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There are many reasons to buy the Onyx Studio 4 – rich, powerful and balanced sound, amazing design (one of the most beautiful speakers on the market), Bluetooth connectivity, good connection quality, multi-host (connect 2 phones at the same time . ) and daisy chaining features (connect up to 100 speakers at once), integrated battery, integrated microphone, HK Connect app.
Harman Kardon Outdoor Speakers
Unfortunately, it is not very good. Most of our complaints are about battery life (this beautiful speaker needs a powerful battery) and build quality. This speaker is made of quality materials and looks/feels expensive but it is not tough enough and not the best choice if you need an external Bluetooth speaker. You can use it outside because it can be used/maintained but not enough. If you want something dark and waterproof, you should look elsewhere.
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If you’re looking for the best and best portable Bluetooth speaker under $150, you won’t find a better choice than the Onyx Studio 4.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 comes in a nice box with a charging adapter (2 wall adapters for EU and US market), user manual, and one year warranty. The carrying case is not included and must be purchased separately. The speaker has a 3.5mm input but the headphone jack is not included.
Harman Kardon has successfully implemented the design process. All Bluetooth speakers made by this famous manufacturer look very nice and Onyx Studio 4 is the perfect model. This speaker comes in three colors (black, blue and white) and we can’t decide which one is the prettiest. They are all beautiful.
The entire front panel is covered with a fabric grille to protect the drivers. There is a simple harman/kardon logo on the grille.
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The grid can be removed (but not removable). You can use the volume without the grid, according to your taste. The grill has a protective base so you’ll want to leave it out, especially if you use the speaker outdoors.
On the back, you’ll find the pickup jack on top, the bass reflex port in the middle, and the input ports on the bottom. It has two legs that cannot be tied.
Studio 4 offers 3 input ports – micro USB port (for service work and firmware upgrade), AUX input (3.5mm), and DC input.
All the power buttons are at the top, on the rim. There are 6 beautiful backlit buttons – Bluetooth, Connect+ button, volume button (+ and -), handsfree button (you can use it to answer/end calls, play/pause music, or to activate Siri / Google Now), and power button. .
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Onyx Studio 4 is made of rich materials and you can fall into that while keeping the volume. It looks heavy and solid. It is made of plastic but it is thick and hard. However, the speaker is not waterproof (not IPX certified) and not shockproof so it is not the best speaker for outdoor use. It is more of a desktop speaker.
The Studio 4 is very convenient because it has an integrated battery and is not too heavy to carry. So, if you want to use it outside, you can. However, be aware that it is not that bad and the battery inside the speaker is 3,000mAh. The power is not bad but it is not bad, especially if there are 2 woofers and 2 tweeters in the speaker that needs to be managed.
Onyx Studio 4 has Bluetooth 4.2 with a Bluetooth range of 33 feet. You can connect two Bluetooth devices (phone / tablet / PC) at the same time with one Onyx Studio 4 (multiple reception unit) and the speaker can memorize up to 8 devices. The speaker has a quick NFC feature so if you’re an Android user, you’ll have to go through the usual pairing process. The Studio 4 has one AUX input so you can connect non-Bluetooth devices to the speaker.
Onyx Studio 4 also offers voice assistant support. You can access Google Now and Siri by long pressing the handsfree/call button. In order to set up and activate this feature, you need to use the HK Connect app which is another great feature. The speaker can be controlled with this app but most of the users are not happy with this app. We will discuss some issues related to the app in the “Performance” section.
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We are very happy with the performance of this speaker but there are some issues that need to be mentioned.
We can’t complain about Bluetooth connectivity and sound quality (sound quality will be discussed in the next section).
The Bluetooth connection works without problems – we experienced no loss of signal and cut-outs in the advertised range. In fact, if you’re using a newer phone (like an iPhone X) the range is much greater (up to 50+ feet unobstructed). It is easy to tap and is the same for Android and iPhone users (there is no fast NFC feature for Android users). To start pairing, you must press the Bluetooth button (pairing does not start automatically). Multi-host is a great feature and works without problems.
Daisy chain can be a problem, especially if you want your speakers to play music in stereo (two modes – stereo and party). To do this, you need to use the app. Many people have problems with this feature because it is not enough to press the Connect + button in each language. Let’s assume you have 2 Onyx Studio 4 speakers and you want to connect them and play music in stereo. Follow these simple steps:
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Step 1 – Turn on the speaker, start pairing (press the Bluetooth button) and connect it to your phone. You can stream your music in the first language now.
Step 3 – Click the Add + button on the first language and then click the same button on the other language.
Step 5 – In order for them to play music in the stereo, you need to download and install the HK Connect App.
Step 6 – Open the app and select stereo mode. The speakers should start playing in stereo mode (left and right channels).
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The app is well rated on Google Play and App Store and users don’t really like it. A very important reason. You can (should) use it to select stereo mode or party mode or program the handsfree/call button. You can’t play with the sound signature or adjust the EQ settings through the app.
The battery is not small (3,000mAh) but there are four drivers inside (+ passive bass radiator) so the playing time is not very good. Harman Kardon says you can get 8 hours of playtime but you can get less than 7 at 50% volume (less than 4 hours at 100%). This good quality requires a bigger battery.
The built-in mic works flawlessly even when there is a lot of noise around you. Kudos to Harman Kardon for this.
The sound quality is the most notable feature of this speaker. You can’t find balanced sound for more than $150.
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The bass response is amazing for a speaker of this size. It has low frequencies and hits low tones (maybe slightly amplified).
Mids are dynamic and all sounds are very clear. Low frequencies cannot be boosted with bass until you increase the volume above 80%. The distortion is noticeable at 90% volume but not overpowering.
Stereo separation is no different because all drivers are close but you can separate better if you connect two speakers and play music in stereo mode.
Onyx Studio 4 may be powerful but not more powerful than some competitors in the same price range (such as UE MEGABOOM or Marshal Kilburn).
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Owlee Aviary is similar to Onyx Studio 4 but there are some important differences. The Guvara is better and gives a low and quiet sound. If sound quality is your priority, Studio 4 is a clear winner. Both have similar audio features and offer similar playtime. Aviary features NFC while Studio 4 does not. Owlee Aviary does not support daisy chaining (it cannot be paired with another Aviary speaker) although you can connect up to 100 Onyx Studio 4 speakers. No software for Owlee Aviary while HK Connect software is available for Onyx Studio 4.
If you want something as simple as Onyx Studio 4, iClever BoostSound might be the best for you. You should know that the iClever BoostSound cannot provide the same sound quality but this is not a bad thing. The iClever is smarter and better (unsurprisingly). Bass boost from Onyx Studio 4 a. iClever’s play time is longer (12 hours compared to 7 hours). iClever offers a micro SD card slot while Studio 4 does not. On the other hand, Studio 4 comes with the app and can be recorded
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