"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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A lottery winner's dream Harbeth setup?

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  • A lottery winner's dream Harbeth setup?

    What would your dream music (or AV) system and environment be, revolving around Harbeths? Money no object, (hey, its good to have dreams and goals however shallow they may be). It can be anything eg. 2 channel (or a multichannel shoehorned into it).

    Ill start, Ö

    1. a bigger fairly well damped room in a quiet location, with the closest neighbour at least 150 metres away

    2. Harbeth M40.1ís, in teak veneer on simple open frame teak stands

    3. Bryston BP26 preamp at almost arms length, running a long balanced XLR to

    4. Bryston Powerpac 300ís ( with short speaker cables to M40ís)

    5. CEC TL53Z player (also at arms length, negating the need to get up and change cdís. )

    6. another CD player, maybe an Esoteric X03SE

    7. nice comfortable couch

    Pretty happy with what I have but i'll know the first thing to do if I won the lottery!

  • #2
    Over the top.

    All you need is a pair of M40.1 Actives driven by a simple DAC like

    TC Electronic BMC-2 DAC and Studio Monitor Controller

    And a Mac of your choosing.


    • #3
      No, donít really feel itís over the top. Over the top to me would be spending that very same amount for that system on a pair of fancy designer speakers installed with drivers you can buy as diy parts. And itíd be really overboard if they end up as pieces of furniture, which I think would be very likely given that so many other speaker manufacturers today donít have a heritage. Some have a heritage grounded on making fountain pens!

      If any, the Esoteric CD player is a little overboard (over-engineering would be more accurate), but all those items on the list would last for a very long time. They are all items with a high ownership pride factor, designed and built with pragmatic sensible engineering. More importantly given the experience with Harbeths, think the M40ís would probably be used a lot, if not left playing every minute im home. Given this, if I had a pair, id just move it into the living area and NOT have a dedicated listening room but add an FM Tuner instead, perhaps an Accuphase.


      • #4
        M40.1 on Skylan stands
        Esoteric universal disc player
        VPI Classic Turntable with Ortofon A90 cartridge
        McIntosh C46 preamp
        Rives Parc Parametric EQ
        Bryston 28B-SST2 power amp
        a pair of REL subs (these would be off most of the time... but for the times when I feel like some Mahler...)

        But in the real world, I'll probably end up with the Harbeth integrated amp and M40.1 on Skylan stands....


        • #5
          Very nice Will! Notice 2 pieces of equipment on your list have BIG digital readouts on them.


          • #6
            My priorities

            Given unlimited financial resource, my priorities would be

            1. a really good listening room
            2. a classic Ferrari Dino

            at which point further expenditure on audio gear becomes irrelevant due to permanently ringing ears.

            However if compelled to spend the money on audio gear, I'd prefer to build up a collection of "interesting" classic components. "pro" Quad gear, James Bongiorno battleship amps (and one of his trinaural processors go with them), Audio Research valve gear, etc. Alphason turntable and arm, Decca London cartridge... and I'd hire an engineer to eliminate the sonic compromises from the Quad 44.


            • #7
              Sonically transparent amp

              Originally posted by honmanm View Post
              ... and I'd hire an engineer to eliminate the sonic compromises from the Quad 44.
              I wonder what compromises you refer to. I've had mine refurbished by this chap and I'm fairly sure that the unit is sonically transparent. What more could one desire of a preamp?


              • #8
                QUAD 405 refurb

                I run a 405-2 refurbish by 405man who sells on eBay. He will also refurbish Quad preamps - new capacitors where needed and better op-amps.


                • #9
                  Quad 44

                  Without having delved into the gubbins of the 44, the two items that immediately come to mind are the op-amps (TL071 IIRC) and the digital switches. Back in 1993-ish I moved from a 44 to a kit-built Hafler DH-101 which was much more transparent. However your chap may be one of those (like the Net Audio and Dada guys) who have gone over the component list with a magnifying glass and obtained the kind of improvement I'm dreaming of.

                  Like so many of the classic Quads, the 44 is a wonderful piece of design - especially when it comes to the ergonomics and filter controls.


