my shortlist for integrated Harbethsuper hl5 plus xd - please advise

Hi All,

the four amps below are those within my price range,

seeking recommendations please on final purchase


-yamaha a-s2200 (concerned not powerull enough)

-rega aethos (same power concern and quality control complaints around transformer hum)

-paradigm str integrated

-exposure 3510


If you are indeed “married” to just these selected four integrated amp options ….. = EXPOSURE first . Then the REGA in plan “B”.


If those are the only 4 in consideration, I would keep looking.  Not sure of your price range, that could help. 

Just how loud do you listen to your music?  I am using a pair of tube amps around 40W each and they could easily blow you out of the room with the Harbeths!  Power will not be the problem with any of those amps.  Whether they’re worthy of the speakers is another matter.

those amps were short listed as they are all sold by local dealers and all of them seem to have very good reviews overall

i think the anthem was even listed by stereophile as class a

i guess im open to other solutions in the price range however in my neck of the woods sourcing is often limited

I think you are fortunate if you can audition those amps with your speakers. I have a pair of Harbeth 30.1 speakers. I had used an Exposure 3010 s2D for a number of years. There were times when I got somewhat restless with the amp/speaker combination. There was more of an edge to the music than I wanted. I ended up changing to a Luxman L505-uXII. It was a big improvement in my room, with my gear, to my ears.


I would take your time in making your decision. I have heard that the new Exposure is a meaningful improvement over the 3010 (not sure what that means). I would try to listen to a Luxman if you could. Good luck.....enjoy the hunt.

Post removed 

I own the Musical Fidelity M-6Si integrated amp. I am VERY surprised it sounds this good. The Musical Fidelity M6si offers excellent performance, facilities, and power. As per the Musical Fidelity web site “Internally, the M6si is configured as 2 independent monobloc power amps with a separate preamp. It is, in fact, a preamp with 2 monobloc power amps that just happen to share the same casework. The M6si has 220wpc. It has very low distortion, outstanding noise ratio and extremely flat frequency response”.

I am very happy with my Musical Fidelity M-6Si integrated amp since this amplifier deliveries the sound quality I am looking for. Its list price is about )3,000

See Musical Fidelity web site for link

I agree with the Luxman recommendation. I use a L505 uxi with my SHL 5's. Plenty of power and sounds great. You should be able to find a used one within your price range.


I will buck the trend and recommend a tube amp/integrated. I have had the SHL5+ (non-XD) version for a few years and found that they actually do better with beefy tube amplification. I drove them with Audio Hungary Qualiton a50i when I had them in my main listening room. The combination, to my ears, sounded better than with Luxman 590AXII. I find the SHL5+ super tweeter can sometimes get too hot to handle with SS amps. A nice, but beefy, tube amp provides the right balance. However, you need at least 45-50 watts to make them sing.

Thing about your speakers is that they work with a wide variety of amps and many will sound good. Comes down to personal preferences. If you don’t listen loud, but still want to cover peaks in dynamic music then low power class A works really well in my experience. If you want to future proof all listening habits, then a used Hegel H390 would probably fit the bill. 

I would retire that list in its entirety. For these speakers you need to step up to Pass, Luxman, Hegel, McIntosh. 

I can’t imagine anyone ever being disappointed with Luxman.  I’d take that over any of the options listed.  Harbeths and Luxman could easily be a lifetime system.

Can't speak to the others but I've owned the anthem and thought it was excellent at its price point 

room correction is great and it's a very solid component 

its smaller room but open to rest of house

sometimes i find these choices confusing as the amps i short listed are all highly reviewed and yet we can see all these opinions adamantly against

im certainly prepared to pause the purchase and revisit based on the feedback here

someone also recommended a benchmark ahb2 with asscociated preamp as an alternative to an integrated

at some point i would like to work my way up to a more end game type amp but lacking those funds at the moment,


as an aside, I have a friend with an no brainer end game amp (for me) which is an german beast AVM Ovation A6.2, he will sell to me once I have funds and he will upgrade to their monos

this thing has build quality that to my eye exceeds all the entry level accuphases and luxmans ive seen






@audiocanada    Please don't be overly concerned what grade any publication gives an audio component. If your in Ontario/Toronto area you have access to many brands/demos you need to hear/see for yourself. To answer your question the Rega Aethos would be my choice of the 4 amps mentioned. If concerned about transformer hum find out by contacting a dealer if this claim is valid.

I would not chase products based on magazine reviews. I have done that a time or two and was always underwhelmed. I honestly don't trust politics of professional reviews. I strongly suggest that you audition any thing that you will spend your hard earned cash on if at all possible. Use YOUR ears.

I would also spend time and resources on improving your room. I made DIY sound absorbing panels and that made a bigger impact than any other upgrade I have done.

I had the SHL5+ paired with a Parasound a21+ and they sounded excellent together, the smooth, punchy Parasound sound is a perfect match for the Harbeth. 

The Parasound house sound is represented in their integrated amp, the HINT 6.  At 240 watts / channel at 4 ohms you will not be lacking anything with the 5's.  

Save some money over the other choices and enjoy the sound ! 

I’d bet my last two WE300b’s you’ve gotten your four amp choice reccomendations from 4 different reviewers. You’re going about it in reverse IMHO. Find a reviewer or review site partial to your Harbeths . See what THEY reccomend. I’ve got your Harbeths and the P7es speakers as well as Spendor 1/2’s and B&W 606s’ all available at a cable change away and I listen 90% to the Harbeths. One thing you ARE trying to do that is right IMHO , is you are trying to build around a very very good pair of speakers that deserve the best amplification you can afford. I wouldn’t consider any of those amps. You’ll be listening to 30% of what the Harbeths can give you. 

ok thanksm ,

what amp do you suggest please?

those amp suggestion came from reading the harbeth forums as the next best tier down options from accuphase/luxman/LFE



the other I thing I find confusing is the notion of skipping reviews when my speakers are very highly reviewed

and of course trying to understand peoples experiences



your advice contradicts the post directly above yours

that particular parasound appears to have specs beyond anything else mentioned

or is it more than just specs to this?


Recently purchased an integrated amp for my Harbeth super HL5+XDs as well.

A Modwright KWH 225i, which has tubes in the pre-amp section. Bought it online used (1yo) and paid half price. Otherwise, I’d never have been able to afford it.

I spent a lot of time researching units for these speakers, and what I discovered is that pretty much anything will pair with them. More important is to buy an integrated amp that doesn’t have anything you don’t need. 

I was looking for something that was just a pre-amp and amp — because I don’t want to pay for things I don’t need — and that’s all the Modwright is (not even a headphone jack). I ended up buying a unit that had the optional phono preamp. Didn’t need it, even though it’s better than the one I had, but that unit ended up being cheaper than another used unit that didn’t have it.

Also, the guy I bought from threw in a pair of $300 tubes as well.

I was also wary of buying something with an overseas markup of some sort (I also bought my Harbeths used for almost half price). And Modwright is made in, I believe, California. (Unsure where you’re based)

Also I like less well-known brands (sometimes) because (sometimes) I feel like part of what you’re paying for is a brand name.

There are a lot of other smaller players out there you might like, though the smaller the player sometimes the greater the cost.

But going the other direction, another name to consider that might fit a slightly expanded budget is Naim. The Naim Supernait 3 gets a lot of good press for working well with Harbeths.


ok well thanks all

I'm going to heed some of this advice  and seek to get into the higher levels of integrated amps

i think i have this with my speakers, jl sub, and lumin streamer


as I'm in no rush, I'm going to remain with my modest front end and start a quest towards an  accuphase e480 and luxman 509x which I've lusted after and then try and compare against the AVM and go from there





"...or is it more than just specs to this?"

