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Computer Audio Design & Harbeth at The Bristol Show this year

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  • Computer Audio Design & Harbeth at The Bristol Show this year

    Hello,

    I am new to the Harbeth forum and I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Scott Berry and I am the owner and designer at Computer Audio Design. We and Harbeth are going to work together at this year's Bristol Show. We will be in adjacent rooms 234 & 232.

    This will be our third year at Bristol and we are proud to say we won best sound at the Bristol Show in 2013.

    We wanted to use a different speaker at this year's show so over the last year I contacted quite a few speaker companies and have been very fortunate that we had quite a few companies send us their speakers for us to try, including Harbeth.

    I was looking for a small stand mount speaker to create a compact system that would fit in most living rooms, including ours!

    I had heard Harbeth speakers on occasion and had always liked what I heard but when the beautiful rosewood P3ESRs were hooked up I was deeply impressed.

    I am not a "specifications" man. In my opinion the P3ESR just gets the tonal character of voice and instruments correctly. I do not believe this is something that can be measured, it is just so apparent when you hear it. Here is an example of what I am talking about: You are walking down the street and around the corner you hear some music. I bet 9 times out of 10 you can tell if it is a live performance or not. It can be some guy beating on a plastic waste bin, but there is something about the sound that is "real". This is what I feel the P3ESRs excel at and why we decided to use the P3ESRs at this year's Bristol Show.

    We will be using the new CAD Audio Transport (CAT) along with the 1543 DAC and the CAD USB Cable in both rooms. I will be using Black Rhodium interconnects and most likely Brinkman Mono Bloc amplification.

    I like all the requests for music! Keep your requests coming and I will make sure we get as much as possible.

    If you have any other questions let me know!

    Best Regards,

    Scott Berry
    www.computeraudiodesign.com

  • #2
    Two Bristol buddies! Harbeth across the show...

    Looking forward to working with the digital guru at Computer Audio Design - rooms 232/234. The Harbeth/CAD combination is formidable!

    We are also pleased to say that our friends from REL Acoustics have a total-Harbeth system to demonstrate their sub-woofers in a 5.1 surround sound system in rooms 308/309 where a pair of new Super HL5plus provide left/right, a pair of Compact 7 ES-3s for the rear channels and another C7 for the centre. It promises to be a dramatic presentation.

    As you can see from the floorplans - the main Harbeth rooms at the [hopefully quiet] end of the second-floor corridor, with no demonstrations in the rooms opposite, while the REL rooms are conveniently located directly opposite the lifts on the third-floor.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by harbethpr; 09-01-2015, 04:27 PM. Reason: add attachments
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

    Comment


    • #3
      Music sourced from computer audio files?

      Does this mean that Harbeth will be using Computer files and a computer style player/streamer for the music source material?

      I ask this because when I heard the CAD 1543 DAC(November 2013), it only had a captive lead terminating in a USB plug for its input. I did ask Scott at the time whether potential buyers would require more flexibility with the input.

      EDIT - I think the mains connection is captive, but the CAD 1543 DAC does have a solitary USB input facility as far as I am aware.

      Comment


      • #4
        CD, streaming, whatever

        Different Harbeth partners at Bristol will have different solutions to music sources. The Harbeth preference is to use pre-recorded CD-Rs.

        Scott's DAC and CAD (room 234) are amazing pieces of digital technology and we look forward to using them to their full potential at the show.
        Harbeth PR,
        Harbeth UK

        Comment


        • #5
          Please explain the equipment chain

          I remain confused. Does Harbeth have a CD player with a USB digital output? Or is there some other equipment available which will allow a CD player to be connected to the USB input on Scott's DAC? Or does the DAC now have other input options such as electrical coaxial, or optical?

          The only other way I can think of, is to use a CD drive in a computer with a USB output from the computer connected to Scott's DAC.

