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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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The Harbeth integrated amplifier

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  • Dave, Alan has said on this list that he believes the removal of tone controls to have been a mistake. I am guessing the Harbeth amp will have a Quad type tilt control.

    Comment


    • If that is the only 'extra' and it has a definite off position or can be switched out of circuit, that should be fine.

      IMO, what enthusiasts don't want or need is a whole array of controls they never use which cost money to include and which interfere with the sound.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
        If that is the only 'extra' and it has a definite off position or can be switched out of circuit, that should be fine.
        I'm struggling a little to persuade the designers to see the world through my eyes, where room interactions with (any) loudspeakers at low frequencies is a real-world issue. Comments thus far "we don't think the amplifier is the right place for tone controls".

        I couldn't agree less. It is the perfect place for them. And it would be a personal pleasure to give the bright spark who brainwashed the audio community (in the 80s?) into removing tone controls a damn good flogging. It inhibited the serious music listener from doing anything (inexpensively) to mitigate the inevitable room-gain at low frequencies which bedevils all real world listening rooms.

        Tale a look at the boost that occurs in a typical room below about 100Hz in graphs here (green line is typical of room boost at low frequencies). A big boost in output at the very lowest frequencies. And guess what - that can be significantly ameliorated by using a shelf-filter aka the QUAD shelf and/or tilt control. Look how the QUAD shelf-down at LF closely matches the room boost. That means one thing: Peter Walker knew all about how real speakers behaved in real rooms and all later amplifier designers live in a fantasy world of perfect speakers and domestic listening in an anechoic chamber. (IMHO)
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          Comments thus far "we don't think the amplifier is the right place for tone controls".
          If not, then where?

          An "Integrated Amp" by definition has a "Pre" or "Control" section - that means at least source switching and volume control - tone controls naturally sit on the same panel.

          However, for those using digital sources and maybe even computers the EQ could easily be acomplished in software.

          For digital sources, Alan, what are the advantages of EQ in the digital domain? If they are great that would be a reason to leave the tone controls out of the amplifier, but I guess those to whom you are talking did not have that in mind.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by A.S. View Post
            I'm struggling a little to persuade the designers to see the world through my eyes, where room interactions with (any) loudspeakers at low frequencies is a real-world issue. Comments thus far "we don't think the amplifier is the right place for tone controls".

            I couldn't agree less. It is the perfect place for them. And it would be a personal pleasure to give the bright spark who brainwashed the audio community (in the 80s?) into removing tone controls a damn good flogging. It inhibited the serious music listener from doing anything (inexpensively) to mitigate the inevitable room-gain at low frequencies which bedevils all real world listening rooms.

            Tale a look at the boost that occurs in a typical room below about 100Hz in graphs here (green line is typical of room boost at low frequencies). A big boost in output at the very lowest frequencies. And guess what - that can be significantly ameliorated by using a shelf-filter aka the QUAD shelf and/or tilt control. Look how the QUAD shelf-down at LF closely matches the room boost. That means one thing: Peter Walker knew all about how real speakers behaved in real rooms and all later amplifier designers live in a fantasy world of perfect speakers and domestic listening in an anechoic chamber. (IMHO)
            Amen to that! I agree completely.

            Comment


            • As I learned more about sound reproduction, I find it really amazing that the audiophile enthusiasts would pay inordinate amount of concern about the tiniest bit of distortions caused by tone control, wires etc and ignore the mammoth amount of distortions caused by the speakers itself and the room.

              Comment


              • I once wound up some folk on another forum saying we used to have decent tone controls but now we just faff about changing cables as we try to get things right. The capacitance and inductance of the cables are rather crude tone controls!

                Comment


                • Although just a power amp this box from the Pro market makes "HiFi" amp pricing look a bit silly

                  http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/A500.aspx

                  £150

                  And I don't know what could make an amp cost more!

