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CNET First Look
Harman Kardon SB 16The Harman Kardon SB 16 features a premium price tag and some remote control quirks, but its excellent sound quality and exterior design make it worth the extra cash.
-Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from cnet.com and we're gonna take a look at the Harman Kardon SB 16. This is a soundbar home theater system and is currently selling for about $600 online. While $600 is a bit more than most of the soundbars we reviewed, but you can see why as soon as you take it out of the box. The soundbar has some real weight to it and the subwoofer is absolutely huge compared to many of the soundbars out there. Well, luckily the subwoofer is wireless so it's easy to stash in the corner of your living room where its size won't be quite as imposing on your decor. The back of the subwoofer has a few controls you'll adjust during the set up and the back of the soundbar has 3 inputs including an optical, coaxial, and analog input. The whole system is self-powered so you don't need a separate AV receiver. The only design issue we ran into is that the SB 16 doesn't include a remote instead relying on you to program the soundbar to receive commands from your HDTV's remote. We like the idea of simplifying out to one remote, but the problem is your HDTV is still gonna receive those volume commands. And if you disabled the TV speakers like it says in the manual, some TVs show a message that says TV speakers off. If you like to adjust the volume frequently like we do, it could be pretty annoying to see that message keep popping up. Now, not every TV shows a message like this, but it was a problem on about half of the new HDTVs we have at CNET. So if you're thinking about buying the SB 16, it's worth checking out how your HDTV handles the issue. Remote issues aside, sound quality is really what the Harman Kardon SB 16 is all about. Thanks in part to its giant subwoofer, the sound quality is a step up above most soundbars. It can get loud enough to create a real home theater experience, but we also found that sound detailed and neutral. If you're looking for a performance based soundbar and don't wanna deal with the bulk of an AV receiver, this is one your best options. So, overall, the Harman Kardon SB 16 is expensive and it does have some remote control quirks. But ultimately we felt like its excellent sound quality and stylish design make it worth the extra cash. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Harman Kardon SB 16.