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Thread: An amazing benefit of 'the BBC monitor '- no clear division between speaker size, room size .....

  1. #1
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    Default An amazing benefit of 'the BBC monitor '- no clear division between speaker size, room size .....

    Harbeth speakers are all designed along he lines of the traditional 'BBC monitor'. It's a formulae that's worked exceptionally well for us these past 35 years, and brings natural sound to even the smallest listening space.

    Recently there have been questions about which Harbeth speakers are best to use in a (semi-pro, home studio) setup. Logically, there must be some consideration of the size of the speakers, how far away the listener is, how loud he plays, and what his overall expectations of sound balance and presentation are. But how about the size of the drive units, and the number of drivers per speaker system? One remarkable attribute of the BBC monitor concept is that the drive units are so well blended that even 'up close and personal' the best of the BBC monitor concept sounds well balanced and properly integrated, even used close-up as we can see from the attached pictures, regardless of woofer size. From the huge wardrobe sized LSU10 with its 15" woofer to the Monitor 20/LS3-5a with a five inch woofer, the BBC monitor concept is designed to sound just perfect even up close.

    I'd dare to suggest that no other approach to speaker design can, has or will produce such a room/listener/distance independent sound. Don't believe me: next time you are evaluating loudspeakers, especially those of recent design, temporarily reposition your listening chair to bring yourself much closer to the speakers to simulate the broadcast sound engineer's listening position, as shown in these archive studio pictures. Then you will really hear how shockingly hard and disjointed so many speakers are. Their designers do not consider (or care) how they will sound in the near field and rely on the levelling influence of a large room to smear the junctions between the drive units. Listen close and they just sound disjointed and horrid. You really should try that for yourselves.

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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #2
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    Default Near field king

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ...I'd dare to suggest that no other approach to speaker design can, has or will produce such a room/listener/distance independent sound. Don't believe me: next time you are evaluating loudspeakers, especially those of recent design, temporarily reposition your listening chair to bring yourself much closer to the speakers to simulate the broadcast sound engineer's listening position, as shown in these archive studio pictures. Then you will really hear how shockingly hard and disjointed so many speakers are...
    Hi Alan,

    I haven't tried yet with other speakers than my Harbeth but the SHL5 always impressed me when I listen to them in the near field. And to be sure, I already exagerated and sit very close to them, such as some broadcasting set-up and the sound is truly balanced and exceptionnal.

    Sébastien

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    Default Listening very close

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
    ... I already exagerated and sit very close to them, such as some broadcasting set-up and the sound is truly balanced and exceptionnal. Sébastien
    You should try that 'listen to speakers like headphones' with other loudspeakers. They all too often sound ghastly: you can clearly hear the wooder and midrage are two separate sources (completely unnatural, no example in nature) and worse, the sound is not just louder (because you are listening closer) but harder and more intense. Horrible.

    A dedicated DIY speaker designer can do a remarkably good job of designing a speaker that sound good when listened to 3+ mtrs away. But to design one that sounds natural at 2m, 1m, 0.5m, that's a really tough challenge because the dispersion of sound around the box itself must be taken into account. And the closer you listen to the source (the box) the more dominat that becomes.

    In my humble opinion, if the speaker designer thoroughly understands and works with the very unique problems that arise from trying to reproduce human voice naturally whilst listening perhaps only 1m from the speaker (i.e. a typical broadcast studio application), his speakers stand a chance of reproducing acoustic music naturally. So there are two classes of speakers and speaker designers: those that can create natural sound from speakers used in sub-optimal conditions (listening nearfield, listening to human voice, listening in a small space aka a BBC style broadcast monitor) and the others who design for optimal conditions - large room, far away from the walls, listen far from the speakers, design for music not voice.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #4
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    Default The Harbeth magic - how?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    You should try that 'listen to speakers like headphones' with other loudspeakers......

    And the closer you listen to the source (the box) the more dominant that becomes.

    .
    1) Re: Boxy sound:- This is something I don't quite understand. Harbeth cabinets employ the BBC thin wall concept. Naturally, it should be one of the most boxy sounding speakers but it is not despite the SHL5 is having such a big and "fragile" cabinet. How did Harbeth managed to tap the resonance of the cabinet to augur the bass and yet still managed to eliminate the usual boxy sound that can be found in some similarly sized speakers?

    2) Re: Nearfield listening :- could this possible because the mid driver frequency range is much wider and distortion free compared to most drivers and the dispersion of sound off axis (tweeter and mids) is much wider without much loss in the FR? Logically sound coming from two distinct source ( tweeter and mid) need a minimum distance to integrate.


    ST

  5. #5
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    Default Driving down coloration

    I think Alan has covered this before comparing a perfect bell & a cracked bell. The BBC thin wall lossy cabinet works in the same principle as a cracked bell.

    The BBC thin wall or lossy cabinet is really an ingenious idea to drive down midband colouration and a 'boxy' sound caused by typical thick wall cabinets.

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    Default Cracked bells and thin-wall cabinets

    Quote Originally Posted by Gan CK View Post
    I think Alan has covered this before comparing a perfect bell & a cracked bell. The BBC thin wall lossy cabinet works in the same principle as a cracked bell......
    Thank you, Gan. Found Alan's reply post to your similar question here.

    ST

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