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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

The Harbeth User Group is the primary channel for public communication with Harbeth's HQ. If you have a 'scientific mind' and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - audio equipment decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and should be accessible to non-experts and able to be tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge. From a design perspective, today's award winning Harbeths could not have been designed any other way.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If you are quite set in your subjectivity, then HUG is likely to be a bit too fact based for you, as many of the contributors have maximised their pleasure in home music reproduction by allowing their head to rule their heart. 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 only, although HUG is really not the best place to have these sort of purely subjective airings.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters and Harbeth does not necessarily agree with the contents of any member contributions, especially in the Subjective Soundings area, and has no control over external content.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Oct. 2017}
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Speakers behind the listener

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  • Speakers behind the listener

    This isn't a Harbeth question and I do not own any yet, but this forum is where I find most sense spoken and most expertise, so I'll ask here.

    My office setup is such that the most convenient set up for my hifi is with the speakers behind me - they are not near-field monitors, they are an old pair of Monitor Audio One bookshelf speakers (on a bookshelf!), sited 1.2m behind my head when sat at my desk, about 1.6m apart.

    I actually find the stereo separation very good and the effect very pleasing. I haven't swapped left & right speaker positions but perhaps I should. Is there a science to this? What effect do the sound waves have coming from behind the ear from the perspective of the listener? Is this a situation that ever arises in a sound studio or does the sound engineer always site the speakers in front?

    {Moderator's comment: Alan listens like this in his study at home. Let him comment}

  • #2
    Music as a background to life

    Originally posted by broadsword View Post
    This isn't a Harbeth question and I do not own any yet, but this forum is where I find most sense spoken and most expertise, so I'll ask here.

    My office setup is such that the most convenient set up for my hifi is with the speakers behind me - they are not near-field monitors, t Is there a science to this? What effect do the sound waves have coming from behind the ear from the perspective of the listener? Is this a situation that ever arises in a sound studio or does the sound engineer always site the speakers in front?
    This is indeed my normal set-up at home, in a small bedroom I use as a study and where much HUG typing occurs!

    There are two issues that I've found, and these are not really speaker type or brand related. In fact, due to the sheer pressure on space behind me, I have been experimenting with speakers much smaller than the P3s I normally use. I found these in a junk shop and for $5 thought I'd give them a whirl - they are so small! Anyway, regardless of whether the speakers are in front or behind, are of monitor grade or junk-shop grade, I find that if the music is above a certain replay loudness I just cannot concentrate. I get pulled into the music and my mind is split between reading, comprehending and typing and the music. I don't find any need to swap over the L-R speakers but I do find that the volume control has to be right down at the very end of the range. My volume control has click-stops and although the amp channel balance at the low setting is still perfect (it tends not to be on ordinary controls with a continuous sweep) I wish there was one click below the lowest setting, for when I am really trying to concentrate.

    There is another thing. Because the ear is so extremely level sensitive, especially in the bass region (did you know that?), turning the volume right down makes the sound very bass light. That's nothing to do with the amp or speakers - their frequency response is uneffected, it's just the way the ear works. Sometimes, the weak bass doesn't draw attention to itself; other times it sound ridiculously thin. The solution is, of course, to turn up the volume so that the bass returns or to turn down the volume and turn up the bass control, if you are lucky enough to have one. I do, and wouldn't be without it. I apply maximum boost (on these tiny speakers) and at that extremely low level (I'm guessing about 0.1W maximum) it sounds great.

    Hope that helps.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    • #3
      Speakers behind and the shape of the ear

      Thanks,

      Yes I listen at low levels while I'm working too - the only way I am distracted is pleasantly so when something attracts my attention. Mostly the music is for background and to create a relaxed working atmosphere (so choice of music is important too). The volume control is rarely beyond the 9 oclock position, and the bass is turned almost to max, the treble slightly below centre (I have an old Creek amp which drives the old speakers well enough - I wouldn't consider any new amp without tone controls).

      My interest was more about the position of the speakers being behind the ear given the ear's shape and slightly forward facing nature - curiously I don't find the sound quality is compromised at all, and sometimes I think I actually prefer it. Perhaps there is some degree of sound reflection off the wall and huge PC screen in front of me to the front of the ear which gives a sense of depth. If I cup my hands round my ears facing backwards it sounds much flatter.

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