The Harman Kardon SB20 speaker system consists of a soundbar plus a wireless subwoofer. The soundbar and subwoofer use black color and are embellished with the Harman/Kardon silver logo. Again, just right, not particularly eye-catching, but it also reflects the quality of the speakers.
A dust-proof net grille protects the front of the soundbar, but it is not removable. As a result, it may be a little bit troublesome to clean up later on. The back of the soundbar is made of glossy plastic, which has the feel of piano paint. The design looks very high-grade, but it is easier to stain fingerprints.
The independent subwoofer of the Harman Kardon SB20 system has also been carefully designed. The style is consistent with the soundbar, and the top surface is also bright and painted. It is designed to allow users to ignore the existence of the subwoofer and focus on the soundbar.
The speaker interface is relatively versatile. The soundbar has an AC power input interface, USB interface, AUX, optical fiber, and HDMI inputs. The control buttons on the top of the SB20 are power on/standby, surround sound on/off, speaker +, volume -, audio source selection, Bluetooth/pairing. The subwoofer only has a power input interface and two buttons for pairing.
There are six sounding units in the Harman Kardon SB20 soundbar, four 2.25-inch mid-low units, and two 1.25 tweeters. The subwoofer uses a 6.5-inch driving unit. When connected to the TV with the HDMI interface ARC function of the TV, you can output audio through the HDMI port.
The HDMI ARC technology connects your compatible TV and Harman Kardon SB 20 with a single cable for a true plug-and-play home theater. It is also equipped with optical and analog audio inputs.
The speaker comes with an HDMI cable, optical fiber, two power cords, and wall-mounted accessories, which can save indoor space to the greatest extent. It is very convenient in the small-sized living room environment.
The connection setup of Harman Kardon SB20 is relatively easy. The transformers of the speakers are hidden inside the cabinet, so the big external transformers like notebooks cause no inconvenience. The two power cords can also be mixed-used for the sub and the soundbar, which is very convenient.
The only regret is that the power cord and connection cord are too short, making the Harman Kardon SB20 soundbar very inconvenient for us to connect to the TV. But this problem will not occur if it is used mounted on the wall.
The remote control of the speaker is very light and very small, requiring only a button battery. The remote control buttons are also very streamlined. The remote control can be integrated into a TV remote control or mobile phone with learning functions.
Before connecting, make sure that the HDMI port connecting the speaker and the TV supports ARC. Nowadays, smart TVs generally have multiple HDMI ports, so you must choose the appropriate interface.
After connecting the SB20 and selecting the input source of the speaker, you can press the button on the speaker or use the remote control. It is recommended to use the remote control to select because the remote control is more intuitive, and the buttons on the speaker cannot display the interface of the input source.
If the HDMI of the TV does not support ARC, don’t worry, you can also use a 3.5 mm audio cable to connect the TV to the speakers, or you can use Bluetooth wireless connection.
Harman Kardon SB20 focuses on home theater entertainment. The connection is simple and convenient, and it pays more attention to the easy using user experience, so it is not equipped with standard coaxial inputs. However, the rest of the connections are sufficient for daily usage, and the low-key shape can also be matched with different home decoration styles.
Because the low frequency has no directivity, you can place the subwoofer anywhere at home. But it is best not to place it in the corner because enough space around the subwoofer is the key to distribute the low frequency naturally and evenly. Thus, the influence of mutual interference is negligible.
There is also a phase toggle button on the back of the subwoofer. If the user doesn’t understand this function, this toggle button can not be set correctly. We all know that sound propagates in the form of waves, with positive and negative phases.
If the phase is at 0 degrees at a particular moment, then it is a positive phase. If the subwoofer is also at 0 degrees at this time, the bass will be stronger for the hearing. On the other hand, if the subwoofer is 180 degrees at this time, it is in the opposite phase of the soundbar, and the bass will be weaker.
And the final feature is the Harman Volume. No more loud commercials or other sudden volume changes – Harman Volume automatically keeps audio changes smooth and consistent so you can pay attention to your entertainment, not your remote.
I turn on the TV and start the experience. Because the TV can only be placed on the TV cabinet, and the frame is ultra-narrow, so the front of the speaker will block the picture to a certain extent. But this does not affect the sound quality of the speaker. I used HDMI (ARC) wired connection for sound output. The sound effect of the speaker I selected is the desktop effect.
The movie I chose was “Transporter 2”. That action movie was chosen because the sound effects in the film are very complicated, with gunshots and human voices, which is also a small test for the speakers.
In the big scene of the battle, the loud blasting sound did not break the speakers’ sound, and the hoarse shouts were also well restored. Thus, the performance of watching movies is outstanding, and the independent subwoofer has a huge bonus.
I also tried to use it without the subwoofer, the sound was obviously thinner, and there was no momentum. Therefore, if the user feels that the sound is unsuitable when using it, he must check whether the subwoofer is connected correctly.
Harman Kardon SB20 is positioned for home theater entertainment, plus the subwoofer for bass enhancement. However, watching movies is still very shocking. On the other hand, if the user uses it to listen to music, the effect is certainly not as good as the desktop 2.0 stereo speakers.
In addition, the speakers also have simulated surround sound, and the sound effect is still pronounced after turning on.
It is very suitable for young people. There is no complicated wiring connection and no extra space. Moreover, the Harman Kardon is becoming more and more popular among young people. So if you are ready to buy a home theater soundbar, Harman Kardon SB20 is worth your money.
Harman Kardon SB20 Specs
- Frequency response: 45Hz – 20kHz
- Maximum SPL: 100dB
- Total output: 300W max
- 2-way, dual-driver left and right speaker modules
- Wireless active subwoofer with 165mm (6.5”) driver
- Dolby® Digital Decoding
- 2-channel stereo mode
- 1 HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC)
- Harman volume
- Bluetooth® connectivity
- 1 stereo analog-audio input
- 1 optical digital input
- 4 x 55mm (2.25”) full-range drivers
- 2 x 32mm (1.25”) dome tweeter