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Thread: Veneer: normal aging or damage? (C7ES3 Eucalyptus)

  1. #1
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    Default Veneer: normal aging or damage? (C7ES3 Eucalyptus)

    Hey there,

    This is my first-ever post on the Harbeth User Group, though I have been reading for quite a while with great interest, let‘s say almost for two years. It is a truly great forum. As I am not a native speaker I can only apologize for my mistakes.

    I have purchased a pair of C7ES3 one and a half years ago and am very happy with sound quality and sound stage. Nothing to moan about (except for a lack of listening time) and not much need/aim to change anything. I did a lot of comparison with different amps and speakers beforehand with dealers and finally ended up with a Naim Supernait, a Naim CD5XS with a Powerline cable (which was a giveaway with the Supernait) and the C7ES3. A Macbook Pro is included in the setting if needed via Coaxial Digital and the M2Tech HiFace Converter. So far so good.

    Unfortunately the first thing I feel I have to write about is an issue concerning the aging/development of the veneer and its (possible) consequences. The units are driven in a normal Mid-European living room, with constant temperature between approx. 18-27 degrees Celsius and a humidity between 45 and 55% depending on winter/summer. The cabinets are not exposed to direct sunlight though one is closer to a north side window (no sun from the north in Germany) and still I interchange speakers every half a year or so for brightness issues. Colouration is fine though.

    Nonetheless the veneer on one of the cabinets shows signs of drying with multiple hairline cracks (only) on the back panel. This affects almost the entire back of one speaker cabinet, while the other one is hardly affected. It is clearly visible and you can feel the uneven surface when touching the back of the speaker while cleaning it (in fact this is the way I first noticed). I never used any wax or powder or whatsoever but a dry cloth-like thing (these so called „Swiffer“ things, if you have them in the UK) and never applied any liquids to it (how could I?).

    Although the issue is difficult to capture in pictures I would like you to have a glance at the attached image (which shows only a detail).

    Now my questions are:

    - are these normal aging effects after one and a half years?

    - will it anyhow affect functionality or sound quality? This question before the background that I read somewhere on the HUG that the cabinets are also veneered on the inside for sound quality issues, right?

    Well now, I am looking forward to your replies and helpful hints.
    Thanks
    Stephan
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Quebec, Canada
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    Default Rosewood veneer on my SHL5

    Hi Stephan,

    I have the same thing on my SHL5 in rosewood finish. They are 2 years old.

    I'm now considering the idea to ask some specialists in Montreal ,who work in an incredible store specialized in wood and cabinet making called Langevin et Forest, about the right way to treat the veneer.

    This said, it doesn't stress me much and I now that it affect the look of the speaker but not the sound.

    Sébastien

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Slovakia
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    Default

    Hi Tango,

    my C7ES3 are a bit older, but I decided not to claim the cracking veneer.
    Few guys started such posts in the past and they get very long answers...

  4. #4
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    TR
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    Default Veneer care

    Did you use any polish or didn't you avoid it from direct sunlight, radiators, draughts, smoke, ozone and other chemicals?

    What do you think made the veneer crack in one and a half year? I was expecting to use my Harbeth speaker lifelong, as told by manufacturer !?!

  5. #5
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    Apr 2010
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    USA
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    Default Swifter may be the problem

    I believe, "Swifter" cloths are impregnated with a chemical that may be petroleum based.

    All other factors being equal, Humidity, and especially swings in humidity should be avoided if possible. I have whole house air conditioning and my C7ES3 with cherry finish are nearly four years old and in perfect condition. They are near a radiator which I have turned off, and drapes prevent exposure to direct sunlight.

    As recommended, I have not used polishes of any kind. I would suggest that you stop using the swifter, as the chemicals may have interacted with the finish.

  6. #6
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    Germany
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    Default Policy for resolution

    Thanks for your replies so far!

    In fact I never used any polishes or similar stuff. The "Swiffer"-thing I use is not impregnated with any chemicals but but is of pure plastic and uses static effects between its small fibres as you would have them walking with sneakers on a linoleum floor and then touching a metallic door handle giving you the famous buzz. Cleaning the speakers with the Swiffer just removes dust and is a matter of less than 5 seconds per speaker, so there is hardly any physical contact. This definitely shouldn't be the reason. Also it would not explain why only the back panel is affected. Still thanks for your thought and hint.

