Harbeth Super HL5 Plus Reviews


Here’s a review that was posted by a new Harbeth Super HL5 Plus owner (user name is husafreak on the Harbeth forum) shortly after he purchased a pair of these newly voiced speakers in May of 2015:

“This is exciting news indeed (regarding the announcement of the new 40.2 speakers prior to their availability).

Maybe not for me personally, having just recently purchased a pair of SHL5+, but certainly for the brand. I cannot tear myself away from my new speakers. They are simply addicting. Marathon listening sessions comprise the perfect day off. Alan’s description of his final in house listening sessions and voicing of the 40.2 was very exciting to me. Because it sounds like the magic of the new SHL5+ will be available in the form of the 40.2 as well. So, I’ve poured myself a nice, cool Belgian witbier, 😉 and will make a quick layman’s observation while I listen to the Anthem Of The Sun.

I had an opportunity to purchase the 40.1 used for about the same as my new SHL5+ but there was a catch. The potential difficulty of matching the 40.1 to my room due to its bass response. And my dealer knew I am loath the bass heavy sound of many (most) large 3 way or equivalent type large full range speaker systems. To me they all sound wrong. I admit it, I dislike subwoofers too! Huge distractions… It goes back to hearing a cymbal crash or bass drum live, if you build a speaker with a 10′ or 12” driver that does that realistically then it will color the sound to such an extent that the overall balance will not be realistic. That is just how I feel.

The SHL5+ will never be trotted out when a headbanger or first timer swings by a high end shop looking for a thrill. But when dedicated listeners, musicians, sound professionals, or audiophiles come in it might be saved for the “coup de gras”. I can not explain the phenomenon but within the constraints of its construction the SHL5+ just sounds “right”. It sounds more like the real listening experience it is trying to recreate than just about anything else available, without sounding exactly like the real thing…

It sounds like the 40.2 will do the same for us. On a grander and more impressive scale, no doubt. But again without attempting to be something it simply cannot be. So, it sounds like anyone with the funds will now be able to shoehorn a pair of 40.2’s into their listening room and freak out! No doubt the bass will be awesome, but it will sing in harmony with the mids and highs, that killer radial midrange will get to shine, and it will sound just right.

As far as being tolerant of lesser recordings I have my experience with the SHL5+. For me it is also as it should be. Good recordings really should reward us with the goosebumps we crave. Great equipment should reveal itself as impressive and well made. Still, the SHL5+ are rather tolerant. I can usually tell when a recording is sub par, I’ll get up and refill my nice, cool Belgian witbier, or I might move on to another recording after after a few songs, but I am never really disappointed. I check out the Steve Hoffman forums to see if a better mix is available!

Thanks Alan, I could not be happier.”