I've written about Audioengine's products for years, so I was happy to see they have a new speaker, the HD6. It's available in satin black, walnut or cherry real wood veneers for $749 for a pair. My review samples' cherry finish looked absolutely fabulous, and their magnetically attached grilles give the HD6 the look and feel of a much more expensive speaker.
The left HD6 speaker houses power amplifiers for the left and right speakers, with stereo analog RCA and 3.5mm inputs, Toslink optical digital input, and a speaker output you hook up to the right HD6 speaker. There's also a pair of stereo RCA output jacks you can use to run a powered subwoofer. The HD6 sports a 5.5 inch Kevlar woofer, 1-inch silk dome tweeter and 75-watt per channel Class AB power amps; that last bit is noteworthy because most competing powered speakers use cheaper Class D amps. The left speaker also has onboard 24-bit/192 kHz digital converters.
The left HD6 has a small volume control knob on the front baffle, and you get a sleek looking solid metal remote control with volume, mute, and standby buttons. For those of you who prefer to go wireless, you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet directly to the HD6 via the on-board aptX Bluetooth receiver. The speakers measure 11.75 by 7.25 by 10 inches, and there's a bass slot across the top of the rear panel.
I set the HD6s on metal 24-inch tall stands, three feet from the wall behind them, and played tunes and movies from my Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player.
Stereo imaging was remarkably broad, and with my Aphex Twin albums the sound seemed to come from beyond the outside edges of the HD6 cabinets. With the latest edition of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series, "The Cutting Edge: 1965-1966," it was the sound of Dylan's fiery lyrics that grabbed me. This album is chock full of outtakes and rehearsals of songs from Dylan's first creative peak, and the HD6s put me in the room with Dylan and the band! Even the acoustic tunes had an electric charge, the energy was palpable. The HD6s' sound highlights midrange detail, but treble clarity was average. Bass definition was only so-so, though I did feel (literally) the HD6's dynamic punch was awfully good for a small speaker.
I think the Audioengine HD6 is a nice alternative to higher-end, wireless single speakers from Sonos, Polk, Naim, etc., and you can run the HD6s wirelessly. Then again, a pair of speakers take up more space than one, but the room-filling sound of stereo speakers might sway some listeners to deal with two speakers. The scrumptious real wood veneers provide a more luxurious look than the plastic or cloth covered wireless speakers I've seen.
If you buy the HD6 direct from Audioengine and you're not satisfied return it within 30 days of purchase and Audioengine will refund the full purchase price, with no restocking fees.