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Harman Kardon vs JBL (The Truth!)

Harman Kardon vs JBL (The Truth!)
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Both Harman Kardon and JBL are vintage speaker brands with over 50 years of experience in the industry. There’s no doubt they both excel in the business. However, they still deliver varied variations in design and audio quality. This article compares the two to help you decide which is better. 

JBL is a popular brand that offers a wider range of audio devices including go-anywhere party speakers. Their speakers offer better soundstage performance, longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants. Harman Kardon on the other hand offers speakers that sound neutral and balanced out-of-the-box; they are great for around-the-house use.

Before you continue, you can check out the following comparisons in this series:

JBL vs Klipsch
JBL vs Bose

Is JBL Harman Kardon?

JBL and Harman Kardon as subsidiaries of the parent company Harman. As such, JBL and Harman Kardon are different companies, but they are related entities within the same group of companies, Harman.

Harman Kardon is an American speaker manufacturing company founded in 1953 by Sidney Harman and Benard Kardon. 

JBL by Harman

Harman Kardon designed some of the first high-quality audio products in the 1950s and is well remembered for introducing an AM/FM compact Hi-Fi receiver, Festival D1000, in 1955.

In 1956, Benard Kardon retired and sold his interest to Sidney Harman, who later changed the company’s name to Harman International. However, the tuners, amplifiers, and receivers were still sold under the Harman Kardon brand. 

In 1958, Harman Kardon introduced one of the first stereo receivers for non-technical users – Festival TA230.

On the other hand, JBL is an American speaker manufacturing company founded by an American Audio engineer, James Bullough Lansing, in 1946. James is best known for establishing JBL and Altech Lansing, bearing his name. However, JBL speakers are made in more than one country

Presently known as James B. Lansing Sound, Incorporated, the JBL was first called Lansing Sound, Incorporated. The legendary L100 Century Loudspeaker is the best and most referenced JBL speaker. An essential part of hi-fi history, the speaker, was first introduced in 1970. The brand dominated the market in the seventies. 

In the 1950s, JBL introduced the first 375 high-frequency compression driver, which became the first commercially available 4″ diaphragm driver.

It was a re-invention of the Western Electric 594 driver and had a four-inch voice coil with an Altico V magnet. The company also introduced 075 UHF ring radiator drivers, known as “JBL bullets,” due to their distinctive shape. 

These speakers are standard and are less expensive too. Besides, they were very trendy back then. Therefore, JBL is not Harman Kardon. 

Harman Kardon Vs JBL Speakers 

Harman Kardon speakers are crafted in sophisticated design and deliver sublime sound. The speakers will therefore assure you of beautiful and high-fidelity sound. The company, therefore, manufactures very high-quality speakers. Besides, the design is unique to Harman Kardon. 

harman kardon

Unfortunately, the high quality also means that users have to dig deeper into their budgets to acquire speakers from Harman Kardon.  

On the other hand, JBL provides some of the most popular wireless speaker brands in the market.

The company, therefore, allows users to enjoy crisp and clear sound that remains great indoors and outdoors. The speakers integrate the latest Bluetooth technology and provide significant volume with minimal sound distortion. 

Some of the exciting features that make JBL speakers excellent include:

  • Portability 
  • Great sound quality 
  • Energy efficiency 
  • Easy installation 
  • Power saving 
  • Affordability 
  • Durability 
  • Long battery life 

Therefore, the features clearly show the difference between JBL and Harman Kardon speakers. Noth the brands, therefore, deliver high-quality speakers.

However, the choice is personal, as that depends on the key features you consider more important. For instance, if you want a speaker to satisfy your outdoor adventures, JBL will be best. 

Harman Kardon Vs JBL Soundbars

We shall compare Harman Kardon SB 20 with JBL Bar 5.1 surround Soundbar for this review. 

The Harman Kardon SB 20 is a two-channel soundbar that fills your living room with sound and comes with a powerful wireless subwoofer. 

The Soundbar comes with extensive HDMI connectivity, Bluetooth and quickly learns the commands of the TV remote control. The SB 20 is built with two-way, dual left, and suitable modules, each with two 3″ midrange drivers and one 1″ dome tweeter. 

Also, the Soundbar is Dolby enabled and can encode Dolby Digital formats. It also allows direct listening from a smartphone or tablet and is compatible with the new Harman Kardon mobile app. 

Pros

  • Dolby Atmos-enabled
  • Easy and quick installation
  • Compact 
  • A wider range of connectivity options 

Cons 

On the other hand, JBL Bar 5.1 surround Soundbar is a 5.1 setup that utilizes “Multibeam” technology to improve the surround performance. Also, the soundbars deliver punchy and boomy bass that is particularly suitable for EDM music and action flicks.

The soundbars have room correction and have several wireless options that support music streaming. However, it does not support Dolby Atmos, and the EQ options are limited. 

Pros

  • Outstanding wireless connectivity options 
  • Room correction 

Cons 

  • No Dolby Atmos 
  • Only two EQs present 

Harman Kardon Vs. JBL Boomboxes

For this review, we compare Harman Kardon Go+Play with the JBL boombox. Harman Kardon Go+Play produces rich, mellow highs.

harman kardon vs jbl boombox

The bass is also incredibly warm and spacious, especially when listening at half volume. On the other hand, the JBL boombox produces very crisp highs, and the bass is punchy. The vocals and highs sound like a live performance. 

