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Friday
Mar252016

Podcast #732: Audioengine HD6 Powered Speaker Review 

We have been reviewing Audioengine speakers since just about the beginning of the company’s existence. We started with the A5 and have more or less used every product that Audioengine has released. Whether it's been the original A5s from almost 10 years ago to their high performance D1 DAC. Everyone product we have reviewed has delivered on Audioengine’s commitment to build innovative and high quality audio products.

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Audioengine HD6 Powered Speaker Review

We have been reviewing Audioengine speakers since just about the beginning of the company’s existence. We started with the A5 and have more or less used every product that Audioengine has released. Whether it's been the original A5s from almost 10 years ago to their high performance D1 DAC. Everyone product we have reviewed has delivered on Audioengine’s commitment to build innovative and high quality audio products.

Today we are reviewing the flagship HD6 powered speakers (Buy Now $750). The HD6 takes everything we liked about the A5 and turns it up a notch. In addition to the analog inputs of the A5 you now can add digital optical along with aptX Bluetooth to supply your HD6 with the highest quality audio that you can. With the Bluetooth option you no longer have to connect an external device to drive the speakers which makes placement a breeze.  

Fit and finish are first rate (veneer over MDF) and you have three to chose from, Walnut, Cherry, and Black. We received Walnut and they look beautiful and matched our living room perfectly. Each speaker is quite heavy with the one that includes the amplifier weighing in at 17.5 lbs (8kg) while the passive speaker weighs 12.5 lbs (5.5kg).  The speakers come double boxed which will protect them during shipping and they are packaged in soft felt bags that can be reused.


Features:

  • 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

 

 

Setup

It's pretty much a three step setup. First you connect the left and right speakers with the included speaker wire. A nice touch by Audioengine is that the wire is pre-fitted with banana plugs. Next you connect your source. In our case we connected an Apple Airport Express via an optical cable. Then we connected power! That’s it! If you wanted to use bluetooth you would substitute pairing the devices with connecting your source. Either way it's three steps and you are off to the races.

The speakers also include an aluminum remote control which feels pretty substantial in the hand. There is no setup required to use the remote. Once we set a volume that we were happy with we pretty much never picked it up again rather choosing to use the volume control of our iPhone or itunes.

 

Performance

These speakers sounded great out of the box but the bass was a bit boomy. Audioengine recommends about 40 hours to break them in but we heard dramatic improvement after about ten. The bass tightened up and the mids and highs were clear and no longer obscured by the bass.

 

The Eagles - Hotel California Hell Freezes Over Live Album

We have used this track on many of our speaker reviews because it really shows how well a speaker can reproduce the high frequencies and bass in one track. The intro guitar solo is crisp, clean and tight! Then you are rewarded bassy drums that are just as good. The last 45 seconds of this track feature some of the best acoustic guitar you will hear anywhere. The HD6 reproduced this faithfully.

 

The Who - Baba O'Riley

We chose this track for the classic intro that has become iconic. You clearly hear the sound moving from right to left. Then comes the piano, drums, and guitar and with each additional element we listened to make sure that they were distinct and clear. We did not have to struggle to hear the instruments separate from the vocals.

 

Steely Dan - Deacon Blues (Actually the entire A Decade of Steely Dan Remastered Album)

Deacon Blues was already one of Ara’ favorites but the remastered version is even better! You can hear everything clearly and the HD6 is just sound so smooth and warm. Everything from the drums, bass and especially the sax sound like the band is in the room with you.

Listening to this track specifically and the whole album in general transported Ara back to his highschool days listening on an old beat up turntable.  The original never sounded this good back then but Ara remembered it so fondly that you might call the HD6s a time machine for transporting him back in time.

 

Beastie Boys – Brass Monkey

Say what you will about the song but it's a great test for how well your speakers can get down. We mean really down. The HD6 did extremely well  with it. The bass was super tight and clear. We had it cranked up pretty loud too! As long as we were on the Beastie Boys we kept it going with Fight For Your Right (to Party). That was more of an homage to every hockey rink in North America that plays that song after a fight! Not quite as loud as Staples Center but still fun anyway.

 

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley

This track has wide dynamic range and excellent stage presence. You can hear the separation between individual instruments and vocals so clearly that you think you are in a club listening to him. And the bass, oh man the bass is awesome! Seriously this man left us way too early!


Conclusion

If you are serious about your music you have to give the HD6 an audition. The HD6 produces rich deep bass and crisp clear high frequencies that you will discover nuances in music that you have been listening to for years . At $750, the HD6 is a bit on the expensive side, but for those who want to fill a large room with music, they’re worth every penny!

 

 

Download Episode #732

Reader Comments (1)

Hi HTGuys.

I'm a danish listener who's enjoying your show every week.

First I need to tell you that something is wrong with your former episode, #731. Nothing happens when I try to listen to it through my normal player Cast on the iPhone. All your other shows are OK.

Now to my comment. It's about your description of Bang & Olufsens new partnership with LG and the future use of LG's OLED panels. I agree that it's hard to understand that B&O last week announced this partnership when they on the other hand is looking for a buyer to take over the company. Really confusing!

However I find your comments a bit sarcastic when you say that if you like the B&O OLED television then go and buy the same LG variant as it will be much cheaper.....
Either you know something I don't or you are wrong. I agree that the B&O prices are extremely high, but some of the price is justified in the functionality like beolink and built in surround sound based on the WISA standard. Bang & Olufsens systems are not matched by any other product that I know of.

You should know that I don't work for B&O or have any commercial interests in B&O. But i'm a long time consumer of most of their products (although not their TV's anymore.)

I have to add that I'm a bit hesitant to invest in the new Beovision Avant due to the price. Instead - or as a kind of a temporary solution - I have just ordered the new Axiim Q 5.1 on your recommendation. I'm looking forward to test it out next week when it arrives to Denmark.

Keep up the good work.

Thanks

torben...

March 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTorben Wolff

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