Our Verdict
A beautiful looking speaker, but the one which doesn’t have the ‘wow’ sound or usability on top of that

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as of May 17, 2022 1:56 am
as of May 17, 2022 1:56 am
as of May 17, 2022 1:56 am
as of May 17, 2022 1:56 am
Last updated on May 17, 2022 1:56 am

Creative design
well built
Tonally balanced
Room-filling sound
Lacks detail and dynamics of rivals
Loose bass
No dedicated remote
App lacks features
Wireless speakers have already been known for rebelling against standard box casing (perhaps you have seen the Philips Shoqbox SB7220?) and Harman-Kardon’s latest wireless speaker is obviously up there with the craftiest of creations.

At first glimpse it will be simple to mistake the Aura for a food blender, or for the comic book fans in our midst, a replica of Charles the Brainchild’s glass skull from The Tick.

Its transparent polycarbonate, dome-shaped enclosure is obviously out there and draws inspiration from the mould of the company’s SoundSticks desktop speakers.

The speaker’s centrepiece is usually to be admired: a reflex port descends into the dome and meets a round coil-like feature in the bottom of the basin. Look carefully and you’ll see it is the back end of the 11.5cm bass driver.


Externally, a black – or white in the event that you choose that finish – clothed grill occupies underneath the main shell, enclosing six 4cm high/mid drivers that wrap around the machine. Consequently, sound is dispersed atlanta divorce attorneys direction.

Its design is a masterpiece of design and the wow factor carries into its build. About how big is a basketball and weighing only 2.3kg, the Aura is better quality and lightweight than appearance suggests. Its slick, refined surfaces also make it nice to take care of.

So bravo to Harman-Kardon for creating a look that’s reflective of the high cost. If you’re buying versatile, space-saving option to a multi-speaker set-up that may sit just about anyplace, this snazzy speaker can do the trick.

There is absolutely no text display: instead, illuminating, colour changing LED lights and the casual beep of recognition lead just how.

Power it on and a glowing ring at the speaker’s core prompt a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in early stages.

Just what exactly does this radiant bubble do?

It could stream music with a Bluetooth connection and locate files on your own home network via DLNA or AirPlay using its built-in wi-fi. Alternatively, a wired connection could be made via its 3.5mm or optical inputs.

You will observe a USB slot around the trunk too, though this is merely marked for service. The machine runs off the mains, so a power input completes the cluster of connections at the trunk.

A thin band featuring touch buttons around the center of the speaker control power, volume and source selection. Peer closely or run your fingers along it and you may notice a 3.5mm output for your headphones.

It’s a tidy arrangement and controls are sensitive to press or, much like the quantity, slide across. The lack of a dedicated handy remote control though means changing input sources is merely possible on the machine itself.

You will find a free ‘Harman-Kardon remote’ iphone app for Android and iOS devices, however, that you download to play music from a home network.

The iphone app is a hub to control your compatible Harman-Kardon devices. The main element functions is there: you can dig through a device’s music library; queue and repeat songs, or share them via email, Facebook. There’s a bass EQ too, though nothing to adapt the treble.

It doesn’t let you create playlists or see file type or size, while its several-shades-of-grey interface could do with a splash of colour.

A flashier iphone app would mirror the speaker’s image, but Harman-Kardon has chosen simplicity here. Therefore, it’s remarkably straightforward to use.

We selected David Bowie’s Life On Mars from our NAS box and – because of its multi-directional sound and the company’s stereo-widening DPS technology – the Aura provides big, room-filling sound. It does not have any problem eating up our test room space.

A short spin through our playlist revealed a thin and bright sound. But a weekend’s run-in smoothed out these rough edges, making method for a far more self-assured and balanced presentation.

Its even tones make journeying through the gritty 60s-inspired folk music from the within Llewyn Davis: Original Recording Soundtrack a satisfying ride.

Now we come to the not-so-impressive side of the Aura.

Dense music recordings expose the first blot on the copybook. Insufficient clarity and detail make busy compositions congested and messy.

Beats, raw, aggressive instrumentals and James Hetfield’s growl certainly are a far cry from clear because they thrash around in Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Which is emphasised a lot more when resulted in loud.

An email of warning on higher volumes: the Aura can make any flimsy surface it sits on shake like your dad’s hips at a disco – whether blasting out Baccara’s Yes Sir, I COULD Boogie or not. A strong base could keep distortion due to vibration at the very least.

We put the Aura shoulder to shoulder with the very best of the rest, like the award-winning Geneva Model S Wireless DAB+ (£330).

The Geneva unearths mounds of expression in PJ Harvey’s GONE Me, digging out the distorted textures of her vocals. The Aura, meanwhile, glosses over its coarseness, deciding on a less transparent but smooth delivery.

And generally its insufficient insight is where in fact the Aura loses out. It requires the silhouette of an email and runs with it, fixating on the leading violin in Christopher Hogwood and Alison Bury’s Vivaldi: Violin Concerto In F, Op. 8/3, but ignoring subtler information on the orchestration. You will need to really strain to pluck out the flanking cello’s presence.

Its bass is pronounced – you’ll expect it because of its size – but lacks the weight necessary to stamp authority on Drake’s HANG ON, We’re Going Home.

As the Geneva packs a punch with a deep-rooted bass, the Aura’s feels sloppy and detached from the close-knit midrange and treble.

However, despite its shortcomings, we ambled through our hour-long playlist just fine. Play a WAV file of Eddie Vedder’s Society over a wired connection and some creases where clarity can be involved are ironed out too.

Had this test been about looks, this speaker could have bagged five stars – no issue.

A stylish showpiece for just about any room, it’s sure to catch a few eyes, turn a few heads and steal a few hearts.

Unfortunately for the Aura we’re not that shallow. So when sound is necessary, we’re significantly less than inspired.

If you’re only looking for background entertainment, it’ll deliver. Nonetheless it needs more clarity, with rivals topping {the fir