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Harbeth SHL5 to SHL5 Plus

Discussion in 'audio' started by ryder, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Well, if spikes are preferred, one can place a granite slab on the floor for the spikes to sit on. Alternatively, one can use footers for the spikes.
  2. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I did have the stands on spikes into footers or on coins in my other room. However in this room it puts them slightly too high for my preference, so I'm just using little pads underneath the bottom plate. I can't find any spikes that begin the thread almost immediately, so that you can use them with only 1-2cm height increase. They all seem to have a gap between the spike and the thread.

    I suspect the sound is slightly tighter on spikes, but I'm not having bass issues as it is, so I'd prefer to keep them lower.

    What exact height do you have for your SHL5s? I think the 5Plus are designed to have ear at tweeter hieght, but the 5s with the ear in between the tweeter and super-tweeter. Or is it the other way around? I did ask for clarification on the HUG once but it didn't come.
  3. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    The exact height of my SHL5s is 1090mm, though I sit on a low couch. The speakers are now in the living room in free space (side walls are far from the speakers), with approximately 900mm clear distance from the front wall (to the rear of the speaker).

    Yes, the bass would likely be *slightly* tighter with the spikes, a slightly more defined bottom end.
  4. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    Ear at main tweeter height.
  5. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Why would spikes affect bass?
  6. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Why not start a thread outlining why you think they wouldn't, with ref. to your physics and enginnering background? Or just start a thread about anything? Music, perhaps?
  7. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Just prompting you to think Andrew rather than trot out something you read somewhere.
  8. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    All you seem to contribute is this kind of baiting one liner, which is why I'm prompting you to contribute a genuine discussion, start your own thread, state some actual opnions rather than offer snide implications about what other people might have said. I have not actually 'trotted out' any opinions here, just shared variosu experiences. If you want to state some opinion yourself, try and start a thread, so you are open to criticism yourself.
  9. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Don't bother. There are theories as to why the spikes would work, but the possibilities or attempt to refute will be prevalent, so I don't get into these types of discussions anymore which is a waste of time, at least to me. It's just like asking "Why tubes should sound different" or "Why amps should sound different" etc.

    FWIW several years ago, some lock nuts on the spikes of the stands of my SHL5s were not tightened properly all the way to the top, and a mate commented on a slight looseness of the sound. After the nuts were tightened, the sound snapped back into focus.

    I noticed in one of the photos of your system, the bottom plate of the speaker stand supporting the right speaker (which is facing the listener) is not leveled. It appears that there is a small gap between the bottom plate of the speaker stand and the floor ? The idea of the spikes is to couple the speakers firmly to the floor to prevent the speaker from moving when the music is playing (resonating frequencies). Some may experience no difference in sound but my experience shows that the sound is tighter with effective coupling of speakers to the ground. Some may want to choose isolation instead of coupling.
  10. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    You're right. You and Tony are extremely observant! The parquet floor is not even and after taking off the spikes I installed some little sticky pads, then used bits of cardboard to level the heights. So in spite of the gap, they are somewhat protected from movement.

    Did you notice the German dealer on the HUG who are making some nice but (for me) hugely overpriced wooden stands for Harbeths. I was quite pleased to notice that they in fact advocated the 'bits of cardboard' method of levelling.
  11. TimF

    TimF pfm Member

    John Devore of Devore Fidelity also loves little bits of cardboard for this purpose. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that bring about the best solution!
    ArtK likes this.
  12. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    John Devore is one of my hi-fi heroes, and he can't be far wrong!
    ArtK likes this.
  13. gints

    gints pfm Member

    Use three spikes or pads instead of four, that will help. I have similar trouble with my floor.
  14. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Just thought of reviving this thread as I experienced some changes in my system after tweaking the Harbeth SHL5s (again). A note on the Proac D30Rs. At one point of time the D30R (the same exact model that you are considering) did interest me. However, after some investigation it appears that the Proacs (or most Proacs) will only sound good when the listener is sitting at the sweet spot. Once out from the sweet spot, music does not sound good anymore. Unlike the Harbeths where music will still sound good when the listener is out from the sweet spot due to their room-filling capabilities and full rounded sound. Factors that will come into play will include the size of the room and the listening pattern of the listener (whether he will be at the sweet spot or constantly move around / sit off-axis).

