Harman Unveils Home, Car, Portable Audio

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Northridge, Calif. - Spring brings new mobile, home and portable audio products from Harman Consumer, which will expand its selection of Works With iPhone speaker systems and launch its first automotive digital signal processor (DSP).


A pair of Harman Kardon 5.1 speaker packages is also among the new products.

The automotive signal processor, the $799-suggested JBL-brand MS-8, can be added to any aftermarket or OEM sound system to upgrade sound-system performance. Unlike competing products, consumers will be able to use their factory head unit's volume-control knob in any OEM-integration installation, said Chris Dragon, Harman Consumer's consumer and field marketing director. It's the industry's first DSP unit with built-in amplification, and it ships in April, he added.

The device comes with included headphone-mounted microphones and CD to allow for automatic selection of crossover points, speaker time-alignment settings, equalization to compensate for interior acoustics, and other parameters to deliver flat frequency response and enhanced imaging, the company said. Through proprietary Logic 7 processing, the sound system will deliver the same frequency response and image to any vehicle occupant if the system is equipped with a center channel, Dragon added.

Although the MS-8 features 8x20-watt built-in amplifier, it can be added downstream from a factory amp in case removal of the factory amp would interfere with the functioning of other OEM vehicle systems. A small LCD display used during setup can be disconnected or mounted permanently on the dash for after-installation tweaking.

Four new iPod/iPhone-docking speaker systems, all certified as Works with iPhone, include the AC/DC Harman Kardon Go+Play Micro, a smaller version of the current Go+Play. The new model, due in March at a suggested $399, adds iPhone certification, ability to stream video to a connected TV, and USB connectivity to allow for synchronization with a PC's iTunes application. It features a similar arch-shaped design as the current model except for a new angled docking cradle for video viewing. The biamplified system features two midrange/tweeter drivers, a single woofer, 60-watt output at 1 percent THD, DSP and a compartment for eight C batteries.

Two new JBL-brand iPod speaker systems replace current models, adding iPhone certification at the same price as their predecessors. The portable AC/DC JBL On Stage Micro II, due in April at a suggested $129, docks an iPod or iPhone in a circular base that's only 6 inches in diameter. It operates on four AAA batteries. JBL's AC-only On Time 200P docking clock radio, due April at $249, is oval-shaped like its predecessor.

The fourth new iPod/iPhone speaker system is a line addition. The JBL On Time Micro is the brand's first round iPod/iPhone docking alarm clock. The AC-only device lacks radio and is due in April at $249.

Two new Harman Kardon 5.1 speaker packages are the $699-suggested HKTS 20 and $899 HKTS 30, both shipping in March. Both feature four compact two-way satellite speakers, a two-way center-channel speaker, and a 200-watt powered subwoofer. Compared to their predecessors, they add proprietary Waveguide technology to the tweeters and reduce subwoofer size while increasing output, said Dragon. The step-up model features two midranges in each speaker, and the lower-priced model features two midranges in only the center channel.


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