HARBETH: Munich – the little brand that could

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Alan Sircom writes .....

Of all the new products at the show, perhaps the one that makes the most sense of all was one of the least showy, least shouted products there. Harbeth announced a change to its long-standing Super HL5, called (perhaps unsurprisingly) the Super HL5 plus. The change to this was the move over to the company’s RADIAL 2 design for its mid/bass unit, and the crossover network change this facilitated.

Harbeth is a bastion of British understatement. Like every UK reviewer, I can’t get a review sample for love nor money from the brand, because the potential for increased local sales in the UK would overfill the company’s already brimming over order books in other parts of the world. Even if I bought a pair (and, believe me, it’s tempting) I couldn’t tell you how much I like them for fear of raising the profile too high in the home country. However, those few who are members of the select Harbeth club can nod quietly to themselves that they are part of an elite. Not ‘elite’ in the snobby ‘elitist’ manner it has come to be considered, but like the unassuming special forces of audio, only without the lethal force component.

So why all the praise for a brand I can’t get through my usual channels? Because they .....

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