HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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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.


    • #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.


      • #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


        • #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.


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