"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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Acceptable posts here on HUG

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  • Acceptable posts here on HUG

    I've been made aware that commentators on a general public hifi forum have stated that 'posts that do not agree with Harbeth/Alan Shaw's views are moderated-out on the Harbeth User Group...'. This is simply BS.

    The sort of commentators that find this forum useful, interesting and attractive seem to be, we must suppose, already in-step with our products and philosophy of sound, otherwise we assume that they have dozens of other forums in which to express their alternative views. In that respect, believe it or not, this forum is self-regulating which is an ideal situation for all concerned.

    During 2018 a total of eight posts knowingly failed Moderation. Three of them made pejorative comments about other audio brands that we did not feel should be placed on this manufacturer's forum for legal reasons. Three posts were entirely reasonable in their content and observations but we felt that they could fuel consumer anxiety and neurosis and lead to what we consider irrational, unjustified purchase decisions, even of our own products. Two posts looked like 'plants' that were attempting to use HUG as a vehicle to promote discontent and to recommend other brands.

    No posts were knowingly rejected for issues relating to potential misuse, QC or similar matters, even when we were very hard pressed to understand or replicate the issues here at the production facility. In a handful of posts, numbers unrecorded, we blanked-out certain audio equipment brand or product names. In one case, an amplifier product, I had such bad experience with after care that we have never knowingly let that brand name appear here as the brand, recently changed hands, simply does not deserve positive publicity.

    Those are, as far as we have records, the boring facts. Naturally, as a manufacturer's own and run forum we have an entirely different remit to a general hifi forum in that our objective is, obviously, to increase the awareness of our loudspeakers and what they can bring to the enjoyment of music at home. We are certainly not interested in providing a platform for the promotion of other speakers, or indeed significantly different sonic philosophies (such as horn or ribbon speakers) - and that is surely only common sense.

    The Mercedes Benz official forum (I assume that there is one) could not reasonably be expected to permit posts that say that Tesla cars are superior could they!
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK