Announcement

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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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40th Anniversary New Model Announcement

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  • #16
    Alan, not to be pedantic, but don't think you answered the question that was asked? I think there is a big difference between 'talking-up a product and being as clear as possible about the changes or revisions you have made. I think what surprises me somewhat about your answer is you are one who appreciates and documents in great detail the development process of your speakers and seems to value a reasoned and even scientific approach to these evolutions and evaluations. Surely you can appreciate why some of us supporters and fans of your approach might expect a bit more explanation about what makes these new versions different.

    Comment


    • #17
      They are what they are. What I want you to do is not read about them here, but to make an appointment at your local dealers to hear for yourself and make up your own mind. I have said before, I am not in the business of deconstructing what is a holistic design. The sales results speak for themselves. Had I been wise enough to make such self-evidently celebratory products for Harbeth's 20th and 30th anniversaries, life could have been quite different.

      Go listen.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

      Comment


      • #18
        Maybe I've missed this info somewhere, but what I'm uncertain of is has the M30.1 now been discontinued? being replaced by the M30.2.Just as the M40.1 was once the M40.2 was released.

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        • #19
          No, M30.1 continues for now. It sells very well, it's had fabulous reviews, and our distributors want it to continue and to offer a great value package for those who cannot justify or stretch to the M30.2 Anniversary edition. That is the policy decision at Harbeth HQ, post Munich, having canvassed the idea with customers.
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #20
            Alan's position regarding M30.1 / M30.2 (again)

            I received a very nice email this morning from which I have lifted this comment:

            Dear Alan, I'm emailing about the discussions around the new M30.2 I can see why some posters on that thread have expressed surprise at the perceived lack of transparency regarding the differences between this and the M30.1.

            The overriding tone of the HUG forum has, to my eyes, been one of clarity and sound, science-based, discourse. It might be fairer, on occasions, to describe it as a battle between scientific absolutes and imaginary flights of fancy, and I've enjoyed the battles (which even when you don't win, must at least give some satisfaction that you've done your utmost to do the right thing). But the most recent posts appear to indicate a shift away from that transparency. I haven't seen the pricing of the new model, but assume that it will be appreciably higher than the older model, and it is here that people are struggling. The changes identified by Harbeth are largely cosmetic, but when someone asks whether there is more to it that that - aka will they sound any different? - your replies have looked evasive.

            The question seems reasonable, especially given the change in model number. I just wanted to comment, albeit from the sidelines, on a matter that I suspect may cause people to adjust their perceptions of the forum. I'll continue to enjoy my C7s (must be 9 years now), and wish you and your employees the best for the future. I was saddened to see [another UK brand] bought out by a foreign investor the other month .... your speakers are, along with the turntable from Michell, the only remaining British items in my set up, and maybe it's my age, but also because I'm a Dad to someone who'll need employment in around 10 years' time, I find that disheartening. Enjoy the good weather over the weekend.
            First, I appreciate the writer taking the trouble to contact me. I think that I can give a simple answer, although I am actually repeating my position.

            The bottom line is quite simply this. I've been wrong for decades. What my staff have demonstrated to me, and this is backed-up by sales figures, is that there is a healthy market for new ex-factory Harbeth speakers that are fitted-out with, let's call it adornments. I didn't think there was, and indeed, in office round-table meetings I am on record as being highly skeptical, assuming that consumers replicated my own parsimony and focus on good enginneering and minimum cost. I was utterly wrong on all counts.

            So, yes, there has been a slight shift in my position, because first and foremost I want to give customers what they want. And what they want is to celebrate the remarkable achievement of Harbeth's 40th Anniversary. Will I be around to celebrate Harbeth's 50th? I have no idea - I'll do my best - but I'll be 70 then, and who knows what the next ten years will hold for me. So, folks, decades late (sorry) but as a team here at Harbeth we are totally committed to this Anniversary celebration. If you want to believe that the speakers are better than the standard models, that's fantastic. If you are entirely happy with the standard (and ongoing) models, we here are delighted. As I said to a gentleman in Munich last week who asked the same question, strike a compromise: with the money you save treat your wife to a short vacation.

