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Thread: UK hifi shows and exhibitions

  1. #41
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    Default Music or Accuracy lovers?

    There is nothing wrong with people feeling not satisfied with any amplifier. If your hobby is to reproduce the true representation of a live concert than no amplifiers or even speakers can ever achieve that. The challenge to the people whom you label as one with "physiological" problem is to continualy strive for the closest match to live sound. It is an impossible task but that's the idea of having a hobby. Sometimes, their hobbies lead them to financial ruins and family break ups but we can't take responsibility for that.

    You really don't need high fidelity to enjoy music. I know many musicians do not own hi-fi at home to enjoy music. You can be half deaf or even completely deaf like Beethoven but that shouldn't stop you from producing a great musical masterpiece. We have to accept the fact that anyone who is willing to spend more than the price of a mass market consumer audio is more interested in accurate replay of the original sound but does that mean their priority is to listen to the message and soul in the music? What are we? If we take the football fan's analogy, are we the type who enjoy the game watching in the stadium or who likes to watch in High definition or 3D in the comfort of home? Who is more well versed about the game? Who's judgement about the game is correct? To whom the emotional impact is greater?

    Well, having said the above, I too ask myself why I even went in to high end? I don't really listen to western classical music, rock or even blues nor I am really acquinted with 1st grade piano or violin sound. They are not my main musical diet. A concert hall is an alien culture to me and probably to another 2 or 3 billion people. Most of the time when Alan talks about piano recording sample, I have no idea about the piano sound texture he is referring to. I can only tell this is "correct" and "right". My only relationship with the high end is the one and only thing I look for which is "true to life vocals". The bonus having SHL5 is the bass that accompanies the amazing vocal clarity. To be honest, I did find one HT speaker with good vocals but it just cannot match Harbeth bass +vocal and musicality.

    Perhaps this dicussion can held under "So how important is high fidelity and to whom it is important?" heading.

    {Moderrator's comment. Very thought provoking. We'll see if we can create and move posts to the new thread you suggest.}

    ST

  2. #42
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    Default Constant fears and doubts can rob musical enjoyment

    STHLS5...

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with being dissatisfied with your audio equipment per se. I was referring to the point SOME people reach where it gets beyond a simple dissatisfaction and becomes something more serious that means they become incapable of enjoying their music fully because of constant doubts and over-analysis of the sound. I did not intend to imply that all high-end audio enthusiasts are ill. Only that some suffer more than is necessary and that it can be a problem.

    I myself have really enjoyed the hi-fi hobby over the last few years since I discovered it. If truth be told, I have lost a lot of money through unnecessary upgrades and side-grades but along the way in this journey, I have learnt much about music and audio and the people who make it all happen for us - Alan and his staff for example. It is an enjoyable hobby, obsession even. I would not want to end up getting to a stage where I become unrealistic and it took over my life though.

    What you say about our own internal references for natural sound is indeed interesting. Since getting involved in hi-fi I have made a point of attending live classical concerts when I can. This is not an option for everyone. It is a valuable reference for me sure, but enjoying my system has to come first.

    I started buying hi-fi because a friend said my music would sound better with separates - he was right of course. But I am at a stage now where I realise I must not forget that initial purpose. Any equipment upgrade/change MUST be with the goal of feeling more enjoyment from my music. Alan's recent post about the relative importance of the speakers/room acoustics and the electrical equipment has only added to the rationalisation of my personal equipment upgrade philosophy.

    Does that mean I will buy the very cheapest amplifier that drives my speakers adequately? No. But for others it may mean that. I still think there are other characteristics of a hi-fi component that attract me to them such as heritage, build-quality, features, reliability and even circuit topology. However, like Alan said I must not mistake any of the above characteristics as a sound-quality or musical improvement delivering more enjoyment from my music.

  3. #43
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    Default Technical knowledge of equipment, audio memory of the live perfomance

    Quote Originally Posted by GregD View Post
    ... Only that some suffer more than is necessary and that it can be a problem....Since getting involved in hi-fi I have made a point of attending live classical concerts when I can. This is not an option for everyone. It is a valuable reference for me sure, but enjoying my system has to come first.....
    Again, I am not implying anyone here is wrong or right.

    To some with a little bit of technical knowledge they are able to grasp the difference in various equipments. For an example, for amplifiers without Zobel network, cables length and capacitance (or is it impedance?) play a major role in the different sound they hear and at one point they may reach an optimum combination for their preference.

    Those with technical knowledge know exactly why and how the sound changes and if they are able to demonstrate when everything is equal there's hardly any discernible difference to human ears. It is unfortunate, for non technical guys they have to take a longer journey and often get sidetracked with snake oil to achieve their desirable sound.

