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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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Your input needed - A change of marketing strategy - or not?

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  • #91
    I know that some audiophiles can be irritating at times to lesser mortals, but many listen acutely to their systems, and are well able to tell if a speaker sounds good. Why not just use a conventional 100w+ low-distortion amp with good industry standard cabling? Explain that you want to show that Harbeths do not need high end components to have an excellent sound, and if pressed slyly suggest that they imagine how much better they could be with their favourite electronics and cabling!

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      This is the problem. If we knew that 80% of the audience were 'audiophiles' then no discussion would be neccessary.

      80%? Really? I guess you have to spend time with folk individually to determine that, but my instinct says that it's more like serious-about-music and need a decent, but not bling system.

      Perhaps we could hand out ID stickers at the door ... "I am / am not an audiohile"!
      I suppose there are different audiophile degree's but I think people who visit these kind of show's are more than usual busy with their hifi equipment.
      Not because something is broken or has to be replaced but they like this kind of stuff. Once and a while it is nice to try a new amplifier or change your speakers and
      when you are on a tight budget you can always try new cables to improve the sound at home. I think at first there is the fascination for this equipment and next there is a fascination
      for sound. Big,bold, dynamic, spacious and detailed sound. I have been in the audiophile circuit for a while and with this hobby comes a special kind of music.
      Music that sounds good, could be awful ( music) but what matters is how is it recorded, can you hear the details and micro-dynamics etc. To many times I was forced to listen Patricia Barber
      at auditions or shows. The sound or music serves the equipment here.
      Often I am surprised by musicians or fanatic music lovers, they can listen music at home for many hours and years with humble but decent equipment,
      I/m afraid music is not the most important issue here.

      What makes your company interesting for me is the BBC heritage; you cannot fool the professionals and each Harbeth models is improved over the years within the same concept.
      That makes improvements real for me and reliable. Years ago I bought the c7es3 unheard, I was sick of the industry and the circuit. I checked this side and my only goal was not the best or most impressive speaker
      but a speaker I could listen for hours without irritation. It was the right choice because I lost my interest in the audiophile business.

      But I do found the Harbeth address through the audiophile sources

      So here is in my perception your dilemma... I am really curious what your new salesman will find out.
      I think the Bristol show won't be in your benefit but your appearance will be a fact so bring an interesting amplifier otherwise it will harm your reputation. Other places for education.
      Good luck there !

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by A.S. View Post
        This is the problem. If we knew that 80% of the audience were 'audiophiles' then no discussion would be neccessary.

        80%? Really? I guess you have to spend time with folk individually to determine that, but my instinct says that it's more like serious-about-music and need a decent, but not bling system.

        Perhaps we could hand out ID stickers at the door ... "I am / am not an audiohile"!
        I would probably hesitate as to what to do with your sticker Alan. I’m a former musician (rock band and a bad one at that) and I spent years with my expectations consistently frustrated by the unconvincing sound of all the digital players I owned prior to switching to computer audio. I mention my ‘credentials’ only because they probably entitle me to say without much embarrassment that I ‘know’ what an acoustic drum set should sound like (just an example of an instrument that I'm most familiar with). So when I approach my listening with that peculiar expectation in mind, expectation for a very particular timbre that is the plastic and the wood and the metal, resonating in a single voice, does that make me an ‘audiophile’? Probably so, but I’m not sure. These days I’m a sucker for string quartets. I can hear the Death and the Maiden on a transistor radio and still be touched by it but I want more than that from such amazing music. I want those strings to shake me to the bone if possible, and I want that to happen in a gradual and nuanced kind of way, not merely as the 'sound engineer intended it' but as the particular instruments in the hands of those 4 musicians dictated it, by their size, their architecture, their material. Should I be more modest in my expectations? More focused perhaps on the essence? I don’t know about others but I don't presume some fundamental difference between the musical idea and the aspect of its sound in space. You can’t have one without the other (unless you’re Mozart and completely bonkers). In that sense, perhaps the question ‘are you first and foremost an audiophile or a music lover’ is not quite as obvious or even apt as it seems to be? I think the latter (sound quality) either enhances the former (musical idea), or it diminishes it. And that correspondence is present whenever there's music in a room. Whether we as listeners are aware of it or not, whether we should be aware of it or not, is a different matter. If I sometimes dare to see myself as an audiophile that is only because I find it impossible to escape the awareness of that dynamic. Both stickers for me then, Alan please.

        Comment


        • #94
          Hi.

          Why not take exactly the Harbeth research lab gear used during the speakers development, with the premise of providing the audience with the unique experience of an audition as close as possible to what the designer intended them to sound like? (Obviously, with the exception of the ambience.) "Come in, listen and feel the same as Alan Shaw when designing them".
          I don't see anything more neutral and striking than that, and I would be extremely attracted to go. After all:

          1) Impossible for the speakers to sound more original than with their original gear, do you agree?
          2) You can also conceal the equipment with the understandable argument of being an industrial secret. (Although I'd really like to know what you used in the lab...)
          3) Even the most "gear lover" visitor will be focused on listening intently to feel how those speakers were designed to sound. And if they please him or not.

          Comment


          • #95
            Originally posted by martin1305 View Post

            I suppose there are different audiophile degree's but I think people who visit these kind of show's are more than usual busy with their hifi equipment.
            Not because something is broken or has to be replaced but they like this kind of stuff. Once and a while it is nice to try a new amplifier or change your speakers and
            when you are on a tight budget you can always try new cables to improve the sound at home. I think at first there is the fascination for this equipment and next there is a fascination
            for sound. Big,bold, dynamic, spacious and detailed sound. I have been in the audiophile circuit for a while and with this hobby comes a special kind of music.
            Music that sounds good, could be awful ( music) but what matters is how is it recorded, can you hear the details and micro-dynamics etc. To many times I was forced to listen Patricia Barber
            at auditions or shows. The sound or music serves the equipment here.
            Often I am surprised by musicians or fanatic music lovers, they can listen music at home for many hours and years with humble but decent equipment,
            I/m afraid music is not the most important issue here.

            What makes your company interesting for me is the BBC heritage; you cannot fool the professionals and each Harbeth models is improved over the years within the same concept.
            That makes improvements real for me and reliable. Years ago I bought the c7es3 unheard, I was sick of the industry and the circuit. I checked this side and my only goal was not the best or most impressive speaker
            but a speaker I could listen for hours without irritation. It was the right choice because I lost my interest in the audiophile business.

            But I do found the Harbeth address through the audiophile sources

            So here is in my perception your dilemma... I am really curious what your new salesman will find out.
            I think the Bristol show won't be in your benefit but your appearance will be a fact so bring an interesting amplifier otherwise it will harm your reputation. Other places for education.
            Good luck there !
            My personal story of how I got to know Harbeth is very similar to the above and I also agree that many Harbeth current and future owners are not audiophiles per se but actually post-audiophiles. I admit that Harbeth speakers played a big role in me gradually losing interest in Hi-Fi equipment and reconnecting with my music hobby that ignited my interest in Hi-Fi years ago. So it’s all not that simple and stickers probably wouldn’t work but ultimately the broad picture is clear.

            Comment


            • #96
              Interesting discovery in my garage last night. A Harbeth-branded prototype basic amplifier. Long forgotten about. To be tested. Remote control needed new batteries but seems to work......
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #97
                Bring a live band, with acoustic instruments, place them between the speakers, have them play a song from their latest album, and then play the album through the Harbeth speakers.

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Apperup View Post
                  Bring a live band, with acoustic instruments, place them between the speakers, have them play a song from their latest album, and then play the album through the Harbeth speakers.
                  Do you have any idea how much processing and EQ is necessary to make bands sound as they do on recorded media? It's staggering, and without it, the public simply wouldn't buy. It would sound too flat and boring.

