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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"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 http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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Room size small. Which Harbeth? Off the merry go round

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  • #31
    Listening comparison

    Finally heard the Harbeth speakers this weekend. Heard the p3esr's the c7es3's and the 30.1's. I did not like the c7es3's at all. Not nearly as clean and natural sounding as the other two. I of course loved the 30.1's and am leaning that way. I am going to try to find a demo par for sale Or break down a buy a new pair after Christmas.

    The 30.1's sound amazing and so realistic sounding to me. Thanks for all the advice.

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    • #32
      I love 'em all!

      Originally posted by SMA73099 View Post
      Finally heard the Harbeth speakers this weekend. Heard the p3esr's the c7es3's and the 30.1's. I did not like the c7es3's at all. Not nearly as clean and natural sounding as the other two. I of course loved the 30.1's and am leaning that way. I am going to try to find a demo pair for sale Or break down a buy a new pair after Christmas.

      The 30.1's sound amazing and so realistic sounding to me. Thanks for all the advice.
      What? The C7ES3 speakers are amazing. I can see preferring the 30.1 speakers, and the P3ESRS are pleasing in their own way, but they are all great speakers, share a similar "clean and natural" sound, and they all invite an involved listener. If the Harbeth's have any flaw it is that they are not very good speakers for background music (they just want to grab your attention at any listening level!). If you like any of the Harbeths, I can't understand why you would not like them all (for different purposes and room sizes, of course).

      PS: I ended up with the P3ESR's for my smallish listening area. They are unassuming and beguiling, and I am still astonished every time I listen to them.

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      • #33
        Well I bought a pair of new Harbeth 30.1's and a LFD Mark 5 integrated amplifier and LFD speaker cables. Haven't got to use it but for a couple of days and I don't believe any of it is broken in yet but it sure sounds sweet with my jazz that I been playing more and more. What is burn in period for this system? Kind of burnt out on rock and too etc. This should really be perfect in my room. Some things sound tremendous and some things sound okay not great. Albums always sound good. Cds are hit and miss. Especially rock and roll. Looking forward to more listening if I ever get back home. I travel with my job.

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        • #34
          Don't worry about "burn in". Just use the system and if it sounds better in a few days, it's job done.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by SMA73099 View Post
            Well I bought a pair of new Harbeth 30.1's and a LFD Mark 5 integrated amplifier and LFD speaker cables. Haven't got to use it but for a couple of days and I don't believe any of it is broken in yet but it sure sounds sweet with my jazz that I been playing more and more. What is burn in period for this system? Kind of burnt out on rock and too etc. This should really be perfect in my room. Some things sound tremendous and some things sound okay not great. Albums always sound good. Cds are hit and miss. Especially rock and roll. Looking forward to more listening if I ever get back home. I travel with my job.
            A good audio system will not make weaker recordings sound better, it should only show what is there, imagine running a VHS tape on a UHDTV, it will look awful but it will show you exactly what is on that tape.

            I find the C7 for eg. at least makes highly compressed and bright recordings manageable (at least not worse brightening further) One of the prices we pay for having even a modest hifi in our home is that it does reveal bad recordings, I've been aware of this for decades, you hear a track in a club, even a distorting cheap radio which might have your head nodding as you listen in a shop and yet you buy the CD and find the clean reproduction much less thrilling (i've done it many times, thinking 'wow, that sounds like crap') depending on how the less accurate reproduction emphasized certain elements, distortion can be thrilling for the short term.

            As for 'burn in', the consensus you will find here (including from Alan) is that burn in is pretty much a fabrication or barely worth consideration. It took me a while to get used to the 'smoother' presentation of the C7 over my older brighter speakers, yet I eventually got used to the 7 (I could have been persuaded this was burn in?) and in swapping back the cheaper older speakers I was shocked at how small, 'tinny' and less coherent voices sounded when watching a film.

            Generally I feel one of the problems in audio land is listening to a CD that has a weaker recording and somehow feeling that another component change might solve the issue, might sweeten that voice, might make the guitar pluckier, might pop that bass line out a bit bigger, the fault is the recording, not the messenger.






            Getting to know my C7ES3

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