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Thread: Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

  1. #1
    Bruce Guest

    Default Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    I'm sure this was covered over and over in the old forum but I can't get into the old one and search. I'm considering the Super HL5 speakers. I have a PrimaLuna Prologue 2 K88T tube amp rated at 40 wpc. I don't have a local dealer where I can audition the SHL5's with my amp. I see a lot of posts in audio forums that say Harbeths need a lot of power and don't do well with tube amps. So I'm coming here to hopefully find out the truth from some real Harbeth owners. Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?

  2. #2
    Jodet Guest

    Default

    I had a Primaluna II 2 for six months and tried it many times on my Harbeth 30's. It was a wonderful combination. My 30's are in the HT room with an Arcam receiver, so hooking up the Primaluna was just 'for fun'. But it was a very nice combination with Harbeth - midrange for miles and really open.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodet
    I had a Primaluna II 2 for six months and tried it many times on my Harbeth 30's. It was a wonderful combination. My 30's are in the HT room with an Arcam receiver, so hooking up the Primaluna was just 'for fun'. But it was a very nice combination with Harbeth - midrange for miles and really open.
    I powered my M30's with an EAR 534 push pull tube amp (50 wt/ch), no problem driving them at pretty high SPL.

  4. #4
    Peter Jacobsen Guest

    Default

    My dealer here in Shanghai (I only just ordered my Compact 7's) almost always drives his Super HL5's with tube amps, usually 300B SET's. It sounds wonderful!! His showroom is quite small, though.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,282

    Default "Harbeths need lots of power" ???

    I read this comment from time to time, and it really is not tue.

    The medium size Harbeths (M30, C7, SHL5, and all the earlier HL models) have a resonable sensitivity around 85dB/W/m. The P3 and M40 are a bit lower.

    I listen at home using a 50W amp and its its deafening.

    I suspect that whilst the sensitivity of Harbeth speakers remained static in the mid 80dB's over the past 30 years, I guess that the avearage sensitivity of speakers has nudged up. However, to achieve a smooth, well balanced sound there probably *has to be* a significant proportion of moving mass in the (heavy) rubber surround, accounting for about 40% of the total. Reduce the rubber mass, and yes the efficiency increases, but the sound quality degrades. Since watts are cheap, I think sensitivity is the least important design goal - it's fine in the 80dB's because even modest amplifiers will generate a really loud sound.

    Of all the design objectives that the BBC-speaker designers of yesteryear or me now, sensitivity is the least important. Everything else is so much more relevant to great sound.

    I've covered similar topics in the FAQ page on the web site. Also here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=41
    Last edited by A.S.; 13-04-2006 at 07:17 PM.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #6
    Wiyono Guest

    Default

    My 30 watt EL34 pushpull overload a lot driving M30.
    Maybe because I like to listen quite loud.
    I think solid state do a better job in make the speaker sing dynamically.

  7. #7
    Tony L Guest

    Default

    Is my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 tube amp adequate for the Harbeth SHL5's?
    I?ve just bought a Prologue Two and it sounds wonderful with my Compact 7s so I?d guess it would do ok with HL5s. I find the C7s sound better on the 8 Ohm tap and I?ve got them hooked up with Mogami 2972. Power is certainly not an issue, they go plenty loud and sound very clean, clear, open and controlled. I?m liking this amp a hell of a lot already (it?s not even burnt-in yet as I've only had it a week).

    Tony.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,282

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    Are you really sure that EL34 is capable of 30W? I do not know anything about tube amps but I have a feeling that EL34 is of lower power - maybe 15W?

    Also, please consider that the output matching transformer that (almost) all tube amps need to drive the speakers will lose some power. The entire performance of a tube amp is critically interrelated with the design and construction of the output tranformer - as far as I can tell.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  9. #9
    Tony L Guest

    Default

    Are you really sure that EL34 is capable of 30W? I do not know anything about tube amps but I have a feeling that EL34 is of lower power - maybe 15W?
    You can get 30-35 watts out of a pair in push / pull configuration, a couple of current examples being the Prima Luna Prologue One and the Ming Da MC34.

