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"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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Placement of the speakers in the room

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  • #61
    Low frequency behaviou of rooms

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    Basic fact .... to absorb low frequencies you need THICK, deep absorbing material. Not a few cms thick; metres thick. And that's a non-starter at home.
    Does this then mean that the only way to tame excessive bass at home is via the tone controls, if available on the amplifier? And perhaps, speaker positioning so they are not close to the walls?

    Speaking of positioning, to allow me to have my C7s three-four feet out of the room corners AND at the same time keep them safe during parties and with dogs around the house, my stands are on casters. When not in use, they are moved close to the side walls, with some place from the rear wall, i.e., not all the way in to the corner, that isn't necessary. Some time ago, I heard them without pulling them out, and I was surprised to find how little the sound suffered.


    • #62
      Stands, height, toe-in

      Place the speakers on appropriate stands so that the tweeter is at your ear height when seated. Site as far from walls and corners as you are able.

      I like to position the speakers in an equilateral triangle shape with the listener at the apex, sitting approximately at the same distance from the speakers as they are apart.

      Toe in or out to get the best balance of solid imagery and sound stage for you. I usually toe them in slightly so that I can still see some of the inner side of the cabinets.

      Sit back and enjoy.


      • #63
        SHL5 room placement - ideal situation, new room

        Hello fellow Harbethers,

        I would greatly appreciate if someone could advise me on the following topic:

        I own a pair of SHL5, powered by a Croft power/pre combination and it makes a perfect pairing to my ears. After the kids got old enough, my wife and i decided it is finally time to completely renew the place we live in, so that we will have one room dedicated to the music and books, which have a very important role in our/my life. The room measurements are:
        - width : 275 cm
        - length: 462 cm
        - height: 265 cm

        This room is currently our kitchen, but we want to turn it into a listening/reading room. I am attaching an image, where you can see (you need to use some imagination) how the architecture of the room could be like. Don't bother with the working desk in the picture – just keep in mind that we would really like to keep the stereo system, incl. the speakers approx. in the position as in the picture. Of course, we would bring the speakers upfront and out of the corners, and move them as far from the side walls as possible, but you cant do miracles in that room. The wall behind the stereo setup and speakers will be all glass (+ thick curtains on the side, which can be closed).

        My main fear is, that the orientation of the system is perhaps better if the speakers are placed on one of the longer walls, so there can be more empty space left-and right- from the speakers. Now, of course it is possible to play with speaker placement after the room will be ready, but it would be very helpful, if i could know this in advance, so we can have the furniture made in time (vinyl shelves, book shelves etc.).

        So, my question: given the room dimensions, do you think that the orientation and setup as in the attached picture could somehow work? Do you think the room is too narrow for the SHL5 or do they even produce too much »energy« for this room? Keeping them close to the side walls is not very good, is it?

        Or do you think it would be wiser to wait until the room is ready, then try different speaker positions, and have the furniture made later, just to be sure how and where the best speaker position actually is?

        Thanks, i really appreciate your response; music is my life.


        David, a very happy owner of SHL5
        Attached Files


        • #64
          Suggest P3ESR

          I think the room is MUCH too small for the SHL5. You could easily get booming bass in that room. The best match would be the P3ESR.


          • #65
            Repositioning the listening point

            This may well be an insoluble problem. From my experience in improving the sound of my pair of SHL5s in a larger room I offer the following thoughts:

            To get the best soundstage in your room I'd suggest you follow the second option you describe - putting the speakers on the longer wall.

            While ideally you need to have your listening chair at about 1/3 of the distance from back to front walls, this is obviously impractical in your small room so I suggest you try the next best option - put your listening chair against the wall behind you (i do this in our living room because it cannot be optimised for listening to music: it works OK).

            Reflected sound is potentially a big problem in a small room. If this is not damped or controlled you will get muddled sound images. I suggest you pay particular attention to the wall behind the speakers; while you might think keeping it clear will enable you to push the speakers closer to this wall I suspect that you would be better off having partially filled shallow shelves along the wall (i.e. your books not LPs) as this will break up potential reflections. Adding something similar behind & above your seating position may also help.

            If you can I suggest that you put all the electronics at one end of the room rather than between the speakers - this should help keep a good soundstage.

            You can't do much about the basic room modes without resorting to room correction hardware and software, however make sure your stands are high enough (tweeters-at-ear-height is recommended) - this will help minimise any floor-bounce of low frequencies.

            Finally I note that you are using a Croft power amp: is this one with a valve or solid-state output stage? If the former you are almost certain to have a boost and a lack of 'control' in the bass. In my experience class D amps can control the bass of the SHL5s very well.

            Hope this helps. In your shoes I'd try hard to fix things before admitting defeat and replacing the SHL5s with a smaller speaker.



            • #66
              A little room treatment pays big reward

              Yesterday I reorganised my room and repositioned speakers, listening space and electronics. Now my P3s are placed on the long wall with bookshelves, no more on the short wall with the windows. As you can probably imagine, sound changed dramatically. I enjoyed my Harbeths before but now I enjoy them even more. Soundstage improved a lot. It's simply impossible to get such huge changes fiddling with electronics, let alone cables. And best thing is that reorganising my room was free of charge, it only cost me a couple hours work. Now it looks better and sounds better. It's not finished yet but big satisfaction already!


              • #67
                Well away from the wall?

                Disclaimer: I am still reading up on this and the room treatment thread but I really wanted jump ahead of myself and post this questions...hope it's okay...


                Has anybody tried keeping their SHL5 well away from the rear wall? I have a 12 x 29 living room with a couple of 5x7 niches (one slightly bigger than the other). I am trying placing the speakers about 17' from the rear wall and 2.5' from the side. My listening position would be about 8' from the speakers and about 4' from the wall behind me.

                While I have not experienced any dip in the lows (I have been listening to mostly vocals so cannot really say for sure), I do feel the soundstage to be a bit more to the left. This, I suspect, has more to do with proximity to the niches (foyer and sit-out) than the distance to the rear wall.