Totally different class. Just look at the RMS power output (ie. i4 engine vs. v6). Which brings me to question why anyone would buy these if not for their aesthetics. For a similar price as this sale price (cheaper if comparing MSRP), one can pick up a substantially better performing 2.1 system in both power and audio quality: Klisch Promedia 2.1, Logitech z623 (z2300), Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra. IMHO, these Harman Kardon's are not worth the price....but that's coming from a guy who picked up a brand new z2300 for $50 from an Amazon sale years ago
The shear power and audio quality literally blows you away (be careful of nearby windows). No need for a surround sound speaker system for my home theater with these monsters. But that's just my 2 cents.
I think the sets you mentioned are better for the average user but I must disagree about the sound quality.
I like the Klipsch Pro well enough and I think they are the best consumer sub $100 set around for a family. What I mean is that they are what I would feel comfortable suggesting to anyone for the price.
I'm a fan of Altecs computer speakers but I can't remember exactly what I thought about the Altec Expressionist 2.1. I don't believe I was impressed but since I don't remember I won't say for certain which I think is better.
In my opinion, the z623, or really any Logitech speakers for that matter, are highly over rated. Their speakers in particular are the one area that Logitech hasn't evolved past a cheap peripherals company. I don't find their speakers particularly coloring but they always somehow sound like a cheap boombox . They get loud and they might do that without too much distortion but they have to be pumped full of watts to the point of blaring in order to produce a descent stereo image.
That's my point problem with Logitech. Listening to their speakers makes it clear that they aren't a speaker company. They make loud, descent computer speakers. They don't worry about tuning them and they use a generic driver design that produces inefficient, power hungry speakers that don't open up and produce a true stereo image until they are blasting. Not a fan
As for Harman, I can see why people would choose another brand. If comparing side to side the Soundsticks would probably sound inferior. They just don't blast or rumble like many other pc speakers are expected to at this price point. "Though they do get pretty loud, they shouldn't be used like that) The Soundstickers are truly meant for your desktop, designed to be placed in front and to the sides of you.
But I can say without a doubt that the Harman Kardon speakers are a far superior instrument. Their detail and stereo imaging ability is so far ahead of Logitech that after listening to them for a week a set of z623 sound like built in tv speakers on full blast. Logitech get loud but lack dimension. That's my take anyways.