Designing speakers in and for small rooms
Many times over the years I have been asked "can we come and listen to Harbeth speakers in your companies listening room - I imagine that it is a really big room with perfect acoustics and lots of state-of-the-art electronics and wall treatment ...".
Not so! We live in the real world here! Although we have two quasi-anechoic measurement spaces just a few miles away in the countryside, all the voicing and real-room adjustment is done at home in a small room (of about 3 x 4m) which I call my 'study'. My thinking has always been that if we can make these speakers sound great in this perfectly normal room listening in the hyper-critical relative nearfield, then they will work perfectly in similar or larger rooms.
Since this size is about that of a BBC editing room, and also very typical of listening space in the Far East, I think it is the correct way to design and may well explain why the Harbeth sound is so comfortable in real homes.
I've also been asked "what type of music do you listen to when designing or evaluating speakers? How long do you listen for? What type of test equipment/test signals do you use? How fast do you work - is the design or evaluation process short or long? Do you find yourself going round in circles? etc. etc." (Answer an emphatic 'yes' to that last question!)
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK