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The Harbeth Listening Room becomes .... a recording studio

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  • The Harbeth Listening Room becomes .... a recording studio

    Next week my professional singer friend the highly regarded Heather Cairncross (links here and here current schedule here) and one of her guitarist friends will come over to the Harbeth R&D facility, deep in the countryside, and I will attempt to record them in the highest possible fidelity.

    It's a little too cold to book a village hall, so I thought we'd reverse the use of The Cottage. In the same space that would normally be occupied by the Monitor 40.1 (or P3ESR, both designed and optimised there) I'd place the musicians and then capture their sounds with a stereo microphone about where I'd normally sit.

    On Monday next we will do a test run to see how it sounds, and on Thursday the proper recording if all goes well. We'll capture the event on video and I may try and do a live streamed transmission so you can see for yourself how time-inefficient the recording process is, adjusting this and that. If we can capture something of good audio technical quality on either date then it will be the first release under the Harbeth label. We have plans for future recordings.

    Heather has a wide range of styles and an incredibly sweet and clear voice with great range and depth. Example here and here.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    ... If we can capture something of good audio technical quality on either date then it will be the first release under the Harbeth label. We have plans for future recordings...
    Wow! Nice project. I'll be glad to follow this.



    • #3
      Alan, this is exciting to hear! I'll be first in line to buy the first release under the Harbeth label. I'd be very interested in hearing a recording made on Harbeths, with my Harbeths! Funny, I was just listening to the two NAIM label CDs that I have - still going through my cd collection with my new P3ESRs - very simple recordings (some recordings work, some don't), interesting tests for speakers...


      • #4
        Looking forward to this.

        On CD and vinyl I hope !!!


        • #5
          Streaming video/audio test

          Preparing for the recording session:

          We've checked-out various video streaming options. We don't want to throw a lot of money at this experiment with long-term contracts etc. so the best option seems to be Livestream.

          Here is a test link to a live stream

          We'd like to know if ....

          1. You can see the picture
          2. You can hear the sound (a radio playing in the background etc.)
          3. You can interact by typing comment

          We are not sure if the link above remains day after day or is anew link needed? With a competitive video streaming system, the link seems to change several times a day which is useless. We will stop transmitting and restart frequently and we hope the link remains live.

          Thanks for your feedback

          Harbeth PR
          Harbeth PR,
          Harbeth UK


          • #6
            I hope Alan can produce a audio CD version for this recording.
            "Bath with Music"


            • #7
              A Harbeth recording is definitely worth anticipating.


              • #8
                Streaming video page - register to add comments

                I registered for LiveStream and was able to post comments.

                Last edited by Don Leman; 12-12-2010, 05:49 PM. Reason: new information


                • #9
                  Streaming test page

                  We are streaming The X Factor Final live. It really is transmitted from London live. This is the UK's biggest TV show. What you are hearing was mixed and balanced on Monitor 40.1 and M30 in the studio and then directly from them to whatever speaker you are listening to the programme on.

                  Link here. Yes you will hear not-perfect pitch because this is live TV. Alternative player test page is here. This one does not have advertising etc.

                  There is now a library recording of the show.


                  • #10
                    This is a first!

                    2010gbhar: So what you hear is just one step along the chain from what Robert Edawrds, the sound engineer hear over his M40.1/M30 rig in the control room, and he adjusted the sounds to what we hear ...

                    I couldn't watch the live yesterday coz it's past midnight in Malaysia. Anyway, I did comparison with the live recording in Yourtube and from Harbeth live streaming and I have to say the sound it pretty close. Compare the Harbeth track time 15.23' to the Youtube's.

                    I'll use a proper sound card and speakers later to do the comparison but so far with my cheap speakers and sound card the sound is almost identical (except for slight hiss). Did you place the mic in the studio and broadcast them live?

                    This is a very important recording because for the first time we get an insight of what a recording engineer intended. Thanks Harbeth. Now if you can find the time I would like to have a high quality MP3 of Harbeth live stream and the TV sound recorded from the web. We cannot watch UK channel from here.



                    • #11
                      Guitar + voice = live stream now

                      OK, we are now streaming live from the Harbeth R&D facility.

                      Please watch and report .... link here or alternative here
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK


                      • #12
                        9:14am PST here so likely missed the live event. I was able to view the recorded session though. If you would let us know the next date and time I could attempt to be available to provide feedback.


                        • #13
                          Level setting - not easy

                          Hello Don,

                          We'll be recording all day on Thursday from about 11am UK time onwards.

                          Deciding on what level to feed the internet stream is rather tricky. It seems that the overload indicators overreact somewhat. So the first video is louder than the others because I turned the internet feed volume down. Seems I shouldn't have.

                          Anyway, this was very much a rough-and-ready test. We are still learning.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK


                          • #14
                            Music sample from rehearsal recording

                            Here is Heather playing her guitar (she taught herself only recently). She's a member of the choir that Gramophone Magazine have just voted 'the best in the world'.

                            This is a fairly up-close, intimate recording - necessary in such a small, relatively undamped room; I wonder what you make of the recording? She sings in French, then English.

                            HQ MP3 is here ....

                            It was very surprising indeed how moving the microphone and/or some slabs of Rockwool in the listening room (being used as a recording studio) just half a metre this way or that made an immediate adjustment in the sound quality, not in the direct sound but in the reverberant 'tail' that lingers after and between the words. The more damping I introduced and the closer to Heather, the dryer the sound of her voice and the less room 'twang'. There was no detectable change in the sound quality of the nylon-stringed guitar, probably because it has less acoustic power than the voice (so less energy to bounce around the room) and also because it has less HF energy than the voice.

                            You can see the streamed video here. If you fast-forward to about 16 mins. on the Heather Pt1 video, you'll see the actual set-up for the MP3 clip above.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK


                            • #15
                              It sounds wonderful. Warm and inviting. Beautiful singing voice. I'm looking forward to buying this recording.