HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. 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 electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon 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, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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Harbeth Home Theater setup - please advise

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  • Harbeth Home Theater setup - please advise

    I have been reading through some of the past threads here on the HUG and am impressed with the level of discourse here. The general knowledge and signal to noise ratio seems higher here than on many other audio-related forums. With that in mind, I'm turning to this group for advice. Here's the situation:

    Like so many others, restricted space means combining my theater and listening room. The front speakers in my system are Martin Logan Summit X with Stage center, Descent i subwoofer and Helos 100 for surrounds and rears. All McIntosh electronics.

    While absolutely stunning in the theater application, I find the Summits less desirable for listening to music. Without dredging up a bunch meaningless audiophile adjectives, I just find my Harbeth 7ES-3s in my near field system (also McIntosh electronics) far more enjoyable for a wider range of music. It's not room treatment either. There is something about the tonal quality of certain instruments and especially human voices that I find disturbing and even a little irritating with the Summits. Of course, it's a speaker that is admired and loved by many, but it's not a good fit for me personally.

    So, I'm now thinking of switching them out as follows: Harbeth 40.1 for left/right, monitor 30 (or pair of P3ESR) for the center. I have two questions for the group:

    1) For a variety of reasons, the room does not lend itself to having P3ESRs as the surrounds. I currently have the Martin Logan Helos 100 in the ceiling, which works very well indeed. ( Do you think I will have a problem blending these as the surrounds/rears with the Harbeth speakers in front? Manufacturers talk about timbre matching, but I hear from many people that such matching is most important for the front speakers and isn't that important for the surrounds/rears, since they are used mostly for effects and ambiance.

    2) Have you had the chance to hear both Summits and Harbeths in a theater application and how would you compare the two? I am quite sure I will enjoy the Harbeths much more for music as I said earlier, but I am not sure whether this will mean taking a step backwards in terms of my theater audio.

    Thank you very much for any insights you can share.