                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    I'm sure Alan's right - impossible with a band. But AR used to do it effectively with a string quartet.

                    Comment


                    • According to the BBC, updating something and adding a "Plus" on the end is "unimaginative". It didn't stop me buying a couple of pairs, but it would appear there is room for improvement in this regard.

                      Moreover, "+" is a definite non-no.

                      "Unimaginatively, it will be called Advanced Ligo Plus, but that does mean it can be abbreviated to A+, which the marketing people are sure to like."
                      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47213202

                      In Trump-world, Harbeth gets a B-, or more correctly B Minus, on your end of 4th grade report card (which I fear is his intellectual resting place).

                      On top of that, I always wondered why Harbeth speakers were often named after motorways. Should the M40.2 be the M42?

                      Apple name systems after mountains, Chord after the owner's pub mates, the Japanese tend to go for states of mind like "Sunny" and "Happy". Whereto Harbeth?

                      Only a suggestion ...

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                        You have stated my position more or less correctly.
                        But when the beautiful visual is presented as a sonic advancement, that's when the trouble starts and the consumer's senses are hijaked for commercial gain.

                        But we are all hugely influenced by the visuals.

                        .
                        I get your point. I'm know you and your marketing folks are not going to spin a tale to customers about how the visuals are a sonic advancement. Good for you guys. Keep up the good work.

                        Getting back to aesthetics, imagine a fellow dressed in a Hugo Boss suit, with fine dress shoes to match. And imagine a second guy with a similiar quality suit but wearing perfectly servicable tennis shoes.
                        You don't need the very fine dress shoes that cost 10 times as much as tennis shoes, unless aesthetics is a concern. When you design your show, I suggest you be like the former guy and not the latter. It just looks better - its more balanced and coherent.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                          Do you have any idea how much processing and EQ is necessary to make bands sound as they do on recorded media? It's staggering, and without it, the public simply wouldn't buy. It would sound too flat and boring.
                          I'm not an expert but if you keep it simple. A pure acoustic setting, something like this;
                          It would benefit the speakers as they will sound better than the band.

                          Comment


                          • I have received two delightful phone calls this week from customers thrilled with their new Harbeths. As I don't tell them who they are speaking with, this sort of feedback is always a pleasure, doubly so when the caller lists some CDs that he is currently playing and enjoying. One gentleman said 'You need to demo your speakers with some music which really brings them to life and gets the best out of them...' so I took a list of his favourite demo tracks and ordered them on line. They've arrived, and I agree, the recordings are lovely.

                            What I find interesting, and this opens an entirely new insight into what I'll call the 'audiophiles' sought experience, is that almost all of these CDs are from young, attractive female singers, and having worked today with them playing in the background, I can now sense that I have been serenaded with the life experiences of these love lost girls, and I feel for them.

                            I'm wondering then if I've got the music selection completely wrong in the past at, for example, the Bristol show (NEXT WEEKEND FOLKS!) playing almost anything but young, lovelorn female singers to an audience of gentlemen of a certain age?

                            There might be more in this as a motivator to drive-up fidelity to bridge the emotional gap with the perfomer, and as the callers said, 'its the vocal purity on Harbeth's that really grabs your attention...'

                            Thoughts?
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • Ah...... of cause! Preferences again. Go for it!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                                Thoughts?
                                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                                Thoughts?
                                I sincerely hope Cecile McLorin Salvant was on the list. Either, or both of her last two albums, "The Window" and "Dreams and Daggers". Rightfully won piles of awards. Incredible voice incredibly recorded.
                                https://youtu.be/RdvY_UF5LFg
                                (The album version has a much longer piano accompaniment)

                                I was putting SHL5+ 40th SE through their paces by comparing "The Window" through them and Quad ESL63's. Not really a fair fight.
                                Click image for larger version

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                                Possibly also Andrea Motis, recorded live at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona (you remember that place, Alan)
                                https://youtu.be/y2kFYzTFCRo
                                Attached Files

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