HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

The Harbeth User Group is the primary channel for public communication with Harbeth's HQ. If you have a 'scientific mind' and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - audio equipment 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 should be accessible to non-experts and able to be tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge. From a design perspective, today's award winning Harbeths could not have been designed any other way.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If you are quite set in your subjectivity, then HUG is likely to be a bit too fact based for you, as many of the contributors have maximised their pleasure in home music reproduction by allowing their head to rule their heart. 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 only, although HUG is really not the best place to have these sort of purely subjective airings.

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

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Oct. 2017}
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Harbeth at Swedish Show - an oasis

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  • Harbeth at Swedish Show - an oasis

    I have just come from Sweden's main Hi-Fi show here in Stockholm. I already own a pair of P3ESR's and have ordered some HL5's which will arrive either in March or September (Rather a big difference!) according to the dealer here. Well, it was my first ever show and maybe my last. To be honest I got bored very quickly of the mainly awful music and ugly gear, but then i came to the Harbeth room. What a relief when i was met by such natural , beautiful sound quality and 'Normal' looking superbly made speakers. I use my P3ESR's in my recording studio and have never listened to them in any way other than a very near field setting. They were fantastic with space around them, a huge rounded sound. The Hl5's had a similar sound print, just bigger. I began to think that if Harbeths were not in production i would be at a loss to know what to get, both professionaly and in a domestic setting.
    Good job Harbeth, you made an Englishman abroad proud and grateful (Now how about a discount?).

  • #2
    The British sound

    Haha that's a good one.....but honestly speaking, British loudspeakers (esp those in the BBC guise) are generally more musical & tonally accurate than speakers from elsewhere regardless of price or size. It was an acknowledged fact in the 70s & 80s & still is today IMHO.

    And Harbeth is British sound at its best! Unbeatable midband & musicality. Oh and the classic BBC thin wall cabinet is still the most beautiful IMHO.

    {Moderator's comment: the real secret of the Harbeth sound is the exclusive Harbeth RADIAL™ cone material.}


    • #3
      The Harbeth magic = cone technology

      Originally posted by Gan CK View Post

      {Moderator's comment: the real secret of the Harbeth sound is the exclusive Harbeth RADIAL™ cone material.}
      I have to agree. Since acquiring my Harbeths, I've listened to other speakers, many of which sound "good", but none of which sound quite "right". There's a certain something about a Harbeth that is conspicuous by its absence in other speakers, once you get used to it.


      • #4
        Yes i do believe that Harbeth's RADIAL driver is currently the finest cone driver available. No other speakers deliver a more naturally transparent, tonally correct & pure midband IMHO. Not even electrostatics or full ribbon speakers.


        • #5
          The exclusive Harbeth RADIAL™ project

          Well, it is no accident that the RADIAL™ cone technology is what defines the sound of a Harbeth. And as that technology is our own invention and not available to any other speaker company, it's obvious that if you want that clean sound, you have to own Harbeth!

          At the start of 2010 I committed to scanning to PDF and shredding all the technical documents we generated during the development of the RADIAL cone. One document alone is over 500 PDF A4 pages long, and the whole RADIAL project probably over 1500 (I'm still scanning, page by page). I wish I could share it with you but it lays out in minute detail every incremental technical step and would give a competitor the precise formulae.

          One thing you should always remember is that the path to Harbeth's RADIAL™ material was part Government funded. The govt. does not dole out money without strings. In our case the deal was that we were bonded to a department in the university, under the direct and personal supervision of the Professor and Dr. running the department, and with three allocated ex-graduates who worked exclusively for Harbeth. In effect, a govt. funded knowledge transfer arrangement from academia to industry. And our every step was technically peer reviewed in formal meetings chaired by me or the Professor (alternately) with at least one representative from the govt. fund holder seeking 'best value' for the taxpayer's involvement. So the result was a real technical solution, not marketing BS.

          As for whether the taxpayer should have been funding such a commercial scheme, we have paid much more in corporation tax (let alone payroll tax and export income) over the years than the government invested in the scheme so it is a truly excellent return on public investment. There is no possibility that even the most gifted engineer could stumble across the material secrets of the RADIAL cone - it requires man-years of incremental knowledge building.

          One of my ambitions for this year is to be able to expose more of the RADIAL project, without of course compromising commercial secrecy. This has never been done by us before. I'll start by selecting page 5 of from the 331 page PDF covering our correspondence and interface with government. At each Management Meeting we had to give technical, financial and commercial presentations to the group. At one, my then graduate colleague laid out four possible outcomes for the project to the Meeting comprising Harbeth (me), the graduates, Professor and government representative - see attached scanned fax. The entire RADIAL research project was approached and written-up in similar direct to-the-point objective language. There is not one subjective word in the entire report. Nor would you expect there to be - it was a scientific study regardless of the subjective appraisal that the product would be put to in the listener's home. Turning RADIAL into a workable marketable product was my sole responsibility after the government funding had ceased.

          This cone project remains the most detailed, far reaching and carefully documented loudspeaker material investigation ever undertaken anywhere and is, as you know from listening, as valid now as when we first invented it.

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


          • #6
            Thanks for this bit of insight, Alan. I appreciate this approach to product development. Having managed a number of commercial software development projects, I know that a strictly objective approach isn't always possible.