Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ/230

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Clean, polished sound
  • Gorgeous styling, particularly the sub

Cons

  • Might be too reserved for thrill seekers
  • Sub can overpower without careful tweaking

Review Price £449.99

Key Features: Tabletop stands with cable tidy; Black lacquer finish; 75mm midrange driver and 19mm tweeter; 200W subwoofer with 200W amp & 200mm driver; Wall or floor-stand mounting

Manufacturer: Harman Kardon

Harman Kardon boasts a number of all-in-one systems that throw a Blu-ray player, receiver and speakers into a single box, but if you’d rather go down the separates route it offers a range of standalone speaker packages too. The HKTS 20BQ/230 is the 5.1-channel version of the 2.1 HKTS 200BQ/230 package included with the BDS-270 system, which hit us for six with its deluxe build quality and refined sonic performance.

Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ/230

Competition in the compact speaker system market is ferocious, with Cambridge Audio, Tannoy, Canton, Teufel and Jamo all producing great-value systems with dynamite sound quality, so it’ll be interesting to see where the HKTS 20BQ fits into the equation.

This expanded package uses the same compact satellites (SAT-TS20) as the 2.1 version, only this time there’s an extra pair for the rears and a dedicated centre speaker (CEN-TS20/30). The subwoofer is also the same one that comes with the BDS-270, which is great news given its solid performance last time round.

What we love most about the satellites is their exceptional build quality. These are not the hollow, flimsy enclosures you sometimes get from budget compact systems – the rounded bodywork feels dense and heavy, with a glorious gloss-black finish ensuring maximum living room appeal. A speaker mesh covers the front, allowing you to peek at the drivers behind, but they can’t be removed.

Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ/230

The front and rears measure 216mm high and are perched on a built-in stand, which features a cable tidy system. The stand slides off, allowing you to neatly feed the wire through the hole in the back and slide it back on. The cables attach snugly to springclip terminals hidden behind, and thankfully they’re easy to access.

The centre speaker is horizontally positioned on a cradle for easy placement under a TV, and is styled with the same panache as the others. It’s joined by one of the best looking subwoofers on the market, dressed in a dreamy black lacquer finish that oozes luxury, while the curved corners are an elegant touch. Chunky spikes screw onto the bottom, providing a sturdy foundation.

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