"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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Howard Goodall's Story of Music

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  • Howard Goodall's Story of Music

    I have just watched the first two episodes of Howard Goodall's Story of Music in HD video on BBC iPlayer

    Highly recommended. It is a non technical history of music.

    This will be available to UK members with ease.

    Those outside the United Kingdom who have the technical skill to establish a VPN to the UK so as to present a UK IP address to BBC iPlayer will also be able to watch.

    Just one option:

  • #2
    More great music programmes

    If you like Howard Goodall's Story of Music then I'd strongly recommend the concurrent BBC series "The Sound & The Fury" which tells the story of modern music:

    Personally I prefer the latter: the talking heads are mainly living composers and conductors.

    As an aside we in the UK should celebrate the superb quality of our public service broadcasting: two high-quality music series running concurrently!


    • #3
      A dark story

      Yes, there is some very fine material there on iPlayer

      I have just watched

      An incredibly well presented programme. I know the history of music of that period . . . and the politics . . . and the philosophy . . . I am now seriously disturbed and sick to the pit of my stomach. I will watch the rest, for they are well done; but I will have to take them one at a time and recover between them.

      They were on the edge of madness. The arts went into meltdown, philosophy lost its reason, and politics descended into tyranny.

      They were as mad as Hitler, even if he lost himself in high romantic Wagner.

      For a time "classical" musicians lost their way and the torch was borne by Jazz, Broadway and Film Music.


      • #4
        Not in USA

        Pity the programming is not accessible here in the states.

        I love my Birtwistle recordings and that snippet "For a time "classical" musicians lost their way and the torch was borne by Jazz, Broadway and Film Music" just fuels my curiosity for the full context. Is the text of this programming available?


        • #5
          Virtually possible?

          Originally posted by Pencey View Post
          Pity the programming is not accessible here in the states.
          As I said: there are ways . VPN anyone?


          • #6
            BBC availability?

            To access BBC programs from outside the UK for free and at good quality I recommend Hola unblocker here

            I started to write an article about the story of music on my blog here - the bottom line for me is that you get some value our of it but that it tries to cover to much too quickly without leaving enough time for the music to speak for itself.


            • #7
              Balanced views?

              Agree entirely Steve, however what makes Goodall interesting is his personal take on musical history. When considering 20th century music in the final programme (last night) he had a very selective view of jazz.

              It was revealing to compare this with coverage of the same period in the last programme of the other series: disparate views (in some cases diametrically opposed) provided a balanced overview.


              • #8
                How to present impartially?

                It must be extremely difficult ot present a 'balanced' view of anything which involves the personal taste of the public, and which the presenter probably has his own preferences.

                My own view was that Howard did a good job of not being a musical snob, and of presenting the MUSICAL facts, ie., the musical construction rather than getting involved in promoting the sophistiaction or superiority of one genre over another.

                But this view is relative to the slants I have seen on similar programmes; maybe I am wrong.