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Feb. 2018
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Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

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  • #76
    Monitor 40.1 listening height, and stands ....

    Good question.

    Every speaker definitely does have a 'reference axis' that is, a point vertically where the signal from the bass/mid driver and the tweeter arrive together at the ear. You can't tell where this is vertically just by physical examination of the speaker. You have to measure the frequency response to seek out that point where the system will be flattest with an equal contribution from the mid driver and tweeter in the crossover region and around it.

    Because the midrange driver's voice coil sits deeper into the cabinet than the tweeter's, you can imagine that an equilateral triangle drawn from these voice coils to the ear would have equal lengths only when the mic (or ear) was at one place vertically. And if the mid drive is deeper in the cabinet than the tweeter, that point would be way down nearer the floor - agree?

    However, our customers don't sit on the floor they sit with their ear somewhere near the tweeter - right? - so that I have adjusted the timing of the signal fed to the tweeter so that the tip of the equilateral triangle is pulled upwards, reaching the ear about the same distance above the floor as the tweeter's dome is. From memory, the M40.1 reference axis is on or even above the tweeter's physical middle so that is where you should sit for optimum sound.

    As for construction - well damped is the key. Wood is naturally fairly well damped. Metal can be made well damped with the addition of a damper such as lead or sand, poured inside. But in truth, the metal stands we've made for the BBC over the years are not filled, do have a definite pitch when hit, but no professional sound engineer has ever complained. So it must be a relatively small issue or not one at all.

    Maybe I should do a little talk-through demo of this drive unit integration issue?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #77
      Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

      Alan,

      Congrats on the 40.1, it's just plain brilliant and my wife and son both shared in my "love at first listening" experience recently here at Fidelis AV in New Hampshire, USA. I have been poking around the hi-fi scene off and on for many years now, travel all over the country on business and hit all the hi-fi shops to pass the time, and nothing has ever grabbed me like the natural quality of pure music you have engineered into the 40.1.

      A few quick questions:

      1) Wouldn't there also be an ideal distance from the speaker as well as height upon which the driver/phase integration is as close to perfect as possible? Would be very interested in your follow up on the exact height in relation to center of tweeter or top of cabinet upon which you based your axis integration point between tweeter and mid, and also at what distance, or range of distance, from front of cabinet that this integration is most ideal.

      2) Thinking of pairing the 40.1 with a Pass INT-150, a very robust 150 watt/ch minimum into 8ohms, and wondering if I would have to ride the volume control carefully or if the 40.1 is comfortable handling that kind of power and playing at realistic or bigger than realistic volumes (I like to shake the room every now and then)? I have read much on how to find the right balance between too little power and just enough power, how about at the other end of the spectrum? Any way you could help me characterize the range of "more than plenty of power" to the undesirable "too much power" in terms of watts/ch at 8 or 4 ohms (or 6) and/or Spl levels in room?

      Again, nice speaker.... so understated in appearance and apparent design on the surface (a slight twist on the classic 3-way), yet so uniquely competent in it's capabilities and the magic in it's communication.... I guess you can tell that I like them, very much so. I won't even bother to list the esteemed makes/models that you have left devasted in the wake of your execution of the 40.1, well done.

      Regards,

      Greg Jensen

      Comment


      • #78
        Amplifier for M40.1 - how powerful?

        Hi!! My new Monitor 40.1 finally have arrived.Any suggestions for amplification.. how many good watts shoud i need to power these monsters..

        Comment


        • #79
          Amplifier for M40.1 - how powerful? What guidelines?

          What amp do you have available? The M40.1 is an easy 6 ohm electrical load. I'm confident that it will work with any amp in proper working condition. How much power any loudspeaker needs depends upon ...

          a) the size of your room
          b) how close you sit to your speakers
          c) how loud you like to listen
          d) how much power reserve you like to have available
          e) what type of music you listen to
          f) electro-acoustic efficiency of speaker (most speakers have about the same efficiency)
          g) how low impedance of speaker and at what frequency i.e. is speaker an easy electrical load?

          ... so no easy answer. But surely 100W will provide an extremely loud sound (dangerous for your hearing if you always listen at that loudness) and 10W only a small sound. But your selection entirely depends upon a, b, c, d, e, f, g above. Considering a-g and applying some common sense, I'd say in my normal room, listing at a normal distance, to music of normal energy a sensible minimum amp power would be about 30W/channel. But I'd feel much happier with a minimum of twice that - say, 50W. Personally, I like to drive a car at 2000 rpm knowing that there is reserve engine power available if I need it; I don't feel comfortable having to hammer a small engine at 4500 rpm for the same road speed. Small engines and small amplifiers working hard "red-lining" are surely prone to failure, and such failure could damage the speakers.

          Remember: the amplifier only gives the speaker power according to the setting of the volume control. You set the volume control; you have command over the amplifier. If you have a 50W amp and you set the volume control low, maybe the amp only lets the speaker have 1 or 2W of power keeping 48 or 49W in reserve.

          The M40.1 (as indeed all Harbeth's are) was designed and listened to with my standard 100W + 100W transistor amplifier throughout the design period. That amp is serviced every few years just to be sure it's in spec.. During normal listening at a moderate loudness of say, 80dB, I'd estimate the amp is only delivering about 2-10W to the speakers.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #80
            Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

            Dear Alan, Thanks for you're response. (It never crossed my mind that you will be answering this question!! and this was my first post..) I have read most of the treads concerning amplification because before M40.1 i had the M40s.

            I remember that the same answer was given by you in a similar question it was something with a Bentley... i recall....I fell that most of the people using Harbeths will be tempted once in while to turn the volume up and try to see how loud there whole system can play but i feel that most of us like to come back home and listen to some nice music and at the same time play with our kids, write our email,or just relax.

            Now my question to you is what kind of amplifier will play best! under normal!!! circumstances, in a typical room, a small 30watt A class integrated, a 30W tube push - pull or a big pre power combo say 100W?.

            I am writing all this because most of the dealers where we buy our Harbeths try to sell us stuff which they also stock in house!! and nothing more. Furthermore by reading all the media coverage concerning M40 and m40.1 there is a clear distinction. M40 was power hungry and M40.1 is better in that area. Many people in the sites say Harbeths work best with Sugden, LFD,Leben etc.

            I don't feel that you have to answer this question and promote one or the other, but at least in a private contact - conversation, customers should have some suggestions from you're client service regarding amplification synergy. Thanks a lot for you're time.

            Comment


            • #81
              Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

              Some days I have a little time to reply, and other days I'm extremely busy.

              I cannot give you a 'hard and fast' answer. That is not because I am being evasive, but because for me, the amplifier worry ceased over twenty years ago. What I mean is that in my opinion electronic amplifiers (unlike electromechanical loudspeakers) reached a certain performance plateau at about that time and real technical improvement since then have been very small. As I am not an audiophile and do not have money to waste money chasing audio dreams, I long long ago decided to standardise on an amplifier concept from that era and have collected several pieces over the years. It's built like a tank.

              Like you, I just want to listen to the music at the end of a long day and I am not obsessed with extracting microscopic performance advantages from amplifiers. The amp I uses to listen and design is frankly "good enough" and certainly not exotic. I'm listing through the amp to the speakers and so should you.

              It's certainly true that many Harbeth customers are delighted with their Sugden amplifiers and the others you mention. What interests me about amplifiers is not the circuit but the mind-set of the people that create and make it every day. Are they honest engineers? Are they tarting up the mundane as the exotic? Would you feel comfortable sharing a meal and a few pints of beer discussing the rights and wrongs of the modern world with them? Could you empathise with them and through that empathy feel confident in their amplifier's ability to deliver music at home? Are they solid businessmen properly (cautiously) managing their business for the long-run?

              The management of the Sugden company is, as you'd expect from northerners (people living in the North of England) blunt, direct, frank, cost conscious and of pragmatic engineers. That encourages me to believe that Sugden amplifiers philosophically and electrically perfectly marry Harbeth speakers. Its up to you to do some research yourself to validate the management behind any company or brand before you spend serious money. People I like and trust may not be people you particularly like, and vice versa. You must make the decision; not me because if I recommend and the amplifier fails, you will naturally hold me responsible. I can say that if you buy a Sugden I believe that they have demonstrated from father to son their long-term commitment to making good amplifiers over about 40 years. In short, they are people of integrity. If service is needed even many years from now, I have the strong conviction that they'll be there to help. To me, that comfort zone is worth far, far more than some hairsplitting or possibly imaginary sonic argument.*

              I'm really sorry about I just cannot give you any more specific recommendations as the amplifiers I choose to use is too humble to be taken seriously by today's audiophile. They suit me perfectly. I reiterate yet again: whatever amp you have available will almost certainly make great music with your Harbeths providing that it is working to its original specification.

              *Would you buy an expensive and exotic sports car - no matter how incredible the performance - if you were not 100% certain that spare parts would be available in the future? Of course not. So apply the same logic to the selection of an amplifier.
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #82
                Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

                Alan,

                I have a general question. Would you say there is absolutely no difference in design or material used among different batches of M40.1 or other Harbeth speakers?

                I vaguely remember that it was once discussed a few years ago that there could be small incremental upgrade if any for the same version of speakers. Therefore, current speakers could be slightly better than the same speakers a few years ago.

                Could you comment again? Thanks

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                • #83
                  Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

                  The honest answer is that nothing stands still - nothing is totally frozen in time. For example, the 8" RADIAL woofer used in all Harbeths (except P3) has been constantly evolving over the years. In particular, we have adjusted the type of glue that we have used on the various glue joints based on longevity experience, health and safety considerations for our staff and what is available from suppliers. Fifteen years or so ago when we were making the first RADIAL woofers,many of the glues that we used were of a 'soft' type. Experience showed that harder, more permanent glues (cyanoacrylates) were better for some joints so we started to use these.

