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Harman Kardon SB 30

Powered home theater sound bar with wireless subwoofer

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  • Harman Kardon SB 30

    Front

  • Harman Kardon SB 30

    8" wireless sub (back detail)

  • Harman Kardon SB 30

    Audio inputs (detail)

  • Harman Kardon SB 30

    Back of sub and sound bar

Item# 532SB30
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Harman Kardon SB 30

by Marshall Chase
Harman Kardon

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.

Making home theater harmony

Many HDTV fans experience the disconnect of a wide, pristine picture undermined by tiny TV speakers struggling to eke out sound from their narrow, shallow home in the TV's trim bezel. The Harman Kardon SB 30 comes to the rescue, lifting you out of the rut dug by kazoo-like TV drivers and into the wide world of home theater speakers.

Big sound — little footprint

Harman Kardon knows that while nearly everyone wants better TV sound quality, few want to sacrifice a lot of real estate to speakers, amplifiers and the accompanying cascade of cables and cords. The SB 30 provides an elegant surround speaker solution that requires precious little space but delivers truly spacious sound. The SB 30 boasts an adjustable beam function that lets you tailor the sound to your room whether it's small, medium or large. The sound bar houses a total of 13 speakers to bring dialogue and music to the forefront. Its 230-watt built-in amplifier leaves TV-powered sound in the dust.

Best of all, the SB 30 is just one plug away from Dolby® and DTS® digital 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. Plus Dolby Volume control ensures that "loud commercial surprise" is a thing of the past.

Harman Kardon SB wireless sub

Solving the bass shortage

Where most television speakers really come up short is on low frequencies. The SB 30 cures that with a 100-watt wireless subwoofer. Its 8" driver delivers 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. Even voices will sound more realistic. And because the sub is wireless you can place it wherever it's convenient for you.

Highlights:

    Sound bar:
    • 230 watts
    • Dolby® digital, DTS® decoding and built-in HARMAN Wave surround for theater-like sound
    • Dolby® Volume maintains consistent volume levels
    • virtual surround and two-channel stereo listening modes
    • six 2" midrange drivers
    • seven 1" dome tweeters
    • built-in transmitter sends audio signals to wireless subwoofer
    • magnetically shielded to prevent interference with tube TVs
    • 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: 8.4 lbs.
    • 4"H x 45-3/4"W x 3-1/4"D
    Wireless subwoofer:
    • 100 watts
    • frequency response: 40 - 160Hz
    • can be placed anywhere in the room
    • adds bass punch to movie soundtracks, TV shows, and music
    • 8" down-firing woofer for deep bass
    • sealed cabinet design
    • requires AC power
    • weight: 19.2 lbs.
    • 13-15/16"H x 10-9/16"W x 11-1/4"D
    Connections:
    • 1 analog stereo RCA input (cable included)
    • 1 optical digital audio input (cable included)
    • 1 coaxial digital audio input
    General:
     

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    Enclosure
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    Sealed
    Pieces in System
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    2
    Color
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    Gloss black
    Tweeter
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    1.0 dome (7)
    Midrange
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    2.0 cone (6)
    Woofer
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    None
    Separate Subwoofer
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    Yes
    Subwoofer Driver
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    8
    Bluetooth Connectivity
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    No
    Wall-mountable
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    Yes
    Mounting Bracket Included
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    Yes
    Surface Mount Stand Included
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    Feet (2)
    Speaker Parts Warranty
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    5 Years
    Speaker Labor Warranty
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    5 Years
    Amplifier Parts Warranty
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    1 Year
    Amplifier Labor Warranty
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    1 Year
    Specifications
    System Frequency Response
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    40-20k Hz
    Powered System
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    Yes
    Sound Bar RMS Power
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    Not given
    Subwoofer RMS Power
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    100
    Audio Inputs
    Mini Stereo Audio Inputs
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    None
    RCA Stereo Audio Inputs
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    1
    Optical Digital Audio Inputs
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    1
    Coaxial Digital Audio Inputs
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    1
    HDMI Audio Video Connections
    HDMI Inputs
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    None
    HDMI Outputs
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    None
    Dimensions
    Sound Bar (inches)
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    4H x 45-3/4W x 3-1/4 D
    Sound Bar Weight
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    8.4 lbs
    Subwoofer (inches)
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    13-15/16H x 10-9/16W x 11-1/4D
    Subwoofer Weight
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    19.2 lbs
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Active soundbar speaker (SB 30 CNTR)
    • Wireless powered subwoofer (SB 30 SUB)
    • 6' AC power cord
    • Remote control (CR2025 3V battery installed)
    • 5' Optical digital audio cable
    • 6.5' Stereo audio cable
    • 4 Wall-mount brackets
    • 2 Rubber feet
    • Connection Guide
    • Caution note

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Features
    Controls
    Connections
    Mounting Options

    Features

    Harman/Kardon SB 30 Home Theater Soundbar System: The Harman/Kardon SB 30 Home Theater 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 30 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 and a single wireless powered subwoofer that can be placed anywhere in your room. The SB 30 Home Theater Soundbar System delivers true Harman/Kardon sound, whether you are listening to music or watching a movie.

    Active Soundbar: The SB 30 active soundbar contains six 2" woofers and seven 1" tweeters, powered by four 40W amplifiers and seven 10W amplifiers. It features a powerful triple-core DSP (digital signal processor) with two Harman-exclusive surround modes (Virtual and Harman Wave) that utilize different combinations of the soundbar's 13 transducers and 11 amplifier channels to create an astonishingly realistic surround-sound experience in any size room and for listeners at any position in the room, without needing any extra speakers or wires. The SB 30 soundbar speaker is designed to fit elegantly alongside your flat-panel TV and is magnetically shielded. The H/K SB 30 simply plugs into your TV, Sat/Cable box, or Blu-ray player with a single analog or digital audio cable.

    Note: The active soundbar speaker will need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet.

    Wireless Powered Subwoofer: The SB 30'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 down-firing 8" 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 its sealed (acoustic suspension cabinet), you can expect more realistic, tight 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. The powered subwoofer is not magnetically shielded.

    Dolby Digital + DTS Decoding: The Harman Kardon SB 30 home theater system has advanced Dolby Digital and DTS sound decoding. When you listen to a movie using the SB 30, you'll experience superb spatial realism; the sense that you're inside the movie, with all of its sounds moving as the characters on screen do. You'll hear every detail of your movie soundtrack.

    Harman NSP Surround Modes: Given that it's powered by exclusive Harman NSP surround technology, the SB 30 soundbar achieves a new pinnacle of realism thanks to extremely advanced digital signal processing (DSP) and 13 transducers fed by 11 individual amplifiers, creating a highly immersive surround sound environment. You can choose from the following Harman NSP Surround Modes.

    • Harman Wave: The Harman Wave mode utilizes all 13 of the soundbar's transducers to create both left and right surround sound fields, in addition to using the left and right transducer groups to reproduce the front left and right stereo signals. Extremely sophisticated digital signal processing uses wave field synthesis to separately control direct and indirect sound fields, creating an impressive surround sound sensation in even a large room and for many listeners seated over a large listening area. The Harman Wave mode features a Room Size adjustment that allows you to tailor the soundbar's energy field to match the size of your listening room (Small, Medium, or Large).
    • Virtual: The Virtual mode utilizes sophisticated digital signal processing and an additional four transducers to simulate the reflected sounds that would be created by the rear channel speakers in a room with a dedicated surround-sound system. The soundbar's digital signal processing is specifically designed to maximize the useful listening area while reducing sonic colorations. This digital processing also enhances conventional stereo and MP3 sources by creating rear ambience that adds depth to the sound presentation.
    • Stereo: The Stereo mode reproduces the input signal in conventional two-channel stereo, utilizing the soundbar's left and right speakers. Digital equalization and digital crossover filters help achieve accurate performance for listeners in a variety of seating positions, not just those directly on the speaker's center line.

    Note: To get the best audio performance out of the SB 30 system, it's recommended that you switch off the sound coming from your TV's loudspeakers.

    Dolby Volume: The SB 30 integrates Dolby Volume technology, which maintains the same volume level, no matter which channel or program you may be watching. No more being jolted out of your seat by a loud commercial or having to adjust the volume every time you change channels. Dolby Volume ensures that the sound's original balance will be kept at all times and at all volumes, so your entertainment happens seamlessly while sounding precisely how the artist intended.

    Controls

    Soundbar Controls: The following controls are found on the active soundbar speaker.

