Harman Kardon GLA-55 Multimedia Speaker System

I don't typically cover so-called multimedia speakers in this blog, but when I came across an ad for the GLA-55 from Harman Kardon in an upscale magazine, I was intrigued. The cabinet looks like it was chiseled from rock crystal, and its beauty turns out to extend well below the surface.

The 2-way GLA-55 is driven by an onboard class D amplifier that delivers 56 watts per channel at 1% THD to the drivers through a chrome-plated, solid-copper bus. The amp module includes a DSP-based equalizer, and the whole thing is electrically shielded with an integrated heatsink.

Low frequencies are reproduced by a 3-inch Atlas aluminum inverted-dome woofer capable of peak-to-peak excursions of nearly one inch. Enhancing the bass is Harman Kardon's Slipstream port with more surface area outside the enclosure than conventional ports, creating what the company calls an "adverse pressure gradient" that increases bass output while reducing port noise and distortion.

The other end of the frequency spectrum is handled by a 1-inch dome tweeter made of Harman's CMMD (Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm) material, which is used in high-end music and home-theater speakers from the company's Infinity brand. Combined with the woofer, this yields an overall frequency response from 35Hz to 20kHz. The specs indicate a tolerance of –10dB, which is a pretty severe rolloff at what I assume must be the top and/or bottom, so the effective range is probably narrower than specified.

At $1000/pair, the GLA-55 is the most expensive 2-channel multimedia speaker system I've seen. Does its performance justify such a high price? I don't know, but I do know it would look wicked cool flanking any computer screen.