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Thread: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

  1. #281
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    Default Dancing sand....

    Quote Originally Posted by garmtz View Post
    .... Now, if we take a thin, flat sheet of metal with finely grained sand on it and we attach a speaker to it, we will see the sand creates all sorts of figures on the plate, because of the standing waves inside the material, creating some form of Lissoujous patterns. If we however clamp one side of the sheet, the patterns change radically.....Perhaps this can be measured by placing an accelerometer on one of the sides of the speaker and comparing the waterfall spectrum of the speaker coupled to a heavy stand (with Bu-Tak or a spike) with that of a speaker decoupled from it (with sorbothane or similar).
    Textbook answer and the one I was looking for.

    To take this a step further ...

    Have you actually applied the dancing sand test to, say, the top panel? What happens? Any dancing? Or how about not sand, but talcum powder or sifted bread flower.

    My bet is that there is no movement, no dancing. So what then? How much energy can actually be transmitted to the stand when it's of such low power that it can't even make a dust particle move?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #282
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    Default Re: Dancing sand....

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    THow much energy can actually be transmitted to the stand when it's of such low power that it can't even make a dust particle move?
    Isn't there a prior question, however? It seems to me that there are two basic possibilities that explain the type of observations Jeff reports in this review:

    1. He is hearing a real change to the sound of the speaker when it is placed on the Acoustic Revive stands; or

    2. He is not hearing a real change, but only thinks he is.

    (I will omit a third possibility, i.e. that he hears nothing but is lying about it, because I don't think that's likely.)

    I don't think you can entirely choose between the two by asking the question of whether there's a known mechanism to explain possibility #1, and concluding that there isn't. It's not an unreasonable thing to do, but isn't it always possible that something real is being perceived that we at present simply can't explain (but for which there is an explanation)?

    Isn't the first step to determine whether the perception (i.e. improved sound) can be reliably detected by the perceiver in the absence of visual cues, and then, based on the answer, explaining why or why not? I mean, if the perception is reliable and repeatable, that is also something that has to be amenable to a scientific explanation, no?

  3. #283
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    Default Re: Dancing sand....

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Isn't there a prior question, however? ...Isn't the first step to determine whether the perception (i.e. improved sound) can be reliably detected by the perceiver in the absence of visual cues, and then, based on the answer, explaining why or why not? I mean, if the perception is reliable and repeatable, that is also something that has to be amenable to a scientific explanation, no?
    You've said what I didn't dare to.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #284
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    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    Hey!

    Are any of you guys listening to MUSIC? It makes me cringe when I think of how much time and energy I used to waste engaging in "Audiophilia Nervosa" type behavior. If the designer says they'll sound fine on a pile of telephone directories, I suspect any decent stand will be great. Get off the merry-go-round and enjoy the art that these speakers are capable of reproducing!

    This Minute!

    Bob LaBarca
    State College, PA
    USA

  5. #285
    Ron Herbster Guest

    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    I am a big believer in vibration control for all things audio. Over the last several years I have incorporated Silent Running Audio isolation bases under my cd player, power amp, integrated amp and power conditioner. These were added one at a time and with the addition of each base obvious improvements were introduced.

    I also have Skylan stands for my 40.1s which I have customized using Star Sound Technologies products. Each speaker is sitting on 3 brass .2AP.7D Audio Points which are resting on 3 APCD2A threaded disc which are screwed into brass thread inserts that were inserted into the top plate of the speaker stand by drilling holes. The four columns are filled with SST's micro bearing steel fill. The feet are the 2.0 AP threaded 2" Audio Points which fit into either APCD discs or Sound Anchor padded discs. I find the padded discs easier to slide on the hardwood floor.

    When making this change I heard some of the same improvements Jeff described in his review of the Acoustic Revive stands but my guess is not to the same extent as I did not have a bass problem to begin with although my changes did result in a more tight and tuneful bass.

    I mention this as a possible cheaper alternative. Especially if someone already has Skylans and wants to experiment as Star Sound offers a money back guarantee.

  6. #286
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    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    Quote Originally Posted by KT88 View Post
    Hey!

    Are any of you guys listening to MUSIC? ... Get off the merry-go-round and enjoy the art that these speakers are capable of reproducing!

