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Thread: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

  1. #181
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    Default Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    There isn't much more that I can add to this - the curve speaks for itself. But here I am on a public holiday taking measurements.

    I've described my listening room in detail here. Not much has changed in the past three years. I have been asked to take a measurement of the M401 in my room to allow a user to correlate his curves against mine. As my room is not as big as his, to measure 13' away from the speaker (his sweet spot, about twice my listening distance) I've set-up and had to put the microphone in the doorway of the adjoining room - a tiled kitchen with the acoustics of, unsurprisingly, a tiled kitchen. This surely is the worst possible place to put the omnidirectional microphone because not only is it in the doorway where there are pronounced reflections off the doors, frame and tiled step but the mic senses a moderately dry listening room in front, and the highly reflective reverberation behind it. The equipment, calibrated microphone, software and procedures that Harbeth use during design will not be exactly the same as other speaker brands, but they are tried and tested and work perfectly for us. We have confidence in them.

    I have driven only one speaker with the test signal as it makes no sense to drive two simultaneously, and we never do. The speaker is at my normal Left position for M40.1 and about 1m from the rear wall rockwool batt. I have now found a way to rescale to 10dB/vertical division (as per customers curves) and have replaced the graph.

    For further reading about room treatment and more example plots please go here.

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  2. #182
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    There isn't much more that I can add to this - the curve speaks for itself. But here I am on a public holiday taking measurements.

    I've described my listening room in detail here. Not much has changed in the past three years. I have been asked to take a measurement of the M401 in my room to allow a user to correlate his curves against mine. As my room is not as big as his, to measure 13' away from the speaker (his sweet spot, about twice my listening distance) I've set-up and had to put the microphone in the doorway of the adjoining room - a tiled kitchen with the acoustics of, unsurprisingly, a tiled kitchen. This surely is the worst possible place to put the omnidirectional microphone because not only is it in the doorway where there are pronounced reflections off the doors, frame and tiled step but the mic senses a moderately dry listening room in front, and the highly reflective reverberation behind it. The equipment, calibrated microphone, software and procedures that Harbeth use during design will not be exactly the same as other speaker brands, but they are tried and tested and work perfectly for us. We have confidence in them.

    I have driven only one speaker with the test signal as it makes no sense to drive two simultaneously, and we never do. The speaker is at my normal Left position for M40.1 and about 1m from the rear wall rockwool batt. I have now found a way to rescale to 10dB/vertical division (as per customers curves) and have replaced the graph.

    For further reading about room treatment and more example plots please go here.

    >
    That's very nice of you to go to the trouble to do that, Alan - appreciated. I would still be interested in seeing the plot with both speakers driven with the microphone located at your listening position to get an idea of what happens in your room when both speakers are playing.

    Best,

    Jeff

  3. #183
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Room tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    I bet that you'd say that you were driving both speaker simultaneously. Jeff - there are two aspects of your measurement strategy which are, as far as I'm aware unique to you, and not widely used in the speaker industry - and certainly not by Harbeth.

    1. You drive both speakers simultaneously with a test signal even though they are in different physical places in the room radiating sound along different pathways to the microphone and via all reflective surfaces.

    2. You are measuring a long, long way away from the speakers (13 feet, about 4m) at your listening position.

    I would never attempt such a test setup because (in my opinion) although it will draw some sort of response curve on your analyser screen that curve cannot be interpreted adequately. Or at all. It is as good as meaningless. Why? First, if you drive both speakers, and they are in different places so (obviously) at some frequencies there will be constructive and at others destructive interference. The mic hasn't the intelligence of the human ear to resolve that - and you've already said that you are doing averaging in your analyser - so most likely, at the low frequencies where the wavelengths are long, the dissimilar path lengths from the speaker to mic will effectively add the L + R sounds together, whereas the different path lengths will cancel in the middle and especially upper frequencies. That explains to me the left-to-right downward slope of your curve.

