Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker System Review

The Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker System is a thing of beauty. You can sense the quality from the moment you begin to open the packaging. I love the design with the brushed stainless steel loop that forms both the single foot for the speaker and the handle.  The round shape looks very organic and the black cloth grill and black leather back make it look rich and at home in any decor.  All of the buttons (touchpoints really- not buttons) are flush with the  unit  and backlit.  They run around the top of the speaker system making them easy to access but invisible until you want to see them.

The sound quality of the system is exceptional for the size and considering that you can't get true stereo separation with all of the components in one cabinet.  This is a trade off you make for portability.   For a place where I am going to have the system set up permanently and where I have the space- like in my office attached to my computer, I still prefer my Harman Kardon Soundsticks at less than half the price of this speaker system.   But, for the combination of portability and sound, this system is going to be hard to beat. 

The Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker System has a ridiculous number of ways to connect it to your music source- most of them being wireless- And that  is really the point of buying this system, its wireless connectivity. 

One of my pet peeves is buying a $500 or 600 device and having the manufacturer skimp on the manual, but H-K definitely did just that. It comes with a worthless "Important Safety Instructions" booklet and an almost equally worthless sheet of hieroglyphics that are supposed to show you how to set it up.  I've bought my share of IKEA furniture in my time and the pictures in this thing are harder to understand than IKEA instructions.  The good news is there is a link to the full manual on H-K's website and the full manual is quite useful. It also comes with 30 days free technical support so you can call for help.  I doubt you'll need that though. Just save yourself the aggravation of trying to reac the sheet it comes with and download the full manual.  Getting it to work with my iPhone was a piece of cake.  I downloaded the H-K Remote App as the manual suggested, but I'm not sure that was necessary. It instructed me to connect via Bluetooth which was quick and painless.  You can also connect it via WiFi, WPS, NFC, DLNA and other ways including a plain old 3.5 mm wired connection if you like.

Pros:
  • Connectivity- A plethora of ways to connect.  Frankly, you'll probably only need one, but the options are there for future ensuring it doesn't become obsolete any time soon.  I've just retired a speaker system bought for my iPhone/iPod back in the day of 30 pin connectors. I don't have to worry about a form factor change with this system.
  • Design- this will look great in your house.  It looks like a piece of art.
  • Portability- while it's a little large and doesn't come with a carrying case, the fact that it has a six hour battery life and is an all-in-one unit makes it easy to move from room-to-room in the house or to take with you on the road.
  • Sound- Great sound for an all-in-one- I have a pair of Paradigm speakers mounted in the ceiling in my kitchen. This sounds just as good as they do.  Rich bass, nice tight treble.  The volume is all you'll need for a small to medium sized space.
  • Convenience- The speakers in my kitchen are connected to the stereo system in my family room.  It's much easier to just connect my phone to it (via Bluetooth) and start playing music than to have to go to the other room, turn on the stereo and select the speakers in the kitchen.

Cons:
  • Durability- I'm not sure of the durability of this from a cosmetics standpoint.  If you take it with you, you'll want to be careful transporting it and the cloth grill and leather back seem a bit fragile to me for a speaker you're going to be hauling around.  Something like the Jawbone seems a bit more durable.
  • Price- at $500-600 dollars, there are a lot of lower cost alternatives. Some are better in some ways and not as good in others.  As mentioned above, for my desktop I prefer my Soundsticks with two separate satellite speakers and a subwoofer.  I think the sound is superior and they cost less than half the price of this device. But, they aren't at all portable.

If you're looking for a great looking, portable speaker that sounds really good, I do recommend this speaker system. It's amazing looking and the sound and battery life make it worthwhile for listening to at home or to take with you.


Link to the Product on Amazon

I received this speaker system in exchange for my honest review. I receive no compensation from the manufacturer.  The opinions expressed are my own, frank assessment of the product.
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3 comments:

  1. The Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker System has a ridiculous number of ways to connect it to your music source- most of them being ... iharmankardon.blogspot.de

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  2. The Harman Kardon Onyx Wireless Speaker System is a thing of beauty. You can sense the quality from the moment you begin to open the ... eharmankardon.blogspot.com

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