"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 may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Harbeth shouting its success?

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  • Harbeth shouting its success?

    Wondering why Harbeth doesn’t toot its own horn more on its website. After the description of each individual speaker, why not list all the awards won and a bunch of snippets from glowing reviews, as you find on the websites for some of the Harbeth distributors. Such a list can be pretty darned impressive.


  • #2
    Harbeths at home (pictures please)

    I would like to see an official gallery of Harbeth models pictured in domestics setting, and some close ups of the products. The site is pretty "business like" in its presentation. People do like "eye candy".

    There are some nice pictures scattered around this forum, but they are not that easy to find, and many potential buyers will not come here.

    {Moderator's comment: good idea. We will create a new thread suitable for holding these pictures. Please be patient.}


    • #3
      Harbeth at Califonia aidio show

      California Show.

      Would like to remind folks of the Audio Show this weekend in California (USA).
      Harbeth Speakers will be on display.



      • #4
        Orders, leadtime and delivering!

        Originally posted by Euler View Post
        Wondering why Harbeth doesn’t toot its own horn more on its website... Such a list can be pretty darned impressive.
        I've never really felt comfortable with overt self promotion. All that matters is what you our customers think, say and do. If you buy, then we hope that you'll spread the word. In an ideal world, all sales of all products would be the result of word-of-mouth recommendation from actual paying customers who live with and use the product every day and build up an intimate appreciation of what it can, and cannot deliver. When I read reviews of cars I am always left with the uncomfortable doubt that a few hours road testing may not be enough exposure to properly evaluate if the seats will give the driver back ache after a long drive. Or discover some oddity of the gear box in slow moving traffic on a motorway jam? Or the aircon system's long-term capabilities.

        I reported elsewhere that May, then the three-week June (we were closed for the last week and first week of July) and now July have been record months for sales. Not only is this during the summer which is always a little quieter than the winter but it's been sustained, at least for this season. And yesterday, during our ISO9001 annual inspection, the inspector was astonished almost beyond belief that not only could we prove that our order book full and production planned to the day through to June 2011 (that's eleven months ahead) but we now have some sales orders extending into 2012 - that's eighteen months ahead. He thinks that this order book depth is a completely unique and unprecedented situation in this industry.

        I really don't think now is the time to start pumping-up promotion do you! We're fantastically lucky to have your total support - our task is to manufacture to a consistently high quality and deliver on time. However, I have completely revised the 8 page mini-brochure which was printed last week - time freed up by reduced workload here - and which will be uploaded as a PDF here shortly.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK


        • #5
          The Harbeth concept - so right .....

          Alan and all at Harbeth,

          Sincere congratulations for the continuing success of Harbeth, you're obviously making products that *music* enthusiasts want to buy and keep for many years.

          I remember from my retail days that many companies had boom-n-bust sales lives, rave reviews often shortening product lives substantially. I didn't bother myself with business issues back then, but, with decades of hindsight and hopefully wisdom, I can see roughly what happened to these companies - and it wasn't good in the medium to long term for many.

          The most endearing products always seem to retain their status by word-of-mouth and a number of us who post elsewhere have been trying to spread the word for Harbeth - I think with some success in the tiny UK market. Obviously, time moves on and it's gratifying to me that the "BBC Legacy" is in such capable hands, the products refining over the decades a concept that was so "right" to start with.


          • #6
            The corrercial realities of 'sustainability' - business talk

            Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
            ...I remember from my retail days that many companies had boom-n-bust sales lives, rave reviews often shortening product lives substantially. I didn't bother myself with business issues back then, but, with decades of hindsight and hopefully wisdom, I can see roughly what happened to these companies - and it wasn't good ...
            Thanks David. I think the key word in business is 'sustainability'. That is, creating products and making them in a way which provided real satisfaction, hence, repeat customers. The most expensive and exhausting task in any business is finding first-time customers - especially in the early days as the business is carving its niche. But if the product offers real value i.e. it does what it says on the leaflet, then slowly but surely word of mouth takes hold, and providing the manufacturer continues to offer that real value, the sales process should be the least of his concerns.

            Following my last post I realised that I hadn't mentioned two important things. I said that we have some regular orders placed on us by our distributors right out until 2012 - eighteen months away. What I didn't make clear is that we do not receive 'sales forecasts' but only firm orders, and we never (need to) ask for those orders. They just flow in, most days. Nor do we offer special discounts, incentives, golfing holidays, competitions or the like. That means, those trade customers who do place regular bulk orders and so far ahead must be convinced in their own mind - and with zero influence from us - that there is truly a sustainable market for our products in their country (we export to 43 countries), and that market is growing. They must conclude that unless them form an orderly queue allowing Harbeth UK to regulate production and supply they will be in the salesman's nightmare situation: a strong demand but with nothing to sell.

            Also, as you'll know yourself from innumerable salesmen calling on you at your retail store over the years, running a sales operation with salesmen, cars, expense accounts etc. is a substantial financial burden. It also changes the culture of a business from (as we are) order takers to one of order getters. That means, if you have a sales force to make them financially viable you must set them sales targets. They cannot be left just to wander aimlessly around the world chatting to customers. They have to generate profitable income for their employers. And in a professional organisation, the sales operation would be under the wings of the marketing function and provide on-the-ground marketing intelligence which feeds into new product decisions making.

            So you see, if a business has a sales force, sooner or later it will influence product design and performance. Salesmen will always demand new product feature, lower costs, bigger profit margins, commercial incentives. They will always complain to their management that the competition's products are commercially stronger, look more seductive and have better reviews. Unwittingly they would take the 'BBC concept' that you mention off in a completely different direction, as we've seen with other brands. So in substantial part, the fact that today's Harbeth is completely true to our mission objective from 1977 is largely due to the fact that we do not have a sales department and thankfully orders just roll in. The immediate benefits to the consumer of not needing a sales operation is lower costs - if we had to fund a sales department, it would add 10-20% to selling prices. For no consumer benefit what so ever.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK