"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
See more
See less


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #61
    Ignoring the primary limitation - the room itself

    Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
    It's my experience and view that Harbeth speakers aren't usually a 'first purchase.' many/most? owners have done the audiophool 'thang' and come out the other end much wiser. Audiophiles/Audiophools?
    Guilty as charged.

    Reading reviews from the 1950's to the early 1980's I recall the manufacturer used to publish the relevant performance data and the main job of the reviewer was to check that data and provide a technical explanation of the product.

    Like DRANCE, I have recently done some DSP tests - with REW, Dirac and a 50 StudioSpares microphone. Unusually, no peaks, but a dip at 60-100Hz, that I could hear easily before testing, mostly cured by moving the seating position forward about 2 feet. Otherwise, surprisingly OK.

    That said, I can never recall reading anything about DSP or room correction in an audio magazine. Obviously not commercially worthwhile. Alternatively, it could be argued that the publisher would not want to admit that all the audio they've previously persuaded you to buy sounds like <expletive of choice> if you haven't fixed your room acoustics.


    • #62
      Trusting objectivity

      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      I opened my micro-talk in Rotterdam last week by saying that were I the audience, in the market for quality hifi equipment, reading the audio media would simply confuse me at best thanks to contradictory opinions, and perhaps dissuade me from buying anything at all. The point I made was 'just who can you trust?'.

      The talk was recorded in high resolution 4k MP4, which we have now standardised on. We've upgraded our non-linear editing software and if we can find a practical way of editing it, maybe I can place that element here?
      Please do post if you can I'd love to hear it. As far as trust, I don't know it's got to be a nightmare for the average consumer. I do like the Harbeth approach whereby they reach out to the consumer via the user group to explain the issues in a objective and practical way. Seems like a consumer could trust a company doing an honest business in that manner.