"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. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best 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 will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system 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. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

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. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Gender equality

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  • Gender equality

    Besides Emma, are there any XX-chromosomed members of the species out there? I doubt it. If so, stop reading now.

    Anyway, a remarkable thing happened today. My wife turned on the stereo (a French metal slab and SHL5+) and played music all on her own whilst I was out at work. I thought there was less chance of that happening than getting a hippopotamus to dance the Rose Adagio.

    This has never happened before. One month ago this required a complex process akin to a moon landing, now reduced to pressing one button and opening a music app. Touching or even looking at the actual audio system is not required.

    She put the system to good use, selecting some Yoga music and doing her thing on the floor for an hour or two. Probably the first time SHL5+ have been used for Yoga. She then told me she played the music really loud and had such fun, from a woman who complains when I go over 75dB. She now wants her own system in her therapy studio.

    Is domestic audio made complicated primarily to repel our womenfolk? Is this the fatal flaw in the Devialet system?

  • #2
    The boys must suffer with their toys

    Well, even though my wife does not suffer gear anxiety, I do indeed think there is an unfortunate and in my view unnecessary disconnect between the world of high quality audio and the world of convenient audio.

    The message seems to be that you have to suffer to have good sound. In practice, that often excludes women from the joys of good audio, turning it into a world of toys for the boys. What is behind this is in part, I think, that much of these conveniences depend on integrated circuit designs that are only available to mass market producers, and not to the craft industry. As I have argued before, the Sonos model merits more respect.


    • #3
      My wife will play music on the system on occasion but if it is not turned on she is more likely to play it through the iphone, she is disinterested in how well the music is replayed as long as it is there.

      I think it this a big question and has less to do with audio and more to do with how the genders behave around their pastimes, anecdotally I can say that several men in my neighbourhood have an obsessive tinkering hobby of sorts (the ones I know of (im sure there are others), one has a boat and fishes, one likes to fiddle with and repair small machines, several follow sports teams, each one has a plethora of coveted equipment that goes along with the hobby, including collections related to the hobby. The fisherman like the audiophile ends up with something (music, fish) but we all know that the boat/equipment/organizing are part of the fun. The obsessive passion of each hobbyist probably triggers the same reward centers in the brain, I'd be surprised if there wasn't a difference between the genders in this regard, how many women do you see at an audio show slapped between the loudspeakers stroking her chin and taking notes??

      Getting to know my C7ES3


      • #4
        I think acroyear has a point, the Y chromosome must have a "process" gene, X genes only being interested in "outcome".

        I agree with Willem about Sonos, way ahead of the field, reflected in annual sales of about $1billion for a company 10 years old. However, even the Sonos app defeated my wife. We have a Sonos soundbar under the TV. Rather than mastering the Sonos app with Qobuz embedded providing her with an infinite choice of music, she simply switches on the TV and selects the relevant satellite channel for BBC R3, R4 or Classic FM.

        I suspect the XX ability to multi-task is defined by their ability to reduce every task to its fundamentals, rather than the the XY approach of the objective almost being a by-product of the process.

        All we need to establish is whether it is a matter of social conditioning or is indeed a genetic trait.


        • #5
          Originally posted by ssfas View Post

          I suspect the XX ability to multi-task is defined by their ability to reduce every task to its fundamentals, rather than the the XY approach of the objective almost being a by-product of the process.

          All we need to establish is whether it is a matter of social conditioning or is indeed a genetic trait.
          Or, as seems likely, both?