Harman Kardon Nova: Performance to match its looks

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Aug 7 2014, 14:38pm hrs
HARMAN KARDON NOVAPeople these days prefer compact and portable speakers which deliver clear and loud sound.
The days of massive, wood-cabinet speakers are over. People these days prefer compact and portable speakers which deliver clear and loud sound. If they have Bluetooth capability, even better. After all, when it comes to the speaker market, its not just about sound anymore; its about style. As good-sounding as they might be, plain floor speakers in rectangular cabinets dont seem to cut it anymore. So, audio companies are increasingly forging creative designs that contribute to a larger overall aesthetic.

For evidence, take a look at the Nova wireless stereo speaker system from Harman Kardon. A visually appealing desktop speaker pair that delivers audio performance to match its looks. The twin speakers have been molded from globes of dense, translucent plastic. They will fit into any room and onto any surface. Whats more, they will blow your mind, not your budget; the Nova is not frightfully expensive and carries a modest price tag of R24,990.

At first look, it becomes evident that this speaker pair has been designed for beauty and performance, with attention to the smallest details of acoustics and materials. From the seamless, see-through enclosure that exposes the turbine housing for the woofers and drivers, to the custom tuned DSP (digital signal processing), every detail of the Harman Kardon Nova will attract your attention.

We got the Nova speaker duo for a review. In the box, I received the speaker pair, an AC adaptor and a 3.5 mm connector cable, plus a quick-start guide. It is an incredibly sophisticated sound machine, which is easy to set up and is not heavy at all. As compatible as it is captivating, the

Nova adapts easily to nearly any

audio system, and offers both analog and optical connections as well as wireless Bluetooth with NFC, so that you can play music from any device in your home. Be it laptop, mobile phone or an MP3 player, music lovers will

enjoy the smooth, clean sound from these speakers.

Closer scrutiny reveals that the right-hand speaker hosts all of the inputs, which include a 3.5 mm jack, an optical digital connection, and Bluetooth wireless pairing via NFC. Touch-capacitive buttons run along the speakers rubberised border, including one for power, bass boost, and source/pairing. Theres also a volume band across the top, which can be controlled by swiping your finger. Volume is directly linked to a mobile device when paired via Bluetooth. All of the buttons are backlit with LEDs, which glow bright white when power is engaged.

At 80 watts of power, the Harman Kardon Nova delivers all the power you need for a powerful home audio system. With a Bass Boost function and a generous enclosure, the Nova offers all the size and features for full fidelity performance. Technical speak, performance-tuned 2.5-inch drivers and 1.25-inch tweeters produce a richer listening experience. As a customised acoustic package, the Nova delivers clarity from the highest treble to the deepest bass. Its drivers and tweeters, when combined with its passive radiator, deliver a full range of sound thats bound to win the heart of any listener.

According to company officials, the Nova is a custom-tuned speaker system with a proprietary Harman DSP, developed specifically for the Novas drivers and tweeters. These work in tandem to deliver improved depth of soundstage, along with overall imaging. The results speak for themselves: jaw-dropping levels of realism added instantly to your listening experience, company officials claim.

How can a sound so big come out of a speaker so small I connected the Nova with my mobile phone as well as a Dell laptop, which stores my music collection from the 80s. I played a number of songsSacrifice from Elton John, Lady in Red from Chris De Burgh, and the not-so-old beautiful number What if sung by Kate Winsletand the speakers filled my room with incredible sound. I streamed music from my BlackBerry device and as you would expect from Harman Kardon, the sound is good even at high volume. I tried all sorts of music on it; Indian classical, rock, folk, Hindi film songs etc. Everything sounds nice and crisp.

Basically, one needs to think of the Nova as an all-in-one home audio solution. It is compatible with nearly any sound delivery deviceusing an analog 3.5 mm connector to connect to computers, mobile phones, tablets, or stereo equipment; not to mention optical connectivity with televisions. Furthermore, it comes with built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity, so you can pair it to your smartphone, computer or tablet with no cables.

All in all, the Nova offers clear, powerful sound in a gorgeous, globular package.


* Transducers: 2.5 inch for woofer, 1.25 inch for tweeter.

* Amplifier power: 2 x 20W woofer+2 x 20W tweeter

* Frequency response: 70Hz - 20KHz

* Signal-to-noise ratio: 85dB at rated power (A-weighting)

* Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.402 - 2.480gHz

* Bluetooth transmitter power: Max. 4dBm

* Power supply: 19V DC, 3A

* Power consumption: 57W maximum, <0.5W eco-standby mode

* Estimated street price: R24,990