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Thread: Harbeth SHL5 specific

  1. #101
    Myron Guest

    Default Can I have too much power?

    I own two 100watt tube monoblocks (i am waiting for the SHL5 to come this week-i hope). I am just wondering if there is too much power for the speakers. Alan is there going to be a problem?

  2. #102
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    Default Power is your servant .... you are the master

    I think we've covered this one before. It's a common misunderstanding.

    I assume that your 100W amplifier has a volume control. Correct? I also assume that you are capable of using that control to regulate how much power is delivered to your speakers. It is the user who decides by how much to open the amplifier's 'power gate' to make available the amplifiers power reserve to the speakers. Note the words 'power reserve'. Until you open the dam gate [the volume control] the power is benign, harmless, quiescent.

    The situation is exactly the same as sitting at the wheel of a turbo charged Bentley* with an 8 litre engine and huge power reserve. The question you could be pondering before you start the engine is 'am I going to lose control of this car and crash it?'.

    The answer is that the car's throttle (gas) peddle is your amplifier's volume control. IF you stab your foot down to the floor [i.e. turn the volume fully up] you will have so much power avalable to the wheels [the speakers] that the tyres will smoke [the voice coil will smoke]. But, if you are sensible, and use the power with care, there will be no problem, just the satisfaction of knowing that for occasional overtaking [loud musical passages] there is plenty of reserve.

    * To complete this analogy, here is a quote and a link ....

    "Although both Rolls-Royce and Bentley traditionally didn't divulge power output of their engines, merely saying that the power was "adequate," estimates put the numbers at around 310 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The end result was that the stately 5,300-pound motorcar could dash to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and hit a top speed approaching 140 mph."

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...rticleId=89619

    Available power is not the problem - user abuse is.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  3. #103
    sourealistis Guest

    Default Super HL5: Best loudspeakers in the world?

    After many weeks of gathering information about loudspeakers in the ?4500-8000
    range, I have come down to the following:

    Quad 2805
    Quad 2905
    Harbeth Monitor 40

    i have a room that is 5m deep by 4m wide. What I' m most interested in is a realistic soundstage, with beliavable depth and width, along with neutrality and precise imaging. Deep bass is not compulsory, as long as it is capable of sounding
    realistic. My amplifier is currently a Mac MC275 with a C2200 preamplifier. My previous speakers were a well-designed DIY.

    P.S. sorry about my English.
    P.S. 2) The thread took its name from the fact that the above mentioned loudspeakers are considered to be some of the best in the world.

  4. #104
    leekb Guest

    Default SHL5 crossover frequencies

    I am curious about the crossover points of the bass/mid, tweeter and super tweeter of the SHL5. Alan, is it ok to share in this forum the crossover freq?

  5. #105
    Join Date
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    Default Re: SHL5 crossover frequencies

    Xover frequencies at 3.3kHz (very typical for a Harbeth) and 12kHz.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #106
    Myron Guest

    Default Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

    Hello sourealistis, this is Myron, from Greece too, since your room is 4x5m why don't you check on the SHL5? I believe that it is a better choice. If you live in Athens you can audition the M40 in "STUDIO 17" (Harbeth distributor). M40 is an excellent choice too, but for bigger rooms.

  7. #107
    sourealistis Guest

    Default Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

    I have considered the SHL5, but I don't believe it has the potential to 'disappear' like the quads ( i have read great reviews on the m40 but i guess it can't do the disappearing act, either. it's because of its large woofer and neutrality that i'd choose it ). However, i was informed lately that the quads are in most rooms seriously unbalanced, having boomy bass and prominent treble. Any suggestions?

  8. #108
    Myron Guest

    Default Re: Best loudspeakers in the world

    Sourealistis, if tight bass is your goal, then go for M40's. Electrostatic's are not good in bass reproduction and they do need special positioning. Just check if your MC275 can drive them (the M40) properly. The M40's are great instruments (plus they are handmade) with extremely seductive sound....!

  9. #109
    Join Date
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    Default A.S.'s Stereo Sound Interview (about SHL5)

    The following message is transferred from the M40 thread, because it is really about SHL5. I vaguely remember a post by A.S. on the previous Harbeth website (or perhaps elsewhere) about a blind test Japan?s Stereo Sound magazine put him through. A.S. was asked to critique the characteristics of a pair of ?another brand? of speakers. The identity was concealed by clever lighting and intentional misinformation by the editor. In the end, the speakers turned out to be A.S.?s own brain child, the Super HL5. I surmise that is what Alan meant in his last paragraph.

    I am sure all of us are keenly interested in hearing the whole story. Alan, please take your time in formulating and relaying the story to the readers here as much as possible. As an SHL5 user myself, the speakers attract me into the core of music. They are very enchanting, and I often feel goose bumps from the realism unconsciously creeping up. I like to read about SHL5 to compare with my own notes, not because I need any reinforcement from reviewers. I can get enthusiasm by putting on an SACD. Thank you Alan.


    Eagerly awaiting

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As a P.S. I have just recalled helping out at Harbeth's exhibition room several years ago in some far off country.

    As you may know, I do not have hi-fi at home: if I did it would be impossible for me to be objective and I would be seduced by my own creation - a very slippery slope indeed. So it's always a treat to hear speakers - any speakers - in unfamiliar surroundings and to learn something new.

    Anyway - the point is that in a nearby (hotel bedroom) room along the corridor an electrostatic speaker was on demonstration, and as the doors were kept open their sales people visited our room and we theirs. I'd pop in for a few minutes every couple of hours and heard quite a selection of music over the three days.

