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Thread: Harbeth SHL5 - Using New Decoupling Discs

  1. #1
    Marsanz Guest

    Default Harbeth SHL5 - Using New Decoupling Discs

    Hi All,

    I have been watching this forum for awhile and finally decided to post. After reading all the reviews I finally took the plunge, six months ago I purchased a new pair of Harbeth Super HL5s, 30th Anniversary Edition wrapped in Eucalyptus. The hype is all true, talk about happy!*

    I finally settled on purchasing a pair of Skylan stands from Noel. I have been reading some of the posts about how some of the members decouple their speakers from the stands or the floor. *

    I thought I would share my findings, I have been talking to Noel on and off for about two months on how to get the best sound available using his stands. I took his advice and filled the columns with rice instead of kitty litter and I was more than pleased with the results. I have my stands on sitting on granite slabs with felt pads protecting wood floors. I have tried everything from pennies, to all different types of rubber and wood discs to try to achieve sonic nirvana between the speakers and the stands.*

    Noel said he was working on a few prototype discs for his stands and sent me two different sets to try out. *One set was the diameter of a quarter and the other a nickel, they were about 1/4" thick, not sure what they were made of; think miniature hockey pucks. *I decided to use the medium size discs to decouple the speakers from the stands. I didn't know what to expect, maybe pick up a little on the high or low end or nothing at all.

    I was not ready for what I heard, I actually made the change in the middle of a song, when I dropped the arm the first thing I noticed was that volume was definitely louder, the next thing I noticed was more pronounced textured bass. There was more air and separation around the instruments, the soundstage widened and had more depth. The instruments are more focused and where they should be, there is nothing linear about the presentation at all. The speakers just seemed to open up, the operative word is bloom!

    The imaging is pinpoint, midrange and the center stage moved slightly forward. The one thing I love about the Super HL5s is the killer timbre and the realism of the instruments and the discs further enhance these qualities. Piano keys are sharp, have incredible reverb and decay, bass is deep and taught, woodwinds and brass are to die for, not to mention the micro details, you hear everything that was recorded and I mean everything. One final thing, the background is absolutely black! Music emanates out of total obscurity, I never thought it could be this good.

    The discs Noel provided made a significant improvement in my system and worth trying out.

    m *

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Singapore
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    160

    Default Decoupling discs

    Hi,

    Please post some pictures.


    Thanks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    288

    Default Good results on *any* surface ...

    Hi Marsanz,

    Welcome to the HUG.

    About the stand and other related decoupling objects, I just want to say that you can use your Harbeth on almost any plane surface with the tweeter at ear level. I'm running my SHL5 on some recycle cardbord DIY stands worth 2$ each with excellent results.

    While doing some experiment, I think that you should always ask you the question: "Were I'll be able to arrive at the same conclusion if it was a blind test and leave the administration of the experiment to someone else?"

    The placebo effect or similar is so strong that it suggest that we can easily be fool by ourselves. Even more if you change yourself one thing in your system. Hard to be neutral and without expection.

    Enjoy your Harbeth,

    Sebastien

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    350

    Default Energy channeling - stand speaker interface?

    [QUOTE=Marsanz;12988

    The discs Noel provided made a significant improvement in my system and worth trying out.

    QUOTE]

    Iím getting a bit confused, and would appreciate if someone could help. Isnít the residual energy (if any) from the speaker cabinets supposed to be channelled away, instead of being isolated as decoupling discs might suggest they do (or am I wrong)?

    What is the science and sonic advantage of using one type of ballast (rice in this case) against another, especially if the vibrations (if any) are already isolated? I understand that if the speaker is coupled to the stand, the energy would be dissipated through the Skylan steel rod onto the surrounding rice, rocks, kitty litter, buck shot or whatever we choose to fill it with. i spent last evening, trying to detect with my palm, unsuccessfully, vibrations from the shelf of the skylan.

    {Moderator's comment: there is no evidence we can find of "energy channelling" concerning the interface between stands and speaker cabinets. Have you tried placing your finger tips at the intended point of contact? How much energy can you feel? None?}

  5. #5
    Marsanz Guest

    Default Stands, placebo effect and willing belief/disbelief

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    Hi Marsanz,

    Welcome to the HUG.

    About the stand and other related decoupling objects, I just want to say that you can use your Harbeth on almost any plane surface with the tweeter at ear level. I'm running my SHL5 on some recycle cardbord DIY stands worth 2$ each with excellent results.

    While doing some experiment, I think that you should always ask you the question: "Were I'll be able to arrive at the same conclusion if it was a blind test and leave the administration of the experiment to someone else?"

