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Amplifier power is not so important as long as it is sufficient. Haha, that was obvious and not very helpful. Okay then, despite its 8wpc my Leben was alright but here other aspects like the above average saturation of tone were more decisive. The X(S) classic version should be just fine. These speakers have a friendly impedance which despite their very low efficiency works nicely with low-power amplifiers as epitomized by the Quad. It will not go very loud but in a 25m² room should be completely satisfactory. With more potent amps like the class D Audiomatus you’ll get a far more controlled though never unpleasantly exaggerated bass. So yes, these Harbeths are a pure chunk of unadulterated history. It’s simply disturbing that the competition lags so far behind when the concept of these speakers is older than most readers of High Fidelity and almost all readers of CD Action

Description: On the first page of the Harbeth manual we read that "…this certificate confirms that pairing of Harbeth loudspeakers with the serial numbers mentioned below was made exactly to conform to Harbeth quality procedures." This is no empty drivel. The loudspeakers are tiny but finished like gems and a sealed two-way design. The treble is handled by a SEAS 19mm ferrofluid-cooled metal cone protected by a metal mesh. Its 19 TAFD/G-HB3 designation suggests that this is a version modified according to Harbeth specifications. The driver mount plate is plastic.

For the midrange and bass we have the 110mm Harbeth LFHAR110 driver with a diaphragm made from a patented plastic called Radial2. This is a new version different from the predecessor. In the middle sits a big dust cup from the same material while the suspension is rubber. This driver has a very solid cast basket and powerful magnet. The tweeter is screwed to the enclosure from the outside into a milled recess, the mid/woofer affixed from behind with nuts and bolts and slightly sunken in. The front baffle has twice the thickness of the side and back panels.

The loudspeakers have classic proportions (I suspect golden ratio ones) and look like their BBC LS3/5A predecessor of a few dozen years ago. This is partially because of the nice natural veneers but mostly due to the grilles which are stretched across a metal frame that inserts into special grooves milled into the front baffle. When you remove the grille—incidentally not recommended by Alan Show—this impression only gets stronger as now you see how many exposed screws attach the front baffle to the remainder of the cabinet. The back panel mounts the same way. (In Poland we had an episode—I think this is a fitting choice of word—were a company copied this solution in their CM-11 speaker.) On the back we get a pair of medium-quality terminals. The earlier version featured double terminals for biwiring. The company’s approach to biwiring must have changed. Halleluja! That will be better for everyone.

As I said, to see the front baffle requires removing the grille which is made from thin black cloth. That changes the speaker’s timbre significantly. The Harbeth comes in hand-matched pairs where the logo should be closer to the outer edge when set up properly. The front and back baffles of the cabinet attach with long tap screws, the front using black screws, the back gold ones. The crossover is mounted on a PCB, then to the back panel with a bitumen damper and soft washers to minimize vibration transfer from the enclosure. The filter network board is quite big to accept the very large polypropylene capacitors, five inductors and many resistors. The hookup wiring is quite thin.

After unscrewing the back, we see how the cabinet was made. First the top, bottom and side panels were glued up, then rectangular wooden braces set in, then front and back panels bolted to this frame. The enclosure runs quite thin MDF covered with real veneer outside and in. This makes the bitumen damping of the back plate especially interesting as Harbeth has always claimed that the cabinet walls should be as thin as possible to activate together with the drivers. The insides are damped with white polyurethane foam.

The company collects measurement data of all units leaving the factory. This is confirmed as an entry on the plaque on the back of the cabinet: "Details of this loudspeaker are recorded in our Master Log Book."

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Type: two-way, closed cabinet
Frequency response: 75Hz–20kHz (±3dB)
Nominal impedance: 6Ω
Efficiency: 83.5dB/2.83V/m
Recommended amplifier power: >15W
Maximum power: 50W (peak)
Dimensions: 306 x 189 x 202mm(WxHxD), with grilles and sockets
Weight: 6.3kg
Finish: natural veneer of Cherry or Black Ash; for a surcharge there are Rosewood, Maple and Eucalyptus.

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