8.1
Score

Pros

  • Aesthetically Beautiful Speaker with Ambient Lights
  • Plug and Play experience with no app required to setup
  • Impressive sound stage and quite the party animal
  • AUX Input available on the back of the speaker

Cons

  • Targetted specifically for Niche Users
  • The bass is overpowering and lacks EQ Control

Harman is no strangers to the audio division, and they have been in the game for a long while. While the same brand has so many sub brands like JBL and Infinity – which we have reviewed some of their products, click here – Harman is considered to the premium ones, basically the cherry on top. That said, we got to take the Aura Studio 3 a spin and this is quite the twist.

Look and Feel

1/6

Speakers, in general, it only goes as far as looking pretty much the same at the end of the day – either cuboidal or square that is. The Aura Studio 3 takes the design element a little too serious than others. In fact, just because of that, it looks different and, in my opinion, – aesthetically pleasing. With this whole transparent dark smokey finish dome on top and a mesh covered speaker base at the bottom. The dome is just nice to look at because Harman Kardon decided to throw in lights into the speaker that give them this very ambient lighting – in fact, place this in an Avatar movie, people will think it’s some sort of different plant.

The lighting is just simply soothing to look and even nicer when it just flows with the music. The speaker has an exceptionally clean look and there aren’t any physical buttons you could press. There are touch buttons where you tap to control – the volume controls are on the front along with the light button. On the back of the speaker, you will find the Power and Bluetooth pairing button. The ports on the speaker are very well designed too – and it has an 3.5mm AUX Port for you to hook up a device of your liking, giving the flexibility you need to use them whichever way you like it – and this alone put the Aura Studio 3 way ahead as compared to the HUAWEI Sound X which we reviewed not too long ago.

Oh and its so easy to mistake this speaker for an Aroma Diffuser.

Specification

Specs wise, to put it simply – we are looking at a Bluetooth speaker that sits independently anywhere you decide to place in your home – be it, on your bedside table, dresser, living room – it’s entirely up to you. That out of the way, here’s what you will find under the speaker.

The Aura Studio 3 has 6 Mid-high range transducers equipped at the bottom for a 360-degree audio experience and a subwoofer positioned below the speaker which is a very strategically place location. It uses Bluetooth 4.2, which obviously isn’t the latest but its good enough for home users if you ask us. Finally, it supports A2DP 1.3 and AVRCP 1.6 – that means, controlling this speaker is a piece of cake.

You can checkout the rest of the specification here.

Sound Quality

Setting up the speaker is relatively simple and straightforward, like anyone can do it. I always say this, little thing matters and Harman has most definitely been nothing but thoughtful by including not one but four different Power Cables for you to connect the speakers to your adapter (it comes in US, UK, EU Pin) which means you don’t have to find for a Travel Adapter or a Universal one to get the speaker running. I love it. Once you do connect them and get it up and running, only thing you will have to do is pair and voila – you got your speakers up and running.

Now, we tested this speaker with one too many songs – which you can see in our The Adventures of Vesper Spotify Playlist – and to keep it simple in this review, we went for – EDM (Trap) to see the bass response, Pop for a little bit of everything, R&B for detail and Songs we personally enjoy on a daily basis.

Killa Shit Funk by Black Caviar and G.L.A.M – Bass intense and vocals are still intact with little details present. The staging – mindboggling and placing in a corner is nice. The bass response alters very well as the song kicks the notes. The whole song is crystal clear with surprisingly very marginally minimal loss to details.

C.U.B.A by Calvin Harris – the echoey vocal staging is present really well. Beat creeps in from the speaker slowly and then hits just right. The rest of the details are intact. We then tried the one with the vocals by Big Sean and the detailing is very impressive. Beautiful dynamic staging and a party machine.

For the most part, when we tried all of our songs – we noticed that the speaker falls very heavy on the bass end and if you really want to tune the bass out, you have to rely on your smartphone’s EQ but other than that, it’s hard to control from the speaker itself as everything is pretty much preset to work in just one way. I do like the fact that the speaker has a 3.5mm AUX input in the speaker, to make life easier for other users who do want to use these speakers for devices that they don’t have Bluetooth connectivity or quite the hassle to pair with. Now, what really stands out on this speaker, apart from the music listening experience, it’s the lighting.

1/2

The speaker has a cold white tone and has this wavy ridges on it, producing a very therapeutically nice to look at ambient light that moves in harmony and you could just tune to your favorite lo-fi or an indie artist like Sam Rui, BANKS and have a chill night. I am not surprised if the speaker fits well in an environment with your significant other having dinner at home and sorts. Again, I do wish it had some dials to adjust the bass because it’s very heavy.

Conclusion

Let me tell you something – the Harman Kardon Aura Studio 3 is absolutely no joke. What really impressed me is the fact on how its barely half a speaker and a showpiece and the listening experience is impressive and far better than what the Sound X offered. Which brings to the real question – priced at a whopping RM1299 which is way too much money for one speaker, should you get one?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Here’s why. The Harman Kardon Aura Studio 3 isn’t a speaker consumer are going to purchase to replace their bookshelf speakers and sorts, but more of a speaker that you want in your very own room when all the screens are off and all you need is that Ambient glow with a tasteful music experience, enjoying a cup of joe with a good book in your hand. It has its flaws and yes, the bass can be disruptive – but just tweak it down with your EQ on your phones.

One thing for sure, no speaker can come close to being visually pleasing as the Aura Studio 3.


Special Thanks to Harman Kardon for sending us the Aura Studio 3 for us to review and make this content happen.