Harbeth XD pricing is outrageous

Surly Sid

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Feb 6, 2020
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Harbeth XD pricing is outrageous. A 25% increase over their previous models! Are they nuts?!

Here in Canada, the P3esr XD sells for 4000$ Canadian dollars. The former model was 3000$. The Tontrager stands Harbeth recommends sell for 2000$. That's 6000$ for a P3esr XD with stands. You have got to be %?$?&& me!

You can get much better than that over here for 6000$. Just ridiculous!
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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Lucky you have several Canadian brands to choose from. Harbeth are having a record year so I’m sure they know what the market will stand.

I knew I was paying through the nose when I bought US made products in 1997, and you’ll be doing much the same if you buy imports today. It’s sad but true.
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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The hi-fi market has been extremely resilient during the pandemic, and I'm told that sales of some brands have risen considerably. If Harbeth can command the prices they set and still do healthy business, why wouldn't they?

Brands such as Harbeth, Spendor, Naim, Linn, ATC, Michell, Naim and Rega hardly ever see any kind of discounting because they are tooled up to supply the right amount for the level of demand, and often just under demand. This is also partly due to their relatively controlled dealer networks. For most of these brands you can't simply decide to be a dealer - the manufacturers pick and choose those they feel will represent them the best and actively avoid creating too much competition between retailers in close proximity. Some of them are also quite strict in not allowing some, or all, products to be sold by mail order. This means customers are more likely to audition properly and there is less likely to be a flood of nearly new examples being sold on the second hand market, undermining new prices.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Harbeth XD pricing is outrageous. A 25% increase over their previous models! Are they nuts?!

Here in Canada, the P3esr XD sells for 4000$ Canadian dollars. The former model was 3000$. The Tontrager stands Harbeth recommends sell for 2000$. That's 6000$ for a P3esr XD with stands. You have got to be %?$?&& me!

You can get much better than that over here for 6000$. Just ridiculous!
You're a grumpy old moaner Sid.
In this case though your moan is fully justified.
It's the sort of pricing where, if you won a million and money was no object, you still wouldn't want to encourage them.
 

Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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You're a grumpy old moaner Sid.
In this case though your moan is fully justified.
It's the sort of pricing where, if you won a million and money was no object, you still wouldn't want to encourage them.
Nonetheless, they can only charge what people will pay. Blame the customers that will pay through the nose.
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I have a real issue with these price increases. Back in the late summer when I home demo'd the P3 they were £1900 and something, now the price has increased to £2500. Given the pandemic and how many people have been laid off, the hi-fi market will only stand so may price increases before it implodes.

The basic C7s are now £3500.

Here.

I had to close my small business, until circumstances change there's no way I can afford the sort of components I want.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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I have a real issue with these price increases. Back in the late summer when I home demo'd the P3 they were £1900 and something, now the price has increased to £2500. Given the pandemic and how many people have been laid off, the hi-fi market will only stand so may price increases before it implodes.

The basic C7s are now £3500.

Here.

I had to close my small business, until circumstances change there's no way I can afford the sort of components I want.
Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your business @plastic penguin. It's been a tough year and as a freelance musician I'll be glad when things find some sense of normality again. I hope things get better for you.

This might be controversial to say, but I'm coming to the realisation that hi-fi above a certain point is aimed squarely at those with considerable financial fluidity, to whom price changes won't be an issue. You only have to look at the numerous images on the internet showing high end equipment in rooms where clearances from the rear wall of 1m+ are possible, and dedicated listening rooms that to most of us are never going to be a possibility. I read a review by Ken Kessler of a new d'Agostini amplifier in which he referenced a 'cheaper' £20,000+ model as d'Agostini for the masses, treating hi-fi more like his taste for expensive 'time pieces' and vintage wines. In a world where a Linn LP12 can be the start of endless and expensive upgrades that imbue subtle changes, price differences of a few hundred pounds here and there make less difference.

An illusion is created that those of us working with limited means are somehow losing out on some holy grail. It's part of what perpetuates the hi-fi obsession and a sequence of somebody stretching up to an 'entry-level' Naim amp or similar, and being given just enough of a sniff to offer reward but also to ingrain little piques of dissatisfaction to prompt a feeling of restlessness and of the 'need' for the next rung up.