    {Moderator's comment: the correct way to proceed with this matter is to not to discuss it here but directly and personally with your local authorised Harbeth supplier who sold you the speakers. He will surely be most interested in hearing from you. We ask, as a courtesy to our dealers, that after-care matter are always raised (and hopefully solved) directly with the dealer. This is a normal manufacturer/customer courtesy.}

  7. #7
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    Default Being polite

    Quote Originally Posted by tango View Post

    {Moderator's comment: the correct way to proceed with this matter is to not to discuss it here...}
    This is a bit coward attitude; yea for praise, nay for criticism?

    {Moderator's comment: your dealer is Harbeth's legal representative. It is only fair to the dealer and to Harbeth that you politely contact your dealer who will do everything he can to resolve any issue. If you have a problem with your Toyota the best place to resolve it is at the local Toyota dealer, not on Toyota's internet forum. The fast track to a solution is here.}

  8. #8
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    Default Transparency?

    If there is a local dealer, yes. More Toyota than Harbeth dealers around here. Mine is many hours away.

    Anyway: fair enough trying to ask some fellow users first, isn't it? To me this seemed to be the core of a product forum: exchange of experiences with the product among users, maybe with participation of the manufacturer, maybe not. Something I obviously misunderstood.

    Also I share Vlado's disappointment as for so far I appreciated the HUG very much: I was not aware that it is so strictly "controlled".

  9. #9
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    Default Accept criticism

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlado View Post
    This is a bit coward attitude; yea for praise, nay for criticism?

    {Moderator's comment: your dealer is Harbeth's legal representative. It is only fair to the dealer and to Harbeth that you politely contact your dealer who will do everything he can to resolve any issue. If you have a problem with your Toyota the best place to resolve it is at the local Toyota dealer, not on Toyota's internet forum. The fast track to a solution is here.}
    Hi,
    as I mentioned earlier, I decided that I would NOT claim the veneer. The reasons are obvious; I have to send the speakers on my own expense to the dealer (BTW: this has canceled the Harbeth sales) and I would remain few weeks without music and the cost for shipping - probably to factory - would be immense.

    What I wanted to say in my posting is that a manufacturer should accept also criticism not just applause. Nothing else!

  10. #10
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    Sep 2007
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    England
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    Default HUG is not independent (obviously)

    This user group is paid for, managed by, owned by, operated by and significantly contributed to by Harbeth UK personnel. It is not independent of Harbeth UK. Neither Sony, Nikon, Apple, British Airways, Samsung, QUAD, Nissan, Mercedes, IBM, NAIM nor any other brand would permit a completely open, unmoderated dialogue on their own corporate forums. We very rarely Moderate here on the Harbeth User Group.

    There have always been procedures to be followed in the case of after-care. It is polite good manners to approach the dealer first. Your own dealer cannot be motivated to be hugely supportive if he first hears of an issue not in a one-to-one call from the customer, but after it has been publicised here. All we ask is that we respect each other's feelings and give the dealer, Harbeth's representative, a reasonable chance to be involved at the earliest opportunity. That is normal business ethics and the fastest and surest way to a successful, low cost, low stress outcome for all involved.

    In the unlikely event that you and your supplying dealer are unable to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome, then you are at liberty to contact Harbeth UK directly. If you do so you will be required to prove that you have first made contact with your supplying dealer and worked-through the issue directly between you as far as you both can. That is a normal business process.

    After-care issues are extremely rare. Our dealers want happy customers and they will do everything they can to be helpful if the true, honest facts of the situation are made known to them personally. They want to work through any issue directly with you (and in collaboration with Harbeth UK behind the scenes) not via a public forum where all the facts and options are not available.

  11. #11
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    Default HUG asks for clarification

    Please explain this point in your post #10

    "... I have to send the speakers on my own expense to the dealer (BTW: this has canceled the Harbeth sales) and I would remain few weeks without music and the cost for shipping - probably to factory - would be immense..."
    Thank you

  12. #12
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    May 2012
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    Default Cross-border sales

    ...If you do so you will be required to prove that you have first made contact with your supplying dealer....

    -you canceled the previous distributor for Austria.

    ....This user group is paid for, managed by, owned by, operated by and significantly contributed to by Harbeth UK personnel. It is not independent of Harbeth UK. Neither Sony, Nikon, Apple, British Airways, Samsung, QUAD, Nissan, Mercedes, IBM, NAIM nor any other brand would permit a completely open, unmoderated dialogue on their own corporate forums. We very rarely Moderate here on the Harbeth User Group.

    - if the accelerator pedal stuck on Priuses and the cars are involved in crashes or amplifiers of a British brand start to burn, then the customers should be "polite"?

  13. #13
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    Default

    Politeness is usually the best way to get results from fellow hard working humans. Don't you find that? I do. Nobody wants to be made to look foolish or unhelpful and most people will go the extra mile if they are approached in a reasonable way.

    I see you are listed as being in Slovakia, but I guess that you bought from Austria, now covered by our German distributor. As a matter of interest have you spoken with him?

    I think you should let him know the serial number of the speakers and their purchase history.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  14. #14
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    May 2012
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    Default Previous distributor

    Dear Mr. Shaw,
    as mentioned, I bought the speakers from PREVIOUS distributor for Austria.

  15. #15
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    Default Resolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlado View Post
    Dear Mr. Shaw,
    as mentioned, I bought the speakers from PREVIOUS distributor for Austria.
    Yes, I can see that he made an out-of-territory sale to you. But that distributor ceased to be connected with Harbeth over a year ago. This cross-border purchase situation plus change of distribution plus potentially rather old stock adds complexity, but it is not our intention to leave you dangling if we can avoid it.

    If you do want to take this further, I recommend that you talk with Harbeth Germany, but please allow me a couple of days to brief him on this long dialogue first. That's only fair to him don't you agree?

    I do stress the point though that no customer should be left without after care because Harbeth changes distribution arrangements. However, if a customer knowingly purchases out-of-territory our rules governing after care will apply. Local dealers have to eat, and they have significant overheads. After care costs time and money - although it is also a good opportunity for building customer/dealer relationships - and if the dealer was deprived of the original sale, can he reasonably be expected to provide limitless after care? I don't think anyone can expect that from any product unless the profit margins are exceptional, which in audio they most assuredly are not. That is real-world common sense.

    I realise your situation is a combination of events, but I would urge all would-be owners to buy from their local Harbeth dealer. If in doubt who that local, authorised dealer is, just make contact with the local importer. He'll be pleased to hear from you and will point you in the right direction. Above all, he wants to grow his business with long-term satisfied customers.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Germany
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    Default Reply (in full, unmoderated)

    Dear Mr. Shaw,

    please allow me to point out two things on my behalf. The first as you were talking of politeness: maybe as a non-native speaker there are sometimes difficulties in the choice of words or in meeting the most suitable tone and I have to apologize for possible edges. Nonetheless it never was my aim to be impolite or insulting and I am convinced I was not in a severe manner. That is why on the other hand it irritated me quite a bit that relevant parts of my recent posts have been removed or altered by a moderator and an answer has been given by the very same person only to the seemingly "suitable" rest of the post. Hence this cannot be considered a proper conversation any more. And it is not a moderation but an alteration or worse. This is a treatment I find hard to depict as polite either.
    However I have now learned about the aims and structure of the HUG and I certainly will have to accept it.

    The second thing is about my original issue (for which I started the thread). In my case it is, that there is no dealer around here for about 250 kilometers. Moreover my visit to the closest dealer two years ago was a disappointment as after a short while I found myself sitting alone in a listening room with a pack of CDs but without further counseling and with the dealer servicing an apparently more exclusive customer. This although I hade made a scheduled appointment for testing weeks before. At an occasion I finally made another appointment in a city I had lived earlier, which is about 800 km away from where I live now. The dealer made really big efforts, giving me hints, even pointing out possible critical issues with the equipment and my purposes and so on. To cut it short: everything you would expect from a dealer if you consult him as an absolute beginner. No wonder I finally made the deal there. What encouraged me even more to do so was the extended warranty given by the manufacturers (you and NAIM) after registration on their home pages. With me this "direct" shortcut evoked the illusion that after care was -if ever needed- not so much a matter of regional issues as it turned out to be right now. You will understand that it was/is not an option to consult the dealer I mentioned first.

