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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Taking care of our ears

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  • #16
    Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    There is good reason to air this subject which is not given any attention amongst hi-fi enthusiasts. I truly believe that I have not only respected my ears, but as I do not listen to music daily, live in the countryside and enjoy silence, they have received an average exposure lower than most people today.

    That said, for reasons unknown, my right ear has a dip in its frequency response at about 8kHz, recovery to normal above this frequency which was not there a few years ago. How this came about I don't know: I wish I did and assuming it's exposure related, I'd avoid that exposure. It came to light about five years ago on a routine check. It's high enough up the scale and in one ear only (excepting this blip, they are both thankfully remarkably flat I'm told, even for my age) to make no difference to my work or enjoyment of sound. If I knew the reason for this I'd pass it on to you as a warning. Please do take care of your own ears: I value all our ears and design for a full, natural, warm sound listening at a moderate level - other don't.

    Audiologists can make two tests on hearing acuity: one using headphones where they are testing the conversion process through the drum, inner ear (tiny bones) and on to the nerve cells. The other, the bone conduction test, clamps a small speaker onto the skull behind the ear and this transmits sound through the skull to the nerve cells. If both tests show a similar result, then, sadly, the nerve cells have been damaged and cannot be repaired, restored or replaced. Once they're gone, they're gone.

    If we receive any more questions about playing speakers at extreme levels I'm really tempted to delete them. Harbeth users do not need to play loud to enjoy perfect quality of sound. I through our loudspeakers do not want to be party to damaging anyones hearing.
    A couple years ago, I was also diagnosed with a dip around 4KHz in my left ear - luckily the bone conduction test confirmed that my nerve was fine. So she concluded it was some kind of blockage or "growth"... went for an MRI and they found nothing wrong. So it was a relief health-wise, but you can imagine the distress this caused for an audiophile like myself... resigned myself to a life with mid-fi audio! ;-)

    Luckily, I went back for another test 1 year later and this time both ears tested fine. Strange. But I am very grateful that it reversed itself. Hopefully it's the same for you.

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    • #17
      Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

      Originally posted by Jon_R View Post

      I have to say that these days, I haven't experienced the ringing sound in my ear since that time, which makes me wonder whether what I heard was tinnitus-related at all or simply my brain working overtime one day. All I know is, I'm glad I found Harbeth, because what I need is a pair of speakers that will give me all of the music at low-to-moderate volume levels - it is good to know that Alan Shaw makes this requirement one of the key factors of his design brief.
      Hear, hear (literally). The posts in this thread have been very interesting. I remember one Jethro Tull concert in Montreal in about 1978 after which my ears were numb for about two days afterwards, then slowly returned to normal. This seems not to have been such an uncommon experience, then.

      It's really too bad, because when I think back there were a few concerts at which the volume level was more than loud enough to hear everything very clearly, even physically in the way you only can at a live concert (e.g. bass frequencies causing your pants legs to flap in the breeze), but which were nonetheless not amplified to the point of pain, and at which the sound was clear and clean and allowed you to go home afterwards not suffering from noise hangover. Unfortunately, this was the rare exception. In retrospect, I just have to shake my head at whoever it was (sound tech? musicians? management?) that thought that amplifying live music to and past the pain (and probably clipping) threshold was a good idea.

      There are many reasons I appreciate Harbeth both for its products and for its corporate philosophy, but one of them is certainly the design emphasis on making speakers that sound good at realistic, real-world, healthy volume levels. I like to turn it up just a little once in a while, but I can listen to my Harbeths at very reasonable levels and be fully satisfied with their sound. That's priceless.

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      • #18
        Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        Do you know what this procedure is called?
        No, but I'm seeing the consultant on the 8th, so will find out for you!

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        • #19
          "Please make me deaf"

          Born deaf, but thanks to unbelievable surgery, able to hear for the first time. Video here. What a joy.

          Conversely, born with perfectly good hearing, but hell bent on deafness. Video here. Also here. Enough power to flex sheet glass here.

          Low frequencies can have immense power. They can pass through every material even granite with impunity. Remember that when investing in pucks, felt or isolators between your speakers and their stands. A millimetre or two of "isolator" is going to have no effect whatsoever at low frequencies.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

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          • #20
            Hearing damae in ones youth

            On encountering this thread I have to relate my own experiences over my life.

