"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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Harbeth Monitor 30 domestic specific

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  • Subwoofers rarely improve sound

    I'm probably alone in believing that sub-woofers rarely, if ever, improve the sound. Unless you pay a huge amount for a really good sub-woof, they sound fat and sluggish, adding nothing except waffle to music. Fine for films etc but they rarely keep up with the music and you really do need two, which come in at very low frequencies, to avoid image shift. IMO

    As for using a sub-woof to the SHL5 - I really can't understand this as these speakers have more than ample bass for music. After all, many sub-woofs only have an 8 inch driver when a pair of SHL5 have two.


    • Sube - useful about once a week

      Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
      I'm probably alone in believing that sub-woofers rarely, if ever, improve the sound
      Possibly not...most folks I know who have added sub-woofs to an otherwise "normal" 2 channel array tune them too high in frequency & too loud!

      It's easy to forget that the ".1" is a low frequency effects track and a sub-woof really ought not respond to other signals. Most commercially released music does not contain sufficient loud, low bass to require a sub-woof and those people who insist on using one are, almost by definition, crossing over to them at too high a frequency because most records do not have content of the kind that ought to require one!

      A wise old owl of my acquaintance who listens to a lot of BBC Radio 3 (classical, acoustic, drama, jazz) and has a sub, reckons that the sub produces useful output about once a week.


      • Monitor 30 at the 2017 Gydotron show [ ] :

        Click image for larger version

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