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Thread: Harbeth SHL5 specific

  1. #281
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Hi keithwwk,

    Thanks for the advice on placement of the SHL-5. I figured out the speakers will sound better with more space between them as I initially got a rather congested, or should I say restricted soundstage when I placed them about 6 feet apart. After I moved them further apart, the soundstage opened up and the sound became more natural. Maybe some day when I have the opportunity I will move them to a bigger room and get that elusive 7' separation.

    I have been digging out most of my old CDs from the racks and was stunned by the musicality, coherency and neutrality of the Super HL-5's. Some of my unlistenable CDs are now pretty acceptable on the listening scale. I popped in one of the mass-market crap that I got some time ago which was only played less than 30 minutes before it was put aside and never played again, and the results were pretty remarkable. The album was by Gwen Stefani(don't laugh). When I played my favourite track "4am In The Morning", the vocals sound a lot more natural and believable. Unfortunately the horrendous amount of digital bass still ruins the whole thing. All other types of music sound really good. Most important, the tonal balance and timbre accuracy have been superb with the SHL-5. I think I have made a right choice in choosing the Harbeth.

    I've read that the LFD and Lavardin amps when paired with the Compact 7ES-3 are a match made in heaven. I am wondering whether these amps will sound better than my Plinius amp in driving the SHL-5 or not. I've checked out the Lavardin IT integrated and it's a rather well-built unit.

  2. #282
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Thanks Vlado & keithwwk,

    I've posted another pic in the "Photos of your beloved Harbeth Speakers & Setup" thread, gives a better view of the room layout.

    Sleep? Harbeth users don't need sleep!

    :?)

  3. #283
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    Hi keithwwk,

    Thanks for the advice on placement of the SHL-5. I figured out the speakers will sound better with more space between them as I initially got a rather congested, or should I say restricted soundstage when I placed them about 6 feet apart. After I moved them further apart, the soundstage opened up and the sound became more natural. Maybe some day when I have the opportunity I will move them to a bigger room and get that elusive 7' separation.

    I have been digging out most of my old CDs from the racks and was stunned by the musicality, coherency and neutrality of the Super HL-5's. Some of my unlistenable CDs are now pretty acceptable on the listening scale. I popped in one of the mass-market crap that I got some time ago which was only played less than 30 minutes before it was put aside and never played again, and the results were pretty remarkable. The album was by Gwen Stefani(don't laugh). When I played my favourite track "4am In The Morning", the vocals sound a lot more natural and believable. Unfortunately the horrendous amount of digital bass still ruins the whole thing. All other types of music sound really good. Most important, the tonal balance and timbre accuracy have been superb with the SHL-5. I think I have made a right choice in choosing the Harbeth.

    I've read that the LFD and Lavardin amps when paired with the Compact 7ES-3 are a match made in heaven. I am wondering whether these amps will sound better than my Plinius amp in driving the SHL-5 or not. I've checked out the Lavardin IT integrated and it's a rather well-built unit.
    Personally, i feel that either Lavardin or LFD will sound quite a fair bit better than your Plinius. Both have superb tonal purity but imho, LFD is more organic & involving than Lavardin. Have a listen to both amps with SHL-5 if possible.

  4. #284
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Thanks for the reply Ganck. I will keep an eye on the LFD integrated. Power rating is a little low at 60W and it doesn't come with balanced connections and outputs for a subwoofer. The LFD seems to be an obscure brand as I cannot even find the website of the manufacturer. All I read is the combination between the LFD Integrated Zero MkIII LE and Compact 7ES-3 was a match made in heaven. So great that Stereophile's reviewer Sam Tellig bought one unit himself. I guess that must tell us something. Does the unit come with a remote control?

  5. #285
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    Thanks for the reply Ganck. I will keep an eye on the LFD integrated. Power rating is a little low at 60W and it doesn't come with balanced connections and outputs for a subwoofer. The LFD seems to be an obscure brand as I cannot even find the website of the manufacturer. All I read is the combination between the LFD Integrated Zero MkIII LE and Compact 7ES-3 was a match made in heaven. So great that Stereophile's reviewer Sam Tellig bought one unit himself. I guess that must tell us something. Does the unit come with a remote control?
    Unfortunately, all LFD amps are very purist in design & as such, gadgets such as tone control, remote, incorporating a DAC, balanced connections & outputs for subwoofer are a big no no. If you require any of these, then i reckon LFD is not for you. I had amplifiers with remote for 10 over yrs & going over to the LE III took a little getting used to initially. Anyway, what matters most is the way this amp delivers music.

