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An easy cure for underwhelming TV audio
Fans of high definition TVs rave about the unbeatable picture quality they produce but rarely even mention the sound. That's because their TVs don't give them much to talk about. That's where the Harman Kardon SB 16 comes to the rescue.
Fuller sound without a fuller living room
Harman Kardon knows that while nearly everyone wants better TV sound quality, few want to sacrifice a lot of real estate to speakers and amplifiers. The SB 16 provides an elegant 2.1 speaker solution that takes up little space but delivers spacious sound. The sound bar houses left- and right-channel two-way speaker modules to bring dialogue and music to the forefront. Its built-in amplifier comes out miles ahead of typical TV-powered sound. Just connect your TV, Blu-ray player or satellite/cable box with the included cables and you're on your way to a greatly enhanced entertainment experience.
Bass lost and found
Most televisions today don't produce much bass. The SB 16 comes with a 100-watt wireless subwoofer. Its 10" driver guarantees you'll get the kind of low, tight rumble that makes action scenes something you can feel in your gut. And film scores play a bigger role, with all of the instruments present in full range. And because the sub is wireless you can place it wherever it's convenient for you.
- 25 watts x 2 RMS
- built-in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) for theater-like sound
- virtual surround and two-channel stereo listening modes
- four 3" midrange drivers
- two 3/4" dome tweeters
- built-in transmitter sends audio signals to wireless subwoofer
- learns commands of your existing TV remote
- adjustable phase and EQ switch to set tone preferences
- wall mounting bracket and feet for shelf placement included
- auto turn-on/off
- requires AC power
- weight: 8 lbs.
- 36"W x 4-3/8"H x 3-1/2"D
- 100 watts RMS
- can be placed anywhere in the room
- adds bass punch to movie soundtracks, TV shows, and music
- 10" woofer for deep bass
- bass-reflex (ported) cabinet design
- requires AC power
- weight: 34 lbs.
- 18-7/8"W x 13-3/8"H x 13-3/8"D
- 1 analog stereo RCA input (cable included)
- 1 optical digital audio input (cable included)
- 1 coaxial digital audio input
- system frequency response 50-20,000 Hz
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Sound bar speakers: room-filling sound with less clutter
Add big sound to your TV without a roomful of speakers. Sound bars require minimal space and wiring, and their sleek designs complement today's flat-panel TVs. Most sound bars have their own built-in amplification, so you won't need to use a home theater receiver. Some models use advanced surround processing and carefully aimed speaker drivers to simulate the effects of a full home theater audio system.
Harman Kardon SB 16 Reviews
Average Customer Review:
Harmon Kardon SB16 Review
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
The HK soundbar proved very easy to set up, looks great and synced effortlessly with a new Samsung Smart TV. The lack of a remote is problematic, since the Samsung remote can't be programmed to control the Soundbar, so it's necessary to use a separate remote, and the absence of a volume indicator on the soundbar itself wasn't a great design decision. These two items could have been resolved at minimal cost to HK, and given the price of the SB16 it would be reasonable to expect both a remote and a display. As other reviews on the web have noted, the excellent sound quality compared with other soundbars compensates somewhat for the design omissions, but these should be unnecessary compromises. It's a 2.1 system and doesn't compare with my previous 5.1 setup for "punch" and surround quality, but for daily use without the hassle of turning on multiple components it's a good solution.
Great sound to add to the overall movie watching experience. The subwoofer is small and can easily slide under the television in to my entertainment center. The design of the product is also very nice- it matches all of my electronics. I actually can enjoy Sunday night movie night now that I can hear the speakers! Definitely a great addition and I am super happy with this purchase.
Pros: loud, sleek design, minimal cables, nice bass
Very pleased with the SB16
After spending about 2 months shopping for a new sound system for our livingroom television I decided to purchase the Harman Kardon SB16. I had looked at several systems and had pretty much narrowed down my choices to the Harman Kardon and the Klipsch SB1. After several trips to the store to hear both units, I decided on the HK SB16. To me, the HK had a much clearer crisp sound than that of the Klipsch unit.
