Page 14 of 15 FirstFirst ... 456789101112131415 LastLast
Results 261 to 280 of 293

Thread: New Harbeth P3ESR

  1. #261
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    3,811

    Default The other side of Quality Assurance ....

    Quote Originally Posted by cello View Post
    ... Harbeth, you exceeded my expectations in every regard. The craftsmanship is superb, the cabinet making is finer to anything I've ever seen in a speaker....
    Thank you for the kind words. We here at Harbeth UK really appreciate them.

    Since you bring the subject up - and I've never felt able to discuss this before - I'd like to reveal a one aspect of how we are able to achieve and maintain such a high standard. It may shock you. To witness it yourself would I'm sure (as it does me) make one feel physically sick. But this is what's going on in the background to keep the standards up.

    From time to time on production we (sometimes collectively, many issues are extremely marginal) say to ourselves here that a particular component, a cabinet or a screw, whilst functionally perfect just doesn't look as good as we think our customers expect or deserve. As you know with woodworking, every tree and every veneer leaf has its own characteristics. In truth, there is no such thing as a perfect tree or perfect cabinet because nature encourages randomness in everything. But some cosmetic issues whilst entirely natural may look ugly or like man made mistakes to the untrained eye. Those features result in considerable tension between our suppliers and ourselves, much exchange of high resolution photos or even videos discussing a particular point on a particular cabinet. For example: we may say to the supplier that such and such a veneer characteristic looks like (for example) a scratch. They say, possibly truthfully, that it is a natural veneer characteristic of that tree, perhaps stressed during growth in a way that created a microscopic fissure in the grain. They explain that this feature runs deep into the tree and hence through an entire leaf-bundle from which many cabinets have been veneered. In this situation we have to take a commercial view on this. Does the feature look natural? Would it concern a customer who has no understanding of trees or veneer and the range of variations that we know are perfectly natural and normal? What can we do about it? Should we accept it and make-up the speaker?

    Remembering that every veneered cabinet has been made possible by the sacrifice of a living tree, we are conscious of our environmental responsibilities. But there comes a point when the cabinet maker digs his heels in and will not budge, will not offer to re-veneer or rework, and we are not entirely happy with what we see. A commercial stalemate has been reached. What then?

    As a teenager I was greatly intrigued by the TV advert for John West tinned fish. The strap line was "It's the fish John West reject that make John West the best". Remember it? The actor swept a pile of unmarked tins off the table leaving only the premium John West cans. (Can't find this original 70s advert on YouTube). And that approach is exactly the one we use in extremis when we have reached the end of the negotiation with a supplier: we just have to throw the parts away and absorb the cost. So, for the first time, photographed a couple of months ago at the end of our financial year, you can see for yourself what we have to do to remove parts from stock and to be sure that they won't re-emerge in the supply chain.

    This is the hidden cost of assuring you of the highest possible Quality, the conversion of many thousands of pounds of cherry, rosewood and ebony cabinets into scrap wood loaded into two skips. This took one and a half days to perform. I was hands-on for the first day. A tragic waste but the lengths we go to to protect our brand reputation and your satisfaction. And not only did we take the hit on the material cost, but as we couldn't burn these cabinets (the bitumen would have caused unacceptable environmental damage) we had to pay GBP 500 to have the scrap taken away to a refuse site.

    We have many videos of cabinets being scrapped that we've filmed over the years, but rather like watching aircraft being cut-up, it's rather distressing and not really suitable for here.

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

  2. #262
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    183

    Default Appreciate the Openness

    It is very refreshing to hear a company owner being so up front. It's very rare. What a shame it is not viable to sell on the veneer seconds, though. I guess it just wouldn't be worth the while?
    Ben from UK. Harbeth P3ESR owner.

  3. #263
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Harbeth veneers

    Nice score Chris! All Harbeths have beautifully matched veneers, but your's are particularly nice! Mine are Black Ash, so the figuring isn't as noticeable but it still looks great, and I always appreciate the attention to detail. The pair that I demoed in the store had the Rosewood finish, so I'm aware of how it looks in person.

