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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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30 Oct 2016: Alan celebrates 30 years at Harbeth!

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  • #16
    Harwood writes (1)

    So, the first of a few papers from around the time of my take-over. First, the cover sheet for an overview of the available accounts that I prepared in July 1986.

    That led to correspondence with Dudley to obtain more up to date information, and his letter from Mr. Harwood to Mr. Shaw of August 1986, discussing the presentation of accounts, a new order from Japan, and his dawning realisation that his non-accounting valuation of the buisiness was somewhat over optimistic. You will read that at the time he was selling his 8" polyproylene woofer, actually manufactured in its entirety by Rogers/Swisstone, to the German DIY hobby market for inclusion into the "Harwood" speaker kit available there.

    Also attached the response from my bank to the concept of buying the Harbeth company. Not exactly falling over themselves to lend money were they. Also, from my analysis of the business of 1986, the graph printed on my Amstrad PCW word processor. That was, at the time, the very height of domestic IT sophistication.
    Attached Files
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

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    • #17
      Turning around intrincic values

      My late father was an excellent electrical engineer who after a career in design and consulting became an expert in turning round projects/companies in trouble. His first concern was always to decide if the product was technically sound and preferably excellent. The rest was more easily solved.

      I am now spending a month in Paris, the origin of his biggest success. Time for memories, and for lessons to draw, even if I never followed in his footsteps.

      Alan, congratulations.

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      • #18
        Well the Co-op went bust and Harbeth didn't. So who had the last laugh?

        Comment


        • #19
          Financials

          But those figures were indeed terrible. The company's only asset was the engineering quality of the existing product, but precisely the continuity of that asset was in doubt: which bank manager could have guessed that Alan would become such a good speaker designer?

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          • #20
            To another 30 years!

            The traditional Ukrainian birthday/anniversary salutation of 'Mnohaya lita' seems appropriate.

            Translated literally as 'many years', the intention is to wish the recipient many more years of health, wealth and happiness.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBYTG0r2nD8

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            • #21
              Mechanisms that make proven banking idiots.

              Originally posted by ssfas View Post
              Well the Co-op went bust and Harbeth didn't. So who had the last laugh?
              If there were no co-op banks in the world the Victorian dealings in industry, agriculture and enterpreneurship would probably last up to our times. Yes they went bust, but maybe some explanations why it happened just to them?

              Recently Rev. Justin Welby persuaded compatriots to organize and support local financial cooperatives, funds and unicredits to tear the society out of the claws of Wonga and other "banking" scum. Wasn't he right?

              ATB

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              • #22
                Congratulations!

                Alan,

                A couple of days late, but still very much in time, please accept my congratulations for the 30 years ahead of the company.

                Thank you for designing and making such wonderful speakers.

                I wish all the best for you and Harbeth.

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                • #23
                  Well done Mr. H

                  Well Mr Harwood could not have sold the business to a better man. Thanks for designing and making the best speakers and talking sense in a world of hifi nonsense.

                  Happy 30th and heres to the next 30!

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                  • #24
                    The next steps

                    A little more on my take-over at Harbeth in 1986.

                    Attached an extract from me to Dudley after he had his trading accounts brought up to date. You will note at the end of my letter I made an offer to him, which had he taken it would doubtless offered him considerable comfort in his final retirement. It threw me in at the deep end, which although not what I was expecting, was by far the best way to learn.

                    >
                    Attached Files
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Why?

                      If i may ask, what were Harwood's reasons for turning down your offer? I understand he didn't become a consultant eventually.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Openness

                        Wow Alan, that is really open of you to share, thanks for this rare look into the kitchen.
                        Listen to the P3ESRs with ears, not eyes

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                        • #27
                          Proposal

                          Originally posted by Milosz View Post
                          If i may ask, what were Harwood's reasons for turning down your offer? I understand he didn't become a consultant.
                          Why do you think he may have declined or been advised to decline my offer?
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Factors?

                            Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                            Why do you think he may have declined or been advised to decline my offer?
                            I mean your offer to become a consultant in exchange for royalties from HL1 Mk4 sales. I know he didn't decline your offer for Harbeth acquisition or we wouldn't be here talking if he did.

                            Ohh wait... it wasn't his death that prevented it from happening? Or he may have simply wanted to retire and leave all work behind. I don't know the whole story, so I can only guess.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Two reasons

                              I can think of two reasons, or a combination of them. Either he really wanted to retire, or he did not expect that the new company would succeed. Designing or helping design new speakers would be a lot of work for only a slim chance of success.

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                              • #30
                                Clean break?

                                I would go with willem's suggestion. The accounts show a lean period at the time of your approach. He may not have wanted a continued struggle and was happy for a clean break retirement.

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