Harman/Kardon - Harman/Kardon Esquire 2


Harman / kardon Esquire 2: a very successful evolution

Aprox. 229€

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The Esquire 2 succeeds the Esquire in short and appears much less massive and more refined at first glance. Clearly geared towards "professionals on the move", the Esquire 2 has four microphones with active noise reduction and echo to ensure good 360 ° sound pickup, even in the noisiest places.

Positive points


More compact, light and prehensile than the previous version.

Excellent connectivity / fluidity of use.

Charging port for smartphones / tablets.

Its rich and fairly precise.

Very good quality of the hands-free kit.

Bad points

Fragile paint, no carrying case provided.

No return to the previous song.

Play / pause a little recalcitrant.

A little fair autonomy.

No bass.

Our review


Aesthetically, the Esquire 2 is more like the Esquire Mini version "Honey, I enlarged the enclosure" than the Esquire just revisited. Indeed, the first of the name was square, quite massive and very heavy, while the Mini already had this more tapered aspect.

The 2 therefore uses the codes of the mini, dropping the heavy parallelepiped of the first of the name much less prehensile and separating in the passage of a few tens of grams. The design is also completely in this spirit, at the same time minimalist, efficient and classy.

The front of the speaker is entirely occupied by the protective grille of the four speakers, stamped with the brand bucket in its center. The stormy shade is beautiful, but beware of the fragility of the paint. In addition, no cover provided!

On the right edge of the speaker, we find the 5 LEDs of the battery level (a big half-dozen hours). Not bad, but we could hope for more. In contrast, the connectors offer the traditional mini-Jack input for wire users, the micro-USB for recharging and, new, a USB port for recharging smartphones and tablets. Again, harman / kardon evolves the Esquire in a direction that is completely consistent with its target users.

On the top of the speaker, the chrome controls blend perfectly with the decor. From right to left, you will find the power on / off, the activation of Bluetooth - connections always very fluid, nothing to say -, the multifunction button - which allows call management (pick up, hang up, rejection), play / pause (a bit recalcitrant) and the move to the next song (curiously, not to the previous song) - and the command to mute the microphones, which naturally leads us to the hands-free kit.

Of very good quality, it offers excellent intelligibility of the voices to our interlocutor, whether one is alone or several around the enclosure, provided that one is in a relatively calm environment. Echo reduction is excellent, but don't count on noise reduction to remove a very noisy environment: you can converse pleasantly in your car in the middle of an urban area with windows closed, but not windows open. A nice performance however, and still a useful feature for the Golden Boys and Girls.


Harman / kardon gives us a new nugget to include in our best-of press releases 2016: the Esquire 2 has four tuned speakers ... professionally. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there are speaker tuners who maintain their amateur status in order to compete in the Olympic Games.

Unlike its predecessor, the Esquire 2 does not promise us extra-bass, and that's good because it is deprived of it. The speaker goes down to 200 Hz, the border between low and low mids. As always, placing it near a wall will flatter the bottom of the spectrum and give it a little more body.

We carried out two measurements of Esquire 2 to highlight this phenomenon: above, in black, the frequency response of the speaker 1.5 meters from a wall, in gray at 10 centimeters from the same wall. We note that the frequencies around 100 Hz have been boosted by this proximity, which only modifies the bottom of the spectrum and does not disturb the upper part in the least.

The overall sound is rich, quite inflated "à la Harman". We also suspect the brand to undergo a little audio processing, namely a good dose of compression and perhaps a spatializing treatment. This spatialization offers a nice width to the sound - which correctly exceeds the edges of the speaker - but would explain this acidity that we perceive enough on the side of high mids.

The Esquire 2 is very clearly at the top of the spectrum, but without putting a particular band of frequencies forward. The rendering is fairly balanced from 600 Hz, without causing any nasal effect or particular sibilance, apart from these peaks of acidity (rather "sshh" than "sss") triggered by saturated cymbals and Fender. The sound is generally quite dynamic, detailed and spatialized - as we mentioned above. We can thus locate the instruments in the mix with satisfactory precision. Bluetooth transmission, as evidenced by the graph above, is very faithful to analog sound.

Surprisingly, it saturates even less than wired. The maximum level is however slightly less powerful. It takes 50 millivolts for the Esquire 2 wired to reach 79 dB, while it needs more than 70 in Bluetooth. Listening at high volume is very unpleasant, the frequency response tightening completely on high mids made loud, but the sound remains full, rich and pleasant below 80% of the maximum volume.

We mentioned above the pleasant stereophonic field width offered by the speakers of the Esquire 2, but let us specify that it is necessary to be placed well in the axis; which is facilitated by the wedge-slash. Outside the axis, the speaker being quite directive, we quickly lose the width of diffusion and the richness of the sound.

Finally, with a little less than 200 milliseconds of latency, watching films remains pleasant and the delay is not made to be too annoying.


Harman / Kardon has been able to develop the Esquire in the direction of its users: lighter, compact and design, it is not only easier to transport, but offers excellent quality of hands-free kit and functionalities adapted to its use. , like charging mobile devices. On the audio side, it is a clear and fairly detailed sound that the brand wanted to favor.