"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. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best 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 will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system 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. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

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. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Music to play at Harbeth public exhibitions

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  • Music to play at Harbeth public exhibitions

    What would you like to hear at exhibit

    I suggest:

    Michael Jackson, Bad: The Way You Make Me Feel
    Deep Purple with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Third Movement: Vivace - Presto
    Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea: Baby Please Don't Leave Me
    Karrin Allyson, Collage: And So It Goes
    Diana Jones, My Remembrance Of You: Cold Grey Ground
    Charlie Haden, Liberation Music Orchestra: We Shall Overcome
    Charlie Haden Family & Friends, Rambling Boy: Single Girl, Married Girl
    Steeleye Span, All Around My Hat: All Around My Hat
    Fairport Convention, What We Did On Our Holidays; Mr. Lacey

    Spotify link

  • #2
    Music to play at Harbeth public exhibitions

    In a parallel thread we have touched on the subject of what electronics should we be associated with in a Harbeth-UK managed/funded show.

    What about the choice of music? There are, just as with electronics, some issues.
    1. The public are free to come and go at will. This means that they are dipping into and out of performances, and may arrive at a quiet moment which does not excite and may not linger long enough for the music to perk up
    2. The wholly untreated hotel bedroom room acoustics are not conducive to bass-heavy music
    3. The subjective sonic damping in the room is primarily provided by the human bodies present. This makes consistency of sound impossible to maintain
    4. Public musical tastes are wide and unpredictable through the show and it is unwise to make too many assumptions
    5. Most listeners will, to a reasonable degree, tolerate/endure music that is not of their taste if it is only for a few minutes
    6. Some listeners bring their own CDs. We have always been accommodating of own-CDs as an opportunity to showcase of our speakers but sadly, the recording quality of these pet pieces is often extremely poor. They may well have a strong emotional attraction, but they usually clear the room in a minute or two and do nothing for our product reputation. For example, thrash and techno are interesting sounds but not relevant to our typical buyer, and many pre-digital recordings, even mastered to CD, are often so lacking in detail, HF and air that they are, after long exposure to pristine digital recordings, painful or even embarrassing to play because they are so dull: all bass and no sparkle
    7. As discovered at the KJ and Guildford Audio demonstrations in the summer of 2014, explaining what to listen for, playing the clip and then discussing it afterwards, seemed to work very well, but that was with a group of ten or so, under invitation-only conditions
    8. We cannot be all things to all men or play all music to all men! We have to take a view on what is most likely to be listened to by our customers at home and that tends to mean music that they can immerse themselves in for relaxation and contemplation. That tends to bias our choice away from rock/pop

    There are four factors that have equal prominence in our consideration of music selection:

    A) The recording must be first class - dynamic, open, fresh, airy and natural. For me that's vital. I'm not too fussed what musical genre - I just like sound - but the recording quality has to be A1.
    B) The clip must not be for more than, say, 10 minutes maximum
    C) It must be convenient to arrange a continuous flow of music (pre-planned) because it is not possible to engage in meaningful discussion with visitors if one is dancing around swapping discs
    D) The music must be relevant (or expected to be relevant) for the demography of our typical buyers
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK