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Feb. 2018
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Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

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  • Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

    This item concerns the installation of a Harbeth M40.1m M30 (centre) and M20 (rear) studio monitor system for the UK's biggest TV programme The X-Factor - sister programme to Britain's Got Talent.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

  • #2
    Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

    Press release as it appears in What Hi-Fi magazine.

    http://www.whathifi.com/News/Harbeth...r-on-X-Factor/

    The story published by WHF is condensed from our full press release and high-res photo. Fuller details to follow.
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

      Here are pictures taken last week in the control room of the X-factor studio. Look out for sound engineer Robert Edwards name on the credit at the end of the live shows; new series starts this week! M30 is behind Alan's head.

      Concerning these pictures taken last week in the control room of the X-factor studio. Look out for sound engineer Robert Edwards name on the credit at the end of the live shows and many others typically big-audience live family "Light Entertainment" (LE) shows on a Saturday night; the new series starts this week! A happy user.

      >
      Attached Files
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

        BTW, or PR man Trevor was sightly misquoted by WHF .... the sound quality that they strive for on X-Factor is really excellent, doubly so considering the sheer complexity of a truly live show. Not only are they producing a 5.1 live feed for broadcast, but simultaneously they are making a two-channel mix-down to allow Sony records to publish commercial recordings of the live performance. Also, as the programme is syndicated throughout the world there are numerous other mixes which have to be supplied according to what individual TV stations require.

        Trade secret: When asked about a certain Mr. "SC" I was most pleasantly surprised to hear that the gentleman is a total perfectionist and everything is under his direct and personal control from sound to sets, lighting, costumes and musical arrangements. It's a real pleasure to be associated with perfectionists who will stop at nothing - cost unlimited - to achieve what they want. What a contrast with certain other broadcasters ....
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #5
          Monitor 40.1 - use in a small room ...

          As you can see, the M40.1 are hard up against the front wall in this control room. This is a very typical set-up, leaving a narrow walk way behind the control desk to access plugs and sockets on the back panel of the desk.

          A customer asked us today:

          'what is the smallest room suitable for the best sound of the M40.1 - some reviewers suggest larger rooms with the speakers far away from the walls: what is correct?'.


          I'd just like to explore this issue a little. First of all, the target listening room I have in mind when designing is very typical of a British living room - say, 5 x 4m - which by no coincidence is almost exactly the same as a studio control room, like the one in the FountainTV studio above. So, this means that there is a perfect synergy between the listening and design room size, the typical home listening room size and the professional monitoring studio size. I am not aware of any other brand that has such a clear vision of room size from design through to use. Those brands that design in huge impressive listening rooms result in speakers that are completely unsuitable for domestic use.

          Now, the issue that seems to confuse here is not so much room size, but room damping. Large rooms, by definition, have large wall/floor/ceiling surface areas. Every one of these surfaces will reflect sound. Small rooms, almost by definition, are filled with books, furnishings and fabrics which reduce the amount of exposed walls and soak-up reflections. Reflective walls are bad news: reflections add nothing to the hi-fi experience - they always degrade sound. So, if you want to hear more of the speakers and less of the room, the solution is not necessarily to move the speakers into a big room where there will be big reflections from the larger (assume untreated) walls, but to a room - possibly a smallish one with much crammed into it - where the walls and other surfaces will soak up those reflections. My spare bedroom/study (about 4 x 3m max.) has great acoustics because of the number of books, CDs and records therein.

          So, in the TV studio's control room what do we see? The speakers are quite close to the hessian-covered walls, but behind that hessian there is an air gap of about 5cms, and behind that there is some sort of fibreboard absorption panelling over the entire surface. Taken together, that wall treatment greatly absorbs reflections. So you see the issue is not the room size, or even how close the speakers are to the walls, but how speaker-friendly the walls are.

          In conclusion: I cannot design for big, empty, minimalist 'live' rooms because we don't live like that in the UK. I cannot simulate such a room. We can and do design for rooms with adequate absorption so to get the best out of a Harbeth speaker (and really, any good speaker) across the widest frequency range, the room should be as 'dry' as reasonably practicable in a domestic room. If a speaker is used in an environment that is significantly more 'live' than my design target (i.e a completely undamped minimalist open-space) then you cannot expect it to work as I intended. If you want to hear the speaker and not the room then you have to be aware of the room's potential to mess-up your listening!
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #6
            The X-Factor - officially the biggest UK TV show

            It's official - the BBC have been beaten into second place by their competitors, Independent TV (ITV). That means the made in surround sound, X-Factor, is now heard by more listeners than the BBC competing show buy an astonishing 2m viewers. A tribute to the excellent and involving sound production on X-Factor.

