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Audioengine HD6 Wireless Bookshelf Speakers. Stream Pandora, Spotify, Tidal or Your Favorite App with aptX HD in High Resolution -Walnut
- Built-in Class A/B monoblock power amplifiers
- Inputs include analog, optical and Advanced Bluetooth aptX
- Audiophile-grade components
- Furniture finishes and magnetic grilles
- Solid aluminum remote control
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|Item Dimensions||16.93 x 7.28 x 14.96 in||6.89 x 9.45 x 5.71 in||9.84 x 7.28 x 11.81 in||11.81 x 8.86 x 11.61 in||7.75 x 7 x 10.75 in||9.84 x 7.28 x 11.81 in|
|Item Weight||29.76 lbs||10.8 lbs||24.25 lbs||9.92 lbs||25 lbs||24.25 lbs|
Featuring built-in amplifiers that pack a punch, as well as analog and digital inputs, including aptX Bluetooth and optical, Audioengine's flagship HD6 is easy to set up, simple to use, and designed for the way you listen to music today. Versatile connectivity: Stream TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube - or any streaming service or media player - wirelessly from your smartphone, tablet or computer. For the highest resolution, connect to the optical input, which is perfect for network music players. It can also be used to connect any component with an optical output, including your TV system. You can also connect your favorite turntable or a subwoofer, so no matter how you connect and listen, HD6 has you covered. Retro-forward design: The HD6 was designed first for performance, but speakers also need to look great. The furniture-grade wood veneers and detachable magnetic grills give the HD6 a look and feel of old-school elegance that blends with any decor. Easy setup: Built-in power amplifiers save space and eliminate the need to connect HD6 to a stereo receiver or external power amp. Simply plug the left speaker into a power outlet and connect the included speaker wire from the left to the right passive speaker. All internal components of the HD6 are designed and tuned together, so you'll get Audioengine's Signature Sound and a much more efficient system than traditional separate passive speakers and amplifiers. Quality sound: The all-new woofers have diecast aluminum frames allowing the lower-end to really perform. Also new are the silk dome tweeters which have been upgraded for even smoother, more extended highs, superior stereo separation, and incredible imaging. The HD6 speaker cabinets feature a new design that is thicker and more stable, which reduces unwanted resonances.
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In pricing a solid integrated amp, either in combination with an external DAC or featuring one, I found that it would set me back, a tidy sum. Adding Bluetooth capability would further complicate and add to the expense. Then there was the matter of finding a high quality set of speakers that were prettier, smaller, and yet still carried enough palpable weight to enjoy challenging music. Cheap speakers abound, but they typically look cheap, and I was not interested in trading down in regard to sound quality.
They say all roads lead to Rome. Well, it seemed like all roads were leading me back to the Audioengine HD6s. I read a lot of reviews of the A5+ and HD6, looked at the price, and hoped for the best.
I was impressed by the care in which Audioengine packaged the speakers. They came (Triple!) boxed, such that I had packing material strewn about the room before I caught a glimpse of the soft gray bags that come for both speakers and all the peripheral cables.
These are pretty speakers up close. If you're familiar with real hardwood furnishings, you can tell that these are veneer over MDF, but they look sharp and feel substantial. I will note that my pair didn't have nearly the reddish tones that the picture on the site features. Much more biased to brown/gray/black tones. Which, I suppose, is more accurately walnut. But I digress.
The included cable is of good quality, but I elected to sub in a heavier gauge RCA cable to attach my CD player (Onkyo 7030, also newly-purchased). Everything went together as expected, powered on, and had a reassuring solidity to it. I let the system stand for several minutes to warm up, then loaded in a disk.
No malfunctions followed. The speakers played, the remote altered the levels as expected (you have to aim a bit carefully with this remote). After a few disks had played, the bass began to open up. I don't think a long or stultifying break-in is required with these units, but giving them a few days to burn in and seat the voice coils in the speakers before getting too critical of the sound is probably the best course.
And onto the sound. If I had to describe it, I suppose "natural" would be the most apt word. These are good sounding speakers, that have the ability to play quite loud and produce punchy bass if it is present in the program material. Now, you're not going to shake coffee mugs off of the table or fully communicate T-Rex footfalls. Physics is physics, and 5.5" drivers can only push so much air. That said, for purely music listening, especially if your tastes run to small group jazz, chamber music, and classic rock, you could easily produce satisfying volume and sweep with these speakers. The caveat being that you're not trying to fill an enormous room.
