours spread even though I've discussed the power situation many times. I have also explained how during the design phase I keep a very close watch on the crossover (system) impedance to guarantee - yes guarantee - that our speakers will work with any credible amp. I use a mere 75W + 75W amp and it plays the SHL5 extremely loud. Just because a magazine reviewer or hifi enthusiast chooses to use a huge 400W amp with the SHL5 does not imply that it will only work with a massive mp!

            There are many previous threads from me about this - here are just a few links ...

            I think I dealt with this one here before: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/s...=1611#post1611

            We discussed the whole power issue in another thread: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=1710#post1710
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

              Alan, is this true for Monitor 30 too ?

              regards
              David

              Comment


              • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                Yes, absolutely true. All Harbeths (with the exception of the Monitor 40 which is very special case) are easy to drive. Why wouldn't they be? I would be failing in my duty if I applied one design rule (such as make it easy to drive) to one model and then completely ignored that rule when designing another.

                Please remember that above all, we Harbeth UK and right throughout our sales network want - need - happy contented customers since you are our best adverts. To me, that implies that we have to take total responsibility for our design and make our products as 'universal' as possible. Top of my design specification list has to be "make sure this speaker is a very easy electrical load". Other designers with a less developed sense of danger may have entirely different priorities.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                  The review of the Harbeth C7ES-3 in the June 2007 issue of Stereophile mentions that there will be a special 30th Anniversary Edition finish for the C7 ES-3. Would there be a similar finish for the SHL5 as well and what veneer would this be?

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                  • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                    There is some misunderstanding over this and someone jumped the gun before thoroughly checking with us here at the factory.

                    We have NO plans for a special veneer at this time. The Anniversary Signature series is the usual veneers (Tiger Ebony, Eucalyptus, Cherry) with Ultra-Pure OFC and a metal Anniversary label.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                      Can anyone tell me what the minimum listening distance is for the SHL5? My room is small and I will be sitting about 6 feet from each speaker. Will this be a problem with driver integration or in any other way? Thanks,
                      Bill

                      Comment


                      • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                        Hi Bill,

                        I don't think you would have any integration problems at 6 feet. When I had my SHL5s, I sometimes listened that close - or even closer - without any probem. In fact, I occasionally will sit that close to my M40s - larger and 3-way - without any problem. I think the Harbeths work perfectly in "near-field" listening set-ups.

                        Ned

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                        • Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

                          Thanks Ned. I appreciate your feedback. I bet those 40's sound nice.
                          -Bill

                          Comment


                          • Cables for SHL5

                            I'm considering replacing Van Den Hul CS122 cable.
                            I'm having CYRUS AMP 8vsII.
                            Appreciate recomendation on suitable speaker cables for SHL5.
                            Will bi-wiring SHL5 bring out better sound.

                            Comment


                            • Optimal amp load for SHL5

                              Greetings -

                              I own a pair of Super HL5's and drive them with a Conrad Johnson Premier 140 amp, rated at 140 watts per channel. My question relates to load matching. The SHL5's have an impedance of 8ohms, while my amp is set up for a 4ohm load. Before I consider having the amp rewired to match the load of the speakers, I've been advised to find out (including asking Alan and any other good folks at Harbeth) how consistent the 8ohm load of the speaker is over the entire frequency range. Would also welcome hearing whether anyone has modified their amp to best match the load of the SHL5's. According to a test of the amp in a review, I may be loosing as much as 40 watts by not matching my amp's impedance to the speakers.

                              Andre

                              Comment


                              • Re: Optimal amp load for SHL5

                                The impedance curve of the SHL5 is already available on the SuperHL5 page on the web site.

                                I assume that the amp is tube - since the matching of solid state (transistor, mosfet etc.) amps to the speaker is unimportant.

                                The key point is this: a good match is achieved if the speaker has a higher impedance than the (tube) amp's output tap setting. So, a 6 or 8 ohm speaker driven from a (tube) amplifiers 4 ohm setting will work well. Conversely, 4 ohm speaker driven from the (tube) amplifiers 8 ohm setting is not ideal but will work.

                                Are the differences audible either way? Probably not. Is it worth disturbing an amplifier that is working perfectly well to achieve some sort of textbook theoretical match? Definitely not. You then open up a whole new world of problesm that will result from drawing more heat from the power amp such as shortened amplifier life. Save your money.
                                Alan A. Shaw
                                Designer, owner
                                Harbeth Audio UK

                                Comment

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