    Tony.

  10. #10
    Chayro Guest

    Default

    You have enough power if you're expectations are realistic. You aren't going to get high-volume bone-crushing bass with that amp. However i've heard the SHL-5 sound beautiful with 30-50 wpc solid state amps. Plus, one dealer I know thinks the best sound he's heard from the 5's was with a 22 wpc SET amp. If you listen at moderate levels, your amp should be fine. Besides, unless you get into horns or single-driver speakers, how many speakers are easier to drive than the Harbeths? The 3A DaCapo is very efficient, but sound like someone is yelling in your ear.

  11. #11
    John Parkyn Guest

    Default What drives your Harbeths?

    Just thought it might be interesting to see what members use to drive their Harbeths. I'm far frlom an audiophile or a techie but I imagine some of the following terms will crop up: solid state, tubes, integrated, receiver, amp, pre-amp.

    Also please let us know what Harbeth model they're driving and watt power is at play (a wee joke there!).

    Please let us know how satisfied you are with the resulting sound.

    I don't have Harbeths yet, but currently (Lordy, another wee joke!) I use a vintage Marantz 2270 receiver to power Spendor S 3/5's and a Luxman receiver to push ADC (bet you never heard of them) sub and satellites. I am pleased with the sound these engines generate.

    If I can improve the wording of the question let me know and I'll edit it.

  12. #12
    Ted_W Guest

    Default What drives your Harbeths

    Hi John

    I have had a pair of Harbeth 7's for several years now, and I am extremely happy with them. As a matter of fact they are the first pair of speakers, that I have ever owned, in which I have been completely happy.

    I am using an AR SP-15 pre-amp and an AP 150.2 power amp to drive them and this combination has produced very good results.

    Regards,

    AEW

  13. #13
    Jodet Guest

    Default

    Arcam AVR250 - I am very pleased with the results. I also have a Nait 5i in a hobby shop that I have listened to on my Harbeths - that is a wonderful combo.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    20

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    John,

    I use Quad 909 amp/99 pre combo to drive my C7s.

    By the way I also own Spendor s3/5 which I use in bedroom/TV system driven by the Quad 99 amp/99 pre combo.

  15. #15
    parmenides Guest

    Default

    I use naim nait5i and naim cd5i with my harbeth 7es-2. also use tuner of magnum dynalab md90.
    I like combo naim + harbeth.

  16. #16
    Robert Lantin Guest

    Default

    Hello Mr. Parkyn,

    Here's a glimpse of my current set-up:

    Speakers: Harbeth M30s
    Amplifier: Plinius SA100/3 (100 watts per channel; pure class A solid state)
    Preamplifier: Plinius M16L (solid state)
    Room: 16 x 20 x 9 feet (with the speakers ~8 feet apart on the long wall, ~6 feet into the room)

    I have had this set-up for several years now and am absolutely delighted with it. I feel no urge or need to upgrade. Music is the name of the game as far as I'm concerned, and my M30s sing to me every single day. I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to musical genres, and have no preferred format?I listen to vinyl, cassettes, CDs, DVD-As, DADs, and SACDs.

    Kind regards,

    Robert Lantin

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    176

    Default

    Speakers: Super HL5
    Amplifier: Blue Circle BC24 (85wpc class AB tube hybrid)
    Preamp: Blue Circle BC3000 (tube)
    Room: 19.6 x 12.1 x 7.5 speakers 5.5 ft apart along short wall 5 ft into room

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Northern NJ
    Posts
    2

    Default

    M40's driven by Audio Research VT 100 MKIII (100wpc tube) amp through Alpha core MI2 Divinity single wired.
    Gary D

    M40's, ARC VT!00 MKIII, LS25 MKII, Meridian 508-20

  19. #19
    Chayro Guest

    Default

    Nap 250-2 with the SHL-5s.

  20. #20
    Halrich Guest

    Default

    HL-P3ES-2 's driven by a Manley Stingray intergrated amp - 45 watts.

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