The silk dome tweeter is not as incisive or "hot" as a metal dome. It is quite detailed, but errs on the side of being laid-back and slightly gentle at the top end, rather than being bright or sharp. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a dark upper register. Rather, it lets you look with some depth into the soundscape, while avoiding being unfriendly or strident.
The midrange is rendered very well. On a CD such as Bill Frissell's "Guitar in the Space Age", the sound of the guitar, the amp, and the level of overdrive or reverb being used is beautifully drawn.
The bass is solid and taut, fairly deep but not, perhaps, as authoritative as some will be used to. The lower registers are in no way boosted. There is no "loudness" feeling to this system. It is not foreflushing in the mid-bass to mask a lack of extension or impress over the short run.
Overall, the speakers are friendly, inviting, and non-fatiguing. When paired with a well recorded piece of music, they allow you to think of the sound, not the source, which is good praise for their size and price, I think.
One thing to consider is this: if you have the intractable urge to twiddle with EQ levels, these are not for you. They sound how they sound. Unless the source component has some ability to introduce EQ settings into the mix, they are not present on the HD6 itself. For me, this is fine. I almost never use EQs, and choose a source direct option to cut them out of the signal chain if possible.
I didn't buy the HD6 simply to play from a component disk player, however. If that had been the case, saving some cash and purchasing the A5+ would have been the wise course. My plans included streaming FLAC audio from a tablet that I would use as a media center. I have found that my (aptX capable) Android tablet (Asus Zen 8) easily paired with the speakers, had a solid BT connection, and sounded great. No issues while sitting across the room, reading an e-book or browsing while the device cast the music to the speakers. The underpinnings for bluetooth and DAC conversion seem solid and well implemented here. I like that incoming signals are upsampled to 24/192. Streaming music from Amazon Prime Music still resulted in a good sound. No glare, no major veiling, no grit or heavy treble attenuation.
After playing the HD6 for several days on their own, I paired them up with a Klipsch subwoofer, crossing the sub over at around 65-70 hertz to let them roll naturally in at full volume as the main speakers began to drop off. Integrating a sub can be rather a hassle, but I was able to get a satisfactory blend within about 45 minutes of tweaking. To be honest, the first twenty minutes yielded a good blend, but I kept a/b testing and being obsessive a while longer. The addition of the sub is a somewhat subtle thing, at least with speakers that aren't too anemic in the lower registers. If the change is too obvious, the sub level is probably too high.
With the sub in the mix, that hint of authority that is required for upright bass and kickdrums tuned without a lot of polyfill is added in. Very nice.
In the end, I'm very pleased with the purchase. They are nice looking, compact speakers, and a lot more. Using a product like this, it's possible to create a very streamlined, uncluttered sound system that will fill a small to midsized room with excellent sound. If all the products that these speakers replace are tallied and checked for cost, it's something of a bargain. It might not seem so, as the price seems a bit princely for a small speaker system, but you would be awfully hard pressed to improve upon it for a similar fee, even with less attractive or integrated components.
One last note: some people might consider purchasing these as high end computer speakers. Now, they do sound very nice in the nearfield, with no audible hiss and none of the face-melting over-brightness of a speaker ill-suited to monitor duties. However...they are quite large, and I think they would be overkill for the bulk of your desktop setups. They'd look more at home above a mixing board than flanking a computer screen.
I am not an audiophile, but I do research audio equipment and make purchasing decisions as though I were one. Basically I am saying I don't have trained ears.Because of that I can't really make any definitive statements about the audio quality of these speakers. I can say that as a discerning layman I absolutely love the sound of these speakers. I am a proponent of getting your information from those qualified to dispense it so please take my comments as to the audio quality worth a grain of salt. In this review I mean to elaborate upon the hardware/setup and capabilities as I have experienced them.
I bought these to reduce clutter in my room. I had a receiver and it required remotes, shutting on an off every time I wanted to use it (They used too much power to leave on), extra space, a separate bluetooth receiver, and wires. It was basically a headache to use so I didn't use it much. These speakers eliminate the need for a receiver and thinking back to what I had before, I am very glad I made this purchase.
I have these speakers connected to my television via the Optical input for viewing television/movies. Please note that if you plan to do the same, these speakers only interpret a PCM signal. Dolby digital signals will not play through these speakers. With regular cable on a panasonic Viera television from 2012, most channels use a Dolby signal. Most modern televisions allow you to alter the audio output settings and will convert to one format or the other, but some older ones like mine did not. I've since bought a newer samsung television and it alowed me to change the signal to PCM so now all channels play through these speakers.
Even on the older television which did not convert to PCM, without altering any settings it played the audio of my playstation 4 just fine. The PS4 was connected via HDMI to the television, the television directed the audio to the Optical out. My newer television does the same. If after connecting the audio isn't playing, check your television's audio settings to be sure it is playing through the optical out and in PCM format. With automatic settings it will output the format it is given which may or may not be PCM.
I use the speakers in equal measure to listen to music. Audiophile communities typically dissuade people from transmitting audio via bluetooth so I was a little hesitant to use bluetooth to play my music on these speakers. I have found that I can't tell the difference and for the sheer convenience I listen to far more music than I used to. There is also an aux input which is the gold standard really, sometimes I use it when I don't want to use bluetooth.
The speakers must be on to establish a bluetooth connection (of course) and the speakers have their own remote which can put it into/out of sleep mode. I used a Kill-a-Watt meter to check the power consumption when in sleep and when on. I don't have my readings in front of me but the power usage difference amounted to only a few dollars every year, like 4 or 5 (cost was 7-11$ per year I think). So I choose to leave them on. This means I don't need to fish out a remote when I want to play music, I only need to select it from my list of bluetooth devices and can play music within seconds (without getting out of bed!). Volume is controlled via a knob on the speaker or by the remote. Your audio input device can control the volume up to the max output of what the speaker's volume is set at.
These speakers seem to have a priority list when receiving multiple audio signals. I have not tested every situation but I can say with certainty that Bluetooth signals are prioritized over optical. This means I can be watching television and when audio plays through my phone (or whatever is connected via bluetooth) it will mute the television audio and play the phone's audio. There is a very minimal delay when switching sources, probably a second before the phone's audio comes on. What I love is that I can have the phone connected by bluetooth and as long as the phone is not producing audio it will continue playing the other source (television), when I start a song on my phone it switches over. When I pause the song or turn the music off it will switch back to the optical (television's audio output) after a second or two. The transitions are virtually seamless.
For movies the speakers have a great low end, but nothing that will shake the house unless at very high volumes. Unless playing in a very large or crowded room I would not worry about these speakers not having adequate volume. If you plan to use them for parties I would do further research. I would venture to guess that they are loud enough for house parties.
For playing video games the high and mid ends are excellent. The low end is significantly better than anything that is not a subwoofer. I've no experience with computer subwoofers so whether these are better than small subs I cannot say. I did pair these with an SVS SB2000 subwoofer which is 12" and noted a significant improvement in wow-factor. I used the speakers for a month or two without the sub. When a grenade goes off in a videogame you feel a thud in your chest and sense of terror that was not present without the added subwoofer. Unless at higher volumes without a subwoofer you don't feel the music (as in literally being vibrated by the low end) and you won't really feel explosions in games/movies. I elaborate on this because it was a concern of mine before buying these. I can't say these fail by not having unrealistic, distortedly loud bass though, as speakers I don't believe they could be improved upon significantly. A subwoofer really can't be substituted for as it is simply something that requires a certain size. (More powerful smaller ones though can to some degree imitate a larger sub).
To replace a full sound system with a receiver, these are amazing. I can hardly imagine going back to my old clunky setup. The high, mid, and low ends were impressive to me but because I like feeling explosions I added a subwoofer to my setup. For music I really don't think I could ask for more. Playing music by bluetooth on these if very simple, as the power draw is low enough that you don't need to turn them on/off so you can connect at any moment.
If anybody who has read this has any questions or comments let me know! Thanks for reading.
My first thought before purchasing was how could they beat the amazing value of the 5+ that we owned. While these do cost almost double of the 5+ models they are light years ahead of the 5's. Don't get me wrong the 5's are a rockin speaker and value. So you will not go wrong with them for the money. With the HD6 Audioengine opens the door to enter into the high end audiophile arena. The wood cabinets finished in genuine walnut veneer are stunning and flawless. The sound is more natural and balanced from top to bottom. They sound super smooth and relaxed. As an audiophile for over 40 years I have a very discerning musical palette and simply put the HD6 is a very musical speaker. The engineers at Audioengine know what they are doing.