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Gadgets: Audioengine HD4 Bluetooth bookshelf speakers worth the wait

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Published in Science & Technology News

Audioengine’s HD4 Powered Bluetooth aptX HD system is a great-looking pair of Bluetooth speakers that are easy to set up and sound even better.

One of my favorite parts about reviewing products is getting them up and running without having to read instructions or quick-start guides. If I succeed quickly, this scores points in my book. With the $449 Audioengine HD4 Bluetooth bookshelf speakers, I had my Jimmy Buffet playlist blasting in crystal-clear audio in exactly four minutes and 17 seconds!

I’ve had these speakers on my to-do list for way too long. I can say, with "Margaritaville" playing at high volume levels, the speakers were worth the wait. I am talking about zero distortion with the volume cranked up using the speakers’ volume control.

The setup time included opening the box, taking the speakers out of nice cloth bags, locating the power cord and the installing speaker cable. While I was plugging in the 7-foot speaker wire to the main speaker, I noticed a connection for a Bluetooth antenna. Audioengine included one in the box. Once everything was connected, and the backside power switch turned, Audioengine HD4 appeared in my iPhone 12 Pro Bluetooth preferences.

It’s a simple setup; you can even go with just one speaker if you want. But they are sold in pairs, so you might as well use both. The speakers are a direct connection, meaning you don’t have to connect any kind of special network.

A variety of choices are available to connect music from your smartphone or receiver. Also included are cables for direction connection that include 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, micro-USB and RCA L/R. The latest Bluetooth 5 is used for simple and robust wireless. There are even output options with RCA variable line-out and 3.5 mm mini-jack headphone out.

The Audioengine HD4 Bluetooth speakers are not waterproof, weather-proof or anything close. I’m pointing this out because the next test I put them through was for my outdoor movie night. I already have shelves in place, which they fit on nicely. I just had to add an extension cord for power. There’s no internal battery, so they must be positioned with the main speaker near a standard AC outlet. This was done on a clear night. The speakers were a hit.

 

Using the speakers with connected devices, streaming music, movie night and even listening to a live baseball broadcast, all produced great sound, with perfect clarity at any volume. The three setups were in different environments and the Audioengine HD4 Powered Bluetooth speaker system was great.

Each speaker is 9-by-5.5-by-6.5 inches, and since these are bookshelf speakers, the looks count. And these are a winner, with a walnut finish constructed with real wood veneer. Audioengine has built the speaker cabinets with thick high-resin MDF walls with extensive internal bracing. They state that heavy internal sound-damping material is used to reduce unwanted sound reflections inside the cabinet. All cabinet edges are rounded, which look great and reduce high-frequency diffraction effects on the front baffles. The P4 cabinet contains tuned front-port slots.

Making the sound inside each is a 4-inch aramid fiber woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter. The Audioengine site lists the frequency response as 60 Hz-22 kHz ±1.5 dB and the input impedance as 5K ohms unbalanced. Audioengine designs and manufactures its own tweeters, woofers, and other critical components.

The Bluetooth 5.0 supports codec aptX HD, aptX, AAC and SBC, all with a wireless range of up to 100 feet. The Wireless Latency is listed as 7/8 30 milliseconds.

audioengineusa.com $449

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