"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, since deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to create an audible sonic personality in what you hear. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be 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 potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but on the face of it, any deviation from a flat response - and the frequency balance of tube amplifiers are usually influenced by their speaker load - is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral amongst a plethora of available product choices.

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 and pragmatism, HUG cannot be expected to be a place to discuss the selection, approval or endorsement of non-Harbeth system elements selected, knowingly or not, to create a significantly personalised 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.

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.

If faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians in your home and over Harbeth speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that intention is what this forum has been helping to do since 2006. Welcome!"

Feb. 2018
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Room treatment and speaker size

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  • Room treatment and speaker size

    Is it possible that In a poorly treated, highly reflective room, a smaller speaker (dislocating a smaller amount of air) would be a better choice than a larger one?

    When asking if the smaller speaker would be a better choice, I'm assuming a "purer" sound would be preferable to a "bigger" one (which, of course, depending on personal preference and/or type of music could be deemed more desirable even if less faithful).

    PS. All other things (loudness, equalization, etc) being constant.

  • #2
    As it happens, room reverberations are a problem above the so called Schroeder frequency. Below that, the problem is room modes (standing waves). Reverberant room behaviour can be treated with damping material, furnishings and the like. For room modes you need (large) bass traps, or, much better, dsp room equalization. Since, depending on room size, the Schroeder frequency is typically in the 100-200 Hz range, the answer to your question should be negative. The differences between a small and a large speaker are in the frequency range below the Schroeder frequency.
    This is not to say that small speakers are not advantageous in certain situations. Their main advantage is in small rooms, and not just for esthetic reasons. Room modes in small rooms occur at higher frequencies, whereas room equalization works best at lower frequencies: the higher the frequency to be corrected, the more localized to one listening position the correction will be.