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AKG vs Harman Kardon – Detailed Comparison

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AKG and Harman Kardon are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, and headphones.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

AKG Quick History

AKG Acoustics is an audio engineering and manufacturing company founded in 1947 by Rudolf Görike and Ernest Plass in Vienna, Austria. It is a part of Harman International Industries, a subdivision of Samsung Electronics currently headquartered in Northridge, Los Angeles, California. The company has manufactured many award-winning and innovative products including microphones, headphones and digital Hi-Fi audio systems.

Harman Kardon Quick History

In 1953, Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon partnered to establish the Harman Kardon audio equipment company. In 1954, Harman Kardon manufactured the world’s first true receiver system with the production of the Festival D1000 for non-technical users.

After Bernard Kardon left, Harman created a parent brand, Harman International Industries, through which he took on new businesses, including JBL, Soundcraft, Newsweek Magazine, and many others.

Harman Kardon products include stereo receivers and CD players, headphones, home theater, AV receivers, car stereos, and other audio equipment.

Sound Quality

AKG Sound Quality

AKG is a very innovative company, patenting many award-winning technologies. These patents, such as magnetic cartridges, dynamic cardioid technology, and moving coil technology, are used in their devices, which gives them exceptional performance.

Their devices deliver flawless balance and excellent detail in the sound output. There’s a bass boost and several equalizer presets to fine-tune the sound output to your taste.

Harman Kardon Sound Quality

Harman Kardon has done a great job of protecting the brand’s recording technology patents. They have ensured that all audio equipment from the brand produces high-quality audio that is almost as perfect as it was recorded in the studio.

Harman Kardon’s audio devices are targeted at primary consumers but intend to deliver quality. Hence, audio equipment from Harman Kardon provides balanced treble and bass, clear, and clean sounds that make it a better choice all the time.

However, one thing some people might find distressing about Harman Kardon is the fact that they can be bassy. An untuned Harman Kardon speaker has a bit of an overpowering bass effect to it, although you can always re-tune this to the way you would like it.

Features

AKG Features

  • Up to 12-channel playback on the amplifiers
  • Equalizers with several presets for easy finetuning.
  • Supra-aural Surround sound features
  • Multiple connectivity options including Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm audio jack
  • AKG Headphone app, available on the Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore.
  • Interchangeable cables and earpad covers

Harman Kardon Features

Harman Kardon is a brand that is focused on delivering the best audio equipment.

There are several modern features on Harman Kardon products which include the multi-pairing feature on most new Harman Kardon speakers.

The feature allows the speaker to connect to multiple devices at once. Harman Kardon’s Automatic Multi-beam Calibration (AMC) in their soundbar adjusts the surround sound to your room set up.

Build Quality

AKG Build Quality

AKG devices are constructed from durable metals and plastics. The headphones and earbuds have soft fabric earpads and silicone earplugs respectively, for maximum comfort during long usage. They also have replaceable earpad covers, cables, and earplugs.

Harman Kardon Build Quality

One thing that is common to Harman Kardon is their impressive build quality. Harman Kardon pays special attention to the design of each product, which includes the components, sound quality, and overall durability.

HKTS 65 home theater speaker system

Their designs differ depending on the brand. For example, those with the JBL logo on them are mostly known for having fewer aesthetics but a powerful body that lasts a long time.

However, those with Harman Kardon directly written on them have a pretty interesting design that is sometimes unorthodox (like the Esquire speaker) but with a weaker structural delivery.

Another addition that is worth noting is that Harman Kardon products are mostly not a great fit for outdoor use. This may be because they are mostly focused on consumer products.

Ease of Use

AKG Ease Of Use

AKG devices can easily be operated by anyone, using intuitive and clearly labeled controls. The AKG earphones for Samsung have a + and – volume button and a central button to receive calls and pause/play music and videos. Long-pressing this button summons the Google Voice Assistant.

Harman Kardon Ease Of Use

Harman Kardon products have varied sizes and are mostly waterproof.

These two factors ensure they are easy to carry around and easy to use anywhere. However, the absence of a 3.5mm input port on some of their products makes them a little hard to use, although this is compensated for with Bluetooth connectivity.

Another problem with using some Harman Kardon products is that they focus so much on the design that it affects the non-technical users. An example of this is seen in the design of the Harman Kardon Soundstick 3.

However, the Bluetooth multi-pairing feature in some Harman Kardon speakers improves its usability as it allows you to connect more than one device to the speaker at once.

Cost

AKG Cost

AKG devices are usually inexpensive despite their excellent performance, though they have some premium products too. The price ranges for various AKG devices are given here.

  • Earbuds: $10 – $50
  • Headphones: $50 – $300
  • Microphones: $80 – $1300
  • Headphone Amplifiers: $120 – $200

Harman Kardon Cost

An average Harman Kardon JBL Portable bluetooth speaker has a price range of around 40-400 dollars. However, here is a more concise idea of the Harman Kardon products:

  • Headphones from $44 to around $500
  • Earbuds from $40 to $120
  • Soundbar from $150 to $1000
  • Home theaters and surround speakers from about $150 to $1700 (full sound system)

However, there might be a slight difference in this price when getting any of the products. This price difference can be noticed across different regions and dealers.

Although most people buy them because of the delightful sound and quality, some people still feel the Harman Kardon devices are too expensive regardless of what they offer.

Space Requirements

AKG Space Requirements

As an example, the AKG P220 microphone has diameter and length measurements of 5.4 x 16.5 cm respectively and weighs 1.2 lbs. AKG headphones are usually foldable, adding to their portability.

Harman Kardon Space Requirements

Harman Kardon products are some of the best audio equipment with space efficiency. They have a range of portable devices that can be placed almost anywhere without taking up too much space.

Their home theater systems come with a pretty sleek design, with portable speakers and subwoofers in most cases. An example of this is the HKTS 65 home theater speaker system.

Remote Controls

AKG Remote Controls

The AKG Headphone app has an equalizer, software updates, and surround sound features in addition to basic functions such as volume control and pause/play functions. The microphones have a special remote control that is used for tuning purposes.

Harman Kardon Remote Controls

Harman Kardon allows you to easily control and have a relaxing musical experience with the remote control. They have a physical remote control that mostly comes with the soundbars and the home theater system.

However, you can also download the Harman Kardon remote app for Apple, Android, and PC use. The remote allows you to play music and control your Harman Kardon device from anywhere in your house.

Connectivity Options

AKG Connectivity Options

AKG devices can be connected in different ways to your various devices using 3.5mm audio jack, USB, Bluetooth and several other connectivity options.

Harman Kardon Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Harman Kardon speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Power Range

AKG Power Range

Headphones and earbuds do not have to be very loud to be heard well, therefore, the power range is usually in the 100mW – 700mW range. The AKG HP12U headphone amplifier has a power range of 100mW to 680mW.

Harman Kardon Power Range

The power range of most Harman Kardon speakers varies from portable devices to much larger ones. A device such as the Harman Kardon Automotive Mini, with 12 high-performing speakers, has a power range of around 360 watts.

However, in a much smaller device like the Harman Kardon HKTS 15, the power range in the 5.1 speaker system is around 100 watts.

Frequency Response

AKG Frequency Response

The frequency response of AKG devices typically lies within 5Hz on the low end and 45KHz on the high end. The AKG WMS420 Wireless Microphone has a frequency range from 40 Hz – 20 KHz while the AKG HP12U headphone amplifier ranges from 20Hz to 20KHz.

Harman Kardon Frequency Response

In a Harman Kardon receiver (using the AVR 1610 specs as an example), the frequency range is around 87 MHz to 108 MHz. Interestingly, in another device, such as the portable Onyx Studio 4 speaker, the frequency range is just about 50Hz to 20kHz.

When you need to get a Harman Kardon product, you can request the spec of the particular device to know the frequency response.

Conclusion

AKG delivers high-quality performance at affordable prices. This is a brand for those who want excellent performance but do not want to get more high-end and expensive devices. Harman Kardon is a device you can trust for its quality. This is not just from their marketing, but because they put in the work to make their product stand out. However, you should know that for such a quality product, it can be quite expensive.

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