• 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Incredible sound, spotty AirPlay

    • Written by from Toronto

    Before buying this speaker, I wasn't convinced that one speaker could replace multiple. However, I was utterly convinced once I played the very first notes of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature". The Harman Kardon Aura fills the entire room with sound with little indication that it's coming from just one speaker.
    The bass is very deep and smooth without any distortion. It creates a very rich sound unlike any speaker I've owned before. I listen to it at just 1/3 the volume and it gives quite the punch. I have no doubt that you could fill a very large space with sound with the Aura at near full power.
    The Aura is an absolutely gorgeous modern design show piece. Everybody who sees it is taken aback by its unconventional, almost alien design.
    That said, I purchased the Aura to join my AirPlay ecosystem and I'm often frustrated that it has fallen asleep and no device will wake it up as is expected. I often have to restart it which takes some time because the touch sensitive buttons aren't very responsive. I will say that once AirPlay connection is achieved, it sticks with it with no interruptions, but not knowing if it'll connect is a real downer. I don't want to have to think about it. Select it on AirPlay on any device and it should just connect and start playing. That's unfortunately not the case.
    So despite paying a hefty premium for AirPlay in the Aura, I'm convinced that I'm better off just plugging it into an AppleTV via optical link. At least the AppleTV is reliable in waking up when any device selects it for AirPlay. I'm still hopeful that Harman Kardon will rectify the issue with a firmware update.

    3 of 3 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    • Written by from IRVINE

    The good is it sounds really great for what it is. It isn't going to compete with a full blown surround system, but I was looking for a source of music in the living room. It does have an optical input, which at least from my TV would allow it to be the sound system if you live in a smaller house/apt and don't have a more robust system. It really sounds great.
    The bad is it doesn't have a remote, and since mine is on the floor under a piece of furniture it means turning it off and on requires crawling on my hands and knees and holding this tiny little "button". No remote on/off is pretty horrible. The instructions are almost non-existent, so you really don't know if you could be using it better or not.
    The ugly is it looks like a popcorn machine. My home is mid-century modern and this is straight up modern. I planned to have it hidden behind a piece of furniture to have sound out of nowhere. However putting it directly on carpet totally muffles the sound, so now I need to find a 8.5" round piece of marble or something to put it on. So right now this review is putting it on hardwood and it sounds terrific there, but looks totally out of place in the room.

    I have no idea why there are not more dual airplay/blue tooth speakers, but it is what it is. I would rather have a traditional speaker look, but I could only find one and it was twice the price and also I am not sure it would cover the bass nearly as well as the Aura. If you like the look, can put it somewhere easy to access physically then it is a nice system.