HiFi magazine are only useful for people who have money and time looking for better equipments. I subscribe to none. But the magazines served as a guide when I wanted to know what's hot at that time. I did not see Harbeth. My decision based solely on the best sound (vocal) that I liked and then Harbeth came to my mind. However, before the purchase I did extensive research on Harbeth before deciding between Dynaudio C1 and M40.1. Our distributor Sam advised against M40.1 for my room. It was a tough decision between M30 and SHL5. A few local audiophiles and a review favouring M30. Andy of Harbeth suggested SHL5 but at the end it was entirely my decision to pick SHL5.
Originally Posted by Euler
I don't subscribe to any HIFi magazines either. All the glowing reviews that led me to the C7 I found online. When I peruse HiFi magazines at the local bookstore, it's as if Harbeth didn't exist.
Originally Posted by STHLS5
My C7's are the 5th speaker I've purchased. It took all that time owning those four speakers prior to the Harbeths for me to understand what was missing and what I was looking for. The QUAD ESL 989 was another speaker I enjoyed but never had the privilege of owning.
Originally Posted by Thanos
Let us know it all.
Originally Posted by Sebastien
Well, let me put my remarks in headlines without further analysis. The comparisons apply to speakers I've previoysly used and heard, both floorstanders and standmounts.
- Harbeths did a splendid job with vocals. Never before had I heard voices so liquid, warm and present, also a great issue for choruses within symphonic works or opera, but as well with jazz.
- No booming! Floorstanders brought booming in my (difficult) living room with many hard surfaces, needing to be well away from walls, while Harbeths simply didn't present any problem at all in this field.
- The tonal balance and integration between the lows, mids & highs. Harbeths -although three way- behaved like single full range driver monitors, but with a really wide soundstage together with beautiful & well balanced bass. (Some Tannoys, B&Ws and Mirage I had, were either too "big" sounding, meaning losing integration, or very "dry sounding", these were the B&Ws, which left my ears tired after half an hour of listening. With the SHL5s, I can be left travelling in music for hours...
- The ease of drive. With a McIntosh intergrated I drove everything well enough with control and smoothness. But with low powered integrateds (some oldy small Luxman, NAD and Yamaha) I had problems driving the B&Ws and Mirage floorstanders, especially with the bass in mid-high volume. Harbeths are unbelievably easy to drive and very enjoyable even in quite low volume! And I do mean this, with ANY small decent amp!
- The fact that you can have real good results with an old small intergrated, hearing what otherwise you would need to spend much more to get.. That natural sound Alan has been always telling about, is not an advertisement. It is a real achievement, with immediate (good) result for your pocket. You just buy Harbeth, then you are quite some steps up in reproduction, without further sacrifice.
- Last, but not least, it is Alan himself and the Harbeth philosophy, which I don't need to re-introduce of course, that brought to my beloved hobby the feeling of security, confidence and trust to home made quality. No more wandering around...
We could go wider and deeper in technical analysis and commercial issues, but I just wanted to highlight this few issues about Harbeth, If all this somehow covers your question. And I'm more than certain that you most probably agree with it.
Yes, it's my first pair of speakers, but certainly won't be my last pair of Harbeth speakers. I tend to appreciate my P3ESR more after listening to other brands. :-)
I don't know if it gonna be my first pair but here my storie
Im 36 old . I bought my first house last year a detached have 1400sf. I bought a Yamaha Htr 8180 with the Bose Acoustimas 10 for the home theater about 2 years ago, and try listen the music with it. I must say it's kinda boring. I bought it more for the movies. After listening Yanny, rock, classical, etc, I ended up buying Playstation3 with Guitar Hero last 2-3 month. I think it's start from here i knew my ears is demanding for Hi-Fi. I has the chance buying at Futureshop a pair of Energy RC-70 for 1500$, cuz they are usally ~2500$.
At first i love them, very Clear, Bass is tight, and after i bought all the speakers surround that go with. In total 3200$ with the RC-70. After 2 weeks listen at them, my ears still telling me something is wrong, I don't know what it is. But my wife is in love with them. Oh i din't mention that my wife tried to stop me to buy new speakers, Cuz i use the earning money to build the basement to buy them. So after 2 weeks witht he Energy, I'm still looking around for better one. I don't know where to look for the one that will fit my ears. I look with the Paradigm, cuz alot ppl swearing with them over the others audio forum. I listened the Studio 60 ~ 2300$... I run away after 5 min. So im guessing maybe my ears need around 10k speakers +. So i returned the Energy, And searching over the web and found B&W . I listened the old B&W 803D with the Bryston And i say wow! at first listening. I go all around with 4-5 pro-Audioshop From Ottawa to Montreal Listening all brands even the Wilson Maxx. I know i can't handle those speakers cuz with Amp, preamp, wire,etc i must say im touching 15k+.
But when i sleep all my head is still over the speakers, can't stop it.. every days. I ended up to Audioshop " Son Ideal" in Montreal, i has the chance was Claude serving me. I asked him for the B&W. After listening the new 804d, than after with the Harbeth C7, im still not satisfy. I asked him for better, he showed me the SHL5 drived by Bryston 4Bsst2, than after the Rogue Cronus. I must say this time it's touched me in my deep soul. I go home looking the over the Web again, comparing the B&W 803D and SHL5, cuz ppl are selling the old 803d right now for 6000$ and the new SHL5+ tax = ~5900$. I must say almost none is selling his Harbeth, but you can find alot B&W 803d , 802d.... So the Harbeth is the Keeper. I called Claude and Ordered the SHL5 wit the Cronus for 8200$ .
So the SHL5 will be my first audio Hi-Fi, and will be my last. After i will look for wire, and CD.
