"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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Digital downloads and CD sales DOWN, vinyl UP

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  • Digital downloads and CD sales DOWN, vinyl UP

    Neilsen's mid year music industry report reveals some interesting stats:

    Digital album sales down 11.6%
    CD sales down 19.6%
    Streaming up 42%
    Vinyl LP sales up 40.4%

    They don't break down lossless digital downloads vs lossy (i.e, iTunes et al), but I hope that the seemingly dramatic popularity of streaming doesn't cause the industry to focus on it to the exclusion of lossless downloads. It can already be difficult to obtain lossless copies of music that you want. Often, the only choice is to purchase the CD online, rip it to some lossless format, then give it it away, sell it, or toss it into your digital rubbish pile. I fear that the easy availability and instant gratification of sound that is "good enough" in the form of lossy downloads and streaming, combined with the fact that few people today actually own high fidelity sound systems, will further drive the popularity of lossy, compressed audio.

    Vinyl sales are no surprise as they have been growing for years, but of course the actual numbers are extremely small.

  • #2
    Sales data

    For balance and to save people delving into the report, I think it beneficial to see a fuller picture, rather than 'selected' statistics - certainly for me anyway? These figures are for the US only.

    TOTAL ALBUM SALES (in Millions) 2014 Mid-Year in US

    CD Album Sales = 62.9
    Digital Album Sales = 53.8
    LP/Vinyl Album Sales = 4.0

    Overall music consumption (sales & streaming) down by 3.3% from 2013