"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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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?