    Second, measuring so far from the speakers just isn't going to tell you what you want to know about the speakers (which you are criticising) at all. I fully appreciate why you want to measure at your hot spot; because that's where you listen but you will not get a useful result with your method. Or any method across a useful frequency band without an anechoic chamber for a room. Or at least, I couldn't if I replicated your setup. I think you mentioned Atkinson/Stereophile, so I had a look at how he measures 'in room'. Typical example here: note also bass lift. As he says, he measures the speaker at a number of points in an arc, about three feet (not thirteen feet) to about 4 feet from ONE driven speaker then averages the measurements together over the arc. That will yield a useful response of how the speaker drives the room, but of course, in the speaker's nearfield. I use a similar method. That's the standard way of measuring a speakers 'in-room' response. Yes, it's most probably not the situation at the hot spot, but that point is extensively polluted by the room's contribution.

    Finally, we can again refer to the BBC's work in this area. Bob Walker - brilliant engineer, last audio boffin and acoustician recently retired from Research Dept. wrote in his AES paper about the realities of speakers in rooms and the resulting distribution of their sound in the room:

    -----------------------------------------
    "In any partially or fully enclosed space that uniform spreading (of sound from a speaker) proceeds for only a short time until part of the sound wave strikes some acoustically significant object. What then happens is always complicated. Sound propagates as a wave function and demonstrate all the properties usually associated with the interaction of waves and objects -- reflection, refraction and absorption. What happens when a sound wave meets a discontinuity in the medium depends on the acoustic properties of the boundary materials and the size of the discontinuity in relation to the wavelength of the sound wave. Over the normal audio frequency span, wavelengths range from about 15mm to 7m. That nicely encompasses most sizes of objects within rooms, and even the room itself. Plus, the interactions between sound waves and the room and its contents cover the whole gamut of reflections and refraction effects, as well as absorption. It is that complexity which renders a real sound field impractical to treat analytically.

    In a typical room there is usually at least the floor surface within about 2m of the source. Therefore, from a maximum of about 6ms onwards, the sound field (even outdoors) contains components which have interacted with some surfaces or objects. After 30 ms in a small room with a sound wave front will have travelled in every direction to the boundaries of the room and will have interacted at least once with every object contained therein."
    ----------------------------------------

    So, putting a microphone far away from any speaker in a non-anechoic room will swamp the microphone with initially the direct sound and then in just a few millseconds, reflections from all and every object in the room, and the room walls. What the mic sees will be the (small) contribution direct from the speaker plus a vast amount of reflected sounds, all added together. You will not be able to tease the speaker from the room because your averaging analyser is not intelligent; what you have is a composite measurement of speaker + room. I would be extremely cautious indeed about trying to equalise the response at your hot spot by slavish attention to the graph - I just wouldn't do it myself. By all means apply a little EQ to taste and by ear, but I strongly recommend that you do not frighten yourself with the graph and certainly do not use it as a guide to eq: use your ears for that only. I suspect that if you EQ for a flat graphed response at 13' the result will be bass-light and too bright i.e. lean and thin.

    I have a very busy week ahead with X-Factor TV this week but I think this is plenty coverage of this topic for now from my side - over to others.


    Source: R. W . Walker, BBC. 'A simple acoustic room model for Virtual Production'. 106th AES Convention, Munich, May 1999. Reprint #4937
    Using the method you describe for Atkinson, Alan, I took 4 measurements in a a 4 foot arc around one M40.1 (only one driven). I've attached the plot for my room (bar plot), and the Atkinson plot for reference: the blue trace is Atkinson's room and the red trace is Dudley's room.

    Thoughts? Advice?

    Best,

    Jeff
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #184
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Room treatment for bass

    Thanks for the ideas, Ron, appreciated.

    Best,

    Jeff

  5. #185
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    Default Re: Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    OK, as a one-off I've set-up my M401s roughly in the normal place (I don't have an exact spot, the floor's not marked) and measured with the same omnidirectional reference mic at my usual listening position. To my surprise, following your method (which I still don't believe is appropriate for testing hi-fi speakers at home) of driving two speakers simultaneously, you'll see just how smooth the overall response is.

    All rooms introduce a gentle lift at low frequencies as is shown here. Providing that it's gentle, it very much enhances the quality of the overall listening satisfaction. Maybe you've read here that I'm very much a supporter of the QUAD-type tilt controls. It makes no sense to me whatsoever to have removed tilt controls from amplifiers (a fad in the 80s that infuriatingly caught on) because a click or two on the tilt control and, if you chose, you can exactly compensate for the expected room gain in the lower frequencies. You might well prefer the lush, warmer uncorrected sound ( I do), but if a perfectly flat graph trace is what you want then you can easily have that. But be careful - my experience is that a ruler flat response, especially in the bass, just doesn't sound involving.

