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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Favourite recordings - your choice ...

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  • not sure if anyone else has mentioned it, but listened to Sting's Symphonicities (DG cherrytree 2010) last night and it is refreshingly good, performance and quality. surprised that i had to turn up the volume to get it going. beautiful.


    • Speaking of The Beatles, I'll admit to being disappointed with the latest CD remasters in many cases. While they lack the harsh digital sound of the original issues, many sounded somewhat rolled off to me, while seemingly offering more detail in the midrange. I had the good fortune to acquire the 24 bit audio files, which I have played back against some of my older CD's, Mirror Spock treated vinyl rips, as well as the 24 bit files burnt to a DVD-A disk. In a volume matched A/B test administered by my lovely wife, we both agreed that the high bit rate files generally exhibit increased midrange detail, cleaner treble and longer reverb trails that seem to honestly match the original CD's.

      I'll admit to being a tire kicker in the Harbeth ownership sweepstakes - on the edge of pressing the button on some Super HL5's, but still enjoying my old Royd Doublets (Anyone remember those?) tonight with some thematically linked Rutles.


      • Originally posted by gingerly View Post
        Speaking of The Beatles, I'll admit to being disappointed with the latest CD remasters in many cases. While they lack the harsh digital sound of the original issues, many sounded somewhat rolled off to me, while seemingly offering more detail in the midrange.
        While most audiophiles,when talking about the Beatles' remasters, go on about tonality and detail, hardly anyone mentions the fact that some very dodgy edits on the original issues have been rather effectively improved.

        When comparing the original CD issues and the 2010 remasters, it's evident that the former were attempting to match the sonic quality of the vinyl whereas someone said, "we can do much better" when the remastering project was planned. And they did!


        • Originally posted by Pluto View Post
          And they did!
          Oh, no argument from me about that! I honestly think that the 24 bit files are best Beatles audio experience available, vinyl inclusive.


          • "Bending the dark" recording

            "Bending the Dark" by Imagined Village, what a nice recording, very neutral and balanced. Very little midrange presence added. A bit funny treble though at times.


            • BBC equipment time line?

              Originally posted by MikeH View Post
              The original early Beatles work were recorded on 2 track mono on 1/4 " tape (EMI BTR machines) which gave very good results due, as you righly state, to the consistant efforts of the maintenace staff at EMI studios. The next stage from 'Revolver' onwards was on 1" 4-track (Studer J37) which in effect doubled the track width and increased the s/n ratio by 6dB (a welcome factor as they now started to do a lot more reductions) I seem to remember that it was only the last album that was on 8-track, again 1" tape (I think they were Studer or Ampex machines). When they went beyond 1" 4-track, I think the quality of the recording did not keep pace with the talent. Dolby came in with the 8 track machines. EMI also used to drive the tape hard with 0VU being 320 nw/m.

              With regards to to EQ, Geoff Emerick (and Alan Parsons as well) used to add lots of 10K shelving on vocals.

              Kind regards

              Talking of 2 track mono recordings. When did the BBC upgrade the recording equipment at their studios? Details of what they changed from and to would be invaluable too, thanks.


              • BBC tape recorders in Manchester

                Originally posted by Tryfan View Post
                Talking of 2 track mono recordings. When did the BBC upgrade the recording equipment at their studios? Details of what they changed from and to would be invaluable too, thanks.
                I'm sorry it's taken nearly two years to answer this question:

                I joined the BBC in Manchester in 1973 at the time when stereo was just starting to be introduced and can only speak from my memories of Manchester. EMI MTR90s and a Phillips pro recorder both with valve electronics were the first Mono recorders I used, but they were soon replaced when worn out by new transistorised stereo machines.

                The first stereo recorders I recall were a pair of Studer C37s (with valve electronics needing warm-up time before alignment could take place) for the Northern symphony Orchestra recordings, based in the Milton Hall in Manchester. There was a single stereo speech studio in BH Piccadilly which had studer A62s and a Neve BCM10 stereo desk. When new Broadcasting House on Oxford Road was built we had an all-stereo capable complement of studios recording onto Studer and Leevers-Rich E200 machines. Studers became firm favourites, A62s then B62s were introduced and later Studer A80s, replacing the earlier models. Outside Broadcasts were catered for with A62 back breakers! We also had some stereo BBC modified EMI BTR2s that we affectionately called BTR2GTs in the Radio Drama recording area.

                The Playhouse Theatre was the home of the NDO/ NRO, BBC Theatre Organ and comedy audience shows. I knew it always as a stereo facility and it had a sequence of A62 / B62 and Leevers-Rich recorders through the years, as in Oxford Road, ending up with A80s when it closed.

                Gradually as facilities were refurbished A80s became the de facto recorder in Manchester until digital recorders were introduced.
                We had Otari MTR90 24track multitrack recorders in the larger mobile OB truck and in Studio3 (radio drama), and as a replacement for the 8-track Studer A80 in the Playhouse Theatre. Pop bands were often broadcast live or recorded in the drama studio. When the Playhouse closed we moved two of the A80s to Strawberry Studios , where we had a short-term hire contract.

                The digital era slipped in and DAT became the main format with recorders from Sony and HHB. Direct to CD recording was also incorporated but was very awkward to get right! Direct to hard drive recording was the eventual solution, and Protools, Sadie, Pyramix, and Sonic Solutions systems were all tried out with Protools being the most popular.

                I have no idea what is in use now in Media City, as I've never set foot in the place.

                There is a site in which I hold no interest, where you will find loads of information on all of these machines, and more.

                "If all else fails, read the instructions"


                • Some choices

                  A very hard, if not impossible choice, so forgive me if I choose more than 3;

                  Agnes Obel Aventine... beautiful vocals set to piano and strings.
                  Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, Mynd... wonderful contemporary Folk.
                  Laura Veirs, July Flame... unique
                  Others worthy a mention;
                  Angus and Julia Stone, Down the Way
                  Barnaby Bright, The Longest Day
                  Alexi Murdoch, Time Without Consequence... Nick Drake reborn


                  • Top 3 Sounding

                    Impossible but here goes;

                    1; Miles Davis; Kind of Blue,
                    for various reasons the most important album in my life.

                    2; Bach Cello suites
                    I listen to just one movement almost everyday, this is my favorite version at this moment in time;

                    3; Andre Heuvelman; After Silence
                    and I need to include an audiophile download as well.
                    This is one of the best sounding I have and the playing is marvelous;