First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Harman Kardon HKTS7B
- Great sound quality, powerful subwoofer, attractive design
- Requires the user to already have a receiver, bass isn't as as customisable as we would have liked
Users putting together a high-end home entertainment system should definitely check out these speakers. They produce clear sound and a heck of a lot of bass.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
The Harman Kardon HKTS7B is a high quality home theatre system aimed at users who have a mid-range budget. Although it has a retail price of $899, Harman Kardon's exceptional design makes this a great value product. Combining an absolutely giant subwoofer, one centre and four satellite speakers, and a simple yet attractive design, the 5.1 surround sound system delivers fantastic audio quality in a package that should suit almost any living room.
Sound quality is the most important part of any home theatre system, and Harman Kardon definitely doesn't disappoint in this area. Despite a heavy emphasis on bass, the entire sound range is very well represented by the HKTS7B. The sound coming from the speakers was very clear, with all five speakers delivering sharp and unbiased audio. At 80W, they aren't the most powerful speakers on the market by any means, but audio remains clear up until the highest volume levels. The real powerhouse of this setup is the subwoofer. The 10" sub produces a huge amount of bass. It'll shake the floors, walls and anything attached to them. This isn't to say that mid and high levels are bad, quite the opposite. Treble is sharp and well defined, and the midrange plays out strongly, but without overpowering the rest of the audio. The bass itself, while forceful, does deteriorate slightly at the highest volume levels, where we found that it became a little distorted, despite our best efforts to counter this. Nevertheless, the sheer power of the subwoofer is such that anyone with any respect for their neighbours won't be using it at full power.
Setting up the system is relatively easy, yet a little time consuming, thanks to the colour-coded cables provided by Harman Kardon. However, it should be noted that the unit does not include a receiver, and one must be used in order to be able to connect all five speakers as well as the sub woofer. Whilst this might not be appealing for some users, the HKTS7B is a high-end unit and performs best as part of a high-end home entertainment setup. We used Harman Kardon's AVR 645 to position and configure the speakers and, when properly calibrated, we found that the entire setup performed exceptionally, filling our room with full, rich sound. Sockets for wall mounting also come included with the unit, which is always nice to see.
The only drawback that we can readily identify with the setup is the lack of controls on the subwoofer. With only a bass level knob and a few simple and situational switches on the rear, advanced bass controls are not available on this speaker system. Although the bass level knob is quite useful, allowing users to quickly and easily modify the amount of bass, its position on the back of the subwoofer can be slightly inconvenient. This will depend on how users set up their system. We think it could have just as easily been placed on the front or the top of the subwoofer without ruining the overall aesthetic.
The design itself, however, is fantastic. The speakers are relatively small considering their output capabilities, and they sit easily on well balanced stands. They can also be wall-mounted thanks to the inclusion of wall brackets. The subwoofer is a huge box with its controls and connections neatly tucked away behind it, presenting a smooth outer face. Overall, we found the entire aesthetic to be quite pleasing, and with some neat cable tucking, the HKTS7B could fit seamlessly into almost any living room design.
With its great combination of both audio quality and design quality, Harman Kardon has succeeded in producing a fabulous product. It's perfect for a discerning listener who doesn't want to spend a fortune on a best-of-the-best system. With only a few minor problems, the HKTS7B comes well recommended; delivering powerful bass performance without compromising sound quality in other areas.
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