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Thread: Harbeth SHL5 specific

  1. #201
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    Default Important notes about listening level ....

    A 'normal reasonable listening level' is as far as I'm concerned, somewhere about 80dB or so, give or take about 10dB. Your next question will surely be 'how do I know what level I'm listening at?' Without test equipment to measure the noise, you'll need to make a mental comparison with noise in the environment with which you are familiar.

    One thing I'd like to quote from here is this: " ... (Office) Noise levels can be reduced by encouraging workers to not play the radio continuously ... It has been determined that continual exposure to sounds at or above 80 decibels will cause permanent hearing damage. In such environments, special precaution must be taken. Walls, ceilings and floors should be insulated, and workers should consider wearing noise-reducing earplugs, sound-muffling headgear or other apparatus."

    That's clear to me. It means that the the traditional BBC/Harbeth monitor speaker design target for listening loudness at around 75-85dB is correctly chosen as the upper end of the advisable long-term exposure level for safe listening. Many other speaker designer would probably say that 80-85dB was at the bottom end of their imagined user's listening level which as I've shown has implications for subjective bass performance and long term hearing damage, certainly in rock and roll recording. As I've said before, the consumer should really dig in to the question 'what listening level were these speakers designed to be listened to at'. Call the sales department and see what they say. If they say something much above 85dB remind them that they are encouraging hearing damage. If they can't answer the question, it means that they don't appreciate how the ear (or the law) works and their speakers will almost certainly be bass shy. Monitor speakers proudly promoted and marketed to recording studios as opposed to broadcast studios sound thin at home at a lower level because they are optimised to be thrashed to sound normal at 100dB++. Recording studio monitors are really unsuitable for domestic use because they do not sound rich, full bodied and believable at normal domestic (moderate) listening levels - I showed why on the last post. Broadcast monitors are eminently suitable for home use because the listening environment and listening level (and room size) are very similar.

    Attached a chart of typical noise levels. I've marked what we consider to be the moderate, sensible, normal level in green between about 75dB (male speech at 1m) and heavy road traffic at kerb side (85dB). I explained why in detail on the previous post. Believe me: hearing-damage litigation is set to explode over the next years as a generation of deaf youngsters reach middle age. A Harbeth is a speaker solution that does not need and is not designed to be hammered to sound absolutely natural.

    >
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #202
    Tjoeb Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Well, just got my SHL5's home..
    OOOOH!!_MY!!_GODDD!!!

    Need to go on listening now, sorry...

  3. #203
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjoeb View Post
    Well, just got my SHL5's home..
    OOOOH!!_MY!!_GODDD!!!

    Need to go on listening now, sorry...
    Hi Tjoeb, congrats on having purchased the SHL-5, care to share with us what's the rest of your setup like? Thks.

  4. #204
    Tjoeb Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Hi Han,
    my set-up is :
    Symphonic Line RG10 Mk4 Reference integrated amplifier (that's really how it's called, I'm sorry)
    Copland CDA823 cd-player
    Virtual Dynamics Nite Platinum IC
    Chord Company Super Epic Twin speaker cable

    And Skylan-stands supporting my SHL5's of course.

    And to A.S. : I can play at any level I desire, so no problems here!

    kind regards
    Alan

  5. #205
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    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjoeb View Post
    Hi Han,
    my set-up is :
    Symphonic Line RG10 Mk4 Reference integrated amplifier (that's really how it's called, I'm sorry)
    Copland CDA823 cd-player
    Virtual Dynamics Nite Platinum IC
    Chord Company Super Epic Twin speaker cable

    And Skylan-stands supporting my SHL5's of course.

    And to A.S. : I can play at any level I desire, so no problems here!

    kind regards
    Alan
    Hi Tjoeb, thks for sharing your setup with us here. I am sure the SHL-5 will provide you with many many hours of musical enjoyment.

  6. #206
    Tjoeb Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth SHL5 specific

    I have been impressed by many recordings so far on the SHL5's, but particularly by this one :http://www.highfidelitydiscs.nl/cust...&XCARTSESSID=4
    Highly recommended!

    gr
    Alan

  7. #207
    Tjoeb Guest

    Default Re: Important notes about listening level ....

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ...It means that the the traditional BBC/Harbeth monitor speaker design target for listening loudness at around 75-85dB is correctly chosen as the upper end of the advisable long-term exposure level for safe listening. [/U]
    >
    Well, yesterday I did a test with a friend's PHONIC PAA3-meter, and it seems indeed that 75-85 dB is very well chosen. I'm glad to have discovered that 85 dB is indeed the value I feel to represent "maximum comfort". 80-90% of my listening is done around 70-75 dB. In general I was expecting that I listened to higher levels, but I'm happy that this is not the case. Good for my ears :-)

  8. #208
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    Default Re: Important notes about listening level ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjoeb View Post
    I'm glad to have discovered that 85 dB is indeed the value I feel to represent "maximum comfort". 80-90% of my listening is done around 70-75 dB
    Surprising isn't it how loud 80/85dB is.

    Working people in mines and mills since the industrial revolution (about 250 years ago) would have been exposed to more and continuous noise, but stepping back 500 years and the world was a very quiet place indeed. Until the industrial revolution, the loudest sound that the average human would experience in his lifetime would be a dog barking. The blacksmith with his hammer and anvil would have been the only member of the community who experienced loud sound. Our ears have developed for millions of years to resolve small sounds in a quiet world. They are simply not optimised to or designed to be subjected to the sound pressures we treat them to daily.

    Look after your hearing! It is easily damaged and totally irreplaceable. Select loudspeakers that work with the sensible practical limitations of your hearing (all Harbeths) not against them!

    PS. IMPORTANT NOTE!
    ==================

    The reason I keep mentioning the ISO Equal loudness contours (see attached here) is because of this vitally important fact. Forgive me for spelling it out (again) ....

    1) Classical (natural, acoustic) music is always recorded at a higher loudness than it is replayed at

    2) The ear has a frequency response which varies dramatically with loudness ...

    3) You need to fool the ear into believing that it is listening at the louder original sound as it would experience in the concert hall or recording studio .... when listening at home at an inevitably lower listening level. If you do not attend to this, listing at home will sound thin, lightweight, reedy, cold and sterile. Live sound is luxurious and warm. That's what we aim for at home.

    4) To seduce the ear into believing that it is experiencing the warmth and emotion of the live sound you have to carefully optimise the design of the loudspeaker. This design optimisation for listening at a moderate level is built into a Harbeth speaker thanks to the BBC heritage (they also listen at moderate levels in BBC control rooms). I am not aware of any other speaker philosophy which addresses this issue - which is why a Harbeth sounds so 'right' even when played quietly or close by. This sounding-full bodied-at-a-moderate-level is not an accidental byproduct of a Harbeth design. It is at the heart of the design from the very first steps. A Harbeth user demands natural sound at a moderate listening level. It's my job to use all the techniques I have available to achieve that.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  9. #209
    midwoofer Guest

    Default Differences between SHL5 editions

    What are the main differences between "normal" and 25th or 30th SHL5 editions?
    What kind or brand is the internal wiring of the special editions?
    Thanks.

  10. #210
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Quote Originally Posted by midwoofer View Post
    What are the main differences between "normal" and 25th or 30th SHL5 editions?
    What kind or brand is the internal wiring of the special editions?
    Thanks.
    The 30th anniversary SHL-5 use OFC internal cables.....not too sure what brand though. Probably Alan can shed some light on this.

  11. #211
    midwoofer Guest

    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Thanks Gan CK, any crossover difference? but Alan, this mean that "non-special" editions are using cheap wires?

    Nowadays, OFC cables are extensively used in audio world, so I think it?s not an expensive and rare improvement.

    Anyway, could I enhance my SHL5?s by replacing the internal wiring to a good OFC ones?
    Regards.

  12. #212
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

    You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

    That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Hi Alan

    When I owned the Thiels for a while, I remember reading somehwere that the floorstanders are sloped because of the phase effect. It has something to do with the fact that the low frequency travels faster (or is perceived to reach the ears first), while the HF takes nanoseconds to reach the ears. The sloped design compensates for the phase anomaly. Is this true or is it so negligible that it makes no difference?

    I have seen quite a number of floorstanders that are sloped as well.

    Best regards
    Dennis

  14. #214
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Quote Originally Posted by denjo View Post
    It has something to do with the fact that the low frequency travels faster... while the HF takes nanoseconds to reach the ears. The sloped design compensates...
    Ha ha! No. This'll confuse you .... sound travels at the same speed regardless of frequency or in a more scientific language 'the velocity of sound is 340 meters per second.'
    Nanoseconds? Definitely not.


