Harman has introduced a bevy of new products slated to ship in the October-November time frame in three of its signature brands – Harman Kardon (H/K), JBL and AKG.
The official announcements coincide in the U.S. with the products’ IFA Show debuts in Berlin this week, and are in the most popular audio categories; they include headphones, wireless products and an ultra-thin aluminum-finish soundbar system – the $999 Harman Kardon Sabre – whose eight-driver complement is said by the company to be the world’s thinnest, at just 33mm (about 1.3 inches). It is HDMI-ready with three inputs, and it is paired with a thin wireless 100-watt powered subwoofer (7L). Harman’s Wave surround-mode DSP technology is built-in, as is Dolby TrueHD decoding. An IR repeater is featured for setups where the soundbar is blocking the TV’s IR receiver, and the system can be set up to be worked through a TV, satellite or cable remote. Harman product specialist Jeremy Brenner remarked that the system fills a $699-to-$1,199 price-point vacuum in the marketplace.
Many of the products are compatible with the iOS- and Android-compatible Harman Kardon Remote App, which can access the same content on multiple devices as well as track battery life.
The leather-backed, wireless H/K Onyx speaker system ($499.95), outfitted with Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication) touch-to-pair technology and compatible with DLNA and AirPlay, has an eight-hour built-in rechargeable battery and boasts 60 watts RMS total power, and a full complement of drivers: two mids, two tweeters and two passive radiators, the rear-located of which vibrates the silver metal logo disk covering it when the device is playing. It also offers analog USB connectivity and has a 3.5mm mini jack.
The H/K Esquire ($249) Bluetooth/NFC wireless speaker, also leather-backed, targets the business traveler with 20 watts of output power, and offers built-in teleconferencing compatibility and echo- and noise-cancellation technology, along with a three-port USB adapter; it offers a 10-hour battery charge and comes with a carrying pouch.
H/K’s new Soho premium on-ear mini headphones ($199) sport 30mm drivers in their square leather earcups, and come in black, white and a new camel color with matching carrying cases. To the AKG line were added two new 50mm-driver headphones: the K845BY closed-back wireless Bluetooth/NFC headphone ($349) and the AKG545 ($299), a wired version.
In the JBL line, debuts included the Pebbles USB-powered speakers ($59), optimized for use with laptops and designed with a clever cable management system, and the Spark Bluetooth hangable sired speaker ($129), available in blue, yellow, black, red and white and designed in a unique cosmetic form factor to look like a megaphone.