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Thread: Message board : subjects for discussion

  1. #1
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    Default Message board : subjects for discussion

    This thread is just to keep track of requests for specific TechTalk or discussion subjects. I can't promise to cover any or all, but I'm interested to gather your input as to what sort of issues could - and should? - be addressed from Harbeth's side.

    Thanks for your ideas. This thread keeps subjects ideas all in one place. Please don't expect me to comment, I'm just lurking!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #2
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    Default Centre channel?

    I would like for Harbeth to create a center channel speaker at some point. An ideal size would be around 600mm wide - about the width of a pair of P3s placed end to end. Same cross section as the P3.

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    Default Demonstration of the sonic effect of boost/cut in certain frequency bands

    A note to myself: we talk of presence, midrange etc. but should we demo with practical audio examples?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default Guiding the listener through hearing micro-details on the Harbeths

    I would like to have some demo to show Harbeth users the extraordinary qualities of Harbeth speakers in revealing micro details of a recording. We have seen many users' acclamation that they were hearing details which weren't previously heard. However, to back up such statements Harbeth must be able to demonstrate the true potential of the speaker's design by:-

    1) A detailed analysis and notes of a selected recording of all notes and background noise.

    2) Compare the recording by playing through Harbeth and see how Harbeth LS reproduces all details faithfully.

    3) Skeptics can use the same recording to compare with other loudspeakers and see how much details being lost.

    OTOH, on many occasions I have heard new details in my SHL5 which weren't noticed before but on replaying the same and looking for the same details in other speakers, now I can hear those details which weren't noticed before. But there is a big difference because looking for details and hearing extra details without looking for them are two different things. That's where Harbeth strength lies.

    ST

  5. #5
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    Default Audio examples of tonal colorations

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    A note to myself: we talk of presence, midrange etc. but should we demo with practical audio examples?
    Yes please!

    With reference to, eg. the points raised in the Bristol Show thread perhaps?

    These terms seem to form the basis of much that is talked about here and to have practical examples that could be referred to at any time would be useful I think.

  6. #6
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    Default Topping-up the basics

    Note to self: we absolutely cannot assume that our users listen to or have any acquaintance with the western music familiar to us at Harbeth as designers. See here. Much more effort is need by us to explain, for example, the sound of western instruments and how the microphone selection and positioning and the hall's acoustics are so important. The assumption we make about our listeners may greatly overestimate their fundamental understanding of music and audio - someone needs to fill that knowledge gap. But how without spending time we don't have freely available? Is it our responsibility? What are the core issues? Do they have to be tackled in sequence from the bottom up or can it be unstructured knowledge transmission on an as-needed basis? I'm rather shocked at the assumptions I've made.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default Doing what's right... to educate or live and let live?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ...Do they have to be tackled in sequence from the bottom up or can it be unstructured knowledge transmission on an as-needed basis? ..
    I would say even those with exposure to western music have different opinion about what's supposed to be accurate sound.

    Some audiophile "gurus" who were so impressed with my SHL5 vocals but yet somehow claimed my system couldn't reproduce piano sound accurately. I am unable to argue with these guys because they were more familiar with western music than myself yet deep down myself, I thought they were not making sense. It has always been my understanding that human voice and piano shares similar bandwidth and therefore, if you can get one of them right the other should be correct as well.

    Later, I managed to get an SACD from DPA with piano recording using different mics and positions. The piano sound that I heard there and compared to the sound I heard at their places, I would say SHL5 reproduced a more accurate sound of the piano.

    So what sound are the western music oriented audiophile friends of mine talking about? For me, it appears they are talking about piano sound accompanied by excessive coloration which is to them sounded accurate. Yes, I agree that it actually may be preferable than the accurate sound of DPA recording heard at my place but not necessarily correct.

    Under such circumstances, what would Harbeth designer do? Make a speaker that is slightly skewed towards coloration or to make one, which is accurate? Should Alan undertake the enormous task of educating music lovers (a label which may not be the true description of people who go beyond listening and enjoying music) what should be the standard piano sound? Alternatively, should I just accept the piano sound with colouration as being perfect so that I am accepted into the elite group or stick to my musical preference?

    What can Alan do for us? Making individual samples of accurate sound of different instruments? How sure can he be that such recording is heard as it is by readers who will be using different sound cards, speakers, headphones and most importantly different EQ setting? And most importantly, what if the accurate recordings were not to their liking? Would it be worthwhile for members who presumably working adults with limited time and interest to go through the whole process of understanding music or the correctness of music? Last but not least, would they want to be exposing themselves that they were wrong in the evaluation of musical replay accuracy after all these years?

    ST
    p.s. I am just stating an honest opinion about the difficulties that we may need to anticipate when serious topics under tech talk being discussed.
    Last edited by A.S.; 06-03-2011 at 03:16 PM. Reason: In response to HUG- " No your first link doies not connect to DPA but to another page in this site. We'll edit your ..."

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    Default Non-western music and hifi equipment

    An interesting thought, Alan. Imagine making some recordings of tribal music in Nagaland (NE India), then playing back the recording through a variety of speakers and asking the local people for their opinions. I'll bet you'd get some fascinating feedback.