  6. #286
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    Thanks for the reply Ganck. I will keep an eye on the LFD integrated. Power rating is a little low at 60W and it doesn't come with balanced connections and outputs for a subwoofer. The LFD seems to be an obscure brand as I cannot even find the website of the manufacturer. All I read is the combination between the LFD Integrated Zero MkIII LE and Compact 7ES-3 was a match made in heaven. So great that Stereophile's reviewer Sam Tellig bought one unit himself. I guess that must tell us something. Does the unit come with a remote control?
    Hi Ryder, do not be too concern by the watts, Harbeth speakers are easy load, 60 watts is sufficient. They are not picky with amplifier but i feel Harbeth goes well with most British amps. Lavardin matches well with Harbeth too even though it is a French make.

    If you're not too particular, your current set, Krell/Audio Research/Plinius should be providing you great musical time.

    Don't use the remote, manually turn your volume knob, feel your amplifier, just like when you listen to music, you feel them

  7. #287
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Thanks for the reply Ganck and sunshine. Yes, my current setup based on Plinius amp drives the SHL-5 superbly. I have done a bit of research previously before I bought the Harbeth and got to know a few folks reported much success when they used Plinius amps to drive the Harbeth. Not only that, I read some hifi shows in the US have used Plinius amps to drive Harbeth speakers as well. As usual, audio enthusiasts would be eager to know how the speakers would sound like driven by the ultimate amp. Sheer musical bliss I would guess.

    I will consider getting the LFD or the Lavardin when I feel the itch. These amps are not exactly cheap so I would need to watch my financial, more so since damage has been done after I got the SHL-5 just last week.

  8. #288
    Shutterbox Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    As usual, audio enthusiasts would be eager to know how the speakers would sound like driven by the ultimate amp. Sheer musical bliss I would guess.
    haha, sometimes ignorance is bliss!

    If you can read mandarin, try this:
    http://www.myav.com.tw/forum/showthr...hreadid=381764

  9. #289
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    Hi keithwwk,

    Thanks for the advice on placement of the SHL-5. I figured out the speakers will sound better with more space between them as I initially got a rather congested, or should I say restricted soundstage when I placed them about 6 feet apart. After I moved them further apart, the soundstage opened up and the sound became more natural. Maybe some day when I have the opportunity I will move them to a bigger room and get that elusive 7' separation.

    I have been digging out most of my old CDs from the racks and was stunned by the musicality, coherency and neutrality of the Super HL-5's. Some of my unlistenable CDs are now pretty acceptable on the listening scale. I popped in one of the mass-market crap that I got some time ago which was only played less than 30 minutes before it was put aside and never played again, and the results were pretty remarkable. The album was by Gwen Stefani(don't laugh). When I played my favourite track "4am In The Morning", the vocals sound a lot more natural and believable. Unfortunately the horrendous amount of digital bass still ruins the whole thing. All other types of music sound really good. Most important, the tonal balance and timbre accuracy have been superb with the SHL-5. I think I have made a right choice in choosing the Harbeth.

    I've read that the LFD and Lavardin amps when paired with the Compact 7ES-3 are a match made in heaven. I am wondering whether these amps will sound better than my Plinius amp in driving the SHL-5 or not. I've checked out the Lavardin IT integrated and it's a rather well-built unit.
    Hi ryder,
    You are welcome. I am glad you love your SHL5 sound. Harbeth is amazing!

    As for the LFD, the Zero LE III, it is one of the simplest plug and play amp as what CK Gan said.

    Let me share you my experience abt remote control. Initially I did worried if I can live without remote. Now, with the LE III abt 10 months plus, I do not feel remote ctrl is really neccesary for me with this amp. Very cd or LP, after I set the the vol. that I able to hear the softest passage in my comfortable level or I do not hear any discontinue music note (if the original signal is playing soft without stop), I do not need to touch the vol contrl again because even the music turn pretty loud in the climax, the entire sonic presentation is still very solid, contrled, organic and liquid without and harshness, brightness, eedgy, shouty and fatigue. This is really unexpected to me.

    PS: I hv sent you a PM to your echo-loft.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by keithwwk; 05-05-2009 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Edit my typo

  10. #290
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Shutterbox, thanks for the link. I am a Chinese "siang chiau ren" but have got a friend to translate the Chinese characters for me. Interesting thread and I agree. Sometimes when we reach a certain level or age, we will tend to lose interest in the quest to chase for the holy grail and concentrate on the finer things in life. Anyway I strongly believe the SHL-5 will be my last pair of speakers. Maybe when I grow old and have reduced capacity to lug the big heavy Plinius amp around I will eventually end up with the smaller and lighter LFD amp.

    keithwwk, thanks for the thoughts.