    The placebo effect or similar is so strong that it suggest that we can easily be fool by ourselves. Even more if you change yourself one thing in your system. Hard to be neutral and without expection.

    Enjoy your Harbeth,

    Sebastien
    Hi Sebastien,

    Interesting feedback, while I can't comment, dispute or agree with any of your experiences due to not been involved with any of your tests or findings. I can say based on my experiences, group blind tests and results using different stands and decoupling devices have made a discernible difference in the sound of my Super HL5's.

    Your logic works both ways - the effect of NOT wanting to believe in the differences could easily fool someone into not really hearing them when in fact they are apparent.

    m

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    184

    Default The Comparator

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    Hi Marsanz,

    Welcome to the HUG.

    About the stand and other related decoupling objects, I just want to say that you can use your Harbeth on almost any plane surface with the tweeter at ear level. I'm running my SHL5 on some recycle cardbord DIY stands worth 2$ each with excellent results.

    While doing some experiment, I think that you should always ask you the question: "Were I'll be able to arrive at the same conclusion if it was a blind test and leave the administration of the experiment to someone else?"

    The placebo effect or similar is so strong that it suggest that we can easily be fool by ourselves. Even more if you change yourself one thing in your system. Hard to be neutral and without expection.

    Enjoy your Harbeth,

    Sebastien
    I concur. If interested, I posted some (unscientific) observations here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsanz View Post
    Hi Sebastien,

    Your logic works both ways - the effect of NOT wanting to believe in the differences could easily fool someone into not really hearing them when in fact they are apparent.

    m
    However, I have to agree that this is equally valid. Hence the importance of applying a comparator switch, described here. It's probably the only way of eliminating this really annoying placebo effect. I've tried to be objective enough to rule it out in my various a/b comparisons, but without surity of success.
    Ben from UK. Harbeth P3ESR owner.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
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    288

    Default A faith concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsanz View Post
    ...I can say based on my experiences, group blind tests and results using different stands and decoupling devices have made a discernible difference in the sound of my Super HL5's.

    Your logic works both ways - the effect of NOT wanting to believe in the differences could easily fool someone into not really hearing them when in fact they are apparent...
    Then, if you hear a difference and consider it good for your taste, you have your answer and you can move forward. I just find important to precise the methodology behind the "test" that we do at home. Most of them are absolutely not scientifical. They are not neutral, controlled by an independant party.

    In the case of the "blind test", one should be able to remains sitting in place while someone else change the parameters of the test. Plus, the leader of the experiment should try the "placebo effect" in the test. For example, he ask you if you hear a difference in the sound between A vs. B, while A and B are the same. A recent example was from Alan in the thread concerning "Frequencies, sound waves and hearing", post #20, he presented us 4 samples of one track for evaluation but the first three were exactly the same.

    One can speculate on the differences of the first three because he thinks that they are different but the are not. Then we enter the placebo effect, which is intrinsically a faith concept.

    Sebastien

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    3

    Default Decoupling discs

    Hi Mersanz,
    What did you have the speakers sitting on before the decoupling disks? Directly on the skylan stands?

    thanks

    mike

  9. #9
    Marsanz Guest

    Default Speaker stand isolators

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesh View Post
    Hi Mersanz,
    What did you have the speakers sitting on before the decoupling disks? Directly on the skylan stands?

    thanks

    mike

    Mike,

    I had them sitting directly on the small nylon bumpers that come with the stands. They are located on the outside of each corner of the stand.

    m

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    60

    Default Skylan, Sound Anchors dots etc.

    I have been using the Harbeth SHL5 on the Skylan stands and the Sound Anchors stands with excellent results from both stands.
    I have used the Herbies Big Fat Dots between stands and speakers plus as a alternative a small amount of Blue Tac, both methods have worked well.

    Here is a picture of my SHL5 on the Sound Anchors powered by the Leben HiFi CS 300 XS that is sounding wonderful together.
    I also have the Pass Labs XA 100.5 mono blocks that I will use again when the heat of our hot summer drops away.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    U.S.A.
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    34

    Default

    I've had good success with metal stands using the adhesive backed cork dots. The cork has a natural "grip" to it, and seems to be a good compromise between hard and soft isolation. Just my 2 cents.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    aaa
    Posts
    40

    Default how to dissipate the vibration energy

    hi again,
    I already mentioned about the cork also...
    And about the rice the science is like that:
    reason for stands fillings, is to dissipate energy from vibrations, so the rice could be more eficien becouse he can be rearranged, every time when is pushed from vibrations. But, also, must be very dry for this. Otherwise, he will be reinforced. The same phenomenon will be happening with sand ( will pasting if is too thin and wet, also).
    Cheers

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