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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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Speaker excursion limiting

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  • Speaker excursion limiting

    Desr Harbethians,

    Since a own a pair of P3 ESR speakers I wonder if these speakers offer any protection against clipping? Or is this a non issue and are they capably of handling sudden outburst of high output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability?

  • #2
    Speakers and amps working flat-out

    Originally posted by fred40 View Post
    are they capably of handling sudden outburst of high output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability?
    There are actually 2 questions in your query imo. Clipping is a different issue from this, although it may be related.

    Most speakers do not offer any adequate protection against clipping. Some amplifiers claim to offer protection against clipping. Either way it is an issue, in fact a serious one. Clipping occurs when the voltage rails in your amp cannot meet the requirements of the output stages of your amp*. When this happens, on a waveform, itíll look like the peaks are clipped off on one portion of the signal meaning asymmetry. In short your amp has gone DC (it no longer has the pistonic pattern) causing extreme cone excursion + heat in certain parts. If this unwanted pattern occurs, it will destroy your P3ESRís. The first signs may be distortion from your speakers when your amp can no longer cope, so turn it down. buying a more suitable amp to suit your listening style may be worthwhile exploring if it always distorts (because its too loud).

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    • #3
      "Power handling? Adequate sir".

      Originally posted by kittykat View Post
      ...Most speakers do not offer any adequate protection against clipping. Some amplifiers claim to offer protection against clipping...The first signs may be distortion from your speakers when your amp can no longer cope, so turn it down. buying a more suitable amp to suit your listening style may be worthwhile exploring if it always distorts (because its too loud).
      In updating the Harbeth Spares Matrix today I enquired about the call for spare parts for the P3ESR, in production for twenty three months. We are not aware of even one part being required. So although the power handling capacity of a small speaker is inevitably limited (by physics) the reality is that the power handling is adequate. Adequate for our customers and the use that they put the speaker to.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        A little gentle head-banging .... but be sensible!

        You need to be sensible with volume levels and turn down the amp a notch or two if audible distortion occurs. This can happen with all/any speakers whether large or small. If a little care is taken, you are unlikely to ever cause any damage.

        I have been demonstrating speakers for decades now and have never been responsible for any over-driven speakers or damaged speakers even though the matching amps are often many times more powerful than the speaker specification recommends. Indeed, it is often stated that a low powered amp is more likely to cause damage when over-driven than a powerful amp.

        I often drive the P3ESR's to quite high volume levels and they never show any signs of distress. I doubt there would ever be a problem under normal domestic conditions, even when going in for a little gentle 'head banging'.

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