    Let's be honest and take an example of one amplifier manufacturer who recommended a certain cable and a certain length for the amplifier to sound correct. Whatever effect that this particular cable and length do can be incorporated in the amplifier design itself giving consumers the freedom to buy cheaper cables. But due to profit consideration, they designed an amplifier "inadequately" and then sell the cables to remedy them. As a consumer I think this is very wrong.

    Another, interesting comparison would be preamp and power amp combinations. Maybe, later I will write about this and about a so called "Preamp of the century" and so called SOTA DAC.

    Now, let's take the standard western classical music in concert. Do you really get a chance to hear the true individual instruments, (I am referring to violins and piano) long enough for you to have sufficient memory of it to compare outside the concert hall? 90 or maybe 99% of the time when we listen to classical music it is difficult to hear any one instruments individually. We usually have 10 to 30 people playing simultaneous making it impossible to know how an individual violin sound like. When an individual note is repeated simultaneously by 10 or 20 different violins what you hear is sum effect of original sound with colouration due to imperfection in synchronization between different players.

    In one concert, there was a solo piano and harp recital, I am still doubtful whether they were the original sound or an amplified sound of those instruments because when compared with the whole orchestra sound they were louder than what's should be the norm. Now, would it be fair for people like me to claim I know what original piano or violin sounds like in a concert hall? In another word, how many of us can be absolutely sure that all live concerts that you attended did not have any amplified sound?


    ST

  4. #44
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    Default Thread for "world music"

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    I don't really listen to western classical music, rock or even blues nor I am really acquinted with 1st grade piano or violin sound. They are not my main musical diet. A concert hall is an alien culture to me and probably to another 2 or 3 billion people.
    ST
    May I ask a favour?

    Would you mind starting a thread in the music section specifically dedicated to non-western music?

    I have had a quick look there but given the world-wide reach of Harbeth speakers I personally would find it interesting to discover more of the world-wide music that is played on them.

    Thank you.

    {Moderator's comment: a good idea. DONE.}

  5. #45
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    Default The acoustic averaging effect of western orchestral music

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ...let's take the standard western classical music in concert. Do you really get a chance to hear the true individual instruments, (I am referring to violins and piano) long enough for you to have sufficient memory of it to compare outside the concert hall? 90 or maybe 99% of the time when we listen to classical music it is difficult to hear any one instruments individually. We usually have 10 to 30 people playing simultaneous making it impossible to know how an individual violin sound like...
    Very true. Not only is the sound of various sections of the orchestra [strings, wood, brass] aggregated during a concert the microtonal differences of individual instruments are averaged and buried. On that basis orchestral music with its averaged tonal nature would not make a good test of speaker resolution. It may tell something about serious coloration though. Coloration and resolution are not the same effect but they may be linked. Severe coloration may sound like increased resolution. Solo voice is very handy for exposing both coloration and resolution limitations of a speaker.

  6. #46
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    Default Harbeth-themed mini-show in Reading, UK

    On the subject of UK shows, I have learnt today that The Audio Warehouse (a subsiduary of UK Harbeth dealer Guildford Audio) are planning a Harbeth-themed mini-show to take place at a hotel in Reading, Berkshire within the next couple of months. Most if not all Harbeth domestic models will be there with equipment such as Sugden amplifiers and attendees can bring their own amplifiers too to try out with the Harbeth speakers.

    If like me you are waiting to hear Harbeths for the first time or just fancy hearing them with some different amplifiers it should be a great occasion.

    The Audio Warehouse obviously need to have an idea of possible numbers and advise to get in contact with them if you would like to attend. They can be reached via Guildford Audio's phone number listed in the 'Where to buy' section of the main Harbeth website.

    I Will keep the HUG informed of developments (if that's OK mods?)

  7. #47
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    Default Harbeth-based mini-show in Reading, update

    I have just learnt that Audio Warehouse will be demoing ALL Harbeth's domestic range at the event.

    Including HRH, the Moniter 40.1! Yippee!

    Dates and venue yet to be confirmed...

    {Moderator's comment: please carefully check this stock availability. It is rare for any one dealer to have the entire line-up.}

  8. #48
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    Default Radlett Audio (UK dealer) - full Harbeth range on demo at all times

    Radlett Audio do have the complete range on demonstration at all times. Demonstrations are by appointment.

    {Moderator's comment: Yes and with truly exceptional feedback from those who have take up the demo and enjoyed their time with Radlett.}

  9. #49
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    Default Audio Warehouse demo

    I asked Audio Warehouse whether they'd have the M40.1 and they said yes, the whole domestic range. Maybe they will borrow some from customers?