    So this is why I opened the thread here: sending the items through Germany via UPS just to get an opinion whether it is an after sales care issue or not simply is too expensive economically and ecologically. And it would take quite some time. So I decided to first try and ask some fellow users for their experiences to be able to decide what to do thereafter.

    Finally I understand that I will either have to take the longer way or just leave it as it is.

    In any case thanks for your patience and (yes!) thanks for the wonderful speakers so far!
    S.

  17. #17
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    England
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    Default

    It is never advisable to purchase from a Harbeth dealer 800km away when there are Harbeth dealers nearer.

    If you are not satisfied with the experience you receive from a Harbeth dealer we suggest that you call the importer to discuss with him. He needs that market feedback to improve his business. If you are still not satisfied then you are welcome to call Harbeth UK. Harbeth UK will then contact the distributor. He will contact the dealer to hear his story. We will receive a report.

    Speaker are heavy, precious and made in part from natural materials. This means that an expert opinion (usually the supplying dealer) has to decide in conjunction with the customer what the source of the issue may be. The same when you buy a car, computer or washing machine. After-care issues are rarely black and white. If there is a temperature/humidity/sunlight/cigarette smoke/ozone etc. issue this must be remedied otherwise any replacement parts will again degrade.

    Another reason to buy locally is that the original cartons are designed for one journey. They are designed to protect the speakers from Harbeth UK to your dealer through the public logistics system. They are not designed for multiple journeys in the public transport system. They can of course be used to protect the speakers when you are transporting them carefully in your own vehicle.

  18. #18
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    Default Trust your authorised dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by HUG-1 View Post
    ... After-care issues are rarely black and white...
    "I demand that you help me. My speaker looks like this. I bid for it on the internet. The seller cannot be contacted. He described it as in perfect condition. The carton was unmarked and I threw it away... ".

    A disaster for all concerned. Will the truth ever be known? To replicate the damage (however caused) of not only splitting open the cabinet corner but cracking the baffle which is securely screwed to the cabinet, severing the magnet from the 12" woofer and breaking-off the midrange sealed box we estimate that this speaker was dropped from the equivalent a first floor window.

    Buy from a local dealer you trust who has your long term best interests at heart and where there can be proper care for your speakers during and after the sale.

    >
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  19. #19
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    Default not naive

    Excuse me, but I do not find these drastic exaggerations very helpful. They are far from coming close to the situation that prompted me to originally post here and I feel rather discredited. Neither am I stupid nor naive. I am the first and hopefully will remain the only owner of my speakers and I treat them VERY carefully indeed, they did not encounter any violence or damage. I do in fact even store the cartons in the basement, just in case..

    I bought from a more remote dealer because the "nearest" (still 250kms away) was not exactly too helpful and proved to be unreliable as he did not stick to a long term appointment as described above. Reliability is something I expect from a salesman who is about to earn 2600 Euros or so. Nothing more is expected from me by my clients/patients. The alternatives would have been: 1. encouraging him to go on like this by buying there nonetheless or 2. buying a different brand of speakers, not Harbeth. This was definitely not my goal either.

    I will now leave this unfruitful discussion and can only hope that I find back to some enjoyment with my Harbeths..

  20. #20
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Harbeth Germany says ... (1)

    Hallo Stephan,

    als Harbeth Distributor für Deutschland bin ich aufgerufen mich um diesen Fall zu kümmern. Dazu brauche ich noch ein paar Angaben zu den Lautsprechern.
    Welche Serien-Nummer haben sie und wo wurden die Lautsprecher wann gekauft?
    Furnierablösungen sind bei Eucalyptus bis jetzt meines Wissens noch nie aufgetreten - deshalb nehmen wir die Ursachenforschung natürlich sehr ernst. Klangeinbußen sind hier allerdings kaum zu erwarten.

    Mit musikalischen Grüssen,

    Bernd Hömke
    input audio

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