Increasingly, traditional hi-fi lives ever more in these upper reaches. The mass audience has shrunk massively, with many who do value better than boombox sound being turned towards capable and simple compact solutions that increasingly deliver the goods. This is reflected in the reduced amount of choice in most areas of the affordable hi-fi market. Big players such as Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo have little to no presence in the traditional areas of the sub-£1k market anymore, and even brands like NAD, Denon and Marantz launch fewer products than they used to. Speakers are the only part of the affordable market that has maintained its size.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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I read a review by Ken Kessler of a new d'Agostini amplifier in which he referenced a 'cheaper' £20,000+ model as d'Agostini for the masses, treating hi-fi more like his taste for expensive 'time pieces' and vintage wines.
Sounds like the sort of guy who'd refer to a decent fountain pen as a 'writing instrument.' I'm fortunate enough to earn well and not to have been affected that much by the pandemic, but anyone who'd describe what would be part of a system costing £50-100k as being for the masses is either deluded or the sort of snob that I can't abide.
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your business @plastic penguin. It's been a tough year and as a freelance musician I'll be glad when things find some sense of normality again. I hope things get better for you.

This might be controversial to say, but I'm coming to the realisation that hi-fi above a certain point is aimed squarely at those with considerable financial fluidity, to whom price changes won't be an issue. You only have to look at the numerous images on the internet showing high end equipment in rooms where clearances from the rear wall of 1m+ are possible, and dedicated listening rooms that to most of us are never going to be a possibility. I read a review by Ken Kessler of a new d'Agostini amplifier in which he referenced a 'cheaper' £20,000+ model as d'Agostini for the masses, treating hi-fi more like his taste for expensive 'time pieces' and vintage wines. In a world where a Linn LP12 can be the start of endless and expensive upgrades that imbue subtle changes, price differences of a few hundred pounds here and there make less difference.

An illusion is created that those of us working with limited means are somehow losing out on some holy grail. It's part of what perpetuates the hi-fi obsession and a sequence of somebody stretching up to an 'entry-level' Naim amp or similar, and being given just enough of a sniff to offer reward but also to ingrain little piques of dissatisfaction to prompt a feeling of restlessness and of the 'need' for the next rung up.

Increasingly, traditional hi-fi lives ever more in these upper reaches. The mass audience has shrunk massively, with many who do value better than boombox sound being turned towards capable and simple compact solutions that increasingly deliver the goods. This is reflected in the reduced amount of choice in most areas of the affordable hi-fi market. Big players such as Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo have little to no presence in the traditional areas of the sub-£1k market anymore, and even brands like NAD, Denon and Marantz launch fewer products than they used to. Speakers are the only part of the affordable market that has maintained its size.
brilliant post.
 
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Surly Sid

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Feb 6, 2020
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I had to close my small business, until circumstances change there's no way I can afford the sort of components I want.
[/QUOTE]
Sorry about your business. Best of luck in getting back on your feet.
 
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Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
252
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970
Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your business @plastic penguin. It's been a tough year and as a freelance musician I'll be glad when things find some sense of normality again. I hope things get better for you.

This might be controversial to say, but I'm coming to the realisation that hi-fi above a certain point is aimed squarely at those with considerable financial fluidity, to whom price changes won't be an issue. You only have to look at the numerous images on the internet showing high end equipment in rooms where clearances from the rear wall of 1m+ are possible, and dedicated listening rooms that to most of us are never going to be a possibility. I read a review by Ken Kessler of a new d'Agostini amplifier in which he referenced a 'cheaper' £20,000+ model as d'Agostini for the masses, treating hi-fi more like his taste for expensive 'time pieces' and vintage wines. In a world where a Linn LP12 can be the start of endless and expensive upgrades that imbue subtle changes, price differences of a few hundred pounds here and there make less difference.

An illusion is created that those of us working with limited means are somehow losing out on some holy grail. It's part of what perpetuates the hi-fi obsession and a sequence of somebody stretching up to an 'entry-level' Naim amp or similar, and being given just enough of a sniff to offer reward but also to ingrain little piques of dissatisfaction to prompt a feeling of restlessness and of the 'need' for the next rung up.

Increasingly, traditional hi-fi lives ever more in these upper reaches. The mass audience has shrunk massively, with many who do value better than boombox sound being turned towards capable and simple compact solutions that increasingly deliver the goods. This is reflected in the reduced amount of choice in most areas of the affordable hi-fi market. Big players such as Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo have little to no presence in the traditional areas of the sub-£1k market anymore, and even brands like NAD, Denon and Marantz launch fewer products than they used to. Speakers are the only part of the affordable market that has maintained its size.
Good post. But, the point I was trying to make is that better alternatives can be had for the price of the Harbeths.

Do the Harbeths sound nice! You bet! They are just priced too much.

I auditioned the Harbeth M30.1, ATC SCM 19, the Ryan R610 and the Totem Tribe Tower.