            For the technically minded, the show is made in 5.1. surround sound on the Harbeth M40.1, M30 and M20 set-up and then mixed down automatically in a DolbyE encoder to conventional stereo for those listening on stereo-only TVs.

            Audience figures here: http://www.channel4.com/news/article...th+bbc/3351102
            Harbeth PR,
            Harbeth UK

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

              Hello;

              I have two question regarding set up:

              - Why the studio chooses the center and surround M series (30 & 20) and not S-HL5? I mean are they better for surround generally? (The answer will help me when I choose for 5 surrounds)

              - Wouldn?t be perfect for surround 5 channels if all speakers are same model rather in X factor have different sizes (center M30/ surrounds M20/ L and R M40.)?

              Please note, as far I think for perfect surround production all speakers should be equally same model and size, and that in order to preserve sound quality when travel between 5 channels. I know the Center mostly is for vocals, but happened (many times) they contain music and strong sound effects. For example if the sound of air plane or car moving from left to the right and the center speaker is smaller than L and R, the middle sounded differently! Same thing with surrounds too.

              Any insight will be helpful.
              Sincerely and cheers.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                To answer ....

                If you watch the second video you'll hear sound engineer Robert Edwards talking about the centre channel. He says that the sound quality of the M30 exactly matches M40.1. Similar 8" unit, same tweeter so it should.

                Yes, in an ideal world all speakers should be exactly the same. These days the amount of sound mixed into the rear channels is much more than just background sound effects. It is almost the same level as the front for TV shows like X Factor because the audience is so excited.

                The SHL5 is a consumer product and it's much bigger than the M30.
                Harbeth PR,
                Harbeth UK

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                  Sadly, the first two clips (wide screen) played only for first quarter, so I couldn?t see all of it. Only the last clip (full screen) did play fully. Sorry.

                  Thank you very much for reply and helpful thoughts.

                  Cheers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                    Originally posted by moqadam View Post
                    ...the first two clips (wide screen) played only for first quarter...
                    Sorry to hear that. We've checked the playback here, and it streams and plays to 100% without difficulty. Maybe your internet bandwidth is throttled by your ISP.

                    Robert mentions the M30/M40.1 situation about 10% into clip 2.
                    Harbeth PR,
                    Harbeth UK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                      I guess my PC has issue with downloading sometimes, sorry for that.

                      Actually I couldn’t catch when they say about M30. However, still not convinced because M40.1 has bigger woofer and size too, compare to smallest M30, but I see your point. Anyway thank you very much for help.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mixing and matching M40.1 with M30 ...

                        The woofer size and cabinet size is irrelevant because, as already said, the centre channel is mainly about dialogue. Human voice has no deep bass, so it is not an issue that M40.1 has a 12" woofer and M30 an 8" woofer. The important thing is to match the sound character in the critical middle frequencies.

                        As the M40.1 and M30 have (almost exactly) the same mid/top drive units it is surely logical that you would combine the M30 with the M40 or M40.1 in a surround system as the Monitor series was designed to be just that - a series. What the sound engineer said was that the central image (the phantom image) was so good on the M40.1s that he sometimes forgot if the M30 was actually turned on. And when he did feed signal to the M30 the sound quality match to the M40.1 was perfect. This type of application was what the Monitoring series was conceived.
                        Harbeth PR,
                        Harbeth UK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                          Are you saying only voices? Well in that case yes the center wouldn’t be critical between the big L & R. But what if the center has powerful bass like explosions and music track no less than L & R? Same with surrounds?

                          For example, in Attack of the Clones at opening scene, the big jet with two small fighters, their sounds come from the surrounds and shift slowly to the front L & R with same soundstage. In Mission Impossible (96) some powerful explosions comes from the center, same with Lost World Jurassic Park.

                          The problem with modern compression makes the sound very thin (like DVDs), which make the center sounded weak, but not VHS (with Pro-Logic). In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader voice sounded very deep bass particularly with VHS, there are films have professional recording that demand powerful surrounds i think.

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                          • #14
                            Surround sound specifications and speakers

                            I am going to continue this thread about surround sound separately here.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Harbeth masters The X-Factor!

                              There is no link in your post above Alan, maybe edit it? Here is the intended link: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=713

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