The British Sound


Ok I know this sounds ridiculous but hear me out. The British sound is characterized as being laid back, mellow and unagressive in the treble. It struck me that England is a very humid environment. And in high humidity conditions, the treble is more pronounced and shrill. Musicians playing outside before a rainstorm call this condition the bloom before the thunderstorm. Ive read that this state can be explained by physics. The reason I thought of this again tonight is because right now the weather is extremely humid in central NC tonite. I listened to my stereo and I had to turn down the treble on my speaker controls. My AC has not run all day. I ask, is this why they tweak their designs. They are only trying to make musical equipment perspective of any environmental influences. Am I way out in left field? Then tell me why their products including speakers sound that way. Mike
blueranger
Hey anything is possible when it comes to weather conditions. Then if England is so humid. Then why are all their movies so DRY....LOL
First, why are British speakers doing on an amp forum? ;)
I live in the hot and humid tropics, does that mean the American sound (speakers) will not suit me? I am curious too.... Cheers!
If anything it is more likely that British homes are smaller and the treble is what attenuates most with distance. The closer you are to the speaker the less treble you need.

The other possibility is the Boom Boom Tizz factor - simply put there is huge competitive pressure on American designs to get the speaker to sound as impressive as possible. The bass and treble are how most designs are evaluated and compared.
A thought from a different perspective. When there is high barometric pressure pushing on the eardrum treble clarity is reduced. During periods of low barometric pressure treble clarity/harshness is increased. Next time you are listening on a sunny/high pressure day just equalize your ears like you would when you fly on a jet airliner or scuba dive (hold your nose, close your mouth, and blow outward). You will experience an increased level of treble extension. As to your question: the British sound is the result of studies commissioned by the British government as to how to make natural sounds, not laid back, mellow and un-aggressive. The result was the BBC monitor produced by companies like Spendor, Harbeth, Sterling, etc. Upfront, etched and aggressive sound is the trademark sound (regardless of nationality) from manufacturers trying to create something which is actually unnatural but distinctive in order to attract customers, thereby creating the need for AudiogoN.
Brit speakers have evolved over the past decades and
The mellow tag is less applicable today. in fact box speakers have improved to the point everything sounds remarkably similar.
Part of this is due to the fact that British ears are voiced differently then other cultures. Many years ago an excellent article appeared in FI magazine that covered the issue in great detail. So, yes there is a British sound, tuned to British ears.
The affect of humidity on sound waves is not appreciable. Who here actually uses a humidity meter? I have one hanging on the wall of my listening room and I check it periodically out of curiousity, but I am not convinced the sound is better with higher or lower humidity.
I agree, it is not humidity but pressure that can make a big difference. Equalizing your ears helps insure you are hearing sound as you should especially if you have sinus problems or flu/cold symptoms.
Sound travels about 4.3 times faster in water than air, so there might be something to the humidity, albeit, a little. Couple that with their smaller rooms and I can see why they prefer a more laid back, treble.
Or its just something in the water.
You guys have good ears!
I live in Oregon and I can't hear anything from Britain.
I wonder if audiophiles and politicians in Alaska can hear Russia?
Thanks for the posts. I wonder how our products sell over there?
Ck out b&w and monitor audio . Treble is anything but laid back.
I just bought a pair of Harbeth 40.1's.....I was somewhat familiar with them until I got them home....and in my room and with my electronics and cables. I had a pair of Avalon's for the past 10 years or so ....it does take some time getting used to that '' sound ''. It is a big difference
A large influence on the "British" sound was the BBC. Live music broadcasts were more widespread over there and the BBC made great efforts to have high quality sound. Many of their engineers made contributions to audio; Spencer Hughes[Spendor] and Dudley Harwood [Harbeth] both spent most of their careers at the BBC, developing Bextrane, the first widespread plastic material for cones. The speakers they developed were intended first and foremost for the reproduction of the human voice and they are still among the best at it. Not as "Analytical" as many American top end speakers but unfailingly musical.
Oregon,I am sure Sarah can, on one of those channels she has inside her head.
A large influence on the "British" sound was the BBC. Live music broadcasts were more widespread over there and the BBC made great efforts to have high quality sound. Many of their engineers made contributions to audio; Spencer Hughes[Spendor] and Dudley Harwood [Harbeth] both spent most of their careers at the BBC, developing Bextrane, the first widespread plastic material for cones. The speakers they developed were intended first and foremost for the reproduction of the human voice and they are still among the best at it. Not as "Analytical" as many American top end speakers but unfailingly musical.
Buconero117, was that the article that contrasted national speaking voice to speaker sound, that they tended to be opposite?

I thought it was funny at the time, imagining Chinese speakers that sounded as flat as AM radio, rude Indian speakers and Irish speakers that didn't make any sound at all (loathing the sound of their own voice).
Oregon, first post I read after work and LOL.
Thanks, I needed that.
I am getting sick of the 'British Sound'
Camelboy, Maybe you could elaborate. What experience have you had that made you feel that way?
Cio52,
Maybe just because I have had British equipment for so long, and not heard much else lately.
Camelboy,
Sounds like you are a prime candidate for a trip to an audio show or high end retail establishment. I suggest you proceed with maximum caution. Good Luck, Happy Listening.
Cio52,
Thanks for the suggestion!