I don't know when i will build the basement. But my wife is wonderfull, she know she can't stop me, and understand me. I must say thank to Claude at Son Ideal. I dont't know what to say... about Claude and Harbeth.. I think only by the love and heart that can guide you to them.
I also heard Harbeth for the first time at Son Ideal in Montreal. While my first listening was with the C7ES3, I felt in love with the SHL5. They were also powered by the Rogue Audio Cronus and the source was a Rega P3-24.
Harbeth isn't my first and it certainly won't be the last speaker brand I'll try.
I've owned many through the years - eg Epos ES14, ProAc Response 1sc, Tannoy DC700, KEFs, Rogers, Elacs, Bose Acoustimass to name a few - and I currently run three systems at home with speakers like the Harbeth P3ESR, Spendor SA1 and PMC DB1i. All are rotated every now and again as the fancy takes me. The P3ESRs are fantastic speakers but they are by no means perfect (such a creature does not exist). I think they offer a blend of the sound that you get from Spendor and ProAc but in my opinion this doesn't make them better than those brands, just different in a good way. However, although I love the Harbeth presentation, I also highly value the virtues that have taken these other brands to the top of their game.
I made my first speakers! It was a single mono speaker! I sourced the speaker cone from a raodside stall for cheap and made the wooden cabinets, with some help from my dad. The enclosure was filled with cotton wool and I even managed to get some brown cloth for the grille. How did it sound? Well, in the good ole days when I did not know audiophile babble such as soundstanging, imaging, depth, width, transparency, placing ..... it sounded very, very good! Ahhh ..... paradise lost!
My first real speakers were the diminutive Linaeums (with ribbon tweeter). The Linaeums were very sweet sounding speakers but alas they were stiolen during an office move. I have since owned AudioNote, Thiel and am now the proud owner of a pair of Super 5s.
Looking for perfect a perfect creature?
Well, even if such creature exists, we - the human race is so inconsistent. Yesterday, I found out never ever rely on another's opinion to find out whether my system was set up properly as they are not consistent with their observation. Try it for yourself, simply claim you have changed the cables or what not, and suddenly you will hear different opinions even though you did not change a thing.
Originally Posted by singslingr
When I bought a certain SACD player, many echoed Streophile's opinion that this particular player is "laid back" and lacked attack. However, their opinions changed when I told them I am using brand "X" DAC, and the SACD player was only acting as a transport. The truth is I have never connected the DAC to the PreAmp and despite that when I simply click the DAC switch on and off, my friends could still hear some differences.
That is so true.
Originally Posted by STHLS5
my first loudspeakers - the humble Rogers LS2a/2's. Still have them and use them for AV.
No, Harbeths were not the first speakers for me, but they will be the last. I figure the Monitor 30's are just small enough to fit on the shelf of just about any nursing home room, should it come to that!
Originally Posted by STHLS5
these act could have mark the end of your Hifi journey, and mine too. anyway, Congratulation!
well, i have had Mission, Quad, ... and finally Harbeth. This love for speakers has taken it's toll on me (mentally).
End of your Hifi journey
How can that be? I have just added my old super tweeter to super HL5. Already 2 days and I hear no difference. But just wondering whether it got some effect on feeling less fatigue.
Originally Posted by coredump
But just maybe, we do not want this journey to end. Otherwise, what would we do? Just sit and enjoy the music? Oh yes we are suppose to do that.
No.. Harbeth is not my first pair of loudspeakers .. far from it ! the laundry list of speakers that have passed through my home(s) over the years has been really quite something..
However, I've come "back" to a sound that I loved very much years ago, my ill fated Rogers Studio 1's which through the courtesy of nasty power line surge took a devastating hit (and vaporized a channel of my amp at the time !) alas they never were quite right after that, and I moved on.. and so began the non-stop parade of pretenders. Fast forward many years, and through a chance advert, a pair of M30's showed up locally (Thanks Paul !) and the music is back with a vengance.
Will a Harbeth speaker be my last speaker.. doubtful.. but, at the same time I suspect that I won't be stupid enough to let go of these music makers. I will keep them around even as I might flirt with others as interest arises, and then wanes again as their charms wear off.
The point is simple, when it comes to sitting down and enjoying MUSIC at the end of bad day, not much betters a well set up pair of Harbeths.
Starting the journey back in 1973:
Philips, B.I.C. Venturi, B&O, NM Acoustics (JM Lab/Focal), Impulse Cora, Martin Logan Aerius (this one for almost 10 years)
and then, in 2010 end of the trip, Harbeth SHL-5
Better late than never.
No, Harbeths were not the first. The list goes like this:
Jensen bookshelf, paper cones, sealed box. Not bad, for the money,
Polk Audio Model 5's. In the late 70's, I had heard that Polk used the Spendor BC-1 as a reference.
B&W DM 7's-a great speaker to this day! Sold them to buy:
Vandersteen 2 Ci's. First Order crossovers, a completely different sound. In hindsight, a sideways move from the B&W's.
Magneplanar MG III a's. Still have them, a reference of sorts.
My first Harbeths-the Compact 7 ES-2's. A revelation!
Sold the Vandersteens and found a used pair of DM 7's. Like dating an old girlfriend! They sounded better to me this time around than the first.
I had to have a pair of the Harbeth monitors-in came the Monitor 30's. My secondary reference, they give the Magneplanars a run for the money in a lot of ways.
Gave the DM 7's to my musician daughter. She and her friends still spellbound by them.
Had to have some B&W's around, found a pare of rare DM 17's. A great little sealed box two way.
If I had to lose all but one pair, the Monitor 30's would be the last man standing!