  11. #291
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    After almost 3 weeks getting accustomed to the SHL-5 with the speakers almost completely run-in, I begin to appreciate the finer qualities of the Harbeth after prolonged listening sessions. This may have been repeated many times before, but in the simplest choice of words, the Harbeth SHL-5 presents music in a wholly natural way without any listening fatigue. The midrange has a nice warmish feel and the highs are sweet, smooth and extended. Although there lies a super-tweeter in the SHL-5 that in the mind of some folks would extend the high frequencies in having more clarity and detail, the speaker is not the last word in transparency. The treble does not sound as airy and extended as some speakers I’ve owned or listened to. However, this is neither a disparaging comment nor criticism towards the SHL-5 as the lack of transparency and detail can be seen as a favorable trait that may appeal to listeners with specific listening preferences. This particular inherent characteristic of Harbeth speakers, I believe, has been fundamental in creating a zero listening fatigue which in my opinion is vital in contributing towards the musical enjoyment with many hours of listening pleasure.

    The coherency of SHL-5 again never ceases to amaze me. Of all the speakers that I have owned previously, the SHL-5 does everything right and very little wrong. If there is one minor flaw that I can pick on, it would be on the low frequency reproduction. The bass on the SHL-5 does not seem to go as low as some other speakers I have listened to but this is not a bad thing. I have used a PMC TLE1 subwoofer with the SHL-5 to great effect and it complements the speaker nicely. The last amount of tight deep bass from the sub albeit just a little produces a more solid bass foundation when used with the speakers. I reckon this would not be an issue with the larger M40.1. This is however a very minor nit-picking as I can still live with the SHL-5's without any subwoofer. It is just that the subwoofer made a subtle but appreciable difference to the already excellent low frequency performance of the SHL-5.

    I am extremely pleased with the sound I’m getting with the SHL-5. I recently manage to run the Plinius in Class A and the sound become even more sublime. This Harbeth speaker is the best I have owned so far and I don’t think I’ll ever find another pair that can surpass the sonic performance I’m currently getting. Different maybe but certainly not better.

  12. #292
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    However, this is neither a disparaging comment nor criticism towards the SHL-5 as the lack of transparency and detail can be seen as a favorable trait that may appeal to listeners with specific listening preferences.

    If there is one minor flaw that I can pick on, it would be on the low frequency reproduction. The bass on the SHL-5 does not seem to go as low as some other speakers I have listened to but this is not a bad thing.
    it's this type of contribution that will made this forum transparent; allowing more ppl to appreciate the speaker strength and weakness.. good job, ryder

  13. #293
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    I have owned the SHL-5 for more than a month now and the speakers continue to sound better day by day. The speakers currently have less than 25 hours on them and I reckon they will sound even better when they hit above the 100 hours mark within the break-in period. I have made a few minor adjustments just recently in speaker placement and swapped a few tubes in my preamp. The speakers are now toed-in more towards the listening position and placed very close to the side walls(approx. 1 feet). The sound of the system is now elevated to a much higher level with greater soundstaging, presence and detail.

    Just earlier today I rummaged through my huge collection of CD's from my college days that were left untouched since the early to late 90's, mostly pop and rock material. One of them totally caught me off-guard. This particular album is from a UK rock band "Garbage" called the pink album which I bought for a song in HMV(sticker "?22 for 3" still intact). I still remember listening to this CD through my first "high-end" speakers back in 1997, a pair of B&W CDM1SE's driven by Arcam electronics. Although the music sounded quite good at that time, it was in a huge mess as the strumming of guitar not only sounded artificial and unrefined but was all over the place, not to mention the harsh and grainy vocals from the female lead singer. With the Harbeth, I just cannot help but keep cranking the volume up and blasted the music at free will with my feet tapping along to the beat. For the first time in my life I have experienced an incredible sound from a CD that I have never imagined possible before playing it through the Harbeth. This experience has made me feel that my system is now truly in the realm of high-end. The sound is not only full and free from digital artifacts but listening fatigue is close to non-existent. I have not envisaged that a mass-market pop recording like this one can sound so good considering most commercial pop and rock CD's produced by recording companies nowadays sound like trash. I thoroughly recommend anybody who owns this particular pink album by Garbage to try it on your system, particularly if the CD was stacked in one of the boxes in the storeroom collecting dust.

