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Thread: Is Harbeth your first Loudspeaker?

  1. #1
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    Default Is Harbeth your first Loudspeaker?

    Harbeth is my third pair of loudspeakers. Although, I discovered Harbeth about 10 years ago and admired the sound but by then I already owned another pair of speakers. In 2003, I decided to upgrade but somehow overlooked Harbeth due to lack of exposure and ended up buying another pair of British made loudspeakers. Later, I was in speaker modification which I regret now.

    Third time around, I took my time and made a wise decision. Instead of relying on reviews or recommendation I tried to recall the most satisfying sound that I have ever heard and thatís how Harbeth ended up in my room.
    How about you guys?

    ST

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    A Harbeth is the 'first speaker' I put on when I want to enjoy music.

  3. #3
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    Harbeth is definitely not my 1st pair of loudspeakers but on hearing the venerable HL-MK4 in 1986, i knew that it would have a very special place in my hifi journey. Today in 2010, & after having tried & heard countless other loudspeakers, Harbeth is still my reference. No comparison.

  4. #4
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    Harbeth is my 4th pair of speakers... never knew about it until in year 2008, I was introduced to it by a friend whom felt it would be the sound signature that I would be looking for.. however... I did not get 1 then, it was a pair of used SHL5 that I heard @ the local AD shop. At that point, I bought another made of speakers, bookshelf speakers.

    Had several listen to Harbeth at the local AD shop during the period when I owned the pair of bookshelves ... and when a shipment arrived @his shop, I had the chance to listen to 3 of it's model, 7s, 5s & 40.1s... from there the character of the sounds lingers with me, BUT the stubborn me then, was still looking at another pair of Flagship Bookshelf speakers. Then I went about to listen to Horn speakers & Electrostatic speakers.... and it was this point, that I decided against the Flagship model of the brand of bookshelves I was looking at. And I told myself... YES, I will get Harbeth, it is the sound I am looking for! That is how I end up with my 7s now, had the P3ESR briefly and now... am waiting "patiently" for my SHL5 to arrive :) And will have both 5s & 7s as my speakers @ home as I cannot bear to part off with the 7s.... hopefully will maintain as that... and I never need to give up 1 gor another between the 5s & 7s :)

    Spinning my vinyl now on my 7s... blissful :))

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tein3 View Post
    ... now... am waiting "patiently" for my SHL5 to arrive :)
    When do you expect them to arrive?

    Sebastien

  6. #6
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    Harbeth is not my 1st pair of speaker. I ever laugh on Harbeth look and said I can build better. In yr 2003, I helped my friend setup this 1st Hifi system with P3. That was my turning point. I got my C7 in yr 2004 and started to share Harbeth sound honestly in Sg forum and some oversea forums as well. I got plenty of flames, hurts, personal attacks, family attacks, vulgar etc in return. Some even said I am a Harbeth dealer. But that couldn't stop me keep posting and sharing on Harbeth..together with some harebth users as well (the harbeth thread lasted until the forum death...still it is one of the longest thread in that forum) Until yr 2006, Harbeth suddenly sell like a Hotcake..today, Harbeth still selling like a Hotcake and this proved what we Harbethians shared is honest and right. Not my 1st pair, but, Harbeth sure is my last speaker and I want to listening music from it as long as I can...

    PS: I also notice a very funny phenomenon: when ever Harbeth is mentioned, most of the respond is flame and attack. :)
    "Bath in Music"

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    I thought I could get more response (sigh) but so far it appears Harbeth was never the first choice when one started their HiFi setup. I only know of one guy who took the plunge to this new hobby and got compact7 as his first ever loudspeaker but unfortunately he no longer owns it.

    The way I see it most Harbeth owners buy them after some wild goose chase in the hifi world. Good to see some very young people discovered Harbeth much earlier than myself.

