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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The professional way to evaluate loudspeakers?

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  • #31
    'Depth' is an illusion?

    You’re absolutely right delgesu.

    Music has none of this fictional hifi concepts of “depth” etc. Isn’t depth etc. conjured up by the skill of sound engineers and technicians? Stereo is a phantom image after all isn’t it? I’ve read many letters to editors of hifi magazines by poor consumers who complain that they cannot perceive depth in their hifi systems etc. The truth is, there is very little of “this” in most recordings, except the nerdy ones tailored for the hifi equipment fetish-ed and fraternity.

    Personally I think these concepts of “image”, “depth” are spun and perpetuated by some retailers (who play recordings with plenty of it during demonstrations) and manufacturers to keep people on the hifi merry go round. Sure there are speakers which can do it better than others, but it’s just the ability to reproduce a “trick”.


    • #32
      The 'smell' of the live sound at home?


      100% my opinion!

      additionally let me tell you that i lately was informed in a german music/hifi magazin by former engineer mr. heinz wildhagen (nearly 60 years engineer/producer for the famous german "deutsche grammophon" label) that ZERO records sound like the real performance at the recording venue (and he mastered/recorded/produced thousands of records). any master tape is mixed, some conductors want to highlight specific instruments or modifications whatsoever.

      my conclusion after a lot of years with hifi and even more with music is that it is an illusion trying to recreate the "real location" in my head while listening to hifi. BUT: it is possible to identifiy the "smell" of the real thing concerning colours, timbre and real voices/instrumental sound. that´s it. and in the best case you enjoy this with a nice pair of Harbeths.

      Harbeth M40.1-Naim NAC52-Supercap-NAP 135-CDS2-XPS


      • #33
        The sound of 'real' and 'artificial' instruments

        I agree with both delgesu and kittykat based on my own experiences at symphonic and other live concerts.

        A distinction is often made between the live sound of "real" instruments and recordings which feature electric and electronic instruments. Maybe if we accept that all recordings are "artificial", the apparent dichotomy between the two becomes less important.

        A question, however: why is it that a Harbeth sounds "better" even when reproducing a non-acoustic instrument? Because I think it does, but it seems more difficult to explain why.


        • #34
          You can smell the wood of the violin on the Harbeth

          Originally posted by delgesu View Post

          BUT: it is possible to identifiy the "smell" of the real thing concerning colours, timbre and real voices/instrumental sound. that´s it[/U]. and in the best case you enjoy this with a nice pair of Harbeths.

          Yes couldn't agree more on that with you Delgesu. Harbeths reproduce the natural colour, tone & timbre of real acoustic instruments & voices extremely well & is the reason why i am still so enamoured with Harbeth after so many years.

          Like my buddy always say; you can almost smell the wood of the violin or cello on Harbeth. No other spks can do the above mentioned quite like a Harbeth. Not even electrostatics or Ribbons. But not many people know how to discern the natural colour, tone & timbre of real instruments & these people often say Harbeths are coloured when in actual fact they are simply too used to coloured spks that distort the tonal truth of real instruments.


          • #35
            Sound stage and depth

            Soundstaging and depth are both very subjective perceptions. In my observation and experience mixed with many type of audiophiles, different person detect both differently. If a hifi setup being detected with excellent big wide soundstage and depth by person A but person B may detect small narrow soundstaging and no depth from it. This all depend on how a person perceive his feeling from reflect or indirect sound. It is also happen on soundstage height. Same detect soundstage above speaker and some detected soundstage below the speaker in a same hifi setup.

            Anyway, above mentioned is no longer bother me. When listen my Harbeth setup, all thing come out so natural, beautifull, always feel I am in a live musical event and totally into the music and nothing else can better than this "live" feeling...bath in music and purified into music....

            mr. heinz wildhagen.....i remember his name in my DG album collections. He made plenty of good recordings..
            "Bath with Music"


            • #36

              Originally posted by EricW View Post
              A question, however: why is it that a Harbeth sounds "better" even when reproducing a non-acoustic instrument?
              In my opinion, electric instruments and modern recordings can be harder to "reproduce" (think its more accurate to say “to listen to”) due to the inherent noise, distortion and loudness. Add further inefficient conversion of electrical energy from amplifier to some speakers equals hurt and pain to the ears. Example...i tried listening to Bryan Ferry’s Olympia (not the best recording) on a pair of mini-monitor speakers (which will remain anonymous) and I just couldn’t continue after 4 tracks. Subconsciously my ear and brain was trying to fend of the attack from the mini monitors, which took all my attention (and enjoyment) away from the music.

              I've put it back through the SHL5's now and I can enjoy the coolness of Mr. Ferry.

              {Moderator's comment: what your are saying in technical language is 'Harbeth speaker have lower coloration than conventional speakers'. As we all know.}