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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.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Source comparison - listening test: analogue outputs from different CD players

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  • #46
    No it would be ridiculous to say that all DACS, amps, cables or whatever was of identical performance. The point is how big are those performance differences if they do exist And are they repeatable?

    Would speakers that use the same drivers as Harbeths all sound the same, whatever the enclosure, wires, connectors, crossover? Surely not right? ...
    Can't answer that precisely because we make all our own bass/midrange drivers at Harbeth UK. So no other brand has our technology. But if they did, and copied all the parts you mentioned, why wouldn't the sound the same? There is no magic ingredient that we build-in, much though you may like to believe that! The designs all obeys the universal laws of physics

    How do you tweak op amps? They are, by definition, dozens of transistors in one, neat, sealed, cheap package. If you want to tweak, you have to build the equivalent circuitry with individual transistors, then you have complete flexibility (and huge complexity/reliability/cost/pcb issues.)
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    • #47
      No it would be ridiculous to say that all DACS, amps, cables or whatever was of identical performance. The point is how big are those performance differences if they do exist And are they repeatable?
      Only one person here has attempted this so far...

      Speaks volumes...

      Comment


      • #48
        ...I will never really understand how much people insist on huge (audible) differences between amps, cd-players and dacs that are almost unmeasureably different.

        You have to bear in mind that you try to hear ultra tiny differences by using a comparably bad reproducer (the speaker) and an equally bad measuring device (the ear).
        The differences may be measureable but after processing the above mentioned stages they are trashed.
        All the more when the usual listening room further trashes the frequency curves.

        Comment


        • #49
          ...I will never really understand how much people insist on huge (audible) differences between amps, cd-players and dacs that are almost unmeasureably different.
          thurston,

          Blatant self-aggrandisement, plain and simple... or 'see how good my hearing is, if you can't hear this, you must be deaf...'

          Read between the lines of almost all posts in the subjective fora, and this is what you'll find.

          Comment


          • #50
            ok, in fact it is really easy to understand!

            I have to confess that it took me quite some time to believe my own ears when I did NOT hear differences. When I think about how long it took to listen to a Mission Cyrus, Thorens and Aura-CD-Player 15 years ago untill finally buying the Mission.

            And being completely true to myself: I liked the toploader-mechanism...

            Just fancy stuff.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by HUG-1
              Can we please have access to the two files so that we can here at HUG HQ place them on the page in the usual way?
              I made a right pigs ear of that, didn't I! Sorry... here they are

              Loading the player ...
              Clip L

              Loading the player ...
              Clip M

              Comment


              • #52
                Seems to me that L sounds markedly louder than M. Are these supposed to be at the same replay level?

                Can you just remind us please what these two clip are allowing us to compare please?
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #53
                  L is louder and both sound identical except when you push the volume up then you find M feels a little gentle to the ears on longer (like an hour) listening. Interestingly, I see the difference better with IPad and my laptop then the desktop. For the Ipad and desktop I used Sennheiser earphones.

                  ST

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    Seems to me that L sounds markedly louder than M. Are these supposed to be at the same replay level?

                    Can you just remind us please what these two clip are allowing us to compare please?
                    Ok.

                    One is the rip from the CD using EAC.

                    One is recorded from the output of a CD player.

                    One has been through the A to D converter of my PC.

                    One hasn't.

                    One to rule them all...


                    Ok, that last one was a joke!

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Edited/tweaked? Variables in A-B comparison

                      Can you confirm if you have applied any signal processing at all? I mean, did you open any of the files in an audio editor and perform any tone/loudness/eq to L or M?

                      I much appreciate your effort to give us these clips. However, my long experience of A-B comparisons cautions me that we must only change one variable at a time. For example, we could change loudness in A but not in B. We could change the tone of A (using equalisers) but not alter B. But if we simultaneously changed the loudness and/or the tone of one but not the other, we would have introduced two variables. It would be impossible to reliably mentally appraise each of the two variables in isolation - the ear would fuse their effect together. We could easily jump to the wrong conclusion.

                      A practical example: if you simultaneously swapped your amplifier and your speakers, how could you possibly comment authoritatively about the sonic effect of either part in isolation? You couldn't: your experience would be a composite of both. Would you believe it: I have observed visitors to a hi-fi show enter an unfamiliar room, playing unfamiliar music on unfamiliar speakers (that's a minimum of three variables, plus maybe cables, interconnects etc. etc.) and, sighting a certain brand of amplifier, announce to the room that the reason the demo sounds so good/bad is entirely because of the amp. That makes no sense at all.
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Can you confirm if you have applied any signal processing at all? I mean, did you open any of the files in an audio editor and perform any tone/loudness/eq to L or M?
                        None at all.

                        All I did was play the ripped file in Audacity to set the record level of the one I recorded from the CD player.

                        I obviously missed by a bit...the dB meter on Audacity could be better.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Stephen PG View Post
                          None at all. All I did was play the ripped file in Audacity to set the record level of the one I recorded from the CD player.

                          I obviously missed by a bit...the dB meter on Audacity could be better.
                          No other changes to the audio files other than the (approximate, by eye) level adjustment? Sure?
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            No other changes to the audio files other than the (approximate, by eye) level adjustment? Sure?
                            Yes, I am.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              I'm really surprised. Also the same source disk?

                              Did you notice that, upon examination of the audio waveforms A and B, there are significant visual differences in dynamic (transient) range? And also a 3dB difference in level.
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Looks like some posts are missing. I think one is the digital copy of the CD and another one is the analogue sound recorded using his PC. I am surprised that the sound difference is not obvious.

                                Stephen, what's the answer for your post No 2?

                                ST

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