    In my case, I rarely sit at the sweet spot when listening to music. As a matter of fact, I sit off-axis most of the time. Secondly, my room is huge and irregular in shape, about 6.5m x 14m and it opens up to 8.5m x 14 at the other end. In this sort of open space, based on my experience with the Proac Tablette 50 Sigs, I suspect the Harbeths (SHL5s) will be a much better choice as they can fill the whole room with music rather uniformly. Whereas with the Proac, they have much better imaging and detail but they will not fill the entire room with music. Once out from the sweet spot, music will not sound too good (with the Proacs). Someone on another forum reported this same experience with the Proac D30R or D48 when he took the speakers home for a demo. For small rooms like yours, chances are the Proacs will sound good, especially if one usually sits at the sweet spot for prolonged periods.

    I had some time last week and "tweaked" the system, again. No new equipment though, just a matter of shifting the speakers and diffuser panels around. To be honest, I continue to amaze myself with the results I achieved. It's a new experience every time I engage in this activity. The degree of improvement (or changes) in sound just by moving the speakers in tandem with the room treatment panels is much more tangible or significant than an equipment upgrade. It's like having a brand new pair of speakers in the room with the new speaker and panel arrangement.

    It started when I fiddled with the placement of the diffuser panels, moving them in small increments. When I had settled with a fixed arrangement, certain music sounded good but other music didn't sound good, hence there were numerous changes in the positioning of the speakers and diffuser panels all done in small increments. Speakers were moved in small increments front to back, back to front again, distance between speakers adjusted several times. In the end, I ended up with 1.68m distance between speakers centre to centre. I don't know why but I always find the Harbeths to sound better, perhaps for my listening taste and preference when they are placed closer together. I tried shifting them further apart and they lose coherence as the sound take a certain lightness not only in the midrange but bass. The bass sounded looser and not as taut or tight when the speakers are placed further apart. They always end up closer together every time I attempt to move them further apart in the quest of achieving a "better" sound. I prefer the denser and fuller sound of the speakers when they are placed closer together, mainly in the midrange and bottom end. And the sound is more coherent as well.

    It had taken me some time and effort to dial in the sound, and once dialed in, everything just sounded right. Bass had impact and didn't sound "loose", midrange and voices sounded natural and 3-dimensional (the diffuser panels will greatly affect the tonal quality of voices and midrange). Even by shifting the panels in small increments will change the tonal quality of the voices and instruments.

    My experiences above are based on a large room without any side wall reinforcements. If the room is small or medium-sized and comes with side wall reinforcements, then chances are the speakers can be placed further apart from each other (with potential to sound good).

    Some photos of the system :-

    Before incorporating the diffuser panels:-

    With diffusers:-

    The rear of the room, behind the listening spot:-

    The system:-
  15. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I love the bamboo Michael, and the interior doors. A very interesting report which I'll digest properly later. I'll have to try that positioning of diffusers in between and behind the speakers. I personally like the speakers wider apart, and I'm surprised you lose coherence. How far is the listening position?

    By the way, I'm not considering D30R myself; I tried them and I couldn't control the bass. However, as you say, there was no problem with dispersion in the small room.
  16. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Thanks Andrew. The sweet spot is about 2.3m from the front face of the speakers but I usually listen at 3.5m away (I prefer to listen further away from the speakers). The seating arrangement is a bit complicated as the 3-seater is in the middle of the room. I cannot place it further away from the speakers as it would be blocking the walkway.

    The SHL5s were further apart when they were in the dedicated room (3.5m x 5.2m), about 2.1m apart. But in a larger room without side wall reinforcement, they need to be close together to sound good, in my experience (or preference).

    Do you have proper aftermarket diffusers? The changes that they brought are surely tangible, massive changes. More organic, live and 3-D like. However, proper placement is necessary or the sound would become unnatural. And you can't use too much of these.
  17. peter wood

    peter wood Member

    Sorry what are after market diffusers ?
  18. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

  19. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    I used to have both. They are all gone now.

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