Harman Kardon citation bar soundbar comment: smart looks, even smarter features

The Harman Kardon bar has a citation-3.1-channel soundbar that is part of the citation sound product manufacturer's collection. It looks like a business thanks to its lifestyle-friendly finish, and it has built-in Google Assistant with voice control, too, meaning it can double as a smart speaker.

The citation bar comes as a single unit with a subwoofer built in, and it has an attractive full color LCD touchscreen display. Despite the involvement of the Google Assistant, there's also a remote for non-verbal control, along with three HDMI inputs and Chromecast support.

It's a solid feature set, but at £899 this soundbar isn't cheap, especially considering it doesn't support object-based audio like Dolby Atmos and there's no subwoofer included. Is there better-specified competition at this price, such as the command line regiment, so does the citation bar put another level in terms of sound quality?

Design

  • Measures: 1150 x 64 x 115 mm / Weight: 4.1 kg
  • Finish: available in black or gray

The Harman Kardon bar quote sports a sophisticated design, highlighting the wool-blend fabric that covers the front, top and back of the soundbar. It comes in a choice of gray or black, and is both stain resistant and fire retardant. It gives an overall look of pleasing elegance that will blend seamlessly into any modern living room.

The use of metal bottoms enhances the feeling of a premium product, with excellent overall build quality. However, it's a full color LCD touchscreen, which is very eye-catching (although it's not actually visible when seated - but that's a good thing). It allows you to select items, select outputs or control playback, and even displays album art when available.

Features

  • 3.1 channel configuration
  • Decodes: Dolby Digital and DTS technology
  • Google Assistant built in

The Harman Kardon Quote bar is built around a three-channel layout, a 20mm tweeter and two 100 x 50mm woofers for each speaker. There is a decent amount of power, with 150W of driving amplification three. Thanks to the layout, the soundbar provides accurate stereo separation, while the dedicated center speaker ensures clear dialogue.

However, while this 3.1-channel layout means that while quoting the bar can work with both Dolby and DTS multi-channel audio, it does not support object-oriented audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It's not only the lack of upward speakers, but Harman also chose not to go the psychoacoustic route to create the illusion of immersive audio.

The lack of a separate subwoofer means the citation bar will struggle to achieve sub-sonic depth, but if you want to boost the bass you can pick up an optional wireless sub citer for $699. Harman offers surround sound citation wireless speakers (£399), but that's meaning a simple 5.1 channel system would cost around £2,000 all in.

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The headline feature is the Google Assistant that turns this soundbar into a fully functioning smart speaker. As a result, you not only benefit from hands-free voice control, but you can also enjoy all the benefits of an AI-enhanced smart speaker – which means you can ask the quote bar questions, play music, organize your day, control your smart home devices, and more. other.

Communication & Control

  • Input 3x HDMI output; HDMI output with Arc
  • Optical digital audio input; 3,5mm analog input
  • There is Wi-Fi Internet; By Bluetooth; Via Chromecast

At the Harman Kardon bar, the quote has a decent array of physical connections arranged in three niches on the back. The first niche has an Ethernet port for a wired connection; the second has an IR repeater connector, an optical digital input, a 3,5mm auxiliary input, and two HDMI inputs, while the final notch includes a third HDMI input and an HDMI output with Arc (Audio Return Channel) support.

We have to say, this makes a nice change to a soundbar review that actually has a significant number of HDMI inputs. Each HDMI 2.0 connection supports 4K/60 fps, high dynamic range (HDR10 and Dolby vision, but not HDR10+), and HDCP 2.2 (to enforce 4K broadcasts).

As for wireless connectivity, Quote Line offers a choice of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus support for Chromecast. This means you can stream music through a connected Bluetooth device or from your local Wi-Fi network using a Chromecast.

The bar can be controlled using the LCD touchscreen, while two physical buttons are immediately below the volume controls. There are also four LEDs on the front that indicate the status of the Google Assistant: white and a slow glow means Google is listening; white and fast flashing means she is responding; Amber means this microphone is muted.

Harman Kardon also includes an intuitively designed remote finished in black or gray to match the soundbar. At the top are inputs, then volume up/down, mute, microphone on/off, sound modes, and Google Assistant. At the bottom are playback controls, surround and night modes, as well as buttons to adjust Bass and audio sync.

Complex Works

The Pocket Bar Cardon Quote is great for a three-channel unit without a separate subwoofer and benefits from the company's acoustic expertise. Overall there's a certain refinement to the sound that matches the soundbar's equally classy looks. As a result, it sounds particularly good with music.

Listen to music

The citation bar provides an impressive stereo separation, a stereo imaging that provides a wide soundstage front and accurate document placement. Thanks to clearly indicated speakers and lots of amplification the result is a truly musical performance.

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Mid-range is beautifully rendered, ensuring that vocals are still clear, while higher frequencies are well defined, never sounding harsh and sibilant. The sound leaves a pleasing clarity and detail as well, ensuring that most genres of music sound good.

The only downside is the lack of a dedicated subwoofer which limits the deep sound output this soundbar can go. So if you like your music heavy, you might be disappointed. However, for most people a citation bar will perform admirably within a multi-room music system.

Watch series and movies

The citation bar is ideal for most TV shows, making full use of the three front channels to deliver an expansive and well-defined soundstage. The soundbar uses its width and musicality to allow background music to be played efficiently. She also incorporates into her dedicated channel the hub expertly, ensuring dialogue remains clear and focused on screen.

As a result, less demanding shows such as news and sports broadcasts sound particularly good, with storytellers and commentators meeting clearly. When it comes to more complex mixes, such as TV dramas and movies, a quote bar can add depth to music, retain clarity in dialogue, and effects with front-room precision.

To help improve overall productivity, Harman includes six audio modes: Standard (uses original audio), News (emphasizes dialogue), Music (optimizes two channels), Movies (increases all three channels), Night (reduces Dolby audio volume), and virtual surround (creates a surround sound effect using a standalone soundbar).

In general, the standard mode is the most useful, keeping the original sound quality, although the music is also effective. The news mode is handy if you occasionally struggle to hear what people are saying, which makes the dialogue clearer, while the night mode is great if you don't want to disturb the peace at home.

Movie mode doesn't seem to add much, rather than virtual surround sound. This brings us to the quote-bar's main weakness: its inability to deliver any genuine surround presence. Honestly, no soundbar is capable of creating a true surround sound experience without the use of rear speakers, but the lack of object-based audio support is surprising considering the price.

The lack of a separate subwoofer also limits the low-end soundbar, and although this is less of an issue with music and TV shows, it's very noticeable in movies. There is some bass presence, but the quotation bar struggles to deliver the kind of sub-sonic results expected from a modern blockbuster. As a result Avengers: Endgame sounds far from Epic.

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