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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, since deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to create an audible sonic personality in what you hear. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

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. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral amongst a plethora of available product choices.

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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised sound. 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 offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

If faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"


Feb. 2018
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Protectionism returns?

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  • Protectionism returns?

    For the archives, here.

    So, not only does UK manufacturing have to contend with the prospect of losing free access to the European market, but an "America first" protectionist policy will inevitably impact transatlantic sales. Protectionism has been tried, and failed. Humans know of no better model than free trade. There may be a superior economic model, but for certain, it is not protectionism, isolationism and retreat.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Indeed. For anyone who thought that somehow the US market could offer an alternative to the EU, yesterday must have been a disappointment. There is no reason to believe that America First will not apply to the UK as well. How do Brexeteers think they can best negotiate with a power player like Trump: alone, or as part of an economic system (Europe) of similar size to the US? Trump likes Brexit for no other reason than that it weakens Europe. And a weaker Europe is easier to bully than a strong one.

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    • #3
      The odd thing is how the ordinary voter sees both Brexit and "America First" as a third party solution to their own issues. Let's suppose for a moment that there could be a wholesale change in the public's mentality, right down to the grass roots, a wartime spirit of collectivism. That would mean that every single individual in society would have to make a proactive difference in their lifestyle, to not only be more efficient in their work, but to accept less immediate reward in return. The simple things. Getting up half an hour earlier and starting work before paid clock-in time, not messing around in school class but the getting the head down and improving grades, changing diet from garbage to healthy food, make do and mend, being kindly to ones neighbours .... it's an endless list. Is it likely to happen without the cohesive collective focus of a war? No. But there in lies the real worry.

      I can tell you as the manufacturer of consumer goods that it is practically impossible to modify public behaviour with boring old, discredited facts in a post-truth world. We have highlighted here time and time again the issue of how a minor adjustment in loudness totally influences human subjective perception of sound character. Has it registered as an objective truth? No. Has it modified consumer behaviour? No! Have we learned that only subjective, emotional tugs to the heart convert into action not logic? Oh yes! So it is not really any surprise that we get the politicians we deserve!

      Truth is most definitely out of vogue.

      Of course, the likely outcome of "Only America First" will be precisely the opposite of what is intended. Take note of how statesmanlike China has been these past few days in Davos. This is a golden opportunity for China to present itself as the true leader of the (economically) free world. Who wouldn't want to shelter under the obvious logic of an emerging superpower with a long-range and realistic vision? Yesterday, China was handed that vision by the free world. I have no doubt that she will use this opportunity with skill and vision without actually saying "China First".

      The Intelligence of Backtracking
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        Sigh.... I feel like I will soon be wearing a log of leather, driving around a heavily armed truck across a vast wasteland, and fending off biker gangs in search of food, water and fuel.

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