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
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The bass-problems with analogue recording

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  • The bass-problems with analogue recording

    Many of us have a soft spot for analogue tape recorders, for their human ingenuity and design. There is a darker side though: the impossibility of recording flat in the bass region.

    This shows the problem associated with the physics of the head design, tape speed, electronics design and wavelength of sound and it is not a pretty site:

    Please note that the red trace is at 30 inches per second and the blue trace at 15 ips i.e. the frequency response is flatter at the slower speed.

    You will note that many of the problems are in the 30-200Hz region (an astonishingly wide range) which of course, covers the band where the speaker vent is contributing the most output. So, when deciding upon 'bass response' not only must we consider the characteristics of the woofer and the vent, we must also add-in that of the room at low frequencies and the recording machine itself.

    I assume that with digital recordings that the frequency response is dead flat across the band, but is it any wonder that older analogue recordings sound so warm and lush when they have a bass boost and it would seem often a treble shelf or cut?

    One of the machines I will - hopefully - one day get around to restoring is the Telefunken M15A; I have three and several Studers too, all ex-BBC. The most recent two M15A's I collected from BBC Broadcasting House in August 2006 and they came from studio B14, home of Radio 4 where they have been in daily service for about 20 years. The BBC has now gone completely digital. And yes, it sounds hard, and it does crash. But the running costs are low and it is extremely convenient. The world has (sadly) moved on.
    Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK