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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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Speaker Finishes

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  • #31
    Spendor claim 'thin-wall' construction for their S3/5R model.

    EB acoustics use an MDF/ply/bitumen laminate (that they call Arcayne) but I don't know any more details.

    Comment


    • #32
      ProAc also claims thin-wall construction, with birch-ply panels and bitumen.

      Comment


      • #33
        The words "check it for yourself" and "impossible" come to mind.
        Harbeth PR,
        Harbeth UK

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        • #34
          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
          Maple (P3ESR only) A few pairs of C7ES3 available incl. pair for Finnish customer*
          Hi Alan! Is there any new info according to the production of maple C7's ?

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by EricW View Post
            ProAc also claims thin-wall construction, with birch-ply panels and bitumen.
            Im happy to be corrected but afaik proacs are mdf. Their philosophy might be different, they are not thin wall but thick hard solid bonded stuff. If you gently knock on their cabinets, they go “tock tock tock” unlike the “Tud tud tud” of Harbeths. Imho, i don’t consider Proac, like many others, speaker makers (philosophy more akin to diy off the shelf guys), as they don’t make any of their drivers as far as I know. It makes them basically cabinet guys and crossover tweakers, ditto Wilson Audio etc.

            Comment


            • #36
              I don't know the range in question (frankly, I don't need to) but one defining feature of the 'thin wall' BBC cabinet is removable front and/or back or both front and back. If both the front panel and back panel are glued into position, regardless of the actual thickness of the panel walls, the box cannot be tuned. And tuning of the cabinet is critical to achieving the Harbeth sound. So, the first thing to look for is which panels are held in by screws. And yes, if you buy drive units for beer money from vast factories churning them out by the tens or hundreds or thousands each day then you cannot realistically expect sophisticated engineering. At the very best, you could expect a stable QC assuming that all the variables were well understood and controlled. But there again, even that can't be assumed.

              I'm always incredulous that the consumer will pay $50,000 for a pair of admittedly novel or beautiful speakers using mass produced drive unit with a total rolled-up package cost to the manufacturer as low as $500 - or less. Possibly much less. To my mind that is complete madness - as foolish as buying a brand new, upper range BMW with an engine made in a Soviet factory during WW2. The car would indeed be impressive from the outside but a test run would reveal the performance was incapable of concealing the fundamental weakness of the engine.
              Alan A. Shaw
              Designer, owner
              Harbeth Audio UK

              Comment


              • #37
                I just received my P3ESRs in maple, and very beautiful they are, too. I did notice a few points where the surface was raised, almost bumpy, no doubt where the wood was originally knotted. Wondering if these spots are likely to "erupt" and possibly split, or whether the wood is stabilized? It's a remarkable finish, almost butterscotchy, and does lovely things with caught light.

                best,

                o

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by orkney View Post
                  ... I did notice a few points where the surface was raised, almost bumpy, no doubt where the wood was originally knotted. Wondering if these spots are likely to "erupt" and possibly split, or whether the wood is stabilized? ...
                  I also saw something similar at a dealer recently. It was from one of his demo SHL5 speaker with the cherry finish. I was surprised about that and also wonder what would happen with this wood in the future.

                  Sebastien

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                    I'm always incredulous that the consumer will pay $50,000 for a pair of admittedly novel or beautiful speakers using mass produced drive unit with a total rolled-up package cost to the manufacturer as low as $500 - or less. Possibly much less. To my mind that is complete madness - as foolish as buying a brand new, upper range BMW with an engine made in a Soviet factory during WW2. The car would indeed be impressive from the outside but a test run would reveal the performance was incapable of concealing the fundamental weakness of the engine.
                    Guys,
                    only eyes can see. Ears can't. Ears listen. What if Alan would design a speaker with a single custom full range cone, screwed on a low density fibreboard, wich would play heavenly? Would you buy it? Because I would...
                    The rest of the story is good food -and income of course- for another modern successful invention of our consumer world, the psychologists.
                    By the way, I don't remember any famous maestro or orchestra performer, or great music artist, having paid a fortune for exotic speakers or components... At least here in my country, where I happen to know a a lot of them...
                    Cheers,
                    Thanos

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                      incredulous that the consumer will pay $50,000...
                      sure beats me. somehow somewhere along the way "modern art" came into the picture. strange but true. something to ponder over the weekend.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Long term and warranty and smoking

                        There are tremendius variations in veneer and there is no such thing as a 'perfect veneer'. What you or I may consider beautiful another would not be willing to sacrifice a glass-like finish for and vice versa. We weed out cabinets we're not entirely confident about and destroy them; no cabinet maker would take back what he would consider a natural feature just because we didn't fancy it.

                        When looked after properly (as recommended, not in direct sunlight, no localised heat nearby) I'm not aware of any long term degradation. But, as always, you have nothing to lose by Registering your speakers and benefiting from the first owner's extended warranty if you meet the Warranty extension criteria.

                        One thing I'd like to add about protecting your investment: I've seen a pair recently in the home of a hesvy smoker. Ignoring the destructive effect on his lungs, the speakers tell their own shocking story from the veneer to the terminals, the domes and diaphragms. For that reason we intend to review the Warranty admissability. If you do smoke please think about this carefully.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Thanos View Post
                          ...By the way, I don't remember any famous maestro or orchestra performer, or great music artist, having paid a fortune for exotic speakers or components... At least here in my country, where I happen to know a a lot of them...
                          Thanos
                          I know that Keith Jarrett, a close friend of mine (joking), is a proud owner of Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation speakers (serious). Those beautiful sounding speakers are proudly make in Quebec City, in the country where I live. For these, you will pay 4 times the price of a SHL5 pair... Does the sound is 4 times better? Yours to judge.

                          Sebastien

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Sebastien View Post
                            I know that Keith Jarrett, a close friend of mine (joking), is a proud owner of Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation speakers (serious). Those beautiful sounding speakers are proudly make in Quebec City, in the country where I live. For these, you will pay 4 times the price of a SHL5 pair... Does the sound is 4 times better? Yours to judge.

                            Sebastien
                            Oh in Singapore the Verity Pasifal Ovation costs almost 8 times more than an SHL-5.......

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Owning sky-high price hifi, for some people, is a status indicator rather than music related.
                              "Bath with Music"

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Pricing strategy

                                Setting the retail selling price is an interesting conundrum for a consumer product manufacturer - one of the most difficult business decisions that he will ever make. Too expensive and he'll kill the product at birth. Too cheap and he'll go bust. But there is a wide margin between these two ill defined extremes.

                                My view is simple; for the long run we have to make a profit to be here when you need us. And unusually in this industry, we do. But I positively seek to set the retail price not as high but as low as possible. The thinking here is that each speaker we sell is by far our best advert for bringing new customers, since once you've gravitated to the Harbeth sound there really is nowhere else to go: it's the final destination on your speaker journey. So we can minimise the selling price not wasting (is that the right word?) money on marketing promotion as happy customers are doing that for us free. So overall, whatever revenue we lose out on by lowering the selling price we partially or more cover by not having a sales and marketing department with the tremendous on-cost they inevitably incur.

                                Alan in Hong Kong
                                Alan A. Shaw
                                Designer, owner
                                Harbeth Audio UK

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