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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

The Harbeth User Group is the primary channel for public communication with Harbeth's HQ. If you have a 'scientific mind' and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - audio equipment decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and should be accessible to non-experts and able to be tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge. From a design perspective, today's award winning Harbeths could not have been designed any other way.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings area is you. If you are quite set in your subjectivity, then HUG is likely to be a bit too fact based for you, as many of the contributors have maximised their pleasure in home music reproduction by allowing their head to rule their heart. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area only, although HUG is really not the best place to have these sort of purely subjective airings.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters and Harbeth does not necessarily agree with the contents of any member contributions, especially in the Subjective Soundings area, and has no control over external content.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Oct. 2017}
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The specialist audio dealer - a genuine service

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  • The specialist audio dealer - a genuine service

    I was reviewing the sales figures as we close-out 2016. The most remarkable feature is that of the continuing strength of our UK sales, which considering the difficult economic climate is astonishing. Thanks to the dealers and the public who have demonstrated their confidence in Harbeth.

    In a world of instant ordering, push button decisions and next day (or even next hour) delivery, some question the relevance of the High Street retail outlet. Well, I'm aware that you can order shoes by mail order, but I'm old fashioned enough to want to try them on in advance, and that's just the service a good independent audio dealer offers: matching your ears, taste and budget to audio equipment. Long may it continue.

    I recall some while ago the subject of audio dealers was discussed with mixed reaction. Many had benefited from a close relationship with one or two dealers over a listening life. Sadly, a very few had experiences in the past which had demotivated them from engaging with the high street having been sold equipment that offered poor value. I too have bought shoes that the next day really didn't fit.

    Our position here is simple. We expect all Harbeth demonstrations in the retail environment to be great experiences that leave you wanting to hear more, at home with our speakers. If you have such a dealer experience please tell us all via HUG. We all want to give great dealers a pat on the back, named or not. If you don't feel that the demo quite worked - for whatever reason - first discuss that with your dealer and give him the opportunity to fine-tune the demo - why wouldn't he? If you still feel you and he are not quite on the same wavelength, tell us here privately.

    Thanks again to everyone who didn't own Harbeth speakers at the end of 2015, and at the end of 2016 do.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  • #2
    Firstly, may I start by saying how encouraged I am by the strength of sales of Harbeth speakers in the UK, particularly as I've never seen a pair reviewed in a British Hi-Fi magazine. In my view, this is actually a godsend anyway in the UK, what with its highly subjectivist reviewing practices and almost always 5 star reviews of every product in their pages (of which I am well versed as to why).

    I am a relatively recent buyer (and now lifetime convert) of the Harbeth brand, and own a pair of fabulously crafted P3ESR's in Eucalyptus. Deciding on Harbeth as my final speaker destination meant having a limited choice of dealerships, the closest to me being almost in the next County, and that was David (our very own 'Hi-Fi Dave') of Radlett Audio in Saffron Walden. A telephone discussion led to a visit whereby David demonstrated that Harbeth speakers don't need expensive 'boutique' electronics (my brand of electronics up to that point being a cult British manufacturer of lots of highly expensive black boxes) to make them sing. Of course, David does also sell carefully chosen exotica but, as I have found out since having him as a trusted guide, he NEVER (and I do mean never) tries to push anything on you. If anything, he will question why you might wish to change what you already have - he is a truly rubbish salesman . I was then offered an initial 2 day home demo, and this was when I really understood Harbeth speakers and fell in love with music again.

    I have to say that I am truly appreciative that I have had access to two very supportive dealerships over the last 30 years, Radlett Audio being my second and now my last. Nothing is too much trouble with David, home demos are positively encouraged, and voodoo cables etc. positively discouraged. At some point in the future, I will be moving a further County away from Radlett Audio, and I can give no better testimony than to say however far away it may be, I will always return to the warm welcome, no nonsense advice, coffee and interesting chats we have about the hi-fi industry. Line up those M30.1's David!!

    Regards,

    Mike

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    • #3
      Hi Alan,

      I am one of those that did not own Harbeth speakers at the end of 2015. Now I own a pair of rosewood P3ESRs. The purchase decision was made after auditioning them at Planet of Sound in Toronto. They were very helpful. I fell in love with the sound right away and could not rest until I had them in my home.
      The downside to all of this is that ever since I got them I cannot get enough sleep, the music reproduction is so natural, effortless, beautiful and ... addictive.

      So my take is that the dealer certainly helps. On the flip side, we increasingly see high end audio manufacturers that function in a direct sales mode, bypassing the traditional dealer. Some are very successful. They offer 15-30 day return policy so the customer is able to audition the equipment in their home, without a salesman breathing down their neck.

      The value of a good dealer in my opinion is experience, ability to advise customers on improving their sound without trying to push a sale, just genuine advice.

      Regards,
      Alex

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm glad I found this thread, as I have recently had truly excellent dealer experiences with K J West One and was just wishing I had a way to express that. Yesterday, I was able to compare C7es3 with SHL5+ in their upstairs demo room. This has been a hobby of mine since I was a teenager in the 80s, so I've had my share of dealer experiences. Every time I've been to K J West One, I've had an absolutely fantastic experience. They come across very much as enthusiasts first and foremost and there is never any pressure at all to sell before you're ready to make a decision, or sway that decision, unless you ask for an opinion. Honestly, can't praise them enough. Shall be ordering a pair of C7es3 when I next get paid, then look forward to matching a higher quality amp to them in the future, also with their help.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm glad you found this thread James - it was getting a little lonely here!!

          i responded to it because, probably like you, I've always noticed that people are so very quick these days to get on a forum of any description and complain and moan about bad service but you hardly ever see someone making the effort to praise service excellence.

          Talking of KJ West One, I remember going to their dealership some 35+ years back to listen to Spender BC1's and Kef 104ab's, so nice to know that they are still providing a great customer service experience. Enjoy the Harbeth C7's - you are in for some LONG nights of listening to your favourite music.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mike, I have no problem envisioning long nights of being drawn into my favourite music with the C7s! I just posted a reply on a different thread in praise of them, but I chose them over SHL5+ because they simply had a wonderful involvement factor, a certain magic, which totally drew me into the music. Part of what I appreciated about the demo was that there was no sales pressure to choose one or the other, or impose their own impressions over my own, just an understanding of what was the most important factor to me (whereas others, I'm sure would have chosen the SHL5+ for reasons equally valid to themselves).

            Comment


            • #7
              Congratulations on your sales. However, I was considering Harbeth speakers but there are no dealers near me in South West Wales. If I'm going to spend large amounts of money I'd like to hear them in my own system at home. As this proved impossible I actually bought some other speakers from another manufacturer (but still pop back here to read Alan's usual common sense).

              What I can't get my head around is why don't speaker manufacturers produce demo pairs (in a non venereed utilitarian finish) that can be shipped out to potential customers on a weeks loan on payment of a hefty refundable deposit? I'd have willing paid the carriage to listen to the model I was interested in. I even emailed Harbeth to this effect but it seems that who just replied to the effect that they didn't have a dealer in my area.

              Some of Harbeths speakers cost more than a custom made violin by a top luthier; in that case the musician would always have the instrument on a no obligation home trial for a few weeks first before purchasing. Can't see why this can't be done with loudspeakers of a similar value.

              Comment


              • #8
                I suppose much of this depends on the geography of a particular country. In a country like the UK, no specialist Harbeth dealer is away more than a day's roundtrip. In thinly populated countries the situation may be altogether different, and perhaps demands a different sales method such as you suggest. Sending even large parcels has certainly become easier.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by henchard View Post
                  Congratulations on your sales. However, I was considering Harbeth speakers but there are no dealers near me in South West Wales. If I'm going to spend large amounts of money I'd like to hear them in my own system at home. As this proved impossible I actually bought some other speakers from another manufacturer (but still pop back here to read Alan's usual common sense).

                  What I can't get my head around is why don't speaker manufacturers produce demo pairs (in a non venereed utilitarian finish) that can be shipped out to potential customers on a weeks loan on payment of a hefty refundable deposit? I'd have willing paid the carriage to listen to the model I was interested in. I even emailed Harbeth to this effect but it seems that who just replied to the effect that they didn't have a dealer in my area.

                  Some of Harbeths speakers cost more than a custom made violin by a top luthier; in that case the musician would always have the instrument on a no obligation home trial for a few weeks first before purchasing. Can't see why this can't be done with loudspeakers of a similar value.
                  This has been discussed in an earlier thread here (note this a fork from an original topic - the matters you mention really get aired on page 3 (of 9) in this forked topic) :-

                  http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/f...t-audio-dealer

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