JBL vs Harman Kardon




Both JBL and Harman Kardon are leading names in the audio devices/equipment industry. These two have over the years been tagged with a mark of distinction for the quality their products offer. However, there are still one or two features that clearly distinguish one from the other.

JBL products cut across a wide range of audio products -from the bedside wireless speaker to a more powered anywhere party speaker. JBL speakers have recorded immense growth over the last few decades adding on awesome features for ease of use -including the modern assistant feature. Harman Kardon speakers are on the other hand built with a soft touch that sounds natural yet gives an out-of-the-box sound delivery.  The Harman speakers are more friendly for use at home.

Let’s go into the details in a bid to be able to get a better look at the two brands

Is JBL the Same as Harman Kardon?

Is JBL the Same as Harman Kardon? Harman is the parent company behind several audio brands including JBL® and Harman Kardon®.

No! They are independent of each other. Here is a historical background that will be best to understand these two brands.

Harman Kardon

Harman Kardon is a name coined from the last name of the two founders, Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon.

Harman kardon

It is an American Speaker company established in 1953. The company has been focused on making quality speakers since its inception and as such was one of the first designers of high-quality audio products.

Notably amongst this was the Festival D1000 which was an AM/FM compact high fidelity receiver produced in 1955.

Following the retirement of Bernard Kardon in 1956, the company took on a new name Harman International. This was due to Bernard Kardon selling off his share of the company to Sidney Harman, making him the sole owner of the company.

But this does not seem to have much effect since now Harman International still sells most of the audio products under the name “Harman Kardon”.

Another thing that gave the Harman Kardon brand popularity was the introduction of their stereo receiver, Festival TA 320. The stereo receiver was designed for use by non-technical users.


The JBL speaker manufacturing company was founded in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing who was an Audio engineer at the time.

Hence, JBL is from the initials of James Bullough Lansing. He is most notably known for the JBL and the Altech Lansing, which are two powerful speakers sold with his name.

JBL Company

The popularity of the JBL speaker has gone far and wide with recorded success in the speaker company across many countries.

The company was initially known as James B. Lansing Sound incorporated, and some of the first JBL speakers were simply called Lansing Sound. The foremost and most referenced of the Lansing sound is the L100 century loudspeaker introduced in 1970.

JBL introduced the 375 high-frequency compressor drivers in the 1950s as a re-invention of the western electric 594 drivers. It immediately became popular as the first 4-inches diaphragm driver that is commercially available. The diaphragm driver had a 4-inch voice coil and an Altico V magnet.

The company also introduced the 075 UHF ring radiator driver, which was famously called the “JBL bullet” as a result of the design that looks like a bullet.

Harman Kardon Speakers Vs JBL speakers

One of the most distinguishing features of the Harman Kardon speakers is the design of the speakers.

They are crafted in stylish designs with impressive sound delivery. These factors make them an amazing choice for use at home because it blends in as part of the room’s aesthetic and still guarantees an amazing sound. Everything about their designs is different and special. Even their dust caps. Some Harman Kardon dust caps are anti-dust silicone lip covers which aren’t like the typical dust caps or the dust caps that you can make yourself.

However, with the high quality also comes a high price. Most Harman Kardon speakers are quite expensive, meaning you might be digging deeper into your budget to get one.

JBL speakers are also some of the best speakers on the market, known for their crisp and balanced audio quality that can be enjoyed anywhere. You will most likely be recommended a JBL speaker because they have some of the best wireless speakers.

JBL speakers employ the best Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect easily and faster. You can use them effectively without distortion in the sound over a reasonable distance. Aside from their effective connectivity, JBL also has some other interesting features that include:

  • Power efficiency
  • Affordability
  • Ease of Use
  • Quality sound delivery
  • Longer battery span
  • Portability

JBL vs Harman Kardon: Which is Better?

That will be dependent on your preference. However, while JBL is the best choice for on-the-go and outdoor experience, Harman Kardon is better indoors due to its stylish designs.

But, when other factors such as pricing are considered JBL speakers are more affordable than Harman Kardon.

Harman Kardon vs JBL Soundbar

To compare the two better we will use a closely similar soundbar of the two; Harman Kardon SB20 and JBL Bar 5.1.

Harman Kardon SB20


  • It has Dolby Atmos-enabled.
  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with both wired (HDMI) and wireless (Bluetooth) connectivity
  • It has a sleek design that fits in well with the room settings.


  • Expensive
  • Short-range wireless connectivity

JBL Bar 5.1


  • Multibeam surround sound
  • Balanced bass function
  • Room correction
  • Efficient Bluetooth connectivity


  • It supports just 2 EQ preset
  • It has no Dolby Atmos support

Harman Kardon VS JBL Boomboxes 


Harman Kardon Astra Wireless Bluetooth Speaker


  • Supports voice assistant
  • Strong Bluetooth connectivity
  • Ease of use
  • Quality sound delivery with crisp mid-range
  • Clear bass delivery


  • Distorted bass when used indoor
  • One EQ setting
  • Rough edge design

JBL Xtreme 3


  • Immersive and deep bass delivery
  • Strong battery for long playtime
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Strong Bluetooth connection


  • It is quite heavy for carrying around
  • Has just 1 EQ setting
  • Can only pair with other JBL speakers with party boost features.


Although Harman Kardon and JBL are leading brands in the audio device industry, JBL is more popular. This is because of its affordability and ease of use for outdoor gatherings. However, this does not mean Harman Kardon speakers are bad. They also produce high-quality speakers with a sublime sound that delivers out-of-the-box music enjoyment but they can be quite expensive. You just need to weigh your options properly to know which one works best for you.

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