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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"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 http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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The Bristol hifi show - 23-25 February 2018

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  • The Bristol hifi show - 23-25 February 2018

    It's nearly that time of year again .....

    http://www.bristolshow.co.uk
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    A.S. just a quick thought in regards to not being able to demonstrate Harbethís abilities with classical music for lack of interest in the genre, you could use popular film soundtracks such as Star Wars for example.

    Itís full of Wagnerian bombast and would go down a treat with the anorak brigade who have come of age during that series of films and subliminally been raised on symphonic grandeur without knowing it.

    From what I gather audiophiles and Sci-Fi fans are a heavily blended group, two birds one stone kinda thing.

    Film composers such as Williams, Zimmer, Horner, Howard, Barry, Nyman, Morricone etc etc are deft hands at scoring using classical musical instrumentation. The excerpts are short in the main and you can pull at the memories and heartstrings of the listeners visiting the room as well as the added bonus of stimulating their visual memory; a psycho-acoustic audiophile wet dream!

    Pushing things a bit further with your famous ABX switch and two amplifiers you could conduct some in-the-field testing with unsuspecting visitors to the Harbeth room.

    I see from the vendor list Yamaha are a no-show.

    Comment


    • #3
      Playout system for our two demo rooms ....

      Just collecting ideas as to what sort of playout gear/solution is in vogue these days.... we used a couple of high resolution personal audio players last year which were absolutely fine sonically but had rather small screens for these old eyes to read.

      All thoughts welcome, but whatever we use must be really simple to operate and of course, completely reliable!

      The fall-back which meets both counts is CD.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #4
        Chromebook mini laptop? They are cheap, have a very long battery life, and are lighter and start up faster than small Windows laptops. I think they are currently the most attractive ultralights. I recently bought one of the more powerful ones for my son, and these more powerful Chromebooks will also run MS Office. Make sure the SSD disc is big enough, or use an extra SD card with the music. My son's one has a USB C output so all you have to make sure of is that you have the right USB cable to connect with the usb input of the DAC/amplifier.

        Comment


        • #5
          These days I do most of my listening using "bubble upnp", and Android upnp app that I run on a Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire is by far the best value HD tablet and bubble is superb. It takes an extra micro SD card so presumably you can load one up with music and stream it (I've not tried).

          You have to send it to a upnp device like a Arcam rPlay (£400).

          The other winner is the Auralic Aries Mini (£450) that runs on an iOS app and a usb drive can be attached and indexed. It connects by usb or AES/EBU.

          Both require a local network.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by willem View Post
            Chromebook mini laptop? They are cheap, have a very long battery life, and are lighter and start up faster than small Windows laptops. I think they are currently the most attractive ultralights. I recently bought one of the more powerful ones for my son, and these more powerful Chromebooks will also run MS Office. Make sure the SSD disc is big enough, or use an extra SD card with the music. My son's one has a USB C output so all you have to make sure of is that you have the right USB cable to connect with the usb input of the DAC/amplifier.
            Interesting idea.

            How does one get audio out of the Chromebook. Not on he headphone output? We've been offered a fancy DAC if that's relevant.

            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ssfas View Post
              These days I do most of my listening using "bubble upnp", and Android upnp app that I run on a Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire is by far the best value HD tablet and bubble is superb. It takes an extra micro SD card so presumably you can load one up with music and stream it (I've not tried).

              You have to send it to a upnp device like a Arcam rPlay (£400).

              The other winner is the Auralic Aries Mini (£450) that runs on an iOS app and a usb drive can be attached and indexed. It connects by usb or AES/EBU.

              Both require a local network.
              How does the Fire connect to the pup box?

              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #8
                Supposing we were to use standard iPads, what software and digital to analogue choices? Or is the iPad headphone output deemed good quality? That would be a very easy solution....

                Whichever front end solution we select, we need a good quality analogue feed for the amp nut.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #9
                  In a show environment, you don't want to rely on anything which uses a wireless network.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                    In a show environment, you don't want to rely on anything which uses a wireless network.
                    Fair point.

