"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 may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

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  • #76
    Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

    Just got myself some QED 79 terminated with QED Airloc and I love how they sound.

    Nothing is boosted and sounds just natural.

    Much better than my S$90/m 10 guage copper with pure silver core super duped cables.


    • #77
      Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

      Originally posted by Naimeo View Post
      Agree. I have no doubt the C7ES3 worked really well with humble cables. Even with Rega Quattro, it stunned me enough to buy it and put everything else I've auditioned that's remotely near it's price and sometimes way beyond to shame.

      NACA5 served me for over a decade in my last system and changing cables never crossed my mind;until someone inserted a better cable to reveal that the C7ES3 is capable of much more.

      BTW, how would you compare the AU24 to Anti-cables?

      The Anti-IC worked surprisingly well in my system and I'm quite keen to try their speaker cables. Do you used them with spades or raw and tinned?

      Audience 24 is still better than Anti-cables in my system. It more refine, sweeter and more define. But anti cables is bang for buck.


      • #78
        Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

        Just got some Qed 79 cables today, will try them out soon.


        • #79
          Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

          Hey s.a.b,
          I've recently burned in a pair of Clear Day Shotgun speaker cables. These are made up of 4 strands of 24 gauge per side of pure solid core silver (they look more like boot laces than speaker hose!)
          They actually sound quite remarkable in that they don't editorialize the sound and yet are full bandwidth, and they're also fairly inexpensive: 205 US$ shipped to Canada
          As advertized in .......................................Recomended.


          • #80
            Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

            IDoes Compact 7 sound good with Anti-Cable i/c and speaker cable or only the speaker cable...anyone here using these combinations....


            • #81
              Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              This thread concerns finding cable solutions.
              Hello All,
              I would like to make a recommendation concerning cables, but not in the usual matter of cable hype, the recommendation is strictly technical. Of course you can find also other brands which make high quality cables and don?t make the usual hype.

              The brand name is Oyaide. All cables are manufactured by Furukawa Electric upon Oyaide design, using very high quality cooper and the manufacturing technology is top.

              The speaker cable ACROSS 2000 looks quite similar to the 79 strand design and the ACROSS 750 interconnects have a very clever construction. The alternative for balanced connection is ACROSS 900. The prices are not bargain because the import fees and transport cost from Japan, but from the point of view of long term investment, I think the prices are acceptable and there is a second benefit, you can buy these cables by footage. The ACROSS 2000 is at app. 30? / meter.

              Attached Files
              Last edited by Vlado; 30-11-2008, 01:49 PM. Reason: adding attachements


              • #82
                The never ending story ...

                This may help to decide how much money to spend for cables ...



                • #83
                  Re: The never ending story ...

                  Hi Thomas,
                  I had the possibility to listen a large sample of interconnect / speaker wires and I can confirm that there is a difference between brands and types. It is up to you (the customer) if the difference is worth of the amount requested by the manufacturer. Personaly I think it is not worth. If you buy OFC speaker cable, you have to know thar ALL cooper cables are OFC. Becouse of the manufacturing process. Something else is monocrystal cable ( Furukawa is one of from multiple manufacturers who produce MONO C cables) there you have indeed higher conductivuty. Everythig depend on the requested price. And forger cryo threatment. It's BULSHIT !

                  Originally posted by T.W. View Post
                  This may help to decide how much money to spend for cables ...



                  • #84
                    Does the length of speaker cables really matter?

                    I want to move my equiment from the middle between the speakers to the side wall.
                    I have to get new speaker cables that have to be about 7m long.

                    I lived with my current cables for about 10 years now since I got my first HL5s.
                    These are MIT Terminator 2.

                    I borrowed some others to decide what to buy next. The interesting point is that all
                    of them sound noticable different. All of them seem to have an influence at least to the bass.
                    That really impressed me!

                    MIT Termintor 2 (3m)
                    Heavy bass. Stage is near. Sometimes magic. The music seems to play in your head.
                    Seams to have some coloration in the mid / voices - not sure.

                    QED Original (7.5m)
                    Neutral. Fewer bass and probably a bit muddy. Stage is further afar.

                    Kimber 8TC Jubilee
                    Neutral, excellent bass clear and precise. Less bass than the two others.
                    Stage is the same as QED.

                    Ok, it always takes some time to change cables and that the brain sometimes lets
                    you hear what you want to hear. I like the Kimber because it looks nice :-)
                    I'm quite sure that there is a noticable difference between the MIT and the others.
                    But it's very hard to decide whether the other two are really different.
                    The MITs have some magic boxes that probably contain some passive elements to
                    control / manipulate the electric properties of the cables. The first thing you really
                    notice compared to a standard low-cost cable is the much heavier bass (Whether
                    this is good or not is another question).

                    My question is. Do you think that it really matters how long the cables are. Is about 7m too long?
                    What is your experience? What electric properties do I have to look for with longer cables?

                    Kimber 8TC for 2.5m at 20kHz
                    Cp (Parallel capacitance): 821pF
                    Cs (Series capacitance): 820 pF
                    Lp (Parallel inductance): 0.4 ?H
                    Ls (Series inductance): 0.3 ?H
                    Rdc (ds resistance). 0.018 Ohm
                    XT (Total reactance): 0.044 Ohm
                    Frequency response +/+ 0.5 db - 300kHz

                    (For 7m it would be almost three times the above values.)


                    • #85
                      Proportionality and weakest links in the chain

                      Assuming that the technical measurements of the cable are as you say, then I'd say the cable - or indeed any cable of similar specification - was technically perfect. If that is so, it beggars belief how one type of technically perfect cable can sound different to another technically perfect cable doesn't it.

                      Let's put this all into sharp perspective. You say that 2.5m of this cable has a DC resistance of 0.018 ohms. So that's 0.0072 ohms per metre (which strikes me as almost unbelievably low unless the conductor is really fat). However, let's take your figure as correct. You are planning to run 7m so that's 0.0072 ohms x 7 = 0.0504 ohms per cable run from the amp to each speaker. Does that sound a little or a lot?

                      Ok, let's have a look at this then. Let's use round numbers for convenience. Let's say that the speaker is specified as 5 ohms impedance. Let's divide the 5 ohms by the cable resistance of 0.050 .... that means that the cable resistance is only 1% of the speaker's specified impedance. Can we ignore the cable's resistance as it's such a tiny percentage of the speaker's impedance? I agree - yes we can. It's probably many percent lower than would make any measurable or audible difference. What other resistances are there inside the speaker? Don't forget the crossover coils. They typically have a resistance of about 0.5 ohms (ten times greater than your 7m of speaker cable to the amp!).

                      My point is that there is a lot of resistance inside the speaker box and none of it is 'good' as it all wastes power; consequently there is absolutely no need to select speaker cables for super-low resistance because the dominant resistance will be in the speaker box not the cable to the speaker by typically a factor of 95:1 (or in your case, 99:1). The extra resistance from the cable will add an utterly undetectable 1% to the speaker's impedance (resistance) so can be completely ignored. No human ear can detect 1% change in level. 10% - maybe.

                      I always feel that what we forget is that the performance of a reproduction chain such as that from the microphone to your ears is always governed (or limited) by the weakest link in that chain and that the weakest link(s) may not be under your control no matter how much money and effort you invest in improving all the other links. The weakest parts of the chain are those involving any, all and every electro-mechanical components that is, the microphone (and the user has no influence over that) the pick-up/turntable and the LP cutting mechanism (the user has no influence over that either) and of course the loudspeaker. Money spent on the turntable/pick-up and loudspeaker will definitely reward you. Money spent on all the other parts of the chain will offer a much, much lower bang for your buck if any at all.

                      I see that this is my 999th posting here; I do hope that some of it has been of interest in guiding you to achieving the very best possible sound without wasting a cent. For about thirty years I've been cautioning hi-fi listeners about counterbalancing what they truly, honestly, passionately think that their senses are telling them with a more cautious, disciplined approach. Perhaps now the economic situation will force many to re-evaluate frittering money on gadgets and gismos that they admit to themselves, months later, actually didn't increase the fidelity of their system one jot. Such as - and I pick this from a long, long list of abandoned crackpot ideas - colouring the edge of your CD with a felt tipped pen - once an absolute 'must have' craze. Remember it?

                      I hope that you've seen some of the videos (in Designer's Notebook) we've started to roll-out about how the design process actually works at Harbeth. You'll see that there is constant attention to the delicate balance between what my ears tells me sounds right and what the test equipment says measures well. It's critically important not to allow your ears to seduce you; something they are very, very capable of doing!
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK


                      • #86
                        Re: Proportionality and weakest links in the chain


                        Thanks for your detailed answer. I know that this discussion drives you crazy...