@audiocanada : Yes, I'm afraid that, in spite of what Mr. Alan Shaw is claiming, there's much than specs to this. You will not find two different amplifiers that sound identical, regardless of their specs. Just a very simple example (not that I could explain it!): sometimes adding weight on top of the amplifier (I've witnessed it with a Pass amplifier) or placing it on some isolation feet or a platform may change the sound, even changing the power cord will make a significant difference, yet you will not find anything about this in the specs. Also those specs will not tell you exactly (even if it might be technically possible) how will a certain amplifier drive a specific pair of speakers. Some educated guesses are possible, but up to a point; beyond that, advancing toward the Holy Grail of the audiophiles is a complicated trial and error procedure IME.

Another vote for the Parasound Hint, it had plenty of power and great sound with Maggie's 1.7. you get everything in one unit and could probably score a lightly used or demo unit. It means toward a tube sound without tubes.

Enjoy auditioning different units.

FYI on the Luxman L509x. It is at the end of its production life and will be replaced with a more costly L509z. You may start seeing more 509x models on the market. I have the current L505uXII. I am very pleased with it, but sometimes I wonder if the higher models will give me “more” of what the L505 does.  All in all I am thrilled with the “entry level” Luxman integrated. Good luck in your search.

of your choices i would go exposure

but better yet i would buy a hegel integrated within your budget which i believe will sound better than all of your slate 

You should check out LFD ( solid state ). Give GR a call as he is a big Harbeth dealer! BTW, I own those speakers and I use tube amplification!

Moonriver 404 or 404 Reference, I was told they were being developed using BBC family of speakers all though not exclusively so, are said to sound great with Graham Audio speakers.

I would also seek out a VTL IT-85. A magical amp with many Harbeth. At 70 wpc It has the power that an HL5 needs. Also as important it has a more neutral (for tubes) tonality which the Harbeth's also need.

i have said this in other posts about harbeths but i will repeat here for the benefit of the op’s

there is no right or wrong answer, we all hear differently and have different preferences

that said, i have owned many harbeths (mon 40, c7, shl5) and i believe that to give them the best possible full range, top to bottom response, they benefit from a pure solid state amp with strong damping factor/woofer grip

the nature of the harbeths is they do their magical voice thing (as a function of their driver material and resonant thin wall cabinet) but they lose resolution up top and slam and tunefulness down low without the best that strong solid state amplification can provide

you CAN make harbeths sound great down low with rel (or other good subs) but to my ear the harbeths sound a little too smoothed over up top with most tube amps

i do concur with @yogiboy that lfd's can work well with harbeths sonically, as those amps sound fast, pure, with good control down low, if you can live with their barebones nature functionally

@gryphongryph I am not sure if it came from Gene Rubin, but that's definitely a sign, that he carries both Moonriver and Harbeth

I'm using Classe CAM 200 mono blocks to drive my Harbeth 40.1's. You may be able to pick these up on the secondary market. Terrific sound-smooth, no edge, plenty of spare power. This is the type of amp that Alan Shaw recommends=lots of brute power!!!!

You can’t go wrong with the hegal. For 4K on the used market, its hard to beat IMO. I have a Pass 250, Accuphase 380, Mac Ma353 and the Hegal. I can nit pick all of them, but it’s hard to find anything with the Hegal. Midrange is some of the best I’ve heard. Pass is superb, but $$$ and heat in a small room.

I agree with yogiboy on the LFD recommendation. I have two Harbeth systems; SHL 5+ 40th Anniversary and M30.2 XD. I use a LFD NCSE MK 2+ in each system. Great synergy between Harbeth and LFD. As yogiboy mentioned, Gene Rubin Audio is tops on LFD and Harbeth combination. 
Gene is super friendly and helpful. Well worth a phone call!


If you are in TO, I’ll propose an option.

I’m in Oakville just down the QEW and have my HARBETH M30.2 XD’s driven fabulously by my REGA OSIRIS integrated amp.
If it stirs your drink, PM me and we can discuss an in-house audition to give you a better understanding of what a quality REGA option can deliver in spades.

FWIW, LFD is indeed a quality performer that was my 2nd choice .