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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, since deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to create an audible sonic personality in what you hear. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

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. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral amongst a plethora of available product choices.

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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised sound. 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 offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by 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, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

If faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"


Feb. 2018
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Cheap way to upgrade your listening environment.. :)

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  • Cheap way to upgrade your listening environment.. :)

    One tip that works in improving the listening environment is to listen to your music in TOTAL darkness.

    During some 10-15 minutes your brain slowly shifts to processing sound only, and the whole soundstage opens up in a strange and fantastic way, a highly recommended experience.

    Means you have to place the electronics in another room, or tape over leds and lamps.

  • #2
    Works for me too; has done so ever since I started listening to records.

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    • #3
      I absolutely agree.

      When I enter a hifi demo room, for example at a trade show, apart from making sure that I'm not going to stumble over furniture in my path, as I enter the room I make a conscious effort to listen for the first few minutes deliberately not looking at the speakers, electronics, display banners or anything. I focus on the floor about 1m in front, tip my head down, and concentrate on the sound. And sound alone.

      The cosmentics of hifi equipment should not be expected to have any real influence on its sound, and listening in the dark reaffirmss that.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        So do I. Visual and aural are definitely co-wired in our brains. Here is another example of their relationship at play (from my own experience). I am only mildly short sighted and these days only bother wearing my glasses to enhance the experience of a good movie. However, I noticed that I appreciate the finer subtleties of audio better with my glasses on! It is as if the focus, or the lack thereof, that my eye experiences somehow affects my hearing. I guess that by shutting our eyes when listening to a piece of music we are denying the visual its power over the aural. Definitely cheaper than visiting your optician as often as it takes...

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