A real, physical dealer v. online
We do not recommend 'virtual dealers' unless there is no alternative available to you. We recommend real, physical dealers who have made the time, financial and physical/mental effort to create a demonstration facility where you can hear and compare audio equipment. I realise that in the internet age online shopping is appropriate for many products but we do not feel that it is appropriate for quality audio equipment or, for that matter, shoes or suits.
You mention one virtual dealer amongst others. From the feedback we occasionally receive, there is usually a story behind the products being sold on-line. Sadly, the serial numbers show that far from being 'brand new, as-new, factory fresh, virtually unused, pristine, sealed cartons' etc. the speakers are several years old. There have also been worrying instances where the original cartons have been carefully unpicked from the bottom, the speakers used and the cartons carefully resealed; from the top, the cartons do indeed look factory sealed, unopened.
I'd like to mention that the Harbeth warranty is not transferable from the first owner, and not transferable outside the country of original supply. If you chose to bypass the traditional real, physical bricks-and-mortar dealer, you accelerate the demise of the industry. When all retail stores are driven out of business we won't have an industry and there will be nowhere for the next generation of consumers to start listening and learning.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK