Harman Kardon HKTS 11
- Incredibly clear and well-defined audio across the entire range and up to the highest volumes, floor-shaking bass, attractive design
- Notes occasionally don't linger long enough in more contemplative musical pieces, bass tends towards distortion at its highest levels, expensive
The HKTS 11 is a truly fantastic set of speakers. The quality of the audio is exceptional, and for those that can afford it, it's well worth checking out.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
Harman Kardon's HKTS 11 is a 5.1 speaker set. Although at first glance, the price seems quite high, especially considering the need for a separate receiver, the system quite comfortably justifies it with its outstanding audio performance. A high powered sub and excellent levels of definition and clarity throughout the entire audio range make the HKTS one of the best 5.1 packages we've heard, while only a few minor faults hold them back from perfection.
Audio on the HKTS 11 is excellent. When we saw the Harman Kardon HKTS7B last year, we were highly impressed not only by the sheer power of the system, but by the balanced nature of the audio as well. The HKTS 11 continues this trend sublimely, mixing all elements of the audio – from the most powerful blasts to the most subtle flutters – together into a complex yet well-rounded sound. A crystal clear and delicately defined treble, even at the highest frequencies, makes classical music or spine-tingling suspense movies come to life, heightened by the surround nature of the speakers. The mid-range is strong and even forceful at times, although it stops short of overpowering the rest of the audio. Vocals in music are clear and blend in well with the rest of the tune, while guitar and piano based tracks are exceptionally well represented. One of our only complaints was that occasionally, especially with piano-based music, notes were a little too tight, and didn't quite linger for long enough. The bass is definitely one of the most impressive parts of the HKTS 11's performance, however. At a low volume it's fast, clear, and blends with the rest of the audio brilliantly, creating a rich tapestry of sound. Its power when cranked up is awesome. The 10in driver creates powerful, thumping vibrations and makes watching action-heavy movies an incredible experience. Even at the height of its power, the bass doesn't overpower the mid-range or treble, as many bass-heavy systems do.
We used the Harman Kardon AVR245 receiver to test the speakers, which allowed us to do so at quite a high level of volume. Pleasingly, we actually reached the point where we felt we'd be deafened if we went any higher before we encountered any distortion. The one exception to this was the bass, where we did notice some slight distortion with the subwoofer at its highest levels. As with the HKTS7B, however, the sheer power of the sub and the rest of this system is so high that using it at such levels shouldn't be too common in most homes. At 200W (twice the power of the sub in the HKTS 7), the HKTS 11's subwoofer is capable of an insane amount of bass.
The HKTS 11's design matches that of the HKTS 7 almost exactly, the only difference being slightly taller and slimmer satellite speakers. Wall mounting brackets are included, and no matter how the system is setup, the simple black finish should match almost any living room. The only calibration inherent to the speakers themselves is the bass level knob located on the back of the subwoofer, which, while slightly difficult to reach, provides much-needed control over the bass' power level.
Overall, the HKTS 11 is one of the best speaker packages we've seen at this price range. Its sheer power, combined with the amount of clarity and definition that it's capable of instilling into almost any audio, make it clear why this is Harman Kardon's top end package. Although the investment in a receiver to match the speakers' quality pushes the total price quite high, for those looking for a high-end 5.1 system, this is one product that definitely warrants consideration.
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