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Thread: Harbeth SHL5 specific

  1. #81
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Hi Guys,

    A while ago one of the posters asked if anyone had a photo of Super HL5's with the Tiger Ebony finish, and since I just got a pair (yippee!) I thought I'd post the photo for you to see. It's towards the bottom of the page so you'll have to scroll down a bit to see it.

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/bo06/jeff.html

    The stands in the photo are the 18" Skylan stands that Noel Nolan makes special for the HL5's, and they really work great.

    I also remember someone asking about using a Leben integrated amplifier with Harbeths, and if it's a nice match. I've got my HL5's in a small 12 ft x 12 ft room at the moment and am using the 30 watt Leben 600 integrated with them. The Leben doesn't seem as powerful as you would expect given its 30 watt rating, but it's plenty for HL5's in the small room they're in now. I'll try them in my larger room before long, so I'll find out if the Leben has enough power for a larger room then.

    Best,

    Jeff

  2. #82
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Just a little follow up: I put the HL5's out in my living room (20 ft l x 17 ft w x 17 h) and hooked up a Shindo Arome CD matching tranny, Monbrison preamp, and Cortese amp with about 10 watts output. Used all Shindo interconnects and Auditorium 23 speaker cables. As a source I used a Red Wine Audio modified Olive Musica music server that runs on batteries. The combination is very nice and can play louder than I would normally listen to. Very nice! I don't think you'll have to worry much about amp power with the HL5's, you can instead go for quality.

    Happy Holidays,

    Jeff

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Hi Jeff,

    Nice Gibson! Yours?

    Don Leman

  4. #84
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Thanks! It's a Gibson Advanced Jumbo (Brazilian and Adirondack) and I play it every day. It's got tone that just doesn't stop. Just thinking about it makes me want to go lay hands on it! :-)

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  5. #85
    Arlequen Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    My compliments for your article Jeff!

    .. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Italy

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    USA
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    150

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Thanks for posting the photo. The Tiger veneer is stunning, and I know you're going to love the SHL5's! They truly live up to their name, since they are super speakers. Best wishes for the New Year -

    Ned

  7. #87
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Thanks for the kind words, Arlequen, appreciated. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too! :-)

  8. #88
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5, Skylan stands, Leben 600 integrated amp

    Hi Ned,

    You're welcome! I really like the Supers (although I have to say I've liked every Harbeth I've heard to date). It's Christmas morning here in snowy Eastern Washington State, and I'm drinking a nice fireside espresso and listening to an old Sinatra Christmas album. The Harbeth Super HL5's are sounding mighty fine with the Shindo Cortese amp, Monbrison pre, Arome CD matching tranny (it's like a Manley Steelhead for CD players), and Audio Logic DAC. The little Shindo amp is supposed to only have 10 watts, but even in my rather large living room it sounds more like a 100. I have no idea how it accomplishes that little trick, but it sure is nice combination with the Supers., and even at about 1/3 throttle it's plenty loud.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Jeff

  9. #89
    J.A. Boonstra Guest

    Default SHL5 and amplifiers ...

    Recently I have bought a "new" amplifier. Or better: a pre-amplifier and two monoblock power amplifiers. I wrote "new", because they are new to me, but they are in fact second hand. The sound improvement is simply unbelievable!

    I found them on the internet. Luckily, the man who was selling them, lived about 30 kilometres from my home. So I was able to meet him in his home and hear the amps. I fell in love with the sound and bought them.

    So now I am the proud owner of an Esoteric Audio Research (EAR) 864 pre-amplifier and two EAR 509 Mk II monoblock power amplifiers. I consider myself lucky, because if I would have to buy them new, I couldn't afford these amps.
    Of course they have been checked by an expert, who was also very excited about them. Everything was OK, including the tubes.

    The sound is detailed, natural, relaxed. Relaxed means: not too forward, not "in your face", but doesn't mean laid back. The bass is powerful (more powerful than most people expect from a tube-amplifier), controlled, not flabby, and by no means dominating, the treble is stress-free and beautiful. But the most wonderful is the mid-area, which is absolutely terrific.

