Harman Kardon SB30 Audio Speaker

I am really fond of speakers, and one funny thing about me with the speakers is that I tend to visualize the waves of sound that passes through my head. When I got hold of a 5.1 speaker system, I said to myself, “Wow, this must be something that will blow my hair up high.” Honestly, I wasn’t able to take a grab of a 7.1 system though I wonder much as to what additional dimension will the extra speakers give. But moving forward, I—like any other users—hate the hassle of the wires that comes tedious especially in setting up the system. But when I heard of Harman/Kardon’s home theatre system, I was moved back to my seat.

The new SB30 (SB for Sound Box?) of Harman/Kardon is a new solution that is claimed to give the same dimensional aural experience without the need for wires and additional enclosures. What we have in this design is just a sound bar and a very exceptional wireless subwoofer. The sound bar weighs a bit too much of up to 12kgs, which means it’s either you set it up or mount it up beforehand or end up miserable trying to make the seamless design portable. Nevertheless, the design is perfect for small-spaced areas.

Honestly, I really find the black glossy finish very modern and stylish. The said seamless design is compliant of the word ‘bar,’ and the intelligent components are less than visible. For the subwoofer, there’s no big change to the overall design as to how familiar we are with subwoofer builds. One thing I don’t like with the woofer is that it is not mobile as promised; moving the heavy boom box is still a chore so you might just want to let it sit silently beneath the bar.

The price of Harman Kardon SB30 is not impressive. With a price of $799, you can actually get a new ultrabook that does chores for you in a lot of ways. However, we are still nervous as to how justified this price is. Upon purchase, you are greeted with the main package i.e., the woofer and the bar, an IR remote, a power adapter, the wall mounts (brackets), digital cables, and analog cables. For a package with this price, you are expected to have a complete home theatre system that is easy to setup. But how about the sound quality?

The Harman Kardon SB30 is promised to provide the same dimensional feel as a 5.1 speaker system. Frankly, I think it’s a big lie. The sound bar may brag about its HARMAN WAVE technology that sports 13 transducers and nine amplifiers (not yet mentioning the tweets and the like), but the surround is, at all, virtual. Since we don’t get real speakers behind our shoulders, the waves tend to bounce back (that is, if you have a wall to have waves bounce on), making it artificial and non-conducive. The field may be well fed with sharp frequencies from the lows to the highs, but the sound, I think, is still not promising as a full HT system has already offered years before.

This design, however, is fitting for movies. Virtual surround is already promising since you may just want this set installed on your room. As for me, I’d still prefer a full 7.1 speaker system for my hall. Yet, for music, the sound may be clear and crisp enough for every day listening, but there seems to be a hiccup with the vocal quality. There’s not enough equalizer also for us to tweak the channels, and the IR… it’s not really helpful at all.

Finally, the Harman Kardon SB30 borrows Dolby’s intelligent volume control, so we are now at least consoled that this works perfectly as expected. Moreover, we are pleased with the design’s compatibility with different input sources: digital and analog, whether it is from your TV or from your gaming console.

I take my side more on the legacy speakers more over this design from Harman/Kardon. The innovation is quite impressive, but not as much as people like me who are particular with the lively surround that is really to blast audience off from their seats. Ultimately, it’s priced a bit higher than what it offers.

Harman Kardon SB30 Audio Speaker Price in Singapore Dollar (SGD): Approximately S$ 985.00

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