    It's just exciting because it's quite close by for me...

    hifi_ dave:

    Great to hear you have the whole range on demo! I will definately be down to see you in the next couple of months. I intend to buy my Harbeths from you as amongst other things you've given me such good advice in the last few months about the value of high-end equipment. Do you have several rooms setup with different models?

    {Moderator's comemnt: I think we can safely assume the M40.1 are only on demo at Radlett and this situation is unlikely to change. In future we will scrutinise all such public show requests with vigilence. Rumours get a hold very quickly and we do not want to waste people's time travelling.}

  10. #50
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    Default Radlett Audio - hear the whole range, anytime

    This is not correct. The event is not organised and the stock is not in place. There will not be M40.1 available. If you want to hear the full range then Radlett Audio is the place to go - anytime by appointment.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  11. #51
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    Default Heathrow Audio World Show 2011

    Last weekend I attended the annual hi-fi show at Heathrow. It is a lot smaller scale than the Bristol Show with fewer giant multi-nationals present. In fact I don't think any exhibited!

    After the show I remembered this thread where we discussed the "sound of 2011" experience at the Bristol show. Walking round the rooms I did not get any sense of an overall sound balance at the event - if anything the systems were quite varied in presentation. There were several types of more unusual speakers too.

    I heard (for the first time!) Quad ESL63, which were quite a strange experience. I was so excited when I walked into the room and saw them there. After reading so much about them over the years I was in danger of being disappointed due to over-expectation. The initial music selections were very inapropriate - '80s electronica with distorted guitars - not what you'd expect to be played to make the best of Quad electrostatics! I even said to the man running the room that they sounded awful - thin, bright, scratchy and no bass extension or definition. Things finally improved substantially when he played some Elvis and Buddy Holly and some modern female vocals. I also put on a '60s jazz LP I had with me that gave a good result.

    My overall thoughts on the experience were that the Quads sounded very inconsistent - even within tracks. With my jazz LP (which is a decent enough recording) the brass had too much rasp and the bass was indistinct and a bit dis-connected, yet somewhere in the midrange it felt smooth and pleasant. I've never experienced such simultanious pleasure and pain from a loudspeaker! I won't discount them just on that one experience - there is a room to consider afterall - but I left thinking that I'd really like to hear them optimally set-up rather than in a small squarish room.

    There were Lowther single-driver speakers too, driven by 3wpc SET ampifiers and a Revox cassette deck! This was a very enjoyable system and I was shocked that a 30 year old cassette deck could sound so good. I know the Lowthers are unusual measurements-wise and would have loved to have AS with me to comment on the sound! It was certainly easy on the ear...

    A lot of rooms had vinyl setups or laptops, and I had a nice chat with Alan Sircom (Hi-Fi+ editor) about what to do about a file-based source component (read computer audio).

    It would be really good to see Harbeth at a small show like this. There didn't seem to be too much of a loudness war between nearby rooms, so moderate volumes could happen. It's always worth going to these events, if only to browse the vinyl dealer's stands!

  12. #52
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    Default The National Audio Show - Whittlebury Hall, September 25th and 26th 2011

    The third annual UK National Audio Show will be taking place at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire over the weekend of the 25th and 26th September this year. There is also a trade-only day on the Friday before.

    I attended the first two shows at Whittlebury in 2009 and 2010 and I think it's the best show of the year in the UK (although I haven't been to Manchester). I will be going on both days this year, it's such a big event that you need two days to see and hear everything.

    I think one exhibitor had a system set up using Harbeth speakers in 2009 (C7?), but it's such a big show that I didn't see them until I read the post-show magazine reports!

    Will any HUGgers be going to this event apart from me?

    It would be nice to see Alan there like when we met at Bristol in February - you could check-out the venue for a possible future Harbeth showing...

  13. #53
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    Default Whittlebury Show 2012 - Great sound from the Harbeth C7ES-3

    I went along to the National Audio Show at Whittlebury in the UK at the weekend. Some of the best sound at the show was from the system below. A Palmer turntable with SME 12" arm and Lyra cartridge paired with Sugden amplification and Harbeth C7ES-3 speakers on SomethingSolid stands. Oh and 'no-name' basic cables. Cost a fraction of many systems which were no where near as good.

    I sat through a whole LP side of the Elgar Cello Concerto and it sounded great. Genuinely very enjoyable and most unlike the vast majority of systems at shows nowadays. Those C7s were very impressive in an unobtrusive way.


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