"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Mcintosh MA7900 with Harbeth40.2

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  • Mcintosh MA7900 with Harbeth40.2

    Iím seriously considering to buy the new harbetk 40.2, but I have some doubts about the synergy with my current amplifier, the Macintosh MA7900 (200 W). Do you have experience about this set-up? Unfortunately there is no possibility to test it at my Harbeth dealer...
    Thanks in an advance

  • #2
    Originally posted by RicardoCFF View Post
    Iím seriously considering to buy the new Harbeth 40.2, but I have some doubts about the synergy with my current amplifier, the Macintosh MA7900 (200 W).
    IMO, that amp should be fine.
    A conservative 200W output will let you reach a peak sound level of about 110dB and the power guard circuit will prevent clipping.
    If you do see the power guard warning lights flashing frequently, then you might consider getting an amplifier with a higher power output, such as the MC452, or even a pair of the MC601.


    • #3
      There is no reason why this should not work well. It is a quality amplifier with quite a bit of power. If the room is ballroom size you may want more power, but that is about it.


      • #4
        There will be no problems using the Mac with the 40.2 but why can't you take it along to the dealer for an audition ?


        • #5
          I also think 200 watts should be adequate for any normal listening room. But in any case, since I think speakers take priority over electronics, I would get the M40.2s if you like them (who wouldn't?). If for any reason you don't like the Macintosh with them, change amplifiers (though, again, I can't imagine a problem).


          • #6
            Thanks. I will audition the 40.2 this week ater a 1h45m flight...


            • #7
              Thanks. The amplifier damping factor is little bit low ( Hope it will be sufficient to control the 40.2Ö


              • #8
                Originally posted by RicardoCFF View Post
                The amplifier damping factor is little bit low ( Hope it will be sufficient to control the 40.2Ö.
                That value of damping factor should be sufficient.
                The relatively low value is a result of a design decision by McIntosh to use an output coupling/matching autoformer.

                A.S. has previously cited the following article, written by noted speaker authority Floyd Toole, which asserts that a damping factor >20 will be adequate:

                A very low value of damping factor is an indicator that the output impedance of the amplifier is rather high.
                For example, you may observe that tube type amplifiers commonly have a damping factor in the single digits - if the manufacture even quotes that specification.
                The issue with a high value of output impedance (as evidenced by a low damping factor) is that the interaction with the non-linear impedance of the speaker will cause potentially audible and unwanted variations in overall frequency response. Some claim to like the effect, but it doesn't fit the definition of high fidelity sound reproduction.