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"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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Adjusting Room sound using material damping methods (not DSP)

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  • Rockwool and machine gun sound

    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
    ... compartments are filled with Rockwool.
    There is some DIY info here if anyone is interested in building their own...

    Rockwool is even used in a Gatling gun post maintenance test facility. The guns are fired inside a building (>200dB) and Rockwool behind chicken wire have been found to be effective in toning down the high frequency aspects.


    • STands for C7ES3

      Hi kukakunga,

      Sorry to hijack this thread...

      I really like the look of the stands on which your speakers stand. I love their simple and almost rustic look with no wannabe techno-futuristic design. I am thinking to get such stands for my brand new C7 that I will receive next week. Are these DIY stands ?

      {Moderator's comment: You can always message the poster directly through the Harbeth User Group messaging facility and ask the question directly .....}


      • Many questions about room treatment - advice - please

        Hi Everyone,

        I have been discussing some acoustics topics in another part of the forum, "Harbeth at Home Pictures", and thought I should move the questions and my responses over here for the benefit of this discussion. I appologize if some of the text is a repeat of my earlier post.

        Would you be able to say what made the biggest sound improvement, treatment wise eg. was it the rear/ front diffusers, ceiling/ brick absorption. At what point did you decide it was sufficient?
        How long is your speaker cable? My advice better use longer interconnect cable instead of speaker cable.
        Nice setup and thanks for sharing. BTW what's that on the ceiling? What I can see there's stacks of uncovered (exposed) rock wool. If my guess is correct, please cover those rock wools. Those loose fibre will be all over your room (airborne). It's not healthy and long exposure could cause respiratory problems.
        Thanks Guys for your comments and concerns.

        Re: Speaker cable: I use Supra Ply 3.4s, this is a low resistance, sheilded, tinned copper cable. The length is unequal, one is around 18ft and the other is around 24ft. From what I've read, I am not very concerned with the length or the fact they are of different lengths, I've found no conclusive evidence indicating that this cable design will present any adverse effects. They are very reasonably priced at around $15/meter, the tinning prevents oxidation...which I really like, and they are very easy to work with. Long interconnects are not an issue since I've moved my rig off to the side, interconnects that long would be very pricey. I use an Eico HF81 integrated amp presently so pre-power is not an issue, I have numerous sources going into the amp so it has to stay close to the sources.

        Re:Danger!: I do intend to have everything covered to prevent any fiber release, I am still in the testing stage with my treatment......well, not changing much soon I will seal everything up. I found some good info regarding the uses of these mineral fibres in acoustic applications and the good news is that Rockwool is safe.

        Re: Acoustics Treatment: I first made a set of two broadband panels 2 years ago, those are the ones on either side of the TV. The effects were obvious with just those two, they did kill some of the room and prevented the speakers from refecting much from that wall, inherent in the design the SHL5 throws a fair bit from it's cabinet walls so this was considered. Standing next to one of these panels is's like a black hole for sound...and you "hear" it....or

        Recently I decided to complete the plans for more broadband absorption and also implement bass traps into the corners, you can see the large black fabric in the corner, this is a "superchunks" floor to ceiling bass trap made of triangles of Rockwool stacked up. The addition of the bass traps and rear panels happened around the same time, the biggest improvement overall was the bass trapping. There is a tipping point in treatment where you end up with adequate broadband absorption and bass needs to be tackled less you end up with a dull, lifeless, bloated sounding room. The bass traps need be factored into the HF absorption in that they have very large surface area, they are not in zones of high direct SPL's but still take a lot of energy out of the room. So, it doesn't look like a lot of absorption overall but it is placed in areas of high energy first reflection points, ceiling and wall behind chair especially, the idea being to suck it up there before it has a chance to bounce more.

        The bass traps bring it all together, everything snaps into focus and you suddenly find your Harbeth and 14watt Eico capable of incredibly tight bass extending down where you never imagined it could. The detail and ability to hear complex bass parts from multiple instruments and actually having a very distinct bass "image" surprised me a lot. That clarity down low also allows everything above to have it's own space without ever getting muddied or stepped on. And of course with all the HF absorption there is great low-level detail and the timing that comes from the lack of smear created in the room's reflective feild.

        The SHL5's are sometimes seen as speakers that create more of a tonal landscape and not so much precise imaging, not now, the image has incredible depth, width, and scarry sounding presence in the way performers appear on the stage, the tonal strengths of the speaker along side sometimes make it seem like the ghost of long dead singers has arrived and is floating 15ft behind your wall.

        The ceiling panel had a very specific impact on the upper mid-range in that I had always had a bit of peaky bahaviour, especially up around 2 octaves above middle c...somewhere around 1000Hz, this was partly due to the ceiling reflections and also partly due to having a large, soft, leather sofa as my listening spot. The sofa caused a surprising amount of shift around the mids, especially if you head was leaning at all into the back of it. With the sofa moved and the panel installed things are much better. My wife was pissed of course and questioned my need to move the sofa, so one day we moved it back and I had her listen a number of times....moving the sofa each time.....and it was pretty obvious to her that the sofa was very bad, so she conceded even though we lost a nice comfy place to watch TV in the process.

        BTW, yes the ceiling panel is basically a wood frame with thin fabric I had in the stairwell......then one day....light bulb moment, and another way to anger my wife. I just stacked Rockwool on top of it, it was ideal because the frame did allow for some reflection and dispersion rather than totally absorbing, I didn't want to overdo it with too much damping.

        Speaking of which.....after I had installed the bass traps, ceiling panels, and everything was mounted I was confronted with some doubts. The room felt heavy on my ears, not natural, but at the same time was amazing when I listened to music at moderate volume. It was also cool how intelligable conversation from across the room was, it sounded half as loud but was twice as easy to understand! Same with my TV, the thing was imaging like a champ! wife's reaction was to demand I take it all down and that it was freaking out her brain....and right she was, we were not used to how it sounded. Within two-three days of listening a lot I soon became acclimatized and didn't notice it much any more, my wife took a bit longer but now when we walk into the room there is nothing odd about it at all, it does take some time and I suggest to anyone doing treatment to give adequate time for your brain to adjust, I've seen too many folks give up after either putting too much treatment up or not waiting long enough before making changes, be patient, methodical, and know why you are doing any particular thing, at least in theory.

        One more observation about the sound now, I used to listen at low levels, late at night, and the presentation was quite nice, with the treatment in place that is no longer the case. The levels I was at before sound distant, disconnected, and small. When you make part of the room dissapear you also have to realize that you've taken what used to be a mixed ambient sound feild, room reverb+reverb in recording, and removed a good portion of it. You are left with the sound of the room the recording was made in, and to me, that's the goal right! So, a bit more volume, not that much really, is necessary to bring the detail on the recording up to a level that convinces your brain that you are in THAT space and the information is adequate that your brain has no issue with it. When that happens, at moderate, confortable, volume, you really feel you are there and you really here detail....I now know what detail is in a much more significant sense.

        I also know that when I hear folks talk about detail, and I see bare walls and hardwood floors, there is no possible way to have detail under those circumstances, no matter how expensive the gear....and it's a shame because I see so many pictures of super expensive systems set up in terrible rooms, and I can hear in my mind how much smearing there is and how much bass bloat there is no matter what those 8 x 12 inch driver inspire visually.

        A couple more things I thought I'd mention. The pseudo-diffusor in back of my listening position is more for looks than as an actual mathematically designed element. A real skyline diffusor has specific depths and arrangments for each "block', this was an experiment just for fun and it likely has limited effectiveness. In general, diffusion of any type, QRD, Skyline, or Poly, needs more space from the listener. I may attempt to build a couple of polycylindrical diffusors to place on either side of my absorbers in back of my chair, not so much that I need them but I would like to try a build and since they will not absorb any more they can only improve the overall room response. They would be positioned on the wall not far off axis so would be diffusing at a good first reflection point.

        I also plan to put a half "superchunk" trap behind my rack in that corner, I did an experiment with adding one of my OC703 panels to that corner and made comparisons in my vinyl playback with and without the panel acting as a bass trap across the corner. The concern was that my turntable was close enough to the corner to be effected by bass buildup, as you can see I have placed the TT as far out on the rack from the corner as possible but did notice quite a difference with the panel, there was less mud to a great degree. So, I will built the bass trap and possibly have one panel across the brick to prevent reflection across the range from that wall to the rack. As you can see my rack is an ikea butcher block affair, it is sturdy and with a 100lb marble slab on top plus my 100lb Lenco TT it has quite a bit of mass keeping it stable, that's not to say that it does not have some resonant frequencies that could be diminished from adding some obsorption behind it....just in case.


        • Curtain Room Dividers?

          First, thanks to all who contribute here. We’ve found this forum a valuable and refreshing resource. We hope some of you may be able to assist us better understand, and potentially tame, some or the errant sounds in our proposed listing space.

          As illustrated in the attached sketch, we have a large L-shaped open floor plan (13m x 8m with 2.4m ceilings), the corner segment of which we would like to curtain-off during listening sessions.

          The room/house is very active: plaster over brick walls, tile on concrete floor, ¼” gipson ceiling (vaulted over proposed listening area) and very little soft furniture or curtains. The curved wall may also be an issue.

          We are presently keen on the HL5 and yet to be determined integrated amp and DAC. We realize, however, we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves as our proposed listening space may be ill-equipped to deliver the advantages of such an investment.

          So we are interested in feedback, especially on the value some floor-to-ceiling curtains to cordon off the area might offer in improving the presentation. Our listening interests are jazz, classical and traditional music, generally presented at moderate volumes.

          Other treatments contemplated are curtains or other acoustically beneficial window coverings for the room and an area rug in front of the loudspeakers. Possibly something with the ceiling as the segment over the proposed listening area is already of a different design from the adjacent areas, so architecturally might be easier to modify.

          Attached Files


          • Rearraging your room

            I always think the left and right speaker should have similar environments. Would it be possible for you to rotate the couch and speakers 45 degrees counter clockwise?


            • My experience

              That's not my experience Don. The sound sounds perfectly balanced and even, here. Perhaps that might be due to my room being pretty sound-sympathetic in the first place, though.
              Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


              • Room adjustment

                Originally posted by Don Leman View Post
                I always think the left and right speaker should have similar environments. Would it be possible for you to rotate the couch and speakers 45 degrees counter clockwise?
                Wow, folks are thinking. Thanks. We actually did give this some thought awhile back. Unfortunately, there are french doors on the curved wall opposite the short 8m stretch. Also, if you look at the image, the gradient is a stairway headed up, with a small hallway to a bathroom adjacent.

                It's never easy.


                • Absorptive curtains and Radio Drama studio experience.

                  For recording radio drama we used to use a large studio similar in size to your living area, but without the rounded corner. Using VERY heavy curtains suspended from the ceiling we used to achieve a very good separation between the "live" end with it's wooden floor, and the "soft" area with a carpeted area. We then had to use plexiglass reflective screens to face the curtain into the "live" area!
                  OK, now this was to create two differing acoustics for actors to work in but I think that there are areas in common with what you want to do. The floor to ceiling curtains we had to use to achieve a sufficient amount of sound absorption were very heavy. The outer curtain was a very heavy lined velvet cotton drape and there was an inner separate curtain as a fireproof liner. These worked incredibly well but cost a small fortune.

                  I think that no matter which seating arrangement you use, you may need floor to ceiling drapes as heavy as you can afford to retain a low reverberation time in the listening area as the reflections from the hard plaster will need absorbing before they can reflect again. If you were to curtain off the reflective window that would help enormously too.
                  One advantage of such a large room is that the bass performance should be very smooth, the curtains absorptive effect diminishes with frequency.

                  Once the curtains are in place you could juggle with the position of speakers and listening position before making them permanent.

                  "If all else fails, read the instructions"


                  • Drapes at a fair price

                    Thanks Paul,

                    Very helpful, encouraging. Nice to know there is some potential. Fortunately, the still functioning textile industry here and mom and pop shops doing all manner of industrial sewing and curtain jobs, we should be able to get some functional drapes for far less than the cost of a single Harbeth. Were that not the case, don't think we would be pursuing this at all. Just need to figure out that inner drape material. Here it could still be asbestos. I've read that wool is quite good for sound insolation?


                    • You can't beat mass!!

                      Weight is what you need!

                      I don't think it matters much if it's in one layer or multiple layers. The surface facing the listening area should have the more absorbent finish. The inside liner in the studio was there to comply with the strict fire regulations.

                      good luck and good listening.

                      "If all else fails, read the instructions"


                      • Acoustic Treatments for small listening room

                        Would anyone like to share their experience with acoustic treatments?

                        I recently auditioned some of the Harbeth line of speakers in a dealer's listening room and subsequntly decided to try the SHL5s at home. My hi-fi is located in a small room (3.2m (L) x 3.2m (W) x 2.75m (H)), chosen because it is neighbour-friendly (my basement is larger but is adjoined to my immediate neighbour).

                        The problem is that the room is sparsely furnished and comprises drywall and two windows (no curtains, just venetian blinds) resulting in a bright sound and a fatiguing listening environment.

                        I am considering acoustic treatments, but nothing too expensive. My thoughts are as follows:
                        • Add more furniture, e.g. bookcase, soft furnishings
                        • Acoustic panels:
                        What materials? (foam/rockwool/OC 703 fibreglass/egg cartons?)
                        What percentage of the room needs to be covered? (ceiling?/corners? etc.)
                        • Room frequency response:
                        Should I have the room measured or is this overkill for such a small room
                        • Short term solution is headphones (another minefield )

                        Thanks in advance for your input,


                        • Hello Chris,

                          Well, DIY rockwool panels about 10mm thick and a metre square in area make good reflection stoppers, placed on the points of first reflection. One per side wall, two behind each speaker (or one wide enough), two behind you (or one again), two on the ceiling if you can install them there, and a thick, heavy rug handles the floor.

                          Bookcases make fine substitutes and are nicer to look at.

                          Taming bass is the tricky part; you need traps of thickness measured in feet.

                          Your short term alternative is to buy little P3s instead, turn the volume down and don't bother treating your room at all; just decorate it the way you like to look at it. P3s are astonishingly forgiving (this is my approach. It's simple and free).

                          And of course, don't forget the G&T / glass of beer.

                          {Moderator's comment: don't forget that room treatment, esp. catching the side-wall reflections, is discussed in the current Harbeth User Guide included in the carton (and downloadbale too.}
                          Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


                          • Acoustic treatment - first a book case

                            Hi Ben,

                            Thanks for your input. I will probably start with a bookcase. I am also looking into what acoustic panel companies have to offer (e.g., GIK acoustics).



                            • DIY acoustic panel

                              Here's a DIY panel made by the designer himself...

                              Ben from UK. Harbeth Super HL5 owner.


                              • The room has a *huge* sonic influence

                                Mr. Shaw mentioned Vicoustic some posts ago.

                                I tried their Cinema Round Premium in order to dampen the back wall because I sit relatively near to it.

                                I can now truly say that the room is an unbelievably big part of the listening experience.

                                It is my first step, but the effect/difference is so big that I feel the urge to encourage others to focus on the rooms acoustics.