Harman Kardon, the American maker of audio equipment, has that set several benchmarks in the history of music systems. It introduced the world's first AM/FM compact high fidelity (Hi-Fi) receivers in 1954. This was back in the time when listening to music on the radio meant you needed a tuner to capture radio signals, a preamplifier, a power amplifier and speakers. It was Harman Kardon that combined these multiple components into one unit called the receiver, which would make listening to radio as simple as we know it.
Today Harman Kardon might be a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, manufacturing home and car audio equipment, but it was founded in 1953 by Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon, who invested $5,000 each in the business. And it was about a year later that the duo launched their compact high-fidelity receiver, the Festival D1000. The shape, form, function and size of the D1000 was a forerunner of the modern radio.
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Harman Kardon runs on two mottos – the first, to reproduce sound exactly as the artist intended it to be heard. Their audio speakers are created to produce beautiful and clear music just as you would hear in recording studios. The second, is to make music look as beautiful as it sounds, through their cutting-edge design.
All through the ’50s and ’60s, the brand continued to seek out new technologies. In the late 1960s, Harman Kardon collaborated with a young high-tech firm, which had innovative ideas such as reducing audio noise. This company was Dolby Laboratories and Harman Kardon products continue to feature Dolby equipment like the Dolby Digital receivers even today.
It was no surprise then that by the mid-70s, Harman Kardon was a leader in American consumer audio. Soon, the company changed its name to Harman International Industries, but retained Harman Kardon as an individual brand.
In the late ’90s, when CDs and MP3s were taking over, Harman Kardon launched its CDR 2, the world’s first CD audio recorder with 4x dub speed. This helped music enthusiast accumulate more sounds and songs quickly. with no loss of audio quality.
Other achievements on their books include the award-winning SoundSticks computer speakers. Designed in partnership with Apple, the speakers won an Industrial Design Excellence Award given by the Industrial Designers Society of America and were featured on the cover of I.D. magazine. Their path-breaking design also earned them a permanent display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
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Harman Kardon also patented the EzSet remote that allowed owners of multichannel audio systems to calibrate their speakers automatically for spectacular surround sound.
In 2008, Harman Kardon’s AVR 354 audio/video receiver was awarded the Product of the Year gong by the prestigious Electronics Hour magazine.
In the early 2000s, the brand teamed up with Microsoft to develop a high-tech remote control for computers and in 2017, it launched a smart speaker called Invoke with Cortana by Microsoft. Just like Alexa or Google Home, Invoke is Microsoft’s personal digital assistant for your home.
Harman Kardon continues to make home and car speakers with high design values. It supplies or supplied audio equipment to several vehicle manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, MG Rover, Volvo, and Buick.
At CES 2018, their audio system even featured embedded in a luxury massage chair, which you can read about here
This penchant for innovation in music technology has not slowed down at all – the brand continues to produce top-of-the-line music devices, right from portable navigation speakers to powerful 7.1 channel systems and excellent car audio players. Every product is engineered to deliver a world-class music experience.
Cover Image via theverge.com, images via ebay and onedayonly
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