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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

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.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Record number of visitors?

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  • Record number of visitors?

    Just curious as to why record number of (143) visitors on line yesterday. Any idea why? Thanks!
    Harbeth PR,
    Harbeth UK

  • #2
    Re: Record number of visitors?

    Originally posted by harbethpr View Post
    Just curious as to why record number of (143) visitors on line yesterday. Any idea why? Thanks!
    Because your customers, friends, visitors and believers increase. So does the value of this forum and the succeeding one of the relations between members.

    The only thing you can do, except thanking us, is to get prepared for the next peak, then for the next... and so on...

    Our thanks are expressed a bit differently to you all:

    "Keep walking"!

    Regards,
    Thanos

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Record number of visitors?

      Thank you Thanos for your confidence, but this is not the answer. The average number on visitors at any one moment is about 20. The peak was 100 over a year ago. So for some reason, yesterday was very special. Why?
      Harbeth PR,
      Harbeth UK

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Record number of visitors?

        Maybe someone talked about Harbeth in a forum or blog? Can't you tell from the IP to see from which country most people logged in?

        ST

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Record number of visitors?

          Originally posted by harbethpr View Post
          Thank you Thanos for your confidence, but this is not the answer. The average number on visitors at any one moment is about 20. The peak was 100 over a year ago. So for some reason, yesterday was very special. Why?
          It may be Alan's (yours too) live, immediate & more often response/involvement in recent hot threads. Alan is back from CES 2010, and everyone is in anxiety of learning the knews, then things about recordings (many pro's & amateurs between us), then order treatment & delivery data for future owners, all of them in about the same time, plus some possible coincidence, and there you probably have it!
          Wish this would happen more & more often! Not bad at all!!!
          Happy to see traffic raising here!
          Best Regards!
          Thanos

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Record number of visitors?

            I would say it is due to users like me (and viewers not registered with HUG) anxious about receiving their product on order now for about three months (P3esr's in Black Ash, USA destination), checking the "Today's Posts" and seeing the product lead time post by [email protected], then checking it a few times for updates (like today again) to see if there are any production clues! My dealer states probably March 2010 but maybe earlier.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Record number of visitors?

              Ok, noted.

              Actually, the leadtime shouldn't really effect you if you are in one of those markets which tick along and where there are predictable sales trends - upwards. Japan is a good example. So is China/Hong Kong. We have several prospective distributors tapping on our door and we had to find a way to let them down gently, without them feeling that we were disinterested and/or hostile to them. An announcement here makes the whole situation public. But we must look after existing markets before we dare take on any more. Ten years ago we had about fifteen markets; now we have over forty. That means, on average, we receive one bulk order every day from somewhere on earth, but we can't complete the order in a day's production - it may take from 2 -10 and that's why the leadtime queue builds up.

              Frankly, the global economic situation had two effects looking across our markets and order book. It frightened the life out of a few distributors who sensed the end of the world and cancelled orders and hence dropped out of the queue. Others stuck with it, and now have a solid delivery plan, including Harbeth USA. As for the former, it's a disaster for them. But why should it have been a seismic problem? Over our thirty three years we've seen a few economic cycles and our solid value-for-money package means we've usually grown especially when real value for money becomes in vogue again.

              We issue regular, written, to-the-day Order Confirmations to our distributors and the near-exact date of despatch of each order from Harbeth UK will be known by your importer. It's all part of our ISO9001 planning system. He should be able to decode the paperwork and pass the info along to you.
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Record number of visitors?

                I know your inclination, as you've expressed elsewhere, is to be very prudent about any possible expansion of production capacity - understandably.

                But if ever a business seemed to have a longterm, stable upward growth trend, it's Harbeth. You've put a moratorium on reviews so as not to stimulate demand further (most businesses have the opposite problem). You don't advertise heavily. And yet, demand steadily rises.

                At what point does demand become such that you pull the trigger for a bigger plant? Or do you ever do that? I know this is a complex and probably confidential business matter, but any thoughts you might be inclined to share on the topic would be received with interest.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Record number of visitors?

                  It's a very reasonable question and I'm happy to discuss it as frankly as I can here in public.

                  About twenty years ago I misjudged the upwards strength of the Japanese market*, shortly after I left NEC Corp. and took on Harbeth. History now shows that Japan was about to take an economic hit that it still has not recovered from. Around 1988-91 we expanded to track that anticipated growth which never happened, but left us with substantial overheads. Fortunately, we retained our previous (and now current) factory and were able to reverse back to it, and restore our overheads to a sane level. But the 90's were not easy for anyone in manufacturing. With that background, we just cannot bring ourselves to contemplate too hasty expansion. It was all so painful.

