"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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30.2 Anniversary - get a pair quick!!!!!

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  • 30.2 Anniversary - get a pair quick!!!!!

    Just thought Iíd share my thoughts on the new 30.2 anniversary edition speakers.

    I first heard Harbeth speakers about 4 years ago. They were the old SHL5 and I was instantly smitten.

    At that time time there were no dealers or distributors in my country so it was nigh impossible to audition any in the range.

    After weeks of emailing Andy at Harbeth I pulled the pin on the newly released 30.1, a decision I have never regretted.

    Tempted to move up the range, I then upgraded to the newly released SHL5+. Whilst I enjoyed them they never seem to do what the 30.1 could do, and I was always haunted by my memories of the 30.1, especially they way they did vocals and timbre of instruments.

    .............and then the 30.2 anniversary came out and we finally had a distributor and dealers in my country.

    All I can say is these are without doubt the best speakers I have ever heard or owned. If you love the 30.1 then I strongly urge you to buy a pair of these immediately!!!!!

    The increase in resolution, attack and dynamics are astonishing.

    AS, I have been a long term customer and fan and I have to say that these are a masterpiece in speakers.

    I donít know if you plan to make these a permanent product in the range, if not, get a pair quick !

  • #2
    How long is the running in time in your experience with the 30.2?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Rico1978 View Post
      How long is the running in time in your experience with the 30.2?
      Perhaps it is best to take any guessing out of this with what Harbeth themselves have to say about the whole 'running-in' and 'burning-in' phenomenon taken from their FAQ's on their website: Do I need to 'burn-in' my Harbeths?

      No: the only component part of a Harbeth loudspeaker that can change as a result of 'burning-in', is the resin-doped cloth suspension that centres the neck of the cone in the magnetic field - sometimes called the 'spider'. Under the microscope, once the resin-cloth has been worked backwards and forwards, it crazes into millions of small interconnected islands. This process is irreversible and takes only a few hours with bass heavy music played a little louder than normal. After that point, the drive unit can be considered fully stabilised with the resonant frequency settled to its final value. The ferrofluid used in Harbeth tweeters becomes appropriately viscous after a few minutes operation. Neither the coils, resistors, capacitors, cables nor any other part of a Harbeth speaker has any short-term ageing mechanism.

      My Harbeth speakers suffered no such running-in or burn-in period at all. It is, I would agree, a huge talking point, along with amplifier burn-in, on almost all other hi-fi forums though and I wonder whether the majority of this is merely the ear becoming accustomed to the sound of the speaker. With amplifiers, I don't know if there is any more than a couple of hours plugged in to the mains required to settle it down to doing the job of providing power to the speaker, or whether it works differently to speakers but, again, my electronics performed properly from day one.

      Hope this is of some help to you.


      • #4
        They sounded more coherent after 20hrs playing time. They aound fantastic straight out of the box. Now with about 100 hrs they sound more dense natural and just more dynamic then my old 30.1.


        • #5
          Is it art - or science?

          I was working late this evening (on upgrading our test facilities again) and had to take snap of this batch of M30.2 under production. This is how they were left at close of business last Friday, and tomorrow morning, Monday, they will be completed, tested, signed-off and packed, added to those already cartonised behind them, ready for shipment.

          If you look closely from left to right, you'll see the efforts that we go to pair match. There are four pairs of cabinets on the workbench. Each pair of cabinets is matched (not easy to see), as are the rear panels and the baffles (easy to see). For example, we have to keep together baffle 1 (nearest) and baffle 2 (second in) as baffle 3 (and 4) have a totally different grain structure. This has been our way of working for some 30 years so it is second nature to us.

          As you know, unusually in these days, Harbeth speakers have removable fronts and backs, for acoustic reasons. However, one aspect of producing products which lie somewhere between art and science using interchangeable parts is the opportunity it gives production staff to match-up and fit baffles, cabinets and backs to get what we think is the most pleasing balance of cosmetic features for every pair. This photo really doesn't do that justice.

          It means that every pair of speakers we produce really is unique: there is not another pair the same anywhere in the world. Speaker brands that build clip-together all-in-one enclosures just do not have the flexibility of assembly that we do, and their customers end up with a mass produced, standardised product.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	latenight m302anni-sc.jpg Views:	2 Size:	328.0 KB ID:	75375

          Owning a pair of Harbeths comes with immense pride of ownership. Now, do you think Production would notice if I helped myself to, say, the second pair along and took them home tonight?
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK


          • #6
            Alan, the partner of my sister is a Master Carpenter and at the very top of his profession, currently working on an English Heritage building to restore it to its former glory. He really admires the quality and finish of my Eucalyptus P3ESR's and the care taken in pair matching. It is so nice to know that they are one of a kind!


            • #7
              Larry D
              Did you compare your +'s to the + 40th Anniversaries?
              Also, are you still using a Vitus amp? I have the RS-100 and will be listening to the latest SHL5's hopefully late next week. Although, the 30.2's would probably look neater in our living space, my dealer has listened to my preferences and is suggesting the bigger box.


              • #8
                No I didnít compare the +. Whilst I really like the + they arenít as accurate (IMO) as the 30.2. There is something really special going on with the 30.2. The 5+ will have a ďbiggerĒ sound and have more extension but they arenít as accurate as the 30.2.
                Bass notes are clearly defined on the 30.2, you will know if the bass player is using a Fender P bass or a Rickenbarker. The + play more like a Hi-Fi/musical way at the expense of neutral detail.
                That isnít to say that the 30.2 are dry or clinical, they are just more neutral and nail tonal characteristics better than the + or any other speaker I have ever heard.

                I compared them with tye 40.2 (not anniversary) and whilst I could afford the 40.2 and have a room big enough, I just kept wanting to listen to the 30.2! There is something magical about a good 2 way speaker. The 30.2 are just so effortless that itís really hard to hear a crossover point. In that respect they are like electrostatics.

                With the 5+ and 40.2, I was always very conscious of where the music was coming from ie - a box with multi drivers.

                still have no regrets upgrading to them and have been up many late nights playing record after record


                • #9
                  Did you directly compare to the 30.1? If I understand you, they are a substantial evolution over the 30.1. I doubt I would spring for them given that I passed up the chance to "upgrade" my 30.0 (30th Anniv) to the 30.1, but what you say is interesting.


                  • #10
                    I had a very similar way. My first pair of Harbeth was M30.1 6 years ago. After 5 years I bought brand new SHL5+. No doubt it is great speakers, but some reason I always more prefer the M series as Larry D. I, just received my brand new pair of Harbeth M30.2 40th Anniversary Edition. This speakers is really special. I'll share my opinion and more pictures later.

                    I can confirm everything is true what Larry D said about M30.2. I strongly recommend demo, but I think you will be very pleased with sound. I'm sure the M30.2 40th Anniversary Edition is a new benchmark.

                    Sounds like a real instrument and human voice reproduction is best I ever heard from loudspeaker.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      All the pictures I have seen have the grills off. Typically Harbeth recommends leaving the grills on (more convenient for me), does this hold true for the 30.2's. Thanks.

                      {Moderator's comment: Folks: it is GRILLE not grill!

                      A grill is a device for incinerating dead animal flesh.}


                      • #12
                        Yes grilles on. The resistance of the grille is part of the calculation of the port response, and of high frequency response. That at least is what I understand from Alan's ealier postings.


                        • #13
                          In the most recent Stereophile issue - Vol.41 No.4 - Herb Reichert gives a glowing review of the Monitor 30.2 40th Anniversary Edition.

                          Writing for an audiophile publication, he seems duty bound to talk about differences between stands and amplifiers, but the significant part of the review is summed up in his last sentence:

                          "I also believe that Harbeth's Monitor 30.2 is the most neutral, accurate, tuneful, fun, and music-loving stand mounted two-way speaker I've heard."