HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you, like us, have 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 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 can be readily understood by non-experts and tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge.

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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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Channel Imbalance

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  • Channel Imbalance

    Hi all, I'll be getting my long awaited P3ESR in 2 weeks time! As a guy who is extremely sensitive towards channel imbalance issue, I would like to know which component in a system has a higher percentage in contributing towards the channel imbalance issue? Thanks.

  • #2
    Though many would say a Preamp but I think room plays a big role in channel imbalance. I would list them as follows:-

    1) Preamp

    2) volume control

    3) room

    4) distance of each speaker to listener

    5) The source (i.e. cd player, LP player etc etc) -easily detectable by switching the cables

    6) The loudspeakers - easily detectable by switching the cables

    7) Interconnects or cables due to damage or bad solder -easily detectable by switching the cables

    8) Our ears. Easily detectable by a visit to your ENT specialist.

    Maybe that's why most preamps come with balance control.



    • #3
      Hi ST, thanks for your info. I conducted some simple test in my asymmetrical room and found out that I get channel imbalance on certain frequencies.

      BTW, it would also be nice to know how closely Harbeth speakers are matched during the assembly stage. Perhaps Alan can share us this info?


      • #4
        Did you use a test CD to find out channel imbalance on certain frequencies? Did you interchange the L/R speakers? And it is possible for the bass to be concentrated on one side of asymmetrical room. I used to notice that when I placed my speakers in my previous L shaped room. BTW, how serious is your problem because I usually use a good vocal test CD for accurate placement and don't really pay attention to precise centre after that. I have noticed in most CDs the vocal centre drifts to left and right between tracks. I wouldn't notice them unless I am looking for it but then that would kill your music enjoyment.



        • #5
          Hi ST, I downloaded test tones of various frequency, connected my laptop to an external DAC. When I measure the SPL, I only turn on one channel at a time. By measuring it from my listening position, I can record the measured result at various frequencies. If the SPL is positioned just right in front of the speakers, the measurement result from both speakers are pretty accurate (it's still subjective to reflected wave, but minimal). I've tried to swap the source channel, swapped speakers, etc...the channel imbalance is definitely caused by room acoustic. Nothing much I can do since most of the stuffs in the room can't be moved. I just hope the P3ESR which I'm getting next few days time is perfectly matched. :)


          • #6
            Originally posted by miniwatt View Post
            I just hope the P3ESR which I'm getting next few days time is perfectly matched. :)
            Better matched than any room could ever hope to be...


            • #7
              Hi Miniwatt

              it should be perfectly matched. if there are still "imbalances"

              1. as STHLS5 has mentioned, the balance control comes in handy
              2 try moving the less loud speaker forward a little or try
              3 sitting slightly more left or right for the "less loud" speaker to compensate (its like a balance control)

              i think i have a similar problem. my right ears seem to be picking up more energy than the left, and seems to be happening on totally different systems hence starting to belief there might be something wrong with the hearing.