    This Minute!

    Bob LaBarca
    State College, PA
    USA
    Of course, Bob. But there's more than one kind of fun to be had in the world! I actually enjoy my Harbeths on my Skylans no less for knowing that there's some kind of super-expensive magic stand out there than is said to make them sound even better than they already do. (And it may even be true - who knows?) Knowing that somewhere in the world somebody is drinking Montrachet or Chateau Petrus or Penfolds Grange doesn't make my humble $20 bottle of cabernet any less enjoyable. Maybe in a blind test I'd like it just as much as a more expensive wine, maybe I wouldn't. But who worries about such things? You enjoy what you have, and you don't enjoy it less because there might be, or even is, something better out there somewhere. It's just fun to think about once in a while, that's all.

  7. #287
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    Default Don't frighten away new customers ....

    On the face of it, I agree. "Live and let live man". But putting my marketing hat on, I want this hobby of ours to be inclusive and most definitely affordable. What really bugs me to the point of frustration is that this talk of stands, cables, etc. etc. presents to newer, younger potential buyers that not only does he have to spend lots of money to join the club, but then he has to spend another small fortune to get the best out of his investment. That's just not true.

    How would you feel if you saved up to buy a fine car to be told just as you're handed the keys that it runs not on petrolium but liquid gold?

    I care not whether people get real or imagined benefits from spending out on "accessories" - that's no concern of mine nor should it be - but I'm determined not to frighten away new users.

    Let's be crystal clear about this: it is my responsibility to deliver, out of the carton, a speaker system which delivers 99.99% of its latent potential. I am not willing to abrogate that duty to anyone else, nor should you be expected to pay others to complete my work. If you want to pay someone else to extract that remaining 0.01% that's fine, but how much is that really worth.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  8. #288
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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers ....

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ... putting my marketing hat on, I want this hobby of ours to be inclusive and most definitely affordable. What really bugs me to the point of frustration is that this talk of stands, cables, etc. etc. presents to newer, younger potential buyers that not only does he have to spend lots of money to join the club, but then he has to spend another small fortune to get the best out of his investment. That's just not true.

    How would you feel if you saved up to buy a fine car to be told just as you're handed the keys that it runs not on petrolium but liquid gold?

    I care not whether people get real or imagined benefits from spending out on "accessories" - that's no concern of mine nor should it be - but I'm determined not to frighten away new users.

    ...
    Fair enough, though I wonder how much of a danger it really is. You've got a fairly large and enthusiastic group of Harbeth evangelists on this site, and if even one of them owns a $10,000 pair of speaker stands, I'd be very very surprised.

    I find that one rule that applies in audio and in many other areas is that no amount of tweakery to an inferior design can beat a fundamentally sound design. Putting $1,000 tires (or tyres) on an old Ford Pinto won't turn it into a Ferrari. But I think most people are pretty savvy and actually get that. Perhaps I'm wrong.

  9. #289
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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers .... (2)

    EricW you're just going to have to believe me on this one. The main subject of conversation today amongst trade visitors here at the CES in Las Vegas is 'how do we make quality audio (incl. Harbeth) more attractive to new, younger consumers'. See, this is not just me making an issue it is the fundamental challenge that faces the entire industry. Luckily for Harbeth, whilst in the west our customers are on average perhaps in their 50s, in the far east, nearer 30. But generally, across the high-end scene, there is a chronic shortage of new blood.

    Frighten those budget-conscious, first-step buyers away, and the industry will soon extinguish itself.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #290
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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers .... (2)

    From the many loudspeakers that i had, Harbeths are still by far the most stand, amplifier & cable friendly. I can still remember how i sat my SHL-5 on plastic stools when i didn't have proper stands yet. Even on plastic stools, they still had me sacrificing sleep & listening to them throughout the day & night & into the wee hours. Absolutely no fuss at all.