                        I'm an engineer. I did the same calculations as you did. I also posted some
                        of my findings about this discussion in this forum. From a technical standpoint I totally
                        agree with what you say! 100%

                        But :-) ...

                        I'm quite sure that I can trust my ears. Lets get back to my three cables.
                        - The QED is basically a 79 strand cable. I couldn't get the QED classic 79 strand, so I took
                        the QED original. This is because of your postings about cables. The cable is fine and
                        probably all I need. It also has some good connector that fit very tight.
                        - The Kimber looks nice!
                        - The MIT is what I had forever.

                        You're right. It's probably an academic discussion whether the QED or the Kimber have
                        better electric properties. These properties differ, but compared to the load of the crossover
                        and the speakers it's negligible. I just wanted to make sure that I make the right decission.

                        My old MIT definitely sounds different than the two others!

                        There seems to be something in the boxes that manipulates the sound.

                        And now I go to father's room to listen to my Harbeth ... :-)

                        Attached Files


                        • #87
                          Over-confidence in our hearing or not?

                          Originally posted by T.W.;4474...
                          I'm quite sure that I can trust my ears....
                          Well, here we are with my 1000th post and back around the familiar subject of trusting your ears or not.

                          You as a consumer (and I'm not picking on you - your opinions are widely held) truly, honestly and totally trust you ears and I accept this. But the odd thing is that I, as a loudspeaker designer, making a living, paying the bills, raising my family don't trust my ears. If I did, I'd potentially put my family at risk because if my ears fooled me (something they are more than capable of doing, and have frequently done so) I could be on the streets or stacking supermarket shelves.

                          So why is it that you (by which I mean, consumers generally) with nothing to lose have this unshakeable self-confidence in just one of your senses when I, with everything to lose, am much more cautious? The reason that it's madness to put too much faith in any of our senses is staggeringly obvious ....

                          1) Our senses are not calibrated. What you consider to be 'hot' another may say is just 'warm'.

                          2) All senses degrade with age: none of them improve. Average hearing acuity markedly degrades with age both for sensitivity and also frequency response. Your hearing today is better than it will be next week and much better than it will be in ten years. It can never improve. So you better do all your critical listening today .... or design a test process which allows you to draw the best possible conclusions well into your old age!

                          3) There is no commonality of descriptive language to describe sensory experience from person to person. Measuring instruments (e.g. thermometer, dB sound meter, ruler) were invented by man to provide an independence from age, infirmity and misunderstanding to be sure that everyone was referenced to the same scale.

                          4) If you are tired, stressed, have travelled far, are under the doctor or have a head cold or are generally sick your hearing will be compromised.

                          5) I doubt that 1% of so-called 'audiophiles' have ever had their hearing tested. So you really don't know how good or bad those ears are and whether you dare to trust them. I am aware of an industry figure who claims to have exceptional hearing who had his hearing tested recently. I'm told that he has lost 95% of his hearing in one ear at 1kHz, which makes him profoundly deaf at the most critical part of the audio spectrum. His claims of super-acuity are therefore self-deluded bunkum. Yet people believe him.

                          6) The hyper-critical audio memory is pitifully short. I'd say about 1 second at the maximum. So, if there is a break of more than about one second whilst you switch between item A and B whatever conclusion you draw is false because the memory of the previous condition has faded too far. Your conclusion wouldn't stand up in court and you'd be made a laughing-stock of by the defence lawyers.

                          7) Listening is intimately bound-up with emotions. As you say, one of the cables looks pretty. It's impossible to be objective if you can see the product, handle it and are aware if its reputation and cost.

                          So trusting in those ears without putting in place counterbalancing comparator or measurement techniques to guard against the limitations of your ears is folly. Unless you see 'audiophilia' as purely art, have money to burn, where absolutes really don't matter and where you have no shame in continuously reversing rock-solid conclusions that you have drawn. For about fifty dollars you can construct a relay-operated instantaneous change-over box that switches from item A to item B without a break. And what do you then discover when you sit and switch silently between A and B ...... P.S. The reason that the BBC's pioneering approach to loudspeaker design is so highly regarded is largely due to the fact that even in that one department they didn't totally trust their ears either.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK


                          • #88
                            Re: Over-confidence in our hearing or not?

                            Dear Alan,

                            First of all congratulation to your 1.000 post. I think it was a good subject for this jubilee.
                            It's all about the ears and the brain that all Harbeth users have and that's the reason why
                            all of us owe at least one pair.

                            Another point is that I really enjoy this forum. I have a shortcut on my desktop and click on it
                            probably 1000 times a day. My joy with the forum has also a lot to do with the fact that you are
                            always there. I don't know any other forum where users can get in touch with the designer
                            and owner of a company in that way. I'm looking forward to the next 1.000 posts ...

                            Now lets have a look at your ears and your brain. I'm sure that also you trust your ears a bit.
                            I'm not saying that you rely on what you hear without verifying the result ecpecially when it
                            comes to speaker design. But without a least a bit confidence you would not have this job
                            and would not design these beautiful speakers.

                            When I got my first HL5's I just trusted my ears. There have probably been some nicer looking
                            speakers in the shops, but I didn't care and took these black boxes home.

                            Measurements are needed for your design process and just trusting you ears would be crazy.
                            But I'm quite sure that you also don't solely rely on your messurements. The Harbeth sound
                            is a mix of what you measure and what you hear.

                            The problem with measurements is that each measurement includes some faults and that there
                            is always a model of the nature that somebody came up with and that is build into the
                            measurement equipement. Even if a speaker measures flat (if this is the target) then there
                            is still a small chance that the model that we have about tones, sinus, FFT and all that
                            stuff is just crap. So you probably finally trust your ears ...

                            Again, good to have you there.



                            • #89
                              Re: Cables for your Harbeths (general, not specific Harbeth models)

                              Originally posted by Vlado View Post

                              Well I answer to my own post.....

                              I have had the possility to compare the mentioned Oyaide Across speaker cable with Van Damme Blue Studio.
                              I can report that there is NO difference between the two cables.

                              But one difference is obvious, the Van Damme cable is ten times cheaper and looks good too..


                              • #90
                                Re: Over-confidence in our hearing or not?

                                Originally posted by T.W. View Post
                                I'm sure that also you trust your ears a bit...
                                A key question is "how large is that bit?"

                                A major point that has been made is the exceedingly short validity of our auditory memory. We are very good at recognising and remembering certain aspects about the quality of sound, especially the human voice. Young babies learn, at a remarkably early age, to react to mother's voice and distinguish it from others. The ability to recognise the sound of familiar companions is something we perfect quite early in our development and retain well past the point at which our hearing is significantly degraded. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that, at least in part, different mechanisms are at work when we have to recognise a familiar voice or remember the quality of one audio component compared with another. The former is an ability we retain for life, the latter - worse than the proverbial goldfish.

                                The ability to recognise other people's voices is one the main evolutionary drivers of our hearing system (is that my friend behind me, or someone who wants to steal my stash?) and throughout our lives we are far better at dealing with voices than any other sound source. Sometimes I wonder how much the people who design audio equipment realise this simple fact. Alan Shaw has explained at length how important the human voice is to his design process. Yet how many audio dealers do you know who encourage you to play recordings of simple speech when you are a prospective buyer? Many, I suspect, would laugh at you out of ignorance but there is a significant minority who will get exceedingly twitchy for a simple reason: most loudspeakers sound hopeless when asked to reproduce everyday speech and if you took a known half-decent, dry, speech recording to the shops when selecting your speakers it becomes all too easy to eliminate most of the standard items on show. Play the recording for a minute or two at a natural level then ask yourself whether or not this really could be someone in the room with you. Most of the time the answer is obvious - this is clearly not a real human voice. The harder part is working our why the voice is not right and there are a number of possible answers but provided that the listening room is not too lively and you are listening in the near field, the speakers themselves are the most likely culprit.

                                The dealer is probably still laughing (but more nervously by now) and trying to argue with you (while trying not to argue with a potential customer) of the irrelevance of your test. OK - for now, let's not include the significant few who listen mainly to speech radio. But the significance of the test is of devastating importance. If a speaker cannot reproduce the subtleties of human speech sufficiently well, what chance has it with music? A speaker that does well in the speech test is not guaranteed to do well with music - there are a great many hurdles at which it could fall - but a speaker incapable of passing the voice test is unlikely to prove a good all rounder when playing music.