The IFA 2018 show in Berlin bursts at the seams with smart speakers. But with his new Citation speaker range, Harman Kardon has enough speakers that are suitable for Google Assistant to create a unique show.
Thanks to its multiroom capabilities, Sonic is competing with Sonos systems. The Citation range is a bit of an all-rounder, with speaker formats and colors for all tastes, voice control, LCD touch control and the ability to pair as a 5.1-channel wireless home theater system.
So, take a deep breath – let's break down the range.
Options, options, options
First, the Harman Kardon Citation One. If you share a name and a prize with the Sonos speaker for $ 199, this is your access point to the range. It has Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in for smart streaming and easy installation of multiple rooms, and supports 24-bit / 96 kHz sources.
Increasing in size, price, output power and functionality as their model numbers go up, you have the Citation 100 at $ 300, the Citation 300 at $ 400 and the Citation 500 at $ 600. All features include Google Assistant and Chromecast, but the Citation 300 and Citation 500 also include an LCD touch control strip along the top edge, allowing you to sweep through tracks, control sources, and view artwork for other purposes.
You then jump to what you would consider the more traditional home theater elements – the Harman Kardon Bar costs $ 1,000 and is a three channel system packed in 4K HDR support for its three HDMI inputs. However, it can also act as a single center channel in combination with the Harman Kardon Citation Tower speakers, which come for $ 2,500, each with a dedicated subwoofer and one with a touchscreen panel.
It is all finished with a Citation wireless subwoofer, for a possible complete 5.1-set when setting other models in the range as wireless rear channels.
Style and sound
It is an attractive looking series – each finished in a high-quality, dust-resistant fabric, giving them a softer appearance than the sometimes industrial styles of other home theater sets. Although the soundbar and towers are only in gray and black colors, the smaller speakers in the range can be supplied in a wide variety of tones, from Burgundian to coral pink. It is clearly a range that Harmon Kardon does everything to satisfy everyone.
As far as the sound is concerned, it is always difficult to distinguish on a noisy trade show. But after we went through a scene of the recent Jumanji film with the speakers set up in a 5.1 setup with the tower loudspeakers as left and right channels, we can certainly prove its strength.
See The Rock (sorry, Dwayne Johnson) traversing the jungle haunted by leopards and a ring of fire, the roar and big cats and large motorcycles traveled well around us. Earlier listening to the tower loudspeakers in a simpler stereo system, with a selection of songs ranging from Jamiroquai to Fleetwood Mac, showed that they were wonderfully warm and rich, with a stunningly powerful bass response.
It is a wide range and a trade show floor is not the best place to discover the nuance in so many products at the same time. But it is an incredibly promising, attractively designed line-up. We look forward to hearing more from them.
- IFA 2018 is Europe & # 39; s biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the news and practical first impressions of new phones, watches and other technology as they have been announced.