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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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What is your fave good value integrated amp for SHL5 plus?

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  • So much obviously right....

    An intermittent socket *shouldn't* cost loads to fix, although the kind of on-board socket arrangement may mean removal of the motherboard to solder the new bank in place

    IMF-TDL, I kind-of remember what the whole significance of the copper screws was, but at days end, I think it was a Marantz speciality (specialty?) and nobody else ever seemed to bother and often got a far better sound anyway - at the time

    Onkyo seems well liked in the UK by those that know them. My experience is very limited indeed, so I can't really comment. I do respect Denon as I sold the stuff for decades and they did make some excellent *straight-down-the-line* CD players. I have two here, a geriatric heavy 1520 (similar mech to the rapid big late 80's Sony's I believe) and a gifted DCD 1015, which isn't as solid, but sounds about the same and makes a grand little transport

    A pal has the 520 and loves it as it doesn't seem to do anything wrong and does so much obviously right.

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    • Learning...Slowly

      Regretfully, the new Quad 909 amp that I thought I found was apparently left on the website to bring people to see their QSP amp...

      So I went to another long-standing audio shop locally and took an afternoon to listen to several different amplifiers and speakers. It was eye-opening, having learned from reading the posts on this forum.

      Regretfully, this shop did not have Harbeth. I tried DynAudio and Sonus Faber (Golden Ear were heavy bass, with accentuated mid-highs that were--to me--fatiguing), settling on the former to compare amplifiers. I went through a Class D amp with a tube preamp section, as well as several tube amps. And just as is discussed with such depth on this forum, they each had their own colouration of the sound. Some were pleasant (such as the Rogue Sphinx v2 that I could live with easily), some smoothed the sound to make them attractive. But nothing was clear. I kept wanting some simple clarity. The room accentuated the bass, but that was obvious and so could be adjusted to mentally.

      The shop had just received the new NAD C388 140 WPC integrated amp, so I asked them to plug that one in. I was quickly pleased. Compared to all the preceding amps, this one sounded clean. Clear, linear, even and precise without edginess. Strong. Good DAC, so no need to add that to the system cost. Good price.

      I would really like to hear that NAD amp with both the C7es3 and SHL5+, but that will only happen if I own the amp or the speakers already. Now I just need to decide which of those Harbeth to buy, then put it all together at home.

      Then I looked at the specifications of the amp, and it is set up to be IT user friendly, with Bluetooth, multiple digital and analog inputs, tone controls (that only work on the top and bottom of the spectrum), balance control, MM phono. And the basic inexpensive NAD CD integrates and can then use the same remote. I like easy.

      Just thought I would pass this along. And say thanks for prying me out of trying to buy the most hyped, tube-heavy, tinkerer-demanding equipment that I was initially enamored of.

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      • Emotiva

        Just saw an spanish shop (the first i see) selling Emotiva gear.
        You can check prices here: http://www.studio-22.com/emotiva/emotiva.htm
        Pre + 150W amp = 1.000 Euros , looks like a good price.

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        • I am using newly bought CODA CP Preamp & CODA TS Stereo Amp for my Harbeth SHL5+. Running in precision bias class A operation to 10Watts, sliding to Class AB at higher output level rated at 400Watts per channel into 8ohms...

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          • An update, I just purchased a second hand Hegel H160 for $2300 which is at the far end of my 'value' price point. And the Hegel does provide my goals of decent power capability, A/B and not D power, a compact size and integrated DAC with Airplay. My $800 Bluesound Powernode 2 is being moved to my second system. The Bluesound is 60w/channel with streaming. The Hegel is 160w/channel into 8 ohm, so probably 200ish into 6ohm, with decent internal DAC and both are integrated so no need for separate preamps. It will be interesting to see what differences I notice going from a less powerful to more power integrated. So far I'd say what I notice is a bit more body on the Hegel in more dynamic passages, but this is very subjective and anecdotal and is not level matched beyond my own ears. So far with limited comparison, I'd say that Alan and others observations of there not being much difference in sound quality between decent amps rings true.

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            • First of all, sorry for my poor English. I am a very happy new owner of the Harbeth Super HL Plus. To complete my listening chain I wanted to ask you some questions about possible amplifiers that can be coupled with these superb speakers. I'm a fan of classical music and my listening ranges from the Renaissance polyphony to the great Mahlerian symphonies. The source of my music is largely in high definition format. I have a fairly large room (4.5mL x 7mD x 3.5H) with distant speakers about 6.5m. I can listen to music at appropriate volumes, basically as in a concert hall. Starting from these parameters what integrated amplifier could you suggest to me? At the moment I have a Cambridge Audio 840a. With a Supernait2 or a Sugden A21SE or an Electrocompaniet ECI5, just to make some examples, could I improve my music scene? Thanks for your input.

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