    The words "High End" don't mean that much to me, especially since everybody seams to have their own opinion about the definition of "High End", but the expert who checked my amplifiers said to me, that he thought this to be a set of true High End amplifiers, without sounding like High End.
    When I asked him what he meant, he told me, that most so-called High End equipment sounds so excessively detailed (and often "dry"), that you only hear a lot of details, without hearing the entire picture of the music. He said, that this EAR combination is for music lovers. People who listen to music instead of testing signals.

    Well, that is exactly what I want. I listen to music. That is why I bought my Harbeth SHL5's.
    I just wanted to share this, because after searching for a better amplifier and listening to approximately 18 amplifiers over the last year, I am very lucky with the perfect match between the Harbeth SHL5's and the EAR 864 & 509 Mk II.

    J.A. Boonstra
    The Netherlands

  10. #90
    Arlequen Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5

    Here for you ... Boonstra

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue6/ear864.htm

    My compliments for your new tubey animals ;-)

  11. #91
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    USA
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    150

    Default Re: Super HL5

    J. A. Boonstra,

    I am happy to read that you are happy with your 'new' electronics - and your SHL5s. The terrific mid-range you speak of is - I believe - directly due to the Radial driver; an almost uniquely fine driver.

    In the time I have owned SHL5s and M40s, I have driven them with two different solid state amps and one tube amp. In each case, the sound has been as you described. In a word, wonderful. I have said this in different words before on this forum, but continue to believe it strongly. The Harbeth speakers are marvelous speakers. They sound as wonderful as they do because of this, and not because of the electronics use with them.

    Take care in how you place them in the room and you will indeed enjoy long term listening pleasure!

    Ned

  12. #92
    J.A. Boonstra Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5

    Ned,

    I agree, the SHL5s sound terrific. But my experience is, that the electronics can and will influence the sound. As I mentioned, I have listened to a lot of amplifiers and there clearly is a difference. A loudspeaker, that is as well designed and built as the SHL5, deserves to be fed a good signal from good "electronics".

    The SHL5s are fantastic loudspeakers (that's why I bought them), and in combination with a good setup (good "electronics", the right placement, and so on) the music will get better. And music is what this is all about, right?

    Enjoy your Harbeths as I enjoy mine. Let's play music!

    J.A. Boonstra

  13. #93
    J.A. Boonstra Guest

    Default Re: Super HL5

    Thanks for your message and the link.
    It is always nice to read a good review.

    J.A. Boonstra

  14. #94
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    USA
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    150

    Default Re: Super HL5

    J. A. Boonstra,

    I think the only differences we have would be in what we consider good electronics. Well, perhaps in how we audition components - I'm a believer in double-blind testing. That aside, we certainly agree on the Harbeth speakers.
    When I was getting ready to buy new speakers, Harbeth was one of about 3 or 4 makes I was considering. As it turns out, Harbeth was the only one I could find a dealer for in my area - 1 1/2 hours drive away. I am continually grateful to him for taking the time to let me listen to various models, and eventually letting me take a pair home to try in my room. And each time I listen, I feel gratitude towards Alan Shaw for giving us these wonderful instruments.

    Happy listening and Happy New Year!

    Ned

  15. #95
    heflo Guest

    Default Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    hello,

    in the other threads we discuss, which amplifier is good for a harbeth. I'm interested to learn, which amplifier has to be drop out. So please answer the following questions:

    1) Which amplifiers did your hear with harbeth and it sounds not so good
    2) Which amplifiers did you hear, that sounds good and what is the best?

    regards

    heflo

  16. #96
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    South of England, UK
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    4,271

    Default Re: Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    Quote Originally Posted by heflo
    ... I'm interested to learn, which amplifier has to be drop out ...
    Before I hand this over to others for comment, I'd like to clarify a couple of important points from my side, as the designer of the SHL5.