    It's funny seeing your pics with Mac gear in the BG. I used to have a Mac integrated, and a couple years ago I swapped it out for a more compact Cyrus. Just over the weekend my wife and I were in a furniture store that amazingly has a full blown McIntosh system on display that they were spinning records on. She commented on how cool the gear looked and we remembered how nice the Mac gear sounded in our home.

    I really wanted to get a new Mac amp, but the only problem is size - they're 22" - plus deep, and we've gone through a big renovation/redesign of our apartment, so the Mac gear just doesn't fit! I've gone more stealth recently, swapping out slimline floorstanders for a pair of P3's - perfect apartment set up. In the future the electronics might change, but the speakers are staying the same!

    Enjoy your new speakers

    Alan, thanks for that inside info on your cabinet QC - it shows in your products and I greatly appreciate it!

  4. #264
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    3,811

    Default

    ...What a shame it is not viable to sell on the veneer seconds, though. I guess it just wouldn't be worth the while?
    There are a couple of issues here. Any income from what is, as you can see, a straight bottom-line financial write-off would be most welcome by my finance department, but I have to look at a bigger picture.

    1) There is the issue of 'leakage'. That is, the world is full of bargain hunters. And whilst many of these are sincere end users on limited budgets who would truly appreciate a pair of Harbeths normally out of reach there are plenty of others who would see it is an opportunity to sell-on and make a profit. We can't isolate them from each other. However, those intent on reselling would not make it clear that the cabinets were classified as 'graded' from the outset. The consequence is that the new owner would judge our normal quality on these substandard cabinets - and that denigrates our brand reputation.

    2) and this is very interesting to me, is that whenever we have made a few of the not-so-seriously-imperfect examples available as 'charity speakers' the uptake has been almost nil and we've ended up scrapping them anyway. This must mean that those actually in the market for Harbeth i.e have the money and are ready to spend it, simply expect and are willing to pay for the proper A1 grade. A discounted price is no temptation if quality is actually lowered.

    My experience with 2) rather confirms my instinct that quality is of paramount importance, and the Harbeth customer is not only willing and able to pay but will not compromise. We know that many customers research the Harbeth brand maybe for years before buying and that it is usually the last pair of speakers they buy in their lifetime. And that is why we have to set the quality bar so high. And yes, if it means that in extremis we have to trash cabinets, drive units, fixtures and fittings we must do so. We don't actually have an option if the Harbeth brand reputation is to be preserved and grow.

    One substantial advantage of being the designer, director and shareholder is that I can afford to take a long term view over decades, not days and weeks.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  5. #265
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    759

    Default Financial and emotional cost

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    To witness it yourself would I'm sure (as it does me) make one feel physically sick.
    It does. They're actually very affecting pictures to look at (particularly the last). It's tempting to suggest an alternative use (if not charity speakers, then DIY kits or something of the sort), but I'm sure you've thought it through and have considered everything.

    I can only express gratitude for the lengths you go to maintain quality, at financial and even emotional cost. Makes one feel good to be in the Harbeth camp.

  6. #266
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    183

    Default Fair Dos.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Post #264
    That's very understandable. Thanks.
    Ben from UK. Harbeth P3ESR owner.

  7. #267
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    160

    Default P3ESR cab

    Chris,


    The "little" Harbeth looks great and the veneer match with the stand. What type of veneer are those?

  8. #268
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    160

    Default Spikes

    Kraiker, are the speakers on spikes?
    If yes, your beautiful speakers for sure will get damage.

  9. #269
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    39

    Default Spikes

    The spikes are blunt, I am sure Harbeth Veneer would be strong enough to hold that stress.

  10. #270
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default Stand matching veneers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jmohd View Post
    Chris,


    The "little" Harbeth looks great and the veneer match with the stand. What type of veneer are those?
    They are actually sonus faber stands originally designed for the concertino speaker. The wood on the sides is actually walnut. In the photo it looks like it matches but it doesn't really. I may remove the side panels on the stands and replace with rosewood when i get the time. All in all the stands are a good match, they look nice, are very sturdy and seem to be at the correct hight (27 in)

  11. #271
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    3,811

    Default The Harbeth Xtender - what business argument for it?

