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For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

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Jan. 2018
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The British Royal Family

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  • The British Royal Family

    This thread relates to the House of Windsor, the British Royal Family and related matters.

  • #2
    Prince William engaged to (Kate) Katherine Middleton

    Our hearty congratulations to the young couple who yesterday announced their engagement, with a plan to marry next year. Prince William is the eldest son of the late Princess Diana, grandson of our Queen Elizabeth II, a qualified air force helicopter pilot, and an approachable, personable and bright young man. He is very much the 'modern Royal'. It bodes well that his fiance expressed her desire to 'do what she can to improve the lives of other people'. They seem a couple eminently well matched and in-step with the life or a modern Royal couple.

    ================================================== ===============================

    The media story behind the announcement yesterday is particularly interesting. Although on this clip here you will see the BBC logo, the Royal couple arranged to give just one media interview, and that interview was intentionally not given to the BBC.

    In the UK there are two national free-to-air broadcasters, the government funded BBC and ITN (Independent Television News) an award-winning commercial company who sell their news service to commercial TV and radio stations throughout the UK. The couple specifically requested that the announcement was made in an exclusive interview with Tom Bradby, Political Editor of ITN News (since 2005), who has been one of my favourite news journalists for years because of his balanced, considered and even handed reporting: the perfect choice. His homely style of interviewing is very much his trademark and seemed to put the couple at ease and allow them to talk for themselves i.e. good interviewing technique. Background story here. The BBC have presumably arranged to have use of this ITN interview.

    The BBC has (at least one) Royal reporter and this situation tells us something about how the BBC is perceived these days. Only this month, BBC staff were on strike (threatening to black-out the Conservative party annual conference) and there is a widely held view in government and certainly by the ordinary viewer that the BBC is out of step with the national mood financially, editorially and politically. The lowest point in the BBCs national standing was surely this disgraceful situation. Our new government's views summarised here.

    Our congratulations again.
    Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK


    • #3
      I've seen national TV in many countries outside the UK and almost without exception it is of very poor quality. On the basis of what has happened in the past, further cuts in the BBC's budget ("improved efficiency") will lead to even fewer new ballet, opera, and drama productions. The latter provide the benchmark for the independent TV channels in the UK.


      P.S. Heartily agree on the congratulations - good to have a "natural" couple who look as though they will be able to connect well with their 'subjects'!


      • #4
        Delightful young couple

        They seem like a delightful young couple and I'm happy for them (or maybe I'm not, considering what they will be facing as public figures).

        But the institution's had its day, don't you think? No disrespect to the members of the British royal family, particularly the Queen herself, who seems nothing but admirable. The idea of royalty just seems like such an anachronism in this day and age.


        • #5
          The Royal family - and their role in our society

          Originally posted by EricW View Post
          ...But the institution's had its day, don't you think? No disrespect to the members of the British royal family
          With respect to yourself, that opinion is based on ignorance of what the Royal family actually do for our nation and Commonwealth.

          First, I would like to remind you that every hour of their lives from the time they reach adulthood until they pass away is regulated, observed and commented on. How would you feel to be awoken every morning - seven days a week - because there was a duty you were expected to perform, because someone somewhere was counting on you to be there? You or I could tolerate that perhaps for a few days in our lives; they are at our command 365 x 70 years, during which governments and prime ministers come and go. During Queen Elizabeth II rein, she has experienced 152 Prime Ministers throughout the Commonwealth, and twelve in the UK. She has far more experience of politicians and of human nature than anyone alive today. She has seen and heard it all many times before and her advice is invaluable to the present government and hence, to the nation.

          That 'on-call 24-7' lifestyle is a massive, unimaginable life long commitment to service and duty which enriches us as a nation and Commonwealth and touches millions of lives for the better. We would all be greatly poorer without the motivating, cohesive rallying point of the monarchy, above and beyond politics, stable, generation after generation. I for one do not want or need the monarch to reinvent themselves: we had a skin full of that in 1997.

          So, what does the Royal family actually do? Do you realise that the Royal family is involved with over three thousand charitable organisations? Can you imagine the motivating power for good that sprinkles on an organisation and those using its services? Immeasurable.

          Taking just charitable commitments, have a look for yourself on this page you can select a member of the royal family and see how many organisations they are actively involved in. How does that compare in number or range with the organisations any of us are involved with? Unpaid charitable work is the backbone of British society, the unsung hero of our way of life. Outside of government; apolitical and vital. And more vital now that government finance is squeezed.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK


          • #6
            I freely admit my ignorance and thank you for the information.

            And there is certainly many advantages to the separation a constitutional monarchy creates between the symbolic locus of power and the real locus of power.


            • #7
              Who actually owns the Royal palaces and property?

              The Royal family? No, with few exceptions (Balmoral and Sandringham).

              The entire Estate is infact give over to the British Government here. In other words, we the British people own the Royal estate.

              In 1760, George III reached an agreement with the Government over the Crown Estate. The Crown Lands would be managed on behalf of the Government and the surplus revenue would go to the Treasury. In return, the King would receive a fixed annual payment, which we call today the Civil List. In 2006-2007 the revenue surplus received by the Treasury from the Crown Estates was 200 million. Since 2001, The Queen receives a set amount of 7.9 million per annum. About 70 per cent of the Civil List expenditure goes on staff salaries. It also goes towards meeting the costs of official functions such as garden parties, receptions and official entertainment during State Visits. The Queen entertains almost 50,000 people each year. The Royal Household strives to be open and transparent, and details of expenditure are published in an Annual Summary and Annual Report.
              The Crown Estates generate 200m for the UK Govt. and in exchange the Royal Family is given 7.9m out of which they have to fund their entire existence, including traveling, staff costs, upkeep and so on whether on their own or on behalf of the British government (i.e. us). The system is changing in 2013.

              PDF of Civil List accounting

              Far from living the high life, the situation behind the scenes is of successive government not wishing to be seen as supporting the monarchy, hence ....

              Selling property to fund repairs

              Palaces beyond repair
              and here

              And finally, the reality: British citizens enjoy the benefits of a monarchy for ..... 0.62 per person per year. Story here. FYI, a pint of beer costs about 3.00. Our Royal family is outstanding value for money.


              • #8
                Constitutional monarchy

                Originally posted by EricW View Post
                ..... The idea of royalty just seems like such an anachronism in this day and age...
                With respect, it is strange to see the comment coming from someone from Canada. Isn't Canada a constitutional monarchy and the Queen is HRH Elizabeth II? In my country that would be seditious.


                {Moderator's comment: Yes, disappointing. After The Evening with Alan in KL earlier this year ~ he tells me that he had a wonderful discussion into the small hours with a group of friends. One of the subjects aired was the variations in the concept of press freedom in Europe and outside. The above comments are in line with that conversation, not a direct response to any other contribution, so were passed Moderation.}


                • #9
                  Order of priority in British society

                  Below is the Table of Precedence for Gentlemen in England (In Scotland it is a little different). It lists persons in order of seniority.

                  Notice how far down the list is the Prime Minister (The Head of Government). He ranks after the Royal Dukes and even the two Archbishops! This is to a democratic government a constant reminder of their elected status as servants of the people.

                  [The Sovereign]
                  The Duke of Edinburgh
                  The Heir Apparent
                  The Sovereign's Younger Sons
                  The Sovereign's Grandsons
                  The Sovereign's Cousins
                  Archbishop of Canterbury
                  Lord High Chancellor
                  Archbishop of York
                  Prime Minister
                  Lord High Treasurer (when existing)
                  Lord President of the Council
                  Speaker of the House of Commons
                  Lord Speaker
                  Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
                  Lord Privy Seal
                  Ambassadors and High Commissioners
                  Lord Great Chamberlain (when in performance of official duty)
                  Lord High Constable (when existing)
                  Earl Marshal
                  Lord Chamberlain of the Household
                  Lord Steward of the Household
                  Master of the Horse
                  Dukes of England
                  Dukes of Scotland
                  Dukes of Great Britain
                  Dukes of Ireland
                  Dukes of UK and Ireland since the Union
                  Eldest Sons of Dukes of the Blood Royal
                  Marquesses of England
                  Marquesses of Scotland
                  Marquesses of Great Britain
                  Marquesses of Ireland
                  Marquesses of UK and Ireland since the Union
                  Eldest Sons of Dukes
                  Earls of England
                  Earls of Scotland
                  Earls of Great Britain
                  Earls of Ireland
                  Earls of UK and Ireland since the Union
                  Younger Sons of Dukes of the Blood Royal
                  Marquesses' Eldest Sons
                  Dukes' Younger Sons
                  Viscounts of England
                  Viscounts of Scotland
                  Viscounts of Great Britain
                  Viscounts of Ireland
                  Viscounts of UK and Ireland since the Union
                  Earls' Eldest Sons
                  Marquesses' Younger Sons
                  Bishop of London
                  Bishop of Durham
                  Bishop of Winchester
                  Other English Diocesan Bishops according to seniority of consecration
                  Suffragan Bishops according to seniority of consecration
                  Secretaries of State if of Baronial rank
                  Barons of England
                  Lords of Parliament, Scotland
                  Barons of Great Britain
                  Barons of Ireland
                  Barons of UK and Ireland since the Union, including Life Barons
                  Master of the Rolls
                  Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal (when existing)
                  Treasurer of the Household
                  Comptroller of the Household
                  Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
                  Secretaries of State, being under Baronial rank
                  Viscounts' Eldest Sons
                  Earls' Younger Sons
                  Barons' and Lords of Parliaments' Eldest Sons
                  Knights of the Garter
                  Privy Counsellors
                  Chancellor of the Exchequer
                  Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
                  President of the Queen's Bench Division
                  President of the Family Division
                  Chancellor of the High Court
                  Lord Justices of Appeal according to seniority of appointment
                  Judges of High Court of Justice according to seniority of appointment
                  Viscounts' Younger Sons
                  Barons' and Lords of Parliaments' Younger Sons
                  Sons of Life Barons and Lords of Appeal in Ordinary
                  Baronets, according to date of Patent
                  Knights of the Thistle
                  Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
                  Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
                  Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
                  Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
                  Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
                  Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
                  Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath
                  Knights Commander of the Order of the Star of India
                  Knights Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
                  Knights Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
                  Knights Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
                  Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire
                  Knights Bachelor
                  Circuit Judges
                  Masters in Chancery
                  Master of the Court of Protection
                  Companions of the Order of the Bath
                  Companions of the Order of the Star of India
                  Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George
                  Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire
                  Commanders of the Royal Victorian Order
                  Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
                  Companions of the Distinguished Service Order
                  Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order
                  Officers of the Order of the British Empire
                  Companions of the Imperial Service Order
                  Eldest Sons of the Younger Sons of Peers
                  Eldest Sons of Baronets
                  Eldest Sons of Knights (according to the precedence of their fathers)
                  Members of the Royal Victorian Order
                  Members of the Order of the British Empire
                  Younger Sons of Baronets
                  Younger Sons of Knights

