"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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Buying Harbeth on-line: beware - your money is at risk

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  • #16
    Bloody failure of Tweeter or History to be Repeated in New Reality on The Global Scale....

    Some interesting article from Home Theater Review:

    Yesterday 12 countries of Pacific Rim signed new "controversial" TPPA deal in Auckland NZ -

    TTIP is under way ...

    No one is really conscious what the global and local markets will look like or how they will function after some years both treaties come into existence, only some the most educated make noises about certainty the richest will be richer ....


    • #17
      Has the future already arrived?

      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      Let's roll the clock forward to some point in the future. Let's imagine that formal distribution channels as we know them, backed by formal distribution contracts (and plenty of case law), have all broken down in this future consumer utopia. Anyone can buy anything from anyone anywhere at any price. It's possible - it's the Amazon (et al) business model. Sounds great doesn't it.

      Or does it? For high end audio equipment? What about the need to demonstrate? The fact is that the typical buyer visits the dealer an average of five times to settle on a particular purchase. The dealer has to entertain the visitor - which he is there to do, rewarded eventually by a sale - for perhaps 5-20 hours, maybe more. The dealer's overheads through that process have to be supported out of whatever margin he can make, and in his dreams, he would like to make a few percent clear profit at the end of the year. The minute the public step over his doorway, there is an unseen cost that the dealer is bearing. Until they purchase, they are getting that service for free.

      Bricks and mortar high street hifi dealers are a dwindling breed. To arrest the slide to extinction, they deserve our collective support. And that means following the basic, decent rules, even if a little inconvenient: buy from the authorised dealer in your own country, bonded by your own contractual laws - and even language. As for buying loudspeakers on-line: I would never do that myself.

      Please use your local authorised dealer in your own country. When the last one closes, we will all be immesurable poorer, and the public completely isolated from equipment makers, the void filled by the media. Use them or lose them.
      Are you aware of this arrangement:

      As mentioned previously, my own situation is such that visiting the "local" authorized Harbeth dealer entails a 6+ hour round-trip.
      There is a another high-end dealer, who carries many well-known brands, less than 10 miles away from me.
      It would be much more convenient to simply settle for something from one of the other brands of speakers available there.

      I'd be inclined to buy from the on-line Harbeth dealer, except that I'm somewhat reluctant to make (what is for me) a rather large expenditure sight unseen, sound unheard.
      If there was some discount offered to compensate for the inability to conduct a pre-purchase audition - feasible, perhaps, since the on-line dealer likely does not have the typical overhead expenses of a bricks-and-mortar facility - I might be persuaded to buy via that outlet.
      Would this be this a reasonable expectation, or not?


      • #18
        What value does a dealer add?

        Mail order has always been a normal part of American shopping routine, and online shopping is just a modern incarnation of an old habit. One of my other interests is cycle touring, and in the US high end touring bikes are often sold on line (one highly esteemed UK dealer does the same), even bespoke ones. The advantage of on line shopping is that the consumer gets access to specialized retailers who traditionally would only have enough of a customer base in the big cities, or the benefits of sometimes very competitive prices. So for many the choice would be buying that refined bike (or Harbeth speaker) on line, or some other brand nearby.

        The unique selling point of the brick and mortar dealer would have to be demonstration facilities. However, how many audio dealers have proper level matched demo facilities? The second issue is that of the electronics. I note that most high end brick and mortar dealers also push a lot of unnecessarily expensive and sometimes bad value electronics or vinyl gear. They need that to make ends meet, but what do you get as a customer other than an unnecessarily big hole in your wallet?

        Just like many others, I deplore the disappearance of many shops from the city centres of European towns. However, I am really not sure what would be the right business model for shops selling audio such as Harbeth speakers. If one looks at the Apple store model, it would be a big chain store with a high turnover of a small and identifiable range. Maybe what they should do is concentrate the electronics offerings on a small selection of rational gear offered at bargain prices, plus hourly demos of the stuff that needs demos, i.e. speakers. Why waste time on private demo sessions to people who may not buy at all? Employ a good and knowledgeable person to give a brief and carefully scripted introduction to speaker selection, followed by a similarly well conceived listening demo of a few speakers for a particular purpose/room size, or in a particular price bracket. Think of Alan's demos for the Bristol show. My hunch is that many normal (i.e. not audiophile) people would prefer a pre selection of really good gear for a particular purpose or budget, rather than a wide selection of vaguely similar speakers, or the nonsense about matching exotic electronics. What comes to my mind is what the late Thomas Heinitz did in his shop (but on a bigger scale): he carried two speakers, I think: the Quad esl 63 for people with a big room, and the LS3/5a for those with a small room or a smaller budget. Added was the option of one active subwoofer model that he advised. The choice in electronics was similarly small. Of course, this does not solve the problem of American consumers who would need to travel.


        • #19
          Date look-up

          Hi, I have been offered a pair of P3ESR's that are for sale and I am wondering if I can check the date that they were built and the export details if I am able to provide the serial numbers.

          {Moderator's comment: There have been no production changes during the life of the P3ESR, so production date is not an issue. The warranty is for the first owner. An email to the office may catch them in a good mood.....}


          • #20
            Warranty on the move?

            Hi, I am a British expat currently living overseas, and am highly likely to be moving around further in the coming years.

            I'm hoping to buy some of your speakers in the not too distant future but am concerned now about being out of warranty if I move around. Would you honour the warranty if I buy new and move abroad?


            • #21
              I am looking for a used 30.1 ES in technical perfect condition (but can have optical problems), for a fair price.
              Has to be send to Germany and payment only per Paypal.


              • #22
                Beware of scams online.

                There is a pair of Harbeth for cheap sale on Swiss site:

                I did research on Facebook and some users reported it's a seller related to Nigerian scammers.

                So please beware ....


                • #23
                  I hope I'm not asking an already answered question, but feel this thread is the appropriate place to post this. So the market for used Harbeths is strong, which I think testifies to their quality and desirability. I'm considering buying a used pair. The provenance of used gear is often times unknowable. So my worry is what if the prior owner inherited these from his uncle in Mongolia, who purchased them in Japan? Understanding that the warranty doesn't apply (as they are used), am I reading correctly that no service will be provided by the factory or distributor in the U.S., even at a price?