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Harman Kardon Readies Blu-ray HTiBs, Soundbar


Harman Kardon is coming to International
CES with a step-up active soundbar with virtual
surround technology and upgrades to two HTiB systems
equipped with a Blu-ray
A/V receiver.

The two new HTiB systems
replace two models that were
also built around a Blu-ray
AVR, but the new models add
3D disc playback, HDMI 1.4a
inputs for connection to other
3D-capable video sources, and
HDMI audio return channel.

One of the HTiBs is the
2.1-speaker BDS 370, which
uses Dolby Virtual Speaker
technology to deliver a
5.1-channel soundfield from
two satellites and a subwoofer.
The BDS 770 comes with traditional
5.1-speaker setup. They retail for a suggested
$999 and $1,199, respectively, and ship in January.

Both feature three HDMA 1.4a inputs, three
digital audio inputs, and two analog-audio inputs,
component-video input, Ethernet port for BD-Live
streaming, cover-art display of songs plated from
USB devices, FM tuner, USB port to connect MP3
players and USB sticks to play audio, connection to
an optional Bridge iPod/iPhone dock, and decoding
of the following surround formats: Dolby Digital,
Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS Digital,
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS-HD Master
Audio, and PCM. Compressed-music decoders
include DRM-free WMA
and WMA9, 192kBps CBR,
355kbps VBR, and MP3 at
32kbps to 320kbps bit rates,
including variable-bit-rate encoding.

The amp in the 5.1-channel
AVR is rated at 5×65 watts
from 20Hz–20kHz with less
than 0.1 percent THD, all
channels driven into 6 ohms.
The 2.1 system’s two-channel
amp is rated the same for its
two channels.

The Blu-ray section in each
AVR features DivX 1080p video
playback, 30/36-bit Deep
Color, and playback of AVCHD discs and JPEG

The subwoofers in both feature 8-inch driver in a
sealed enclosure powered by a 200-watt amp. The
satellites in both systems are two-way speakers with
3-inch midrange and 0.5-inch dome tweeter. In the
5.1 system, the center channel features two 3-inch
midranges flanking a 0.75-inch tweeter.

The new soundbar, the $899-suggested SB 30,
adds new features compared to an existing model.
The new features include Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
decoding and a new proprietary Harman Wave virtualsurround
technology to deliver a surround-sound experience
from six 2-inch woofers, seven 1-inch tweeters,
11 amplifier channels (4×50 watts plus 7×15 watt,
and a triple-core DSP processor that performs equalization,
crossover, and virtual surround functions. It’s
shipping now.

The system uses proprietary Harman Wave technology
to deliver the left and right surround fields as well
as front channels from two-channel and multichannel
sources. The technology generates plane waves traveling
in defined directions to “maximize indirect energy
for the rear surround channels,” company literature
states. Sound isn’t focused into sharp breams that
need to reflect off side walls to deliver surround effects,
the company noted. Surround-energy settings
are available for small, medium and large rooms.

Also for stereo and multichannel sources, the
bar minimizes interaural crosstalk and enlarges the
soundfield, apparent source width, and depth of the
perceived soundstage.

A separate wireless subwoofer features 8-inch downfiring
driver in a sealed enclosure with level, crossover,
and phase controls. It delivers 40-160Hz bass.

Other features include Dolby Volume, which maintains
a consistent volume level when the user switches
audio sources and TV programs transition to a
commercial. It also prevents abrupt volume changes
within a program.

It also features EQ switch to adjust for table or wall
mounting, automatic turn-on circuit, included IR remote,
two digital audio inputs, and one analog stereo

The product joins an active soundbar introduced
in 2011 with a less sophisticated virtual surround
technology, fewer drivers, no Dolby Digital or DTS
surround decoding, and a lower price point of a suggested
$599. That model, the 2.1-channel SB 16,
comes with Dolby Volume, wireless subwoofer and
audio-input switching.