At Light Harmonic, our journey began in 2014 with a vision to revolutionize the audio world. We recognized that there was an often-overlooked aspect of audio quality that deserved attention: the harmonic distortion distribution. Despite harmonic distortion being inevitable in music playback due to device limitations, we made it our mission to lower it as much as possible and maintain a natural balance in its distribution. The result has been a line of products that stand out for their extraordinary listening experience.
Understanding Harmonic Distortion and Its Effects
Harmonic distortion refers to the alteration of an output signal from its original input form. These alterations, or distortions, occur when an audio device introduces harmonics that were not present in the original signal. Harmonics themselves are multiples of a sound's fundamental frequency, and they can be classified as either even-order (second, fourth, sixth, etc.) or odd-order (third, fifth, seventh, etc.).
When high levels of harmonic distortion exist, it can significantly affect the listening experience. The impact of these distortions, however, varies depending upon whether they are even or odd-order. Even-order harmonics, especially the second and fourth, tend to be more pleasing to the ear, contributing to the perceived warmth and depth of the sound. They are often found in tube amplifiers and are a part of their thought-after audio signature.
Conversely, odd-order harmonics, particularly those above the 7th order, can introduce harshness and can cause a sound to be perceived as dissonant or unpleasant. High levels of these higher-order distortions can cause a loss of clarity, an imbalance in the soundstage, and an overall distortion of the sound, leading instruments to lose their distinct tonal characteristics and vocals to sound muffled or harsh.
It's also important to note that not all odd-order harmonics negatively impact the listening experience. For instance, some level of 3rd order harmonic distortion can actually enhance the listener's perception of the sound stage, contributing to a sense of breadth and depth. It can also bring out more details in the texture of instruments, giving the music a richer and more intricate quality. Thus, the art of perfecting audio output not only involves minimizing distortion but also carefully managing its distribution between even and odd orders.
Light Harmonic's Approach to Lowering Harmonic Distortion
At Light Harmonic, we employ a multi-faceted approach to lower harmonic distortion in our audio products. Our speakers, amplifiers, and digital audio converters are engineered using advanced designs and high-quality materials that minimize the generation of unwanted harmonics especially in high orders.
For instance, our speakers are equipped with custom-designed drivers and meticulously tuned strong magnets to produce a precise and clear sound. Our amplifiers use advanced full balanced single-ended circuit topologies and components that ensure accurate amplification with minimal distortion. Our digital-to-analog converters use proprietary algorithms to accurately reproduce the audio signal with the least possible amount of distortion.
The Role of Harmonic Distribution in Creating a Natural Sound
While it's important to minimize total harmonic distortion, it's equally crucial to pay attention to the distribution of the remaining distortion. Under the same amount of total harmonic distortion, a balance leaning towards the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th harmonics, with fewer distortions from the 6th and above, tends to create a more natural, transparent, and open music listening experience. This is because our ears are more sensitive to higher-order distortions, which are more likely to produce a harsh, unnatural sound.
Take the example of a tube amplifier. It's well-known that tube amplifiers produce more 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortions, which add warmth and depth to the sound. This is why they are favored by audiophiles worldwide, despite having higher distortion levels than their solid-state counterparts.
The Light Harmonic Principle: Redefining the Listening Experience
At Light Harmonic, with our chief designer Larry Hope, our principle is rooted in creating the most authentic and enjoyable music listening experience. We believe that this can only be achieved by focusing on the minutiae, including harmonic distortion and its distribution. Our efforts over the years have led to the creation of audio products that not only have low harmonic distortion but also maintain a balance that favors the lower-order harmonics.
The result is a line of products that deliver a sound that is natural, transparent, open, and true to the original recording. By prioritizing the harmonic distortion distribution, we have managed to redefine the listening experience for audiophiles and casual listeners alike.
Experience the true music, as it's meant to be, with Light Harmonic.