"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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New or secondhand

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  • New or secondhand

    Joeinid made a comment about supporting favoured manufacturers by buying their products new. What is the psychology behind this? Does it imply that if we are resentful of a manufacturer we would only buy their products on the used market?

    For reasons of economy it is possible to buy a perfectly good audio system on the second hand market.

    Do people waste dealer's time by getting a long demo and then buy on the used market?

    Personally, I went for a Harbeth demo and bought a new pair on the spot. I then ordered a second new pair without a demo.

    On the other hand, my amplifier maker is happy to modify or upgrade second hand amplifiers. He has upgraded one for me, largely rebuilt another and made me a phono amp from new and then modified it to add a pre-amp. As I have found out recently, Quad have superb service and will even provide a new box. I appreciate that speaker manufacturers will eventually run out of spare replacement drivers, whereas most electronic components can be replaced.

    There is also the issue of warranties. Audio seems to be so reliable these days, warranties seem to be a non-issue. The only item I had that failed in use was 8 years old and bought ex-demo in the first place. The manufacturer shipped it to Sweden and back and fixed it free of charge on the basis that it shouldn't have failed - ever.

    Another factor seems to be the unsurprising fact that current Harbeth models very rarely appear on the second hand market. This would suggest that most Harbeth owners bought new.

    Curious if anyone shares joeinid's moral obligation to buy new rather than used products, and why.

    What is the manufacturer's view of the resale market?