                  {Moderator's comment: also marked the great importance of The Speaker ('independent' adjudicator of the elected House of Commons), Ambassadors and High Commissioners (representatives of the Commonwealth), all representing the democratic will of their electorates.}


                  • #10
                    Illuminating post

                    I've always admired the Royal family from afar but Alan's post has really been illuminating. Many thanks.


                    • #11
                      Good gracious me. Most interesting. Is that list current?
                      Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


                      • #12

                        Originally posted by BAS-H View Post
                        Good gracious me. Most interesting. Is that list current?




                        • #13
                          Royal Yacht Britannia - an interesting observation

                          The reality behind the seeming wealth of our aristocracy is often at-odds with the outward appearance. The overriding motive is for them to present a good face, and crucially to be able to maintain continuity generation to generation, so that they are not the one remembered as the incumbent who drove the family into financial ruin and sold off the property to pay the bills. But in private, how is the lifestyle actually financed? In the past, there were great estates which provided income from crops and tenants, or sometimes investment in industry. But those days are largely over - so many of these great houses are run on tiny budgets and are in need of completely unaffordable maintenance. Leaking roofs, dry rot, structural collapse - those are the reality of the great houses. That includes Buckingham Palace as reported earlier.

                          Here is an example of public appearance v. private reality. My wife and I visited The Royal Yacht Britannia in 2008, decommissioned and moored near Edinburgh (near our excellent dealer, HiFi Corner). Britannia was the floating home of the Queen, the one place she claimed she could relax and live as she wanted, away from the camera, as an ordinary person. The only time I have ever seen her close to shedding a tear was when she handed over Britannia, with no likelihood of a replacement due to dithering by the government. I felt truly ashamed that the nation had sunk so low in its penny-pinching and that the sailing era - and even the Empire - was so publicly over.

                          Anyway, the public can tour around Britannia looking in the engine room up to the Queen's bedroom. Considering that at the time Britannia was cruising the world carrying the British monarch, and our global position was somewhat more important than it is today, it was refreshing indeed to see first hand how the Queen chose to live, in private. We did not expect to see ostentation and we were not disappointed. The public and private rooms were spartan. Bare. far short of what a modern housewife would expect. But that is the reality - the Queen didn't need to prove anything. You get a good insight to the real personality from a look in their bedroom.
                          Attached Files
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK


                          • #14
                            Costs benefits

                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            We did not expect to see ostentation and we were not disappointed. The public and private rooms were spartan. Bare. far short of what a modern housewife would expect. But that is the reality - the Queen didn't need to prove anything. You get a good insight to the real personality from a look in their bedroom.
                            Yes, I was once on board many years ago. Britannia was built in a simple 1950s "Utility" style. The state rooms at Windsor, however, refurbished after the fire are decorated to a very high standard.

                            But let's keep things in proportion. Britannia was expensive to run, and would have cost a fortune to replace; but how much did the old ship earn for Britain, and what would a new one have earned in her lifetime?

                            So also with William's wedding. Some are pointing to the fact it will cost the taxpayer 50 million, others are saying the wedding will generate an extra 500 million for the nation. Looks like a good deal for everyone to me! And that's not considering the pleasure it will give to the majority.


                            • #15
                              Britannia and HiFi Corner - both Edinburgh

                              Yes, we were in Edinburgh this Sept and my wife took the Britannia tour. I asked her if she took any pictures of the Queen's bedroom and she said "no it didn't look like anything special" so this fits right in with your point.

                              I did stop off at the HiFi Corner a couple of years ago and spoke with one of the staff. One of the other staff was doing a demo of the SHL5 mated to Quad tube electronics playing vinyl. Sheffield Lab's "Thelma Huston - I've got the music in me". It was good to see Harbeth product available again at retail in the UK.