    • Power Button: When the soundbar is in the Standby mode (the Power LED is amber), pressing the Power button will turn on the soundbar. When the soundbar is on (the Power LED is blue), pressing the Power button will put it into the Standby mode.
    • 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.
    • Surround Mode: Pressing the Surround Mode button cycles the soundbar's audio output through the following three surround modes: Stereo, Virtual, or Harman Wave.
    • Dolby Volume: Pressing the Dolby Volume button cycles the Dolby Volume setting between off, low and high.

    Powered Sub Woofer 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
    • 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

    Remote Control: The SB 30 comes with a small IR remote that provides control over all your SB 30 soundbar functionality. This convenient, easy-to-use remote control helps you to get the best audio performance out of your SB 30 system.

    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.

    Auto Turn-On/Off: Auto Turn-On/Off Circuitry automatically switches the SB 30 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 the 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.

    Connections

    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.

    Mounting Options

    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.

    Note: The soundbar speaker is magnetically shielded so it can be placed safely next to your TV.

    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. The maximum wireless operating distance between the soundbar and subwoofer is approximately 50'.

    Note:  The wireless powered subwoofer is not magnetically shielded and should not be placed near your TV.

     
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    Harman Kardon SB 30 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

    6 people say:

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    5 out of 5

    Harman Kardon SB 30

    Written By NickF, Pasadena, MD on Monday, October 07, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I have installed in my family room that is 24' x 24' with 18' ceilings. This is not my primary veiwing spot in house & did not want to have a complete surround sound speaker system in this room. I did have an existing sound bar but for this size room was a little under sized. Replacing with the SB 30 was very noticable. The sound quality & 8" sub responce is amazing. We use the sound bar for listening music also and WOW it sounds great thoughout the house. Love It!

    Pros:
    Sounds & looks great! Excellent mounting hardware.
    Cons:
    NONE
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Harmon Kardon SB 30

    Written By DavidW, Roseville, Ca 95747 on Sunday, July 07, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    The Harmon Kardon SB 30 was very easy to install and I noticed a very positive difference from the TV sound. I like the way Harmon Kardon made it possible to adjust Dolby, Surround Sound, and adjust for optimum performance via selection for room size. If your Cable TV package offers Digital Radio, just a couple of quick adjustments for Surround, Dolby, and room size and the music sounds like it is coming from your stereo. I highly recommend the Harmon Kardon SB 30 for people looking for a state of the art Sound Bar for their TV.
    Pros:
    Great Sound quality, ease of use.
    Cons:
    If your TV is a on a Table Top using it's stand and your Put the Harmon Kardon SB30 on the table in front of the TV it blocks access for the Television Control, I must stand up to get a signal to my TV. Highly Recommend mounting your Flat Panel TV on the wall and either mount the Harmon Kardon SB30 directly below the Mounted TV using the wall mounts that ship with the Harmon Kardon SB30 package. Or leave the Harmon Kardon SB30 sitting on the table top below the wall mounted TV.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    SB 30

    Written By Jim, Illinois on Monday, May 27, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Customer service was very helpful in selecting this sound bar. I told him what I was looking for, how much I wanted to spend, and asked his opinion of thee different sound bars in my price range. He suggested the SB 30 so I went with it. I am very pleased with how it sounds. Conversation clarity was my main concern since I wasn't satisfied with what I was hearing from my previous less expensive sound bar.
    Pros:
    Great sound. It met my expectations of what a system in this price range should deliver.
    Cons:
    Remote feels cheap but so long as it lasts it will be okay. Subwoofer will occasionally boom when switching signals but not always.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    Great Sound

    Written By FRH, Concord, NC on Friday, April 19, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Installed easily. One digital fiber cable from TV and connect it to power. I taught my Harmony 900 how to control it and we were good to go. This is only being used to improve our TV sound, not used for music listening.
    Pros:
    Nice size & weight. It fit under my TV. I only had 4 1/2 inches.
    Cons:
    There is a delay when you say switch TV Chanels for the audio to play. And it starts out softly & ramps up. Wish the Power Led was more out front. When switching around in my Xbox, which is being used as a Windows Media Center extender, there is a big boom noise out of the sub woofer. I'm guessing some sub audible noise?.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Harman DardonSB 30

    Written By GerA, Dallas, TX on Monday, January 14, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Easy to install. Sound quality is far superior to my prior one.
    1 out of 3 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    sound bar

    Written By steve, ogdensburg ny on Monday, August 27, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    sounds really nice .great staff on hand to help you .crutchfield stands by what ever they sell .thanks guys
    9 out of 18 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     

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