    Peter Walker, QUAD's founder and a contemporary of our founder, Dudley Harwood knew exactly how speakers behave in real rooms and designed a solution. To quote the QUAD manual -

    "The tilt control operates exactly as its name implies and produces a very gradual change in balance across the musical spectrum without changing the overall subjective level. This absence of sudden change means that there will be no 'colouration' added to the sound. The sound will remain entirely natural... If either the recording environment and the listening room are rather lush sounding, the -1 (or even -2) would be used to restore detail. In using this control the extreme bass and extreme treble should not unduly influence judgement because they are separately adjustable. The bass control serves two purposes. In the step mode the control acts as a step filter which removes the characteristic 'honk' caused by the excitation of the room's eigentones when the loudspeakers have to be placed in or near a corner."

    As I said recently here, 'if Harbeth made an amp it would have a tilt control': I think I've fully justified my position on that. It's nothing short of a disgrace that tone controls do not appear on amplifiers - they are the perfect, inexpensive and logical way to optimise the room without resorting to lots of physical damping - although their use is really complimentary.

    Now this unscheduled discussion has pinched a good deal of time from other work which I must now return to. I hope though that it's put you on the track to getting along with your room as is, or experimenting with options for improvement which may be electronic (like the QUAD-tilt or similar) or mechanical - like panel absorbers. Good luck.

    Oh P.S. - remember - gradual tone-controls like the QUAD tilt control will only adjust general trends in the bass; they will not attack and remove 'hot' frequencies due to room nodes etc.. To do that you will have to use narrow-band correction, either digital or analogue. Perhaps borrow a system?

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  6. #186
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    OK, as a one-off I've set-up my M401s ....(incomplete post)
    Hi Alan, Thank you for going to the trouble of doing this, I appreciate it. I would like to look at the RTA plot if you wouldn't mind attaching it. On another post I attached my RTA plot measured using the single speaker method you described for Atkinson for you to take a look at. Best, Jeff

  7. #187
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    Default Re: Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    You jumped the gun Jeff: I hadn't finished writing the post which (now)has the attachments. It has taken all morning to haul the speakers around, do the measurements, think a bit, grab the graphs, make the occasional cup of tea (Drat. Run out of biscuits; no time to nip to the shops) process and annotate the graphs, compress them, write the words, upload and edit. Please understand that this is a one-off and not something I have the time to repeat!

    OK, I found your graph which I've marked up and attach. In comparison with my M40.1 the same speaker in your room, at your listening point, driven simultaneously, shows some interesting features.

    1. I've drawn an arbitrary visual line-of-best-fit running through 1kHz. Why are the high frequencies well below the LOBF? Is this a graphed consequence your twin-speaker measurement technique (cancellation)? Or your microphone/test set - or test stimulus?

    2. The general room gain at the low end broadly what I'd expect. Your room is brick-walled and mine has more lagging.

    3. I've marked some significant peaks in the bass (black arrows) which are well above the average gentle trend in the bass. That is, they are not broad trends they are individual isolated frequencies (or groups of close together frequencies) which are highly active. Since I can't see any correlation with those peaks in my M401's they must, logically, be room nodes - room resonances - in your listening room.

    Taken together, 1 (HF seems a tad down?) and 3 (prominent peaks in the bass) the overall effect must detract from your pleasure. But clearly not a design issue. I think you really need to explore those peaks, and to do that by using a high-resolution analyser (say, 1/6th octave) and putting the speakers into very unusual test positions (corners? sidewalls?) to see if there any points in the room where those peaks are not present. And, finally, I recommend that you drive only one speaker at a time, not both. It just hugely simplifies the issue. Over to you Jeff: it will take a time to resolve to your satisfaction - and I'm sure that room treatment will be a great step forward as others concur.

    P.S. If you can justify the cost, buy a couple of Rockwool batts from your builders store and experiment with them. DO NOT cut the polythene wrapping.

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  8. #188
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Alan and Jeff,

    I have used SHL5 for around one year and later upgraded to M40 (not M40.1).
    I am planning to upgrade the amp (currently using Lyngdorf SDAI 2175) and ASR Emitter is on my target list.