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Labarum View Post
                    Although just a power amp this box from the Pro market makes "HiFi" amp pricing look a bit silly

                    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/A500.aspx

                    £150

                    And I don't know what could make an amp cost more!
                    The sound is too analytical, not musical enough. No it is too slow, not enough PRaT. I know - the price is too cheap, it is not audiophile by definition.

                    But seriously, it looks seriously honest, and seriously good. It looks serviceable as well. I have been rethinking purchase choices lately, and placed environmental cost and long term serviceability high in the list. Many dirt cheap throw away items around me are not environmental friendly. The price does not reflect the true cost of the item. It is false economy, irresponsible marketing that pass the cleanup cost to the future.

                    Comment


                    • Hi Labarum

                      Behringer is an old German company but their products are made in China afaik,

                      there is a review of it here...

                      http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index...Id=22&blogId=1

                      The shortcoming imho is lack of flexibility eg. limited inputs

                      Behringer makes some really good gear, their D/A being the swiss army knife of converters and it is probably the most hot rodded one i know of...

                      http://www.lampizator.eu/lampizator/...Behringer.html

                      Most pro shops carry their gear.

                      Comment


                      • Tone control...

                        Even its name conjures up
                        pictures of ancient radiograms, reducing many to sniggers
                        and derogatory comments. It’s a word not to be uttered
                        in hi-fi circles. It is, in fact, the humble tone control.
                        The reasons why it is so mocked and out of fashion is
                        explained by history.

                        ...

                        Although tone controls did not solve all problems with
                        room acoustics or the equipment, they did much reduce
                        the effects and allow the listener to enjoy the music much
                        more – which after all must be the goal of any home
                        system. Perhaps it’s time to bring tone controls back,
                        although I daresay they might need rebranding with a less
                        archaic and emotionally loaded name.
                        From: HiFi Myths: Tone Control by Peter Thomas, HiFi Critic Magazine, 2008

                        [Peter Thomas being ex BBC and co-founder of PMC]

                        Well worth reading the full article - pdf here

                        Alan is not alone!

                        Comment


                        • I was wondering if the issue of aesthetics and design of the proposed Harbeth amplifier ever been raised? Now that we have established that most good amplifiers sound similar, can we get on to the shallow but most important aspect of human decision making, how sexy it looks…

                          one gorgeous one...(based on the Quad 303?)
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by kittykat View Post
                            I was wondering if the issue of aesthetics and design of the proposed Harbeth amplifier . . . based on the Quad 303?)
                            But that is a power amp, and the proposed amp is integrated - with tone controls.

                            The 34 would be the model - with a larger case to house the power section.

                            http://picnica.ciao.com/uk/52608392.jpg

                            Though I would prefer the push buttons in a single line, and since the unit would have to be standard rather than Quad midi width, I guess that would work.

                            On the other hand, if all the controls were available on the remote why go to the expense of duplicating them on a front panel?

                            Then again, the tone controls would need some visual feedback so you could see how they were currently set, and a custom remote with display screen is fraught with problems and expense.

                            Comment


                            • Amplifier status update

                              Alan, I'm curious if there is any new information available to report on the development of this product?

                              {Moderator's comment: No, sorry, no more information. The unexpected cold v. hot comments have confused us and as an open door marketing strategy failed to guide us. In future we should not disclose our thinking before any product launch.}

                              Comment


                              • Harbeth amplifier ....

                                {Moderator's comment: No, sorry, no more information. The unexpected cold v. hot comments have confused us and as an open door marketing strategy failed to guide us. In future we should not disclose our thinking before any product launch.}
                                I being the first one to show slight apprehension with Harbeth Amp apologize once again and have learn to keep my thoughts to myself. If only Harbeth had said they are going to reveal the Amp used or going to be used at Harbeth loudspeaker design stage and now available for sale to the public I would probably reacted differently. It was a genuine reaction of a consumer or potential consumer. 99% may think otherwise.

                                Lastly, many happy returns of the day to Alan on his birthday.

                                ST

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