  11. #291
    musicquest Guest

    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    Exactly, and no one here seems to be refuting that at all....
    It's been said you can enjoy a Harbeth in just about any setup state, and it's true.
    However, you can make them deliver even better sound, way more than a 1% increase, although I'm no technician to be able to measure anything. I only go by what my ears and gut tell me. If I want to spend said dollars on something--better stand, tweak, whatever--it's my right as a hobbyist to do so, just like in any other hobby. And if it sounds so much better to me and makes me weep or laugh or dance, then it's money well spent in my book. We're not chasing anyone else away, only trying to exchange ideas on how we have tried to make improvements.
    Put us in our own little category or thread title, but let us as Harbeth owners have our say without such detractions. That's what I thought this forum was about. If it's only to sell Harbeths or act like an owner's manual, then pack it in.

    As to the industry, the industry has shot itself in the foot for so many years I sometimes don't feel that sorry for it. And as for encouraging a more youthful market, what has Harbeth done about this? Come up with another 2 or 3K speaker? Why not make a product that has the Harbeth sound but at a much lower price point? We all love the standards that you at Harbeth have achieved, yet when I started out as a youth there was no way I could afford such gear. So you start off small, and work your way up. How can someone start off small with Harbeth ( and I don't mean speaker size).

    Well, the snow's got me in a ramble, I fear. If I had 10k to go out and purchase the stands Jeff Day recently reviewed if I had 40.1's, I'd probably do so, for I like to try to achieve the best sound I can in my room. On my current salary I chose Skylan. If I was still in high school or college with an older second hand pair of Harbeths, I'd be using the Ikea.

    Surely that is not scary to anyone......

  12. #292
    musicquest Guest

    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    I'll get my camera charged up and give it a go, possibly tomorrow.
    I'm using older 7-2's......I know, can't wait to upgrade. But they sound absolutely fantastic with Crimson electronics and the tweaked Skylan stands....

  13. #293
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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers .... (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    EricW you're just going to have to believe me on this one. The main subject of conversation today amongst trade visitors here at the CES in Las Vegas is 'how do we make quality audio (incl. Harbeth) more attractive to new, younger consumers'. See, this is not just me making an issue it is the fundamental challenge that faces the entire industry. Luckily for Harbeth, whilst in the west our customers are on average perhaps in their 50s, in the far east, nearer 30. But generally, across the high-end scene, there is a chronic shortage of new blood.

    Frighten those budget-conscious, first-step buyers away, and the industry will soon extinguish itself.
    Oh, I don't disbelieve you at all. The question is not whether younger people are/are not adopting high end audio as a hobby, it's why they aren't (at least not in the numbers the industry would - understandably - like to see).

    It's possible that easily ridiculed and hyper-expensive "tweaks" are contributing to a perception that the cost of entry is just too high. But fundamentally, I don't think that's it. You can, for example, buy much cheaper speakers than a Harbeth that in absolute terms are not too bad: makers such as Paradigm, PSB, Wharfedale and so on spring to mind. Not the equal of a Harbeth perhaps, but for 10 or 20 percent of the cost of the least expensive Harbeths, really not too bad at all. You can buy very inexpensive electronics - NAD, for example - that in absolute terms sound quite good. And so on. In fact, if one chooses carefully, one could assemble a quite good-sounding budget system - source, amplification and speakers - for less than the cost of a pair of Harbeth's least expensive speakers.

    A "budget" pair of Harbeths, as one poster suggested, is one possible answer. But fundamentally, I think the issue is that people today have a far greater range of options when it comes to spending free time at home. High quality home movies via Blu-Ray or DVD, or the Internet, or video games. High end home audio simply has far more to compete with than it did 20 or 30 years ago - even 10 years ago. To those whom music matters, it still matters, a lot. But to those who have a more casual interest, there are simply a plethora of other ways to spend free time that didn't previously exist. That's a fact that can't be avoided, in my opinion.

    However, in a world that is much more of a "niche" world than it used to be, I would have thought that Harbeth is ideally placed. People who are devoted to any particular area - like high-end music reproduction in the home - are going to be very devoted and passionate about it, and are going to be very loyal once they've found a brand or product that gives them what they want, and exemplifies values they truly believe in. And that's Harbeth to a T. For real quality, there'll always be a demand. It may not be huge, but it doesn't need to be.

    By the way, if you've haven't read any of Seth Godin's work, I'd suggest you Google him and read what he has to say about marketing in the present day. I think you'd find it very interesting.

