"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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Special editions

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  • eelekim
    started a topic Special editions

    Special editions

    What decides naming a speaker by using a dedicated new model name or putting "Special Edition", "Limited Edition" or "Anniversary Edition" after the existing model name?


  • HUG-1
    A Special Edition - answering a market request

    We agree witht the logic of the above posting and our we laid out our angle concerning specials in the HUG in October 2007 shown above. We have merged your post with the earlier post. We have offered for over twenty years Special Editions of our loudspeakers. Every one of them is in response to a direct request from a market (a distributor). We do not and have never invented Special Editions and then offered them to our customers. Harbeth UK is passive in the conception and specification of a Special Edition. We consider every request on its technical and commercial merit. Many we decline. We continue to offer the standard product at the standard price. We do not make sonic claims about Special Editions. Our opinion at Harbeth UK is unimportant compared with the buyer's needs, wants and satisfaction.

    We are a commercial company. If we possibly can satisfy another segment of the market we will so in every shade of colour and specification. If you or any other consumer believe that your listening pleasure could be significantly enhanced by some modification, you should approach your retailer. If there is sufficient general interest and it is viable we will consider it carefully. Please discuss Special Editions with your dealer, not here. They will cost more. You may be asked to pay in advance. You will have to wait.

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    Guest replied
    Understanding the term "Special Edition"

    There seems to be a lot of confusion with the term “Special Edition” . The Wikipedia defined it as “ A special edition implies there is extra material of some kind included”. Today, it is common to find many things to carry the said label as part of their marketing strategy. A special edition adds value to their brand name and in most occasions it becomes a collector’s item .

    While in some products the label indicates a better performance or horsepower or added luxury (like the special edition of VW cars) others do not have such advantages. The changes to the products may only be cosmetics. For an example, there could be a special edition of red coloured SHL5 for the Chinese market (Harbeth should seriously consider this.. ), or gold or 6N silver wired M30 for some customers who require them to satisfy their need and belief. If Harbeth decides to make a single terminal instead of current bi-wiring terminals for the SHL5 for customers who do not believe in bi-wiring that edition is also considered special edition.

    As long as no out of ordinary claim made in regards to their special edition products there’s no misrepresentation, immoral, dishonest or illegal conduct on the part of the maker. Whatever interpretation is made by the customers who rely on the term “special, limited, anniversary, etc etc edition” is up to them.


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  • A.S.
    Special edition policy

    The concept of running a special version follows a suggestion from the market to us here in the UK. If we think it's viable, practicable and cost-effective for the consumer we'll research it and quote for it. If we receive orders then we'll make it; if we don't we won't. This process is driven from the market, not imposed from us onto the market.

    Looking back over many years we conclude that the market seems to have a very good sense of what makes an interesting variant on the basic design and so we have a general willingness to take all suggestions seriously. However, some are too complex to be economically viable and/or we can not adapt the production process to implement them. Other ideas, such as external crossovers, look simple and interesting enough but would weaken our total control over the delivered product with Warranty and other implications. Other suggestions are dismissed because the net effect would be to hamper production and reduce daily throughput. We say that the 'opportunity cost' of implementing some complex ideas would have to be reflected in the lost production time for other models and priced accordingly which makes some suggestions (such as external crossovers) impossibly expensive.

    If the market really would pay significantly more for the opportunity cost of such complex variants we would, of course, be willing to consider them but the cost could add 50% or more to the final price. Our order book is nicely regulated and stretches out for 12 months so we'd much prefer to 'keep it simple' and maximise throughput to keep Harbeth speakers flowing to our customers!

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