"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
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Position of 40.2s

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  • Position of 40.2s

    I have finally ordered a pair of 40.2s, which should be here in about one month.

    Specially to those who have had the chance to hear to the 40.2s in different rooms or in rooms large enough to experiment with different positions, I would like to ask what you have found to be the optimal speaker to listener distance and the best speaker to speaker distance.

    I will be moving to a new house that is now in the initial design phase and I would like to plan for a good listening setting in our living room. I certainly have no interest in having a living room look in any way like a control or mastering room, but perhaps some few things (like size, proportions, and speaker/listener positions) could be addressed during the architectural design of the house.

  • #2
    Since no one seems to have responded to your query, let me just mention my experience with M40s (the M40.2s should be similar though a bit more room friendly, perhaps). I have my speakers 7 feet apart, and I listen sitting 4 to 4 1/2 feet from a line drawn from one speaker to the other - near field listening. The M40s are totally coherent at this close range. Rather than describe my room, I'll include photos once I've learned the process for attaching them. Meanwhile, congratulations on your purchase of the M40.2s and on the designing and building of a new house!


    • #3
      Congratulations with your new 40.2 and the opportunity to make adjustments to your new listening environment before it is even buildt. I have had my 40.2 for a hear now. They are very easy to integrate in my 25 sqm living room despite their considerable size. Speakers are placed on "long" wall apprx 50 cm from the wall and 2.5-2,7 meters apart. Make sure they have at least 1 m from side walls, or else I would have considered some room treatment. I sit apprx 3 meters from them. Untreated, all wooden living room from 1949. The play wonderfully in my room, at least on low to mederate listening levels. Should probably consider some measurements and possibly room treatment for louder listening (and possibly subwoofers as well). There is no bass boom with the 40.2, despite the speakers being large for my moderate rooom.

      Cannot provide advice on room design. The best of luck!


      • #4
        As oes77 says, the M40.2s should be easy to integrate into whatever room design you come up with, unless it's a very small room. But unless you plan to use them in a home theater system on which you watch movies featuring earthquakes and atomic explosions, I can't imagine a need for subwoofers.


        • #5
          Hi, I was away for some days. Thank you for your responses. Ned, you are listening very close to the speakers!

          After asking here i did some reading about small room acoustics. Most articles and information are related to studio design, which I believe has a different set of objectives as a "playback" room. I reread Linkwitz's AES paper on room reflections ( ), which i think is one of the most interesting and pertinent for home playback rooms. He notes the advantage of listening closer to the speakers (listening position A vs B on his paper) and avoiding walls within at least 1m. I believe a large distance from the back wall, like he has, is also important (this is recognized in studio and home settings), and he has around 2m distance from the front wall too.


          • #6
            I think Linkwitz - as you say, Madera - has some very pertinent things to say about the listening room. And yes, I am sitting rather close to my M40s. But it doesn't seem that close since all the sound - on decent recordings - seems to be coming from well behind the speakers. They virtually disappear. (This does not pertain to early stereo recordings in which the engineers tended to exaggerate stereo separation by having some instruments or voices firmly in the left speaker, and some firmly in the right). By sitting closer to the speakers one is able to listen at a lower volume which helps reduce the amount of reflected sound, I believe.


            • #7
              40.2 has a much firmer bass than 40.1 and less tendency to sound boomy. In my room 40.2 sounds best closer to the back wallthen 40.1. My room is quite big. I know the efficiency is the same for both speakers but in real life the 40.2 are a much easier load. Center-center 220 cm, front speakers to back wall 105 cm. Listening position to speakers ca 290 cm.
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