HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"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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What speakers at Munich show 2012

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  • #16

    yes, i read yesterday the official announcement of the german distributor: M30.1
    can we listen to it in munich or will it be displayed only?


    {Moderator's comment: the conditions in the public hall are just not good enough for demo, in our view.}
    Harbeth M40.1-Naim NAC52-Supercap-NAP 135-CDS2-XPS


    • #17
      Looking forward ....

      I look forward to listening to the M30.1. Alan has created a true benchmark with the P3ESR so if the M30.1 has inherited some of those ESR genes, it will draw the listener in with an amazingly organic, enveloping soundstage and an incredibly fine driver integration.


      • #18
        Munich 2012

        Alan and the M30.1 in Munchen

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        • #19
          I must have the new M30.1!

          [QUOTE=Hagto;18958]Alan and the M30.1 in Munchen

          Wow, they look great! I'm already looking round the room to see what I can free-up!

          The May newsletter is out now too, with more information. I had no idea the original Monitor 30 has been around for 15 years, so this is indeed a major product launch. I can't wait to hear a demo, I think I'm going to find it hard to resist ordering a pair.

          I feel another 'Stereo Sound Japan' award could be round the corner...


          • #20
            More pictures

            Two more pictures

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            • #21
              Munich 2012 - a great success and some thoughts ....

              First, again a big thanks to our friends at Input Audio (Harbeth Germany) for making the stands look so attractive, to HUG member Pluto who attended throughout to help man the Harbeth stand again, to all our distributors and industry friends who attended from Moscow, Tokyo, Seoul and all over Europe and North America, to many new prospective distributors who wish to handle the Harbeth brand in new territories beyond the 44 we currently supply and to those of you who introduced yourselves. Thanks! I really enjoyed it.

              What I was told time after time by those in audio marketing is that Harbeth is a completely unique brand: they all said that despite the general economic gloom and doom effecting the industry Harbeth is one of the extremely few product lines that has growing sales .... 'Harbeth speakers sell themselves after a demonstration' ... 'a must have' sums it up. So thank you all for your support during what I was made aware first hand is a really tough time for the audio market. I was unaware that things are quite so 'tight' generally. Visit your dealer! Push some money into his hands! Make him smile!

              There were one or two interesting observations Pluto and I independently made. As a sound professional and a Harbeth user/owner disconnected from the sales process, he was able to dispense honest, pragmatic advice to members of the public devoid of commercial or political bias, and this seemed to be well received by those less familiar with the Harbeth brand and what we strive to achieve. He spent hours in the company of one or two consumers who really were completely befuddled about investing in a quality audio system - he's going to write that up in the next days. As the show drew to a close, we both wondered if those we spoke with in the 'confused about technology, just want to listen to quality music' category are only the tip of a very big iceberg. If they are ...... well, he'll write it up in his own words.

              Show by show we note that the number of fancy cable, pucks and spikes and assorted room tuning merchants are diminishing. A real pity as their poker-faced clap-trap and outrageous claims were sometimes accompanied by the most generous liquid hospitality which drew one (well, Pluto especially) back to their booths on a regular hourly circuit just to check again if perhaps he'd missed the vital sonic 'night and day' experience. Please bring back the hosepipe-thick speaker cables with their mouthwatering profit margins that used to fund conviviality for at least for four days a year! At this rate of attrition, we'll be surviving on - at best - their largess of only boiled sweets, TUC biscuits and bottled water in just a year or two.

              P.S. As I explained to various questioners and journalist (and will illuminate in more detail shortly) the development of the M30 > M30.1 was much more challenging that I assumed it would be for what was a 15 year old design. My admiration for whoever designed the original M30 in 1997 grew during my re-evaluation in 2012.

              AS + Pluto "very much at home" attached ....


              P.S. Had no idea that Britain's Got Talent is watched in Germany. It's made on Monitor 40.1s and Monitor 30s.
              Attached Files
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK


              • #22
                Mountains of machinery at Munich 2012 ....

                I have just come across an amazing collection of photos here


                There is very little I would want in my house. There's a few rather understated designs, Harbeth among them, and mountains of fanciful nonsense! Speakers, amps and accessories.

                Of course in a picture gallery you can only look, you cannot listen.

                I look forward to more detail on the 30.1 - a product that might actually grace my lounge.


                • #23
                  It's all a game ....

                  Originally posted by Labarum View Post
                  I have just come across an amazing collection of photos here... There's a few rather understated designs, Harbeth among them, and mountains of fanciful nonsense! ...
                  The observation that HUG member Pluto (a professional sound engineer) and I took away from (yet another) show is the utter gullibility of the public. I'm sorry if that doesn't make pleasant reading, but it's the truth. This is a multi-dimensional psychological issue. When Pluto and I meander around shows, we are no more attracted to the flamboyant, glowing, exotic materials, beautifully machined, high-ticket priced audio products we see than if we were perusing an auction of used processing equipment at an abattoir. In other words, we share an almost total disinterest in 'audiophile gear' because none of it is strictly necessary to make great music at home. What we solely care about is the most direct route to the music.