          Comment


          • #6
            Structure and organisation of demo

            Originally posted by Jeff_C View Post
            I remain confused. Does Harbeth have a CD player with a USB digital output? Or is there some other equipment available which will allow a CD player to be connected to the USB input on Scott's DAC? Or does the DAC now have other input options such as electrical coaxial, or optical?

            The only other way I can think of, is to use a CD drive in a computer with a USB output from the computer connected to Scott's DAC.
            Let's be quite clear about what you can expect at the Bristol show. My colleagues have been organising the show, and I'm on the periphery of that process, but from what I understand, Harbeth will be used in at least three rooms there.

            We have a sell/loan and forget policy. We do not interfere with the selection of electronics, nor room treatment, nor hospitality, nor music selection nor anything else in those rooms that are outside of our direct control. What you hear, good or bad, has to be considered as holistic: you cannot reasonably separate by just casual listening the speakers, from the music, from the equipment from the room. Take it as you find it. I have no doubt that the music used by our co-exhibitor friends will be far removed from my pet recording list, and a long way from what I would personally listen to. But since nobody asks me what I think would showcase the speakers because they are focusing on their bit of kit (and don't assume that the musical objectives are the same) they obviously have their own ideas. And good luck to them. Over the years I have been astonished, shocked actually, by the extremely poor recordings that people who make a living out of designing and selling extremely exotic and expensive high end audio use as their personal references. They are, to my mind, wholly unsuitable for teasing-out small tonal details. The selection of "forensic" musical torture tracks takes a great deal of understanding of how we interact with sound, and not one recording in a hundred (just a figure of speech) is good enough.

            In the Harbeth "master" demo room, the one you'll find Harbeth staff in and with the Harbeth name on the door, we have complete control. We choose the equipment, the decor, the music, the speakers, the stands, the cables .... the works. What you hear in that room is what I consider to be musical material which will expose the latent capabilities of the speakers, push them to their limit, make the listener really question his existing system's resolution, make a challenge of the listener's preconceptions about music, recordings and 'traditional rectangular boxes'. I am not after 'an experience' in the crude sense that the visitor runs excited, red-faced and flustered from the room telling everyone who'll listen of what he's heard as he progresses the corridor. That's meaningless approbation because it will be replaced by another seemingly ultimate 'experience' and another as the day proceeds.

            I measure the success of whether on not I've embodied every last gramme of my abilities in the speaker, say the SHL5+, by observing, as I have done, someone quietly weeping at the resolution and naturalness. Yes, an 'experience', but one based on a temporary suspension of disbelief and one which haunts the listener days, months, years later. Since I will never have met that visitor before, the common ground between us is that he/she shares an innate appreciation of how unamplified music actually sounds in the raw; tiny and delicate, fresh, gossamer weightless. Having that life-like encounter, unexpectedly in a hotel room in a far from home city is a fabulous and memorable shared intimate experience.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #7
              A complete rundown?

              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              the equipment, the decor, the music, the speakers, the stands, the cables .... the works
              Is it possible to tell us, before or after the show what equipment, music, speakers, stands, cables ... the works you will be using/have used?

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello,

                Just to explain what source will be used in rooms 234 & 232 at the Bristol Show.

                The Computer Audio Design "source" actually consists of 4 components:

                1) The CAD Audio Transport (CAT)
                2) Separate external linear power supply for the CAT
                3) CAD USB Cable
                4) CAD 1543 DAC

                The CAT contains a CD slot on the front panel for "ripping" CDs to internal memory. Everything is automated - just insert the CD in the slot and it will be copied to memory and all metadata will be downloaded from the internet. The CD is then ejected and you can save the CD for backup if you wish.

                The CAT contains all playback software. Playback is from internal memory and/or an Ethernet connected NAS if you wish. The CAT will be remote controlled using an application on an iPad.

                The CAT will be connected to the 1543 DAC using the CAD USB cable. The 1543 DAC has no software. There is no up sampling, down sampling or filters used in the 1543 DAC.

