HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"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
See more
See less

Microphones, rooms and ears - a tale of imperfect transducers

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Microphones, rooms and ears - a tale of imperfect transducers

    Listening to a radio broadcast recently I was reminded how the acoustic space in which the recording was made hugely influences the final sound we hear at home. There is some synergy between the voice to the microphone and the speaker to the listener's ears. In the first case, the further the voice (or instrument) is from the microphone the more the mic captures the contribution of the room. In the second case, the further the listener is from the loudspeakers the more contribution the sound reflected around the room makes. So the common factor in both the recording and replay ends of the chain is the distance between source and transducer.

    We can take this a step further. We can make recordings using a selection of microphones at (nearly) exactly the same distance from the source and on replay we will hear a very different tonal colour to the recordings. This is because all microphones have two personalities: the up-close direct signature and the further-away off-axis character where, depending upon factors in the microphone design, more or less of the room's contribution will be audible - possibly even boosted compared with reality.

    In the listening room we have the same issue in reverse: the on/off axis behaviour of the loudspeakers will spray the room with sound over at least 180 degrees, and depending upon the dispersion characteristics of the speakers, what the listener inevitably hears is the combination of the loudspeakers' character on and off axis plus the rooms absorption or reflection over 180 degrees in the middle and top frequencies and 360 degrees in the lower ones.

    If we agree that there is a strong analogy between sound into the mic and sound from the speakers and the inevitable contribution of the room we can step forward. It's not going to be easy for us to hear (or convenient to measure) the contribution that the listening room makes to the sound we hear at home, but we certainly can demonstrate the influence of on-off axis performance at the other end of the chain by moving the microphone about in the recording studio. The influence of the room - even a studio acoustics - is clear to hear.

    Do you follow my thinking on this?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Yes I do Alan and am looking forward to your further thoughts. I believe this is an important factor to often ignored in the listening experience.


    • #3
      Symphony Hall vs. Harbeth C7ES3

      A variation of this topic came up on the HUG some time ago. I have a BSO recording (SACD) of a Mozart performance I attended. Symphony Hall is considered to be one of the best halls in the world. My subscription seat is 5th row center. The experience of live vs recorded is just different, not better or worse. I have sat in different locations, and I would say the best overall sound is further back at rows 12 to 15, but the volume decreases a bit. There are fewer distractions in my listening room, which I think also makes for a different experience.



      • #4
        OK, I'll look out for some examples. I keep hearing them (on the radio) but forget time and date. Must make a concentrated effort to capture some!
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK