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  • PROS

    Excellent audio performance. Unique—and now classic—design. Powerful, with strong subwoofer. Improved cable quality.
  • CONS

    No remote control. Bass volume control is on subwoofer itself. Semi-hardwired cables—if cables fail, system needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III is mainly a cosmetic upgrade of previous models, and a subtle one at that, but this 2.1-channel PC speaker set remains our Editors’ Choice.

Product Description

A 6-inch, 20-watt downward-firing powered subwoofer. Eight 1-inch full-range transducers. Plug-and-play compatibility with virtually any multimedia device. And stunning industrial design that perfectly matches the clarity of the sound. The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III desktop sound system brings a new level of excitement to music, games and movies with a minimum of wiring and looks spectacular doing it.

From the Manufacturer

Listen to a work of art.

Praised for its stunning design, the harman kardon® SoundSticks II speakers and subwoofer system became a milestone in harmankardon history when it became part of the permanent collection at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Improving on its famous sibling’s pop-culture appeal, the SoundSticks III system is all that and much more. As a three-piece, 2.1-channel multimedia sound system, SoundSticks III brings a new level of excitement to music, games and movies to your home – with its exceptional sound clarity, enhanced color scheme and bare minimum of wiring. Beyond its eye-catching appeal, SoundSticks III continues to be incredibly capable – with 40 watts of dazzling amplification, a down-firing powered subwoofer, eight full-range transducers and compatibility with all sorts of multimedia devices. As the sublime sequel to a prized performer, SoundSticks III is performance art at its finest.


Stunning Sound. Stunning Looks. 
As I am a musician I can usually tell a good pair of speakers when I see them and this is a good set of speakers.

These speakers look great; that is the main reason I bought them. I do wish the sound quality was better. The sound quality is above average, but not great. However, I was able to use software graphic equaliser to adjust the sound to a better balance.

The frequency response is uneven. The tweeters are all very small speakers, 1.25 inch wide, with one woofer unit. Since there are no mid-range speakers, the mid range is compromised. It is not all bad though.

The best feature is great top end response from these little tweeters. Above 8K hz and 16K hz, the sound is very crisp and clear. As I generally like good meaty bass, with high crispness, this is not bad.

The clear plastic bass unit is great to look at, but cannot match the sound of a square wooden box – as is true for concert halls. Unfortunately the bass has an unatural high spike about 120 hz. Also the output below 60 hz is virtually non-existant. Putting the woofer on the floor under a desk might magnify the 30- hz but again it is great to look at, so I keep it on top of the desk. I find the woofer volume best around 60 to 70%.

Here is how I have adjusted iTunes graphic equalizer to over come the speakers’ native tendancies (1 = a line):

32 hz +2
64 hz 0
125 hz -0.9
250 hz +0.9
500 hz +0.9
1K hz -0.9
2K hz 0
4K hz -0.3
8K hz -0.6
16K hz -1.2

You will want to increase the mid 250 and 500 hz range to increase warmness. There is another unnatural spike at 1 K hz, where the wavelength matches the dimensions of the stick tubes. It sounds like talking thru one of those gift wrapping paper tubes. Reduce 1K Hz to avoid that.

Because the sound in some way is not objective, the common customers (even when they could be audiophiles) have the better opinion, because sometimes a graphic of frequencies that you cannot even hear or compare this kind of products with professional equipment doesn’t tell much to the people that is searching for information that can help them to make decisions.
Overall Score: 9/10

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