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Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ photos

The Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ is a very stylish and affordable 5.1 speaker system with a particularly detailed sound, but it's not our top pick for a system this size.

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Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg
Matthew Moskovciak
Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.
Matthew Moskovciak
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Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ

Harman Kardon has a reputation for exceedingly stylish design, and the HKTS 20BQ 5.1 speaker system is no exception. Aesthetics are subjective, but the Harman Kardon is easily among the best at this price range, along with the Energy Take Classic 5.1 and Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 systems. The Harman offers particularly detailed sound quality and we appreciate that Harman includes handy swivel wall-mounts, a step-up over some other packages.

However, as much as we like the Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ, we'd still recommend most buyers go for the Energy Take Classic 5 instead, as it sounds just a little better and generally is a little cheaper, too. (And Pioneer's SP-PK21BS sounds significantly better, although it's a much larger system.) But if you're a fan of Harman's style, the HKTS 20BQ is a very solid value if you can find it for less than $500.

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Satellite speakers

The HKTS 20 six-piece system is composed of four satellite speakers, a center channel speaker, and a subwoofer.
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Speaker connectors under the stands

The black gloss plastic satellites come with premounted table stands, and the stands neatly conceal sturdy metal push-type wire connectors. Unfortunately, those connectors accept only bare wire ends, so you can't use banana plugs, spades, or pins.
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Wall mounts included

The high quality wall-mount brackets also have built-in swivel capability.
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Subwoofer controls

The subwoofer's connectivity is a little unusual in that it boasts stereo line-level and dedicated LFE (RCA) inputs. Since most buyers will be using the HKTS 20 with a receiver with a subwoofer output they'll use the LFE connection.
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Speaker wires

Harman includes speaker wire with the system, although it's on the thin side.

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