    First, as I have stated here before, ANY competent amplifier regardless of age, solid state or tube, inexpensive or expensive, integrated or separates providing that it is in original condition and serviced to specification, will work very well with the SHL5 - or indeed any other Harbeth. I do not think that very small amps offering just a few Watts are really ideal for such a big speaker but even I have been astonished by how well a 300B (tube) amp can drive a SHL5 under non-controlled listening tests.

    Second: It worries me that implied in the question is that there is some characteristic of the SHL5 that demands an amplifier of specific (high) performance. This is completely untrue.

    Third: As I have also said before here, during the design process (of any Harbeth speaker) I keep a very close watch on my simulator's prediction of the loudspeaker systems impedance - the load the amplifier sees - to be absolutely sure that the speaker will work with any competent amp. In fact, I have two Windows open on my (widescreen) monitor and in one I have the frequency response and in the other the impedance curve. As I make changes to the crossover which changes the frequency response I watch the impedance and no matter how attractive the new system frequency response is, if the system impedance drops low and/or becomes reactive, I immediately abandon that line of design attack and seek another with a more benign impedance.

    Yes, it greatly extends the design process; it is frustating to have an extra level of concern (aside from the frequency response) but it allows me to be nearly 100% sure that I am not swamped with after-sales calls concerning amplifiers - and the proof is that nobody asks me: it is a non-issue.

    Fourth: Again, as stated before, I use very modest electronics right through the design process. Nothing fancy, and available for little money. If I can get great results from such humble equipment - imagine what you can achieve if you want to invest serious money! But it is not necessary to junk perfectly good electronics to become a member of the Harbeth club. Nor, from an ecological point of view should you.

    If you can point me towards an amplifier that meets my criteria above (i.e. is in proper serviceable condition, to original spec) that gives you problems I'd be very keen to borrow it!

    Sorry if this sounds a little hard - but we really do not want to create the impression that there is a problem when there most definitely isn't.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #97
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    Greetings Heflo,

    I have found my SHL5's to be very tolerent of a wide range of electronics that I have used with them, for example:

    1-Leben CS600 integrated amplifier, 20-30 watts depending on tubes used,

    2-Shindo Monbrison preamp with Cortese power amp, about 10 watts,

    3-Tom Evans Audio Design Vibe preamp, Pulse power supply, and Linear A amp, about 20 watts.

    All of these amps drove the SHL5 quite easily and to excellent effect. These are all somewhat expensive products, but I also think inexpensive amplifiers like the Naim Nait integrated would work well based on my other experiences with Naim products.

    Did you have any particular amps in mind?

    Kind regards,

    Jeff

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    USA
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    150

    Default Re: Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    Hello Heflo,

    I would consider well what Alan has said. Your SHL5s will sound wonderful with ANY competently designed amp. I have owned SHL5s and now M40s and have used an expensive McIntosh tube amp (loaned to me) and quite inexpensive solid state amps, all to excellent effect. Best get a moderately powered and priced amp and concentrate your energies and remaining funds on getting the best placement of the SHL5s in your room, and getting some room treatment if needed. Happy listening!

    Ned

  19. #99
    Ferdinand777 Guest

    Default Re: Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    I had the pleasure of hearing the SHL5 at various friend's set-up. They all sound great with the SHL5. Ranging from BAT amps, to vintage Marantz 20watter s/s amps.

    These speakers are easy to please. Even regular speaker cables from Radio shack sounds good with them.

    Good stuff!!

  20. #100
    patk Guest

    Default Re: Which amplifier NOT for SHL5

    Just to follow up on Jeff's comment regarding Naim and the SHL5. I am using a Nait 5i integrated amp (50w/ch) with them. I find this to be a great combination. I have no plans to use a more expensive/more powerful amp with the Harbeths. Rather I will improve my source down the road.

    I'm also just using Naim NACA 5 speaker cable to connect the two.

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