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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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The unique Harbeth RADIAL bass/midrange drive unit

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  • The unique Harbeth RADIAL bass/midrange drive unit

    An introduction to loudspeaker cones presented at the Harbeth HQ conference table. Hope that you take something useful away from this video.

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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Harbeth video: The weakness of simple cones: Part 2

    Here is a follow-up video where we look at the ability of the speaker cone to perform its primary function, namely, to operate as a piston. To generate power, a piston has to be able to move as a solid entity, and in the case of a speaker cone, to press on the air in the room and avoid deformation when moving inwards and partially compressing the air in the speaker cabinet. Normal air is surprisingly heavy - 1.2kg per cubic metre - and the force needed to press against the air in the listening room, and to resist the air in the room pressing back on the cone requires that cone to be adequately strong. But is it? Let's see ....

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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    • #3
      Inside the moulding machine (dangerous!)

      From the archives, a picture of me examining the core (male) part of one of our mould tools, when opened as it would be at the end of the injection moulding cycle. The mould is firmly clamped shut for a few seconds as the plastic is squirted into the cavity, then opened to allow removal of the moulded part.

      Because the high-gloss surface finish is so important to the Harbeth cone, we cannot allow the cone to be automatically popped-off the tool, as is normal for injection moulded parts, as it would drop down into a heap and one cone would scratch another. So, we have to have a machine minder who controls the injection moulding machine and its process control computer, makes sure it has a continuous supply of granules, and most important, lifts the hot just-moulded cones out of the cavity without deforming them.

      It's quite a business injection moulding, but it does make completely repeatable cones, and it is the main factor behind for the unique Harbeth sound. If there was a cheaper, easier, less time consuming way of achieving that sound, I'd do it; but there isn't.

      Click image for larger version

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      Oh, by the way: I ensured that the safety interlocks were in place before I ventured into the open tool, because when the two halves are pressed together by hydraulic rams, they will crush anything in their way with impunity.
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      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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