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.
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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.
- 43 posts total