Review: Harman Kardon Citation Amp

Big amp in small package

The Citation Amp can stream just about anything, and it does so with better and bigger sound than most in its class. Watch out, Sonos!

Published 24 June 2022 - 8:04 am
Harman Kardon Citation Amp
Geir Nordby

The Citation family from Harman Kardon consists mainly of wireless speakers and soundbars with built-in streaming, but the Citation Amp is an amplifier designed to drive a set of traditional speakers. That means you can blow the dust off your old favourite speakers and include them in the modern home.

Many people think it’s difficult to set up a modern streaming amp. It can be, but in this case it’s very simple. Power up the Citation Amp, download the Google Home app for your smartphone if you don’t already have it, find the amp name at the top of the screen and click it. Then walk through the setup step by step, and bingo!

The Citation Amp also has built-in Bluetooth, an analog line input for connecting a turntable amp (RIAA stage), for example, and optical and coaxial digital inputs. But perhaps best of all, it has an HDMI input. This allows it to be connected to the TV’s HDMI ARC input, allowing the stereo to take over from the TV’s built-in speakers.

Harman Kardon Citation Amp rear scaled 1
Analogue line input, optical and coaxial digital input and HDMI input. (Photo: Harman Kardon)

The sound of the Harman Kardon Citation Amp

It’s understandable if you think all small streaming amps in this price range sound the same, but that’s not true at all. For a start, not all are equally powerful, and some focus more on air and overtones, while others have better bass control.

The Citation Amp balances different abilities with conviction. It’s both lively and entertaining, and has good weight in the bottom register.

Where the NAD Amp1 has nice, rich bass but lacks control when you turn it up, the Citation Amp retains control at higher volume levels. I have no doubt which one I would choose if the amp occasionally needs to play up to a party. Because here you easily get up to a danceable level!

There’s a slightly more boomy sound in Olivia Rodrigo’s voice than with the NAD and Bluesound, the sound is more direct with the Harman Kardon. But damn, the bass drum hits hard!

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Harman Kardon Citation Amp comes with remote control. (Photo: Harman Kardon)


The Harman Kardon Citation Amp is neither big, complicated nor particularly expensive. One could therefore be led to believe that it is nothing special and will disappear into the crowd. But that would be a mistake.

The Citation Amp has enough power to drive speakers with reasonably hefty bass control, while being musical enough to really enjoy the music.

The amp does lack the resolution of the very best amps, but the overall experience is really good, and considering the price, we have nothing to complain about.

Harman Kardon Citation Amp

We think

Powerful and immersive sound. Easy to use. Supports most of what you need. A USB DAC input would have made it the perfect desktop amp.

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