            At the age of about 4 or 5, my Father took me from Herne Hill where we lived to Waterloo Station to see the rail turntable which fascinated me. When we arrived, there was a large Pacific (4-6-2) steam train on the roundabout which was being turned around for a return journey.

            Once it had been turned it started up, and, my Father, knowing it would be shocking to me, at a distance from the large wheels of about 3 to 4 feet, held me tightly so that I could not struggle into the wheels and hurt myself. I was terrified at the steam, sparks, and wheels spinning and skidding, and at the noise levels which must have been high.

            Later in life, in my teens and as an apprentice at "Aquila", Bromley, I was living at its associated hostel in Chislehurst. The caves were nearby and as teenagers we went often to the dances with live groups there. Though amplification was at that time limited, the sound was enclosed in caves - very dense tunnels of rock, and I remember distinctly my stomach being sucked in and out with the sound pressures. They must have been high.

            In the early 70s I used to listen to a 10 watt per channel home made amp with a pair of Tannoy Lancasters 15s for a great deal of the time; I calculate about 103dBs max.

            My last folly, other than going to clubs, was that after rebuilding my pair of 100l active speakers in '97, I measured 113dbA at 30 feet in my current lounge with them.

            Philosophically naive until that point, I then realised that the real issue was one of having a speaker which was purer, more revealing, less colored, and that louder was missing the point. I now listen typically at 60 to 75dBA, and occasionally a little higher.

            I am 64 and have had tinnitus since about '90 when I was 42. Do not abuse your bodies; the flurry of youth often lacks wisdom.

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            • #21
              Hendrix perhaps?

              Originally posted by Pharos View Post
              On encountering this thread I have to relate my own experiences over my life....Later in life, in my teens and as an apprentice at "Aquila", Bromley, I was living at its associated hostel in Chislehurst. The caves were nearby and as teenagers we went often to the dances with live groups there. Though amplification was at that time limited, the sound was enclosed in caves - very dense tunnels of rock, and I remember distinctly my stomach being sucked in and out with the sound pressures. They must have been high....
              Did you see Hendrix at the Caves?

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              • #22
                Today - International Ear Care Day

                Quite possibly, though I should of course remember, but it may well have been before his fame, and so he will have been another 'up an' coming', just prior to "Hey Joe"

                I remember Eddie Floyd and "Knock on Wood", but our preoccupation was with, struggling in the sound, trying to chat up girls.

                Today is International Ear Care Day.

                {Moderator's comment: IECD: are their any links? Welcome to post here}

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                • #23
                  My mild tinnitus

                  This is an interestsing "thread"----especially on a speaker company website! Good for all of you!

                  I have mild tennitis but I ignore it. However, I think everyone gets "wax" in their ears. This wax causes, for me, itching inside my ear canals and sometimes a type of "distortion" or "vibration" in one ear or the other when listening to music. I used to let the wax build up and then about once every two years I went to a doctor to have the wax "washed out" by the nurse with a plastic syringe made for that purpose and filled warm with water. WHAT I'VE DONE LATELY IS WHEN TAKING A SHOWER I PUT MY EAR NEAR THE SHOWER HEAD WATER OUTLET THUS PUSHING, BUT NOT FORCING, WARM, NOT HOT, WATER INTO THE EAR CANAL by pulling UP on the top of one ear at a time..... THUS RINSING IT OUT. I hold my ear near the water outlet and count from 1 to 60 to make sure most of the wax is washed out by the warm water. I DO THIS EVERY TIME I TAKE A SHOWER....ONCE A WEEK...(sorry, silly joke....I take a shower daily being a typical American who lives in a warm climate!) Maybe give it a try to see if this ear cleaning technique is any benefit to you? John Boland, USA

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                  • #24
                    I have the hearing of ....

                    For those of you with Devices with Android I recommend test your hearing app

                    I originaly got a result that I have hearing like a chicken (which is very poor) but made it up to Ox level (better) when I replaced my AT headphones with Super HL5 to do the tests.

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                    • #25
                      Bacterian in the ear?

                      John,

                      Not sure that is a great idea. Water in shower pipes can harbour bacteria which would not ordinarily affect us when showering, however introducing water into the ears under slight pressure may be forcing bacteria further into the ear than normally the case when swimming or washing.

                      A doctor I used to visit when younger told me that the only thing you should put in your ear to clean it is your elbow!

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                      • #26
                        Ear wax

                        Good quality olive oil is as good as anything to loosen ear wax my GP advised.

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