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INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THIS FORUM!

"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 http://bit.ly/2FEgoAy may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"


Feb. 2018
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Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

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  • #16
    Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

    Drew:

    Can I ask where you were able to audition this unit?

    Thanks,
    Eric

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    • #17
      Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

      Drew, thanks for your refreshing, sane comments. I have pondered in view of previous threads like this one why somebody who builds an (expensive) system around Harbeth speakers will be assumed to have chosen the speakers on the basis of their sound, and other components in the system on the basis of looks/hype/hear-say or whatever. I do believe, IMHO, that both a sensible and charitable judgement would assume a Harbeth user is primarily driven by sound-quality concerns. What we need is a bit of perspective - what one man perceives as an extravagant toy/luxury is seen by another as a wise investment. I remember, not many years ago when I bought a pair of speakers for 250, overlooking a better pair for 380 because I thought it was an insane amount of money to spend on hi-fi. Are we not all, as Harbeth users, amongst the world's extravagant rich? It boggles my mind how anyone who has spent about 2000 on a pair of speakers (yes, wonderful and good value ones as they are in my opinion) would cavil against those who have spent lots of money on optimising the sound of their (already-)expensive system.
      Can we not have a moratorium in this user group on condescending judgements on others and their creations? It can be dangerous to assume that one belongs to the enlightened few!

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      • #18
        Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

        Interesting discussion. Here's a rather formal look on the tweaks syndrome.

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        • #19
          Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

          Hi Drew and Tozen

          Point taken. i only feel occasionally enlightened, eg. when someone else has opened up an amp similar to one i bought, and determined that the parts inside can be purchased from a mouser catalogue and be put together for less than a tenth of the rrp (and im starting to see a pattern to who these vendors might be). i must admit that it is pretty tough to draw the line between providing good value (eg.at up to how much would you pay for a pair of harbeths) and feeling ripped off after the fact, mostly due to not having the right information at time of purchase or opportunity to evaluate/ evaluate correctly. All I have been trying to say is back to basics – just go for good speakers. Im happy with my system but feel I wasted a lot of time going down avenues which in hindsight never made that much of a difference eg. Class a amps, tubes, cables, interconnects, turntable, power filters. Most of the time, I think I tricked myself into thinking there was an improvement (which in fact was just a difference which you would just forget a few days later). 2 days ago I listened to a poorly recorded track (it wasn’t as bad as a Robert Johnson) at a moderately low level through the SHL5’s and I convinced myself I was listening to a Toshiba bombeat from the 80’s. it was alike! . there are many other bigger factors which could affect sound quality and really don’t think a thingamagik would be the deal breaker here. Rest all thoughts….

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          • #20
            Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

            Thanks, I am with you. I certainly don't want to be heard to say we don't need to exercise discernment! Of course there is much over-priced, over-hyped stuff in the hi-fi industry. But we would all, myself included, do well I think to exercise charity in our judgements. I read elsewhere on the web that someone's perception of Harbeth users, based on this forum, was of a sort of enlightened cult-like condescension towards the less wise than ourselves. Surely interesting that someone even came up with that impression.....
            Happy listening Am loving my new P3ESR's....

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            • #21
              Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

              thanks unleash_me for the article. its very interesting. the harbeths seem to me to be the only consistent aspect of the music reproduction chain which can produce great sounding, foot tapping stuff for me.from the article id also like to add that casual non interested parties who have no interest in what we do eg. wives and girlfriends can sometimes have the most profound input into our hobbies. im not sure if its out of spite but i know my wife has said that "amp" (normally the cheaper one) sounds better. i think, with a lot of pain, she is right.

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              • #22
                Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

                Couldn't agree with you more Kittykat. I had moved from Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, Dali and ProAc to finally reach Harbeth. None of these aforementioned speakers could give me the kind of sonic purity I get from SHL5.

                Regarding cables, I'm using the signature series from Chord for interconnects and cables but then again, these have been with me for years and quite frankly I haven't tried many. Power cords however are all stock ones.

                Cheers.

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                • #23
                  Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

                  Hello Eric,
                  I used a friends unit for my audiion.I purchased my unit from Bryan(owner)of Gramophone Records in Edmonton,,although I live Calgary.Bryan is a great fellow.He also happens to be a Harbeth dealer.Where do you live Canada?If you go on to the Audience web page,it will tell you where the nearest dealer is.Best.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Forget cables! This is WAY beyond ...

                    Thanks Drew. I live in Vancouver, but as it happens I've just ordered an item from Bryan - one of the new HRT Music Streamer II+, for which he is the only Canadian authorized dealer. I'll look into the Audience gear at some point.

                    Eric

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