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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"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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Blumlein (intensity difference) stereo

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  • Blumlein (intensity difference) stereo

    We've mentioned on HUG the observation that one defining feature of Harbeth speakers is the ability to listen to them far away or close-up. No matter what distance from them, even using them like giant headphones, the sound quality does not change. Indeed, unlike the majority of loudspeakers, up close and personal is a thrillingly natural sensation with Harbeths - just try it, but of course, adjust the replay loudness to a safe level.

    Whilst researching another subject, I found this interesting article on the very earliest concept of stereo sound, as invented by Blumlein, here. Take a particular note of the comments made about forming an equilateral triangle (60) between the speakers and the listener - a far sharper angle that we are use to.

    Also consider that, in a normal domestic set-up, this relatively close proximity to the speakers will allow them to make a dominant contribution to what is hear at the listening point, much reducing the contribution of sound reflected off the side walls and generally bouncing around in the room.

    When you think about it, the way we traditionally set-up and listen to our two channel hifi systems is hard to justify: we'd surely get a much purer rendition of the recording if we minimised the contribution of the listening room to what we hear, most easily accomplished by listening closer. And better stereo to. Also interesting to note how small a level difference (12-16dB) steers the image to the left or right. This of course is another aspect of how the miracle of the LP record performs.

    If you have not heard how amazingly intimate recordings can sound on your Harbeths 'up close and personal', try it. It's the cheapest genuine upgrade you can implement!
    Just how does 'stereo' work? And how can you manipulate a stereo audio signal to your mix's advantage?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Click image for larger version

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ID:	69563 How is this for a 'up close and personal' set up in my home office at the moment (See attached picture)? Distance to the ears: 62 cm. Distance from tweeter to tweeter: 110 cm. I also tried 85 cm (tweeter to tweeter), distance to the ears 70 cm, but that affected only the stereo image. The first set up I prefer. And it is indeed like having giant headphones, a very satisfying experience. Note that the speakers are located horizontally to have the tweeter at ear level. No (obligatoric?) equilateral triangle in the first mentioned set up. The base is approximately twice as wide.

    Maybe interesting to mention also is that -when working at home- I stream simultaniously to my Harbeths 30.1 in the living room. Walking from room to room I notice hardly any sonic difference between the speaker models - which I appreciate a lot, music everywhere.

    During the morning hours I often listen to live classic radio through the internet (See attached picture 2). What surprises and also maybe disturbs me a bit is, that absolutely all music that is coming from the radiostation sounds sonically the same. I can hardly detect any audible difference unless it is a very old recording. How do they do that? Or is it the limitation of the MP3 192kB stream?

    Bummer: I am not allowed to attach pictures.....

    {Moderator's comment: Can you take a screen shot of what pops up when you try and attach a picture and PM or email to us?}

    Updated with pictures.
    Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      Okay, will do so.

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      • #4
        Winfried, you should now be able to upload attachments. Some settings were reset to default restrictions while upgrading the forum software.

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        • #5
          I can see the attached image. Finally working. Thank you.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

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          • #6
            Eindelijk doet ie het. Dat is me al een lastige zaak geweest, die forum upgrade. Dankjewel om even te testen.
            Ivan - Web Designer Harbeth.

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            • #7
              To have the speakers near you there is something very nice to have and very simple, one of the best " audiophiles " things to have, small wheels in your stands. That way when you are going to listen to music you move the speakers to their ideal position, and when you finish you "park" them again in the bestplace in the room for them (the place with more WAF factor, and that makes more free space in the room ).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ivan.Haentjens View Post
                Eindelijk doet ie het. Dat is me al een lastige zaak geweest, die forum upgrade. Dankjewel om even te testen.
                Ivan - Web Designer Harbeth.
                Ivan: De thumbnails zijn -per vandaag?- verdwenen.

                Click image for larger version

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ID:	69612 Please, give me a break.....

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