                  As we could not obtain continuous supplies over the last year or two asked the glue experts at Loctite to analyse our glue joints In their laboratory using their international experience or bonding non-porous surfaces. They've made some suggestions which we've accepted (although the cost is quite high*) and these have been incorporated, step by step into production of the RADIAL woofer. As every woofer is serial numbered and traceable, we can look up the exact combination of parts, glues etc. used to make every one so that we can gain long-term experience experience. In negotiating with suppliers we make it crystal clear to them that they should view us as a small but very long-term and loyal customer and to set their price, stocks and quality level to hold our business. If they don't or can't we do have to make appropriate adjustments as every manufacturer does.

                  Our long-standing policy is that we do not like to make changes to a released products unless it is forced upon us (supplier issues) or because I feel that the speaker truly will benefit from a change as I have done my best to get the design right before we start "mass" production. I should add that is you physically examine the crossovers you could indeed see different physical components (colour, size) but their functionality is the same.

                  The Monitor 40.1 has been made to a final build specification this year.

                  * 1 litre of one special superglue costs us USD 400. We keep it refrigerated as this extends its working life.
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

                    I currently have SHL5s, but would consider M40.1s if they would work in my room, which is 21 feet by 14 feet but the speakers are on the long wall. I have been advised (on Audiogon forums and by some Harbeth owners) that there would be overwhelming bass. The SHL5s do not over-do the bass, even when they are not on their Skylan stands (sitting right on the floor). Any comments would be appreciated.

                    Thanks in advance.
                    Last edited by rgshar; 31-12-2008, 08:24 PM. Reason: typo

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

                      I do not think that there are any bass issues with the M40.1. The design brief that we worked to was to make the speaker as room friendly as possible and the M40.1 design was definitely optimised for home use - the M40 wasn't: it was very definitely designed for studio use, but to my surprise (and delight) found a loyal following in people's homes.
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Used M40.1?

                        Hi everybody i copy pasted the following text from audiogoN
                        For Sale "Harbeth 40.1 in cherry with matching stands. Musical Fidelity KW 550 integrated amp. Resolution Opus 21 CD player. I put systems together as a hobby. Sometimes a system clicks and it is unreal. This is one of them. Less than one month old. Low easy hours. Perfect. Check my feedback so you know everything is as stated."

                        http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1235942877

                        Can this be true? any comments?

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Used M40.1?

                          Hi,

                          I've seen 2 posts in the Audiogon. Another guy was saying that he is selling his M40.1 to change to Tiger Ebony. He is paying extra 2K. I don't thing its true coz M40.1 does not come in Tiger Ebony.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Exotic veneers - just a matter of cost

                            Actually, we have made just one or two pairs of M40.1 in tiger ebony. However, due to the huge increase in the cost of cabinets through 2008 we have had to discontinue that (and similar) expensive veneers at this time. However, we do not think that our cabinet makers should in effect punish our customers by the price hikes we've experienced this year nor do we think that Harbeth UK should abandon offering 'exotic' veneers. It does not help this situation that the UK pound is now so weak.

                            We have made the decision to thoroughly investigate all potential suppliers who can give us as an ISO9001 company the cost/performance we need so that we can again offer these exotics veneers at a reasonable price. That's our ambition for the middle of this year. We certainly like to see and handle these exotics in production and I'm frustrated by the ludicrous cost increases.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Monitor 40.1 at work in the dubbing studio ....

                              You can read about it here and follow the link to the Flash movie.
                              Alan A. Shaw
                              Designer, owner
                              Harbeth Audio UK

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Re: Harbeth Monitor 40.1 specific

                                Alan,

                                I own a pair of 40.1s and have placed them on Skylan stands. Harbeth speakers on Skylan stands make a synergistic fit. The polyurethane pads on the 4 corners of the top shelf of the stands have excellent friction on them to secure the speakers onto the stands. These small pads are just the right thickness.

                                With a variety of music playing at moderate to loud volumes, there is little vibration to be felt on the 4 legs of the stands which are filled with kitty litter. I have Soundcare superspikes installed on the bottom shelf to the marble floor.

                                I also did have the opportunity to examine the Sound Foundation stands for ther 40.1s, in my view, the Skylan stands are more rigid. Strangely enough, the metal Sound Foundation stands seem to allow a twisting action to take place along the horizontal axis. This certainly does not bode well for providing a secure platform for speakers. Filling the Sound Foundation stands will in my opinion not help overcome this design issue.

                                My journey thus far has brought me from Totem, to Avalon to Vandersteen and now Harbeth. What a journey it has been!

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