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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30 Oct 2016: Alan celebrates 30 years at Harbeth!

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  • #31
    A shy man?

    I'm probably totally wrong in this, so forgive me, but I remember Dudley from 1977 as being a very shy? and extremely 'quiet' man, nothing like the huge egos that seem to populate this industry even today. Maybe by 1987, he was genuinely tired and wanted an end to working involvement?

    I also remember meeting Alan for the first time in the late 80's I think it was, and how incredibly cautious he was I remember. The brand was in a huge upward curve even at this time, the HL5 was doing well, the Compact had just been launched (I bet it's still a very good speaker indeed) and remember visiting the factory for a fascinating comparison of the then new P3 against the Harbeth 3/5a.

    Sorry for any digression. The few years after Alan's acquisition were a fascinating time for Harbeth. Hope the story will further unfold here - please...


    • #32
      More from the archive

      OK, so a few more items from the archive then. These from 1986 and the changing of the guard. Our daughter now 33, is in the foreground aged three, the same age as our granddaughter, Jessica (picture). Do you think that I'm being slightly too hopeful that I can persuade Jessica to become the next generation at Harbeth? I'm going to bribe my way into her good books!

      The premises were not impressive at all. In fact, on my first visit I drove up and down Nova Road, Croydon, south London, several times looking for what in my mind's eye was a huge industrial concern where the famous - indeed world famous - H. D. Harwood was to be found running a large factory. I nearly gave up and had I done, history would have been so very different.

      Harwood's workshop was literally in a car garage behind the up-and-over blue door. Further back up the lane towards the road, you see my then new white NEC company car (a 2.2 ltr. Vauxhall Carlton, a very nice if rather an old fashioned car at the time), and in front of it Harwood's car. I thought it interesting at the time that he chose a Citroen, fabled for its highly damped suspension. An engineer's car for sure.

      It was only because the same day, with a little free time between NEC appointments, that I had a little time to spare and initially searched for and went to Roger/Swisstone relatively nearby, to try and obtain a trade catalogue from them. They told me in no uncertain terms to sling my hook, and I was so humiliated/aggrieved/frustrated/motivated that, checking my watch, I calculated that I had just enough time to track down the Harbeth enterprise. I was not prepared for the shock of the comparison: Rogers were operating at a scale many times bigger than Harwood, although the premises were not in reality much more salubrious. It was clear that I was the first visitor to Newton's Yard for some time. I hesitantly awoke Dudley from his slumber by a one-bar electric heater.

      Nevertheless, as I got into my car and reversed back out onto the main road, I was 100% committed to rescuing the Harbeth brand from what by appearance, later proved by the accounting record, was rapid extinction. Was it risky to give up a coveted position in a Japanese corporation and a salary which in today's money would be considerably more than an MP's current salary? Undoubtedly one's bank manager would say so but it never struck me as anything other then or now, as destiny. I had no choice. I had to make it work for my young family. And if that meant 24/7 for as long as it took, that was exactly what I was going to give it.

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


      • #33
        Little acorns

        You must have been inspired by Maggie to give up a proper job for life in a lock-up. Truly a bizarre decision that says more about Mrs Shaw's blind faith and devotion than anything else. And to give up a Vauxhall Carlton into the bargain? Whatever were you thinking?

        Never has the idiom "from little acorns ... " been tested to such an extreme.


        • #34
          Reading this interesting thread, I cannot quite conceive the idea of Dudley Harwood asleep in front of an electric fire !
          I wonder if Spencer Hughes ever took a nap inside a loudspeaker cabinet...