I knew going into the process that a sound bar was NOT going to give me the surround sound of a 5.1 or 7.1 system. But I also knew that a quality sound bar will give a better sound than the regular television speakers.
Hooking up the SB16 is simple, if you follow the instructions. I like simple things, so my cable box and blue ray player are hooked directly to the tv by HDMI cables. An optical cable runs from the tv to the sound bar. I have yet to have any trouble with Netflix, Pandora, or any of the other sound problems that other have experienced.
I found pairing my cable remote to control the sound bar volume a snap. There is a selector switch on the back of the sound bar that will control how quickly the volume increases and lowers. This will allow you to fine tune the volume control.
The wireless sub-woofer is rather large, but works great. It WILL NOT produce wall shaking bass, but it does provide ample bass for any movie track or music that I've listened to.
The key to getting great sound from the SB16 is to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
Pros: Looks good, sounds good; Harman Kardon quality
Cons: none at this time
Does not play sound from the Nexflix app
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
First, the SB16 is not compatible with Netfix. When playing a movie from the Netflix app on the TV, the SB16 produces no sound. I called Harman Kardon, and they were little help. If you plan on watching Netflix, this is probably not the sound bar for you. Second, the sub-woofer is very larger and heavy, but puts out very little bass. The sound is ok when watching regular TV, but only with the sub-woofer volume turned all the way up. If you turned the sub-woofer volume down a little bit, you cannot hear any sound from it. I did an experiment and unplugged the sub-woofer with its volume turn down slighty lower than max, and was unable to tell when the sub-woofer was plugged in or not. When compared to the Polk Audio Soundbar 6000, the Polk definitely had better sound and fuller bass for less money. Or if you can afford a little more, the Klipsch SB3 was awesome. Definitely heads and shoulders over the SB16
Pros: Easy set-up.
Cons: Is not compatible with Netflix. Bass is virtually non-existent.
I had done tons of research online on a number of brands before ever venturing to the store to hear any sound bars for myself. After all the reviews and price comparison, I was pretty dead set on the Polk Audio Soundbar 6000. Went to the local big box store to hear it for myself. I listened to the Polk 3000 and 6000, the Yamaha, The Klipsh, and the Bose. I have to say that I was not overly impressed with any of them. Then the sales person that was helping me said "let me show you this one". It was the Harmon Kardon and it was hooked up to a 60" sharp that was playing Transformers. She began to turn it up, then turned it up some more. I was literally blown away. I couldn't believe all that sound was coming from that little bar and that one sub. I was so impressed that I bought it that day, picked up some action movies on the way out, called into work, went home, hooked it all up and proceeded to try to make myself deaf. Avengers, Terminator, Pearl Harbor and X-Men all have a totally new feel to them now. I finish with saying this system is not true surround sound, but it is a close as you will get with a sound bar and sub.I guarantee.
Pros: loud and clear, wireless sub
Cons: No EQ other than hertz and bass level.
Best out there
The wireless subwoofer is SUCH a sweet option! The sound from the bar is absolutely great. I listen to it in stereo and surround and both are very realistic and I don't feel like I'm missing out on 5.1. I like how I can hookup multiple devices to this so now I just use my TV as the switcher. Programming my remote to control it was so easy. I'm very pleased with this.
Simple, easy, solid is my take on this. The setup was so smooth and simple that my kid could have done it...that's how easy it was. The wireless subwoofer is just CLUTCH and the sound is just phenomenal and I'm in a fairly large room! Very happy with this
Don't waste your money!
I bought the Harmon Kardon SB16 about 2 months ago and there were problems from the begining. First of all the directions on how to conncet was a joke and if you think that's bad wait until you have to program your t.v. remote with the soundbar.( good luck ) I did what the book said to do several times and it never worked!! So I thought I'd give it a try anyway and I was very disappointed. The bass of the sub-woofer was over bearing and way to loud for the soundbar. If you're looking for a surround sound then look somewhere else. If you're looking for just an expensive, loud, annoying soundbar then by all means this is it. I just expected more from harmon kardon. I think I'm going to go with either the bose cinemate or the yamaha ysp 4100! good luck
Pros: It looks good
Cons: programming the remote, no surround sound
fill up your room
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
Great soundbar to fill up a room with detailed sound from low to high. Plenty of bass. Mids are good. I bought this for my flatscreen TV mounted on the wall so the mount was great, no need to spend more money on mounts becuase they come with it. I have satelite TV and the sound quality is not as good as my movie room. Doesn't take the place of full blown setup but works great for space saving equipment. I was set on Bose but chose this and I think it is super and and I am fully satisfied. The only complaint is the sound leval adjustment is figity. It is so touchy. It has from off to medium with not low low setting. I wish it had more levels. Its only got like 10 settings and my other sound reciever has about 60. Not a big issue though. It has no lower sound levels, just the first notch is loud. The remote took about 30 tries to learn the commands. Great product for TV or other non full surround or movie setups! You need to be right in line to change remote. No side remote sending on this unit. Sometimes got to get off the couch to adjust sound. They forgot to send long brackets too, i had to make wood extenders while waiting for new ones.
Pros: Great room filling sound. Lots of mids and lows, tuneable for each consumer.
Cons: Volume is touchy, hard to set up remote control, tried 30 times to get it set up.
Explore other options...
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
The SB16 looks great, and has very good sound at high volume, but there are a few issues which would have prevented me from buying had this information been available to me. To start with, the 'extended wall mount brackets weren't included in my box, so I had to use the thin/standard mount, which made the optical audio cable unusable. I opted to cut an 1 1/2" circle directly behind the optical plug to allow toslink cable use, and to route it and the power cable through the wall to the TV (also wall mounted). HK sent the brackets, but they took at least a week to arrive, and they are also thin/standard mount, so I suppose it will be another week before I get the extended bracket, which will likely end up in the trash, since I've already made my own workaround.
The bigger issues are volume control, and internal amplifier fan. The volume is either mute, loud, and very loud. The lowest setting is probably 30% louder than I'm comfortable with, which may be by design to mask the noisy internal fan. If you're a senior citizen, or hard of hearing, you likely won't notice either, but the rest of you will just be annoyed. Room size: 12'x12', 8' ceiling.
Lastly, the IR received is either poorly located, or inferior quality. At 6'-8', and 3' to the right, my Logitech Harmony One is unable to adjust volume! It manages to operate all other devices but the SB16 well outside of this range. Controlling the volume in general is a big disappointment.
Pros: Looks good; sounds good at higher volume.
Cons: Has no low volume settings. In a big room you may not notice the volume issue, or the annoying amp fan, but you're surely going to get frustrated with the volume control via IR, and the fact that you have no visual representation of the actual volume. You'll know when it can't get any quieter when it goes mute. I expected more from HK.
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
This sound bar sounds amazing!! The sound separation is awesome and the sound quantity is incredible...I highly recommend!!
Pros: Sound quality, sound quantity, easy to setup
Cons: Haven't found one yet
This is a very well thought out product. I'm very pleased with it. They really put a lot into the little details thinking through how people will actually use this and what's important. I'm very pleased
Great product. I really like how it has the wall vs. table switch to adjust the EQ as well as the trim levels so you can match it to your TV's nominal volume. Great stuff!
Integrates with your remote, great idea!
When I first opened this, setting it up as a surprise for my husband, I was like, "where's the remote?!?!" I was pretty upset. But then I realized, it doesn't come with one because they want you to program your own remote to work with it, I said, what a great idea! I didn't do the programming, I made him do it, haha, but now it's SUPER easy to use. The sound is great and the wireless subwoofer is tucked away where I don't see it! Awesome product, good for music too, btw!
Best soundbar out there
I looked far and wide for the right solution and this thing is flat out awesome. Wireless sub works perfectly even from far away and the sound out of the bar is so crisp. Setup was so easy and even hanging it from the wall was a synch! Love this product. I reviewed most of the ones available and this one IS IT! The best...