                The 1543 DAC has 2 RCA outputs that in room 234 will be connected directly to a pair of Brinkmann Mono Bloc amplifiers using Black Rhodium interconnects. No preamplifier will be used, volume control will be done by the CAT.

                Best Regards,

                Scott Berry
                www.computeraudiodesign.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Question about CAT.

                  Originally posted by -CAD- View Post
                  Hello,

                  Just to explain what source will be used in rooms 234 & 232 at the Bristol Show.

                  The Computer Audio Design "source" actually consists of 4 components:

                  1) The CAD Audio Transport (CAT)
                  2) Separate external linear power supply for the CAT
                  3) CAD USB Cable
                  4) CAD 1543 DAC

                  The CAT contains a CD slot on the front panel for "ripping" CDs to internal memory. Everything is automated - just insert the CD in the slot and it will be copied to memory and all metadata will be downloaded from the internet. The CD is then ejected and you can save the CD for backup if you wish.

                  The CAT contains all playback software. Playback is from internal memory and/or an Ethernet connected NAS if you wish. The CAT will be remote controlled using an application on an iPad.

                  The CAT will be connected to the 1543 DAC using the CAD USB cable. The 1543 DAC has no software. There is no up sampling, down sampling or filters used in the 1543 DAC.

                  The 1543 DAC has 2 RCA outputs that in room 234 will be connected directly to a pair of Brinkmann Mono Bloc amplifiers using Black Rhodium interconnects. No preamplifier will be used, volume control will be done by the CAT.

                  Best Regards,

                  Scott Berry
                  www.computeraudiodesign.com
                  Hello,

                  Is it possible either copy files with music (cd-wave, hd-wave, aiff, flac alac) to CAT's memory (e.g. from pendrive) and then play them directly from this transport without any additional computer aid?

                  Best Regards

                  pkwba

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As go amplifiers, so go CD players?

                    Originally posted by -CAD- View Post
                    If you have any other questions let me know!
                    If you've been following this forum, you may have noted that A.S. has been touting the performance and value of this amplifier from Pulse Audio: [ http://pulse-audio.co.uk/5051259017924.shtml ]. Further, he has suggested that, when the Pulse unit is operated within its power rating, it is unlikely to be distinguishable in a precisely level-matched A/B blind comparison with most any other arbitrary amplifier.

                    One might then ask if the same would apply to CD playback equipment?

                    For example, Pulse Audio also sell this CD player: [ http://pulse-audio.co.uk/5051259017900.shtml ]

                    Has anyone performed a precisely level-matched A/B blind comparison between the CAD system and an inexpensive player like the Pulse unit (or something at the low end from a mainstream brand such as this Yamaha product [ http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/aud...on/?mode=model ]) - or even the Sony CDP-101 that A.S. has mentioned that he still uses?

                    If so, what were the results and, if you could distinguish a difference, exactly what differences did you hear and with what program[me] material?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ripping unfo

                      Hello, nice to have you here.

                      Originally posted by -CAD- View Post
                      The CAT contains a CD slot on the front panel for "ripping" CDs to internal memory. Everything is automated - just insert the CD in the slot and it will be copied to memory and all metadata will be downloaded from the internet. The CD is then ejected and you can save the CD for backup if you wish.
                      A couple questions about ripping: as it will be an once-and-forever action, do you use any technique to ensure the best possible extraction, like for example slower reading speed, double reading and comparing results or verifying them against AccurateRip database when available?

                      Is it possible to choose the metadata database to contact (CDDB, Gracenote, FreeDB etc...) and to insert or edit manually them, as sometimes the ones available are very poor, incomplete or wrong, especially for classical (confusion between performer and composer in artist field, no correct identification of opus and movement in track name etc...)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Dealer visit!

                        Originally posted by IMF+TDL View Post
                        If you've been following this forum, you may have noted that A.S. has been touting the performance and value of this amplifier from Pulse Audio: [ http://pulse-audio.co.uk/5051259017924.shtml ]. Further, he has suggested that, when the Pulse unit is operated within its power rating, it is unlikely to be distinguishable in a precisely level-matched A/B blind comparison with most any other arbitrary amplifier.