                  * Remember all that talk in the late 80's about the 'Tiger economies'? When did you last hear that expression? Our experience in 1990 was not at all unique to Harbeth ... many suffered far more.
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Record number of visitors?

                    I certainly understand the reluctance for any business to take on additional overhead if it can be avoided. But it sounds to me like there's a difference between 1990 and today: 20 years ago, you expanded based on "anticipated growth". It may have been a reasonable step to take at the time, but it didn't pan out. Today, by contrast, you seem to have actual growth (in demand), which might put you in a somewhat stronger position.

                    Just a thought. But it's not my money and it's not my risk, I'm well aware. I just wonder if there'll come a point at which the pressure to expand becomes difficult to resist. You seem to be heading in that direction.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Record number of visitors?

                      Again, a fair point. But remember - everything in life is cyclic and none of us are getting any younger. yes, we remain committed to improving our output but that leads to the second problem - finding completely reliable staff. 2.4 million unemployed in the UK. But it's impossible to find people in this southern part of the UK who actually want to roll-up their sleeve and make things, under instruction, to the standard required.
                      Alan A. Shaw
                      Designer, owner
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Record number of visitors?

                        I visited to see if anyone else was shocked out of their seats by the music coming out of their harbeths. Was listening to the last track on madonna?s hard candy album and the bass was all distorted. I thought ?uh-oh, either the tubes finally had their day or a fireworks display was about to happen in the living room?, so literally jumped out of the couch and switched off the amp! No one wants to wait a few months for another pair of harbeths.

                        Then stuck some headphones into cd player and the kick drum distortion was still there. Put in another cd ? lill allen?s alright still. First track on that album--the drum distortion was still there, ummm..

                        To cut a long story short, artistic licence today (adding distortion to music) is questionable and harbeths can depict distortion too realistically to the point of causing panic!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Record number of visitors?

                          Humans are conditioned around linear thinking eg. ?there must be annual economic growth?, ?house prices must go up?, ?people will be using more energy?. A lot of this has proven to be painfully untrue with misallocated resources. Linear projections might be sound on a ?long? enough basis (with certain trend changes thereafter), but within trends there are, like you mentioned Alan, ?cyclics? which are big enough to make grown men cry. Things can be unpredictable and appears that humans, in our short history of civilisation, not learnt sobriety, myself included. Was reading some really interesting posts here about critical thinking. Fantastic stuff.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Record number of visitors?

                            Originally posted by kittykat View Post
                            Humans are conditioned around linear thinking eg. ?there must be annual economic growth?, ?house prices must go up?, ?people will be using more energy?. A lot of this has proven to be painfully untrue with misallocated resources. Linear projections might be sound on a ?long? enough basis (with certain trend changes thereafter), but within trends there are, like you mentioned Alan, ?cyclics? which are big enough to make grown men cry. Things can be unpredictable and appears that humans, in our short history of civilisation, not learnt sobriety, myself included. Was reading some really interesting posts here about critical thinking. Fantastic stuff.
                            Kittykat: did you mean to add a link? ("...posts here about critical thinking" - where?)

                            I don't think you can compare the (theoretical) prospect of Harbeth expanding to a bubble comprised of inflated and over-collateralized real estate. Yes, economies are cyclical, etc. but the lowest risk always is of course to do nothing at all, or to make one pair of speakers a week in your basement. If you accept that that's not realistic either, then the question is what is the optimum size and scale. I can understand the reasons for Harbeth's business conservatism and don't at all take issue; it just occurred to me t that if they were expansion-minded, they'd be in a better position than most to take a shot at it given the obvious demand for what they make and their apparently quite solid and ever-improving reputation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Record number of visitors?

                              Hi EricW

                              It's in this thread? AS's "Precision thinking v. consumer folly ....". I take your point. there might be an obvious demand but it's still a relatively specialised item versus say even "Mercedes", which is more broadly appealing to wider range of customers, from kids who have a picture of one on their bedrooms walls, to older guys who actually have one.

                              "Harbeth" could possibly even be veering towards almost being ?cultist?. It?s a great thing ie. being hardly sexy yet, id imagine, building an extremely loyal following. I even dare generalise by saying that the personal philosophy/ mindset of a harbeth customer is very different from another.

                              You don?t find too many companies like that nowadays. There will always be customers and growth but it might lean towards being a strong steady build, rather than an explosive one, driven by blitzes and promises in glossy magazines.

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