The Harbeth integrated amplifier
We raised the subject of a Harbeth stereo remote controlled amplifier and discussed it in depth here (link to follow). I and my distributors here the the Far East have discussed this together in depth. We've also looked at the positive and negative (or let's rather say, cautious) comments the subject generated. My reading of the situation is this:
- Those of us 'in' the business on the supply side unanimously believe that for Harbeth to offer an amplifier would benefit the Harbeth brand image and solve the anxious customer's concerns about what amplifier to use - even though I have stated many times that Harbeth speakers are a universal load. There is only approval for the idea from this side of the desk.
- Some consumers are luke-warm to the idea citing anecdotal reasons why the Harbeth brand should not extend beyond its core loudspeaker products. None of these stand careful scrutiny, especially in China, where brand leverage is normal and expected; example Mercedes cars and Mercedes watches.
Entering the amplifier market will strengthen the Harbeth brand but only if executed carefully in a controlled step-by-step way. Of that I am in no doubt. As the amplifier assembly, test and packing will be subcontracted it will not be a management burden to Harbeth UK. So, I have decided to proceed and to test-market the amplifier in the far east where (self-evidently) our most enthusiastic and critical users live. That means Hong Kong/China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It will not be available in any other markets initially. It will not be chasing reviews: I am unconcerned about such appraisal - it is designed to do a simple job well and at a reasonable price and for a long service life, and that is exactly what it will do.
The amplifier has an extra set of inputs and outputs which are being fitted in anticipation of the next step - the Harbeth Magic Box.
More on this project when I'm back in the UK.
Alan /Our East somewhere
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK