Are Harbeth Super HL5 XD right for me?

I am feeling like despite being very happy with my current speakers, I am missing something because they are by far the least expensive part of my system. I recently replaced my Large Advents with a pair of the new KLH Model 5s and I love them, despite being about 5% of my systems cost.

I am thinking about the Harbeth Super HL5 XD as a final upgrade. It’s a big chunk of change though and my biggest concern is that they can only be 12” away from the rear wall. They’ll be essentially open on both sides and I’ll be sitting about 8’ from them. This is fixed in stone. I’ll be driving them with a pair of Luxman MB-3045 tube amps and an ARC SP-14 playing 98% (or more) vinyl. Mostly jazz, classic rock and classical. I live in an apartment and never play very loud, and have reached the point where I really don’t have much desire to anyway.

So… Is it worth taking the chance given my situation or am I just setting myself up for disappointment and better off sticking with what I am really very happy with?



I also find that they are very sensitive to toe in.

@arafiq Me too.

Jdougs - while mine sound best at higher volumes 10-12ft away, at lower listing levels they also sound great at 6-8ft.

A good place to start is point them 2-3 ft behind your head in your ideal listening position and adjust from there.

Stick with the Model 5s until you can listen to other options in person. Harbeths have become ridiculously priced for what they offer sonically, and they capitalize on guys who buy them based solely on reviewer and forum momentum. That the dollar is now so strong against the Pound makes their prices all the more irrational. If you insist on trying a BBC lineage design, you’ll get better performance and value from the Graham models like the LS8/1 or, if budget is a constraint, a pre-owned pair of Stirling LS3/6s. 

If you have access to a Harbeth dealer bring your amplifier/pre along when you go to listen to them. Tell the dealer ahead of time about your room and how the speakers will be set up in your room, the dimensions from side walls and the front wall along with your listening distance. They can try their best to replicate your listening room. Then go and listen for an hour with music that your brought and are very familiar with. Best way to do this if the dealer will not allow you to demo at home.


The last time I looked that Graham LS/8 is about 10 grand! You think that’s a value? Have you listened to them?

when i heard grahams on a few occasions i felt their treble is voiced more forward than the equivalent harbeth or classic spendor

a little more of a 'modern interpretation', and yes i agree with @yogiboy - hardly a value...