Testing the Harman Kardon Citation 300 multi-room speaker: compact & smart Despite its compact design, the Harman Cardon Citation 300 offers stereo sound. The multi-room speaker also proved to be versatile in the test. 8:40 p.m. tech stage

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testing the harman kardon citation 300 multi room speaker compact.jpeg
testing the harman kardon citation 300 multi room speaker compact.jpeg

Despite its compact design, the Harman Cardon Citation 300 offers stereo sound. The multi-room speaker also proved to be versatile in the test.

If you only have little space available, you often cannot set up a real stereo system with two physically separate channels for optimal stereo sound. Compact loudspeakers like the Harman Cardon Citation 300, which houses both channels in one housing, help here. Because of the smaller distance between the loudspeakers, the stereo effect is reduced. In fact, such compact stereo solutions are more common in the multi-room area, such as with the Sonos Five (test report) . However, language assistants, such as those offered by the Harman Cardon Citation 300, are often missing.

Once you get used to it, you will also want to command Google Assistant or Alexa on a stereo multi-room speaker . Harman Kardon doesn’t shy away from the challenge here. The Citation 300 is the smaller brother of the Citation 500. Can it compete with this one?

We have already tested simpler models from Harman Kardon, such as the Citation One MK II (test report) and the Citation 200 (test report) with a battery. They are all compatible with each other and form a veritable multi-room system.

Harman Kardon Citation 300  

The Citation 300 – optionally with a black or gray cover – is the intermediate stage between the single smart speaker Citation One (test report) and the Citation 500. It measures 30.6 x 18 x 14.2 centimeters and weighs 4.6 kilograms for this device class handy and offers space for two sets of 20 mm tweeters and 89 mm woofers with a total music output of 100 watts. This is also sufficient for larger rooms. The loudspeaker is supplied directly with 230 volt mains voltage, a “mains tap” would not have made sense with this size and performance. The mains connection is the only connection on the loudspeaker – everything else runs wirelessly.

Volume up/ down are initially the only controls, the rest is done via a small, colored touchscreen like on the larger models. This first greets you with a request to select the language, which you should do as much as possible before setting up the smart speaker in the Google Home app. Otherwise, the setup in the app will hang until the language is selected on the speaker.

The WLAN status is displayed on the touchscreen as well as system updates, the bass intensity can also be adjusted there, Bluetooth is activated there or the microphone is switched off. The current piece of music can then be read on a second screen that can be reached by swiping, switching to the next one and playing it can be started and stopped. This is exemplary – it gives you a better grip on Google Chromecast, which is generally rather unstable outside of Spotify, and it is also easy to play local music files, Qobuz or podcasts. In fact, the equipment is identical to the more expensive Citation 500, so you don’t “miss out” any features with the Citation 300.

Harman Kardon Citation 300  

The speakers can be set up in different groups in multi-room configurations. 5 GHz WiFi is also available. Airplay is available for Apple users .

Playing music from the Internet is easy thanks to Google voice recognition, whether radio stations via the pre-installed tune-in or canned music via YouTube Music , Spotify and other streaming services. The built-in microphones for voice recognition work well even at higher volumes. Local files can be played via Bluetooth and with Chromecast via WLAN. The two transmission paths are seamlessly blended into one another, which the user does not immediately notice.

Despite its compactness, the Harmon Kardon Citation 300 delivers solid, but thanks to the equalizer, not booming bass even in acoustically unfavorable locations. The stereo playback is good close to the device, the mids are clear and the highs are transparent, as is usual with Harman Kardon – except for Bluetooth playback.

Harman Kardon Citation 300  

With Bluetooth, the Citation 300 also lacks apt-X for better sound from Android devices: The sound quality is balanced for local files from smartphones, Spotify and Qobuz and increases in this order, but lacks in treble. In return, the listener is spared the severe artefacts of the Citation One (test report) in Bluetooth mode. Bluetooth should be the second choice for listening to music anyway, because it doesn’t allow multi-room operation.

Streamed via Chromecast and WiFi or called up via the language assistant, all sources are convincing, whether Tune-In, local files, Spotify and Qobuz, with the quality increasing in this order and Qobuz then allowing the full brilliance of the speaker to be heard.

The Citation 300 is significantly cheaper than its big 500 brother: it has a list price of almost 400 euros, which saves 250 euros compared to the larger model and some space, without the Citation 300 being perceived as too small.

The sound of the Harman Kardon Citation 300 is also slightly narrower than that of the Citation 500 due to the slightly narrower stereo base and the smaller housing with smaller speakers, but this is hardly noticeable when listening close to the device. In return, you get a system that, despite the significantly lower price, offers almost all the functions of its big brother, leaves almost nothing to be desired and replaces two simple smart speakers as a stereo device, which may cost 400 euros and offer less. It is therefore in good hands wherever there is little space, but you do not want to do without any of the features of more expensive devices or stereo playback.

To delve deeper into the topic, we recommend our Multiroom guide: Music in every room thanks to Sonos, Apple, Musiccast & Co. We choose the best here: Multiroom best list: Sonos, Yamaha, Denon & Co in comparison .