Bluetooth speakers are taking the market by storm thanks to the surge in sales of smartphones and tablets. People want a portable solution that can enhance the sound from their devices.
Harman Kardon is a well-known brand in this space and their products are of high quality too - though this comes at a premium. Harman Kardon's Nova is not a portable solution in the truest sense since it is not a single unit and does not run off batteries. Harmon Kardon promises that the Nova has extended bass response and their Digital Sound Processor (DSP) can improve soundstage and voicing. We put it to the test.
Design and Specifications
Enclosed in see-through hard plastic, the Nova is a handsome and futuristic looking speaker set. There are two separate globe-shaped left and right units that are connected to each other using a proprietary cable. Inside each speaker one can spot the turbine housing for a single 1.25-inch tweeter and a 2.5-inch woofer. The woofer is on the back of each unit while the tweeter is on the front. Added to this is a gorgeous touch-sensitive control panel that lights up every time you turn it on. The silver-and-black Nova is definitely a looker and we expect everyone to like the design.
The control panel is very sensitive and reacts to the slightest of touches. We couldn't get enough of sliding our finger across the volume control. It does look really cool.
As we have already said, the Nova needs to be connected to a power outlet for it to work and this means that it is meant to be a stationary solution. One can connect to the speakers using an aux cable (provided in the box) or Bluetooth. Harman Kardon also adds NFC pairing to the mix.
The 40-watt Nova can operate in the frequency range of 70Hz to 20KHz. It has an impedance of 8 ohms meaning it can easily be used with smaller devices.
The Harman Kardon Nova has a flair for the mid-range. This is evident from the fact that the Nova's Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is designed specifically for better voicing. However, the sound staging is actually not so good; there isn't enough air between instruments and we couldn't get a good enough spatial effect. The highs are okay, and while the bass is powerful it lacks clarity and definition. The stereo separation is really good, though. At higher volumes, the sound distorts slightly. A word of caution - do not use the bass booster option on the speaker, which makes it sound bad.
We tested a wide range of music genres including pop, hip-hop, EDM and rock, and we think that the Nova is best suited for pop music with low emphasis on the lower frequencies.
On the other hand, the Nova is great for watching movies, especially ones that are heavy on dialogue. Overall, the quality of sound is a mixed bag and we felt that the speakers could not really open up even after being broken in.
Priced at Rs. 24,990 (Harmon Kardon's official website is selling the Nova for Rs. 19,990), the Harman Kardon Nova is an expensive proposition. Its own sister company JBL offers the Voyager, which is around two thousand rupees cheaper. We like the latter more than the former, but if your primary concern is a good experience when watching movies, then you can feel free to go ahead and pick up the Nova.