Harbeth has a cult status in the audio world. Some love them, some just shrug. Somehow the link with the BBC gives them something extra for some people. To me they just look old fashioned, but somehow stylish.
I listened to them for a while. I think the first music I heard played on them was Diana Krall… The ultimate speaker audition cliché. They sounded ok, but a bit dull. Later I would learn that probably had a lot to do with the Hegel amplifier.
Before I ever got to listen to Hegel amplifiers I thought they were the best a modern amplifier could offer. After all I had read so many positive reviews about them and I love their minimalist design.
Then one day I was listening to some speakers. Dynaudios and KEFs on a Marantz amplifier. It sounded ok, but I thought these speakers had more to offer. So I asked if they could hook up a Hegel.
The shop had a very convenient system where they could not just switch speakers electronically, but also amplifiers. As soon as the Hegel was hooked up all life in the music was gone… Not musical, not very dynamic.
It shocked me. That day I learned reviews and other people’s opinions don’t mean anything. It’s only about what you think that matters.
The guy helping me then hooked up a Rega Elex-R. This amplifier was by far the best amplifier I heard that day.