In-depth: Harman Luxury Audio at CES 2016

posted on Friday, 22nd January 2016 by Geny Caloisi

Hi-fi  High-end  CES 2016 


Having out grown CES halls for the third year running, Harman's Luxury Audio division went solo at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas to showcase its full range of products and brands. What better excuse to take a closer look at what's upcoming from its iconic brands?

As soon as you stood by the Hi-Fi area of the ‘Harman Wold’ exhibition, all eyes were on the attractive red, white and blue JBL high-end limited edition speakers. Inspired by the automotive industry, these come in seven flavours: Rosso Corsa, Sapphire Blue, Polar White, British racing green, Tungsten silver, Gloss Black, and JBL orange. You can get a pair for $62k (£43K).


A recent addition to the company’s range of home-audio speakers, the JBL 4367, was on show on a deep blue shade. The speakers use drivers and design elements from JBL’s professional M2 Master Reference monitor. The 4367 was launched in November 2015 and it comes with a D2 compression driver that delivers extended high-frequency response to 40 kHz with extremely low distortion. 

To illustrate what goes inside the speakers, Harman had de-constructed JBL’s D2430K Dual diaphragm/Dual voice-coil compression diver (pictured below).


Mark Levison
Harman has taken amplifiers to the next level. Harman’s Mark Levison range of amplifiers and preamplifiers are not just black boxes that you might want to tuck away somewhere. The clean lines of its aluminium 6000-series are completed with beautiful and pleasing to the touch press buttons and knobs.

Expected to be available from May this year, the Mark Levinson № 526 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier has high-resolution Digital to Analogue Convertor (DAC) and integrated phono stage, which will allow you to use a turntable and listen to your favourite LPs. It also comes with Harman Clari-Fi music restoration technology.

The Mark Levinson № 526 offers high-resolution digital decoding up to 24-bit 192kHz from PCM and double-speed Direct Stream Digital (DSD). It has six digital audio inputs including asynchronous USB, AES/EBU balanced, optical and coaxial and digital audio.

Also on the Mark Levison range, is the № 519 that can be used for music libraries containing older or lower resolution content, because it uses Harman’s Clari-Fi music restoration technology, which rebuilds musicality and detail lost in the compression process. The № 519, expected to be shipping by July 2016, can be used as a home hub integrating TV, Spotify, it can be accessed via bluetooth using iOS or Android apps. 


Revel Concerta 2
Harman was showing its new line on the Revel speakers range, the Concerta2. This entry-level speaker series includes two floor standing models, a bookshelf monitor, a centre channel, a surround and a subwoofer. 

Jim Garrett, Director of Marketing and Product Management, Harman said, “The Concerta2 Series is an upgrade on our original Concerta offering but what’s special about it is that it incorporates technologies and materials that are directly drawn from our Performa3 loudspeakers. The sleek design is also to be noted with its white finishing and magnetic front covers."

Concerta2 Series loudspeakers employ a 1-inch aluminium tweeter with an integral phase ring, derived from Revel's Performa3 Series, to deliver detailed and transparent high-frequency response. The tweeters are mated to a new, patented fourth-generation Acoustic Lens Waveguide that optimizes the blend between the tweeter and woofers and improves off-axis performance for smoother, more consistent performance over a wide listening area.

The newly designed woofers feature aluminium cones that help keep distortion to a minimum by improving rigidity without increasing mass. The result is transducers that behave like ideal pistons throughout their operating range.

Every Revel Concerta2 model is designed using computer-optimized driver positioning and crossover network integration, resulting in optimised performance with accurate imaging and a lifelike, expansive soundstage or surround-sound environment for music and movies.

Harman’s Revel brand was founded in 1996, so this year it will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.


The showcase for its Hi-Fi area was Harman’s sound demo room which provided the most amazing music experience. You could almost touch the sound; such was the vibrancy of the demo. Music took a 4th dimension; the only thing missing was a hologram of the artist or the orchestra, and you would be transported to that moment in time. I have to confess, I had to have a little dance too, and I wasn’t alone.

Kardon Omni+
From its Lifestyle Division, Harman introduced the Kardon Omni+, a Wi-Fi enabled HD home audio system that delivers vibrant Hi-Definition sound. The wireless Kardon Omni+ can access all music libraries on the majority of streaming services including Google Cast for Audio, Spotify Connect, as well as other key services like MixRadio, Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal in addition to stored local content on any device accessible via the Harman Kardon Controller app. 

The Harman Kardon Omni+ offers true lossless high-definition music streaming (24-bit/192KHz) for a superior audio experience at higher resolution than a CD, allowing for a listening experience that delivers more clarity and the detailed nuances of a performance.

The Omni+ line supports quick setup, including Apple WAC, and it also supports Bluetooth and auxiliary audio inputs that can be re-streamed to any Omni speaker in the home. And with the Link button, music follows consumers from room to room at the touch of a button.

Other Harman products that draw attention were: the portable JBL speakers, such as the Pulse 2 speaker, which was introduced at CES, with its funky LED light; the blue tooth enabled JBL control X, which is weather resistant and ideal for outdoor, especially in a fetching shade of red; and the JBL Arena series of architectural products.

We will not go into the in-car wonders or the awesome headphone line that Harman was presenting, but we will say that we had our minds blown away after having experienced the quality and range this company has to offer.


 Harman Luxury Audio is distributed by Karma-AV. For more stories about Karma-AV's product porfolio, visit our partner page here.

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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