    ST

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ...The way I see it most Harbeth owners buy them after some wild goose chase in the hifi world. Good to see some very young people discovered Harbeth much earlier than myself...
    Good for me, I'm 29 years old and I've already discover Harbeth. It is a friend of mine who introduce me to that brand. At first, I took a look on the web site and I was skeptical. Mostly because none of them were floorstander. At that time, I was thinking to change my Audio Physic Virgo III to discover the British sound. My friend have a nice pair of British Celestion 7000 and he suggested me to audition the Harbeth.

    I've done this in found them (C7ES3 and SHL5) very musical, balance, open and natural. I felt in love with the SHL5. I'm suppose to receive my pair in June. It will be my third pair of speakers since I'm "seriously" into high-fidelity. The last was the Virgo III and before a pair of Camber 3.5ti made in Canada, pretty much inspired by the BBC two cubic foot design.

    Sebastien

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    Good for me, I'm 29 years old and I've already discover Harbeth. It is a friend of mine who introduce me to that brand. At first, I took a look on the web site and I was skeptical. Mostly because none of them were floorstander. At that time, I was thinking to change my Audio Physic Virgo III to discover the British sound. My friend have a nice pair of British Celestion 7000 and he suggested me to audition the Harbeth.

    I've done this in found them (C7ES3 and SHL5) very musical, balance, open and natural. I felt in love with the SHL5. I'm suppose to receive my pair in June. It will be my third pair of speakers since I'm "seriously" into high-fidelity. The last was the Virgo III and before a pair of Camber 3.5ti made in Canada, pretty much inspired by the BBC two cubic foot design.

    Sebastien
    Haha i discovered Harbeth in 1986 when i was only 16 years old. I started this hobby at age of 8. Started liking the british sound at age 12 when i first heard the Rogers LS-7 & subsequently heard Studio 1, Celestion SL-6, Ditton series, IMF Studio Monitors, TDL Studio monitors, Gale 401,402, Spendor SP-1, SP-2, B&W DM series, 800 series, Tannoy dual concentric series, Mordaunt Short MS series, 442, KEF 101, 103, 104AB, 104, 105...etc etc....

    All in all, felt that british loudspeakers back then sounded way more musical, sophisticated, delicate & above all sounded more correct in terms of tone & timbre than any other speakers from elsewhere. I find that this still holds true today especially with Harbeth at the top of the heap.

  10. #10
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    IMO, need experience to appreciate Harbeth sound. No need to surprise there are people who sweared to love Harbeth after they got it and now no longer with Harbeth. Some users who asked "which amp/cable/stand/cdp/ etc, is best with my harbeth" may no longer with Harbeth as well...I personally conclude Harbeth is for mature (in term of music taste) listener who able to appreciate the beauty of music, emotion, soul and art of the real musics. There are plenty of hifi hobbyists listen to thunder sound, dinosaur footstep, exaggerated drum sound, electrical canon blast, test signals from 20hz to 20khz....etc but not music...(I was one of them)..Harbeth may impressed them with its musical sound but nvr able to fulfill they hunger of sound effect and "show-off"..they will tell you "well, it is warm, colored and good for vocal, but when come to dynamic, it is lifeless, flat and weak".
    "Bath in Music"

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwwk View Post
    IMO, need experience to appreciate Harbeth sound. No need to surprise there are people who sweared to love Harbeth after they got it and now no longer with Harbeth. Some users who asked "which amp/cable/stand/cdp/ etc, is best with my harbeth" may no longer with Harbeth as well...I personally conclude Harbeth is for mature (in term of music taste) listener who able to appreciate the beauty of music, emotion, soul and art of the real musics. There are plenty of hifi hobbyists listen to thunder sound, dinosaur footstep, exaggerated drum sound, electrical canon blast, test signals from 20hz to 20khz....etc but not music...(I was one of them)..Harbeth may impressed them with its musical sound but nvr able to fulfill they hunger of sound effect and "show-off"..they will tell you "well, it is warm, colored and good for vocal, but when come to dynamic, it is lifeless, flat and weak".
    And you wonder why you get flamed whenever you mention Harbeth? :))

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    When do you expect them to arrive?