Harman Kardon Go+Play

Harman Kardon Go+Play Mini 2 - Portable Bluetooth...
  • Stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth to enjoy room filling sound. Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2402...
  • Built in rechargeable Li ion battery supports up to 8 hours of playtime and charges your smartphones and...
  • Dual Microphone Conferencing System with Harman noise and echo cancelling technology delivers crystal clear...

Pros

  • Midrange is crisp
  • Voice assistant is on and enabled on a smart device
  • Better sound
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Smooth bass
  • Clear sound 
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Harsh edge design 
  • Only one equalizer setting 
  • The indoor mode has no bass boost because the bass resonates from indoor objects 

JBL Boombox 

SALE!!
JBL Boombox 2 - Portable Bluetooth Speaker,...
  • POWERFUL JBL ORIGINAL PRO SOUND AND MONSTROUS BASS: Get the loudest, most massive JBL Original Pro sound on...
  • PORTABLE DESIGN: The iconic grip handle makes it easy to transport the JBL Boombox 2 portable speaker.
  • 24 HOURS OF PLAYTIME: The fun doesn't have to stop. Packed with an incredible 24 hours of battery life, JBL...

Pros

  • Clear sound 
  • Smooth bass
  • Midrange is crisp 

Cons

  • Heavy 
  • Only one equalizer setting 

So, Which Is Better?

Generally, JBL Boombox is a better choice. Here’s why: 

  • Stereo speakers 
  • Two more drivers 
  • Has a subwoofer
  • Smaller 
  • It has a passive radiator 
  • Weather-sealed 
  • It has a battery level indicator
  • The battery is rechargeable

Harman Kardon Vs JBL Car Audio

For the best car audio experience, both Harman Kardon and JBL are good options. For instance, let’s look at Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 and JBL Flip 4 here. 

Based on user experiences, Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 is portable only because it comes with an inbuilt battery and can be operated without a cord. It is, however, much larger and bulkier. 

On the other hand, JBL Flip 4 has more battery life, a compact design, and better sound quality. Besides, at less than $100, Flip 4 is a great option. 

Pros of Onyx Studio 4

  • Great sound quality
  • Impressive volume

Cons of Onyx Studio 4

  • Very large and heavy
  • Poor battery life

Pros of Flip 4

  • Excellent sound quality 
  • Good battery life
  • Waterproof 

Cons of Flip 4

  • Distorts at high volumes
  • Limited app functionality 

So, Which Is Better4?

Generally speaking, JBL Flip 4 is much better than Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4. Here’s why. 

  • It is weather-sealed
  • Is 20mm bigger driver unit
  • It is dustproof
  • One more live Bluetooth connection
  • 4 hour longer battery life
  • It is much lighter 

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 Vs JBL Boombox 

Onyx Studio 6 is a Bluetooth speaker with an excellent design and high-quality sound. It is highly durable and comes with IPX7 certification for water resistance. 

SALE!!
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 Wireless Bluetooth...
  • 8 HOURS OF PLAYTIME: this Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 speaker features a rechargeable battery that supports up...
  • IPX7 WATERPROOF: use this wireless portable speaker at any place within the home without worrying, like by the...
  • WIRELESS BLUETOOTH STREAMING: stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth to enjoy room-filling sound. Connect up to...
SALE!!
JBL Boombox 2 - Portable Bluetooth Speaker,...
  • POWERFUL JBL ORIGINAL PRO SOUND AND MONSTROUS BASS: Get the loudest, most massive JBL Original Pro sound on...
  • PORTABLE DESIGN: The iconic grip handle makes it easy to transport the JBL Boombox 2 portable speaker.
  • 24 HOURS OF PLAYTIME: The fun doesn't have to stop. Packed with an incredible 24 hours of battery life, JBL...

Pros 

  • Excellent sound quality 
  • Massive bass
  • Beautiful design 
  • Dual sound feature

Cons

  • Cannot use dual sound with older speakers in the series
  • Not shockproof 

On the other hand, JBL Boombox is a bulky, durable, and powerful Bluetooth speaker. JBL excels in producing Bluetooth speakers, and the Boombox will take your wireless listening to the next level. 

Pros

  • Mind-blowing bass 
  • Very durable
  • It can be used as a mobile charger
  • IPX7 waterproof 

Cons 

  • Large and heavy
  • The sound is not perfectly balanced 

So, Which Is Better?

Considering the design, specifications, connectivity, and sound quality, the JBL Boombox is a much better choice over Onyx Studio 6. 

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 Vs. Citation One 

Generally, Studio 6 is more expensive than Citation one. Also, Studio 6 comes with an inbuilt rechargeable battery and a battery level indicator that makes it much easier to use. 

So, Which Is Better?

Based on the component, design, connectivity, and usability, Onyx Studio 6 is considered a much better option than Citation one. Here are more reasons. 

  • One more driver
  • Passive radiator 
  • Weather-sealed 
  • Rechargeable battery level indicator 
  • In-built radio 
  • 31mm bigger driver unit 

Conclusion

JBL and Harman Kardon are well-known audio manufacturers, with JBL being more popular. JBL is well known for its party speakers and offers better soundstage performance and longer battery life. It is also easier to connect multiple JBL speakers together. Harman Kardon on the other hand offers speakers that sound neutral and balanced out-of-the-box; they are great for around-the-house use.

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