    Sounds is far, far slower than that! Compared to light, sound crawls along. To travel from a typical speaker set-up to your ear the sound wave regardless of frequency will take about 10 milliseconds (one hundredth of a second). That's a million times longer than you suggest! However, the time of flight of the sound wave from the speaker to your ear can be slightly adjusted as you say by raking the baffle backwards. Then the sound wave from tweeter to your ear will obviously take a little more time simply because it is pushed further away from you. Whether this tweeter delay is a beneficial thing, whether it is a marketing concept or whether it is really necessary etc. all depends upon the inner details of the design.

    The same acoustic solution is elegantly achieved in a Harbeth in the crossover design without the cost, inconvenience or huge bulk of a floorstander - especially one with complex angled woodwork (a cabinet making nightmare).
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  15. #215
    midwoofer Guest

    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

    You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

    That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
    Thanks Alan, I understand your viewpoint.
    I don?t wish to disrupt your factory schedule production.
    I meant a DIY project about replacing internal wiring in the case that you provide me the information about the kind or brand of best matched OFC cable for SHL5 speakers.
    I enjoy that hand-works. I did it to another speakers before.
    Thanks again.

  16. #216
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    No no no! You are asking the wrong person! We absolutely cannot give you the green-light to make any modification! It would totally invalidate your Warranty!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #217
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    Default Re: Differences between SHL5 editions

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    No crossover changes. The design is fixed 'at birth'.

    You know, there are many serious listeners who claim to be able to hear the differences between standard grade and super (or OFC) grade internal wiring. They are absolutely rigid in this opinion. These users demand that we fit affordable high-end cables hence the occasional special editions we make. But the introduction of these models is completely instigated and driven by you, our customers, not be us here. If you want it and we can implement it without disrupting production we'll do our best to accommodate requests.

    That said, we do not have the time or interest in making literally one-offs even though some of our wealthy customers mistakenly believe that dangling money in front of us will surely get us jumping. We exist here to popularise the BBC's pioneering audio work as embodied in our loudspeakers not as an audio boutique!
    Arrrrgh, should have got the normal version and save many pennies for my meals!!!

  18. #218
    midwoofer Guest

    Default Unusual colours in the veneer ...

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    No no no! You are asking the wrong person! We absolutely cannot give you the green-light to make any modification! It would totally invalidate your Warranty!
    Don?t worry Alan, I never thought about this modification during the warranty period. Of course, I will not touch any screw till the warranty has expired. I?m not crazy. Anyway, it is only a project in my mind that probably will be better to do at your factory.

    I wish to comment another question about my SHL5?s. One of them has a failure on the veneer finishing, it seems a varnish defect. Please take a look to the attached pictures. What do you think? I realised a short time ago, not at the moment of unpacking from the shipping box.

    I have two questions about this: First, why this speaker has passed de final quality control? Second, is it possible to repare easily the veneer?
    The serial numbers are 9107L/R
    Thanks again.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #219
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    Default Unusual colours in the veneer ...

    It looks to me as if a portion of the veneer has been covered so that the sunlight has been excluded. I note that the veneer is cheery, and it is a feature of the cherry veneer and that it's very sensitive to the ageing effects of sunlight. Was there a sticker on this part of the speaker?

    I think that a veneer mark like this would have jumped out at you even on a cursory examination so I'm very suspicious that this is a shadow/sunlight problem. Please e-mail me directly with all details including serial number, where you bought the speakers from whether they are new or used and a photograph of your listening room. I can then make a detailed investigation.

    If it is simply a matter of sunlight exposure, then over a period of months this patch will darken to match the rest of the veneer. Considering the minute defects that we reject cabinets for, it's hard to believe that this passed through our production line. I'll show your pictures to staff tomorrow for their comments and advise.

    Did you actually cut the carton security seals yourself? Or had the cartons been opened in any way before you received them?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #220
    midwoofer Guest

    Default Unusual colours in the veneer ...

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Please e-mail me directly with all details including serial number, where you bought the speakers from whether they are new or used and a photograph of your listening room. I can then make a detailed investigation.
    Private Message sent.

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