"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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The role of the loudspeaker

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  • #46
    After reading through the thread, and attempting to understand it, I have two questions that might or might not be relevant to the discussion.

    First, you have pointed out the the "threats to reproduction" - best I can do at the moment - of vinyl and digital sound. What about high quality analogue tape recording?
    Second, you mentioned the relationship of loudness and sound "quality" from time to time and said it was another topic. But you have made me curious.



    • #47
      Why has there been so little development of new and completely different speaker technologies? Is it a limitation of physics? Is the box it?


      • #48
        No, it's because of cost and very low consumer expectations, of which the later is the primary issue. Just walk around a typical audio show and you'll hear a few very fine loudspeakers and plenty of hopelessly unnatural-sounding specimens supported by plenty of marketing hype. Those rooms could often be packed to the door.

        As was said to me at a show recently by a well-respected audio reviewer, and I quote "... the issue is that the public haven't a clue as to what constitutes good, natural sound. They really don't know. Worse, they're not interested in probing below the surface to investigate the subject ...."

        I merely pass that on as was relayed to me. It caused me to think about that on the flight home. What we have seen here, repeatedly, is that when a serious discussion - perhaps with worked-up audio examples is started - it's quickly swamped with spurious comments about amplifiers, which is a subject done to death here.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #49
          Agree with hifi_dave. You can make all kinds of scientific approach to the simple question such as "role of a loudspeaker" buit in the end, it all comes to our personal point of view - is it good (for me) or it's not.