                        One might then ask if the same would apply to CD playback equipment?

                        For example, Pulse Audio also sell this CD player: [ http://pulse-audio.co.uk/5051259017900.shtml ]

                        Has anyone performed a precisely level-matched A/B blind comparison between the CAD system and an inexpensive player like the Pulse unit (or something at the low end from a mainstream brand such as this Yamaha product [ http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/aud...on/?mode=model ]) - or even the Sony CDP-101 that A.S. has mentioned that he still uses?

                        If so, what were the results and, if you could distinguish a difference, exactly what differences did you hear and with what program[me] material?
                        Hello,

                        This is why we have dealers! : ) Please feel free to bring ANY CD playback equipment you wish to any of our dealers and do a comparison yourself.

                        Best Regards,

                        Scott Berry
                        www.computeraudiodesign.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ripping strategy

                          Originally posted by Nessuno View Post
                          Hello, nice to have you here.

                          A couple questions about ripping: as it will be an once-and-forever action, do you use any technique to ensure the best possible extraction, like for example slower reading speed, double reading and comparing results or verifying them against AccurateRip database when available?

                          Is it possible to choose the metadata database to contact (CDDB, Gracenote, FreeDB etc...) and to insert or edit manually them, as sometimes the ones available are very poor, incomplete or wrong, especially for classical (confusion between performer and composer in artist field, no correct identification of opus and movement in track name etc...)
                          Thank you, Nice to be here!

                          Hello,

                          The CAT uses an in house customized version of dBpoweramp. This is, in my opinion the best option for ripping CDs.

                          All CDs on the CAT are ripped in secure mode which uses the following technologies to ensure the best rip possible:

                          AccurateRip: an online database of results from other peoples ripping, using these results the data you get from your rip is compared against others. This gives you a rip with almost certainty that is error free.
                          The CAT CD drive uses C2 error pointers. This is a feature of the CD drive that can report to the ripping program if the last read block contained errors.
                          Read the CD multiple times. More often than not errors will change each time they are read, they can then be detected and recovered by reading multiple times.

                          The CAT uses PerfectMeta which I feel gives the best results of any option available. PerfectMeta uses three premium (pay for use) meta providers: All Media Guide, SonataDB (Classical) and GD3, in addition to MusicBrainz and freedb.

                          Metadata mistakes do happen and yes of course you can go in an manually change metadata and album artwork on the CAT.

                          The CAT also uses an industrial CD drive We have tested many many CD drives and the drive we use is the best we have found.

                          Best Regards,

                          Scott Berry
                          www.computeraudiodesign.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Adding music

                            Originally posted by pkwba View Post
                            Hello,

                            Is it possible either copy files with music (cd-wave, hd-wave, aiff, flac alac) to CAT's memory (e.g. from pendrive) and then play them directly from this transport without any additional computer aid?

                            Best Regards

                            pkwba
                            Hi,

                            Yes, of course. You can add music to the CAT in the following ways:

                            1) Inserting CDs into the front panel and ripping them.

                            2) Have music on an external USB drive (any kind) and plug it into the CAT. Then copy the music form the external USB drive to the internal drive(s) of the CAT (or external Ethernet connected NAS), and it will automatically be imported and ready for playback.

                            3) The CAT is setup so that the internal drive(s) used for music storage are shared with everyone on the same network. Any other computer (Windows or Mac) that is connected to the same network as the CAT will have full access to the CATs music storage drive(s). If you download or have music on another computer all you have to do is copy and paste that music to the CAT and the music will be automatically imported and ready for playback.

                            Best Regards,

                            Scott Berry
                            www.computeraudiodesign.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              CAT preamp?

                              When the CAT is used as a preamplifier, will the loudness be regulated in the digital domain, e.g. by reducing the loudness will the bandwith be reduced too?

                              Comment

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