Harman Kardon’s new soundbar has a special trick up its sleeve

Harman Kardon kicked off its IFA party on Thursday with the announcement of two new speakers – the Harman Kardon SB 20 and Onyx Mini.

The Harman Kardon SB 20 is a new, mid-range compact soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer and costs £330. That’s a pretty decent price for a system like this and brings it into direct competition with our current pick of the soundbars, the Samsung HW-K650.

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As you’d expect of a modern soundbar, the SB 20 is replete with a decent bank of connections. Most importantly there’s HDMI with ARC support (audio return channel), which means the soundbar can take audio from your TV, for instance from smart TV apps, and output that via the soundbar, as well as audio from Blu-ray players and games consoles connected directly to the soundbar’s inputs.

The SB 20 also has optical S/PDIF and a 3.5mm analogue input for the connection of external devices, while the subwoofer – a stylish, angular black box – connects wirelessly so you can hide it out of the way, or position it conveniently near a plug socket.

One of the SB 20’s most interesting features, however, is its volume-levelling technology. Dubbed Harman Volume, this analyses the intensity of incoming audio and makes sure the volume levels transition smoothly, so you don’t get that jump in volume between the programme you’re watching and the adverts in between.


Harman Kardon’s second new product, the Onyx Mini, is a Bluetooth speaker with a compact, pebble-shaped design, which seems to be principally targeted at travellers.

It’s compact enough to be held in the palm of your hand and slipped into a shoulder bag or rucksack, has a built-in battery offering up to ten hours of battery life, can be paired with another Onyx Mini for stereo output, and has an integrated microphone with noise- and echo-cancelling tech for improved speakerphone performance.

Both the Harman Kardon SB 20 and Onyx Mini will hit the shops at the end of August.

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