Audioengine HD3

Premium Desktop Speakers System w/ Bluetooth aptX-HD, 2-Speaker Stereo USB Audio Input, Dual Analog Audio Inputs, Subwoofer Output - Pair

Item #AE:HD3

Audioengine HD3

Premium Desktop Speakers System w/ Bluetooth aptX-HD, 2-Speaker Stereo USB Audio Input, Dual Analog Audio Inputs, Subwoofer Output - Pair

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The HD3 is simple to use and designed for the way people listen to music today. Connect any way you like: wireless or wired, digital or analog. Play your music library or stream TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube from just about anywhere in your house without dropouts. HD3 works seamlessly with all your favorite audio players and streaming music services, so no matter how you connect and listen, HD3 has you covered.

High Notes

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Great choice of inputs and outputs

With Bluetooth, two analog inputs, and USB for computer connection, you have all the bases covered for connectivity without needing any external boxes (unless you need a phono stage for a turntable). Add to this a great little headphone amp and subwoofer out, and you have a wonderful feature set.

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Built-In D1 DAC

We really like the stand-alone Audioengine D1 DAC. When using Bluetooth or USB in, you will take advantage of this DAC. We found when we used the D1 in combination with other Audioengine speakers, it greatly improved their sound. The fact that it’s built into the HD3 is a serious perk.

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Cast Woofer Basket

These little guys can put out an amazing amount of bass energy for their compact size. The cast basket helps keep the bass tight without getting too bloated when you push them harder. Amazing for the money!

Company & Product Overview

Audioengine is one of the most popular names in audio right now, having built a reputation over the last 11 years for building fantastic speakers that provide an incredible value. Their founders have a great pedigree, having spent time at some of the best names in the audio and consumer electronics industry, including Apple, Alesis, Gibson Guitar, and Harman/Kardon. Audioengine has developed a line of products that are incredibly easy to set up while delivering performance that rivals speakers costing 2-3 times the price.

In 2016, they released a flagship product, the HD6, which represented a bit of a departure from their focus on desktop computer speakers. The HD6 is a true full-range speaker and is best appreciated on speaker stands or bookshelves where you can sit further away than the typical 2-3 ft we all sit from our computer speakers. The HD6 is beautifully finished tons of options for connectivity built in.

The HD3, which we will be reviewing today, takes many of the great features of the HD6 and shrinks it down into a compact pair of speakers that are perfect for desktop listening.

Audioengine HD3 desktop speakers with laptop.

Design & Build Quality

Like the HD6, the HD3 comes in a choice of three beautiful finishes, walnut, cherry, or black. The model we tested was in walnut and was really beautiful. They all come with a black grill that attaches magnetically to the front. The grill doesn’t cover the speaker from top to bottom, leaving a little room for a brushed metal plate across the front. The left speaker has a volume/off control knob, headphone input, and Bluetooth pairing button. The HD3 has a slot loaded front firing port, which means you can place them just about anywhere.

Graphic art image showing the front and rear panel with all of the inputs and outputs available on the Audioengine HD3 powered speakers.

Size wise they are just slightly larger than the famous Audioengine A2+, standing 7 ¼” tall compared to the 6” of the A2+ with the width (4 1/8”) and depth (5 ¾”) very similar to the A2+.

The HD3 is a two-way powered speaker system with 2.75” Kevlar woofer and ¾” silk dome tweeters. The HD3 uses a cast basket which provides more rigidity than the stamped basket featured in the A2+. The amp for the HD3 is built in, so all you need is a source to get music playing. As you’ll see, there are no shortages of possibilities there!

Connectivity is an area where the HD3 really shines. They come with a heavy gauge 2-meter speaker cable used to connect the left powered speaker to the right. The cable used is a big step up from that included with the A2+. It’s much larger gauge and comes pre-terminated with gold plated banana plugs. This makes hookup a snap and eliminates any chance of stray wires touching at the speaker terminals. Should you wish to use your own cable, the connections accept either banana plugs or bare wire and are far more solid than you normally find on speakers in this price range.

The back panel of the left speaker has several connection options. There is a left/right set of RCA audio inputs, a mini plug audio input (with a nice gold plated audio cable included), a micro USB input for connection from a computer (basic cable included), and a Bluetooth antenna. You’ll also find a set of audio outputs should you wish to connect a sub, and a new feature for Audioengine, a bass reducing toggle switch. Finally, there is the locking connection for the external power supply.

Pairing for Bluetooth works great and the HD3 will even remember 6 different Bluetooth connections.

Audioengine HD3 Real Panel Connectivity Options - Bluetooth, USB, RC


Audioengine recommends about 40-50 hours of break in time, so while they were playing we tested out the Bluetooth range. This is no “you have to stay in the room” Bluetooth connection. Using an iPhone we were able to stay connected up to about 50 feet away, even through multiple walls -- very impressive!

