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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Testing P3ESR SE

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  • #16
    Misunderstanding - now I hestitate to buy

    Originally posted by EricW View Post
    However, this is how misperceptions are continued and perpetuated.
    In the meantime I read the disussion in the parallel thread, so I am up to date concerning Mr. Shaws position to the SE topic.

    On the other hand I must say: as I am new to this forum and therefore quite impartial I also would have expected a sonic difference, as SE versions with technical changes always put in your mind an improvement over the standard version. Even retailers I contacted told me there was a sonic difference to more precision and freshness (!). One has to bear in mind that only very few people are readers in this forum.

    So I fear the only way to get rid of this misunderstandig is to only produce SE versions for the future. Or to provide all standard versions with the "special wiring". To be honest, aside from knowing now that there are no sonic differences I would hesitate to buy the standard version. Not only because reselling an SE version might be easier but as an enthusiast not all decisions in life depend on logics. **gg**

    Anyway, there are more important things in life to discuss ;-))

    {Moderator's comment: Harbeth just cannot win can it. Seems that honesty doesn't pay. We will not discuss this internal cable wiring subject ever again here as there is nothing to add. SE wiring slows down production but is mandated by some markets and we have to fit it.}


    • #17
      Does honesty pay?

      Originally posted by Reinhard View Post
      {Moderator's comment: Harbeth just cannot win can it. Seems that honesty doesn't pay. ...
      Not true. The honesty on offer at the HUG is highly appreciated. And commercial realities are commercial realities. There may be some apparent inconsistency between the two, but the world's a complicated place, and you're business people, not academicians or missionaries. I think that's understood, and not considered as a negative. It's just how it is.


      • #18
        A couple of thoughts crossed my mind this afternoon - a welcome break from working intensively on the simulator.

        1) I'm wondering how many qualified marketing people there are in the industry, like our youngest son. Clearly there are none on the other side of the desk. There is no doubt that even at his tender age, his three years at university has given him deep insight into human behaviour, and how it relates to consumption. The university turns out 'general purpose marketing people', and the universality and predictability of human behaviour means that he's set up for life working in any product area (he currently choses IT) from toothpaste to missile launchers. What we here (that means me, really) don't seem to be able to expose for the benefit of the consumer, is how their predictability en masse is the marketeer's open doorway. The OFC cable issue is a classic: the consumer wants to believe in that last drop of fairy dust. I have disappointed a would-be buyer. That's stupid of me. Won't happen again.

        2) We have failed to 'control the communication initiative'. That means that, (well intentioned) third parties speak or appear to speak with as much, or more, authority than us, the manufacturer. I really cannot understand why their voice is preferred and deemed more trustworthy and less biased (!) than ours.

        3) What audiophiles just cannot recognise is that they are extremely easy to profile from the marketees side of the table. Pick three and study them and you understand the entire market for audio gear. Although the product is (highly) technical the consumer's evaluation process is highly non-technical and hangs on phantom benefits like OFC cable*. The audiophiles thought and evaluation process is perfectly understood by suppliers. The type of colours, feel, packaging of the product - the choice of emotive words which appeal directly to the heart - it's all - repeat, all - honed to perfection.

        It's evident that even if I was chained to the PC 24 hours a day, bashing out pragmatism, based on David's cautioning about slow-moving human behaviour, I'm fearful that I'll be here saying the same thing from a bath chair in thirty years .... or is it more effective that it appears? We've just finished our most successful trading years in 35. Is the tide of reason slowly shifting in our direction? Or is that uncorrelated? I wish I knew!!

        * Did you know that all copper cable is 'OFC' whether sold as such? If oxgen present in the production process.............. VERY BIG BANG! People die.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #19
          Reputation for quality

          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          .... is it more effective that it appears? We've just finished our most successful trading years in 35. Is the tide of reason slowly shifting in our direction? Or is that uncorrelated? I wish I knew!!
          I had my knuckles rapped on this issue once before, when I realized my P3ESRs were not the SE version - audiophile that I was, I was concerned that I had somehow received an inferior product. I've since gotten over that feeling.

          I believe rationality wins out in the end.

          I believe a brand can rely on "marketing" in the traditional sense, or it can cultivate a reputation for quality and integrity (a deserved one). The latter may be the less conventional approach, but I think it can work at least in some cases. Harbeth is an example.


          • #20
            Speech test

            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
            The section on Speech Testing is here.

            May we suggest you read it first to get some background on the subject and then download the file please?

            Would you also have a careful close-up look at both tweeter domes to be sure that they have not been damaged or creased.
            Right - I have finally read the thread and downloaded the file from post #17 (there was another link on Pg2 but that did not work).
            The voices sound clear, very much in the room with me, non echoey, no harshness.

            Alan, I am not yet prepared to remove the grille to look at the tweeters just yet (there some trick to this which I had read on this forum) but quite sure what I am hearing is not damaged tweeters.

            I'll post my thoughts on the DAC received earlier this week in the DAC thread.
            Simpli-Fi: Kuzma>Nighthawk>LebenCS300XS>P3ESR