"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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Is there a business oportunity for a "new" kind of Hifi Dealer/shop ?

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  • Is there a business oportunity for a "new" kind of Hifi Dealer/shop ?

    I read the posts by some people talking about their "bad" experiences in Hifi shops and dealers when dealers try to sell them exotic very expensive gear and accessories, dont have knowledge about the physics of sound reproduction, don't make measurements, etc..
    But one questions is, due to the situation we have where there is not much people interested in HiFi equipment (99% of people buy a Tv for their home and don't even think about buying a 500 euros HiFI system) is there really a business opportunity for another type of HiFi shop ? or it is just what would like to have in our city but would be imposible to survive ?
    And also, it is fair to ask a sales man or shop to "teach" people about sound? cause usually a shop is not the right place no learn about anything, we need to learn in another places and just go to the shop to buy what we decided to buy.

    I write the thread here cause it is in the Sale part of the forum but change it to another please if it is not the correct one. Thanks.

  • #2
    I think the issue is that on average people watch hours of TV per day. You can also listen to music on you TV, depending on your cable service. My wife listens to music direct form her phone. How many people sit down and listen to hours of music every day, even on the radio?

    There is a small market and in the UK we do actually have one remaining chain called Richer Sounds that give good advice on sensibly priced audio and AV equipment.


    • #3
      I think you may well have answered your own question there.

      My own friend circle would think nothing of spending 2000 - 3000 euros on a huge TV that frankly dominates the room and is the hub that they gather round for all the latest box sets that they will spend hours consuming. Their music invariably comes from an iPhone played through headphones or through various music apps on their 'smart' TV - and that's it. Our daughters, who are both in the entertainment industry and love their music, would consider sitting down in front of a Hi-Fi system, of any price, quite weird as that is not how they access their music needs, and that also applies to their own peer group.

      I have a very simple - maybe even sceptical, view of how most (not all) Hi-Fi dealerships operate and survive. Certainly those that sell a particular British brand of black electronic boxes have the swankiest and plushest premises of all those I've seen and money - and survival - doesn't seem to be a problem to them (possibly because of the eye watering mark-up on the product offered to them). They have a ready made audience full of angst that they might need the next fix and 'upgrade' which, in part, is driven on by their own forum full of 'experts'. And the dealer is there with open arms, just waiting! Unless you can get a few of the 'chosen one' brands on board, I doubt it would be a business that could survive for very long.

      My own dealer (no names as he might not wish to be named) these days operates by appointment only from his home base and only sells reliable and sensible electronics to go with his Harbeth range and he will NEVER try to upsell or prise you away from what you already have (assuming fitness for purpose of course) and I know that he works on very tight margins that are only possible because he works from home. Far from being the norm he is, I'm sad to say, the last of a dying breed and I'm grateful to have his services.


      • #4
        Some of us are enthusiasts and sell what we believe to be good, sensible, quality, reliable Hi-Fi systems. Everything I stock I could happily live with as a system and spend a lot of time helping customers to make a considered choice. I don't see the point in pushing customers to spend far more than they want. I would far rather they spend less and enjoy what they have. Probably why I am not rich.

        I know that many retailers take the easy path, stocking equipment raved about in the mags and with high profit margins. What's not to like when customers come in asking for product X just reviewed in the mags - just confirm their thoughts and take the money. Easy, peasy.

        I've spent most of my life demonstrating Hi-Fi equipment to potential customers and I like nothing more than when they enjoy the music through the systems I have put together. Profit margin never crosses my mind - all I want is for the customer to enjoy the music. Most of the equipment I have on demonstration isn't mainstream, so I have to work that bit harder to prove it's worth but it's what I enjoy. I can't imagine much worse than having to spout BS about the shiny, mass market dross that abounds. I'm not a good salesman just an enthusiast.


        • #5
          Well, Mike M, you have confirmed what I suspected about the way most people access music in their homes and very depressing it is...
          There is a small market for high quality audio equipment.
          Perhaps someone on this Forum, who has done their research, can tell us exactly how big this market is.