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Harman Kardon celebrates 70 years with updated classics

Harman Kardon marks their 70th anniversary with three new audio products: Aura Studio 4, Go + Play 3 and Luna.

written by / 2023-07-10 - 8:00 am
Harman Kardon celebrates 70 years with updated classics

Harman Kardon marks its 70th anniversary this year. The anniversary celebration took place at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where they simultaneously launched three new loudspeakers for different purposes.

The Harman Kardon story began in 1953, when Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon founded their own company in the then fledgling hi-fi industry. Their first product, the Harman Kardon Festival D1000, was the world’s first AM/FM Hi-Fi receiver. Radio receivers and amplifiers had been around before, but never combined into one compact unit.

Harman Kardon brought along a selection of products from the company’s long history. They didn’t bring the original receiver from 1953, unfortunately. But there was a nice old A300 amplifier from 1964. (Photo: John Alex Hvidlykke, L&B Tech Reviews)

The hi-fi scene is quite different today, and this can be seen from the products, which over the years have become more aesthetic and lifestyle-orientated than in the early days of home electronics. And this was particularly evident in the three speakers Harman presented in Montreux.

The most striking was the Aura Studio 4 Bluetooth speaker, which in terms of design is a direct heir to the Aura Plus, which we previously tested under the heading “Omnidirectional spaceship.” The design is just as otherworldly today, with the dome-shaped, transparent cabinet housing 342 crystals that can light up in five different mood lights, called Polar Light, Galaxy, Rainy Night, Cloud and Fireplace.

The Harman Kardon Aura Studio 4 is a six-channel omnidirectional speaker with integrated lights (Photo: Harman Kardon)

The speaker is fully omnidirectional with a 5.2″ downward-firing woofer and six smaller drivers placed all around. Each unit has its own amplifier. The Aura Studio 4 can be Bluetooth paired with two devices, but unfortunately cannot connect to Wi-Fi for lossless audio. When asked about Wi-Fi, the answer was simply “wait and see!”, so we wonder if we’ll see more advanced speakers at IFA in September?

In keeping with the times, recycled materials have been used extensively in the speaker. The speaker grille is woven from 100% recycled polyester yarn, all aluminium is 100% recycled and the speaker cabinet is made from 85% PCR plastic (Post Consumer Recycled Plastic).

The Harman Kardon Aura Studio 4 will be available from 15 September. The price will be €330.

342 illuminated crystal shapes provide mood lighting in time with the music. (Photo: Harman Kardon)

Made the boom box pretty

(Photo: Harman Kardon)

Also launched during the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Harman Kardon Go + Play 3 is a new version of a popular portable speaker. The original Go + Play was born with an iPod dock, a departure from the rugged look of other boomboxes. Later versions gained wireless audio via Bluetooth.

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The Go + Play 3 is a modernised version of the "aesthetic" boombox. (Photo: Harman Kardon)

According to Harman, the Kardon Go + Play 3 has been redesigned from the inside out, with a tempered glass panel on top with touch buttons and an anodised aluminium handle. Recycled materials are also used here: the Go + Play 3 uses 100% recycled polyester yarn for the outer fabric, 90% recycled aluminium for the handle, and 85% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled Plastic) in the casing.

On the technical side, it’s a three-way stereo system with a new downward-firing woofer. There is no mention of the size of the drivers or the built-in power. However, the speaker has two in-built microphones for video conferencing and up to eight hours of battery life.

The Go + Play 3 will be available from 15 September for €350.

The anniversary and product launches took place in Montreux, Switzerland, located on the shores of Lake Geneva. (Photo: John Alex Hvidlykke, L&B Tech Reviews)

Newly developed mini speaker

The third – and physically smallest – anniversary product launch in Montreux was the Harman Kardon Luna, a newly developed portable Bluetooth speaker that, according to Harman Kardon, will deliver “balanced, quality sound in a compact form like never before.”

(Photo: Harman Kardon)

In technical terms, this is a two-way mono speaker with an oval woofer to utilise the narrow cabinet. For stereo, two speakers can be matched as a stereo set.

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Luna is a compact, portable Bluetooth speaker (Photo: Harman Kardon)

With up to 12 hours of battery life, the Harman Kardon Luna is designed to be brought along and used all day. And since the speaker is IP67 dust and water resistant, it can withstand the real-world encounters of spilled coffee, rain or even a quick dip in the pool.

As with the other speakers, recycled materials have been used wherever possible.

The Harman Kardon Luna will be available from 5 September. The price is €180.

When you turn 70, it’s only fitting that you have an honour gate (Photo: John Alex Hvidlykke, L&B)

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