"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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P3ES-2 in large room with small amplifier

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  • P3ES-2 in large room with small amplifier

    Hello folks. I use a pair of P3ES-2 for near-field listening at work - placed on book-shelf 2 or 3 feet from my ears and played at conversation level or a little bit louder, driven by a flea-powered 4W ECL86 SE amp. The tonal quality is beautiful and balanced, without any complaint with the bass reproduction.

    Recently, I moved to a new studio (H2.45m / W4.90m / L6.00m or H8' / W16' / L20') and have to place the P3ES-2 in a more "standard" position. The P2ES-2 was placed 100cm away from the book-shelf-lined back wall (16') and 135cm away from the side-walls (20'), all measurements from the front-centre of the speakers. All walls are untreated and the listening position is at two-third of the length of the studio, approximately 260cm away from the centre of the speakers. The P3s are powered either by a 12W EL84 push-pull amp or a 11W EL34 SE amp. I found the sound produced bright and bass shy, lacking the tonal balance as heard in near-field application.

    Would repositioning of the P3s or replacing the amplifiers bring a fuller sound? Or is the P3s just cannot fill the studio of this size with adequate bass?

    Thanks for any advice.

    {Moderator's comment: 11-12W is woefully underpowered especially for such a room volume and you are sure to be operating them constantly in amp clipping mode (see other threads)}

  • #2
    More reverberant energy?

    Indeed, but in addition you could also be hearing far more reflected sound.

    Depending on the furnishing of the room, that may have added to the bright sound.