                  • #10
                    Winning the lottery

                    Even if I won a lottery or sweepstake, I would still have made the SAME choice with speakers and electronics! I don't think the sudden financial fortuity would make a jot of difference with my present setup! I am satisfied and content with my system as-is.

                    The tendency to climb higher up the ladder when finances permit is fraught with danger and is often based on the fallacy that bigger is better, more expensive is better! There is a certain peace that comes with contentment and the acceptance that there may be many other systems out there that may sound better than mine but notwithstanding, I am happy with my system. I would certainly buy more CDs and vinyl but my speakers stay, so too my electronics!


                    • #11
                      Audio OK - I'd travel and donate ...

                      My current audio gear is just fine thank you. I would travel to places I've dreamed about seeing and stay in decent accommodations, and I would donate handsomely to my favorite charities.


                      • #12
                        A good listening room etc.

                        Get a house with a good dedicated rooms for stereo and HT.

                        -For stereo, a pair of M40.1 is good enough to match with my current LFD Zero Int LE mkIII or LFD Mistral LE, CD players or any CD player and my vinly setup (will buy a better Cart...) mainly for my Classical musics and opera.

                        -For another stereo room I like to have my current C7 and SHL5, add a pair of C7es3, a pair of P3esR and a pair of M30. Listen to either pair depend on my mood. Amplification still either LFD Zero Int LE mkIII or LFD Mistral LE go if any CD player. Mainly for Jazz, vocal and some other muiscs like new age and fushion...

                        -For HT, Surround system consist of SHL5 plus a REL sub driven by a Marantz AVR in 5.1 congif is more than enough.

                        "Bath with Music"


                        • #13
                          My dream ....

                          Hmm... my wish would be some how... same as keithwwk...

                          1) Listening room 1 - SHL5, with 2A3 prepower, Accuphase DP57, Rega P5 TT with a Dynavector xx-2 cart with a Accuphase tuner...
                          2) Listening room 2 - C7es3, with McIntosh prepower, Accuphase DP500, with Rega P5 TT with a Dynavector xx-2 cart still and still an Accuphase tuner

                          No major HT for me though... will just head to the cinema for the best possible deal.. , maybe I buy all the tickets available ))

                          Attend all concerts possible... even best!! Set up a room for a good mid size band to perform right in front.. :p

                          Will go and dream now ..... LOL


                          • #14
                            I'll travel to Harbeth uk!

                            i will travel all the way to UK and visit Harbeth factory... btw, i am from M'sia..


                            • #15
                              Just as I am in the process of becoming more sensible about my hi-fi purchases - ie. less expensive more 'sufficient', I discover this thread! I'm not aiming for such high cost gear anymore but here is my lottery-win package (maybe!)

                              Large listening room specifically built to suit Monitor 40.1 (in a 5 channel surround configuration) with design/listening consultation from AS.

                              Nagra VPA monoblocks on each channel (that's 5 in total)

                              Custom designed by Tim DiParavicini multi-channel valve preamp (with meters, naturally!)

                              EMM Labs XDS-1 SACD player with EMM Labs multichannel DAC

                              EMT 950 turntable (BBC version) with EMT 929 arm and EMT cartridge

                              Thorens TD 124 mk.1 with EMT 997 arm and Ortofon SPU 90th Anniversary cartridge plus mono SPU

                              Magnum Dynalab MD-108T FM tuner with professionally set-up roof top ariel

                              Nagra VPS valve phonostage with 2 inputs for EMT/Thorens decks

                              Meridian Sooloos touch screen for CD playback

                              Nordost Odin cables all round (why not? just for a laugh...)

                              So that's probably what I'd do. Just thinking about it is giving me the high-enditis again! But to be honest, I'm quite happy listening with much cheaper electronics now and I realise it's the speakers (Harbeth's) that are the most important thing. If only I had room for M40.1...

                              PS. Does anyone know how I put a heading for my posts, it would help with searching threads etc. I'm not sure how to do it...
                              Last edited by GregD; 28-02-2011, 01:21 PM. Reason: advice on post headings