    Sebastien
    October was the last advice...

  13. #13
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    Default The first positive experience ...

    Quote Originally Posted by keithwwk View Post
    IMO, need experience to appreciate Harbeth sound. ... There are plenty of hifi hobbyists listen to thunder sound, dinosaur footstep, ... but not music...(I was one of them).....
    Yes; there are significant numbers of buyers who discover, or often rediscover, Harbeth after wasting a fortune and years of disappointment chasing an unfulfilled audio dream.

    For them we offer a differentiated product in a choked marketplace. That means, by retaining the same recognisable basic physical shape, they can directly associate today's Harbeth with a positive and memorable listening experience they had perhaps twenty or thirty years ago. So often we hear that a lifetime ago they heard something magical, but didn't have the funds, confidence or sophistication to make the purchase. Years pass by. Years become decades. Much money is wasted on other equipment. Then, by chance, they stumble across us again, and take a listen. What they hear reinforces their former experience. The loop is finally closed with their purchase.

    Since thee are thousands of would-be consumers in that boat, all we have to do is be here when they are at that point. It matters not whether it is this week or next year. We're here for the long term.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  14. #14
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    Shouldn't the question really be: Is Harbeth your last loudspeaker?

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    I thought I could get more response (sigh) but so far it appears Harbeth was never the first choice when one started their HiFi setup. I only know of one guy who took the plunge to this new hobby and got compact7 as his first ever loudspeaker but unfortunately he no longer owns it. The way I see it most Harbeth owners buy them after some wild goose chase in the hifi world. Good to see some very young people discovered Harbeth much earlier than myself.

    ST
    It seems odd, to me anyway, that Harbeth isn't often the first choice. All you have to do is read the reviews. The C7-ES3, for example, has the most UNIFORMLY enthusiastic reviews I have seen. And on that basis, the C7 was my first (and last) serious speaker. Not that one should put too much stock in any single review, but when every reviewer falls in love, and the speaker wins award after award, especially given the wide variety in taste out there, that really means something:

    "If I could only pick one pair of speakers under $10k that I had to live with for the rest of my life, the Compact 7ES-3 would be my choice." Tone Audio Magazine 2008 Awards

    "The Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 is a speaker without fault. It does everything that I could ever want a speaker in this price range to do; play music extremely failthfully without coloration or fatigue" Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio Magazine, June 2008

    Golden Ear Award and Editor's Choice Award in The Absolute Sound, October 2007: "... the ne plus ultra of BBC 2-way designs, with bass down to 46 Hz, an essentially perfect midrange, and a top end that reproduces ambience fantastically. ... With respect to accuracy, neutrality, and natural tonal balance the (Compact 7ES-3) establishes a new benchmark for compact 2-ways".

    In The Absolute Sound Review (April/May 2007) Paul Seydor says"...Indeed, for sheer neutrality the 7ES-3 rivals the Harbeth Monitor 40, and in the 2kHz-4kHz range even trumps my reference Quads...I cannot overstate how fantastically these speakers reproduce ambience, whether real or synthesized, large spaces or small... this speaker sets, in my experience, a new benchmark in neutrality and natural tonal balance over its usable range, regardless of price"

    The Stereo Times October 2007 review describes the Compact 7ES-3's as"accurate instrumental timbre" and "grace, wit, fire, nuance, intelligence, and artistic sensibility of the highest order."

    Stereophile's Sam Tellig (review in the June 2007 issue) calls this update to the C7 "one of the finest ... most musically satisfying ... loudspeakers I've heard"

    After reading these reviews, why doesn't _everyone_ go get a Harbeth?

    Bruce

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euler View Post
    After reading these reviews, why doesn't _everyone_ go get a Harbeth?
    Thank goodness they don't! It's difficult keeping up with production as it is!

    Joking aside, it proves one thing to me. A review is not a substitute for an audition, at a friends or a dealers place. And since on a global scale the nearest dealer is perhaps, on average across the planet, 1000km away, there will only be a limited number of customers able to listen and then order. To be a real marketing force, you have to have distribution to every region, city and town. That's far beyond our capabilities.