    The subject of the Harbeth Xtender subwoofer-in-stand that we made for earlier generations of P3ESR has been mentioned as the ultimate add-on, so why not make it for the P3ESR? I've been looking through the server archive and all the technical drawings are safely filed there, so technically we could indeed reactivate this product. The question is - what business case is there for making it. And what are the dangers.

    As commented here as an impartial listening to the P3ESR confirms, as we very well know, that the P3ESR has a remarkably solid bass doubly so considering its tiny proportions. So I'm concerned that making available any sort of Harbeth-branded subwoofer may send the wrong signals to the public that a subwoofer is needed. We know that it isn't, but that may be the impression that such a product introduction may give. And there is plenty of anxiety in the audio market without consciously adding to it.

    Second - the Xtender is at least twice the size of the P3ESR. You can see an earlier P3 + Xtender for sale here - very good pictures which give you an overall impression. The size of the Xtender means that our daily production output, which is directly linked to the physical size of the speaker, will eat into the quantity we can produce per day. That means an overall extension in lead time.

    Next we must consider the tricky and insurmountable problem of veneer matching. We simply cannot guarantee that the veneer colour/grain of the Xtender will (ever) perfectly match that of the P3 which sits atop it. We have three cabinet makers, and if we purchase the Xtender box from one and the P3ESR from another (as will happen) there will be differences in veneer. We, and our dealers, cannot be expected to open sealed cartons and pick-through perfectly good cabinets hunting for a close veneer/colour match.

    This Xtender project is technically trivial - but commercially very fraught indeed. I am nervous about complicating a production system that is already working at maximum efficiency for what would be a very low-margin addition.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #272
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    England
    Posts
    782

    Default Veneer matching was and will be an insoluble customer problem

    You echo my thoughts completely.

    The P3ESR is a perfectly good speaker as it is and the majority of people buying it will never need more bass, especially as they are often used in relatively small rooms. Therefore, the quantity made will be small.

    Veneer matching will be impossible as I know from some years ago when Monitor Audio and Castle manufactured veneered stands to match their speakers. Reality was, that they never matched the speakers at all and we could never please the customers. We and the manufacturers very soon abandoned the idea.

    IMO, the P3ESR is a wonderful small speaker and there is no shortage of customers for it as it is.

  13. #273
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    147

    Default Xtender in black/grey only?

    maybe making it only available in black or the mid-grey could work, and still look ok with the various veneered P3ERS?

  14. #274
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    759

    Default Non-veneered Xtender ...

    What I'm hearing is that there will likely be no Xtender.

    And that's fine - both Alan's business rationale and hifidave's views make a lot of sense.

    I would quibble with only a couple of points. First, the veneer matching: yes, impossible if you're trying to match wood grain, but if Harbeth does ever release a painted finish (there was some discussion of this on the HUG a few months back), then it becomes a non-issue.

    Second, I don't think that releasing an Xtender would cause too much anxiety or would be perceived as a negative reflection on the bass capabilities of the P3ESR, which any reasonable person has to admit are outstanding - for its size. Also, a P3ESR plus Xtender would give a column-type form factor, which many like.

    I realize this is probably a long way from constituting a good enough reason to produce such a product, however.

    (To add to P.C.'s posting, which I hadn't seen when I posted: I agree that a neutral flat black or grey could work with any veneer. One thing to remember is that many owners will also invest an non-trivial amount of cash on a decent pair of stands, and an Xtender would eliminate the need for stands, making it a more feasible proposition for the consumer.)
    Last edited by EricW; 06-07-2011 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Comment on previous posting

  15. #275
    honmanm Guest

    Default "Graded" P3ESRs - an opportuntiy seized

    First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart for times past when graded speakers have been made available. There is simply no other way my wife and I could have afforded speakers of this quality... well OK maybe 10-15 year old secondhand examples of the P3 genre.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    There are a couple of issues here...

