Sound is truly amazing. A lot of people make a huge fuss over the speed, the image quality, and the physical setup of their home office. But after purchasing the Harman/Kardon Sound Sticks III, I’ve really seen what sound can add to your desk set up.
The Sound Sticks III are a three-part sound system, consisting of a subwoofer and two Sound Sticks. The Sound Sticks, and for the most part, the entire system, are incased by a firm, clear plastic called acrylic. The internals of the Sound Sticks III are made to match the current Macintosh color scheme (black, silver, etc). The Sound Sticks II, however, include yellow, and navy blue but provide the exact same sound.
The individual speakers are very nice looking. The base of them is a doughnut shaped, rubberized, weighted disk. This is attached to the acrylic body by a hinge, which enables the speaker to rotate 90 degrees. On the bottom of the Sound Stick there is an air intake, and on the right one, there are volume buttons. Each stick has four speakers on it, each providing individual sound, which really gives nice real-life effects. Overall the speakers fit very nicely into my desk setup, and I think that they would fit just the same into yours.
The subwoofer can only be described with one word; beast. It out preforms Bose subwoofers selling for two hundred dollars more. The Sound Sticks subwoofer is what is called a ‘down firing’ subwoofer. This means that instead of projecting outwards like a speaker would, it projects downward onto a flat surface. This makes sure that an even coating of bass is spread out everywhere.
The subwoofer’s design is very interesting. It is so abstract that your bound to have your own opinions on it. However personally I think the design is nice. It fits nicely right behind my monitor on my desk and lights up with a white LED when on. It’s a nice attention drawer, and could even be mistaken for an abstract piece of art. However, I do think that Harman/Kardon could have maybe make it a little boxier or more subwoofer like.
Overall, I think the design of these speakers is very nice. I wouldn’t say that they are the most good-looking speakers I’ve ever seen, but they certainly keep up with my desk standards. The one thing I’d have to complain about are the wires. The physical appearance is nice, with silver wires. However, the problem is the quantity. Below I’ll list the wires…
1. Wire going from right speaker to subwoofer
2. Wire going from left speaker to subwoofer
3. Wire going from subwoofer to computer
4. Wire going from subwoofer to powerbrick
5. Wire going from powerbrick to outlet
For me this is way to many wires. I happen to have a pretty nice under-desk wire management system, but I’d have to say that if you usually just run wires across the top of your desk then you’d be in trouble. Now, I’m not asking for a completely wireless system, as I do understand that would make it pretty expensive, but please! At least make the right and left modules wireless…
The sound of these speakers is the best part. All eight speakers (four on each stick), along with the subwoofer provide an unheard of sound. Because each speaker is ‘individual,’ there are a lot of different sounds that all come together beautifully. I’ve tested these babies out in a variety of different application genres and would like to share my results with you.
I, myself don’t do a lot of gaming on my computer. I play Angrybirds, Plants vs Zombies, and a few other casual games, but nothing hard-core. On angry birds, PvZ and a small ‘zombie killer’ I have called Biofrenzy, these games worked very nicely. The subwoofer really made the gunshots feel real and the high-pitched zombie groans to your right and left felt showed off the right and left balance. Again, I can’t say what hard core games would be like, but I assume they would work nicely.
Music and YouTube
Anywhere from Bach to Metallica, these speakers are amazing. You honestly have to experience them for yourself. I heard instruments in songs that I had never noticed before. I felt bass lines like they were right in front of me. I heard crispness of podcasts and YouTube videos like never before. I also listen to music a lot more now, because unlike many other cheap speakers, at low volumes they have the same clarity as at full volume.
Most of the time in video editing, you wear headphones. However you always want to listen to your finished product on a variety of things, to ensure you’re not missing anything if your headphones don’t project all sounds. When I bought these speakers, I was in the middle of editing a video. I was using my Macbook Pro 13″ to project the sound of it… and it sounded okay. However, after listening to it on the SoundSticks III, I heard things that were never even broadcasted off of my Macbook. I then edited them out, and it sounded amazing.
Overall I think these speakers are very amazing. They sell for around $170 USD and can be found on Amazon.com no exclusively for $130. I highly suggest heading over to you Apple Store and testing these out. After seeing these, I no longer consider Bose to have the best speakers. These might not be as good, but for half the price it’s a no-brainer.
The Harman/Kardon SoundSticks III get an excellent nine and a half.