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Thread: Spare parts, ISO9001 spares policy etc.

  1. #1
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    Default Spare parts, ISO9001, ethics etc.

    This tread discusses Harbeth's policy on spares and after care. Many companies have a business model where their products are relatively less expensive than ours and their spares parts division makes a significant contribution to their overall profitability.

    We design and manufacture for the longest possible service life - typically 20 years but much, much longer is possible with care in the hands of a responsible user. It is, in our opinion, ethically and socially wrong to create consumer products that are dumped in land fill after just a few months or years.

    Long service life is possible if the design uses traditional methods, screws rather than glues or welds.

  2. #2
    PaulT Guest

    Default Re: Spares for Harbeth HL Mk2/3

    I've sent you a mesage regrding spares.

    Thanks.
    PaulT

  3. #3
    shseto Guest

    Default I lost the original jumpers that came with my Harbeth

    Dear firiends,

    I recently digged out a pair of old Harbeth about nearly 20 years old i would guess. the model is HL compact and it sounded very good, the two tweeters are dented but sounded fine to my ears.

    my problem is that the jumpers are missing, I wonder what is the best replacement for those missing jumpers.

    I am using a Naim Nait5i with it and they are connected via Naim's NA CA5 and I am currently using jumpers made up of NA CA5. Should i get something else as jumper instead?

  4. #4
    sonofcolin Guest

    Default Re: I lost the original jumpers that came with my Harbeth

    NACA5 connectors should work just fine. Maybe worth getting the tweeters fixed if possible.

  5. #5
    shseto Guest

    Default Re: I lost the original jumpers that came with my Harbeth

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofcolin
    NACA5 connectors should work just fine. Maybe worth getting the tweeters fixed if possible.
    yeah, may be I shouldn't worry about it. but I always feel that the original brass jumpers are the best as they form an intergral part of the deisgn of the crossover network and therefore better left untounch. the reason for me to feel this way was from the experience with my spendorS3 speakers, I changed it to NaCA5 jumpers and the imaging went wrong althought sounded better at first, same with other jumpers i tried, end up the best balance with the brass jumpers.


    now with the Naca 5 jumpers, plugging direct into HI freq sounds very open but lack some bass and image seems not as good as directly in to LF but with the LF , the sound is not clear but the imaging and bottom line is more firm. the best i can do is black in to LF and red in to HF, kind of more blance than other setting.

    Can Alan supply anything better I wonder? at a cost of coz.

    well, i don't know haha

  6. #6
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    Default Annual ISO9001 inspection .... spares policy

    At our recent annual ISO inspection we were asked to demonstrate a process for handling spare parts even though our factory QC is very good, and the vast majority of our customers are careful and treat their Harbeth speakers with respect. This was accepted. However, the Inspector commented that as we proudly say that 'a Harbeth speaker can last for 20+ years...' and we have made more than 40,000 pairs of speakers, we should have a statistical system to handle even the few spares requests we receive. We have now invested in a video-recording unit (see attached) which allows us to dissect field-returns and record our findings which can, if necessary, be made available to the customer for a small charge. This will be covered in detail in our next Newsletter. In the meantime the procedure for spares remains ....

    1. Customer contacts Harbeth local distributor and (honestly) explains the situation and why spares are needed.

    2. Distributor completes 'Spares Authorisation form' after discussing the most likely reason for failure with the customer and copies to Harbeth UK.

    3. Distributor requests replacement unit for Harbeth UK. Harbeth UK arranges despatch of suitable part (if available - see) and invoices Distributor.

    4. Distributor receives replacement part from Harbeth UK.

    5. NEW! Distributor asks customer to return unit to local Distributor who is trained to undertake basic identification of reason for failure. If unit is burned-out or otherwise clearly not a Warranty issue, Distributor will apply local sales policy.

    6. NEW! If the Distributor is not able to analyse the problem (i.e. the driver is not obviously burned-out) but is otherwise defective the part is returned to Harbeth for ISO/video-QC inspection. Distributor will apply local sales policy.

    7. If Harbeth UK can not understand the fault they will apply a 'benefit of the doubt' policy and credit the Distributor.

    This should satisfy the ISO inspectorate. Thankfully, spare part request are extremely rare, but we do need to fully understand why they are required at all.

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #7
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    Default Why Harbeth tweeters have protective grilles ...

    I have borrowed a pair of speakers made elsewhere to evaluate at home. The cloth grilles are held on in the usual way by pegs and sockets, the pegs attached to the underside of the grille. Due to my carelessness in correctly aligning the grille pegs with their sockets, one peg skidded across the baffle and hit the tweeter. Had this been a Harbeth tweeter no damage at all would have resulted but in this case, for fashion reasons (?) the dome is completely exposed - and now destroyed. This is an embarrassing and doubtless expensive mistake for me.

    It reminds me that recently one of our Distributors reported that he was being aggressively pushed by an prospective end customer for us to design-out the protective metal grille from the M40.1 'or he would not buy it'. I declined. The reason we fit the protective tweeter grilles is quite simple - we do not run a spare parts operation as a profit centre. We really want you to buy our speakers and then never have to be concerned about their running costs - ever. So, we protect the tweeter so that even probing children's little fingers do not result in expensive and irritating repair bills.

    It disappoints me that any speaker manufacturer could pretend to be unaware of inquisitive human nature and supply speakers with totally naked diaphragms - but many do. That strikes me as madness.

    Picture of typical open-weave Harbeth steel grille and naked unprotected alternative attached.

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  8. #8
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    Default Tweeter repairs

    At least the metal dome tweeter you damaged by accident is a "cheapo" unit with a replaceable dome unit "module...."

    I very much like the carefully thought out open mesh you use though and it makes perfect sense, having been the victim of pushed in tweeter and large dust-cap domes. Fortunately for me, these were impregnated cloth and re-formed ok to my eyes, thanks to a vacuum cleaner and masking tape (ouch!), but it would have been great for this not to have happened at all...

  9. #9
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    Default Tweeter repairs

    Quote Originally Posted by DSRANCE
    ... these were impregnated cloth and re-formed ok to my eyes, thanks to a vacuum cleaner and masking tape ...
    As you say, the vacuum cleaner sucked-out a crushed fabric (silk) dome, but I can assure you that if you measured the tweeter before the damage and after the repair it would be markedly different in frequency response, distortion and dispersion. Farbric domes never return to their original performance after 'repair' even though to the eye they can look OK.

    What is not appreciated about fabric domes is that they actually are in break-up mode across much of their working range - the fundamental break-up mode is at about 7 or 8kHz (i.e. within one octave above crossover point) typically. The only reason their output doesn't drop like a stone at those moderately high-frequencies is because of the application of dope - a rubbery gunk to the diaphragm to tease it into behaving as a contiguous whole. The skill and science behind the dope varies from supplier to supplier. They can be very good or highly unrepeatable.

    I recall that many years ago a speaker that had an exceedingly expensive 'hand made' fabric dome with a legendary following. There was the greatest difficulty in pairing these units because no two were alike. In the winter (damp, cold) it was a real struggle. The suppliers recommended solution "put them in the oven at a moderate heat for 20 mins. to dry off the moisture from the dope layer". It worked, but our confidence in the product also evaporated. The technical term was that the soft domes were hygroscopic.

    Contrast that with metal domes which are 99% identical because they operate as a piston up to about 30kHz (three octaves above crossover point), where they have their break-up mode .... far beyond audibility. A well designed metal dome tweeter, used with a sympathetic crossover is excellent value for money and a highly stable long term solution to reproducing high frequencies.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tweeter repairs

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S.
    Contrast that with metal domes: they are 99% identical because they operate as a piston up to about 30kHz, where they have their break-up mode .... far beyond audibility. A well designed metal dome tweeter, used with a sympathetic crossover is excellent value for money.
    I know you've undoubtedly measured all the usual suspects, but, showing my ignorance and out of date knowledge here, I thought many of the cheaper metal domes "took off" well below 30KHz with headache inducing results, even though I can't hear anywhere near 20KHz these days. With respect though, The HL5's never EVER did this! - But then, I doubt anyone else attends to the tweeter's characteristics in quite the way you people do.

    I'm rather troubled about your comments regarding my probably trashed tweeters (Vifa derived). I'll attempt to deal with it when the dust has settled in the new year.

    P.S. I must say I'm very much enjoying the articles and opinions expressed on this forum. I think it's a shame that the magazines have completely left the more scientific and objective reasonings behind. As I was one of "those" dealers (until I learned better) I share the blame with many others.

    Thank you for the chance to "re-learn."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tweeter repairs

    I'm not aware of any metal domed tweeters 'taking-off' (i.e. entering cone break-up mode where the diaphragm ceases to operate as a piston, as a contiguous whole) below about 25kHz which is definitely outside the audible band. Furthermore, as CD's audio band abruptly terminates at 22kHz there is no real possibility of the tweeter being excited into resonance from CD. What I think you have heard in connection with metal dome tweeters is the incorrect application of crossover designs derived for fabric domes. Remember I mentioned something to the effect that 'metal domes used with a sympathetic crossover sound good'.

    We've had lunch and cleared away the table and as the kitchen is the warmest room in the house (it's -2?C outside) I thought I'd have a go at disassembling the non-Harbeth tweeter and repairing it. Not good news I'm afraid: despite my best efforts (with an ear bud) there are still tell-tale ripples in the diaphragm which will definitely have a measurable consequence akin to mis-casting a brass bell so that it's not perfectly symmetrical. None of this hassle would have been necessary if this tweeter had been protected with a metal grille as all Harbeth tweeters are (see previous couple of posts in this thread).

    As for your comments about 'scientific basis' - I mentioned in another thread recently that we don't actually produce consumer goods; we make capital equipment, built to last and based on credible engineering. It so happens that this same product finds favour at home with a certain pragmatic and value conscious consumer who has good ears. Hence, everything about a Harbeth from the first steps of the design through to your pair is about durability, longevity and guaranteed performance year in, year out.

    >
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    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #12
    eelekim Guest

    Default Re: Tweeter repairs

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S.
    ... everything about a Harbeth from the first steps of the design through to your pair is about durability, longevity and guaranteed performance year in, year out.
    This statement nearly brought me tears. That's one of the reasons why I selected Harbeth as my ultimate speaker. Nowadays, I think most of the manufacturers have been trying to make things full of gimmicks and destined to be broken after a "reasonably" short period of time with intentionally poor design and components that leads to puchases after purchases. I've also heard old people said today's products are not as durable as before. The case seems to get worse.

    I'm glad that we still have Harbeth who insists in following the great and justified tradition with a clear and advanced mind and under such a sincere and responsible approach. Salute!

    mike

  13. #13
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    Default HexGrille's Strength

    Hi Alan, I've just got my P3ESR, and love how the HexGrille gives me the extra assurance on protection. Taking a look at it very closely, it seems to be made of pretty strong material. Definitely I wouldn't want to try how much of pressure it can take, but if let's say someone tries to press it hard, say between 50-100N, will it deform the grille?

  14. #14
    Steve S Guest

    Default New grilles for HL Mk3

    Simple question really. Can I get replacement foam grilles for my HL Mk3's ? The originals are starting to disintegrate and randomly fall off - not bad for 1982 really, I suppose.

    TIA

    Steve.

    {Moderator's comment: unfortunately no. But you can make your own conventional grille. We'll correct the Spares matrix and give details later.}

  15. #15
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    Default DIY replacement grille for Mk1-3

    Here are plans for a conventional DIY grille to suit the above.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  16. #16
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    Default Availability of official Harbeth spares - The Spares Matrix

    There was a bug that prevented this being visible, which has now been fixed.

    So the official position regarding model spares is live again.

    Here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/spares_matrix.php

    Note that we need to add the P3ESR to the matrix, but since production started twenty three months ago, there has not been one spare part required by an end user, to our knowledge.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  17. #17
    Steve S Guest

    Default

    Thanks for that - I will have a crack at doing this sometime.

    Steve.

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