We really like the design theory of a powered speaker. If the designer is choosing to build a powered speaker because they care about the sound (not to cut costs), the outcome can be fantastic. They know all of the electrical characteristics the amp will need to contend with since the only thing it will ever be connected to are the drivers that are built into that particular speaker. This lets them design the amp to perfectly match the speakers. It saves money and if done right, results in great sound. As with many Audioengine speakers, the HD3 is self-powered. We were surprised to see how well the built in amp could push them. It easily filled up a reasonably sized room with sound, though we preferred the sound up close. Though they certainly will work as a bookshelf speaker, it seems

they were designed to really excel where they will likely be most used -- as a great set of desktop speakers.

Our experience with Audioengine means we are starting to get to a point where we can predict how an Audioengine speaker will sound. They tend not to over-emphasize any frequencies. Everything is smooth and flat in the range they cover. This means you can sit at your desk and listen to them for hours on end without the fatigue you sometimes get from lower quality speakers.

The bass switch is a really interesting feature. It cuts off the deep bass if you are going to use a subwoofer with them. This has the advantage of removing the deep bass demands from the woofer, which actually opens up the midrange. It’s really easy to hear, if you switch bass cut on, during some complex music with vocals you’ll notice the vocals to be clearer. Couple these with an Audioengine sub (or your own) and you have a great full-range system.

If you are going to use them on a wooden desk, we do highly recommend the $29 DS1 stands as an add-on. Anytime you put a speaker on a big, flat, resonant surface, the sound can become colored by the resonances. The DS1 stands eliminate this and also aims the drivers up towards your ears for a better listening experience.

The HD3 apparently has the same DAC (digital audio converter) built in as their great D1 DAC. This is one of our favorite DAC’s for the money and it was not surprising that we got our best sound while using the USB output from our computer, which then had the built in DAC turning the digital stream into music. Ripped CD’s sounded great too, as did Tidal in HiFi (CD quality) streaming mode.

Overall Recommendation

If you like listening to music at your desk, we highly recommend the HD3. All you need are the speakers (and we recommend the stands). For private listening, the headphone amp will also drive even the highest demand headphones on the market.

They could also work well in a small room as a primary speaker coupled with your smartphone for Bluetooth streaming or even a phono stage with an entry-level turntable.

When you couple the better DAC, better woofer basket, and slightly larger cabinet, these are definitely a substantial improvement over the A2+ for just another $150. Add in the fact that you get Bluetooth and a headphone amp and it’s a no brainer to upgrade to these over the A2+ if it’s within your budget.

Details & Specs
  • Built-in stereo power amplifiers
  • High-fidelity Bluetooth with aptX + extended range
  • USB computer audio input
  • Front panel headphone output + volume control
  • Custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters
  • Detachable magnetic speaker grills
  • Hand-built cabinets with furniture-grade finishes
  • Available in Walnut, Cherry, and Satin Black

No Missed Connections
Connect to HD3 any way you like: wirelessly or wired, digital or analog. Stream your music library, TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. to HD3 from just about anywhere in your house without dropouts. Wireless setup is a breeze and only takes about a minute. And if you're using HD3 on your desktop, connect up with a USB cable. The USB input bypasses your computer's built-in low-quality headphone jack for a high-end listening experience. But if you're not keen on USB or wireless you can still use any audio cable to connect.

Your Go-To System
Easy setup, simple and useful features, and wide stereo sound make HD3 your go-to music system. HD3 is expandable, so if you want deeper bass just connect up your subwoofer. No matter how you listen to music, HD3 has you covered.

Plug in Your Headphones
HD3 includes a dedicated high-performance headphone output so you can listen and not wake the neighbors. Its audiophile-quality headphone amplifier delivers high-end sound that drives even the most-demanding headphones.

Retro-Forward Design
HD3 was designed for audio performance, but speakers obviously also need to look good so we've included furniture-grade wood veneers, aluminum trim accents, and detachable magnetic grills that blend with any decor. Available in Satin Black as well as real Walnut and Cherry wood at no additional cost if you want to really show them off.

Small Speakers that Pack a Punch
Built-in power amplifiers save space and eliminate the need to connect HD3 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 speaker. All internal components of the HD3 are designed and tuned together, so you'll get Audioengine's Signature Sound and a much more efficient system than traditional separate speakers and amplifier.

More Information
Series HD
Product Manual Download
Warranty 3 Years
Amp Class Dual analog class A/B monolithic
Amp Power Output 60W peak power total (15W RMS / 30W peak per channel), AES
Bluetooth Profile aptX
Dimensions 7 x 4.25 x 5.5
Distortion <0.05% at all power settings
Frequency Response 65Hz-22kHz
Inputs 3.5mm Stereo mini-jack, Stereo RCA, USB, Bluetooth
Impedance 5Kohms unbalanced
Midrange Drivers 2.75" Kevlar Woofers
Music Format CD, Internet Radio, Downloads, Streaming
Output RCA variable line-out
Tweeter 3/4" Silk Dome Tweeters
Woofer Custom Kevlar Woofers
Customer Reviews
93% 4.7 / 5 - 1 reviews
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