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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. 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 http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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First, hello from Vancouver and thanks for being here...

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  • First, hello from Vancouver and thanks for being here...

    Second, I am another newish owner of compact 7-es3 speakers, and I am learning to enjoy them very much indeed. Third, I have had the plastic name plate on the right-hand grille fall off. This isn't precisely a disaster (another first world problem!), but I would like to glue it back on. Not knowing what material the grille is made from, I would not want to use an adhesive that will melt synthetics or one that will not stick to them.

    Would someone be kind enough to tell me what type of adhesive I can (or should) use?

    Thanks very much for the help. I'll do my best not to stick the grille to the driver cone.

    As a by-product of this, I was motivated to remove the grilles for the first time, and now I have to convince myself the speakers don't sound better in my room with the grilles off. They certainly *seem* to!

    Thanks and regards,
    Curtis

  • #2
    Hi Curtis,

    I was a Harbeth dealer in the Vancouver area for 15 years and over that time did have the odd name plate fall off. Initially I tried using double sided carpet tape to stick them back on, but eventually they fell off again. The Canadian distributor suggested using Gorilla glue (very sparingly) and this seemed to solve the problem. Do be careful though as you only need a bit and the glue does spread once activated by water. This procedure should be done with the grille removed.

    While you will hear a slight difference with the grilles removed, the proper balance is achieved with the grilles in place. This also protects the drivers from exploring fingers.

    Enjoy you Compact 7's.

    Don

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cthroberts View Post
      As a by-product of this, I was motivated to remove the grilles for the first time, and now I have to convince myself the speakers don't sound better in my room with the grilles off. They certainly *seem* to!
      Welcome to the interesting world of subtle changes in frequency response. Removing the grilles will increase the output as a result of there being no attenuation of sound by the grille material. There may also be some subtle changes due to a variation in the sound diffraction field. Of course, you may have simply played the speakers a little bit louder, so they sound “better”. The psychoacoustics of hearing definitely play their part in your sound quality assessment. In any case, grilles on or off, you are getting high fidelity sound.

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      • #4
        I'm struggling to find a photo of any Harbeth speaker on the website with grills on. Is the Harbeth Insignia badge perhaps the only way to get fingertip purchase for removing the grills? I had a very old pair of Sansui speakers and their insignia badge was the only way to get a hold of the grill frame to pull it from the baffle front of the speaker box. Just a thought.

        {Moderator's comment: We assume that you are not asking for pictures of our speakers in flames?}

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        • #5
          "{Moderator's comment: We assume that you are not asking for pictures of our speakers in flames?}"

          In particular I was referencing the BBQ 30.2 Monitor Series. :-)

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replies and the information. I'll try the Gorilla Glue, thanks for the suggestion. I'm fortunate in that the only exploring fingers belong to me and my wife, and we both know to leave the *&^&9^% cones alone! When grandchildren's exploring fingers show up, the speakers are behind a protective fence.

            As for the perceived difference in sound, my previously mentioned wife mocks me severely when I suggest I hear something different. I'll keep the results of experimentation to myself from here on. It could be the psychoacoustics of hearing, or just the psycho listening (oh - same thing!). But it is fun to play with.

            I'll report back with the Gorilla Glue results, so I can feel I've contributed to the Harbeth body of knowledge.

            Thanks again for the help.

            Curtis

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            • #7
              I am open to being corrected in my understanding, but it is my belief that the grille primarily affects the lower bass frequencies. The fabric offers some physical resistance to the air flowing out of the bass port. Removing the grille will slightly increase the loudness of these frequencies however those frequencies will also be less damped because of the loss in internal air pressure the grille offered. The bass notes will not be as well defined and tuneful.

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              • #8
                Laser alignment precision

                Originally posted by Don Leman View Post
                I am open to being corrected in my understanding, but it is my belief that the grille primarily affects the lower bass frequencies. The fabric offers some physical resistance to the air flowing out of the bass port. Removing the grille will slightly increase the loudness of these frequencies however those frequencies will also be less damped because of the loss in internal air pressure the grille offered. The bass notes will not be as well defined and tuneful.
                Hello Don.

                Yes, that is certainly true in that the grille cloth adds quite a bit of physical resistance to air flow at low frequencies. But that's not the whole story by any means. It has quite a measurable effect at high frequencies too (in the tweeter region) and not much or any effect at frequencies in the middle range. Of course, I've taken all of that into account bin balancing the speaker energy output across the entire bass/mid/ top audio band, because I design and listen with the grilles on throughout.

                If you had a piece of grille cloth, or as an alternative a thin fabric sich as a silk handkerchief (never leave home without one)
                and you talk normally whilst moving in in front of your mouth and then cloear of it, your partener will definitely detect a difference at HF.

                For example, I've recently been working on the P3ESR Anniversary edition, and making 4k videos of some steps in the design path for posterity. Here you see the master reference speaker on my test pedestal, well clear of reflective surfaces. As we have commented before, the speaker designer has to make an early decision where to point his reference measuring microphone relative to the drive units on the speaker baffle.

                I've taken a still from the video to illustrate this point. I'd marked the centre of the tweeter with chalk onto the in-place grille cloth, and then pointed the microphone exactly at that place (give or take a few mm). To be sure that I am repeatedly on-axis, bearing in mind that one day I could be measuring the shoebox size P3ESR and another day a Monitor 40 (requiring repositioning the microphone and/or hoist), I have fitted a laser beam to the microphone which aids precise positioning of mic relative to the tweeter.

                I'm not saying that listeners need to wear a special hat with laser aligner inbuilt (although, that's quite a tempting product idea!) but that if absolute precision and ultimate performance is desired, vertical alignment between ear and drive units is very important. That goes for any and every speaker system.

                It does not mean that the optimum poistion set by every speaker designer is on-axis with the tweeter*. They could have a good reason to place the 'reference axis' somewhere else, such as half way between woofer and tweeter vertically. That would certainly make the crossover design easier, but it would be even less representative of the speaker in real-world domestic use, where stands are typically already rather low. By setting the Harbeth reference axis higher, that is, further away from the woofer, it's slightly more representitive of how the speaker will be used at home, at a cost of greater crossover complexity and design efort and ingenuity.


                .Click image for larger version  Name:	laser dot-sc.jpg Views:	1 Size:	113.5 KB ID:	75325

                *Fun exercise. Phone half a dozen speaker companies. Tell them you'd like to set-up your system for the ultimate sound. Ask them to tell you where to place your ears relative to the speaker. If they seem technical, drop in the phrase 'designer's reference axis'. Report results here.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

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                • #9
                  Hi all,

                  Thanks for the interesting discussion (especially information relating to the measurable effect of grille vs. no grille - it gives me an excuse to accept aural hallucination as reality!), and information relating to Gorilla Glue, the use of. It turns out to work very well, at least for re-attaching name plates to grilles. I recommend the solution to anyone who suffers from nameplate detachment syndrome.

                  Thanks again,
                  Curtis



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