"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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Harbeth not participating in athens "hi-end show of 2009". Or as it should be named "money show"...

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  • Harbeth not participating in athens "hi-end show of 2009". Or as it should be named "money show"...

    I believe that, what really disgraces designers of the so called "Hi-End" stuff, is the usual lack of sensitivity as for the world's sensitive pockets. So stupidly blind about what's coming? The aforementioned three day show of 2009, or -to put it correctly- Audio & Video products 2009 exhibition, had some main characteristics, such as:

    - Almost no modest systems playing and being proposed for visitors with prices written beside them.
    - Reference systems covering at least half the number of the exhibitors' rooms, costing usually the price of 1-5 Mercedes-Benz cars together (plenty of them much above 100.000 euros...).
    - Thousands of visitors getting around the 4 floors of a large hotel, more than 90% of them with an income -IMHO- less than half of the average American or European visitor's one. None of them seemed to be interested in buying. Just to spend a day, or two, killing time and boredom... So noisy almost all of them, when gathering in a room for auditioning...
    - Most exhibitors would be absent during lunch or rest, leaving behind relatives, young dolls or helpers of minimum or not at all technical knowledge about their exhibits.
    - The magazines, the dealers/distributors and the press stating the "Tremendous Success" of the show.
    - The thousands of leaflets/prospects of various products, that almost ceased to exist towards the end of the first day, carried away by visitors. A very nice way to accompany your evening tea or coffee time at home...
    - The -last but not least- hidden agony of "selling something" or of " he really interested" in the eyes of the exhibitors, trying to scan our intentions.

    So much money and time wasted. So many new products exhibited, So many people coming in and going out, chit-chating and commenting. But no sales, no orders, no follow-up visits to stores, not a handful of results...

    I do not wish to compliment Harbeth for what they do or how they do it. Nor I would like to defend them. I just know I can easily afford to buy from them (which of course I've already done), while I need to spend just a little more to drive their speakers to life more than well.
    And certainly -at least for the time being- I would strongly disagree with any criticism against them, should anyone keep it for those who spend "Money for Nothing". Respect of the vast consumer society, cultured or not cultured, comes firstly from self-respect as a designer, a maker or a seller.

    I'm sorry, I don't intend to pay a visit to the next year's show. If I want anything, I'll go myself to the local Harbeth dealer, or any other dealer, where I can face- to- face examine "what is what".

    I thought that music reproduction should be an affordable door to every soul on this earth, not a privilege for Lords or Magisters of any kind... But seems like the "Magicians of quality equipment" have forgotten it...

    Thanks for reading my point of view,


  • #2
    The charming Greek audio scene!

    An old post but one which caught my eye since I am in Greece at present.

    There are some very rich Greeks - this is a society with a growing disparity between a tiny proportion of very rich and everyone else. That tiny proportion could afford very high end gear but I'm not sure where they buy it. There's an active audiophile society that I should probably try to hook up with.

    The market for the more ordinary stuff from what I can see tends to be dominated by the usual AV home theatre systems but they are putting eg Focal in these. I didn't see a lot of bookshelf mini monitors, which struck me as odd in a country with so many small apartments. Though anyone with the money to spend on even mid-fi would tend to have a larger apartment I suppose. There are good tube amps etc and good rival British speakers to be had in small speciality shops in Athens though I had trouble finding the Harbeth people and didn't get to hear any Harbeth last time I was there.

    So noisy almost all of them, when gathering in a room for auditioning...
    This raised a smile and chuckle. Greece, for all its many great points, tends to be a noisy country. Mild conversations are held at shouting dB levels, kids with oblivious parents scream their heads off, teen boys on scooters with broken exhaust mufflers hoon about apparently thinking the din sounds terribly macho, and tavernas and indeed most buildings have no soft floor coverings to deaden sound (note this is good for allergy sufferers). Greeks never seem to notice the noise while foreign tourists keep blocking their ears. In fact, according to Lonely Planet, noise tends to be viewed as a positive sign of energy and life in Greek society. And I haven't even mentioned the amplified electric bazouki bands. Most Greeks like their live traditional music LOUD in tiled tavernas with the acoustics of giant cocoa tins - think near rock band levels - probably to get over patrons shouting at each other :=) So outdoor live amplified Greek music on a warm night tends to be best here. Ha! I love the place.

    NB: I believe there is a small movement of traditionalists strongly opposed to the use of pickups and live amplification on traditional stringed Greek instruments.

    Are they still having an annual upmarket audio exhibition in Athens?