Here is how I would rank them and their prices in Canadian dollars at the time (2018-2019):

1 Totem Tribe tower 6000$
2 Ryan R610 2700$and Harbeth 30.1 5000$ tied
3 ATC SCM 19 4500$

The Totems sounded best and I bought them. The Ryan were the best value of the lot. Canadian and USA products here in Canada provide much better value. The Ryan R610 is as good as the Harbeth 30.1 at almost half the price.
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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The Totems sounded best and I bought them. The Ryan were the best value of the lot. Canadian and USA products here in Canada provide much better value. The Ryan R610 is as good as the Harbeth 30.1 at almost half the price.
They look like a great buy. Over here, I could get my ATC three way SCM40 and have over £1,000 change compared to the same Totems. You have some enviable kit available on your continent, and as you say it’s much better value.
 
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sktn77a

Active member
Dec 8, 2020
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"Nonetheless, they can only charge what people will pay. Blame the customers that will pay through the nose."

They pay because of HiFi reviewers' glowing reviews. Do you think they could get $4000 if the reviews said "Poor sound quality - beaten soundly by the Wharfedale Denton 80"!
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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"Nonetheless, they can only charge what people will pay. Blame the customers that will pay through the nose."

They pay because of HiFi reviewers' glowing reviews. Do you think they could get $4000 if the reviews said "Poor sound quality - beaten soundly by the Wharfedale Denton 80"!
Actually Harbeth are one company that doesn't court professional reviews. They're not the first company to do that. AVI were another example that springs to mind. If they wanted to review these products, the reviewers have to buy a pair without the makers consent.

The only What hi-fi review I can find are the 30.2 which is taken from Australian hi-fi.

Strangely, I purchased a pair of Denton 80th anniversary model dirt cheap earlier this year (I posted a review on my thoughts.) More recently I blagged a pair Harbeth P3 from a local dealer for a week... the two don't compare. On my system the Harbeths are superior in every sense.

Even so, I still feel Harbeth are over priced compared to my PMCs and Monitor Audio.
 
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Oldfart

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Nov 22, 2020
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Can’t comment about Harbeths as sadly no local dealers to audition even in good times. Same Atc. I have just upgraded as 20% DALI discount plus the threat of no deal tariffs on EU products. Now or never. At the price the build and sound quality live up to the outlay, Imho
edit as missing text: Harbeth must be confident of their market to increase prices when Sonus Faber and Dali are offering substantial discounts on theirs.
Agree with comments about lofty reviews in Absolute Sound,, sterophile and our own HiFi+. Going back to the 70s, I spent a lot of time in USA and Canada and visited hifi retailers as I did in Asia. The wealth and disposable income of the “hifi demographic = baby boomers” are on a different level. 40 million Californians - Orange County alone has a very large community that simply has to have the best. Surrey on a much larger scale who buy those $100000 speakers and have rooms to house them. Totally agree that USA & Canadian hifi is overpriced here and vice versa Noting that quoted USA prices to not include state and federal taxes.
 
Last edited:

nn_in

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Feb 23, 2015
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Actually Harbeth are one company that doesn't court professional reviews. They're not the first company to do that. AVI were another example that springs to mind. If they wanted to review these products, the reviewers have to buy a pair without the makers consent.

The only What hi-fi review I can find are the 30.2 which is taken from Australian hi-fi.

Strangely, I purchased a pair of Denton 80th anniversary model dirt cheap earlier this year (I posted a review on my thoughts.) More recently I blagged a pair Harbeth P3 from a local dealer for a week... the two don't compare. On my system the Harbeths are superior in every sense.

Even so, I still feel Harbeth are over priced compared to my PMCs and Monitor Audio.
Can you share the link where you have posted your review
 

nn_in

Well-known member
Feb 23, 2015
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One aspect of some brands like Harbert,Graham,Falcon or similar is the resale price they bring in .Maybe one of the reasons people buy . Clearly the HUG continues to increase awareness and keep the engagement going.
 

nn_in

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Feb 23, 2015
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Please bear in mind this just a comparison with my PMCs.
In this respect I think @DougK and I are the only two on this forum who's owned the two PMC models and had the Harbeths.

Certainly the P3s are some of the best small monitors I've heard.
The viewpoint of simultaneously having both and exploring what's different is valuable.In this case two very competent brands.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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This is all subjective as all our ears are very different. As PP has said, I believe we are the only members on here to have heard both PMC and Harbeth side by side in our respective set-ups. I would probably have to concur with PP's review as he owns the larger TB2's, I owned the smaller DB1's. In my particular case the P3's started to pull away from the DB1's after 20-30hrs use, but it was still a tough decision, PMC do make excellent speakers and maybe I should have tried some TB2's in my system :)

As for the price of Harbeth, they are damned expensive, I wouldn't have even looked at the P3's at their new price. Fortunately I got my pair for under £1500 new so it was worth the gamble and it paid off for me.

Both Harbeth and PMC have seen some steep price rises over the last few years putting them out of reach of normal punters. However, they both seem to be excellent regarding the most important part of their business ... customer service; I have definitely found this to be the case with Harbeth.
 

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