Review Price £449.99
Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ/230 - Performance and Verdict
As we discovered with the BDS 270, the satellites’ superb build quality translates into a remarkably polished sound. With Transformers: Dark of the Moon, every scene sounds crisp and open, with delicate top-end detail flittering in and out and transients approached with a vibrant, attacking tone.
Skip to the climactic robo crunch-up and you’ll find the HKTS20BQ revelling in the carnage, firing out the sound of clanging metal and buildings being ripped to shreds with controlled energy and dynamism. It creates the illusion of a large, expansive soundstage with excellent projection, placement and power.
Dialogue from the centre speaker is lucid throughout, not only giving it due prominence but also proving sensitive to the tonal variations in the various robotic and human voices.
There’s tight integration between the satellites and subwoofer too, resulting in a unified sound that allows you to forget everything and focus on the movie. The subwoofer is a fine performer overall, peppering action scenes with sudden dollops of deep, taut bass and filling out quieter scenes with a constant low-end presence. Without proper tweaking it can swallow up the satellites a little, so fine-tuning is essential.
Our only real criticism is that the system is a bit too refined for its own good. The sound is certainly lively and polished but it can’t match the visceral aggression or character of Tannoy’s TFX or Jamo’s A101 HCS3. But if that’s how you prefer your home cinema sound then this might be the system for you.
The HKTS 20BQ/230 ticks all the boxes, from its solid build quality and living room friendly looks to its polished sound quality. There’s real refinement in the way it handles detail, plus the large soundstage, seamless sub/sat integration and convincing dialogue reproduction are highly impressive – all of which makes it a steal at £450.
The only issue some listeners may have is that the sound is more restrained with bombastic action scenes than some of its similarly-priced peers. It’s lively, but doesn’t stir the senses to quite the same degree as the Tannoy TFX, for example. But if you prefer a more laid back sound then it will certainly hit the spot.
Scores In Detail
- Sound Quality