Harman Kardon SoundSticksII a failure of technology

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LeoNobilis, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. LeoNobilis macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2006
    The Netherlands
    Hello, fellow MacRumors readers,

    Let me warn [those who haven't experience with the speakers, but are likely to consider a pair] that Harman Kardon's SoundSticksII are a perfect waste of money!
    Why? I'll relate my experience; first with a summary of its neutral points/positives:

    - The sound quality is above mediocre, although not particularly high (by all accounts inferior to now out-of-production Apple HiFi speakerbox: I have one of each, and although not what one refers to as an "audiophile", do discern the qualitative differences in sound rendering). The SoundSicksII, among other things, distort the sound quite a bit more than alternatives (Apple Hi-Fi, in the case in question) when the volume is turned up considerably. However, I allow that it must be better than €30,- Logitech speakers (but who would expect otherwise!).

    That was about it, the positives. Now, to the core of my review, the Negatives:

    - First off, one of the speakers randomly loses contact with the subwoofer/power. Monkeying about with the cord on occasion works, but generally proves futile. The issue has bugged me from the day I set up the thing a couple of years ago, having just bought it, new.

    - Many are drawn to the thing - the purplish-blue light emitted through the transparent case of the subwoofer - and not people alone, but also all sorts of insects (in very particular, moths). I hadn't even suspected I shared my house with moths until my late discovery of tens of them adorning the transparent internals of the subwoofer! The thing exudes an air of infinite hospitality to the insects, apparently. You see, due to the nature of the construction - it's open - any insect or arachnid - from an ant to a giant tarantula - can find its way into the thing.

    - I tried to open the thing, but the screws, fastening the base to the lid, about 5 cm each, broke! All but one - that's three - they are cemented into the assembly!

    - I called a local authorised Harman-Kardon service centre (there's but one in the whole of the country) to report the problem and to appoint a service session. Their response was entirely exclusive of the slightest willingness to collaborate: "No, alas, we can't do a thing to help you! The SoundSicks are not designed to be repaired. The guarantee never implies repairs, but since you're well over the guarantee period (e.g., 1 year since the date of purchase), you're not eligible for a replacement. At any rate, we can't help you!"

    That's my experience with the Harman-Kardon's SoundSticksII (aka irreparable Moth-House).
  2. kornyboy macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Considering that the sound sticks have been sold for around 10 years I will say that there are better speaker sets out there for the same or less money by I have been reasonably happy with the ones that I have had for about 7 years now. I hate that you had a sub par experience with them.
  3. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    My girlfriend has those, they're amazing speakers, best looking speakers I've ever seen, definitely not the best sounding, but for that you need to spend thousands...

    With your subwoofer problem, just sounds like you have a dodgy connection, just take it back and ask for a replacement, just because yours has a issue doesn't mean they all do, and "warning people" is a bit overkill...
  4. marcre macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2008
    East coast
    I've had the original USB soundsticks for about 8 years and they are great. Look good and sound good. Still sound as good as the day I got them. I actually just sold them last Saturday because I'm going to get some Bose speakers. I was extremely happy with the sound sticks though. I'd recommend them to anyone and I did when I worked for Apple.
  5. tkidBOSTON macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2005
    The Hub of the Universe
    You have some odd problems that sound pretty unique to what you have going on. If you have a faulty cable, you should get it replaced. And telling people to stay away from the speakers because you have bugs climbing up in there sounds like more of a problem with your dwelling, not with the speakers.

    I own these speakers and I love them.
  6. PrincessPeach macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2009
    I loved my SoundSticks! Unfortunately they finally died a few months ago. I never experienced any insect problems - perhaps you have more adventurous wildlife where you live than I do...

    I picked up some JBL Creatures to replace the SoundSticks but the sound quality is noticeably much worse even with my hearing. Still, I can't afford yet another set of speakers so I just got used to it.

    Good to know that they don't repair, though. Something to bear in mind for next time I'm buying. Still, I loved the tiny satellite footprints on my desk and the richer sound.
  7. bowlby87 macrumors member


    Apr 11, 2009
    York, UK
    Loving my Soundstick II's too still, had problems initially getting the sound right but now there perfect :)
  8. rkdiddy macrumors 65816


    Mar 19, 2008
    OC Baby!
    That is too bad, I've heard some great things about the SoundSticks.
  9. C0rnholio macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2013
    Anyone having a broken pair of Soundsticks ( regardless what edition ) or ones that can't be used due to missing parts ?
  10. Scrapula macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I have an original set, but they are still working great. Sorry.
  11. Rocketpaul macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    i did consider the soundsticks, but then i discovered the bose companion 20s, now you can hate bose all you like but the c20s are the best pc 2.0 speakers i have heard.
  12. C0rnholio macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2013
    :) Usually the Bose hate doesn't come from the fact that they have BAD products, it's just because they have OVERPRICED products, that's all :)
  13. chsplyr macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2014
    Still Need a broken Pair?


    I have a set of Soundsticks II. They look great, but don't work. Are you still looking to find a broken set?



    I have a set. They look great but don't work. Are you still interested in finding a broken set?

Share This Page