Klipsch and Harman Kardon are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry that produces high-quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, 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.
Harman Kardon offers speakers that sound neutral and balanced out-of-the-box; they are great for around-the-house use. On the other hand, Klipsch is one of the leading high-end speaker companies that produce high-quality audio devices for home theaters. They are known for their durability and “bright” sound.
Read on to learn more.
Pros and Cons of Harman:
- Pros: Known for producing a wide range of audio products, including speakers, headphones, and home theater systems. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and value for money.
- Cons: Some users have reported issues with durability and reliability of some of their products.
Pros and Cons of Klipsch:
- Pros: Known for producing high-quality speakers and headphones with excellent sound quality and strong bass response. Many of their products are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and can be a good fit for a home theater setup.
- Cons: Some of their products can be expensive, and some users have reported issues with durability.
Klipsch Quick History
Klipsch Audio Technologies (also known as Klipsch Speakers or Klipsch Group, Inc.) is an American loudspeaker manufacturing company based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The company was founded in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946 by Paul W. Klipsch. Klipsch audio also makes loudspeaker drivers and enclosures, as well as complete loudspeakers for high-end, high-fidelity sound systems, public address systems, and personal computers.
It has expanded a lot and has undergone a lot of changes since its establishment. Klipsch audio still manufactures some legacy speakers that have been around since the days when the genius of P.W. Klipsch made his first speakers.
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.
Klipsch Sound Quality
Klipsch speakers are well-known for the high quality, stunningly precise sound they produce, which can be matched by only a few select brands. The speakers produce crisp highs, powerful bass, and full, encompassing sound with low distortion. However, many people don’t like the Klipsch sound because it can tend to sound ‘bright’ or harsh.
Klipsch speakers use a horn tweeter (Klipschorn), which is what makes horns and brass instruments sound more realistic. They are ideal for higher frequencies, which is why Klipsch speakers are often recommended when dealing with high-frequency sounds (like movies and certain music genres). This is also why high-efficiency design is a core Klipsch design principle.
Klipschorn design, patented by the founder, Paul W. Klipsch himself, is a fully horn-loaded three-way speaker, which means that it houses three separate speaker units, each with its own diaphragm and horn in three frequency ranges: high, mid and low.
Separating the frequencies in this way ensures less frequency modulation distortion. The Klipschorn design is still used in many Klipsch speakers, which explains their quality audio and energy efficiency.
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.
Klipsch devices are best known for the premium sound they produce, but they also have a host of features to ensure a wholesome experience for users.
Below are some common features that Klipsch speakers are known for:
- HDMI-eARC connectivity: Single Cable, Single Remote
- Dolby Atmos Decoding for immersive surround sound, stereo multiple channel systems
- 8K Video Pass-Through
- Dialogue enhancement mode for crystal clear voices
- Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, HDMI, USB Audio, and Analog/AUX and optical audio input connectivity
- Built-in universal wifi for existing Smart Home ecosystems- featuring Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Spotify Connect
- Klipsch Connect and Klipsch stream are two apps that can be used with your speakers. There are a lot of features included in the apps apart from controlling your Klipsch sound system. They are available for both iOS and Android.
- Efficiency and low power consumption: Due to the company’s use of horn-loaded speakers, they are able to manufacture speakers with high sensitivity (efficiency). It also makes the speakers consume less power compared to similarly performing speakers.
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.
Klipsch Build Quality
High-efficiency design is a core Klipsch design principle, and this is evident in all their products. Klipsch devices are very popular for the quality and sturdy materials that are used in their construction. This gives their products excellent performance and remarkable durability.
The materials used in construction, such as wood, cerametallic material or plastic, are carefully selected for their acoustic, aesthetic and durability properties.
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.
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
Ease of Use
Klipsch Ease Of Use
Klipsch devices are very easy to set up and use. With a wide range of ports for easy connectivity, such as the HDMI Arc port, setting up is as easy as plugging in and playing. Remote control support and iOS and Android apps also make it much easier to use your Klipsch devices.
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 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.
Because of the materials used in Klipsch speakers, they tend to have premium prices, such as the RP-8000F floorstanding speaker, which costs from $800 to $1000 apiece. But they deliver much more than what you pay for. If you really care about the quality of the sound and the durability of your speaker, it is easy to overlook the cost.
There are also a few Klipsch product lines that do not cost as much (the Klipsch Reference RSB-3 home cinema speaker costs from $150 to $300, while a Klipsch Reference On-Ear headphone costs from $99 to $200), but sometimes this results in lesser than premium sound quality.
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.
Klipsch Space Requirements
Klipsch speakers have a wide range of sizes, and therefore require different amounts of space for effective operation. For example, there are portable PC speakers that can be easily placed on a desk while there are large cinematic models that require much more space.
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.
Klipsch Remote Controls
Klipsch supports some universal remote controllers as well as custom-made Klipsch remotes. This brings additional functionality to your devices.
Klipsch also has apps for both iOS and Android that can be used to control your Klipsch sound system remotely. The apps also allow for the use of voice assistants like Google Assistant, Spotify Connect, and Amazon Alexa, which respond to simple voice commands. Klips stream allows you to stream directly from music platforms such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
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.
Klipsch Connectivity Options
Klipsch devices have several connectivity options including both wired and wireless choices. These include Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, HDMI, USB Audio and Analog/AUX, and so on.
This allows you to connect your Klipsch speaker to a lot of different devices such as phones, personal computers, TV or used as part of a system of other speakers. The support for voice assistants also allows quick WiFi connection for several different speakers.
Harman Kardon Connectivity Options
Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Harman Kardon speakers:
Klipsch Power Range
Klipsch speakers consume much less power compared to other speakers of the same performance range. This is largely due to the horn tweeter that is used in their speakers, which reduces the need for a high-powered amplifier to boost the sound produced. 1 Watt RMS produces a 105 decibel at 1 meter sound pressure level (SPL), which is about 14–20 decibels higher than ordinary speakers.
The power range is different for each of the various Klipsch devices, so it is advisable to check the information included in the user manual.
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.
Klipsch Frequency Response
Klipsch speakers have very pleasing and natural frequency responses. The speakers all have frequency ranges that all lie within the recommended frequencies to produce full and natural sound.
Due to the diversity of devices produced by Klipsch, there is a wide range of frequencies ranging from about 30Hz to 15KHz. The information about the frequency response of a particular device can be obtained from the user manual.
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.
Klipsch has been in the speaker component manufacturing business for over seventy years and they have the experience to make great-sounding speakers as shown in their array of quality devices.
If premium quality sound is what you want, Klipsch speakers are great options to try out. 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.
Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics.