HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you, like us, have a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be readily understood by non-experts and tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area. From Oct. 2016, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area will not be spell checked or adjusted for layout clarity. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters and Harbeth does not necessarily agree with the contents of any member contributions and has no control over external content.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Jan. 2017}
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X Factor (famous tv programme) and Harbeth ....

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  • X Factor (famous tv programme) and Harbeth ....

    The X Factor has one of the biggest viewing audiences in the UK. Produced by record company executives, Sony BMG records have first choice to offer contracts to all who make it through to the TV finals. Around 200,000 people apply as contestants. This is a 'big bucks' programme, a shopping window for the record companies.

    X Factor is truly live - direct from the studio to the transmitter and is watched by about one third of the UK population! It is also shown around the world on satellite channels. The programme gives young talent an opportunity to compete to win a recording contract and after several series has become something of a national institution with its wide range of music - mainly pop/soul/ballads.

    I'm really pleased to announce that starting last week, from the first live programme in the current series, X Factor is mixed, balanced and transmitted on Harbeth Monitor 40.1s, M30 centre and M20s rear and is mixed in 5.1 surround sound. Next door to the sound control room in the vision gallery where the Director switches the picture we see between cameras, he is listening on Monitor 30s.

    The story of how they came to select the Harbeth monitors after auditioning and rejecting all the big well known brands is very interesting. The sound people at Fountain TV (who make X Factor) wanted monitor speakers that were in the BBC sound tradition, that is, warm, good stereo, totally fatigue free, easy to work with, and 100% natural. They knew exactly what they wanted and were not prepared to compromise, and purchase decision to go with Harbeth was made solely on the basis of listening, extremely unusual these days. We were the last company invited in, and won the contract.

    This video gives you an idea of the size of the studio. About 60-100 microphones are in use at any one time, controlled by the Sound Supervisor and his Monitor 40.1/M30/M20z. From his mixing desk direct to air - live. Behind the scenes Interview with the sound engineers here.

    If you have a chance to listen to X Factor the sound is extremely good - warm, rich and smooth; perfectly balanced between the performers, the judges and the unusually natural sound of the excited audience. Doubly so because what you hear is live. Remember: the last person to hear the sound before it reaches your ears was mixing and balancing that sound on Harbeth 5.1 system. Proof that whatever type of music, the Harbeth sound is the answer. Keep listening!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Return visit to The X Factor studios

    Last week we returned to Fountain TV where The X Factor is made (truly live) to see how Robert Edwards was getting along with his Harbeth 5.1 system. Extremely satisfied as you'll see.

    I've always been curious how they play-in the various 'stings' and effects so it was very interesting for Jane to give us a practical demonstration. We filmed on rehearsal day (Friday 20th Nov 09) and the control room was busy. We didn't have time to use fancy microphones, only the camera inbuilt mic so the ambient noise level is a little high. The rear speakers are P3ESRs.

    You can watch the video as the second item on this page here. The Flash video runs for about nine minutes. Wait five seconds then press the play button to start.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK


    • #3
      Tonight's X Factor semi-final and Harbeth ....

      Broadcast under an hour ago, this hugely popular show is made with Harbeth M30, M40.1 and M20 in 5.1 surround sound. What you hear at home or on these clips was transmitted live-live balanced on the Harbeths.

      Here are a couple of clips ....

      Joe with George Michael

      Stacey with Michael Buble

      and Olly with Robbie Williams

      This programme is totally live - no delays - what the sound engineer balances arrives instantaneously at your home. He has total confidence in what he hears. And as you can hear, the perfect sonic balance between the vocalists and the orchestra needs great loudspeakers - hence our involvement! You can see the studio and meet the sound staff that create the sound we here in these videos here.

      We have a much higher quality recording which we'll upload in a few days.

      The X-Factor is hugely financially important to Independent TV (the BBC's national competitor) here which is why it has to be good!

      Don't miss the final on 13th Dec - the UK's biggest TV event!
      Harbeth PR,
      Harbeth UK


      • #4
        The X Factor final and Harbeth ....

        It's all over for the sixth series! With a massive TV audience of 20 million (UK population about 60 million) here are the reports about this national phenomena:

        The Times newspaper

        The importance of Simon Cowell (Producer, presenter) who conceived The X factor and set the world-class technical standard

        "Nothing like the BBC has broadcast all year" - The Daily Telegraph

        Here are some clips from the Final ....

        Round-up and Sir Paul McCartney (ex-Beatle) live and one of our favourites ..... (sounded great live on the M40.1/M30/M20 in the control room in surround sound). Rock, vocals, choral, orchestral, pop and jazz .... the Harbeths excel on all.
        Harbeth PR,
        Harbeth UK