(Pocket-lint) - The search for a good soundbar can feel a little all-consuming, at times. If you've already made it over the hurdle of finding exactly the right TV, in terms of size and design, for your home, it can be daunting to consider starting again by picking between the many soundbar options on the market right now.
Thankfully, there are some outstanding candidates out there to look at. One of our favourite soundbars of recent years, for example, is the Harman Kardon Citation Bar, which we've been using since we got our hands on it a few months ago. We wanted to run you through some of the reasons why you might want to make it the newest addition to your TV setup.
1. It looks stunning
As we've mentioned, finding a new soundbar to fit seamlessly into your home isn't the simplest task. So many examples on the market are in the same mold of boring black plastic tubes, with potentially decent sound but simply uninspiring looks. Even the more premium end of the market is beset by boring design.
Not so, for the Citation Bar. This is a speaker that stands apart, even if you don't have it nestled under a TV. With an all-over mesh design, and tastefully-chosen colour options in light and dark grey, the Citation Bar clearly demonstrates that its owner cares about sound. With only a tiny display in the middle of the soundbar's top side interrupting the mesh, it's a distinctive but subtle look that is certain to draw compliments.
2. The sound speaks for itself
Of course, design is one thing, but you need your soundbar to sound great, or there's not much point in investing. The whole point is to improve on that tinny TV audio, right?
Well, the Citation Bar delivers in spades on that front. It's a three-channel soundbar in one package, with 20mm tweeter and two 100 x 50mm racetrack woofers for each speaker. That means you'll have clear directional stereo sound, and that separate central speaker is almost entirely dedicated to ensuring that dialogue comes through the mix clearly. You'll also get nice, rumbling bass — although if you want to crank it up to earth-shattering levels, you can always pick up an additional Citation Sub to get truly shaken.
3. It's got real smarts
Harman Kardon hasn't gone the easy route of making a soundbar for your TV and leaving it at that, though. It's also made the Citation Bar a full-on smart speaker in its own right, with Google Assistant baked in to take care of your requests and commands.
That means you get hands-free voice control over the speaker's functions, if you want it, as well as the whole gamut of Google Assistant options, whether you want to know what's in your diary today, to do some quick currency conversions, or to control some of the devices in your smart home without getting up.
Once you have a powerful smart speaker in your living room, you won't know how you ever lasted without one. It's the shortcut of all shortcuts, and the fact that any music you request will come through in superb quality from the soundbar is the icing on the cake.
4. Chromecast is in the mix
Taking it one step further, though, Harman Kardon's also thrown Google Chromecast into the mixer, as the cherry on the cake. It doesn't mean traditional inputs are skimped on, though — there's an optical digital input, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and three HDMI inputs, plus an HDMI output with support for ARC (Audio Return Channel). That's enough connectivity for almost anyone, and certainly an upgrade on most soundbars on the market.
Chromecast is still a brilliant addition, though. It means you're free to stream music however is easiest for you, making sure that the soundbar is serving your needs rather than obstructing them.
5. Control's in the palm of your hand
Voice control and smart assistants are fantastic, but we also know that some people simply don't want them — that's totally fair enough. One of the unsung features that we love about the Citation Bar, in that light, is that you can always rely on the remote that comes with it for fine control. At the touch of a button you can adjust the sound settings for the soundbar, change which input it's playing from, turn on settings like a night mode that dulls the dynamic range to spare your neighbours, and more.
Plus, on the soundbar's top, that little touchscreen also holds controls for the various settings, meaning that even a misplaced remote won't sink you. That's the sort of user-first design that really wins us over when using a speaker for a long period of time.
The Harman Kardon Citation Bar has a range of strings to its bow, then, from great sound to smart design and attractive looks. You can pick the soundbar up from Currys PC World right now.