Design. It’s the first thing that consumers see. Design is something that Harmon Kardon gets. The latest Soundsticks from Harman Kardon are a design lover’s dream (as were previous models). Cloaked in an ethereal white plastic, these speakers beg to be noticed. It also helps that Harman Kardon has a stellar sound reputation. The new Soundsticks definitely don’t disappoint where sound is concerned.
Soundstick III Sound: As Good As It Gets
This is a 2.1 speaker system. Included, you will find four drivers in each satellite and a decent 10.2 by 9.2 subwoofer. There is some distortion when listening to particularly heavy rock. But, most speakers in the Soundstick’s category come with some distortion too. The easy way to get around this is to set the volume below the mid-point. When setting the volume at the highest level, distortion is likely to occur.
When listening to lighter music, the Soundsticks are amazingly crisp and clear. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find desktop speakers that perform as well as these do. The newest Soundstick installments are impressive sound and design-wise, but there are a few drawbacks to be considered. The first drawback has to do with that iconic design.
Hard Wired Cables Could Be Trouble
I always caution against buying any kind of dock or stereo system that includes a built-in battery. Should this battery fail, you’ll have to repair the system or buy a new one. Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks III include hard-wired cables. Since these cables are hard-wired, they cannot be removed or changed. So, if a cable issues occurs, you’ll have to have the whole speaker system repaired. Really, though, it’s probably not worth repairing these speakers, so you’ll have to buy a new set instead. That said, Harman Kardon is a reputable company that does stand behind its products, and your speakers should come with a decent warranty.
The other problem with this desktop speaker set is the location of the bass volume. Harmon Kardon has decided to place this volume control on the subwoofer. Since most people will place a subwoofer on the ground, you’ll have to duck below your desk in order to adjust the volume. This is more of an irritation than a drawback, but Harmon Kardon might consider adding a bass volume control to the system’s satellites inside of on the subwoofer.
Price and Overall Impression
Based on design alone, there is no better option available. If you add sound to the mix, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III are still top-notch. The only things to watch out for here are the placement of the bass volume and those hard-wired cables. With these things in consideration, the $134.67 price tag is reasonable, indeed. You can also expect this price to drop a bit over the next few months. Right now, the Soundsticks III are new to the market, so the price is a bit higher than it should be. Wait a few months, and you may be able to purchase these speakers at a discount price.