"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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A very British passtime - gardening (and visiting other people's gardens!)

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  • A very British passtime - gardening (and visiting other people's gardens!)

    Now that the sun has finally started to shine, we're off visiting gardens again - an annual tradition in the Shaw household!

    These are rather special gardens; or rather they are special because they are the gardens of ordinary (well, rather better off than most) people. For one or two days a year these public spirited and home proud folk open their private gardens to the public who can wander around admiringly and without any care or concerns. Tea and cake completes the day out and many fine photos result. The admission price and the catering takings all go to good causes. The owners are sometimes difficult to spot as they mingle with the crowds until you remember that folk with 'old money' live and dress very modestly.

    Who benefits? Numerous charities. Last year the National Garden Scheme raised 2 million GB pounds (about $US 3 million) and the list of charities, hospices, and the like they supported is impressive. It's a wonderful concept, inviting complete strangers to wander freely in their neighbours grounds. If you are proud of your well kept garden, consider opening it for a few days a year! Read how others have enjoyed welcoming the public here. I often wonder as I settle-in with tea and cake to an admiring view in a stranger's garden accompanied by dozens of other curious members of the public if this open-for-all idea is peculiarly British or not. In these days of heightened security there is something remarkable about open access to much cared for private property.

    Attached picture of yesterday's treat. The lawn look like it had been ironed and the gardens magnificent. They even had their own pig, who I could not coax out of his very luxurious sty for a photo opportunity. Notice the orderly queue at the door waiting patiently to buy tea and home made cake!

    I've hundreds of pictures taken over the years .... long may this open-door charity fund raising continue and people feel comfortable opening their properties to strangers.

    Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    I miss England! More pictures ....

    That's great to see a beautiful garden and house with nice green lawn!. I have lived in Western Australia 14 years now and have not once returned to England in that time (my first 33 years spent there), however just in the last 6 months or so I have had such a strong urge to return and visit and its scenes like that I miss very much.

    Unfortunately there is very little history here in WA(nothing compared to England) and no stately homes or houses with beautiful gardens and grounds, I have so many happy childhood memories of similar places from all over England, Scotland and Wales. Culzean castle in Scotland has very fond memories for me in particular, I would have been 12 at the time and I have never seen so many Peacocks in one place ever since, whenever I hear a Peacock I always think of Culzean.

    I also have great memories of Bolton Abbey and Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, I lived in Bradford for 17 years and there are so many great places to visit in that area.

    Please feel free to post any other great places you have photographed because I do miss the English countryside.


    • #3
      Gardens like those

      The pictures put a smile on my face, because they remind me of "Midsomer Murders", a British TV series that is quite popular here in Germany. The cases usually take place in gardens like these, sometimes gardening itself is part of the crime-stories.

      I myself have only just begun to take care of our garden. Not sure if it is just for some weeks or it will become a real hobby. Will have to wait for that though, cause there will be some major works done at the house, so the garden will suffer a little, or even a lot.


      • #4
        Alan's England online

        Originally posted by thurston View Post
        The pictures put a smile on my face, because they remind me of "Midsomer Murders", a British TV series that is quite popular here in Germany. The cases usually take place in gardens like these, sometimes gardening itself is part of the crime-stories.

        I myself have only just begun to take care of our garden. Not sure if it is just for some weeks or it will become a real hobby. Will have to wait for that though, cause there will be some major works done at the house, so the garden will suffer a little, or even a lot.
        No problem for me to add a huge number of photos of life around here!

        Are you aware of the (incomplete) online album I created, here?

        One of my favourites is Scotney Castle, which if I recall, was close to a property that Margaret Thatcher rented. The young lady is my daughter-in-law, who produced my granddaughter recently. Maybe I shoud add some pictures of baby Jessica. Yes, I'll do that when I have some time.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #5
          A proud home and garden

          That is a magnificent home and garden. The owners have every right to be home proud. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a home like that, even with help.

          Great photos and great photo viewer. I really like the design, layout, and interface.

          It must be time for me to eat something. I spent far too much time fixating on the album "Tea rooms and scones!"


          • #6
            GPS and British homes

            "British Stately Homes, Palaces, and Gardens".......I don't know of any place in the world that has more beautiful houses and gardens than The UK, do you?

            Last summer I bought a copy of a book called "Hudson's Historic Houses and Gardens---Museums and Heritage Sites" that is about 400 pages long. My plan was to see EVERY ONE of the stately homes and castles and gardens in that book during a visit of two weeks! Of course, two weeks only allowed me to see a very small portion of all those hundreds of beautiful places! I'll be back for more in a few years, I'm sure! )

            Anyone living in The UK or planning to visit could well benefit from getting a copy of Hudson's Book. If you like to drive a rental car as I do, get or bring your GPS with you as you can type in just a "post code" and the GPS will take you directly to the front, or sometimes the back, door of the stately home or castle. One day the GPS took us to the BACK door of Warwick Castle which is a long, narrow one way DARK TUNNEL that I blithely drove into only to find out the tunnel ended with a closed and locked metal grated portcullis at the end of it! I then had to cautiously BACK OUT all the long way to the street! And then once thankfully OUT of the tunnel onto the street, I finally drove the car around to the front side of the place to locate the proper door and parking lot for Warwick Castle! I admit I was a bit frustrated by this exercise! But, it was worth the effort! I'm sure you'll have a great time visiting scores of stately homes and castles in England as we did! John Boland, USA

            PS: Another lovely place is "Hever Castle" in The South of England, the ancestral home of Anne Bolyn the 2nd wife of Henry The 8th and mother of the first Queen Elizabeth. When I visit that place I feel like I've died and gone to heaven! We also loved "Osborne House" on the Isle of Wight, the summer palace of Queen Victoria! Don't miss that one also!