The sound coming from a TV’s built-in speakers typically sucks: It’s invariably thin and weak, and the dialog is nearly unintelligible. Of course, you could assemble a complete outboard sound system with an A/V receiver and speakers, but that is often more trouble—and more expensive—than it’s worth, especially for a secondary TV in the bedroom or other outlying area of your home.

The best solution for this conundrum is a soundbar, a wide, thin enclosure that includes several speaker drivers and sits just below the TV screen. Most soundbars do not deliver the sound quality of a full-blown audio system, but they far exceed the capabilities of most TVs’ built-in speakers. And many can even simulate the effect of a complete surround-sound system using psychoacoustic trickery.

The $700 Harman Kardon Enchant 800 is just such a soundbar. Does it fulfill the promise of better sound without the hassle or expense of a more extensive outboard audio system? I was eager to find out.
hk enchant 800 buttons Harman Kardon
Four buttons on the top of the unit provide basic control.

Features

Like most soundbars, the Enchant 800 is wide and slender, measuring 33.8- by 2.6- by 4.9 inches (W x H x D) and weighing in at 9.5 pounds. It will fit neatly below the screen of most stand-mounted TVs, but it needs almost five inches of of depth. If your TV is wall-mounted, the soundbar can be mounted below it with the included hardware.

The Enchant 800 provides eight channels of audio with six 2-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, and a proprietary technology called MultiBeam. Using sophisticated digital signal processing (DSP) and side-firing drivers that direct some sounds to reflect from the walls, the Enchant 800 is intended to create a 5.1 surround-sound field from Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams. A feature called Acoustic MultiBeam Calibration (AMC) optimizes the system for your room without requiring a separate calibration microphone.

Built-in audio amplification provides a combined maximum peak of 180 watts, with an RMS power rating of 90W. Total harmonic distortion (THD) is 1% with a maximum output of 91dB SPL. The frequency response is specified from 76Hz to 20kHz, and a port on the back of the unit enhances the bass performance. If you want even deeper bass, an optional Enchant wireless subwoofer is available for an additional $699.95.

One HDMI 2.0 input that supports HDCP 2.2 copy protection lets you connect an HDMI source device to the Enchant 800. The audio portion of the signal is reproduced by the soundbar, while the video is sent to the TV from the unit’s HDMI output. That output supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), which lets the TV send audio from its internal streaming apps or over-the-air tuner back to the soundbar along the same cable. The HDMI input and output offer bandwidth of 18Gbps to support 4K/UHD content and HDR10 video.
hk enchant 800 transparent Harman Kardon
The Enchant 800 includes six 2-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters.

Other connections include a 3.5mm analog-audio input, an optical digital-audio input, and a USB 2.0 port. In addition, the Enchant 800 offers two wireless options: You can send audio from a mobile device via Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP v1.2 and AVRCP v 1.5 profiles are supported), and you can stream audio from online services on your mobile device via Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n/ac), thanks to Google Chromecast being built in.