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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. 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.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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Perceived distance & C7s

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  • Perceived distance & C7s

    I've just yesterday upgraded from a pair of lesser speakers to the C7ES-3s. The C7s are great however, compared to the last pair of speakers I had, the music sounds considerably further away through the Harbeths. Music sounds crystal clear and beautiful, but it sounds like the musicians have all stepped back about 20 paces. I don't know how else to describe what I'm hearing. I find myself leaning forward, not because I can't hear what is being performed rather because I feel like I want to be closer to the music.

    Is this an effect of speaker positioning? Or of having a deeper, more 3D, more correct soundstage?

  • #2
    How far are you sitting away from the speakers? They perform much better when you are close to them and when they are away from walls. Also, toe them in, so you can just see the inside sides of the cabinets.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by evs71 View Post
      .... but it sounds like the musicians have all stepped back about 20 paces....
      I asked about the same thing and HarbethPR (I think it was Trevor) referred me to here You may also want to consider moving the speakers a bit more closer to each other.

      ST

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      • #4
        Originally posted by evs71 View Post
        I've just yesterday upgraded from a pair of lesser speakers to the C7ES-3s. The C7s are great however, compared to the last pair of speakers I had, the music sounds considerably further away through the Harbeths. Music sounds crystal clear and beautiful, but it sounds like the musicians have all stepped back about 20 paces. I don't know how else to describe what I'm hearing. I find myself leaning forward, not because I can't hear what is being performed rather because I feel like I want to be closer to the music.

        Is this an effect of speaker positioning? Or of having a deeper, more 3D, more correct soundstage?
        Hi,
        mind me asking, except the above distances (speaker between, speaker to listener, speaker to wall) what does your room measure (height also)?
        Then what amp do you use, and finally which were your previous speakers? Harbeths are tuned to deliver this "laid back" (actually every BBC voiced speaker does so) but not to a degree to make you feel like being in a ...cathedral, far away from the performers. Use recorded voices to judge, instruments won't give you the measure.
        Regards,
        Thanos

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        • #5
          Balance and coloration

          I don't think this has anything at all to do with listening distance. What you have become used to is a certain balance of energy on your old speakers across the sonic spectrum. It may be the consequence of having been exposed to one or both of these issues:
          1. Almost all (contemporary) loudspeakers are adjusted in the design process to present themselves as forward, the performers seeming to take a step closer to you. That's what sells speakers under demo conditions to relatively inexperienced listeners*. This grabs and holds your attention, but it is not what you'd actually hear at the recording, and it is fatiguing after longer exposure and/or ...
          2. Whatever you were used to was colored, that is, it has a particular quality of sound which manifest itself as loudness in some frequency band which in turn gave your ears a subconscious cue that the performers are nearer to you than they would actually be at the recording. As you say, as if the performers had stepped towards you. 1 and 2 can apply simultaneously - the result is the same: an over-projected sound.

          I've covered this subject in great detail here (as mentioned above) and I'm certain that's what your hearing. This is an exceptionally important document. Please take a particular look at my 3D picture marked 'pinched, pushed or shouting'. It's very easy to demonstrate on voice just how the image is really correctly positioned front-back on the Harbeths, but if your preconditioning through long exposure to your previous speakers is strong, you will need time to adapt - that's how our brains work. It could be that you will never be able to reset your depth perspective to neutral, in which case, please don't throw any money at amps, cables, stands or electronics: the Harbeth sound just won't be for you at this point in your audio career. It may well suit you in the future as we so often find.

          *I've seen exactly the same effect in TV retail stores when a relatively inexperienced consumer investigates buying a TV. I know, because I've seen the TV monitors in the studio, that every - yes I'd say every - domestic TV I've seen has the contrast set far to high and often the colour saturation too. But that gives a vidid, dramatic immediacy to the picture which sells those sets. The softer pictures with the lower contrast (say, set to 50% not 90%) are in fact correct - but not one consumer in a thousand would know that.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

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          • #6
            Thank you for explaining my observation Mr. Shaw. I'll share a few other first day impressions.

            1. The clarity of sound at very low volume levels is astonishing. I can now distinguish details in the sound at levels far lower than I would have thought possible before the C7s.
            2. When I turn the volume low and walk out of my listening room, I am very surprised at how far the sound caries into the rest of the house. Additionally, while observing the sound at a distance, I can hear remarkable detail and clarity.

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            • #7
              I'm wondering about the physics of my last observation; It appears that the sound emitted by the C7s seems to carry very far, even at low volume levels. Could this be due to sound waves with low amplitude but high velocity?

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              • #8
                evs71, sound travels at the same speed in air, at high or low levels (soft/ loud). [it will be slightly different in water (and dangerous for different reasons if you are in the water eg. if a hand grenade goes off)]. think what you might be hearing is the extreme resolution of the speaker technology, It is a fine balance just hit on the sweet spot. there will be speakers which sound "faster" (and there is no such thing as madonna will be singing at the same speed on your and my cd player). some speakers sound so tight and fast to me, notes loose all personality eg. WW small doggies.

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                • #9
                  More here...

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound

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