In a word, NICE!
The sound of this thing is SWEET! I have had surround systems before and this pulls you into the movie just as good. The subwoofer is tight and punchy, nice kick to it. I'd definitely recommend this. Setup was a sinch too
I have a small space in my Miami vacation condo and this is awesome for enjoying movies. I'm a huge movie buff and watch a movie every night. The setup was cake, the sound is awesome and overall, I'm extremely pleased. Great solution for my needs!
Its got the goods but lacks the control to deliver them
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
This was my first sound bar purchase after numerous "proper" home theaters. I opted for this because I don't like to skimp on the bass. This subwoofer has the same size speaker, port, and amp as my existing Klipsch which is more than enough for the room it is in. However; I could not get this sub to produce enough bass. I tried the phase and different locations. I had the sub volume turned all the way up. I know it should be capable of more based on the stats. I think the problem is that the soundbar decides the ratio of woofer output to it's own output. So, to have thumping base, you need to have ear splitting mids and highs. Another issue is the complete lack of display. I really want to know where things are set. I will say the manual controls with different color lights are helpful but having a volume indicator is good in a lot of situations. Last gripe: when set on a table, the thing is somewhat unstable. It seems like a top heavy tube. You bump the table too hard, it wobbles. On the plus side, the sound bar sounds good. Very crisp sound and the voices to effects ratio is just perfect. I think it produces better sound separation than my considerably more expensive DefTech system. One caveat to all this: my soundbar was defective. It would not work with a digital input. All of these results were with RCA inputs. I am not holding that against it in my rating and I don't see how that would make a difference in bass output. FYI: Crutchfield is handling the return superbly.
Pros: Crisp distinct separation of voices and effects. Perfect balance between the two. Very attractive soundbar and sub. No wireless problems.
Cons: Lack of bass output. Lack of visible volume level. Unstable bar on a table. I could imagine that the lights on top would be distracting when reflecting off the glass of my TV. Never got actually test that before it got returned.
Great "boom" for the buck!
I absolutely love this thing. I put it in my bedroom expecting it to be mediocre but it blew me away so much with it's sound quality and making me feel like I had dedicated surround speakers that I'm considering getting another one for my living room too! This is a great item for anyone, audiophile or hobbyist.
Pros: Great sound quality, small footprint, less wires than traditional surround systems
I really like the simplicity of this sound bar, both in design and setup. I've got my Blu-ray, cable box and wii all plugging directly into my plasma TV. I use the optical audio out from the TV into this bar. Plugged the power in and soundbar is ready to go. My wardrobe cabinet has a perfect place for a soundbar so it is table mounted like the TV. Positioned and plugged in power on the sub and it was ready to go. That is how easy it is. But more importantly, the sound was incredible and with very little adjustment too. For this price, nothing else is in the running (I listened to a few of them in a local big box retailer before making the decision and buying from Crutchfield). It was easy to program my ATT Uverse remote with the soundbar. I've got a 3.5 to RCA plug coming so I can connect my iPhone to it for music. I expect that will sound good as well.
Pros: Simple design. Easy setup. Sound is awesome.
Cons: Nothing yet.
What's in the box?
