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At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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Test at home: SHL5s vs widely advertised British floorstanders...

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  • Test at home: SHL5s vs widely advertised British floorstanders...

    Hi everyone,
    I have to write this down, as the results were astonishing. Some friends gathered together in a house of one of them, I was also present. We took from my house -with extreme care of course- my pair of SHL5s and put them side by side to an impressively looking pair of British (though made in China...) floorstanders, l can only say they looked biiiigggg in front of the SHL5s... The owner was boasting that no speaker in the world could beat his combination of these floorstanders+pre/power amps, and, to my questioning whether he'd accept a direct crash test between his speakers and my pair of -the same price level- SHL5s, he invited us for a drink, so to prove that he could deliver a big sound...
    And so he did. The sound was big and impressive, filling all the about 30sq.m. area of his L/R. Then the turn of the SHL5s arrived. The test cds were some classical and jazz choices, very fine recordings, with vocals of course... We had two identical pairs of speaker cables, wired on both pairs, and also the luxury to instantly change A-B speakers setting from his preamp, that's good as far as we don't have the so called "acoustic memory" for more than a few moments, at least that's what people say and I also believe...
    I don't want to become tiring by writing pages, but -as a conclusion- I can tell you that my friend Steven is almost sleepless fron that night on, and it's almost a week now... The worst is that he doesn't really want to sit down and listen to his system anymore, while he keeps asking me almost every day of how much do I think he can sell his floorstanders (they are in MINT condition). During this almost two hour session, Steven did not speak at all. The only thing he said at the end, were just two words, and he really whispered them, it was "...amazing speakers..." Oh, I forgot to tell you that my friend plays excellent piano, and he's been a music lover and audiophile person for almost 45 years.
    Well, enough said... The SHL5s will always surprise those who haven't yet listened to them, forever & ever I believe! To me, they trully are lifelong priceless companions!
    Cheers from Athens,

  • #2
    How about a clue to the Chinese speakers ?


    • #3
      Thanks for sharing Thanos. My guess is either Quad, KEF or Wharfedale....most probably Wharfedale 3 way floorstander. Anyway, as far as musicality, accuracy of tone & timbre goes, the SHL-5 or any Harbeth, is very very hard to beat.
      In the meantime, here in Singapore, i continue to hear stories of people "downgrading" from hyper expensive spks to SHL-5 or any other Harbeths & couldn't be happier!


      • #4
        Yes, that's Harbeth..You should use music with vocal to compare. The "mouth" of the singer from Harbeth speakers is true to live. I've listen to speakers cost 3 to 4times more than the "King". The sound stage is very wide, depth etc .....then when it comes to vocal the "mouth" from the singer could "swallow" a man


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gan CK View Post
          My guess is either ...


          • #6
            Originally posted by Thanos View Post
            ...widely advertised... ...impressively looking pair of British (though made in China...) floorstanders... ...they looked biiiigggg... ...instantly change A-B speakers setting from his preamp...
            1. That must be a pair of B&W or a KEF
            2. A rather predictable result, your friend knows about natural sound. (He plays the piano...)
            3. Did you use two power amps? Where they identical? (...not that it does matter)

            A few more details, please.


            • #7
              Well guys i don't think its B&W or ATC as these are not made in China as far as i know. Remember Thanos mentioned its a pair of british (though made in china) spks. What about Epos?


              • #8
                Trouble is (as I see it), so much British kit is now made abroad. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is inferior but it's such a shame and deceitful to market a product as being a good old, established British brand when it is often designed and made abroad. If the product is good and has merit, why not sell it as such and not pretend it is something else ?

                I believe that some components of B&W speakers come from China as do the components of ATC 'Entry Level' speakers. Whether these brands are manufactured out of GB, I am uncertain. Perhaps others know ?


                • #9
                  Hi Thanos,

                  It's good to have some news from you. You are lucky to do that kind of "direct" comparison. I'll wait to read more on this story.



                  • #10
                    My lifelong companions ....

                    Hi Friends, sorry to have been absent for a long time, but as you've probably heard, Greece is running through very hard times... Unfortunately, but inevitably too... So, I hope I'm a bit excused, as I struggle to survive, from a financial point of view... Now, back to our consoling little luxury...

                    Yes, most of you guessed right, the speakers were the B & Ws, the CM-9 floorstanding model. The amp was common for both pairs, a powerful pre-power (discontinued) combo by Rotel. Sources were a good old and top notch Sony player, and the Linn Sondek tt, with its own arm & cartridge, cables the Kimber 8TCs... we were 5 friends gathered together and ALL completely agreed that the B & Ws were impressive, yet they couldn't "catch" the Harbeths' warmth, delicacy and naturalness at all! They said that in many cases they feeled listening fatigue after some time with the floorstanders, especially at higher volume levels, while the Harbeths offered an unbelievable listening comfort, at any volume level.

                    As to the voices comparison, we listened to plenty opera arias, the Harbeths won hands down... There's so much balance in the Harbeths, that you really are deeply drawn into the music and the song, so you just forget everything about "this or that instrument and sound". In a word, you get the "Whole" without missing any part, you enjoy the essence. Most naturally so!

                    Well, I'm not bringing any news, do I? But, every now and then, when having a chance to compare and rediscover these good values, we can once more realize how important our speakers are. Lifelong companions as I say...
                    My Best Regards to everybody!