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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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