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    Default Microphones and piano etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    ...Later, I managed to get a SACD from DPA with piano recording using different mics and positions. The piano sound that I heard there and compared to the sound I heard at their places, I would say SHL5 reproduced a more accurate sound of the piano....
    We discussed recording techniques for the piano here. The Schoeps microphones are amongst the very best available and the differences between the capsules is sonically very small. You have to listen very hard; the room echo difference is the most revealing (wet or dry?). If normal commercial mics were used the differences would be very big indeed.

    Maybe we need to demonstrate this point in our own way.

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    Default DPA v Schoeps

    Yes, the link is alive.



    Even here listening between two different microphones, the piano sound is different. Colouration aside. DPA sounded sharp and Schoeps sounded fuller to my ears. I can't really distinguish all 8 recording in DPA. So now in combination of Schoeps and DPA we have a total of 12 different recordings. Now, the challenge is to find out which one is with the least colouration.

    ST

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    Default Classical music from around the world

    Quote Originally Posted by jplaurel View Post
    .... recordings of tribal music in Nagaland (NE India), then playing back the recording through a variety of speakers and asking the local people for their opinions. ...
    JP Laurel, I hope you are not serious. Would you want to listen to this using Harbeth? I was thinking about classical music. Music that remain unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years. Such as Mridangam or Veenai as seen here in youtube . A must watch. Do you see the cultural difference? Do you see why it is difficult for me not to understand western music reference.

    ST

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    Default DPA clips

    DPA = Danish Pro Audio = (part of) the former B&K microphone division of the B&K test equipment company. They have a vast experience of reference (i.e. omnidirectional capsule) microphone design. The other microphone brands don't have their roots in test equipment design and as studio microphone designers obviously are not specialists at making omnidirectional microphones because there are few/no applications for omni mics in studios. Studio mics generally need to be directional to allow the sound engineer to isolate performers, which is impossible with omnidirectional microphones which cannot be steered to focus on one performer. Omni mics treat sound coming from the entire 360 degrees around the mic (almost) equally.

    Omni and directional microphones will have a completely different sound and will present the recording venue room acoustics very differently. The omin sound will have more 'hall' and will sound 'wetter' - the directional mics, less hall acoustic and a dryer sound. There are coloration issue to consider too.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default Far Eastern music, far eastern customers

    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    JP Laurel, I hope you are not serious. Would you want to listen to this using Harbeth? I was thinking about classical music. Music that remain unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years. Such as Mridangam or Veenai as seen here in youtube . A must watch. Do you see the cultural difference? Do you see why it is difficult for me not to understand western music reference.

    ST
    I think JP Laurel mentions this type of music because remote tribes around the world will have had almost all of their experience of music as live in front of them. They may have barely even heard a transistor radio. Their experience of sound/music would be almost 100% that of live, natural sound. In view of that fact, their impression of Harbeth (and indeed any other hi-fi speakers) would be uniquely well-informed and unbiased.

    I read once that Harbeth are particularly popular in the Far East because the rooms are small (so you sit close, magnifying speaker colourations) and the region's music contains acoustic instruments and lots of subtle micro-tones that are not successfully resolved on most other speakers. I thought it might be interesting to listen to some Far Eastern music as a test for my current speakers.

    One day I found a sealed CD of traditional Japanese music played on string instruments, wind and drums in a charity shop for 1. My speakers struggled with this stuff and it made them sound grainy in the treble and uncomfortable. That was my ProAc TR8, then I got some LS3/5As a few months ago and tried the same disc. They coped much better and the music was far more listenable and I could play the disc all the way through. Could it be the BBC heritage? Now I look ahead to hearing Harbeths for the first time and I think this disc will be a great test. I fully expect an even better performance from the Harbeths. It is fascinating to hear the kind of music that makes the Far Eastern customers so enthralled with Harbeth speakers.

  14. #14
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    Default The ear's sensitivity to listening level

    Note to self - demo of how listening level skews sonic perception.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default

    Note to self - demo of dry/wet recordings highlighting patchwork acoustic montages where the air around indiciduial performers doesn't match (i.e. multitrack or multitake recording)
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default Mismatch of the performance 'air'

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Note to self - demo of dry/wet recordings highlighting patchwork acoustic montages where the air around individuial performers doesn't match (i.e. multitrack or multitake recording)
    Dave Brubeck, Take Five (as you have noted before)

    George

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    Default

    Note to self: find a way to make an over-the-shoulder screen cam (without revealing trade secrets) of designing the crossover with emphasis on being an easy load for the amp, hence can work with any amp and cable.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  18. #18
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    Default

    Note to self: do screen-cam of how to make instantaneous relay operated A-B comparator switch-over box showing wiring. Then obtain exotic speaker cable v. QED 79 strand or similar, connect to Harbeth speaker via switch-over box, and using high-res ADC 'listen' to and record signal arriving at speaker terminals through exotic or std. cable. Logically, if there are truly sonic differences between the cables, we must be able to hear them at the point the cables reach the speaker cabinet.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default

    Note to self: find and dub DAT made in 1994 of my voice direct to mic v. reproduced over Harbeth speakers and captured by mic.

    AAS comment: Tape found and in good condition, playable. Dubbed to PC.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #20
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    Default

    Note to self: Pictures of The Grid ....

    AAS comment: Now underway. Read thread here.

    DONE.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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