Powered Bookshelf Speakers w/ Volume Control, Bluetooth & MicroUSB-to-USB Cable
HD4 Wireless Bookshelf Speakers are a versatile, compact active speaker system ideal for high-fidelity audio in smaller spaces — but don't let the compact size fool you. This premium-powered, two-speaker setup offers excellent music reproduction with a sense of presentation most compact systems simply miss.
Analog Power Amps
The analog Dual Class AB monolithic power amps are housed inside MDF cabinets with a wood veneer & precisely tuned. Think music with a more tuneful sense-of-timing and better rhythm-and-pacing — especially from digital sources.
Best-Selling DAC Built-in
Similar to the award-winning HD3 & HD6, the HD4 has Audioengine's best-selling DAC built-in — the Audioengine D1 24-bit headphone DAC/Amp for clear-sounding audio when connecting with computers.
All-in-One Flexible Design
The HD4 is for anyone looking for a powered bookshelf speaker-system with upgraded analog amps and the convenience of USB & aptX HD. This one sits right in-between the HD3 & HD6 in terms of both size and price.
Company & Product Overview
Audioengine was founded by two friends who previously worked at companies like Apple, Alesis, Gibson Guitars, and Harmon/Kardon. After working with each other in one capacity or another, they finally came together and formed a brand that would fuse their backgrounds in both groundbreaking technologies and musical instrument building. In 2005, they launched the company’s first powered speaker, and Audioengine was born.
Since then, the company has created a complete line of high-performance audio products that are easy to use and sound great. Audioengine speakers are known for delivering the sound quality of professional studio monitors right to your living room or workspace without the need for a separate stereo receiver to power a pair of passive speakers.
The Audioengine HD4 Powered Bookshelf Speakers, featured in today's review is a premium all-in-one wireless speaker system that is compact and powerful. It sports the latest-and-greatest Bluetooth 5.0 spec and it supports aptX HD too. It accepts audio inputs from a 3.5mm mini-plug or a pair of RCA’s from a turntable or a TV. It allows you to connect a subwoofer, and there’s even a DAC onboard for connecting directly with computers over USB.
AtHD3 and HD6. For its size and price-point, the HD4 completes Audioengine's award-winning HD series. We think it offers the perfect upgrade for a desktop, turntable, or main living room system where space is limited but performance cannot be compromised. We can’t wait to tell you more about its performance as a tabletop system and as a work from home setup.
Packaging, Design & Build Quality
In the box, three microfiber bags cover and protect everything. All the included cables are found in the smaller microfiber bag which includes everything needed to get up and running to hear music quickly. In the package, a pair of left and right banana connectors, a pair of left and right RCA cables, and a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug for connecting with a laptop or turntable’s built-in phono stage are included. If you want to take advantage of the HD4’s built-in DAC, you’ll need to source your own with the correct USB connections for use with your computer.
The HD4 comes in two color options. Our test unit arrived in a natural walnut MDF cabinet with a wood-veneer, but a more modern-looking black is also available. When we removed them from the microfiber protective bags, we noticed their simple but cool "old-school" look. The walnut features a minimalistic design with rounded corners that will add a touch of retro-flavored "warmth" to the style & decor of just about any room.
As usual with Audioengine products, the build quality is immediately evident. Similar to the more expensive HD6, the HD4 wireless is constructed with components that are custom designed in-house at the company’s Austin, Texas facility, and the MDF wood-veneer cabinets feel sturdy, and well-braced. The right speaker houses the amplifier, so it weighs 7 ½ pounds and the left speaker weighs about 5 ½ pounds.
What sets the new Audioengine HD4 apart from both the HD3 and HD6 is the size and price. Dimensionally, the HD4’s MDF cabinet stands right in-between its two siblings, standing 9-inches tall, 5 ½-inches wide and 6 ½-inches deep. This is substantially smaller than its bigger brother — HD6.
