Harman Kardon Citation 200 Review: Portable speaker with a punch

Citation 200

The Harman Kardon Citation 200 is a next generation smart speaker with rich sound in a versatile compact design. A key design feature of the Citation 200 is the sleek leather handle. High quality Kvadrat material is stain and fire resistant.

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Google Assistant lets you control your Citation wireless home audio system with your voice. Ask questions and get answers, play music, plan your day, have fun, control your smart home – all with your voice!

As before, the fabrics from the Danish company Kvadrat are used in the decoration. Let us remind you that this textile is resistant to dirt, mechanical damage and even – for a short time – to fire. In addition, it is designed to delight the eye with a special color scheme that combines many color shades in a strict “monochrome”. In short, the model demonstrates a signature premium design in the style of elegant minimalism, which has been recognized more than once with international awards.

And the Harman Kardon Citation 200 also has a handle: simple, flexible and foldable. It came in very handy: you can easily and freely move the sounding speaker from room to room – and it turned out that such a home portable successfully complements a stationary audio system.

To recharge the speaker, just put it on a round platform with electrical contacts. According to passport data, she needs 3 hours to fully recover from scratch. A full charge, in turn, is enough for 8 hours of battery life.

Compared to other related “cylinders”, the acoustic armament of the Citation 200 has increased markedly. Inside the column there is a 25-mm tweeter and a 120-mm midrange / woofer diffuser (for comparison: the “100th” model has 20 mm and 102 mm, respectively). On the sides of the main speakers are two passive woofers.

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Flexible handle makes the speaker truly portable

The speaker cabinet feels very rigid to the touch and when tapped, creating a sense of solidity – as further listening showed, together with a well-thought-out shape, this largely helped to avoid resonances and rattles at high volumes.

Home atmosphere

Looking closely at the Harman Kardon Citation 200 (as well as any other model from this line), it should be borne in mind that this is not just a wireless speaker, but a multimedia device that can be combined into a multi-room system and be part of a “smart home”, as well as compose a full-fledged stereo pair with a similar model.

The speaker supports 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connections, and also works in the Google Home ecosystem and connects to compatible devices via AirPlay and Chromecast.

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It is convenient to charge the column using a special stand

I would like to give you a piece of advice right away: if you expect to get the right impression, then the first listening to the Citation 200 should be carried out by including music files in high resolution via a Wi-Fi connection.

On the contrary, I hurried up and launched a folder with test files via Bluetooth. And the sound, contrary to high expectations, seemed to me just … “normal”, and after activating the software enhancer in the smartphone – “just good.”

Indeed, the Bluetooth connection in the Citation line is considered more of a bonus feature, and the developers did not even bother using advanced codecs, limiting themselves to the usual SBC. There is no need to waste your time if in a Wi-Fi environment the entire lineup confidently works with a Hi-Res stream of 24 bit / 96 kHz.

Therefore, I quickly corrected the mistake by connecting the speaker to my home Internet network using the Google Home application in my smartphone – at the same time the speaker appeared in the menu of desktops. At the same time, Google Assistant has been activated.

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At the back are a Wi-Fi signal indicator, an additional USB-C connector for recharging and a microphone mute button

I remember that the rest of the models in the line had no problems with the language barrier, so I decided to just wait for the software update, but for now I switched to a dialogue with the column in Shakespeare’s language – and the system began to communicate quite briskly, giving out a weather forecast or recalling the year of the first premiere ” Barber of Seville “Rossini.

We will make you beautiful

The Google Home mobile application is not designed to adjust the sound of the speaker and only allows you to remotely adjust the volume, which can also be changed by physical buttons on the top panel of the speaker, and at the same time to influence the timbre.

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You can adjust the volume and tone using the physical buttons

Lows and highs are switched between four preset levels by simultaneously pressing a combination of buttons “Bluetooth” and “+/–”. You can additionally tweak the sound using a third-party software equalizer in your smartphone or computer.

As practice has shown, hands are often stretched to tune the timbre, especially if your household prefers different genres. On ringing pop, both speakers seem to strive to drive your membranes deeper into your head, and you have to set the minimum values ​​of the lows and highs, and then add them to the maximum if you want to listen to calm instrumental compositions.

However, you don’t have to pretend to be a music lover and just set the second stage at low frequencies and the third at the top (determined experimentally), forget about the equalizer – and the smart built-in DSP will provide you with quite acceptable universally pleasant sound. At these settings, I listened to test recordings using the iMac and the Audirvana program via AirPlay.

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The developers know that such a segment of speakers is often used by an audience that prefers electropop and genres that are similar in sound, so is it any wonder that the compositions from Zivert or, excuse me, Yegor Bulatkin-Creed sound bright, rich and effective – in a word, the adherents will be delighted … Classic electronics in the person of Yello, Kraftwerk and our native Zodiac are also served at a good level, adjusted for the lack of stereo effects.

The processor handles tough guitar mud, too, so you can turn on a Rammstein or Muse at a decent volume without worrying about an unintelligible mess. But here DSP does not parse complex material into intelligible details, as high-quality equipment does, but simply smooths out obvious flaws in the sound. But with this approach, even Amon Amarth or DragonForce do not cause rejection.

Soft rock – like The Alan Parsons Project – is very smooth and musical acoustics, as well as well-written progressive like Wisborn Ash’s “Argus” album.

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Harman Kardon Citation 200 presents all genres of classical music, as well as jazz in a very lively and seemingly natural way. As if – because I could not get rid of the feeling that all violins, cellos, horns (and further down the list) DSP deliberately embellishes to a certain ideal level in his own “chamber of measures and weights”. On the other hand, these are the costs of the speaker form factor – in such conditions the processor squeezes out the maximum possible quality from the acoustics.

Background accompaniment

To appreciate the Citation 200, you need to correctly understand the scenarios for its use. It is hardly suitable as the only acoustics for thoughtful and focused listening to music (although there are no categorical contraindications to this either).

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But as an additional portable speaker that creates a comfortable background music, the device fits perfectly into any home or office.

Unlike a scrupulously placed stereo system with its directional sound, the Citation 200 confidently and voluminously broadcasts to the whole room (or even an apartment) from almost any corner – from a chest of drawers, a table or a windowsill.

There is no need for direct orientation of its speakers towards the listener – rest assured that the participants of a feast, party or any other intimate event will find the sound smooth and melodic. Hardly anyone in such situations bothers with the search for details and micro-nuances of the recording.

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The Citation 200 broadcasts loud and spacious from virtually anywhere in the room

At the same time, support for high-resolution files allows you to find a clear advantage in detail, volume and expressiveness when compared directly with Bluetooth transmission. Also, the speaker, despite the monophonic sound, wins with a devastating score over the built-in acoustics of TVs, laptops and tablets when watching movies, multimedia content or sounding computer games.

Conclusion

This speaker is a pleasure to listen to when doing household chores and moving it from room to room. And it will also help to take a break from audiophilia, when the hearing is simply comfortable and does not want to delve into the notorious details, attacks, ups and downs. However, the Harman Kardon Citation 200 allows you to hear much more than many wireless models of comparable size.

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