                  There are some really disturbing observations that one takes away from shows. These observations are not only related to audiophile gear; a serious semi-pro cyclist told me that in that market there are exactly the same issues of neurosis and compulsive purchasing behaviour losing sight of the fact that the roads are full of pot-holes and the omnipresence of cars makes cycling challenging at best. So this is (sadly) a much wider problem than in our tiny field of work.

                  Issues that the consumer really needs to think about ....
                  1. Not one visitor in 100 is female. That's really odd. Why?
                  2. ... Yet we know that music is equally appreciated by women and men
                  3. Most composers of classical music are male - what's the significance of that?
                  4. ... so audio hardware is created by men for men .....
                  5. and uses styling and adornment which seems uniquely attractive to the male mind and particularly uninspiring, even repugnant to the female mind...
                  6. The perception in the male mind is that the shinier, bigger, heavier, more impressive the product the more musical it must be
                  7. The perception in the female mind that that the shinier, bigger, heavier, more impressive the product is the less about music it must be ...
                  8. That taking some of the working elements and placing them on the outside of the case seems to add value (tubes, capacitors, drive units)
                  9. Using exotic, expensive, rare and barely pronounceable (toxic?) minerals must (obviously) improve sound quality [completely illogical]
                  10. The higher the price the better the product obviously must be

                  The depressing fact is that the public by and large are completely and utterly incapable of separating the enthralling sales/psychological story from the actual performance reality of the product. What has been lost is the connection between great music and simple, functional, reliable, built-to-last equipment. Just why is that?

                  Fact: the more complex the design, the more component parts (electrical or mechanical), the hotter it runs, the higher the voltages, the more features, the more fragile glass, the less reliable it is likely to be and the higher the Total Cost Of Ownership when considering service costs. And not one of those elements can truly be said to enhance sound quality.
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK


                  • #24
                    It's a bit like the *Crufts Dog Show, Alan. If you want real dogs go and find a shepherd with his sheep dog, a school training dogs for the blind, or go to the local police dog section!

                    * Crufts (for those outside UK)


                    And as a cyclist too I concur. There are a lot of cheap rubbish bikes in the supermarkets and chain stores, there's a lot of extremely expensive over engineering, and in the middle there are some fine serviceable and safe bicycles.


                    • #25
                      It is interesting to note the view of a major player in the tube world, with whom we dined one evening, that most of the tube amplifiers on show were just "sculptures in glass and metal". It seems even the true believers in tube electronics are now feeling betrayed by the direction in which the market appears to be heading.


                      • #26
                        Let's own up... an audiophile speaks his mind

                        I've looked at a lot of pictures from the Munich Show and I have to say that I don't find many of them exciting anymore. Years ago I would have been fascinated by the outlandish designs and heavy metal work etc. The many crazy-looking speakers are particularly underwhelming after you see the price tags and realise they're using off-the-shelf drive units and loads of expensive wood and metal which isn't going to sound as good as Harbeth at a fraction of the price. That's not sycophancy - just plain old fact.

                        I find it slightly perverse in the HiFi world how many people talk about their focus on sound quality in their systems, yet the manufacturers are producing amplifiers where probably more than 90% of the build cost has gone into the casework and machining. And the same people then buy those amplifiers! I've got costly dCS and Nagra electronics, but I accept that I'm paying for prestige, heritage, unique design and precision manufacture in Switzerland and UK. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't sit there saying its essential for my musical enjoyment, they do sound very good but I like well-made exclusive things and am prepared to pay for them.

                        So why can't the industry and HiFi enthusiasts come out in the open and admit that they like the visual design appeal of equipment for its own sake as well as enjoying the music? They aren't mutually exclusive! You don't have to try to justify CNC aircraft grade aluminium as a sound quality enhancement. If you like it, buy it and admit why you like it.

                        But don't chase that new 10k preamp as the route to musical happiness.


                        • #27
                          Science-fiction props ....

                          Originally posted by Labarum View Post
                          There's ... mountains of fanciful nonsense! Speakers, amps and accessories.
                          To me, they actually resemble props from a science-fiction movie of the 1950s or 60s, which, when you think about it, was probably about the time most current audiophiles were children and would have been affected by such imagery.


                          • #28
                            Golden memories from youth

                            Originally posted by EricW View Post
                            To me, they actually resemble props from a science-fiction movie of the 1950s or 60s, which, when you think about it, was probably about the time most current audiophiles were children and would have been affected by such imagery.
                            Interesting thought...


                            • #29
                              Norwegian friends

                              The norwegian member Griffenfel and Alan in Munich

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                              • #30
                                Small active speakers

                                Originally posted by EricW View Post
                                To me, they actually resemble props from a science-fiction movie of the 1950s or 60s, which, when you think about it, was probably about the time most current audiophiles were children and would have been affected by such imagery.
                                Yes; and most of the small active monitors sold for home studio use look just like that - left overs from Star Wars. Very good value for a second system, but no one of "mature taste" would want such a grille-less box in a domestic environment. Most of them don't even pass the test of "good industrial design".