- Active soundbar speaker (SB 16 CNTR)
- Wireless powered subwoofer (SB 16 SUB)
- AC power adapter (with attached 8' DC cord)
- 6' AC power cord
- 5' Optical digital audio cable
- 6.5' Stereo audio cable
- 4 Wall-mount brackets
- 2 Rubber feet
- Owner's Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
Features and Specs
|Pieces in System||2|
|Tweeter||0.75" dome (2)|
|Midrange||3" cone (4)|
|Surround Sound Decoding||No|
|4K Video Compatible||No|
|Audio Return Channel||---|
|Remote IR Passthrough||No|
|Works with TV Remote (IR)||---|
|Control by App||---|
|Mounting Bracket Included||Yes|
|Surface Mount Stand Included||Integrated|
|Speaker Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Speaker Labor Warranty||2 Years|
|Amplifier Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Amplifier Labor Warranty||2 Years|
|System Frequency Response||50-20k Hz|
|Sound Bar RMS Power||25W x 2|
|Subwoofer RMS Power||100W x 1|
|Inputs and Outputs|
|Mini Stereo Audio Inputs||None|
|RCA Stereo Audio Inputs||1|
|Optical Digital Audio Inputs||1|
|Coaxial Digital Audio Inputs||1|
|Sound Bar (inches)||4-3/8H x 36W x 3-1/2D|
|Sound Bar Weight||8 lbs|
|Subwoofer (inches)||19-3/16H x 13-3/8W x 13-5/8D|
|Subwoofer Weight||34 lbs|
Harman/Kardon SB 16 Home Cinema Soundbar System: The Harman/Kardon SB 16 Home Cinema Soundbar System offers an elegant and simpler alternative to your typical 5.1ch home theater speaker system. Not every room can accommodate 5 speakers + a subwoofer; and not everyone wants to deal with hooking up rear surround speakers. The Harman/Kardon SB 16 is a two-piece home theater system with a single amplified loudspeaker unit that connects directly to your TV, Sat/Cable box, or Blu-ray player & a single wireless powered subwoofer that can be placed anywhere in your room. The SB 16 Home Cinema Soundbar System delivers true Harman/Kardon sound, whether you are listening to music or watching a movie.
Active Soundbar: The Harman/Kardon SB 16 active soundbar speaker houses left & right 2-way speaker modules with a built-in amplifier. The soundbar includes 2-way, dual-driver left & right speaker modules, each with two 3" midrange drivers and a 3/4" dome-tweeter. The active soundbar is powered by a 25W x 2ch amplifier (8-ohms, 20-20kHz, 0.07% THD). Thanks to digital signal processing (DSP) with virtual 3D surround circuitry, the soundbar works in tandem with the included wireless powered subwoofer to provide a complete surround-sound experience. The SB 16 soundbar speaker is designed to fit elegantly alongside your flat-panel TV and is magnetically shielded. The H/K SB 16 simply plugs into your TV, Sat/Cable box, or Blu-ray player with a single analog or digital cable.
Note: The active soundbar speaker will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet.
Wireless Powered Subwoofer: The SB 16's wireless powered subwoofer offers you simplicity in terms of hookup & flexibility in terms of placement. The powered subwoofer receives its signal from the soundbar speaker via wireless technology, so you can place it anywhere in your room without having to run any wires. With a 10" magnetically-shielded woofer and built-in 100W amplifier, the wireless powered subwoofer delivers powerful bass performance when combined with the system's soundbar speaker. And thanks to a bass-reflex enclosure (with rear-firing port), you can also expect more realistic bass performance and higher bass output, since the subwoofer fires downward against the floor instead of against surrounding walls.
Note: The wireless powered subwoofer will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet.
3D Virtual Surround Processing: The Harman/Kardon SB 16 provides a rich, full-bodied theatrical experience with only two speakers (soundbar & subwoofer). The SB 16 produces a 3D virtual surround-sound experience for anyone sitting in front of the soundbar speaker system, without the need for extra rear surround speakers.
Note: To get the best audio performance out of the SB 16 system, it's recommended that you switch off the sound coming from your TV's loudspeakers.
Two-Channel Stereo Mode: The two-channel stereo mode is designed for traditional stereo playback when listening to your music or news programs.
Soundbar Controls: The following controls are found on the active soundbar speaker.
- Input Select: This button switches between the analog (source 1) and digital (source 2) inputs of the soundbar speaker system.
- Volume Up/Down: The Volume Up/Down buttons on the soundbar speaker controls the system's overall volume.
- EQ Switch: The EQ switch lets you adjust the soundbar's bass for wall mounting or table-top mounting to deliver the most natural-sounding bass performance with any installation.
- Trim Switch: The Trim switch lets you adjust the soundbar's input sensitivity so that it will work with a variety of TVs with different audio-signal output levels.
