Harman Kardon expands range of wireless speakers at IFA 2013

We were expecting to see a lot of new wireless speakers at IFA 2013, and we haven't been disappointed.

Harman Kardon and JBL (part of the same company) have no fewer than three new ranges on show between them: the Harman Kardon Onyx, JBL Spark and JBL Voyager.

The Harman Kardon Onyx (£429, above) is a full-range sound system in a "compact, sculuptural enclosure". It has built-in aptX Bluetooth, AirPlay and DLNA for wireless music streaming from portable devices and computers. Ther's a stereo 3.5mm aux input if the user wants a wired connection, and a USB socket for charging your portable while it plays.

Set-up is simplified by the inclusion of NFC (Near Field Communication) Bluetooth pairing with compatible devices.

Four channels of amplification provide 60W (RMS) of power to four speakers: a pair of 7.6cm woofers and two 19mm tweeters.

A built-in rechargeable battery gives a claimed six hours playback, and the unit can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet using the Harman Kardon iOS app.

A leather-clad enclosure and stainless steel handle complete the package.

New from Harman's sister comany JBL is the funky-looking Spark (£109, above), a wireless stereo speaker which has an unusual 'megaphone' shape and twin 4cm JBL drivers plus a tuned bass port. Available in five colours, the Spark has Bluetooth, a translucent body with mesh grille and comes with a stainless steel hanging hook, fabric cord with inline control and a power adapter.

It can be hung on a wall, set on a table or desk or stashed on a shelf.

Finally there's the JBL Voyager (£229), a portable speaker with a subwoofer docking system. Detach it from the bass dock and it becomes a go-anywhere, wireless Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone with SoundClear noise-cancellation technology.

There's an aux-in jack and USB port for charging smartphones and tablets, and the speaker itself incorporates a 4.5cm driver, while the separate sub gets a 7.7cm driver.

When connected to the subwooofer dock, the Voyager becomes a desktop 2.1 system.

By Andy Clough

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.