Harman Kardon SB16 Soundbar and Wireless 100 Watt Subwoofer
While their JBL division handles most of their car audio and consumer-oriented products, the Harmon Kardon name is reserved for products that truly exemplify high quality audio, and the SB16 is no exception. Delivering 2.1 stereo sound from an internal 2-channel setup and its wireless remote subwoofer, the SB16 comes as close as possible to the sound of a true 5.1 system without all wires, complex room adjustments, and all the rest of the questionably worthwhile hassle involved in getting real surround sound. The stereo image produced by the SB16 is truly impressive, showcasing easily audible instrument separation with music, and a truly spacious presentation that normal sound bars simply can't touch. It is wider and more 3D than anything else in this list by a good margin. The sound is very natural with a tasteful bit of warmth, smooth but detailed treble, and a strong, clear midrange, none of which distort at all in reasonable listening volume range.
The subwoofer that compliments the SB16 deserves a review of it's own, but suffice to say it is simultaneously the best quality, most feature-rich, and most powerful companion out of every unit listed here. While it is capable of producing stomach-turning levels of bass when asked for, it also features an adjustable crossover, allowing you to designate the relative frequency at which bass stops being delivered by the bar itself and is transmitted through the subwoofer. This allows the system to be tuned in accordance with the acoustic characteristics of almost any room, but can also be used to add to or subtract from the system's perceived bass response. This feature, in conjunction with the enormous range of the system's wireless capability (easily over 20 feet), makes the SB16 compatible with just about any room imaginable, making it an ideal solution for rooms with poor or awkward acoustics that are not easily managed with a real surround sound system; thankfully the SB16 comes close enough to sounding like real surround to make it a very realistic solution for those with such dilemmas. Despite its hefty tag, the SB16 earns every penny that Harmon Kardon ask; I can't imagine anyone short of the ultra-picky audiophile being disappointed in any way.