    For ASR Emitter I, its power is 160W for 9 ohms and 250W for 4 ohms.
    For ASR Emitter II, it can deliver 500W for 4 ohms but its price is almost 3 times of ASR Emitter I.

    I know Alan's speakers are designed for easy load but M40 seems not one of them.
    Therefore, I seek your guys' advice as to whether the power of Emitter I (i.e. 250W for 4 ohms) is sufficient to drive in a room with dimension L 16 x W 20 x H 9 feet.

    Many thanks

    Ken Wong
    Hong Kong

  9. #189
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Measurement of M40.1 in designer's listening room

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ... Over to you Jeff: it will take a time to resolve to your satisfaction - and I'm sure that room treatment will be a great step forward as others concur...
    Alan, thanks for going to all the effort to take some measurements ? I really appreciate it.

    I read through your room post where you said, ?? 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 near-field, 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.?

    It turns out that I have a study of almost those exact dimensions that I use as a small TV room, using a nice little Leben CS600 integrated amplifier, a 46 inch LCD screen, an Oppo Blu-Ray player, and my Harbeth Super HL-5 loudspeakers. Like your M40.1s, my listening position is about 6 feet from the SHL5s in this room. The room has no treatment at all. Using pink noise and measuring with the RTA the response in this small room with a near-field listening position is almost perfect. It?s hard to imagine my M40.1s in such a tiny room though, it?d be like wearing them as headphones!

    In thinking about it, I makes sense that the M40.1s would measure well in such a small, damped room, and listening in an ultra near-field position you?re eliminating most potential interactions. You?ve essentially created a small BBC room in your house. I?d bet it would even measure well without treatment, like my little room does. It has been my experience that small rooms like that tends to limit bass response, and it may be backfiring on you by assuming that if you get it right in such a tiny controlled environment that it will work well in more normal home environments. I would think that just the opposite would be true, that if you could get it to work in more normal listening rooms, then it would work well in smaller rooms too, but not the other way around.

    I think that explains why most of the press (and me) is complaining about too much bass response in normal listening situations with the M40.1. I know that a number of my readers with M40.1s are starting to complain to me about the way they are performing in the bass, and looking for advice, as normal room setup techniques don?t really seem to help. I wish I could help them with an easy solution, and I was hoping you might have one, but after reading your responses I?ve come to the conclusion that the only solution is to turn one?s listening room into a BBC-like environment to tame the M40.1, or to resort to system equalization, either of which for many potential customers will be a show stopper.

    That?s too bad, because most of the people I know (and me too) want a loudspeaker that is optimized to fit into their life, rather than having to force-fit their life into a fussy loudspeaker?s performance envelope through heroic efforts.

    As much as I like what you?ve done with the M40.1 in most regards, I?m afraid I don?t agree with you that the bass is really optimized for typical home listening environments (at least those we have here in the States), and like John Atkinson who found the M40.1 bass irritating over time, I?m afraid many of your customers will come to the same conclusion. At least I did. But I will continue to pursue your suggestions for a while longer to see if I can?t tame the speakers, and will report back on my results.

    Thank you again for taking the time to dialog with my about this ? most appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Jeff

  10. #190
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by kckwong723 View Post
    Alan and Jeff,

    I have used SHL5 for around one year and later upgraded to M40 (not M40.1).
    I am planning to upgrade the amp (currently using Lyngdorf SDAI 2175) and ASR Emitter is on my target list.

    For ASR Emitter I, its power is 160W for 9 ohms and 250W for 4 ohms.
    For ASR Emitter II, it can deliver 500W for 4 ohms but its price is almost 3 times of ASR Emitter I.

    I know Alan's speakers are designed for easy load but M40 seems not one of them.
    Therefore, I seek your guys' advice as to whether the power of Emitter I (i.e. 250W for 4 ohms) is sufficient to drive in a room with dimension L 16 x W 20 x H 9 feet.

    Many thanks

    Ken Wong
    Hong Kong
    Ken, Alan is your best bet for recommendations on the M40, I'm not really familiar with them. I can say that the M40.1 is a truly easy speaker to drive, and I have had good results with amplifiers ranging from as low as 15 watts through about 40 watts. I can't even imagine using anything more powerful with them than 40 watts or so, but I'm sure they would be just fine with it. Alan, did a really superb job of making the M40.1 easy to drive, and I wish others would follow his example.