            As you know, I have tried, and am still trying, to bring some common sense to the matter of the audition, comparison and selection of audio equipment. Some call it a foolish crusade, simply because in ten years I have not made any headway changing minds. So in some respects I am beaten by the overhelming odds, and I know it. It's not a case of abandoning my deeply held principles, but of adapting to give consumers what they want. An exclusive little bit of me in this my thirtieth year designing Harbeths as their conduit to great music at home.

            You are entirely free to decide if the Anniversdary Harbeth's are for you. Go listen, decide for yourself. Or, if you can't or won't, I'll ask Emma to spin typical marketing promotional talk that will have you drooling! As we have stated for all Anniversary models, we are not going to get involved in deconstructing the holistic design to give audiophiles a percentage breakdown along the lines that the terminals provide 3.7% sonic improvement and the veneer itself uplifts the sound by 5.3% etc. etc.

            As for the future of the M30.1, it is selling strongly, is as you suggest excellent value for money, and our distributors wish it to continue and are still ordering in in quantity. With that background, we have absolutely no plans to abandon what is a vital part of Harbeth's product line-up at this stage. Of course, the situation is under constant review as the sales of M30.2 Anniversary take off.

            To echo the commentator's observation that native UK audio brands are slipping away, this trend is sure to accelerate. To ensure Harbeth's independence, I as the sole shareholder have to be free to run this enterprise along conventional business lines. And that is exactly what I am doing and have been doing.
            Alan A. Shaw
            Designer, owner
            Harbeth Audio UK

            Comment


            • #21
              I find this most strange; there is a new model, and we, the fans, are left in the dark as to whether this new model is indeed a new model, or simply a cosmetic/audiophile(?) retake on the M30.1. If this is not made clear, how can potential customers make an informed decision when shopping for an M30.1 vs an M30.2? Transparency has (for me) been what the Harbeth brand's been all about: Sound engineering disclosed to the (potential) customer. Excellent value for money.
              Last edited by Regalins; 03-06-2017, 09:22 PM. Reason: Typo

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              • #22
                Respecting existing customers

                We didn't see any of this interrogation with the M40.2 Anniversary or the SHL5plus Anniversary, and we here are bemused as to why the M30.2 has been selected for deconstructive analysis. The M30.1 is a really good speaker and upgrading it is no easy matter. Celebrating Harbeth's 40th anniversary with the M30.2 is what it is about.

                M30.2 is different. Not vastly different becaue it is already a well exectued design, but different. You should appreciate the differences when you hear them. Production has not yet started, and as such, we are totally in control of the specification. I am not compelled to make acoustic changes for the sake of making changes, but I have complete control over the sonics right up to the day production commences.

                As for our 'policy', well, we're growing up as a brand. As I have stated, I have personally completely misread the market, educated by my younger and more open minded colleagues and dealers. These Annniversary products have been a runaway success, and I hugely regret that I wasn't smart or savvy enough to give the market what they wanted a decade or two ago. Nobody who actually hands over money and buys Anniversary Harbeths cares what's inside any more than the sort of person who has the means to walk into a Porche dealership and ask for the best model there and then. They are buying a little piece of history. And when they do, they are delighted. And so are we. I thought that I knew a little about marketing and satisfying the consumer. How wrong I was!

                As for 'transparency' - nothing has fundamentally changed. However, it's always a good idea to step outside one's own perspective and view this from another's. How would you feel if you had just bought, perhaps after a long save-up, a pair of M30.1 and are now reading fanstatical claims for the M30.2? Pretty disappointed I'd say. So, our primary focus is not to pump-up claims for and sales of the Anniversary speakers, but to respectfully assure existing customers that the investment that they made in M30.1 - and which could last them 25 years or more - was and continues to be a great one. That has been our marketing strategy for the past thirty years, and continues.

                That naturally requires us to moderate the marketing language for Anniversary speakers which are intended (and priced for) a different sector of the market as Limited Edition consumer products usually are placed.