                    I'm wondering why not approximate the system we had a couple of years ago ... Windows 10 tablets into which USB DACs are plugged?

                    Can we start thinking about the sort of "wow" music tracks that you'd like to hear at Bristol? I'd say, having sat through plenty of demos over the years, that the number one factor when selecting is a naturanless of sound, stereo image/depth and dynamics. Just the sort of thing you'd have found on a 1960s 'HiFi A go-go demo LP'. One doesn't necessarily have to like the music, but the recording has to be really cracking.

                    If you are going to make a suggestion, please, to make life easier here, could we actually have a link to hear it?

                    Just thinking back over shows, and I'm not being immodest here - I condider it to be factual - there are the occasional rooms with agreeable sound (amongt many which are simply dreadful), but visitior seeking natural sound i.e. being momentarily transported to the recording stage, can save their legs and ears and just head straight away to the Harbeth rooms. Then, exposed to natural, murder your ears elsewhere heading towards the bar for a stiff tincture before heading home.

                    Why 'natural sound' eludes so many speaker designers is a very big and interesting question.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                      How does the Fire connect to the pup box?
                      The Fire sees the upnp renderer on the network and you connect to it. I would take Dave's advise and avoid that route.

                      I think the Auralic Aries Mini is likely a good solution. It is an astonishingly good device as it:
                      (1) Is a brilliant streamer thanks to fantastic software, iOS only, so ideal for an iPad.
                      (2) The software is normally used to stream from Tidal or Qobuz
                      (3) However, you can attach an external usb drive and it will index it with its own software, and the usb drive will be seen as a network drive.
                      (4) It has a built in DAC so you can take an analogue or digital output.

                      The UK distributor is Audio Emotion. The main guy is Gary Cargill and he is a delight to deal with (like all audio dealers).
                      He will be down at Bristol. I'm sure he will be happy to explain how to set one up at a show, he has probably done it dozens of times. He may even lend you a unit as he will appreciate (with your convincing manner) the exposure use on the Harbeth stand will provide.
                      https://www.bristolshow.co.uk/brand_...sso?brand=1134

                      p.s. I should add that the Mini can find and attach NAS drives, which is one of its main features, but you wouldn't be doing that at a show.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        Fair point.

                        I'm wondering why not approximate the system we had a couple of years ago ... Windows 10 tablets into which USB DACs are plugged?

                        Can we start thinking about the sort of "wow" music tracks that you'd like to hear at Bristol? I'd say, having sat through plenty of demos over the years, that the number one factor when selecting is a naturanless of sound, stereo image/depth and dynamics. Just the sort of thing you'd have found on a 1960s 'HiFi A go-go demo LP'. One doesn't necessarily have to like the music, but the recording has to be really cracking.

                        If you are going to make a suggestion, please, to make life easier here, could we actually have a link to hear it?

                        Just thinking back over shows, and I'm not being immodest here - I condider it to be factual - there are the occasional rooms with agreeable sound (amongt many which are simply dreadful), but visitior seeking natural sound i.e. being momentarily transported to the recording stage, can save their legs and ears and just head straight away to the Harbeth rooms. Then, exposed to natural, murder your ears elsewhere heading towards the bar for a stiff tincture before heading home.

                        Why 'natural sound' eludes so many speaker designers is a very big and interesting question.
                        You need a selection of genre to keep the customers happy. Some Classical - piano, full orchestra, opera etc, Jazz, Blues, Country, Female vocals etc and some speech to prove a point. You need a variety because if a visitor doesn't enjoy the genre playing, he is likely to leave rapidly.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          https://youtu.be/n0eY44iinBc
                          https://youtu.be/KBIdw7e4jg0

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you want to pander to audiophiles, start with the recordings on this list: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...-lp-list-2017/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That Chromebook has a digital usb output (USB C, so a different connector). If you are indeed going to use the Benchmakt DAC 3, it has a USB input (but get the right cable).

                              If you also intend to use the Yamaha for the room with the P3ESR, I don't remember if it is the AS801 with usb input or the AS 701 with only optical and coaxial digital input. If the latter, you will need a source with optical or coaxial output.

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