    1) There is the issue of 'leakage'. That is, the world is full of bargain hunters. And whilst many of these are sincere end users on limited budgets who would truly appreciate a pair of Harbeths normally out of reach there are plenty of others who would see it is an opportunity to sell-on and make a profit.
    This is very true... despite our speakers being "graded" the workmanship is outstanding. Having sold my old Quad 33/303 towards the cost of the speakers, when they arrived I took them to a friend's for a try-out. He's a retired cabinet maker and it was obvious that he gave them a good looking over with a professional eye. At the time he remarked that the cherry veneer changes colour with age and indeed after 15 months the original veneer discolouration has diminished to a point where it cannot be spotted without knowing where it was in the first place.

    2) and this is very interesting to me, is that whenever we have made a few of the not-so-seriously-imperfect examples available as 'charity speakers' the uptake has been almost nil and we've ended up scrapping them anyway.
    There are probably many community radio stations who would benefit greatly from the graded speakers - but the problem would be getting the word out (maybe via organisations like Radio Worldwide that help people set up community stations?) and also the problem of timing supply and demand. The need is certainly there - not long ago the technician at RW was busy repairing a Spendor BC1.

    But doing any kind of special "Community Radio Edition" would probably be hugely disruptive to your production processes!

  16. #276
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    115

    Default Xtender - a minority product that could be disruptive?

    What was the original reason for halting production?

    I personally have a feeling that business-wise it would not be the best idea to manufacture the xtender. This would be a product that would only benefit P3ESR users, and only a smaller part of those users would probably end up buying xtenders. So this would mean production on a smaller scale than usual, but still expensive and time consuming to produce, and it would slow down production of other products. It would be a nice product, but perhaps it wouldn't be cost/effective to manufacture.

  17. #277
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    226

    Default Why did the original Xtender stop production (mid/late 90s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
    What was the original reason for halting production (of the Xtender)?
    Can't accurately recall. I guess that it did not pull its weight financially.

  18. #278
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    10

    Default I adore my P3ESRs

    I've had my P3ESR a few weeks now and concur with Hi Fi Dave that these speakers are perfect as they are. The bass in my 12 x 12 foot room is absolutely spot on. I seem to be able to play them louder than my previous (larger) speakers as the bass would just become to 'boomy' (I'm sure there's a hi-fi term for this !).

    I adore them and can't imagine ever changing them. Just FYI I sit them on two beautiful 200 x 200mm sections of planed oak.

  19. #279
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    2

    Default P3ESR as near fileds .... and Harbeth Malaysia ....

    Bought my P3ESR pair from Sam (Tropical Audio, KL). Am already an owner of a Super 5 for 3 years (still enjoying them btw). Was clear that I wanted a Harbeth sound for near field use in my workstation serving computer based music sent thru DAC into int amp.

    My previous Naim Credos were good for what they're worth BUT I really wanted the Harbeth richness in mid freq and vocals. Well, needless to say, upon a quick audition, I brought home my P3ESR in Cherry.

    For 2 days since, I am enjoying my music in every way. New found clarity and richness never found in the Naim. And the P3's have all the bass they need for near field work - never missed them...maybe am enjoying the mids too much to notice! haha

    Am definitely a happy camper. Very impressed by the magic to be found in such a small cabinet. I heard the M30 at Sam's and am also smitten. Soon I believe, but what would I do with the Super 5? A happy problem no less

    BTW, Sam's a swell guy! Alan should be happy that he's got a great reseller in Malaysia in Sam

    Last edited by grunt72; 15-08-2011 at 03:54 PM. Reason: added picture

  20. #280
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    86

    Default X-ray vision?

    Congrats on the P3's! It is amazing how you don't miss the low frequencies! I don't know how Alan does it...

    BTW, while looking at your new speaker, I feel like I have Superman's x-ray vision...

Page 14 of 15 FirstFirst ... 456789101112131415 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •