"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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2 pairs of P3s ... 19 years apart!

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  • 2 pairs of P3s ... 19 years apart!

    Delighted to take delivery of a new pair of P3ESRs today. They will be company, at least for a little while, for my original 1994 pair of P3s! Thought some initial impressions and comparisons might be of interest.

    Set up is: Gyrodec, Hadcock, MusicMaker / Ortofon Black - GSP Era Gold - Sugden A21aS2. Cables are GSP and Townshend.

    The old pair have many wonderful qualities; hear-through clarity, exceptional imaging, coherence and timing. The compromises involved are obvious enough - perceived lack of scale on some recordings, running out of puff when pushed beyond - but they are perfectly forgiveable in the context of what I value in my music. 20 years of enjoyment speaks for itself.

    Firstly, the new pair lose none of the magic of the originals. Secondly, they are a very worthwhile leap forward. They are a richer, fuller bodied and altogether more sophisticated affair, somewhat akin to swapping my regular VS cognac for a bottle of XO Grande Cru! The originals always had excellent depth but the new speakers have palpable layers of depth. They have even better tone and timbre both on music and speech. Tonally they are smoother, yet even clearer; quite some feat. They are better at large scale symphony yet just as charming with a piano quartet. In my set up they appear to be the best of all worlds.

    Just like the originals, it is worth experimenting with position. Optimal, so far, in my room is 6 ft apart with me seated 7 or 8 feet away. I found the originals could get by quite close to a rear wall but these really do need free space.

    A superb effort, Mr Shaw...I may `see you` again in another 20 years!!