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"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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Coupling Harbeth to the Stand

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  • #31
    Vibrations in stands

    I'm no engineer but I understand that the movement of the speaker cone and the air within the cabinet create vibrations or energy which have to go somewhere. If it is a stand-mount speaker, some of that energy goes into the stand and thence to the floor.

    Some stands rely on mass and some on light rigidity for their performance. My findings are as above.

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    • #32
      Light v. heavy stands - "all in the mind"?

      I think I started reading about this idea 10 or 15 years ago, i.e. that light but rigid speaker stands were "better" than heavy and rigid high-mass stands (usually lead or sand-filled) because the lighter stand would allow the energy to "drain" out of the speaker and would not itself "store" energy.

      I think this idea is intuitively appealing because we can form a mental picture of what the process might be. Not surprisingly, I read that people find the light stands "quick" and "lively" and "dynamic" whereas the heavier stands are "slow" "massy" "bass-heavy" and so on.

      But I really wonder if there's any rational basis for this. I don't doubt that listeners comparing the two types of stand hear a difference, or think they do, but I wonder if there would be any perceptible or meaningful difference if the visual element were removed from the equation. The fact that we can construct a mental explanation for what's happening - in this case, reinforced by a visual impression - doesn't necessarily mean that what we think is happening is actually happening.

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      • #33
        Stands and science

        Originally posted by EricW View Post
        I think I started reading ... that light but rigid speaker stands were "better" than heavy and rigid high-mass stands (usually lead or sand-filled) because the lighter stand would allow the energy to "drain" out of the speaker ... I think this idea is intuitively appealing because we can form a mental picture of what the process might be ...
        I wish someone would tackle this subject by measurement - that is, objectively - to reach a definitive position on the light/massive stand issue. Personally, I find it hard to believe that there is sufficient energy at the point of interface between the stand and the speaker cabinet to couple them together such that the stand can make a big difference. So what else could be happening? How about vibration not by the direct coupling to the speaker cabinet but by virtue of the sound wave from the bass/mid drive unit flowing across the surface of the stand (as it does every other object in the room) and setting-off sympathetic vibration in the stand. It's possible - especially so if the stand is tubular and not filled; the same situation as blowing across a wine bottle compared with stuffing it with some absorbent material.

        To quote what we say in the Basic Facts section:
        "7. Harbeth speakers do not need exotic stands. You can use wooden stands or metal or plastic stands. We use them all through development and critical listening. Distrust rumours that 'Harbeth's only work with 'xyz stands'. It is entirely your free choice, what takes your fancy, fits in with your furnishings and budget. If all you have available to get you going is something as basic as the IKEA plant pot stands (even used during the design of the Compact 7ES3 - see picture) or house bricks or telephone directories. The key point is to raise the tweeter to about ear level. The Skylan stands are an excellent value-for-money choice that we have used at exhibitions ourselves. Filling stands is your choice".
        I have also said that a pile of telephone directories can be used, although cosmetically and from the point of stability are a poor idea.

        Suggestion for applying some science, measurement and analysis: does anyone have an old pick-up cartridge that they'd be willing to sacrifice as a point-contact transducer? Then it would be possible to actually listen to the 'sound' of various stands. Of course, it would be essential to ensure that the same contact pressure and alignment was applied to every stand under test i.e. to remove variables associated with the measurement process itself.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

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        • #34
          Stands - I've listened to hundreds ....

          I've listened to and compared hundreds of different stands over the years to reach my own conclusions. I haven't got a scientific answer but I know what I hear and would suggest that anyone interested should try the available stands themselves.

          Alan,

          I have various 'old' cartridges sitting what do you need ?

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