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"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.

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Feb. 2018
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Sounds to me something is missing in the Harbeth Line up.

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  • Sounds to me something is missing in the Harbeth Line up.

    I just wonder seeing the enormous price gap between the monitor 30.1 and the monitor 40.1 off ( here in Holland) more then 7000 euros that there is also a gap in the Harbeth line up. I mean should there not be a speaker between these two? Something like a Harbeth monitor 35.1! The other Harbeth speakers are much more close together pricewise.

  • #2
    Shl5?

    There is the Super HL, but the difference between them an the M40.1 is also very big.

    Normaly the SHL5 should be big enough for most of the rooms till
    40qm/430sq ft.

    Over this the M40.1 should work.

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    • #3
      Answer is ..... SHL5!

      Originally posted by fred40 View Post
      I just wonder seeing the enormous price gap between the monitor 30.1 and the monitor 40.1 off ( here in Holland) more then 7000 euros that there is also a gap in the Harbeth line up. I mean should there not be a speaker between these two? Something like a Harbeth monitor 35.1! The other Harbeth speakers are much more close together pricewise.
      There is the SHL5. Midway in size and great value.

      Most customers I have here, who don't know the prices, assume they are 3-4K anyway. So that puts them midway between the M30.1 and M40.1, thereby neatly filling the gap for you.

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      • #4
        Reward and results?

        I would argue that there is a big price gap between the models at the upper end. But is there really a big gap in terms of performance?

        So maybe the performance of the SHL5 is that good that if you want to really better it you have to put a lot of effort into the speaker. The money you spend for tiny little improvements is getting bigger and bigger when you move upwards performance-wise, hence the price gaps in that area are getting bigger as well.

        I find it somewhat charming that Harbeth does not fill that (marketing-)gap between the SHL5 and the 40.1, maybe because it is only that: a marketing-gap.

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        • #5
          Diminishing Returns

          Hi Fi, as well as many other endeavors are subject to the law of diminishing returns. The difference in cost as you progress up the line would seem to reflect this.

          DG

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          • #6
            Costs plus

            The Harbeth line of speakers are not built with a specific price point in mind. It's the other way around: the complexity and parts costs dictate what the speaker needs to cost to cover all costs. Distributor and dealer margins will 'do the rest'.

            As the cabinet is the most expensive part of a speaker - especially for the M40.1 with its 'speaker inside a speaker' build, it's bracing and bitumen - the M40.1 is thus much more expensive than the other speakers in the range. It also boasts a very big extra bass driver, which none of the other models have.

            Taking this all into account, the price is not ridiculous ...

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            • #7
              The marketing of speakers at price-points

              That's right. Most speaker companies build to price points and worry less about the sound quality.

              So, you get a small stand-mount at 399, a larger stand-mount at 499, then floor-standers at 699 and 899 etc, etc. Get them built somewhere cheap, build in loads of profit to cover 'dealer promotions' and marketing - jobs a good'un. Oh !!! what do they sound like ? Who cares?

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              • #8
                Price jump

                That"s not what I''m saying that the m40.1 is to expensive. It"s just that pricewise I see a huge gap between the m40.1 and the m30.1.

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                • #9
                  "A speaker designer's job is not a happy one ... happy one." G&S

                  Originally posted by fred40 View Post
                  That"s not what I''m saying that the m40.1 is to expensive. It"s just that pricewise I see a huge gap between the m40.1 and the m30.1.
                  If I can contribute something.

                  The reason the Harbeth product line is as it is is entirely the result of history. I suppose, if we were a start-up company contemplating a strategic product line-up we wouldn't start from where we are. As hifi_dave says, we would map out an incremental line from smallest to largest and go about the design.

                  If I was the designer, and entirely depending upon whether it was may company or I was employed to design for another, I would have to consider all sorts of constraints such as size, number of drive units, manufacturing cost, profit expectations, competition and so on. As an employed or contract designer with a life to lead outside his day job (not my situation at all!!) there would be a limit to how much love, care, attention and personal satisfaction I could ever get from a design job for someone else.

                  Just mulling this hypothetical situation over and trying to imagine myself into the boots of a contract designer, my strategy would have to be, in all honesty, to take the design to a certain point and no further. And how to sense where that line is? I think I'd have to set aside my own personal views about whether the speaker sounded, for my taste, good or not. I would not be designing for myself, I'd be designing to keep the roof over my head and my family fed. So how would I know I'd done enough - just enough? I'd have to take soundings from my employers, to sense their satisfaction with the design. If they were happy with the way it sounded, and I'm still being paid, then that's really as far as I'd need to take it.

                  What if they didn't like the sound? I'd expect this would happen with the trends in consumer audio generally of brighter, thinner and louder. Then the problems really start. It would be like asking an oil painter to switch to water colours; theoretically the same painting task but may be outside my abilities, my personal frame of reference.

                  So, when I inherited Harbeth there was the one model: the HL Mk4, the same size as the now SHL5, one inch wider than the 'classic BBC two cubic foot' monitor box. In about 1987, when contemplated the marketability of introducing a smaller version of the Mk4 (original HL Compact), I measured the front height x width dimensions of potential competitor speakers in that anticipated market sector and drew them to scale on graph paper, which I still have! Then I decided upon front-on dimensions that gave a better perceived value than the others, and looked pleasing .... and the rest is history. Scientific? No!

                  I really don't think I could speaker design for anyone else. It's a passion. Seven days a week, strange hours. Few perks. No pension. Brief holidays. Minimum wages (ok that's a bit of a lie).
                  Alan A. Shaw
                  Designer, owner
                  Harbeth Audio UK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Avoidance of confusion!

                    To me I think we have just the right number of models! Not too many & not too few. Quality over quantity is more important.

                    More the models makes a customer more confused! IMHO.

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                    • #11
                      Confusion as a fine art

                      Originally posted by Prith View Post
                      More the models makes a customer more confused! IMHO.
                      Too true - have you every tried working out what's what in the mobile phone market? And by the time you've arrived at a sensible conclusion, the models you've investigated have become obsolete!

                      I'm sure this is deliberate policy by the phone makers - keep the range moving in order to prevent too much damning scrutiny.

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