Lord knows you’re not short of choice when it comes to selecting a wireless, voice-controlled speaker. Every nominally mainstream brand, from the venerable to the no-profile, seems to have a dog in the wireless speaker fight – and, in the case of more than one or two of them, ‘dog’ is an accurate, if rather unkind, description of their wireless, voice-controlled offerings. However, the tide is turning; there are a number of surprisingly high performance wireless loudspeakers (many from traditional audio companies) that go a long way to address the sound quality concerns raised by audio enthusiasts.
Given that it’s lately owned by Samsung, it’s safe to characterise Harman Kardon as a ‘mainstream’ brand – and one of the more venerable, at that. Hi-Fi+ heard (and, broadly speaking, enjoyed) its Citation Tower wireless, voice-controlled stereo pair earlier this year – but those are (by prevailing standards) statement speakers, range-toppers designed to illustrate just what this combination of technologies might be capable of. This Citation 500, by contrast, is much more typical of the category: a single unit, designed to sit on a desk- or table- or kitchen work-top, with wireless connectivity your only option.
No matter the surface you choose to sit Citation 500 on, you’ll need to clear a bit of space. At 21 × 37 x 17cm (h × w × d), the Harman Kardon isn’t the most discreet wireless speaker on the market – and it’s not like the design does anything to minimise the bulk. Instead, Harman Kardon has attempted to make the Citation 500 look expensive in an anonymous kind of way. Yet again, I find myself livid at not having invested in Danish textile company Kvadrat before the boom in the wireless speaker market got under way. No matter if you decide you’d like a Citation 500 in black or grey, the speaker’s absolutely swathed in Kvadrat’s acoustic fabric – just like a hundred other wireless speakers.