    I attribute the excellent sound and low listening fatigue to the warm and lush-sounding Plinius amp that I own. Most well-recorded pop and rock music(excluding hard rock and metal) is free from coarse vocals and piercing treble owing much to the Plinius/Harbeth combination. However, jazz and instrumental music sound a little smooth, warm and laid-back for my listening preferences. I will be getting an alternative amp that leans towards transparency, PRAT and detail in an attempt to add a little sparkle, dynamics and life with these types of music in due time. I need to figure out how to succesfully blend in two different amps to the speaker though as swapping cables would prove to be a hassle. Now I understand why some folks here own two pairs of Harbeth speakers(or more).

    Despite some folks who do not advocate the use of subwoofers with Harbeth speakers, I do find the inclusion of a subwoofer to enhance the low frequency performance of the SHL-5 nicely. Although the SHL-5's do produce some excellent tight bass, in my opinion the bass does not go too deep in creating a visceral impact. With some choice of music, I cannot feel the bass grunt compared to some other transmission line designs like the bigger PMCs. However, this is just a minor caveat that most people can happily live with judging from responses made in other threads.

    All in all the SHL-5 is a phenomenal speaker that offers exceptional value and performance in its price range. The sound quality is remarkable and I am very happy with the speaker. Kudos to the designer Mr. Alan Shaw in coming up with a fantastic product that has brought many wonderful moments of listening pleasure to music lovers worldwide.

  14. #294
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen PG View Post
    On to "Be yourself tonight" and the track "Ball & chain" a section of the song, which on all previous kit just switches from left to right, now circles the listening position creating a sound behind me, a very strange sensation indeed!
    I've been listening to music for over six hours straight now!
    The same as you, Stephen.
    I've just bought my new SHL5 30' signature version playing with my old SIMAUDIO I5.3rs amp. plus EXPOSURE2010s CDP for one month, and I am quite enjoying music with SHL5 actually.
    Enjoy life and music everyday

  15. #295
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Hi Alan,

    I noticed recently that something sounded amiss with my SHL-5s. When I put my ear close to the left Radial cone I could hear a buzzing sound coming from what seems to be the top edge. However, no sign of physical damage whatsoever to the driver.

    If I were to (very) gently place a finger on the top edge for a few seconds, the problem goes away for about half an hour, sometimes more.

    Could it be a matter of alignment of some sort, or do you reckon the entire driver needs to be replaced?

    I have made sure that it is the speaker and not the other components at fault (switched left and right speaker physically, problem goes to the right).

    Really hope to hear from you as this is terribly worrying on my part! (Reason being the cabinet would obviously need to be opened and aren't they assembled at a specific tautness for that magic thin-walled effect?)

  16. #296
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Sorry to hear about this. Could you email us at the office with serial numbers and confirm that you have Registered these on the Harbeth website where we will be able to look after you directly.

    It sounds like either the driver needs re-tightening or that there is a tiny piece of grit in the divers voice coil. Initial suggestion: re-tighten the four screws using a good quality Pozidrive PZ2 (not Phillips) screwdriver. If that doesn't solve the problem step two would be to unscrew the screws and without unplugging from the wire harness, rotate the driver through 180 degrees (upside down) and re-fit.

    Please let us know off-group direct at the office email. Many thanks.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #297
    valve Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Does a set of SHL5 that was produced back in 2002 have any manufacturing or other differences from the current model?

  18. #298
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    I'm sorry but we're not able to comment case by case on this subject. Where would we draw the line? Changes to the type of glue we use? Sourcing the veneer from a different forest? You can rest assured that when we feel the time is right to make a significant change to a product we introduce a clearly identified variant - such as the P3ESR over the P3ES2. As Alan has said, our policy is to hold the Bill of Materials constant for as long as possible.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

  19. #299
    valve Guest

    Default Do speakers age with passing time?

    Quote Originally Posted by harbethpr View Post
    I'm sorry but we're not able to comment case by case on this subject. Where would we draw the line? Changes to the type of glue we use? Sourcing the veneer from a different forest? You can rest assured that when we feel the time is right to make a significant change to a product we introduce a clearly identified variant - such as the P3ESR over the P3ES2. As Alan has said, our policy is to hold the Bill of Materials constant for as long as possible.
    So, for all intents and purposes, I can assume that the 2002 model does not have significant changes from the current model. By the way, do speakers age with time? I am referring mainly to the radial drives and especially to the drive suspension.

  20. #300
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Correct.

    The answer to your ageing question is here.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

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