Harmanizing the Brands

Harman International announced July 1 that it will close its Madrigal facility in Middletown, CT on August 30 as it continues to consolidate and reorganize its high-end brands under the Harman Specialty Group banner. Although the name Madrigal was itself not used as a brand on audio products, it had been the umbrella under which Harman had produced and distributed its Mark Levinson, Revel, Audio Access, and (recently discontinued) Proceed brands.

Harman's Andrew Clark reports that the manufacturing and management functions carried out at the Madrigal facility in Middletown (which predates Harman's acquisition of Madrigal) will be moved 120 miles north and combined with the Lexicon facility in Bedford, MA. "The name Madrigal was associated with the Middletown facility," says Clark, "and will be completely phased out."

Clark says that the Lexicon facility was recently expanded in preparation for the consolidation and has been renamed Harman Specialty Group. He notes that the pro audio division of Lexicon that once shared the site with the consumer division has now been separated from it and will be consolidated into the Harman Music Group by moving to its facility in Salt Lake City, UT. Audio Access has been moved to the JBL Residential division.

According to Clark, product development and manufacturing for Revel will continue at its Northridge, CA facilities, while management for the speaker brand will be joining Lexicon and Mark Levinson in Bedford. Countering the rumors that one or more of the three companies might be shut down, Clark mentioned that all three brands are now developing new five-year business and product plans.

"Mark Levinson may now have the brightest future in the group as a result of the new arrangement," says Clark. All of ML's products will now be designed, produced, marketed, and supported from Bedford. Clark emphasizes that existing customers and dealers will receive exactly the same, if not better, services and support as before.

Clark also hinted at new ML products under consideration. "First up," he says, "will likely be a Mark Levinson source component." Pressed for details, Clark revealed that the current thinking is that ML should develop a state-of-the-art universal SACD/DVD-Audio/CD player.