For comparison with the other speakers in the HD series, the HD3 is 3-inches shorter than the HD4, and 4 ¼-inches wide by 5 ½-inches deep. The bigger brother, HD6, is the largest in the series and stands 11 ¾-inches tall, about 7-inches wide, and 10-inches deep. Similar to the other speakers in the HD series, horizontal venting ports on the lower facades of both speaker cabinets are carved into the finished wood-veneer right below a brushed metal plate, which also features a cool engraving of the Audioengine logo.
A black grille magnetically attaches to the front of the speaker cabinet just above the brushed metal plate. When you remove the grill, the HD4 has a professional studio monitor-look for a view of the woofer and the tweeter. The speaker consists of a 4-inch Aramid fiber woofer complemented with a ¾-inch silk dome tweeter. The built-in analog Dual Class AB monolithic power amps are housed inside serious retro-looking MDF cabinets with a wood veneer that are precisely tuned.
We like the studio monitor look of the new HD4 without the grill. Removing it gives the HD4 a more modern reboot to the HD4’s unapologetically evocative vibe. With a turntable or a computer positioned between a pair of HD4 Wireless Powered speakers, you will have a professional-looking studio monitor setup and modern functionality that’s ready to take on the digital world. As an all-in-one bookshelf speaker setup, we think the new Audioengine HD4 powered speakers are a great solution for anyone who has restricted space but still wants the better performance of a larger compact speaker.
The right speaker houses the amplifier, volume control, and input and output connections. On the front panel, there’s a volume control knob, a push-button switch to toggle the aptX Bluetooth pairing mode on or off, and a 3.5mm mini-plug input that lets you connect a pair of headphones at your desk.
The rest of the connections are available from the rear panel. From the rear, there's another 3.5mm stereo mini-plug input to connect to a laptop, smartphone, or portable music player, a set of left/right RCA inputs for connecting a phono preamp and a turntable, a micro USB input, a Bluetooth antenna and on/off power switch. There’s also a set of RCA audio outputs for connecting to a subwoofer. Once you get the right speaker all connected, you simply run the banana cables to the left speaker, plug in the included power supply, and connect your audio source via Bluetooth, USB, stereo mini-plug, or RCA and you’re in business.
Features & Technology
The HD4 is an active speaker which gives it a host of audio advantages when it comes to performance. In a normal stereo system, you have speakers and an amplifier to power the speakers. The amplifier is actually composed of two parts, a preamp, and a power amplifier. The preamp does all the switching and volume control, while the power amp drives the speakers. Your speakers then have two or more speaker components that handle the different frequencies. Inside the speaker is what is called a "crossover." This directs the correct frequencies to the different speaker drivers.
This is how 95% of stereo systems are done these days, but there are some disadvantages to this design. First, the company making the amplifier has no idea what kind of speakers it will be connected to, so they have to optimize its performance for a wide range of speaker characteristics. The speakers will use what is called a "passive crossover" that basically chokes off the signals that should not go to the different speaker drivers. Some dynamics and efficiency are lost by doing it this way.
Active speakers are quite a bit different as they are designed to work as a complete system. Active speakers have a separate amplifier for each speaker driver and use an electronic crossover rather than a passive crossover.
In a passive design, the crossover is after the power amplifier and inside the speaker. With an active design, it happens before the signal gets to the power amp, meaning there is zero loss in dynamics or efficiency. The engineer designing the power amp knows exactly what the speaker load will be, so the amp is perfectly mated to the speaker driver.
This type of system results in a much more open, dynamic, and effortless sound when done properly.
Most manufacturers use digital amplifiers to keep their costs down — but Audioengine uses analog Dual Class AB monolithic power amps here, and these are tuned just right for each speaker in the series. Analog amps will typically have a warmer sound profile and give your music a more tuneful sense-of-timing and better rhythm-and-pacing, overall.
We think the use of analog amps is a true testament to Audioengine’s dedication to inspiring more people to enjoy music with better sound. The use of analog components here is a nice touch at this price-point, and we think it’s a big part of what made listening to music with these so enjoyable.
Similar to the HD3 and the HD6, the new HD4 has Audioengine’s best selling DAC built into it — the Audioengine D1 24-bit headphone DAC/Amp. It also sports the latest and greatest Bluetooth 5.0 specification. This extends the wireless operating range with compatible Bluetooth devices to 100ft! And, as usual, Audioengine didn’t stop here when it built a wireless speaker packing the latest Bluetooth iteration. Audioengine uses Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth tech in the HD4 for CD-like audio quality — think music that’s more detailed with tighter bass and clearer mid-range.
Audioengine’s HD series has been a big hit with our customers here at Audio Advice. We find that most people use bookshelf or desktop speakers with computer setups. However, since the HD series was released alongside the revival of vinyl, we’ve noticed a lot more people using Audioengine bookshelf speakers to play music with turntables too.
When testing the HD4, we allowed it to break in first with a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug connected to a laptop streaming Qobuz. We stationed the HD4 powered bookshelf speakers on a computer desk and tested them as a near-field setup with a direct USB connection. As usual with Audioengine speakers, we were impressed with the HD4’s stereo imaging. Next, we tested the speakers in an open room setting with a vinyl record player using the RCA connection to a phono preamp and as a wireless speaker system streaming aptX HD.
The HD4 was designed for anyone looking for a powered bookshelf system with upgraded analog amps and the convenience of USB and aptX HD. It sits right in between the HD3 and the HD6 in terms of size and price.
If the HD3 is a little too small for your needs, and the HD6 is either too big or more than you're looking to spend, then strongly consider the HD4. At
If you like the Audioengine sound and need a larger desktop speaker system with even more output, then step things up to the HD6. For less than $300 more, you will get even more inputs and outputs with bigger sound suitable for larger living spaces.
Adding a subwoofer to the HD4 will present more bottom-end weight. We recommend the Audioengine S8 subwoofer because it’s an excellent addition to this system that will add more immersion for bass-heavy songs.
Even without a subwoofer, the HD4 will still present good low-end that will complement any living room system using a TV, turntable, phone, or tablet as a source. However, if you have a larger room and budget, and you want deeper bass, the HD6 is the best option. With multiple inputs, it will integrate with almost any setup since you don’t have to choose just one source. Listen to vinyl with the RCA connections, Bluetooth your favorite streaming service without touching anything on the speaker, or enjoy the studio-quality stereo image from your desk with USB or the headphone jack.
Anyone who appreciates high performance at a great value will appreciate the amount of flexibility and the sound quality it gives you.
At these price-points, Audioengine speakers are great for entertaining guests with a warm sound. The studio-quality stereo image of the HD4 will shine as a near-field monitor on your work desk, but it will fill up an open room with great sound too. For anyone who wants to revive an old vinyl record collection with the modern conveniences of Bluetooth 5.0 and the quality of aptX HD, who wouldn’t choose this powerful all-in-one bookshelf system for a tabletop or a desk?
When you buy from Audio Advice, we’re also including an exclusive “Tips & Tricks" video, available only to Audio Advice customers. This video will give you some additional key tricks, and a few other tips to help you get the most out of compact bookshelf speakers like the HD4.
About HD4 Active Bookshelf Speakers
Award-winning sound in a new size
Bringing home the high-performance technology inside Audioengine's HD6 along with the convenience of the modestly-sized HD3, the HD4 is a perfect blend of the power you love to feel and the modern functionality you depend on.
Thoughtfully wrapped in precision-tuned, MDF wood-veneer cabinets, analog amps deliver warm musical sound to any audio source. Stream your music in seconds from any app or device with high-definition aptX HD Bluetooth or make a wired connection. Either way, HD4 offers the perfect upgrade for a desktop, turntable, or main living room system where space is at a premium but performance cannot be sacrificed.
Connect your music — no matter where it lives
An all-access pass to ALL of your music on any app or device, the HD4 offers wired or wireless connections including USB input from your computer, Bluetooth aptX-HD from your phone, or good old analog from that vintage turntable or prized tape deck.
Featuring Bluetooth aptX-HD for premium, extended-range wireless that allows for quick and easy connection to stream your existing music services, tune in to your favorite podcast, or listen to those carefully curated playlists from your personal music library.
Your music, your way. Anywhere you want to listen. It’s that simple.
Small Speaker, BIG sound
The HD4 Wireless Speakers are constructed with custom Audioengine components: Aramid fiber woofers, silk tweeters, Premium Bluetooth aptX-HD, and built-in analog power amps wrapped in precision-tuned, hand-built, and finished wood-veneer cabinets. A perfect blend of cool retro looks with modern functionality. Use it to entertain guests with your collection of vinyl, or set it up on a desk to stream studio-quality sound while you work.
Simple to set up
No network to set up and all inputs are always ready to go. Connect a TV or turntable via the mini-jack or RCA inputs, use the onboard DAC and connect via USB to a computer, stream high res wireless with aptX HD Bluetooth, or just plug in headphones at your desk! The HD4 is an incredibly high-performance, high-value system for almost any application.
Why we love it
Audioengine speakers are special. In 2005, Audioengine was founded on a simple goal: Design purpose-built home music systems that sound great, are easy to use and make people want to listen to music every day. Each new product gives listeners well-thought updates and improvements inspired by all the ways people listen to their music. The HD4 is no exception. Constructed with similar custom components found in the award-winning HD6 and HD3, the HD4 boasts everything you’d expect from an Audioengine product reimagined for the space-conscious music lover.
Audioengine's built-in analog power amplifiers sound incredible compared to digital amps found in other mass-produced brands at comparable price points. The HD4 is a smart choice in home speakers without being a “smart speaker.” We love how the HD4 allows us to experience agenda-free audio and feel confident knowing we're the only ones doing the listening. Sorry, Alexa and Siri, we’re in the business of listening to music, not listening to your business. No network setup, no passwords, no hassle. Just great sound.
- MDF cabinets with a wood veneer & precisely tuned.
- Analog Dual Class AB monolithic power amps.
- Analog input for easy turntable connection.
- Aramid fiber woofers and silk dome tweeters.
- Best selling Audioengine D1 24-bit USB DAC/Amp built-in.
- Latest and greatest Bluetooth 5.0 specification w/ 100ft wireless operating-range.
- Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth tech for CD-like audio quality.
- 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, USB, RCA L/R, Bluetooth.
- Subwoofer Output.
- Versatile playback in any room, from any app or device.
- High-fidelity stereo sound for desktops and small spaces.
- Modern, compact design that fits in and fills up any room.
- Available in 2 colors (black and walnut).
- Input voltages: 110-240V 50/60Hz auto-switching
- SNR: >95dB (typical A-weighted)
- THD+N: <0.05% at all power settings
- Crosstalk: -50dB
- Input bit depth/sample rate: u24-bits upsampled
- Supported codecs: aptX HD, aptX with very low latency, aptX, AAC, SBC
- Wireless operation range: Up to 100ft (30m) typical
- Wireless latency: ~30 milliseconds (ms)
- Input data rate: Determined by Bluetooth
- Weight (both speakers): 15 lbs
- MDF cabinets with a wood veneer
|Amp Power Output||120W peak power total (30W RMS / 60W peak per channel), AES|
|Bluetooth Profile||Bluetooth receiver type 5.0 audio|
|Design||2.0 powered (active) bookshelf-style speaker system|
|Dimensions||Each speaker: 9" H x 5 1/2" W x 6 1/2" D|
|Drivers||4″ Aramid fiber woofers, 3/4” silk dome tweeters|
|enclosure||MDF cabinets with a wood veneer|
|Frequency Response||60Hz-22kHz +/-1.5dB|
|Inputs||3.5mm stereo mini-jack, USB, RCA L/R, Bluetooth|
|Output||Dual RCA variable|
|Supported Audio Formats||aptX HD, aptX with very low latency, aptX, AAC, SBC|
|Total Amp Power||120W peak power total (30W RMS / 60W peak per channel)|
|Tweeter||3/4” silk dome|
|Woofer||4″ Aramid fiber|