                The M30.1 continues in production for the forseeable future. That's what our dealers have asked for. It's an absolute bargain and I was just looking at the notes I made after hearing the 30.1 in Florence earlier this year after an absence of several years. I was delignted how good they sounded.
                Alan A. Shaw
                Designer, owner
                Harbeth Audio UK

                Comment


                • #23
                  Hi all

                  Is the issue that we have called this anniversary model M30.2 rather than M30.1 anniversary model? So there is the perception that there may have been major internal changes?

                  There will be some minor sonic changes (although improving on the impressive M30.1 sound is rather hard) which is currently in production, however, this does not in any way devalue the M30.1. It is still a well-loved and popular product which will continue in production for the forseeable future.
                  Emma Smith
                  Brand Manager
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Yes Emma, I think you have nailed it. The issue lays in the name.

                    A point 2 version implies an evolution, a new model to replace an older one, just like what happened with the Monitor 30 to the M30.1 or with the Monitor 40 to the M40.1 and now M40.2. The latest higher numbered versions replaced the previous ones.

                    I believe that an anniversary edition is something different and regarded and understood as such (a special version of an existing model to celebrate a date) and not as a new model. I guess if you had called it “M30.1 Anniversary Edition”, just like you did to the “M40.2 and SHL5plus Anniversary Editions, nobody would be discussing this, because these are unmistakably special editions of existing models.

                    Apart from these small issues, which always provide some ground for discussion, I think the typical Harbeth owner will not be troubled by small sound differences between models, or different names for editions or by whatever “special” they may bring.

                    I will continue to enjoy my M30.1!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Thank you. I can totally see your point.

                      I've spoken to Alan and I'm going to sit down with him towards the end of next week to clarify the technical changes to the M30.2, so that we can be transparent which, we of course want to be.

                      Alan is taking a step back from the discussion so I will happily update you on this.

                      Emma Smith
                      Brand Manager
                      Harbeth Audio UK

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Hi Emma,

                        My post (no.13) in this thread originally brought up the query and, from my point, was all that it was intended to be:

                        'I ask the question on two counts: firstly, I am in the process of considering the 'current' M30.1 to replace my P3ESR's and, secondly, because the Limited Edition versions of both the SHL5plus and M40.2 share the same model designation as the standard range but the M30 now clearly has two different model designations'.

                        I totally understood that there 'might' be some minor sonic changes with the other two anniversary models and would also have understood the same for the M30 model if it had been introduced similarly as the M30.1 Anniversary Edition. As C.C.S above says, there would indeed then have been no discussion - other than that wickedly gorgeous celebration veneer!

                        Anyway, my decision on the purchase of the M30 will rest purely on the price difference. Whether it be the the M30.1 or the M30.2 to mark Harbeth's 40th year, it will be my final speaker destination thanks to Alan.

                        Best regards.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Just a note on Emma's behalf. Questions as to our business strategy, model development plans, pricing policy and so on are pretty obviously highly confidential and will not appear here in a public forum, and fail Moderation. I don't think any corporation can honestly be expected to discuss such things publicly. You know who we are and that's a one-way street.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Emma S View Post

                            Is the issue that we have called this anniversary model M30.2 rather than M30.1 anniversary model?
                            Yes, that is exactly it. No interrogation intended, and best wishes with the anniversary.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Marketing is a funny thing... it can inspire long-term brand loyalty (as Harbeth has done so well), but it can also cause confusion.

                              I'm considering the Monitor 30.1's as my next Harbeth purchase (I own the P3ESRs now) and a came across this thread in my search. Based on Alan's posts below I totally understand the release of a special edition version of an existing product to celebrate an the Harbeth 40th. (I think the choice of slab cut quilted veneer is stunning)

                              BUT what I'm not clear on from this is whether Alan has made any design changes to the speaker itself to warrant a 30.2 designation? I would define a design change as something like a tweak to the crossover network to further improve driver integration or frequency response - something that can be measured as an improvement, NOT higher spec parts upgrades or cosmetic changes.

                              I think the folks at Harbeth have done a fabulous job with marketing over the years so please don't take my question as a criticism, nor is it a nock on the 30.2 -- which I feel is stunning. I'm simply trying to understand the facts behind the 30.2 as the designation is different than how previous anniversary edition products have been labeled.

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