Sell, sell, sell! Work with the ear, not against it boy! (Marketing Director to sound engineer)
So taking the original Sam Brown track as our 'reference' and pretending that we are playing that recoding on our flat, and as you say, 'BBC inspired' monitor we can boost the midrange to mimic the typical hi-fi speaker's lift and we can compare the sound side by side. I've done that in the attached multimedia PDF so that you can see and hear the EQ settings. You can also see a selection of the curves for a batch of current monitor speakers exhibiting a similar mid-up enhancement.
Tell me, out of 100 casual, untrained listeners who use music as merely a background noise to their lives, how many would prefer the flat 'BBC balance' over the boosted one? I'd fully expect that if 100 passers-by in the street were asked to listen to these clips and select a preference, the great untrained general public would vote 99 for the boost, 1 for the neutral balance. That 1 may well be a sound engineer.
When the loudspeaker designer intelligently juggles the frequency response of his creation, he can enhance its marketability to the uneducated consumer. That is entirely legitimate and appropriate behaviour for the designer of a consumer product. It is no more of a crime than a perfume designer adjusting his formulae to enhance its mass appeal or a washing powder manufacturer introducing an appealing fragrance.
The sole issue is that if the designer cannot or does not want to create two products — one for the serious professional user who needs a flat response and another for the domestic user who probably wants a flattering, boosted non-flat response — then he must make a crucial decision; should all products be flat or should all products be tinkered to be more marketable. My view is that we should produce all Harbeths to be basically neutral and if that is not to everyone's taste that's perfectly fine: it means we can sell to professionals even if we are out of fashion with the public (which in fact, is not the situation now at all.)
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK