Harbeth Super HL5 plus Break-in

The following is an excerpt from the Harbeth User Guide:

"After exercising your new Harbeths for just a few hours they will be fully ready for a lifetime of enjoyment".

After going to the Harbeth site it pretty much said the same thing as the user guide but added that the supertweeter would take a little longer to break-in.
My new Harbeth's sounded the same after I put on around the first 100 hours so I believed the above until around the 120-150 hour mark I noticed (or so I think) the midrange sounding more realistic to the point of more enjoyment! I don't know if I'm actually hearing an improvement or I'm just getting used to the Harbeth sound since the 5's are my first experience with Harbeth in my listening room.

I would like to hear others that have owned or still own the Super 5's and whether or not you have experienced the same thing as me or something else.

I’d say my experience with the 5 plus is pretty similar to the OP. I was not that impressed right out of the box. But over time, I’ve become pretty happy with them. I really can’t tell the difference between grilles on or off. And I do think they sound better in a near field set up. Currently grilles are off, using SS amplification and Resonant Woods stands. A recent listen to the Jamaican version of the Wailers “Catch A Fire” album was a transcendent experience. I don’t think they’d ever be my one and only speaker but I do enjoy having them in the rotation. 

In my experience, the Skylan stands made the SHL5s sound dull. I tried putting some hard interfaces on the stands, casino chips as I recall, which improved the sound, but I eventually went to an Epos open-frame metal stand, which was far better. So IMO, the SHL5s are quite stand-sensitive and you have to work with them. I don’t know if the Epos stands are still around. Here you go -


"I don't think they'd ever be my one and only speaker but I do enjoy having them in the rotation"

Profound statement! In this crazy hobby where the listener (me) is analytical and can find fault with anything that statement is a wake up call for me. Why didn't I see it that way before? Ultimately, does there necessarily have to be a one and only? So with that said how many pairs of speakers do you rotate in and out? What speakers are they?
I didn't notice the stands being used. 

Open stands are often recommended for Harbeths (although not in their user guide) because the cabinet contributes to the sound, or at least that seems to be the overwhelming consensus based on what I've read and heard from other owners.

When I first got mine, I was given some loaner stands while my custom stands were being built that were about the same height as yours, which put the tweeter a bit above my ears in my listening position.  My stands are about 12" tall and put the tweeter right at about ear level.  Having them at that height definitely improved my listening experience.

These are the stands I use.


@ routeman21

Lucky for me, I currently have plenty of space to store all my crap 😀

Martin Logan Monti’s

Harbeth Super HL5 Plus

Epos M16i

JBL L200 t3’s

Boston Acoustic T1000 

IMF TLS 50 Mk 2

I’m partial to the electrostat’s. Best sound for the money are the Epos M16i.