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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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The natural environment around Harbeth

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  • The natural environment around Harbeth

    This thread celebrates Nature and the environment around us here in England, especially in and around the Harbeth factory.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    The garden bird box

    As you'll have read here, I've been away from the UK from 8th April 2010 until 21 May due initially to the European volcano and then, putting time to good use, my travels around south east Asia. and meeting so many friends.

    Whilst I've been away, spring time has arrived, and green, lush, England is looking wonderful in the sun - and at about 22 deg C, the climate is perfect. There is no traffic noise; just a few planes overhead and I can once again hear the birds in the trees. It is wonderful to be back in the countryside and just to sit and watch mother Nature. I'd forgotten just how glorious our environment here is.

    I'm rather fond of garden birds and I like to watch them - with training they can become really tame and even eat out of your hand. Last year, we received some woofer magnet samples in a small plywood box and I thought I'd put a lid on it, drill a 25mm hole on the front, and hang it on the wall of my house as a bird box and see what happened. Soon the blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) discovered it, and after weeks of frantic in and out activity reared a family. We'll good news - whilst I've been away they've been busy again and another family is underway .... here are some pictures of the box and parent birds bringing food. Total cost - zero: time, about thirty minutes incl. varnishing and waterproofing the box. Try it yourself! Very satisfying!

    Blue tit information

    Attached are some pictures I've just taken; I'll make a video later. Although (obviously) I am merely a bystander as the blue tits get along with rearing their family, I do keep a close eye on them and feel a little parental responsibility myself!
    Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #3
      Gardens in the spring time ... the National Garden Scheme

      Every year the National Garden Scheme - a charity - invites people with interesting or beautiful gardens to open them for a few days to the public, who are allowed to freely wander around admiring the plants, landscape and view. The cost is about GBP 4 per person and almost all gardens offer tea and cake to round-off the visit! The NGS has collected GBP 25 million in the past ten years alone, all of which is handed to charity. For example, the NGS is Macmillan Cancer Support's biggest single donor, donating over GBP 11.6 million and funding 130 Macmillan services, such as nursing posts, financial advice, and counselling, helping thousands of people affected by cancer.

      We've visited many of these homes and gardens over the years and it is wonderful to be allowed to amble around private gardens and to briefly experience the privileges of wealth. It's a very British thing to invest so much time and energy in maintaining a garden, and not cheap. A full-time gardener and a budget for plants, materials and equipment could easily consume GBP 50,000 a year. So, it's admirable that anyone is these difficult economic times is willing and able to finance maintaining a beautiful garden for their and our benefit. We are most be grateful.

      If you live in the UK or are visiting be quick! Gardens are only open to the public on certain days, and those are defined by the flowering season if the plants in the various gardens. A virtually-free and wonderful day-out is guaranteed!

      Pictures of panoramas I've photographed to follow ....
      Attached Files
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #4
        I just went to a place called 'The Garden' - inside a shopping mall! It looked like a English garden, but everything is fake, including the plants. There was a pub right opposite, and a pop band was blaring away 3 shops away. It was an awful experience. My wife and I were having a drink before heading home, but the youngsters were just beginning their night! The whole night life and shopping mall culture is a lie. It is all about intoxication, temporary distraction and brought happiness.

        We do have a authentic British Garden called Le Olde up in Fraser's Hill. It is less 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, and it is one of our favorite past time to drive up there for Devonshire tea. We stayed overnight there once, and it was a truly wonderful experience. I am planning to spend a weekend there again soon.

        I was going to recommend that you make a trip there next time you come to Kuala Lumpur. But then I realize that it doesn't make sense for a Brit to come to Malaysia to visit a British garden! I envy that you are living in the middle of what we have to drive 2 hours to get to.

        Comment


        • #5
          The blackbird nest

          I was trimming our garden forsythia bush with shears this morning and disturbed a nesting blackbird (Turdus merula). We've never had a nest in that bush before and I was really concerned that I'd frightened the mother bird off. She's back to her brood of four light-blue eggs, and as past experience shows that the blackbird is my most tame garden bird, I'll keep you posted as to how we get along. I quickly took a picture of the nest, attached. With a little luck, the parents will be eating from my hands in a month or so.
          Attached Files
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Alan,

            What a wonderful thread! I appreciate your pictures and information. It makes me discover more of your country.

            Sebastien

            Comment


            • #7
              Harbeth and the countryside from the South Downs

              So, we went for a drive this cloudless day to Ditchling Beacon, a 248m high point on the South Downs and overlooking our county. It was once an Iron age hill fort. I've marked the Harbeth factory with a small yellow arrow (on the left side).

              The camera was facing approx. north. You can see about 25 miles to the north; London is over the far horizon. Behind us is Brighton, on the south coast of England. Then the English channel and the other side, France. From this beautiful unspoilt (and heavily protected) countryside, we export to the whole world. When your Harbeths were made here, they absorbed the essence of this natural environment, which remain with them for their entire, long, service life.

              Three large images attached.
              Attached Files
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Alan,

                There is an Irish song called "The Forty Shades of Green" I guess if one looked long enough at your pic or visited the area they may find just as many changing shades.

                Cheers,
                Noel.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm enjoying this thread a good deal as well - thanks for the pictures and information.

                  I've only been to England once but would love to come back and spend more time. The natural environment in Canada is beautiful as well, but in a very different way - much starker and grander, but without the long interaction between the land and human beings that makes England so charming. It almost looks like one big garden. But it must require a lot of protection for it not be overrun by people's demands for space.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    So, we went for a drive this cloudless day to Ditchling Beacon, a 248m high point on the South Downs and overlooking our county. It was once an Iron age hill fort. I've marked the Harbeth factory with a small yellow arrow (on the left side).

                    The camera was facing approx. north. You can see about 25 miles to the north; London is over the far horizon. Behind us is Brighton, on the south coast of England. Then the English channel and the other side, France. From this beautiful unspoilt (and heavily protected) countryside, we export to the whole world. When your Harbeths were made here, they absorbed the essence of this natural environment, which remain with them for their entire, long, service life.

                    Three large images attached.
                    The scenery there is indeed beautiful. I've been up there many times as I grew up in Brighton; I now live in Eastbourne which also has lovely downland and of course the sea.

                    Geoff.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You can't beat the Sussex countryside at this time of the year. Today I've been to the Kittiwake colony at Splash Point, Seaford and then on to the Arlington reservoir for a walk and the weather was perfect.

                      Geoff.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        ...She's back to her brood of four light-blue eggs
                        Update. Two eggs have hatched. You can just about see the young bird's wings.

                        wings-sc.jpg
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Spitfire over my house

                          Especially for Thanos, our member whose father flew this magnificent aircraft in WW2 - over my house this evening was one of these few remaining aircraft performing an aerobatic display. I just had time to grab the camera - apologies for the picture quality. I assume that as in the previous few years, the pilot was a lady. However - and Thanos will know all about this - the markings on the aircraft are different so I am not sure if is the same aircraft/same pilot. This month is of course, the 70th anniversary of The Battle of Britain. The sound of the Rolls Royce engine barely ticking-over as the aircraft performed its acrobatics is completely unforgettable and rather like the sound of a Harley Davidson: lots of low revs torque.

                          As Churchill said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" (Wiki here). You can hear Churchill here. Churchill was of course referring to the brave, young fighter pilots (average age about 22 years old) who despite relatively small numbers took on a massive airborne enemy. In this era when we hold our politicians in contempt we, the now free world, should thank god that Churchill was a man of unshakeable integrity and with total focus, vision and determination. Will such a politician ever walk this earth again?
                          Attached Files
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Churchill

                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            ....In this era when we hold our politicians in contempt we, the now free world, should thank god that Churchill was a man of unshakeable integrity and with total focus, vision and determination. Will such a politician ever walk this earth again?
                            Perhaps there's something in the air: this reminds me that Peter Frampton's latest album is called "Thank You Mr Churchill". I haven't listened to it yet but it's received some very good reviews, and might be worth checking out if you like fairly hard bluesy rock.

                            As for the man himself (Churchill, that is, not Frampton), yes, there are none like him. One wonders if there could be, today. I think human beings like that - of integrity, vision and determination, but also with a great gift for expression and inspiration - still exist (they haven't stopped making them), but these days I think they're unlikely to go into politics. I think the constant level of media scrutiny (over trivia), the constant fear of scandal and of making the tiniest mistake, would be extremely wearing. I think people are far too cynical about politics generally, and one of the consequences is that, disproportionately, cynical people tend to be overrepresented in politics because the other kind just don't want what that life entails.

                            I don't know that there's much room left for men and women of vision and integrity. It's a very rough game, as it's played these days. It was never easy, of course, but once there was respite. Now, the eyes are everywhere.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Churchill the romantic.

                              Originally posted by EricW View Post
                              As for the man himself yes, there are none like him. One wonders if there could be, today...
                              What has surprised me very considerably is the serialisation (actors reading them aloud) on BBC radio of personal letters written by Winston Churchill to his wife Clementine. Despite his considerable size (in later life) and his gruff manner, Churchill was deeply romantic at heart and it's clear from the readings that his wife was at the foundation of his personality. He drew limitless strength from her. Also, what struck me was the frequency of his writing which meant that he was seamlessly interweaving his role as political leader and doting husband and father, day by day, hour by hour. We, the public, only observed the public face of a complex and full - and well balanced - character.

                              Churchill's family home, Chartwell, is near here and open to the public, left exactly as it was when he was alive thanks to the National Trust. His writing pen is on his desk, untouched. When we visit I often wonder at what he really felt when losing the first election after WW2, having won the victory. If you do visit the UK, I recommend you visit Chartwell - it reminds you of just how prolific a writer Churchill was, and from his letters to his wife, the cost of their lifestyle was a constant worry. He had to write to pay for the upkeep of the house. In those days, politicians were very modestly remunerated.

                              The collection of letters is here. Unfortunately, the series has just finished on Radio 7, but it made fascinating listening, first thing on a Sunday morning, in bed with a cup of tea here.

                              Much more worrying than our political leaders abilities to me is, could our young people rediscover the long-lost discipline to organise themselves against a serious physical threat?
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

                              Comment

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