    So let's rejoice that we are just about able to match today's demand with tomorrow's supply!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Shouldn't the question really be: Is Harbeth your last loudspeaker?
    Not my first, and probably not my last. First Harbeths were the SHL5s, and i am now awaiting the 40.1s to here. (June I hope) In my quest for a speaker I would enjoy more than the SHL5s i ended with three speakers i enjoyed more. They were the Vandersteen 5a, Harbeth 40.1, & Audio Note AN-E LX signatures. My wife wanted the Audio Notes, but we really didnt feel like re-doing our room so we could corner load them. I really liked all three, maybe with a little larger room i would have dropped the $$ on the Vandersteens. We auditioned all three quite a bit. I think for our room and when considering the cost, The 40.1s are the right choice for us for quite awhile.

  18. #18
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    Harbeth has not been my first speakers, but it will be the last... the last brand / make of speakers that I will look at/listen to.

    I am currently "very patiently" waiting for my SHL5 to arrive... and trying to subdue my urge for it. And my deepest regret... is not able to listen to them in my current room set up (room size too), so as I could feel the 5s against my beloved 7s in the same room and set up. The expected stock arrival indicated by the local AD... October is the likely possibility :( .... :( but I will be shifting out from my current home to another in September and the assigned room at my new home has a smaller listening room size than what I have now...

    My wife has been concern, that I will be changing hifi stuffs (been changing much before I got my first Harbeth, THE 7s).... I assure her that my current set up is "done" - "cooked", no more changes needed, happy with the set up. BUT a pair of 5s is coming to compliment the house... so as I could have Harbeth in the living room and Harbeth in the listening room... hahahahhahaha, *she faints*

    Oh all mighty forces from the Universe... please allow Harbeth factory to complete the orders soon... and may we all, globally, recieve our ordered speakers sooner than plan....

    May the force be with Harbeth :))

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tein3 View Post
    Harbeth has not been my first speakers, but it will be the last... the last brand / make of speakers that I will look at/listen to.

    I am currently "very patiently" waiting for my SHL5 to arrive... and trying to subdue my urge for it.
    And my deepest regret... is not able to listen to them in my current room set up (room size too), so as I could feel the 5s against my beloved 7s in the same room and set up.
    The expected stock arrival indicated by the local AD... October is the likely possibility :( .... :( but I will be shifting out from my current home to another in September and the assigned room at my new home has a smaller listening room size than what I have now...

    My wife has been concern, that I will be changing hifi stuffs (been changing much before I got my first Harbeth, THE 7s).... I assure her that my current set up is "done" - "cooked", no more changes needed, happy with the set up. BUT a pair of 5s is coming to compliment the house... so as I could have Harbeth in the living room and Harbeth in the listening room... hahahahhahaha, *she faints*

    Oh all mighty forces from the Universe... please allow Harbeth factory to complete the orders soon... and may we all, globally, recieve our ordered speakers sooner than plan....

    May the force be with Harbeth :))
    Oh so you are shifting....btw, the SHL-5s will definitely be well worth the wait.....

  20. #20
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    It all started back in 1979. Then was the time for my first set up. Speakers were the Advent Loudspeakers (any memories?). Since then I changed numerous times, yet my first system kept its place for about 12 years. I remember the only speakers that moved me (except the SHL5's) were of Greek origin, and they did draw some significant attention at an exhibition/show in Heathrow back in the late '80s... Quite less expensive than their foreign siblings at that time... Greeks were very good in designing and making back then, before the profit religion was deeply inserted in their minds. After many years of seeking, I discovered the Harbeths, and - as Eric mentions above- decided that they will be the last ones. The reasons of this choice need more than a page to be written on... Obviously so. As Alan has previously commented, maybe years are spent for wandering around, but now I do have experience, and most certainly I can give at least a serious piece of advice to those starting up or upgrading.
    Regards,
    Thanos

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