    Even applying maximum objectivity and self honesty it was a shock (a pleasant one, but still a shock to me) was how astonishingly good the Super HL5 was in every way. It was cleaner, clearer, more true-to-life, better bass, sweeter and drove the room better. Above all, the SHL5 had no sonic signature, nothing at all that said 'this is a man made box'. Nobody was more surprised (and delighted) than me since I had read so much about electrostats but not really listened to one.

    Why surprised? Well, one reads so much wonderful theory about how electrostatics have such thin diaphragms that can trace the music etc. etc. and I'm sure that is all true, but does that necessarily mean that all electrostatics are great speakers? No it doesn't. The downside of the light, taut diaphragm is that it definitely has a Cling Film-like twang that, to my ears, is ever present and so evidently man-made. It could never be the signature of an instrument or voice since no instrument or human voice is generated by wobbling a large sheet in the air.

    Remind me to tell you of my experience in Japan when I was invited to be one of the first visitors to the new Stereo Sound listening room an couple of years ago! Again .... the wonderful SHL5.
    __________________
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #110
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    Default SHL5: how easy to drive? How much power needed?

    We received an email from a confused customer which reports that he'd been told that the SHL5 is "notoriously difficult to drive". This is utterly untrue. The SHL5 is extremely easy to drive.

    This irresponsible rumour is incorrect. There is NO need to spend big money buying a huge amplifier to get the best from the SHL5. I have already mentioned here that I have heard the SHL5 driven by a 7W (yes, seven Watt!) 300B tube amp and it filled the room with sound. Astonishing.

    These rumours spread even though I've discussed the power situation many times. I have also explained how during the design phase I keep a very close watch on the crossover (system) impedance to guarantee - yes guarantee - that our speakers will work with any credible amp. I use a mere 75W + 75W amp and it plays the SHL5 extremely loud. Just because a magazine reviewer or hifi enthusiast chooses to use a huge 400W amp with the SHL5 does not imply that it will only work with a massive mp!

    There are many previous threads from me about this - here are just a few links ...

    I think I dealt with this one here before: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/s...=1611#post1611

    We discussed the whole power issue in another thread: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?p=1710#post1710
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  11. #111
    airdavid Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Alan, is this true for Monitor 30 too ?

    regards
    David

  12. #112
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Yes, absolutely true. All Harbeths (with the exception of the Monitor 40 which is very special case) are easy to drive. Why wouldn't they be? I would be failing in my duty if I applied one design rule (such as make it easy to drive) to one model and then completely ignored that rule when designing another.

    Please remember that above all, we Harbeth UK and right throughout our sales network want - need - happy contented customers since you are our best adverts. To me, that implies that we have to take total responsibility for our design and make our products as 'universal' as possible. Top of my design specification list has to be "make sure this speaker is a very easy electrical load". Other designers with a less developed sense of danger may have entirely different priorities.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  13. #113
    nfnc Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    The review of the Harbeth C7ES-3 in the June 2007 issue of Stereophile mentions that there will be a special 30th Anniversary Edition finish for the C7 ES-3. Would there be a similar finish for the SHL5 as well and what veneer would this be?

  14. #114
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    There is some misunderstanding over this and someone jumped the gun before thoroughly checking with us here at the factory.

    We have NO plans for a special veneer at this time. The Anniversary Signature series is the usual veneers (Tiger Ebony, Eucalyptus, Cherry) with Ultra-Pure OFC and a metal Anniversary label.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  15. #115
    Bill C Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Can anyone tell me what the minimum listening distance is for the SHL5? My room is small and I will be sitting about 6 feet from each speaker. Will this be a problem with driver integration or in any other way? Thanks,
    Bill

  16. #116
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Hi Bill,

    I don't think you would have any integration problems at 6 feet. When I had my SHL5s, I sometimes listened that close - or even closer - without any probem. In fact, I occasionally will sit that close to my M40s - larger and 3-way - without any problem. I think the Harbeths work perfectly in "near-field" listening set-ups.

    Ned

  17. #117
    Bill C Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Thanks Ned. I appreciate your feedback. I bet those 40's sound nice.
    -Bill

  18. #118
    Fong Kam C Guest

    Default Cables for SHL5

    I'm considering replacing Van Den Hul CS122 cable.
    I'm having CYRUS AMP 8vsII.
    Appreciate recomendation on suitable speaker cables for SHL5.
    Will bi-wiring SHL5 bring out better sound.

  19. #119
    acoliver Guest

    Default Optimal amp load for SHL5

    Greetings -

    I own a pair of Super HL5's and drive them with a Conrad Johnson Premier 140 amp, rated at 140 watts per channel. My question relates to load matching. The SHL5's have an impedance of 8ohms, while my amp is set up for a 4ohm load. Before I consider having the amp rewired to match the load of the speakers, I've been advised to find out (including asking Alan and any other good folks at Harbeth) how consistent the 8ohm load of the speaker is over the entire frequency range. Would also welcome hearing whether anyone has modified their amp to best match the load of the SHL5's. According to a test of the amp in a review, I may be loosing as much as 40 watts by not matching my amp's impedance to the speakers.

    Andre

  20. #120
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Optimal amp load for SHL5

    The impedance curve of the SHL5 is already available on the SuperHL5 page on the web site.

    I assume that the amp is tube - since the matching of solid state (transistor, mosfet etc.) amps to the speaker is unimportant.

    The key point is this: a good match is achieved if the speaker has a higher impedance than the (tube) amp's output tap setting. So, a 6 or 8 ohm speaker driven from a (tube) amplifiers 4 ohm setting will work well. Conversely, 4 ohm speaker driven from the (tube) amplifiers 8 ohm setting is not ideal but will work.

    Are the differences audible either way? Probably not. Is it worth disturbing an amplifier that is working perfectly well to achieve some sort of textbook theoretical match? Definitely not. You then open up a whole new world of problesm that will result from drawing more heat from the power amp such as shortened amplifier life. Save your money.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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