For the multiroom system that Harman Kardon put on its feet, the company has released a number of speakers. The Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus is the largest model, except for the soundbar, which also has a built-in battery and can therefore also be worn in the garden. The speaker has a suggested retail price of 549 euros.
The Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus is part of the new Plus series of the company. It is also a second chance for the Omni series, which got a lot of criticism in the past. For the Omni Plus series, Harman has therefore re-released the available speakers. Earlier we looked at the Harman Kardon Omni 10 Plus and Omni 20 Plus and the Harman Kardon Omni Bar Plus. Now we look at the portable and therefore much more flexible speaker of the whole: the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus.
Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus – design and specifications
The design of the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus, how could it be otherwise, largely corresponds to the other speakers within the same series. The difference is not in the back or top, but the front. Instead of a layer of dust, we encounter a hard front here. That front can also have a different color (gray) and thus stands out next to the Omni 10, 20 and Bar Plus. For the rest, the design is the same and you come across the same buttons on the top, with the addition of LED lights for the battery.
For clarity: it’s a source, two volume, the pause / play – and a large Link button. There is also an LED ring for different colors for that Link button. On the back is not only the connection for the power supply, but also an opening for usb and aux. The USB port is unfortunately not used for linking a music source, but the aux port of course is. You can connect old-fashioned or ‘stupid’ devices, such as a turntable, and play that music through the other speakers in the network.
The Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus has two ninety-millimeter woofers and two tweeters nineteen millimeters, which together have a capacity of one hundred watts. In addition to support for the 2.4 GHz frequency, there is also support for 5 GHz. That can be good for your home network in the long run, since 2.4 GHz is getting pretty full. There is also support for bluetooth and you can play music in a higher quality than on CDs: 24bit / 192kHz. The built-in battery lasts up to five hours.
Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus – installation
The installation process of the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus is kept simple. When you take the speaker out of the box, plug the plug into the socket to charge it. Then you grab the app and you can start with the simple step-by-step plan, which explains step by step what the intention is. Did you buy multiple speakers for this multiroom network at once? Do not turn them all on at the same time, but one by one. So you can be sure that the app picks the right speaker and you know for sure that the installation is going well.
If you have switched on one speaker, it will jump into the search mode. When the Link button flashes slowly, you can link it to your Wi-Fi network. On iOS, this process will be automated (the Wi-Fi password will be shared immediately), but Android users need to take an extra step. The Wi-Fi password must be entered manually. Also no problem, but sometimes you do not know that password by yourself or you do not have it at hand. The iOS app does something smarter with Apple technology.
Before you connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi network, you can indicate where that state is. Harman Kardon has a number of rooms (such as the bedroom, the kitchen or the office, but there are many more options available), but you can also design something completely yourself. You can do this by means of different colors (making it easier for you to recognize groups) or by giving a personal name (such as bedroom child 1 or for example a pantry, just to give examples).
Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus – in use
The Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus can thus be used in a multiroom setup. By buying and connecting several speakers from the same series (Omni Bar Plus, Omni 20 Plus and Omni 10 Plus), you can play the same music via the Wi-Fi network at all places in the house where the speakers are located. Within the app you can then choose different sources, such as the built-in music streaming services Tidal or Deezer. You do not need an additional application for this. You simply have access to all functions.
This integrated method provides both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you do not need an extra app for the built-in services and you can control everything from the Harman Kardon app. The disadvantage is that these services can not immediately benefit from the updates that are released by app makers, so you have to deal with an inferior version in some cases. But in general you have little trouble in practice. You can just play music as you expect from the services.
You can also choose other services such as Spotify or Google Play Music. These services are not integrated, but do have another advantage: Spotify Connect and Google Cast. You can activate the speaker from the HK Controller app or the music streaming service app without having to physically stand next to the speaker. In this specific case it is true that the speaker should be in standby and that is only the case when the plug is in the socket. Otherwise the 50 Plus will go out after a while.
As mentioned earlier, you can also connect your audio devices to the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus via the aux-port. This could for example be a music player or a portable audio device. Via the Wi-Fi network you can then forward these numbers to the other speakers by pressing the Link button. That also applies to all other music, whether you do that via bluetooth, wifi or local. You can choose from one of the five connected sources and play the same music anywhere, or anywhere else.
You do not need the app here in principle. If you know that your partner in the living room is listening to a LP that is connected via the analog cable, you can listen to the same music in the garage (if you have a speaker there). Curious about what your children listen to via Spotify or Google Play Music? With the press of a button you switch on and you can listen in. It is also possible to combine or disconnect the speakers via the HK Controller application, but that is also possible via Google Home.
Unfortunately, Harman Kardon does not offer any means to adjust the music to your own hearing. So you have to do it with the sound that comes out of the speaker. There are no options for this in the app. It would have been a nice extra if it was chosen before, because the sound is unfortunately not in every situation sanctifying (more about that, but no need: it sounds good in all other cases). So you must at least take into account that the sound can not be changed and that is just a shame.
We measured the use of the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus in the Google Wifi app and quickly came to the conclusion that the consumption is extremely low. Your network will therefore not suffer. Sometimes the speaker may lose its connection at the 2.4 GHz frequency, but you will not be bothered by the 5 GHz frequency. When the connection is lost, you immediately hear that in the music. It starts to crack and stutter and no one cares – so if possible, take that 5 GHz connection.
Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus – audio quality
From Harman Kardon you can expect a lot in the field sound and we can happily conclude that the company simply delivers. The music reproduction is very detailed and mounted, so we can see the added value of the Omni 10 and Omni 20 Plus. The support for HD audio makes the speaker really good, since the sound is clean and clear. If you put the Omni 50 Plus in a good angle with a good surface, you can easily fill the room with sound.
One aspect is a bit disappointing: the bass reproduction is sometimes very present. The sound can be dominating and we do not think so, so it would have been nice if we could adjust that ourselves (or if sound modes would be available in the form of pop, rock, r & b, etc.). So you have to do it with this view. However, if you do not listen to fast dance, house or comparable songs, you will not be bothered by it. However, it remains something to be reckoned with.
The high tones sound very clear and can go quite high, without you having the idea that they are being measured or shortened somewhere. It also does not sound fast or shrill anywhere and you can really enjoy without having to bother with something. About the tones in the middle we can also conclude that they sound very nice. This speaker has, despite its still fairly compact size, a range of most, but you pay for it. Had the noise been disappointing, the product immediately lost its value.
Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus – conclusion
When you pay 549 euros for a speaker, you have high expectations. And Harman Kardon simply lives up to these expectations. Yes, the price tag is high and that is a disadvantage, but you do get a speaker with excellent sound reproduction and an incredibly dynamic range. The music can really look up, while it can also go really deep. Sometimes these lower tones sound just a bit too much for certain types of music – so it’s a pity that we can not adjust the reproduction anywhere.
In addition to a more than fine multiroom speaker, the Harman Kardon Omni 50 Plus can also be moved. Portable is another word: with his more than three kilos you will not want to move him often – but wherever he is, he stands firmly (and besides that it is splashproof, so you can also place it in the garden). Keep in mind that the speaker works best on a 5 GHz frequency, but then you are good to go . A nice addition to your multiroom setup, but also a very nice independent speaker.