Great choice for music entertainment.
Everyone has their favorite companies for certain products. It’s what marketing professionals call “brand loyalty.” Brand loyalty is built over time and is nurtured through a strong sense of trust between the consumer and the product designer. Over the years, I’ve become a strong advocate for Audioengine. It’s a name that has always been synonymous with ‘quality’ for me. Since 2019, I’ve had the A2+ Wireless Speaker System powering my audio in my home office and just a few months ago, Audioengine released the HD4 Home Music System and I decided it was time for an upgrade.
The HD4 Home Music System is designed to round out the HD-series from Audioengine. The system is a wireless speaker system that also has wired options for audio inputs. The speakers produce high-fidelity audio that is ideal for smaller spaces. Audioengine packed the same technology that is inside the HD6 into the HD4 size. The speakers are housed inside hand-built wood-veneer cabinets that look great in any environment. The system features Bluetooth aptX-HD for premium, extended-range wireless audio. The speakers are easy to set-up. They don’t require any network connection or passwords. The speakers have a modern, compact design and can be connected to analog devices, such as turntables, as well as wireless devices.
Powered Bluetooth aptX HD speaker system
120 W peak power total (30 W RMS / 60 W peak per channel), AES
4″ aramid fiber woofers
0.75″ silk dome tweeters
3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, USB, RCA L/R, Bluetooth
RCA variable line-out, 3.5 mm mini-jack headphone out
110-240 V 50/60 Hz auto-switching
>95 dB (typical A-weighted)
<0.05% at all power settings
60 Hz-22 kHz ±1.5 dB
5K ohms unbalanced
Output current limiting, thermal over-temperature, power on/off transient protection
|BLUETOOTH SPECIFICATIONS||Internal D/A Converter|
Input Bit Depth
24 bit (padded)
Bluetooth Receiver Type
aptX HD, aptX, AAC, SBC
Wireless Operation Range
Up to 100 ft (30 m) typical
Input Data Rate
Determined by Bluetooth
~30 milliseconds (ms)
|USB SPECIFICATIONS||Connector Type|
USB Device Class
USB 1.1 or above
Input Bit Depth
24 bit (padded)
Input Sample Rate
44.1 kHz/48 kHz
|HEADPHONE AMP SPECIFICATIONS||Headphone Amp Type|
Full-scale Headphone Output Level
2.0 V RMS
Recommended Headphone Impedence Level
10 ohms to 10K ohms
|WEIGHTS AND MEASURES||Dimensions (HWD)|
Each speaker – 9″(23 cm) x 5.5″ (14 cm) x 6.5″ (16.5 cm)
Left (active) – 7.2 lb (3.3 kg)
Right (passive) – 5.4 lb (2.4 kg)
Total Shipping Weight
10 lb (4.6 kg)
Shipping Box Dimensions (LWH)
20″ (51 cm) x 13″ (33 cm) x 15.5″ (39 cm)
Audioengine has an incredibly easy set-up process and I was thrilled to find that with the HD4 system, they made it even easier. The speakers are accompanied by an antenna, speaker wire, a USB cable, mini-jack audio cable, RCA cable, cloth bags for all the accessories, and an AC power cord. The AC power cord was the kicker for me. One of the most annoying things to me when installing new devices into my workspace is having to work around a power brick. Even my last set of A2+ speaker had a power brick. Audioengine did away with that awful attachment and made it possible for the HD4 speakers to be powered by a single AC power cord. This automatically made the set-up infinitely more exciting to me.
To get the speakers set-up, you have to connect the two speakers using the provided speaker wire. This is another little touch of quality that I love about Audioengine. The speaker wire is wrapped and the ends have banana plugs installed. This makes plugging and unplugging the wire very simple. You don’t have to worry about getting the contacts just right or the ends getting frayed with continued use. The banana plugs help save the cable.
Once you have the two speakers connected by the wire, you can attach the AC power cord and turn the speakers on by flipping the switch on the back of the right speaker. There is a volume control on the front of the right speaker as well as a headphone out port and a Bluetooth pairing indicator/button. Depending on what your input source is going to be, you have several options for input connections. RCA cables are provided as well as a Micro USB cable and an mini-jack audio cable. Because my primary use will be with my computer workstation, I chose to use the mini-jack cable and plug it into my Thunderbolt docking station. This way, any time I plug a computer into the dock, it will have the ability to connect to the speakers without needing to sync to Bluetooth. I will also connect to these speakers using Bluetooth from time to time. So for me, the set-up was really very minimal.
Another feature I really appreciate about these speakers is that they are not ‘smart’ speakers. Audioengine describes them as, “the smart choice in home speakers without being a ‘smart speaker.’” I thought this was apropos and very clever. The speakers, while they can be connected to wirelessly through Bluetooth, they are not compatible with virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa. I found that refreshing because I sort of feel that some devices go a little too deep into the ‘smart’ area of development and sometimes, consumers just want something to work without having to go through the rigamarole of programming a device to another smart assistant. I know that’s how I feel.
After I finished the set-up, I started playing the Styx album One with Everything. It’s a live album that was recorded when the band performed with a contemporary orchestra. As you might imagine, the variation in sound depth is incredible in this album. Because it’s a live album, there is a lot of bass depth to the tracks and on the flip side, there is also a lot of high end activity in the songs because of the live audience. I thought this was a good album to use as a test. Everything was clear and very rich. Some people might want to end up adding a subwoofer to this two-speaker set-up, but I don’t think it’s necessary. After the live album was finished, I play through some Foo Fighters songs including Monkey Wrench and Everlong. I was again impressed by how pure the bass sounded. It didn’t come through muddled or foggy at all. It also didn’t seem to screw up the rest of the mix. As a final test, I played Fuel by Metallica. The version I listened to was actually off of Metallica’s “S&M” album, which was also a live album. No matter what song I listened to through the HD4’s, I was impressed.
The volume capacity was also very impressive. I had the volume knob on the speaker turned to approximately 50%, the Music app was turned to 100%, and my MacBook Pro’s volume was turned to 50%. The combined volume levels made it possible for me to have a cone of sound around me while I was at my desk. It was almost like having noise-cancelling headphones on. I was well-isolated from other sounds in the house. When I walked away from my desk, I could still hear the music being played at that level when I was just down the hall from my office. I walked around the house and when I got to the kitchen, I could hear the music, but couldn’t quite tell what it was. I think if all the volume levels were turned up higher, it would have been easy to hear the speakers around the house completely.
I’m really glad that I decided on the upgrade from the A2+ wireless speakers. Those are great speakers in their own right, but the HD4 system is really what I want at this point in time. They are powerful enough to handle any type of listening experience. They look great in my workspace and I think that they are a great option for speakers that are easy to set-up and sound great.
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