Harbeth - The Lindfield factory

Harbeth 40th anniversary - part four

is the hub of the Harbeth operation, where batches of loudspeakers are assembled every day. One day you'll see P3ESRs alongside and dwarfed by the mighty Monitor 40.2s under assembly, the next day the SHL5plus alongside C7ES3. Harbeth only builds to order, and with 95% of production in-bulk and destined export customers, the factory has a full order book for months ahead.

Visitors are amazed at how efficient Harbeth is at production. This is not cottage industry — we're beyond that.  What you see is a tight-knit team of motivated winners who want to bring the Harbeth magic to music lovers everywhere. They're supported by the equipment, processes and management to make that happen.

Emma Smith - Harbeth's Brand Manager

Assembling

Harbeth - Measuring frequency response

Loudspeaker design and manufacture, rather like the crafting of musical instruments, is a particular combination of art and science. Aside from the natural variations in veneers — which make for variety on the production line — art hands over to science as the only way to control consistency. There are a hundred or so piece parts that combine onto a finished loudspeaker, and all of these are hand assembled by experts who have worked together at Harbeth for a combined 60 years. We know our products inside out! 

Testing

Harbeth - logging each speaker

Several areas in the factory are concerned with testing. Our policy on drive units is not to rely on suppliers QC, but to incoming-test every drive unit, alongside the ones we make ourselves and then pair-match. We do the same with every crossover board using the same precision audio computer-controlled equipment. Every finished speaker is again sweep-tested before shipment to be certain that it leaves the factory in perfect acoustic and cosmetic condition. Careful packing, in specially-designed boxes, ensures a safe journey to the final customer.

Logging

Harbeth - final testing of each speaker

We've maintained extensive traceability records describing the elements in every speaker that we've made since the 1980s - tens of thousands. They tell us about the drive units and the crossover, who tested them here, about the veneer, cabinet maker, who assembled the system, who acoustically measured it and who finally inspected and sealed the carton.  It takes time for sure, but above all it fosters a culture of personal responsibility here at Harbeth.


The lovely village of Lindfield


Lindfield, near Haywards Heath, in West Sussex (south of London), England is a mediaeval village with a unique range of houses dating from about 1300, all lived-in and beautifully preserved. The population is about three thousand and we villagers share a strong community spirit which is intimately bound up with what we do at Harbeth.

Unusually for such a picturesque location, there is a small yet discrete business park on the edge of the village, bordering open fields, where you will find Harbeth. One of Lindfield's claims to fame is that in the year 1066, King Harold's archers made use of the yew trees of the village on their way to the Battle of Hastings. Nearly a thousand years later the tree is still thriving in what is now a wonderfully picturesque little village in the heart of Sussex.

Harbeth - Lindfield Village pond
The Harbeth BBC Heritage. Read on »