    Best,

    Jeff

  11. #191
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    I have tried the Symposium Fat Padz between the 40.1s and the Skylan stands. Besides taming and tightening the bass, it also cleared up the midrange as well. I use 4 pieces below each speaker. The Skylan stands are on Soundcare spikes.

  12. #192
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    Default Re: Room tuning

    I just cannot comment on your room response further than I have done: to my eyes, it just looks terrible. Now, slightly changing your technique, you've introduced a big dip in your response curve at about 500Hz. And still, there is something very wrong with the drooping top. Unless these are systematically investigated and resolved, the entire 'measurement' process is just a waste of your time, and of our readers too. You have to resolve oddities. Are they the room? The mic? Position of mic? Position of speaker? The speaker? The test method? If I - as I sometimes do - find myself in a situation where measurements don't seem to line-up with my expectations I stop the project, roll-up my sleeves and spend however long it takes to get to the bottom of it. Maybe it takes a few hours. Or weeks: sometimes months, but you have to have confidence in your own measurements.

    It makes no sense Jeff, for you, a reviewer yourself to have on several occasions drawn comparisons with other reviewer's curves and comments. I don't think that I've seen one reviewer repeatedly quote another before. If nothing else, this dialogue has shown that rooms vary a lot and therefore making comparisons with unknown test equipment in unfamiliar rooms without a standardised method is doomed as a work of scientific value. You are wasting your time falling back on other peoples uncalibrated measurement to augment your own argument. You should state - and I should have asked you for this at the outset - the type of equipment you have and it's calibration certification (if any).

    I have no problem with you making your own measurements and then me attempting to help you by cross-calibration but introducing third-party measurements which I've (as you've mentioned) been unable to correlate with just doesn't move the subject forward.

    I suggest that you reactivate a DIY speaker project in your journal to get the full flavour of what is part-science, part-art and let your readers learn the hard way just how complex this subject is.

    That's all I have to say.
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    Alan A. Shaw
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    Harbeth Audio UK

  13. #193
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    Default M401 - room size and sales stats.

    How I design, where I design, what I design for and who I have in mind is laid out here in minute detail over thousands of my words. Uniquely, Harbeth came from the BBC and designs for that user, in that approximate room size, at that approximate listening level, in the relative nearfield. There are no secrets about that.

    When we are approached by potential customers, our judgement of whether to confirm their selection of Harbeth speaker A or B we are primarily interested in establishing from them:

    1. Size of room
    2. How well damped
    3. How close they listen
    4. Type of music
    5. How loud

    If they give answers that point to a Harbeth model (or two) we proceed and advise them. If not, we kindly but firmly advise them to look in the general market. A good dealer would provide exactly this service 1-1 and I would think that most dealers would allow a home demo of some sort, and certainly to play the speakers to the customer in the listening room. The consumer is not buying blind - unless he is (unwisely?) buying on the internet.

    The sales records speaks for itself: 34% of M401 have been sold into North American (with large rooms??): 66% sold elsewhere probably being used in much smaller rooms, better damped, listener sitting closer, more alike a BBC control room precisely as I have laid-out in my design statement.

    To my knowledge, no customer has ever contacted the factory enquiring about M401 and bass. There are hundreds of speaker brands that can design for huge, empty undamped minimalist millionaire's rooms, but who can design for real-world shoe boxes listening rooms?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  14. #194
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    Default Re: Room tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Day View Post
    ...Some of my speakers...go deeper in the bass than the M40.1, and none of them have had issues with the bass in the room that require heroic measures like the M40.1 apparently does to resolve...

    ...what you?re not picking up on is that for most people the M40.1s have trouble with the bass in most rooms...

    ...the apparent need to have to go to heroic measures to solve bass problems in the M40.1 &c &c
    Jeff, I believe that is a profoundly unfair damnation of the 40.1. I have had mine for about 8 months in a room of similar, slightly smaller, proportions and there is clearly no generalized bass issue of the type you describe. I've just been listening carefully to a record that arrived a few days ago: a double CD of John Tavener stuff (EMI Classics 2376912) which includes the wonderful "Thunder Entered Her". This piece features some excellent organ playing on a superb instrument. The 32' stop is amply in evidence and surely, this would clearly show up any major problems relating to excessive or uncontrolled bass.

    My room is far from perfect and some acoustic treatment is necessary to tidy up the mid to upper frequencies, but I've certainly never felt that there is anything fundamentally flawed with the M40.1 bass as you imply.

    Bass is a mysterious animal. A few years ago I was working in a room that my colleagues and I perceived as bass-light, so we got some consultants in to measure and recommend treatments. To cut a rather long story very short, they acknowledged that the room was about 12dB down at 50Hz but a team which included two acoustic architects could not get to the bottom of where the low frequency energy was going - and the speakers were not 'gentle' Harbeths - they were a brand far more renowned amongst the pop music fraternity for being designed to sling out masses of extremely loud, deep bass all day and most of the night. In the end, the solution was to equalize the problem away. The boost involved made the amplifiers run rather hot but they were designed to cope and we worked quite happily in that room for five years.

    To get back to the point here - you cannot simply blame the 40.1 for your woes on the grounds that other speakers have seemed satisfactory in your room. In the example cited above, the room was used for several years before I took it over and there were no real complaints about the room's LF behaviour. The speakers in use at that time we NOW know to be rather flabby in the bass and rather odd in the middle but in THAT room at THAT time they worked together without too much bother.

    Measuring techniques for loudspeakers, especially at the lower frequencies are notoriously difficult while the speaker is surrounded by a structure. I wonder if, in your case, the uncommonly flat response of the M40.1 is causing you to focus on issues that might, with other speakers, be lost in the mayhem.

  15. #195
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Jeff, if memory serves me correctly, did you not use the Super HL5's in the same room with outstanding results? If this is true, is there any difference in how the speakers were positioned or where you listen from?

    It might be interesting to bring the Super HL5's back in, place them in the same position as the Monitor 40.1's and have a listen plus take some measurments to compare.

    Alternately you could try the Monitor 40.1 in the same position you had the Super HL5's.

    I also seem to remember Alan suggesting restricting the air flow through one or both ports for those users reporting excess bass energy on the old Monitor 40.

    I'm not experiencing any bass issues with my demo Monitor 40.1's nor has anyone who has been over to audition remarked negatively. My listening room is smaller than yours at about 12' by 20'. There is a picture of it in one of the other sections of the usergroup.

    You're not that far away. If you want to come up for a listen you'd be most welcome. Be warned though, I'm a Martin man ( guitar talk for those unaware that Jeff plays a fabulous Gibson).

    Don Leman
    West Coast Audio
    Surrey, BC
    Last edited by Don Leman; 02-09-2009 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Added location

  16. #196
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    Default Re: New Skylan stand 'Oreo' spacer for Harbeth Monitor 40.1

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Day View Post
    I have found that 'hard coupling' M40.1s to Skylan stands helps to reduce the M40.1's somewhat exaggerated bass. I have been using 3 of the large Acoustic Revive quartz disks between the stands and speakers and that seems to work quite well, but that is really not a practical solution for most people due to their high cost and slippery nature.

    A couple of days ago I got a new set of prototype 'Oreo' spacers from Noel to try between the stands and M40.1s, and I have to say I like them quite a lot. They behave sonically much like the quartz disks, and maybe a bit better. Noel designed the 'Oreos' with 2 layers of hardwood top and bottom, with a layer of softer material between the hardwood layers (based on the same principle of the isolation platforms Noel makes). There is also a magnet in the spacers that holds them in place atop each of the assembly rods on each of the 4 stand pillars so they don't slip around as you position the speakers - a nice touch.

    Noel also mentioned that M40.1 users might try using the Skylan stands without filling them with sand, as sand filling tends to pronounce the bass a little bit. I haven't tried that, but intend to. Included a couple of photos so you could see what they look like when in place between the speaker and stands. Best, Jeff
    Hi,

    I had great luck fixing my bass problems with the Monitor 40s using the Vandersteen High Pass crossovers between my preamp and amp. They are available with SE or balanced connections and were designed for use with the Vandersteen Quatro's and Vandersteen 5 speakers. There is information on them from the Vandersteen website. They were an elegant solution that cleaned up the bass and made the midrange even better, if that is possible. This solution was suggested by my Harbeth dealer, who is also a Vandersteen dealer.

    I have not heard the 40.1s but would be surprised if they didn't work with them.

    Good Luck!

    Joe Ferrente

  17. #197
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Leman View Post
    Jeff, if memory serves me correctly, did you not use the Super HL5's in the same room with outstanding results? If this is true, is there any difference in how the speakers were positioned or where you listen from?

    It might be interesting to bring the Super HL5's back in, place them in the same position as the Monitor 40.1's and have a listen plus take some measurments to compare.

    Alternately you could try the Monitor 40.1 in the same position you had the Super HL5's.

    I also seem to remember Alan suggesting restricting the air flow through one or both ports for those users reporting excess bass energy on the old Monitor 40.

    I'm not experiencing any bass issues with my demo Monitor 40.1's nor has anyone who has been over to audition remarked negatively. My listening room is smaller than yours at about 12' by 20'. There is a picture of it in one of the other sections of the usergroup.

    You're not that far away. If you want to come up for a listen you'd be most welcome. Be warned though, I'm a Martin man ( guitar talk for those unaware that Jeff plays a fabulous Gibson).

    Don Leman
    West Coast Audio
    Surrey, BC
    Hi there Don. Your memory is correct, the SHL5s worked like a charm in the same space.

    If I get up your way I'll stop in - thanks for the invite.

    You brought a smile to my face with the Martin comment! :-) I have fond memories of my HD-28, and these days I've added a Collings short scale OM cutaway to the collection - what a wonderful little guitar.

    Best,

    Jeff

  18. #198
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Norway
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    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific


  19. #199
    Jeff Day Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Hagto View Post
    Jeff always does a nice job on his publication, Tone Audio. It's well written, with beautiful photography, and a really nice layout.

    It appears Jeff was able to get quite natural bass performance by wearing the M40.1s as headphones (speakers 7 feet apart center to center, and ears 7 feet from the tweeters - I'm guessing he measured that on the diagonal).

    I've tried that approach, it works, but it's not my cup of tea, and you shouldn't have to do that in a large room to get acceptable performance with a loudspeaker that is billed as being "optimised for home use" like the M40.1 is.

    That's no reflection on Jeff, it's just probably what he had to do to get them to work in his room for the review. Not that the M40.1 speakers aren't wonderful in many ways, they are, or I wouldn't have purchased a pair, but they have a obvious zit in the bass.

    I want speakers that really are "optimised for home use" and can integrate into a normal living environment, and not be required to have my speakers and seating position clumped together in a tiny triangle in the center of the room, or to build an in home BBC spec studio room like Alan has done, or to have to use electronic equalization - those seem to be rather silly necessary alternatives to me for most music lovers.

    After talking with an acoustician, he didn't really think it would be possible to address the M40.1's needs in my room and still maintain it as a normal home environment, but I'm going to give it a shot anyways, because if it works it'd be well worth it, and it'd be useful for other M40.1 owners to know that.

    I shall let you know how it all turns out.

    Best,

    Jeff

  20. #200
    Teuton Guest

    Default Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Day View Post
    Jeff always does a nice job on his publication, Tone Audio. It's well written, with beautiful photography, and a really nice layout.

    It appears Jeff was able to get quite natural bass performance by wearing the M40.1s as headphones (speakers 7 feet apart center to center, and ears 7 feet from the tweeters - I'm guessing he measured that on the diagonal).

    I've tried that approach, it works, but it's not my cup of tea, and you shouldn't have to do that in a large room to get acceptable performance with a loudspeaker that is billed as being "optimised for home use" like the M40.1 is.

    That's no reflection on Jeff, it's just probably what he had to do to get them to work in his room for the review. Not that the M40.1 speakers aren't wonderful in many ways, they are, or I wouldn't have purchased a pair, but they have a obvious zit in the bass.

    I want speakers that really are "optimised for home use" and can integrate into a normal living environment, and not be required to have my speakers and seating position clumped together in a tiny triangle in the center of the room, or to build an in home BBC spec studio room like Alan has done, or to have to use electronic equalization - those seem to be rather silly necessary alternatives to me for most music lovers.

    After talking with an acoustician, he didn't really think it would be possible to address the M40.1's needs in my room and still maintain it as a normal home environment, but I'm going to give it a shot anyways, because if it works it'd be well worth it, and it'd be useful for other M40.1 owners to know that.

    I shall let you know how it all turns out.

    Best,

    Jeff
    Jeff,

    What did you do with your SHL5 speakers? If they worked so well in your room, why did you move to the M40.1?

    Regards.

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