Top Pick – The Absolute Sound's 2016 Buyers Guide to Loudspeakers
"Sounds As Good As It Looks"
Audioengine's flagship HD6 powered speaker system represents a major milestone for Audioengine and shows just how far the company has come in 10 years. Featuring built-in amplifiers that really pack a punch as well as analog and digital inputs including aptX Bluetooth and optical, the HD6 is not just another great-sounding pair of Audioengine powered speakers, but a complete audio system. The HD6 is easy to set up, simple to use, and designed for the way people listen to music today.
"The powered, DAC-equipped, Bluetooth-enabled, two-way HD6 is comfortable on a desk or shelf, flanking a flat panel or set out in the room on a pair of stands," notes The Absolute Sound's 2016 Buyers Guide to Loudspeakers, which honored the HD6 by listing it as a Top Pick. "It’s hard to imagine a loudspeaker that does more for less. A crossover product like few others."
"The HD6 is a retro-styled system-in-a-box that just works… and one that sounds as good as it looks," notes John H. Darko, digitalaudioreview.net, November 14, 2015.
Audioengine included features from some of our best-selling products, making HD6 one of the the most versatile powered speakers available. 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.
Built-in Class A/B monoblock 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.
High Quality Sound
The HD6 is Audioengine's latest statement on high-quality and highly-affordable audio. The all-new custom 5.5" Kevlar woofers have diecast aluminum frames allowing the lower-end to really perform. Also new are the 1" silk dome tweeters, which have been upgraded for even smoother, more extended highs, superior stereo separation, and incredible imaging. The HD6 speaker cabinets are also a new design that are thicker and more stable which reduces unwanted resonances.
The HD6 was designed first for performance, but speakers also need to look great, right? 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. It's available in Satin Black for your stealth system as well as Walnut and Cherry wood finishes at no additional cost if you want to really show them off. Also included are detachable grills that add further aesthetic advantages as they are firmly held in place with hidden neodymium magnets for a clean look.
Audioengine designs and manufactures its own speaker drivers and other critical components. In other words, the HD6 is not a "box-built" system with off-the-shelf parts, but includes custom-designed components constructed to Audioengine's specifications. What the company dos not fabricate directly inside its factories is made to its specific designs, such as circuit boards, transformers, magnets, and wiring harnesses, for example.
Efficient Integrated Design
The speaker cabinets, drivers, innovative bass port designs, amplifiers, and passive crossovers are all critically tuned together for each Audioengine model. This, in turn, makes for a much more efficient system that requires less power than passive speakers and a separate integrated amplifier or similar A/V components. Audioengine builds all this goodness into the left speaker cabinet to make it super-easy to connect your smartphone, tablet, computer, TV, network player, or any other audio product.
High-quality Bluetooth Audio
The Bluetooth built into the HD6 powered speakers features aptX coding which is an advanced Bluetooth audio codec with very impressive sound. And even if your phone or tablet doesn't have aptX, the HD6 Bluetooth solution is backwards-compatible with SBC and AAC codecs, so you can wirelessly stream music from any Bluetooth-enabled device and still enjoy all your music. It's high-fidelity Bluetooth that really works and sounds great.
Extended Wireless Range
Most Bluetooth implementations have very limited range, typically within just one room. But with careful signal management circuitry and antenna tuning, Audioengine offers a superior solution that has up to three times the range of standard Bluetooth for multi-room use with no degradation in audio quality.
The HD6 Bluetooth receiver and optical input both utilize the AKM AK4396A DAC, widely known for its low-noise and high-fidelity. The optical input configures the AK4396A as a bit-perfect 24-bit DAC, which will process sample rates up to 192kHz natively. But for Bluetooth the AK4396A is used as an upsampling DAC and will pad all bit depths to 24-bits, achieving a higher signal-to-noise ratio and lower noise floor. Due to the high signal-to-noise specs of the AK4396A, the fact that digital signal is upsampled to 24-bits - as well as the added benefit of onboard triple redundancy power source conversion and filtering - the HD6 Bluetooth implementation presents impressive low noise and low distortion characteristics with a noticeable improvement over other Bluetooth devices.
The amplifiers in powered Audioengine speakers are located in the left speaker and are a conservatively-rated class A/B analog monoblock design. This is a more traditional speaker/amplifier marriage, which provides excellent quality audio and greater flexibility. All circuit boards for the power and preamp sections are vertically mounted for maximum mechanical shock protection.
Audioengine uses audiophile-quality, ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters with neodymium magnets. Silk tweeters hold up well under high power and the edge-driven design gives very smooth response. The woofers are Kevlar woven glass aramid composite with rubber surrounds. Kevlar is obviously very strong, which means the woofer retains its shape when being driven at high levels. The HD6 woofers are housed in cast aluminum frames which provide high rigidity and increased heat dispersion.
Power transformers are critical to to high-quality audio performance, especially in the low-end and again, no off-the-shelf parts. Audioengine uses gapless core toroidal transformers which have a tighter radiated magnetic field, translating to lower noise. They are lighter than standard, lower-cost "EI" transformers and also generate less heat.
"The powered, DAC-equipped, Bluetooth-enabled, two-way HD6 is comfortable on a desk or shelf, flanking a flat panel or set out in the room on a pair of stands. It’s basically a complete audio system that only needs a source as humble as a smartphone to get up and running. Sonically it has a forgiving signature in the treble range, and an ear-coddling midrange with a warmer, slightly darker voice that is effective at conveying big sound from a small box. It’s hard to imagine a loudspeaker that does more for less. A crossover product like few others."
- Top Pick, The Absolute Sound's 2016 Buyers Guide to Loudspeakers
"The HD6 is a retro-styled system-in-a-box that just works… and one that sounds as good as it looks. It also reinforces this commentator's prior assertion that the future of high(ish)-end audio, especially at the entry-level, rests on the shoulders of those who would push the envelope with active speaker solutions."
- John H. Darko, digitalaudioreview.net, November 14, 2015