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Harman Kardon vs Marshall – Detailed Comparison

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Harman Kardon and Marshal are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry and produce high quality speakers, soundbars, headphones and subwoofers. 
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

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.

Marshall Quick History

Marshall, also called Marshall Amplification, is a company that is well known for the production of crunchy-sounding amps. Jim Marshall, a successful drummer and drum teacher, started the company in 1962, with its headquarters now in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, England.

Some of the world’s best bands and musicians have praised Marshall’s equipment. Products produced by the company include amplifiers, headphones, subwoofers, and speakers.

Sound Quality

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.

Marshall Sound Quality

The company had surpassed expectations in terms of sound quality and had become one of the most well-known brands since 1962.

They are especially popular for producing products that sound “crunchy” and loud, and their amps and speakers are popular among rock and metal players. Although some Marshall devices have an anemic and weak low end, the treble and mid-range are crystal clear.

Features

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.

Marshall Features

The majority of Marshall products have a classy design and are highly durable. Below are some Marshall device features that make their devices user-friendly:

  • Dual-host functionality (allowing you to connect and switch between two Bluetooth devices)
  • Marshall mobile app to customize or control the sound
  • Micro USB port.
  • Microphone connectivity
  • Bluetooth and microphone connectivity

Build Quality

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.

Marshall Build Quality

Compared to other audio products in today’s market, Marshall devices have an averagely good build quality. Marshall headphones are made of vinyl and plastic mix with a lot of padding for added comfort.

Marshall Woburn 2

 

Some Marshall devices are built with a leather-clad exterior, brass fittings, a cloth grille, and of course, the iconic Marshall logo. Most speakers have rubber feet on the bottom to keep them from shifting and to preserve the surface they are placed on.

Ease Of Use

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.

Marshall Ease Of Use

Marshall devices are easy to use and set up due to their ergonomic features. The Marshall app is available on both the Android and Apple stores, making it very convenient to use on any device. Users can also consult the guide booklet if they are having trouble setting it up.

Cost

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.

Marshall Cost

There are lots of audio manufacturers that sell at a higher price than Marshall, but this doesn’t mean that Marshall products are cheap. Below is the price range for different types of Marshall products:

  • Speaker: $150 – $500
  • Headphones are sold for around $150
  • Amplifiers: $150 – $500

Space Requirements

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.

Marshall Space Requirements

Marshall produces some portable devices which take up less space in the room, while they also produce some heavy and wide space-consuming speakers. Hence, depending on the product you’re buying, you should put your available space into consideration.

Remote Controls

Harman Kardon Remote Control

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.

Marshall Remote Controls

Most Marshall devices don’t have a remote control. One of the devices that comes with one is the Marshall electronics IR remote control for cameras, which allows you to handle several of the camera’s settings, including presets (up to six), zoom, focus settings, white balance adjustment, and more, from a distance of about 10 metres.

Power Range

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.

Marshall Power Range

Marshall products do not really consume power compared to some other products. The power produced by their products ranges from 30 watts to 200 watts max. Marshall amplifiers output about 240 watts of power.

Most of their smaller products come with inbuilt batteries that are rechargeable.

Frequency Response

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.

Marshall Frequency Response

Marshall products’ frequency ranges from 20Hz to 22KHz, which is quite okay, but of course, it varies depending on the kind of product you’re buying. For example, the Marshall Kilburn speaker has a frequency of 62Hz to 20KHz and the Marshall Woburn Bluetooth speaker has a frequency of 35 Hz – 22kHz.

Conclusion

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 such a quality product can be quite expensive. Similarly, Marshall Company, since its establishment, has been producing easy-to-use and inexpensive devices that don’t even consume much power. You will most likely find a fit for your needs, irrespective of your taste and budget.

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