"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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Audio editing, creation, analysing and manipulation software

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  • Audio editing, creation, analysing and manipulation software

    I'm surprised that there is no sub-forum on HUG covering what I think is one of the most fascinating aspects of sound reproduction, but if there is one, I can't find it! When I was a teenager in the 70s, what i would have given for the ability to have at my fingertips not only a computer, but one with a sound card and a means of editing and visualising audio. To think of the fantasy of open reel that I would never have embarked upon.

    I'm rather involved in some research at the moment, and I'd better understand the issue if I could visualise sound as an image. As part of a trawl for suitable software, I stumbled across this program which amongst other things allows you to record a sound, say a singing voice, then filter out overtones in the voice (or of course, musical instrument) and hear them in isolation. It makes the point that music is not pure single-pith tones, but a complex array of harmonics.

    Have a look at this.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    That's a fascinating video - thanks for posting it. If you ever wanted to give up the day job, it suggests you could produce a decent 3-minute single simply by sampling a 10 second vocal.

    As I am doing some REW analysis at home with test tones and frequency sweeps, mostly focusing on 30-500Hz, your video does bring back to mind how complex musical sound can be and to what extent it is affected by relatively small variations over the audible frequency response curve. If my system has a dip at say 60-100Hz due to room issues, which it does in a certain location, I suspect software like that shown is a far better way of getting to hear the impact, as the output from that part of the spectrum can be reduced or excluded completely.

    Unfortunately I have a day job, so due to lack of time (and expertise) I am probably unlikely to know. Never mind. I still smile to myself every time I use my Harbeths.


    • #3
      It's such a useful program, I just bought it.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK


      • #4
        Explains the cello

        Thanks for this fascinating video. It clearly demonstrates, I believe, the basic difference between two cellos I own.

        One sounds alive and rich, the other dull and monochromatic. The one must be rich in overtones, and the other not.


        • #5
          Tuva or Bust! Singing overtones.

          Regarding overtones my student daughter has just come back from tournee with her folk group to Irkutsk (Baikal lake), Buryatia and Mongolia. Their scenic local partners mastered singing overtones to perfection.

          It is unbelievable what sonic effects people can produce with trained throats in Central Asia.

          Also in Canada (especially 3rd part) -



          • #6
            BBC Radio 3 "Record Review" celebrates 60 years with a special edition on audio restoration on what was Record Store Day 2017. Did you know that?

            Programme here.

            10.30am Pristine Audio

            Pristine Audio founder Andrew Rose describes the extraordinary work involved in restoring old recordings to and beyond their former glory with examples from the 30s, 40s and 50s with artists including Alfred Cortot, Arturo Toscanini and Serge Koussevitzky.
            Fast forward to 1 hour 30 mins of the program to hear the above section on audio restoration.

            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK