Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.
HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.
Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. 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.
The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.
The concept of running a special version follows a suggestion from the market to us here in the UK. If we think it's viable, practicable and cost-effective for the consumer we'll research it and quote for it. If we receive orders then we'll make it; if we don't we won't. This process is driven from the market, not imposed from us onto the market.
Looking back over many years we conclude that the market seems to have a very good sense of what makes an interesting variant on the basic design and so we have a general willingness to take all suggestions seriously. However, some are too complex to be economically viable and/or we can not adapt the production process to implement them. Other ideas, such as external crossovers, look simple and interesting enough but would weaken our total control over the delivered product with Warranty and other implications. Other suggestions are dismissed because the net effect would be to hamper production and reduce daily throughput. We say that the 'opportunity cost' of implementing some complex ideas would have to be reflected in the lost production time for other models and priced accordingly which makes some suggestions (such as external crossovers) impossibly expensive.
If the market really would pay significantly more for the opportunity cost of such complex variants we would, of course, be willing to consider them but the cost could add 50% or more to the final price. Our order book is nicely regulated and stretches out for 12 months so we'd much prefer to 'keep it simple' and maximise throughput to keep Harbeth speakers flowing to our customers!
Understanding the term "Special Edition"
There seems to be a lot of confusion with the term “Special Edition” . The Wikipedia defined it as “ A special edition implies there is extra material of some kind included”. Today, it is common to find many things to carry the said label as part of their marketing strategy. A special edition adds value to their brand name and in most occasions it becomes a collector’s item .
While in some products the label indicates a better performance or horsepower or added luxury (like the special edition of VW cars) others do not have such advantages. The changes to the products may only be cosmetics. For an example, there could be a special edition of red coloured SHL5 for the Chinese market (Harbeth should seriously consider this.. ), or gold or 6N silver wired M30 for some customers who require them to satisfy their need and belief. If Harbeth decides to make a single terminal instead of current bi-wiring terminals for the SHL5 for customers who do not believe in bi-wiring that edition is also considered special edition.
As long as no out of ordinary claim made in regards to their special edition products there’s no misrepresentation, immoral, dishonest or illegal conduct on the part of the maker. Whatever interpretation is made by the customers who rely on the term “special, limited, anniversary, etc etc edition” is up to them.
We agree witht the logic of the above posting and our we laid out our angle concerning specials in the HUG in October 2007 shown above. We have merged your post with the earlier post. We have offered for over twenty years Special Editions of our loudspeakers. Every one of them is in response to a direct request from a market (a distributor). We do not and have never invented Special Editions and then offered them to our customers. Harbeth UK is passive in the conception and specification of a Special Edition. We consider every request on its technical and commercial merit. Many we decline. We continue to offer the standard product at the standard price. We do not make sonic claims about Special Editions. Our opinion at Harbeth UK is unimportant compared with the buyer's needs, wants and satisfaction.
We are a commercial company. If we possibly can satisfy another segment of the market we will so in every shade of colour and specification. If you or any other consumer believe that your listening pleasure could be significantly enhanced by some modification, you should approach your retailer. If there is sufficient general interest and it is viable we will consider it carefully. Please discuss Special Editions with your dealer, not here. They will cost more. You may be asked to pay in advance. You will have to wait.