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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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A technology of their own: anti-mass sentiment and the high-end audio community

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  • A technology of their own: anti-mass sentiment and the high-end audio community

    A female dissects male domination of audiophilia for her master's thesis.

    Wasn't quite sure where to post this. Very interesting read, covers the history of audiophilia and the motivations behind it. Some of it may be uncomfortable reading for some of us. ;)

    http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/ir...60/ETD4818.pdf

  • Batears
    replied
    Double-cursed?

    Originally posted by ssfas View Post
    I joined a Leica forum the other day, trading in from an M9 to the new Q (a bit like moving from valves to Class D). I noted that although photography is quite a sociable pursuit and many women partake, I've yet to notice any women in the forum. Just seems like blokes like talking tech.
    A double whammy, not only an audiophile but also a cameraphile.

    Leave a comment:


  • pkwba
    replied
    Feminine practicalness.

    Originally posted by ssfas View Post
    My comment was slightly tongue in cheek, perhaps being slightly biased by having a technophobe wife. She has yet to master the fact that you can have two windows open in a web browser at the same time, and her involvement in her car selection is largely limited to the colour.

    Needless to say, she couldn't turn on the HiFi if her life depended on it.
    Mine is hardly technophobe one (uses computer and all modern devices with natural ease), moreover she is trained high school musician but I would not dare repeat in public what she thinks and says about audiophilism. Years ago she ruined my belief in this voodoo when after common listening to some classical music via extremely expensive super dooper high-end egde audio set she fairly and sincerely asked me "Beautiful music but honey, is that all?".
    I think it is one of the reasons we love our ladies so much

    Leave a comment:


  • ssfas
    replied
    Rule for one, rule for the other

    Originally posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    Boys and their toys.

    The girls have their stuff too. Think Shoes. Or Handbags. The difference is they don't look for science to justify their antics.
    "... yes darling, you look lovely in that (dress/chemise/handbag - delete as appropriate)" he says using the eyes in the back of his head.

    They of course, don't even bother to show any interest, let alone compliment us on our newly purchased platinum tuning cups.

    The obvious corollary is the current debate about a female Top Gear presenter. The premise is not that women know nothing about cars*, but that they have no right to tell a man anything about cars, even if they are better informed. And they don't do self-deprecation, as they like to be superior whenever possible. Would you (men out there - i.e. everyone) listen to a woman telling you about the latest speaker cable capacitance and how it can change your life?

    I'm with Willem that the article appears to be more of a re-hash than original research, pick-and-mix academics, a bit like the Dodgy Dossier. It allows the author to select their sources to provide a pre-conceived argument, as there is a lack of objective research.

    * A little chauvinist, I admit. I know nothing about cars either. Reverting to Aristotle again, the syllogism would be: Women know nothing about cars, I know nothing about cars, therefore I must be a woman.
    Not true of course, or else I wouldn't be on the HUG (ASOS more likely), but perhaps that is the level that this thread has now descended to.

    Leave a comment:


  • Regalins
    replied
    Female logic!

    Originally posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    The girls have their stuff too. Think Shoes. Or Handbags. The difference is they don't look for science to justify their antics.
    Probably true. Still, have you heard the expression "invest in a new handbag"? Women have "explanations" for their spending antics too, make no mistake about it...

    Leave a comment:


  • hifi 87452
    replied
    "WE'RE BUYING HARBETHS, BECAUSE I SAY SO" she says

    Hello...

    i total agree with Dave. Unfortunately Hifi and Audio is mostly a Men-Hobby. In some cases, when the Wife is a hifi-lover too, and they come as a Pair to a listening Session we often have to say the the Wife takes the Decision which Speaker to Buy.
    And they listen and follow their Ears and Their Heart. In 2 or 3 cases the Woman didn`t like the Optic of a Harbeth compared to a Speaker which was high, thin and White-Highgloss, but she heard the much better Sound, so she told her Man: WE BUY THE HARBETH!!! (It was a 5 that Time...) And then the Man HAS TO AGREE...

    Leave a comment:


  • Kumar Kane
    replied
    The science of handbaggery

    Boys and their toys.

    The girls have their stuff too. Think Shoes. Or Handbags. The difference is they don't look for science to justify their antics.

    Leave a comment:


  • hifi_dave
    replied
    Ladies listen, men waffle

    When it comes to Hi-Fi, blokes certainly "like talking tech" and reading other people's opinions. When the ladies come along, they use their ears and choose wisely.

    Leave a comment:


  • ssfas
    replied
    A bloke thing, tech-talk

    Originally posted by willem View Post
    I see two weaknesses. The first is that the gender focus is exaggerated in the sense that similar cult like anti scientific sentiments can also be found among women, even if they concern other domains. Think of alternative medicine or various happiness therapies.
    Well it seems like I'm one half of a perfect couple, given my wife's an aromatherapist.

    I joined a Leica forum the other day, trading in from an M9 to the new Q (a bit like moving from valves to Class D). I noted that although photography is quite a sociable pursuit and many women partake, I've yet to notice any women in the forum. Just seems like blokes like talking tech.

    Leave a comment:


  • willem
    replied
    A neat piece

    I thought it is a rather good paper, and better than quite a lot I get from some of my students.

    I see two weaknesses. The first is that the gender focus is exaggerated in the sense that similar cult like anti scientific sentiments can also be found among women, even if they concern other domains. Think of alternative medicine or various happiness therapies.

    My second concern is that methodologically it is principally interpretive of some texts rather than sociological. But with those caveats, I think it was a neat piece, and a funny read.

    Leave a comment:


  • anonymous
    replied
    Thoughts of a pioneer

    Arthur Haddy, "father of hi-fi" and engineer behind ffrr, was yet another early proponent of digital recording.

    Haddy was a keen advocate of [digital recording] from the start, noting in particular the benefits of zero tape modulation noise, the enormous signal-to-noise ratio and the fact that a copy of a digital master really is a genuine clone and not a marginally degraded copy. He was not uncritical, though, and was troubled especially by recordings in which the ambient noise of a venue is seemingly modified or all but eliminated, and he made various tests to try to quantify the effect. The accepted need now to preserve some degree of background ambient noise if a recording is to sound natural and lifelike is due in part to his concern.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Haddy

    But what did he know?

    Leave a comment:


  • ssfas
    replied
    Somewhat off-target?

    This paper is very US-centric.

    The only reference to the UK is copied below.

    In the United Kingdom Full Frequency Range Response (FFRR) recordings that employed a military-developed technology used in the training of sonar operators, became available in 1944 (Ibid.). The direct association of these recordings with the dominantly male military and the prestigious post of sonar operator elevated the status of these albums, which became available in America in 1946. American records did not emphasize sound quality until 1948 when Columbia introduced the LP in an effort to reclaim consumers who had become enamoured with the FFRR discs (Keightley, 1996, p. 152). Sound quality was thus increasingly used as a marketing ploy. As this tactic was used on both high-end and mainstream consumers, audiophiles were forced to restructure their priorities in order to remain distinct. High-end aficionados distinguished themselves by postulating that the music was as important as the sound.
    I mentioned some months ago that in one way the WWII was a blessing for Decca, who were contracted to develop recording equipment for U-boat detection. They therefore had almost unlimited funds to develop technology that would have cost a fortune and taken much longer in peacetime. The result was FFRR, with a dramatically improved quality and frequency response (hence "Full Frequency") from a pre-war upper limit of about 7.8khz to 15khz. To suggest that it was down to sonar operators on submarines being blokes seems complete and utter tosh. Most of the land-based signal operators would have been women.

    The status of these records was elevated not because of men on submarines, but because they were incomparably better than pre-war records. I have FFRR records from the 1960's, so it was no passing macho fad.

    The second quote is equally bonkers. When you are listening to Classical, and the first FFRR recording were I think The Halle Orchestra in Kingsway Hall, sound quality is not marketing, it is the raison d'Ítre.

    Leave a comment:


  • G Spiggott
    replied
    men on top (again)?

    I find it interesting that when people (male and female) generously leap to women's defence it is often on an assumption that masculinity is good and femininity bad; women are being excluded from some hitherto male institution, or being accused of a non-masculine trait.

    The argument is rarely from the standpoint that femininity, in itself, is a good thing. So, ironically, the assumed superiority of masculinity is reinforced at every turn.

    Leave a comment:


  • anonymous
    replied
    "I distrust all generalizations about women."

    Originally posted by ssfas View Post
    My comment was slightly tongue in cheek, perhaps being slightly biased by having a technophobe wife. She has yet to master the fact that you can have two windows open in a web browser at the same time, and her involvement in her car selection is largely limited to the colour.

    Needless to say, she couldn't turn on the HiFi if her life depended on it.
    That's very funny, ssfas. I'd assumed as much, and only commented so that women who may be reading HUG now or in the future don't feel they are being unfairly stereotyped. Fortunately, the thought process of responding led me back to this essay by Bertrand Russell that I'd read a number of years ago, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish." I've included some of the pertinent excerpts.

    Almost everybody allows himself or herself some entirely unjustifiable generalization on the subject of woman. Married men, when they generalize on that subject, judge by their wives; women judge by themselves. It would be amusing to write a history of men's views on women....For my part I distrust all generalizations about women, favorable and unfavorable, masculine and feminine, ancient and modern; all alike, I should say, result from paucity of experience.

    To avoid the various foolish opinions to which mankind are prone, no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you, not from all error, but from silly error.

    If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself. Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted. He did not do so because he thought he knew. Thinking that you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone. I believe myself that hedgehogs eat black beetles, because I have been told that they do; but if I were writing a book on the habits of hedgehogs, I should not commit myself until I had seen one enjoying this unappetizing diet. Aristotle, however, was less cautious. Ancient and medieval authors knew all about unicorns and salamanders; not one of them thought it necessary to avoid dogmatic statements about them because he had never seen one of them.

    Be very wary of opinions that flatter your self-esteem. Both men and women, nine times out of ten, are firmly convinced of the superior excellence of their own ***. There is abundant evidence on both sides. If you are a man, you can point out that most poets and men of science are male; if you are a woman, you can retort that so are most criminals. The question is inherently insoluble, but self esteem conceals this from most people. We are all, whatever part of the world we come from, persuaded that our own nation is superior to all others. Seeing that each nation has its characteristic merits and demerits, we adjust our standard of values so as to make out that the merits possessed by our nation are the really important ones, while its demerits are comparatively trivial. Here, again, the rational man will admit that the question is one to which there is no demonstrably right answer. It is more difficult to deal with the self esteem of man as man, because we cannot argue out the matter with some non-human mind. The only way I know of dealing with this general human conceit is to remind ourselves that man is a brief episode in the life of a small planet in a little corner of the universe, and that, for aught we know, other parts of the cosmos may contain beings as superior to ourselves as we are to jellyfish.
    http://www.personal.kent.edu/~rmuham...ectRubbish.htm

    It goes without saying that I think the same caveats apply to the deconstructionism a la Adorno in the essay that prompted this thread. Putting aside the overlay and projections of gender, though, I think the author did an excellent job of assaying the audio world. I enjoyed reading her essay more than most of the nonsense on audio forums, where there's not an even an attempt at objectivity.

    Leave a comment:


  • elviejo
    replied
    A common issue!

    Originally posted by ssfas View Post
    My comment was slightly tongue in cheek, perhaps being slightly biased by having a technophobe wife. She has yet to master the fact that you can have two windows open in a web browser at the same time, and her involvement in her car selection is largely limited to the colour.

    Needless to say, she couldn't turn on the HiFi if her life depended on it.
    I married her sister..... ;)

    Leave a comment:

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