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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

INTRODUCTION- PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

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. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

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, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. 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 electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon 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, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"


Jan. 2018
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Amplifier selection for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

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  • #46
    was Pass X250 and now MBL 8011S, MBL is the better match to compliment Harbeth sound.

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    • #47
      Super HL5
      Benchmark DAC1
      Modwright SWL9.0 pre amp
      Odyssey MONO extreme amp

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Don Leman
        Just a quick question... Out of interest how do you say SEAS is it like sneeze without the "n" or S E A S with each letter?
        Sea-a-s, S-E-A-S, is how we pronounce it in the UK. Definitely not like 'sneeze without the n'.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

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        • #49
          Clipping

          Thinking about this, you did say that you had a degredation of sound at a high replay level.

          I recall a similar situation when driving a CD player into a preamp that really couldn't accept the high voltage output from the CD player, hence the amp's input and/or output clipped. (The Quad 34 suffers from this). CD players output (typically) 2.0Vrms for a fully modulated CD, which may or not be obvious from the music.

          2.0Vrms is a peak-to-peak voltage swing of 5.2V, equivalent to more than 3 x 1.5V batteries in series - enough to light a bulb! That's a very high voltage and whether or not the preamp has a dedicated CD input, can the preamp actually cope with this signal?

          The sonic effect of this persistent clipping is quite subtle until you latch on to it. It's a gritty edge which is really very iritating, manifest in the higher frequencies. My guess is that many amplifiers are actually clipping some or all of the time when driven by CD players.

          The BBC's design of the LS5/8 involved investigation of the effects of driving the active amplifiers into clipping, and to everyone's surprise, proved that the ear was very tolerant of clipping on speech and music providing that it is relatively infrequent.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

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          • #50
            TG Audio SLVR cable is not silver, although silver is used in plating of their power cords and terminations.

            Jay

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            • #51
              Originally posted by jaybar
              T....cable is not silver, although silver is used in plating of their power cords and terminations.Jay
              The concept of cables and their claimed sonic differences worries me. Speaking entirely from an amateur theoretical standpoint having never experimented with cables, I find it most difficult to understand how the cable can add anything to the sound, such as 'brightness' or indeed anything else.

              If some sonic character can be attributed to the cable, then either the cable has gain - in which case the perpetual motion generator has finally been discovered - or the gain at one/some frequencies is offset by the loss at others resulting in an overall zero gain.

              Look at the way the signal (the current) moves along the cable. As far as I understand it, there are (almost) countless billions of electrons whizzing around atoms in the cable, and with a gentle nudge (called a potential difference or voltage) the signal will flow from one end of the cable to the other as the electrons hop from the orbit of one atom to an adjacent one all the way down the cable at the speed of light.

              How the 'sonic behavior' of the cable can be influenced by the base metal of the cable seems inexplicable and counter intuitive - unless it is constructed in a weird way in which case it fall into the category of gain at some frequencies, loss at others?
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

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              • #52
                Hello John,
                I drive with a McIntosh Ma 6500 SS integrated (120/8ohms-200/4ohms), player is Meridian 507, turntable (as a collector's choice) Technics 1200 Gold/Shure V15, deck Nakamichi DR 10, speaker cable (biwire) Kimbers 8TC, all interconnects Kimber KCAG and Heroes, speaker stands custom built.
                I dare say, after 25 years of experience and changes of equipment, I' ll end my life with these!
                Regards,
                Thanos.

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                • #53
                  Not necessary gain, it could be the difference in magnitude of subtraction across the frequency spectrum colors the sound somewhat.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by kevint
                    Not necessary gain, it could be the difference in magnitude of subtraction across the frequency spectrum colors the sound somewhat.
                    Are you saying that there could be a series of boosts and cuts across the audio band?

                    OK, I think I understand but please advise by what *physical* mechanism that could occur. Those electrons in the cable have no brain. They skip to the next atom or they don't depending on the voltage 'suck'. They have no known frequency selectivity at audio frequencies, which compared to the speed of light is so slow as to be almost completely irrelevant.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      The concept of cables and their claimed sonic differences worries me. Speaking entirely from an amateur theoretical standpoint having never experimented with cables, I find it most difficult to understand how the cable can add anything to the sound, such as 'brightness' or indeed anything else.
                      I think it is time for you to play with some cables! I would be very interested to hear someone with a good scientific knowledge explain why there are differences, and what is wrong with the cables that sound the most different. A good starting point would be say Naim NAC A5 and Kimber 8TC speaker cable; these really are chalk and cheese (selected as I have in the past personally blind tested these with 100% accuracy, so the difference between them is certainly not imagined!).

                      My guess is that there is a measurable difference between cables, i.e. subtle changes in capacitance / resistance or whatever all have clear sonic traits. I’m not convinced people are measuring the right thing yet, but there is something there to measure for sure.

                      Tony.

                      PS I recently replaced the Naim A5 in my own system with Mogami 2972 and again the difference was anything but subtle, you could easily spot that change in the hallway outside the room!

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by alanshaw
                        Are you saying that there could be a series of boosts and cuts across the audio band?

                        OK, I think I understand but please advise by what *physical* mechanism that could occur. Those electrons in the cable have no brain. They skip to the next atom or they don't depending on the voltage 'suck'. They have no known frequency selectivity at audio frequencies, which compared to the speed of light is so slow as to be almost completely irrelevant.
                        Don't think drilling down into atomic level can help drawing any conclusion. Just as a plain layman, we all agree ears are our most sensitive apparatus for sound measurement, so why not relying on them when searching for the best connection way to our trusty Harbeth?

                        BTW, I remember Spendor use OFC for internal cable, curious to know Derek Hughes' view on the subject.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by kevint
                          Don't think drilling down into atomic level can help drawing any conclusion. Just as a plain layman, we all agree ears are our most sensitive apparatus for sound measurement, so why not relying on them when searching for the best connection way to our trusty Harbeth?
                          Um. I find it a wee bit hard to believe that after all the semiconductor junctions in the microphone's electronics, the mic cables, the mixing desk, the recorder, the editing machine, the CD laser, the CD internal electonics, the analogue output, the hi-fi amp that a few more in the cables of the listening system can somehow swamp all of the aforementioned.

                          As for ears, 'sensitive' perhaps, or perhaps not: but unreliable, prone to emotional influence, susceptible to temperature, mood, atmospheric pressure, humidity, tiredness, general health and of course, ageing. In short, just about the least scientific instrument you could possibly imagine. Never trust your ears alone: you *have* to counterbalance your ears with some technical equipment.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

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                          • #58
                            Hi Alan,
                            Friends,

                            I'm very much afraid that the myth of "big watts and super cables" comes to its end, every day passing. We made a blind test in Athens with 7 audiophiles, possessing expensive equipment. We played the same thing (opera & solo voice) several times, changing same length cables of different types/values very very fast. The audience couldn't see, and by 80% they finally voted for the cheapest of all. A thick inexpensive copper cable...
                            Then, we drove the speakers with pre-power combo of 2 X 400wrms, and immediately switched to a 2 X100 integrated, of the same brand and topology, for several times. We had pre-fixed volumes to be equal (integrated at 12.00 o'clock, pre-power at about 09.00 o'clock), by measuring with db meters at 4 positions where panel sat.
                            The panel was totally confused, they did not decide what is what and what's better...
                            I leave to you the comments, the thoughts and spices...
                            But, one humble point:
                            Marketing can sell fridges to Eskimoes... Knowledge can prevent spending our (sweat and hard times) earned income to things that marketing puts in front of eyes, like a Holy Grail.
                            So, to cry for help? No.
                            Measure, Gentlemen, Measure!
                            I totally agree with Alan Shaw's positions and way of dedicating to music itself. Let's read and interprete the man more carefully...
                            Warm Regards,
                            Thanos.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Quad 99CDP directly into Quad 909 into Compact 7 ES-2.
                              Sounds balanced and natural to me.

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                              • #60
                                Currently running on:
                                • Compact 7ES2
                                • Roksan Kandy MKIII - Still looking for a better amp....
                                • Musical Fidelity A3.2 CD player
                                • Audience AU24 Interconnects
                                • Hisago 7N pure copper Speaker Cable
                                • Atacama SL500 Speaker Stand
                                • Atacama Equinox Hifi rack
                                Last edited by Soundbyte; 06-02-2006, 04:39 PM.

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