Harbeth Super HL5 PLUS XD SPEAKERS
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Harbeth’s Super HL5plus XD produces breathtaking transparency, a huge soundstage and total immersion in the performance. This speaker creates a rich bass and sweet midrange that brings all music alive. Whether intimate acoustic music or pounding electronic, this is a true monitor speaker that provides just what is on the recording - every last ounce of it. The beauty of this approach is that because there are no colourations, every type of music and every musician sounds uniquely as they are. Most speakers add a little bass here, or a little less treble there so that when you're playing rock perhaps it sounds better, but when you play another type of music such as jazz or classical it sounds flat and bassy. When you're entering this level of price and quality, you don't want to ruin any type of music with a colouration. Hear what the recording engineer heard with as much detail and resolution that any speaker can produce, regardless of price.
Part of the secret of Harbeths is the RADIAL driver material which is inherently very low-distortion, light-weight and accurate. This results in a totally natural midrange performance. Alan Shaw tests all his speakers using the most challenging source - his families recorded speech. Nobody knows a sound better or more faithfully than those he talks to every day. If a speaker can reproduce that realistically then it truly can pass the hardest test. To our knowledge no other speaker maker does this and it's why sounds have such "uncanny" realism on a Harbeth. Furthermore, the "lossy" cabinet is opposite to most other speakers that are built like rocks. The reason for this is simple. When a driver goes outwards it makes sound. When it returns inwards the energy from the driver must go back into the box. Other companies simply apply mass and bracing to the box so that the box doesn't absorb the energy easily, however this causes the energy to be "clamped" and shifted upwards into the critical auditory band. Essentially, it's taking the problem and making it worse. Harbeth does the opposite. Because the box is purposely light and can vibrate from the inside at a low-frequency outside the auditory range, the back-energy from the driver is dissipated as harmless heat leaving ONLY the sound energy coming from the outward movement. This means perfect midrange and "fool-you" vitality to all sounds. After you live with a Harbeth for a while, the colourations of the inert boxes of all other speakers become unbearable. Truly, this is a case of hear what you are missing.
The SHL5plus XD is a large speaker but because of the front port it is amazingly well suited to rooms ranging from small to very large. We have sold over 50 pairs in the past few years to customers with long narrow rooms, shoebox rooms, large cathedral ceilings etc. We know of no speaker that is as happy in so many sizes of rooms. It starts off accurate and doesn't excite room modes nearly as badly as any other speaker. This is a speaker that can move and grow with you as your living environment changes over the decades. And, you will have the SHL5plus for decades, if not the rest of your life. Speaker technology is a peak now and likely this speaker will not meaningfully be surpassed by anything at any price. Buy it and feed it with the most impressive amplifier and source you can find and simply melt into the music.
|Impedance||6 ohms easy to drive.|
|Amp. suggestion||Works with a wide range of amplifiers, ideally from 25W/channel.|
|Power handling||150W programme|
|Connector||Four 4mm gold-plated binding posts for wires or plugs (biwireable)|
|Dimensions (hxwxd)||635 x 322 x 300mm (+12mm for grille and binding posts)|
|Finish||Walnut or Tamo Ash|
|Space needs||Overall response optimised for use away from walls.|
|Stands||To bring ears level with tweeters: typically 16-20 inches. (Tweeter: 475mm up from cabinet base)|
|Weight||15.8kg each, unpacked|
|Packing||Single speaker per protective carto|