  14. #294
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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers .... (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    . .. But fundamentally, I think the issue is that people today have a far greater range of options when it comes to spending free time at home. ..
    Completely correct, but not quite the key issue.

    Those amongst us who actually formally studied marketing are acutely aware of Maslow's Heirarchy and how it reflects upon consumer's discretionary spending. We are all bystanders watching the shift from the radiogram being perhaps No.3 in the consumers wish list after a home and a car in the 1940s and 50s to good hi-fi being perhaps the 50th on the list today after holidays, golfing, second car, DVD system etc. etc.. There is nothing any of us can do about that. But I'm damned if we are going to chase away anyone who might just give us the benefit of the doubt as a beacon of common sense in a sea of BS. We understand the demography of our customers well, and my judgement is that they, like Harbeth UK are largely suspicious of and/or disinterested in exotic tweaks.

    Myy point is this (again): I care not a jot for tweaks because they imply that I have delivered an incomplete sub-optimal value for money product to the consumer. Or in blunt language, that we've somehow cheated them. And a dissociated third party, who I've never met, whose credentials are unknown to me, could, in the complete absence of any input from me, any test equipment or access to my design noted complete the design and release the full, latent potential. The very though is preposterous. Outrageous. Offensive. Disrespectful. Hurtful. It simply cannot be possible. And frankly, I think we are fast approaching a point where this is not the forum to discuss expensive tweaks. It distracts from what marketing people call the ''Harbeth value proposition' being the core of what Harbeth stand for, it wastes my valuable time deflecting the issues and above all, by implication, it gives the oxygen of publicity and hence a sort of semi-endorsement so that others can make money out of the consumer by manipulating the Harbeth brand reputation. Sorry, no deal. Right or wrong, I believe that our marketing umbrella should cover and protect consumers from being lured into chucking money away.

    The fact that very, very few women are interested in hi-fi tells the only story you need to understand. They are imperveous to audio clap trap and see the situation for what it is. If I had one wish it would be that somehow, we could magic up a gang of pragmatic femal members with good ears willing to stand their ground.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    Default Re: Don't frighten away new customers .... (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post

    The fact that very, very few women are interested in hi-fi tells the only story you need to understand. They are imperveous to clap trap and see the situation for what it is. If I had one wish it would be that somehow, we could magic up a gang of pragmatic femal members with good ears.
    True enough. Men, for whatever reason, appear to be fascinated by gadgetry for its own sake. One reason most audiophiles are men is no doubt the fascinating opportunity to monkey around with various shiny and interesting gadgets, from the large (new amplifier!) to the small (new shiny quartz disks that make my Harbeths sound twice as good!). Some of this group - not all - might actually care a lot about music. The two interests are not mutually exclusive. As time goes on (at least speaking for myself), the fascination with gadgetry tends to wane. I want the best I can reasonably afford, install it, forget about it, enjoy music. Most of your fan base appears to fall into this category.

    Women, it's true, tend not to care as much about gadgets. They're also blessed with better hearing than men. Many care about music. My wife fits this description. She hears very clearly why my speakers are better. She probably hears the difference better than I do. It just doesn't mean that much to her. She's just as happy listening to the portable radio in the kitchen as she is to my stereo. She's perfectly happy listening to her iPod. Why? I don't know. But I'm afraid she might be fairly representative, although I'd rather that not be the case (I should add that, although an amateur, she also plays music at a fairly advanced level so it's not about a failure to understand or appreciate music either).

    As for being hurt and offended by tweaking, well, understandable I suppose. But it's no judgment on your skill or ability, heaven knows. It may seem that way, but I'm sure it isn't. It's just geeky males participating in their hobby, wanting to feel like they're part of the magic. It may be fundamentally silly, and as you say not too many Harbeth owners fall into that category, but I'd nonetheless respectfully like to suggest benign bemusement as a better frame of mind in which to approach it.

  16. #296
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    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    I don't think it needs to be 'hurtful' to have people discuss possible improvements or theories why these improvements would be improvements anyway. Nobody ever said the speakers NEED the improvement, it is just an enthousiastic small crowd wanting to get the best from their speakers.

    I don't think many potential new customers (not audiophiles) will probably ever be alienated by it. He or she will probably laugh about all those crazy 'audiophiles'. And think about this: I am using open frame stands for my Monitor 30, which to my ears sound better than the Skylan alternative, although the open frame alternative is cheaper.

  17. #297
    Ron Herbster Guest

    Default Re: M40.1 improvement and room size require?

    Alan, I think everyone on this forum loves Harbeth speakers and for most of us is all we will ever own. However, by making speakers that require stands you have left it up to the descretion of the Harbeth owner to decide what sounds best to his or her ears and having owned SHL5s, 40s and now 40.1s I have found they all sound different depending on what they are sitting on.
    Knowing that you experimented with a floor stander several years ago and if I am not mistaken actually auditioned a prototype at one of the shows, it would be interesting to hear if in engineering this speaker what if any differences you encounterd in coupling this speaker with the floor. By the way, a Harbeth floor stander would be a cure all for us tweekers!

  18. #298
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    Default The future.... what does Harbeth really represent?

    Within a day or two as I mentioned here, we have to temporarily close the forum and move to another host. I think that after that we here have to do some serious thinking about what the Harbeth User Group actually exists for. This is s manufacturer's forum - I stress, run by the manufacturer directly, with the objective to being our voice, clear and unambiguous in response to your questions. If we stray too far from subjects that we, the manufacture, feel comfortable with then that's a problem as the Harbeth User Group would then potentially be working against our marketing objectives and what we believe in our hearts, not with and for us. That's a marketing no-no.

    I think we - or I - have opined on all the relevant subjects relating to Harbeth in the home now and I don't think there is much more to say from the manufacturers side. I'm asked questions, I take the time to answer in real-world physical terms (as best I understand them).

    We have unexpected technical challenges in moving the HUG database to another hosting company A consequence of this transfer is examination of the sheer volume of data that is, from our perspective on this manufacturers run forum (I stress that) duplication or doesn't actually reflect what we at Harbeth believe. It's a sad fact that the silent majority are rarely heard here but what we see and you probably don't is the quality of new members according to their Membership Application. We significantly attract new members who declare themselves to be career professionals, trained to be rational and cautious - e.g. nuclear engineers, doctors, dentists, financial people, lawyers, executives. How we present ourselves with this and similar rationalists amongst our valuable membership is critical to our long-term success.

    So, permit me to make this point again: personally I have no issues with consumers chit-chatting about any issues under the sun. But this manufacturer's forum has to take care not to endorse or give publicity here to products made by third parties and not branded Harbeth which are more appropriately discussed in general hi-fi forums at arms length from this manufacturer's forum. That seems only fair.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  19. #299
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    Default Re: The future.... what does Harbeth really represent?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ] This is s manufacturers forum - I strees, run by the manufacturer directly, with the objective to being our voice, clear snd unambiguous. If we stray too far from subjects thst we, the manufacture, feel comfortable with then that's s problem as the Harbeth User Group is working against us and what we believe in our hearts, not with and for us. Thast's a marketing no-no. -
    Well, okay. But then, if you're going to have a forum at all, it would have to be moderated and you have to select only content that suits your criteria. Surely it's not realistic to expect any group of 1,344 people to confine themselves entirely to topics that you think merit inclusion. People's interests differ.

    I can imagine that it's frustrating to deal with what are - from your perspective - the same issues (or non-issues) over and over again. But it may be very meaningful to the user who is coming at it for the first time. This too is natural. Maybe the answer is to beef up the FAQs a bit, and dispense with the forum entirely. That way, you have complete control over the message, if that's what you want.

    What you'd be losing, however, is the sense of participation that a group like this engenders, which I'd suggest is also a valuable marketing tool. Your personal time commitment has been awe-inspiring. I'd like to suggest that, particularly in the world we now live in, where more and more things are clamouring for people's time and attention, that sense of attention and participation is extremely valuable from a marketing perspective. It engenders loyalty, and loyalty is as much an emotional as a rational quality.

    Just my two cents, of course.

  20. #300
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    Default Re: The future.... what does Harbeth really represent?

    The silent majority must start contributing here to make this work, going forward. I spend far, far longer here pushing back against, as you say, non-issues, than I spend talking to my wife. That's downright wrong.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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