Subwoofer Controls: The following controls are found on the wireless powered subwoofer.
- Subwoofer Level: Use this control to balance the subwoofer's volume with that of the soundbar. Turn the knob clockwise to increase the subwoofer's volume; turn it counterclockwise to decrease the subwoofer's volume
- Low Pass Crossover: This knob adjusts the subwoofer's crossover between 50Hz and 150Hz. The higher you set the Crossover knob, the higher in frequency the subwoofer will operate and the more its bass will "overlap" that of the soundbar. This adjustment helps achieve a smooth transition of bass frequencies between the subwoofer and the soundbar for a variety of different rooms and subwoofer locations.
- Phase Switch: This switch determines whether the subwoofer driver's piston-like action moves in and out in phase with the speakers in the soundbar. If the subwoofer were to play out of phase with the soundbar speakers, the sound waves from the soundbar could cancel out some of the sound waves from the subwoofers, reducing bass performance and sonic impact. This phenomenon depends in part on the placement of the subwoofer and soundbar relative to each other in the room
Auto Turn-On/Off: Auto Turn-On/Off Circuitry automatically switches the SB 16 soundbar speaker system on when an audio signal is present, and off when there is no audio signal.
- Soundbar: The soundbar has a signal detector that will automatically turn the unit on when it senses an audio signal at any of its inputs. To minimize power consumption, the signal detector is not activated unless the soundbar first senses any kind of IR remote signal. The soundbar will automatically enter the Standby mode if no audio signal is detected at any of its Source input connections for approximately 15 minutes. If you have programmed the soundbar to respond to your TV remote's on and off commands, you can manually put the soundbar into the Standby mode.
- Subwoofer: The subwoofer will automatically turn itself on when it receives an audio signal, and it will return to the Standby mode when it has received no audio signal for 15 minutes. The subwoofer's LED will turn blue when the subwoofer is on, and will turn amber when the subwoofer is in Standby.
Wireless Code Switch: There is a Wireless Code switch on the rear-panel of the soundbar and subwoofer. The Wireless Code switches let you select between 4 different channels for the wireless subwoofer signal and the soundbar. The wireless codes (1-4) need to be the same on the soundbar and subwoofer.
TV Remote Control Compatible: You can program the soundbar so it will respond to your TV remote's power off, mute, volume up/down, and source commands. This programming lets you control your whole home theater system with a single remote.
Analog Audio Inputs: Use the supplied stereo audio cable to connect the soundbar's Source 1 (analog) input to your TV's stereo audio output. If your TV has two sets of audio output jacks, use the set that has a fixed (not variable) output level. This will let you turn your TV's speakers all the way off while the TV still supplies a constant audio signal to the soundbar.
Digital Audio Inputs: If your TV, Sat/Cable box, or Blu-ray player have coaxial or optical digital outputs, you can use the supplied optical digital audio cable or an optional coaxial digital audio cable to connect them to the soundbar's Optical (toslink) and Coaxial (RCA) digital inputs.
Soundbar Placement: The active soundbar speaker can be placed on a table-top or wall mounted.
- Table-Top Mounting: If your TV is placed on a table, you can place the soundbar on the table directly in front of the TV stand, centered with the TV screen. Attach the supplied rubber feet to the soundbar to protect your furniture.
- Wall-Mounting: If your TV is attached to a wall, you can use the included wall-mount brackets to mount the soundbar on the wall directly below the TV screen. There are two different pair of wall-brackets supplied. One pair is to be used when connecting the soundbar via Stereo RCA or coaxial digital, and the other pair is to be used when connect the soundbar via optical digital.
Subwoofer Placement: Since the human ear does not hear directional sound at the low frequencies where the subwoofer operates, it will perform well from just about any location in your room. However, the strongest bass reproduction is likely to be heard when the subwoofer is placed in a corner along the same wall as the soundbar.
Note: The maximum wireless operating distance between the soundbar and subwoofer is approximately 50'.
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